Sleeping with a Newborn

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You know that dream you have when you first fall asleep? That dream where you trip or stumble or fall down the stairs and it jolts you awake and your body actually convulses a little. Since becoming a mother, that happens to be a few times each night, except that the dream has changed. I am no longer tripping over a crack in the sidewalk or missing a step or falling down the stairs.  Now the dream is that Cora has stopped breathing in her bassinet or she’s flipped over on to her stomach and is unable to move her head.

It’s a funny thing, parenthood.  Nick and I are both sleep-deprived and would do anything for a full nights sleep, but each one of us is so quick to jump out of bed and check on her when we can’t hear her breathing.  And she always is breathing.  I thank God for that every night. It seems like it’s just going to be the way things are for the rest of our lives; to worry like this.

As parents, we do things to ensure a little peace of mind, at least. We make sure we buy the right bottles and the right swaddles. We spend hundreds on monitors to make sure that when we aren’t in the same room as her, we can still keep an eye on her. We make sure she sleeps on her back, alone in the bassinet. We research the best toys and the best music to listen to. (She listened to more Mozart in the womb than I have over my entire life). But despite the numerous times I wake up each night to check on her, there are lots of times I don’t wake up. And her Owlet monitor, the newest addition to our household, gives me the peace of mind to be able to sleep.

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The Owlet monitor is comprised of a few pieces.  The first piece is a sock that the baby wears on her foot.  Connected via WiFi, the sock sends signals to the base of the monitor, which sits on my nightstand. If at any point during the night, the sock monitor shows that Cora has stopped breathing or her heart rate has gone down, the monitor on my nightstand will illuminate red and will sound an alarm so that I wake up. It comes with three different sock sizes, so that the monitor really can grow with your baby. Cora wears hers inside her sleep sack.

For more information on Owlet, check out their site, they have videos!

So, will this Owlet monitor keep me from jumping out of bed a few times each night to rush over to her bassinet, lean down and put my ear next to her face to make sure I can hear her breathing? No.  But it will give me the peace of mind during the times when I am sound asleep that everything is okay.

I’ve teamed up with Owlet to offer $25 off your purchase of an infant oxygen and heart rate monitor. Use this link to have the discount automatically applied at checkout.  This makes a GREAT baby shower gift. Click here for the discount.

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XOXO – Em

 

[all photos by Emma Parker Photography]

That’s the Spirit

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I’ve been feeling kind of down lately.  If I had to define it, I’d say I’m at 70% of myself. I’m assuming it has something (everything) to do with only being 3 months postpartum and being separated from Cora now that I’ve gone back to work.  I know it will take time. And I’m not sure how long it will take to get back to 100% Emily. In the meantime, I’ve put together a little list of goals/small projects.  I love projects – having something to work towards, always makes me feel happy. Because #thatsthespirit right?!

Beyond Yoga recently collaborated with Kate Spade on a really cute line of work out clothes. Since one of my goals is to work out/get active at least three times a week, I figured some some cute work out gear would help.

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So here is my list of projects and little goals that I have set for myself – with no deadline to complete them.

  1. Do something active at least three times a week, for at least 30 mins each day: yoga, barre, running, taking the dog for an extra long walk, squats while I’m wearing Cora…whatever I can squeeze into a busy day.
  2. Wake up earlier: I’ve never really been a morning person, but having Cora gets me up earlier anyways.  I find that I can get so much more accomplished when I wake up early.  Even if I end up going to bed earlier haha.
  3. Take the time to do nothing for at least ten minutes a day: I need to take the time to decompress a little…almost mediate I suppose.  Like taking my mid-morning coffee outside, without my phone, and listening to the birds for a bit before tackling more emails.
  4. Peruse social media with purpose – not endlessly: I have a bad habit of stopping whatever it is that I’m doing to open up a social media app and scroll endlessly. Before I know it, I’ve spent 20 minutes doing BuzzFeed quizzes, reading political rants, and watching from above while someone makes churro ice cream cones…
  5. Create more human connections – doing so virally is okay: I want to take the time to really connect with someone each day, someone at work, an Instagram friend, a friend from college who lives far away…triple points if I can get them to laugh.
  6. Tackle one house project each week – these are certainly fun projects, but it feels overwhelming at times, so (at least) one per week makes it feel more manageable.
  7. Keep up with Cora’s baby journal: because I have been BAD about this. I have been keeping up with a 10-year journal that I started right before Nick and I got married, and that has been fun to remember what happens each day through the years.
  8. Drink more water: pretty self-explanatory
  9. Be more romantic: because with a new baby, this seems to get shoved onto the back burner, and I think that is the last thing the relationship between two new parents needs.
  10. For every negative thought – two positive: from time to time I find myself annoyed that I haven’t lost all the baby weight, or comparing myself to other women, or getting frustrated that my skin looks terrible and all my hair is falling out, post-Cora. It is impossible to stop these thoughts all-together, at least it is for me. But for every negative thought I have, I will think about two positive things…how good was the dinner that I made last night, how I didn’t cheat at all during my most recent barre class, that I’m grateful for how much weight I have lost, or how Cora has learned how to roll over on her own!!

