Ufff it's been a while since I've been on here. But that's life. Fredrik is growing so fast, and at times so slowly. I never knew babies and toddlers could really have a personality of their own, but they really do. Fredrik's has always been what we call 'expressive'. He feels every feeling fully and loudly. He also wants someone to play with him a lot of the time, he's very much an extrovert and social butterfly. Basically the opposite of myself. We also continue to struggle with him being a very picky / selective eater ; which makes me very disappointed.
Disappointment: sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.
I'm disappointed that Fredrik does not eat 95% of the foods I cook, and I'm beyond aggravated that he eats just about everything at day care. (Monkey See, Monkey Do) As a dietitian I cringe at how many processed carbs he eats and how many crappy oils are in his diet. I am also thankful that we have these foods available so that he has something to eat as we work through his sensory fears. I know that someday he will eat a wider variety of foods. However, this doesn't mean that I don't get jealous watching other people's kids gobble up the same dinner their parents are eating. I'm disappointed that I have no pictures of fredrik completely covered in spaghetti sauce, just a few of him with yogurt on his face from when he would still eat yogurt and let me feed him.
I'm disappointed that I now have the kid who hits and pulls and pushes. It's not every kid or all the time, but it's making play dates increasingly difficult and less enjoyable. This new behavior left me in tears as I drove home from our last music class on Sunday. Instead of singing and dancing and playing instruments, I played referee for 45minutes trying to keep him from hurting other kids. My friends all know this is age appropriate, but that doesn't necessarily make it that much easier to deal with.
These feelings of disappointment are normal, but no one tells you this when you are pregnant. What causes me to feel disappointed is different from every other parent. And no one tells you this as you are raising your child, except maybe your therapist. Your parents or friends might tell you that parenting is hard, but no one uses the D word. Some of this sadness feels like grief. Grieving the life you had before your child, grieving who you had expected to be as a parent and letting those expectations go. Letting go of the expectations you had for your child, and letting them show you who they are going to be (even if it's just a phase).
Here's the thing, I STILL LOVE HIM. I love his full belly laugh when he's being tickled. His excitement at seeing Dad come home from work; or seeing me when I pick him up from day care. I love watching him learn new skills and do silly things like putting his elephant in his potty chair and then walk around the house trying to show it to Samoa. I love the hugs and snuggles I get in the morning and after naps. I love watching him learn to pet Samoa 'gently' instead of chasing her off our laps. I love hearing him babble and sing when we drive in the car. (After the yelling and fighting to get him into the carseat of course.) I take solace in knowing that many of the things I don't like right now will change. There will be other disappointments along the way, and other new things to love.
I'm learning to accept this, and somedays it's easier than others.
I used to feel so smug...my baby would eat anything I fed him. Loved his beet puree, would gobble up liver pate, and even let me add turmeric to his yogurt. His favorite food was bread and butter pickles. I thought the whole baby led weaning thing was going great! And then a switch flipped. Around Mother's day he started teething, the extreme drooling, up several times a night, DON'T put me down kind of teething. The only thing he would eat for several days were freeze dried strawberries and puffs. Around this time he also began refusing to let me feed him (so no more yogurt or purees). Thankfully he continues to let day care feed him, and he eats everything they offer. This is very common and I've heard it from several other parents. Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. Overtime he has started eating more foods again, but still prefers anything dry and crunchy over wet/mushy.
I recently listened to Dishing Up Nutrition, a radio show I used to be a part of since they were interviewing Jill Castle an RD on who works primarily with kids and teens. I've since started listening to her podcast regularly and really enjoy MOST of what she says.
I refuse to label Fredrik as a picky eater, he's only just over a year old and food jags and selective eating are typical. We continue to offer him new foods without pressure, and most of the time meat and anything soft/squishy ends up on the floor. Yes this is frustrating; I hate wasted food. However, it's much less stressful than trying to force him to eat something. To keep me from falling into the trap of feeding him the same things all the time, I keep a list on the of the foods he typically will eat, and make sure to serve at least one with every meal/snack. I actually emailed and asked Jill when picky/selective eating truly becomes a concern. She calmed my fears when she replied that between ages 4-6 kids should be eating a wide variety of foods. I heard another RD mention that by about age 2, most kids should be eating 30 different foods from each food group (fruit, vegetable, grains, proteins). Now, I know many adults that don't even eat 30 different fruits or vegetables, so I think this is a bit of a stretch. There are eating milestones that babies and toddlers should be meeting such as simply being able to chew both soft and crunchy foods. For more info on that check out this website.
For now there are more packaged/processed foods in my pantry than I would like; but Fredrik is growing and I know someday he will eat chicken and cauliflower and fresh fruit at home, not just at day care.
Long Days, Fast Years. I can't believe how true that statement is. Somehow we survived the frantic breast feeding challenges of the first days-weeks after Fredrik's birth, the sleepless nights of January through March, and the claustrophobia brought on by a bitter winter. Now summer is almost over, and my baby boy is 1yr old. So...what did we learn along the way?
Several years ago a co-worker told me she didn't think she wanted to have kids because of what pregnancy would do to her body. Recently another friend said she was inspired by my ability to eat healthy and exercise, and essentially get back to being "pre baby Brenna" all with a newborn! Well....here's the thing, I'm not "pre baby Brenna" and I never will be. This friend said I gave her hope that she will be able to maintain her healthy lifestyle and body someday after she has kids. This didn't sit well with me. I've seen things on the web about this postpartum 'get your body back' BS, as well as women struggling with accepting their changing body during pregnancy. I just didn't know I would have to tackle it myself. I sent her the kindest e-mail response I could with a few of my thoughts regarding this topic; and I want to share some of what I have learned the past 10 months with all you.
1. Whenever you are ready to have a baby just know your body will never be the same.
I have a scar from my c-section, and up until about 7month postpartum it still felt weird and a little numb. No one will see it when I'm in a swimming suit, but if they could, I don't care. I worked my butt off for that scar.
2. Yes I lost the "baby weight" within the first month, but my tummy doesn't look like it used to. How could it? That picture is me at 40 weeks. The skin is still kinda loose, and my belly button is different. I didn't lose the line down the middle of my abdomen called a linea nigra until about 8mo pp. The only pants that currently fit are leggings and my workout shorts. Everything else is loose because I lost a lot of muscle mass in my booty and legs from not working out like I used to. It's super frustrating because it limits what outfits I can wear. This is not the problem most women complain of when it comes to their postpartum body. I haven't told many people this because I'm afraid they will judge me, and just give me a dirty look. About 3-4 months ago I finally get the courage to purchase a YMCA membership where I get 2hr of "free" child care so I can workout more consistently and hopefully rebuild some muscle.
Why haven't I bought new pants? I hated clothes shopping before baby, so now it's even less fun with the pressure of trying to fit it in between naps, feedings, snow storms, and now wanting to be outside in the sunshine. So I'm sticking with a couple of new stretchy skirts and gym shorts and a pair of yoga pants for the summer.
3. Sleepless nights = sugar cravings. I thought I was done with the midnight eating, but it still hit at times when I was breast feeding. My "will power" to say no to sugary treats is much less than it used to be. However, after munching on 5-7 chocolate covered pretzels at church several months ago and then testing my blood glucose and seeing it at 155; I'm slightly more inclined to pass these treats up. Unless I deem it 100% worth it (brownies are typically worth it). Ryan and I have made it a priority to continue eating as much real food as possible, but there are weeks when the Byerlys taco bar and Thai take-out make more appearances than hoped for. I use more pre-cut and frozen veggies in our meals, and 'recipes' need to be 3 steps or less. There's a lot of instant pot shredded chicken in our lives at the moment.
This is just to say, that no matter what your diet and exercise is before and after baby, your body will be different. Not better, not worse, just different. There's a good chance it may not look how you want it to. Get rid of the expectations to 'get your body back.' You don't have the body you did when you were 16, 20, or 30, why would you have the same one after a baby. The old you has died; you are reborn a mom.
Yummy Yummy gluten and dairy free, no sugar added muffins! Seriously...these taste good. Fredrik is a fan of grabbing big chunks and shoving them into his mouth. Ryan likes to toast and top his with peanut butter, but that's how eats all flavors of muffins. I like mine with a big smear of butter on top.
1.5 cups almond flour or almond meal
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 cup mashed banana (2 large) or mashed sweet potato
2 Tbs room temp butter or olive/avocado oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut. (or use raisins, chocolate chips, chopped pecans...)