XOXO – Em

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New Mom Nutrition

Before I scare off the non-new mamas, the nutritional info below would be helpful for anyone and the recipes are delicious and super healthy!!

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My friend Mariah is a Holistic Health Counselor in New York City. Sounds pretty baller right?! She works with people one-on-one, (even via Skype), who really want to make positive changes in their life and their wellbeing.  We spoke a few months ago about giving birth and breastfeeding and nutrition, and I asked her if she could help me put together a list of nutrients that would be helpful for new mamas. I also asked if she would send me some easy, healthy recipes that would incorporate these nutrients.

She enlisted the help of her friend, Chef Marjorie Greenfield, to come up with a few recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are geared towards new mom nutrition, and are easy to make – because….let’s face it…I’m not over here stirring a hollandaise sauce with a newborn.  Then, she went over and above by request by writing this awesome blog post on mom/breastfeeding nutrition. I have already made two of the recipes below, (pictured above), the Lemon-scented Quinoa with Cauliflower and Walnuts and the Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Fennel Slaw.  They were both SO FREAKING GOOD!  The pictures do not do them justice.  I could eat both of them all the time.  I have yet to make the other recipes but I think the Roasted Vegetable Soup with Parmesan is next!

So read, enjoy, and share with your mom friends!

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Losing weight might be one of your first goals after giving birth, but if  you turn your intentions toward eating a diet rich in nutrient dense foods that positively impact your recovery and your mental clarity, you might find that you won’t need to work as hard to shed the pregnancy weight. And more importantly you will feel great. If you’re nursing, rest assured that milk production burns 500 calories a day! Maximizing your energy by routinely eating nutritious meals is the best focus for you and your baby. 

What to Eat:

New Mom Micronutrients:

  • Vitamins
    • B Vitamins—Essential vitamins for metabolism and brain function. Get it from: dark leafy greens, nuts, yogurt, asparagus
    • Vitamin A—Vitamin A is lost through breastfeeding. Get it from: spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale.
    • Vitamin C—This is a vitamin that is important to your baby and gets passed to him/her through nursing. Get it from: red peppers, oranges, broccoli, kiwi.
    • Vitamin D—Since we get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, and new moms are spending a lot of time indoors, consuming Vitamin D rich foods is important. Get it from: eggs, and mushrooms.
  • Minerals
    • Calcium—Incredibly important for your baby’s developing bones. Get it from: Broccoli rabe, kale, dairy
    • Magnesium—Works in conjunction with Calcium. Magnesium balances stress hormones. Get it from: Green veggies, almonds
    • Iron—Iron is depleted after giving birth due to blood loss, causing feelings of weakness and exhaustion. Get it from: leafy green vegetables, lean red meat, dried fruits. Eat enough Vitamin C since it helps the body absorb iron!

New Mom Macronutrients:

  • Fats
    • Omega 3s (Monounsaturated Fat)—These essential fats are anti-inflammatory and extremely nutritious. They lower incidences of postpartum depression, and are very different from the toxic trans-fats that and polyunsaturated fats. Plus, they are very important to the development of your baby’s nervous system. Get it from: flaxseed oil, wild salmon (eaten only twice per week), and walnuts
    • Omega 6—These fats are polyunsaturated, which I just warned you to stay away from. HOWEVER, humans need a ratio of one-to-one omega 3 to 6 to function optimally. Get it from: Avocado, coconut, evening primrose oil
  • Carbs—Do not fear carbs! Add a variety of whole grain foods into your diet and stay away from refined carbs such as white flour, refined sugar, and corn-based fructose. Cutting carbs for weight loss purposes will leave you drained and sluggish. Get it from: brown rice, farro, quinoa, and starchy veggies eaten in moderation
  • Protein—The recommended amount of protein for nursing mothers is 50% higher than non-nursing mothers. Protein impacts milk supply, and muscle and bone strength. Get it from: Grass fed beef and poultry, dairy, leafy greens, eggs

Anti-inflammatory Foods:

  • Trauma and stress on the body (i.e giving birth) can cause the immune system to respond by creating inflammation in the body. Fight inflammation by consuming anti-inflammatories, such as green tea, berries, garlic, and turmeric and garlic.

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Mariah Ely is a Holistic Health Counselor in New York City. She works one-on-one with individuals craving changes in their lifestyles that will directly impact their mental clarity and wellbeing. She takes an integrative approach that considers each person’s needs, desires, and goals. Mariah is a graduate of Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Social Work, and received a certificate in Advanced Therapy from New York University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a private practice in New York City but also works with individuals remotely via Skype and telephone sessions.

How to contact Mariah:

Web: http://www.mariahcely.com/

Facebook – Mariah C Ely

Instagram – Mariahcely

Twitter – MariahE_NYC

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RECIPES…

BREAKFASTS:

Spinach Scramble with Goat Cheese

(Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium)

INGREDIENTS
2 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups baby spinach
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

PREPARATION
Whisk 2 large eggs together with the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 3 cups baby spinach and cook until wilted.  Add eggs and cook until just set for about 1 minute.  Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and allow to sit to melt the cheese slightly and enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

(Omega 3, Omega 6, Iron)

INGREDIENTS
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut chips
1 cup pecans or walnuts, quartered
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dates

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together and spread granola in an even layer in a casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring half way through cooking.  Let cool slightly when out of the oven and enjoy!