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Prep muffin pan with either paper or silicone liners. I still give my silicone liners a little spritz of oil, just to prevent ANY sticking. It's probably overkill.
2. Combine the almond flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl.
3. In a blender, or a large bowl beat together eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla.
4. Stir/blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then fold in the coconut.
5. Divide between the 12 muffin cups. Bake 20-30 minutes, until browned. (Mine needed about 23 minutes) Allow to cool completely before storing in a air tight container on your counter for a few days, or several months in a freezer.
1 muffin: 185 kcal, 15g fat, 9g carb, 3g fiber, 5g protein
A co-worker asked me recently, "What are you doing for yourself?" That's a big loaded question for a new mom. But here it is.
I finally grabbed my kettle bell and got back into the swing of things. I used to love going to my kettle bell class several years ago, until my instructor left for a different position. Since then, I've been lifting and swinging on my own at our local Snap Fitness. Now, as a mom, I wanted to get a membership to a gym with child care (LA Fitness), but they will not feed Fredrik if he gets hungry, they won't change a diaper, and if he fusses for more than 5 minutes, they will come get me. Not sure I'd ever get a workout in at that rate...
Instead, I've started following these workouts in the morning from Noelle Tar at Coconuts & Kettlebells. Either before Fredrik wakes up (after coffee of course), or after he is up and fed, I grab my bell and pray Samoa our cat doesn't walk in-front of me. I figure Fredrik will learn to count to 10 before any other babies with all the rep counting. My bell isn't very heavy; only 15#, but it's getting me moving in a way I haven't for at least 4 months. I tried to do a few things when I was 2 months postpartum, but found that many activities still aggravated my C-section, and just didn't feel good. I also didn't have the energy since November was a terrible month of sleep. So I stuck with walking.
My goal is 3 x/week, but I'm not holding myself to any strict schedule or standard. I know there is the possible 4mo sleep regression and teething in our future, but when I'm mostly rested and feeling good I plan to swing my bell and get a little sweaty. Wondering when I shower? I was too for a while... Since Fredrik is still so young he takes fairly predictable naps; and his first one lasts about 45-60 minutes, which is just enough time for me to shower and dry my hair. TADA! clean mom. I can honestly say that making these two activities (exercise & showering) back into my schedule has made me a better mom. I feel more patient and sane knowing I did something for me.
Even if you aren't a new mom, what are you doing for yourself that makes you feel good physically and mentally.
After 8.7yr of marriage I have learned that when we travel Ryan will ask me at least 3 times what we are doing, where we are going, and what he should pack. Even if I just gave him the itinerary information the day before. I finally got smart two years ago and started making a packing list. Not only has this reduced my frustration from the "Didn't I already tell you this?" and has actually made it easier for me to pack too. Ryan also started doing this for his annual ice fishing trip; and now that we have Fredrik, it's going to be indispensable. I've found it helps keep me from overpacking (as much), as well as prevents the inevitable forgotten item.
How do I do it?
1. List off the days you will be gone and what activities you will be doing.
Thursday - Drive to Grandmas (Lunch at rest stop - chicken salad wraps + Veggies & Dip)
Friday - Help with yard work
Saturday - Bake Pies, Brewery Tour, Christmas Caroling
Sunday - Drive Home (Lunch at rest stop - sandwich + veggies)
2. Begin to list what and how many of EVERY clothing item you will need. If anyone in your family/group needs a special item just for them make sure it's listed. Example:
Socks - 3
Underware - 3
3. List your toiletries. If you are staying in a hotel or going camping you probably don't need a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner... But if you are staying at your brothers apartment, you might want to bring your own.
4 -6. Don't forget road trip snacks or other random items. This might include your gear list when camping/backpacking. If you are cooking meals you might want to include each days meal plan and ingredients needed. Or this might be included in your itinerary at the top of your list. (See above) During our recent trip to my hometown for Thanksgiving it included my spectra breast pump, milk bags, the charging cord, hush machine and charging cord, 4moms playard, etc... and the pumpkin pies!
7. If you have a pet(s) you may also want to list who is taking care of them, and if they have any special items besides food that you need to leave out or bring with to the boarding facility.
As you pack and load up your vehicle, cross off items or put a check mark next to them. Whatever works for you and your brain. After being printed, reviewed by Ryan, and actually used, the list ends up looking like this:
Even though it's an extra step, it's so worth it! If you save your list, you can always reuse or easily amend an old list for a new trip. What travel and packing tips do you have?
Need an easy and delicious dinner idea? Here you go, Crockpot Chicken Puttanesca! You can make it low carb by skipping the pasta, potato, or polenta; and even without the starch, this dish is very filling and satisfying. The anchovies add a touch of Omega 3 fats, as well as calcium from their bones. This is the perfect dish for a dreary, cold, fall evening; and would be great to serve to family or friends. I used the leftovers to make an Italian version of shakshouka, which is what I have pictured here, along with baby kale.
1.75-2# Chicken Thighs or Breast (2-3 cans drained chickpeas or white beans to make it vegan)
2, 15oz cans diced tomatoes (only use 1 can to make a less 'saucy' version)
1/2 cup chopped green or black olives
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2-1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
6 anchovy fillets
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes (optional)
1+ Tbs capers (optional)
1. Brown the Chicken in the olive oil
2. Combine the chicken with the remaining ingredients in your slow cooker.
3. Cook on high 3hrs or low for 5+ hours. Or Instant Pot, high pressure or poultry setting for 15 minutes.
4. Serve over pasta, baked potato, polenta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.
Feel free to sprinkle with fresh parsley or parmesan cheese.
Having a baby is hard work, bringing one home and having your life turned upside down is even harder. Between feeding, diapering, cuddling, and frantic attempts at calming a screaming baby, there's not always time to cook. However, mom and dad need to be well fed to keep up their stamina for that constant care giving. (Even when that's just snuggling on the couch-See picture) Living on coffee and dry cereal just won't cut it. The same could be said for people going through any major life change such as moving, home renovation, divorce. Or other stressors such as the death of a loved one, a miscarriage, someone having major surgery that impacts their mobility, chemotherapy and other medical treatments.
If you know someone who could use several meals I highly recommend starting a meal train. My MOMs club members used this takethemameal.com to organize a meal train and brought us 2 meals a week for 3 weeks. The website has great ideas for meals specific to different diets, but I've also listed some yummy links and ideas below. It was so nice to not have to think about going to the store, let alone cook a meal. Our favorite meals where ones that required very little assembly and could be easily re-heated in the microwave or pot/skillet. Leftovers were also HIGHLY appreciated, so consider doubling the recipe. Something else to consider is if the family has kids or food allergies/sensitivities, or other dietary requirements such as being Kosher or Vegan. Example: After my grandparents died several people brought lasagna or spaghetti to my parents house where we were staying. My sister is very lactose intolerant and canned tomato products also give her digestive issues, so she couldn't partake from any of these offerings.
Crock Pot or Instant Pot:
Buffalo Chicken + tortillas +ranch or blue cheese + carrots & celery sticks
Indian Butter Chicken + sliced cucumbers + Rice/Cauliflower Rice
Beef Roast + Fresh Veggies
Pulled Pork + Buns + Slaw
Chicken Puttanesca (with vegan option)
Vegan White Bean Soup
Picadillo + Rice/Cauliflower Rice + Plantain Chips
Eggroll in a Bowl + Sriracha Mayo
Sloppy Joes or Maidrite + Buns or Baked potatoes + Cole Slaw
Curried Lentils + Rice/Quinoa/Naan + Cucumber Salad
Egg Bake + Fruit + Salad
Meatloaf + Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
Salmon Cakes + Green Beans (frozen or fresh) + Winter Squash
Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
No Cook/Store Bought:
Rotisserie Chicken + Bag Salad/Dressing, Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Gyro Meat + Pitas + Tzaziki & Hummus + Fresh Cut Veggies or big salad
Smoked Salmon Salad (just buy pre cooked/peeled hard boiled eggs)
Canned or Store-Made soup + Baguette + Really Good Cheese
Sushi + Seaweed Salad + Frozen Edemame
Tuna Salad from the deli + Crackers + Fresh Fruit
Brownies, black bean brownies, keto brownies, vegan brownies
Fruit + Dip
Canned Cold Brew Coffee
Bottle of Wine or 6pk Beer
I'm a dietitian with a passion for good nutrition, bold flavors, playing in the dirt, and being with my family.