Yogurt Parfaits with Apple Compote and Almonds

(Protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Anti-inflammatory)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 apples, diced
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted almonds

PREPARATION
Cook apples on medium heat until softened slightly and add maple syrup and cinnamon.  Cook for another minute and remove from heat.
Layer yogurt and apples evenly until you reach the top of your desired vessel.  Top with toasted almonds and enjoy!

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LUNCHES:

Grilled Shrimp with fresh Fennel Slaw

(Iron, Magnesium, Protein, Omega 6, Vitamin C)

INGREDIENTS
1 fennel bulb with core removed, cut into quarters (sliced very thin)
1 cup thinly sliced purple or green cabbage
4 chives sliced thin
2 carrots, grated
1 green apple, grated
1/2 pound of deveined and cleaned shrimp

The slaw dressing:
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons toasted fennel seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon agave
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

PREPARATION
Mix all of your slaw dressing ingredients together with a whisk until emulsified and pour on top of the slaw ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix slightly and set aside.
Season your shrimp with salt and pepper and grill them on either grill pan or in a sauté pan for about 2 minutes per side. (As soon as they are pink and slightly curled they are done)
Serve yourself some slaw topped with shrimp and enjoy!

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Lemon Scented Quinoa with Cauliflower and Walnuts

(Protein, Omega 3, Iron, Vitamin C)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups homemade or store bought bone broth (chicken broth works too)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups roasted cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, rough chopped
2 tablespoons chopped dates
1 shallot, minced
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Chopped fresh chives for garnish
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer and stir in the quinoa. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20-25 minutes. (The quinoa will be soft and will have shed its shell when it is finished cooking)
Toss the quinoa in a big bowl with the prepared ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with fresh cut chives and enjoy!

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Cumin Carrots with Grilled Chicken Strips

(Protein, Magnesium, Vitamin A)

INGREDIENTS:
5 large carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped finely
1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water then drained
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 chicken breast, grilled and cut into long strips
salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add cut carrots.  Cook for about 6 minutes until carrots are softened slightly.
While carrots cook, combine all other ingredients into a large bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Drain carrots and add to bowl while they are warm. (This will help them absorb the flavors)
Top with grilled chicken strips and enjoy!

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DINNERS:

Grilled Pineapple with Salmon and Capers (serves 2)

(Vitamin C, Protein, Omega 3)

INGREDIENTS:
2 rings of freshly cut pineapple
2 6 oz skin on salmon filets
2 Tablespoons toasted almonds (chopped)
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh parsley plus 1/2 tablespoon for garnish
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION
Cut fresh pineapple into rings and punch out the center with a small ring mold.  Brush with olive oil and salt and pepper and grill on grill pan for about 2 minutes a side to create grill marks and slight caramelization.  Set aside.
Season salmon filets with salt and pepper and grill skin side down for about 3 minutes per side.
Warm capers in a sauté pan with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of parsley and set aside.
Plate pineapple underneath salmon, garnish with the warm capers, toasted almonds, remaining parsley and enjoy!

Warm and Spiced Quinoa Salad with Grilled Chicken

(Protein, Iron, Omega 3, Magnesium)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons dates (chopped)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon toasted walnuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into strips

PREPARATION
Cook quinoa according to directions and transfer to a bowl.
Heat the butter, cinnamon, and cumin in a saucepan over medium heat until slightly foamy and fragrant. Add the chickpeas, dates, and walnuts, and heat through until the chickpeas are coated with the butter and spices. Season with salt and pepper, pour over quinoa and mix.Season chicken breast with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cumin and grill.  Cut into strips, serve over the warm quinoa and enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Parmesan

(Calcium, Protein, Iron, Anti-Inflammatory)

INGREDIENTS

3 carrots (peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces)
1 large potato (cut into small pieces)
1 onion (peeled and diced)
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of broccoli florets
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 cups of home made or store bought chicken stock or bone broth
1/4 cup cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin.  Roast on  a sheet tray at 375 for about 25 minutes until they become fork tender.  Heat the chicken broth in a large pot and add the roasted vegetables.  With an immersion blender, blend the vegetables into the broth until desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and optional cream.  Serve with shaved parmesan on top and enjoy!

Marj Cooks

Chef Marjorie Greenfield is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. She is currently cooking at a bustling West Village restaurant, and also teaching culinary arts to middle school students. Additionally, Chef Marj is writing recipes and taking on personal chef clients in the New York Metropolitan area. She takes great pride in her ability to cook for a wide variety of clients, personalizing her menus to their specific dietary needs and cravings. Chef Marj’s background is in Psychology and Art, but she gave up her social work job after eight years to pursue her true passion of cooking healthy and tantalizing food.

How to contact Marj: https://www.facebook.com/marj.cooks