4 Ways I'm Mentally Preparing for Home Birth #2

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We are now just days away from meeting our new little girl...it’s hard to even wrap my head around this fact! I recently posted on Instagram how I’ve been working on “getting my mind right” for this upcoming home birth and I got a lot of questions about what that means and how I’m doing it.

I learned in my first home birth and the months leading up to it that mindset and emotional health are huge when it comes to how your labor will go. This conversation about the emotional and mental side of labor kept coming up every time I talked to one of my doula friends, within books I was reading to prepare and with my midwife.

+Side note–of course there are things that aren’t within our control that can make labor go way differently than we expect, but I’m not talking about that kind of stuff. We can never predict those situations and everyone’s labor and birth are so different...and actually, mindset can definitely help in those more challenging situations as well.

During my pregnancy with my first daughter, I had months of time to focus on getting my mind right, in fact that was a big piece of my preparation before our first home birth. I understood early on in my pregnancy, once we made the decision to have baby at home, that I needed to protect and prepare my mindset because it had the potential to greatly impact the course of my labor.

I read multiple books, spent a lot of time talking to experienced birth workers who could offer positivity to my L+B mindset, practiced “healing codes” (from the book The Healing Code), did affirmations, made affirmations to post at my birth, prayed and more. I never allowed myself to begin to worry about what my experience would be like and I really had nothing to go off of, no previous experience, just what I allowed in from others.

I do recall one time when I was late in my third trimester, I looked at my belly in the bathroom mirror before bed and had that “oh $#!*” moment where I thought, “this big baby only has one way out and it’s a very narrow path!” (omg this makes me laugh just thinking about it!!), but I didn’t allow myself to dwell on it. I just reminded myself that my body was made to birth and I’d think about it when the time came.

My labor was very fast with Elle, less than 4 hours total. It was amazingly intense with few breaks since my body had to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. The one thing that sticks out to me the most when I think about my mindset during my labor was that as I felt another surge (aka contraction, but most of us have a negative association with this word because or TV, movies, etc.) coming on, I took a deep breath and allowed that sensation to happen without fighting it or pushing back in any way. I did this with every surge.

I do remember there were moments where I felt a little overwhelmed knowing what was coming, but I still fought the urge to push against what needed to happen to get my baby into my arms.

That’s what I had to remember––that every surge and all the intensity of it, was bringing me one step closer to meeting our girl and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I honestly believe that my ability to fearlessly let go and allow my body to do what it was made to and needed to do was a big piece of the length and ease of my labor and birth.

If you missed it, here is Elle’s entire birth story.

This time around, there are so many distractions within motherhood that is wasn’t until 35 weeks or so when work lightened up and life almost forcefully slowed in my final weeks of pregnancy that I have been able to put some focus on this area. I’ve realized that this time around, probably because I know what’s about to go down, I have had more fears and anxieties creep in surrounding labor.

Questions like, “will it be faster or longer than my first experience?” or “will complications come up that make labor harder?” or “will my mental struggle with having two kids come into play and prolong my labor?” (#onlychildproblems) have been floating around lately.

These are just a few things that have kept me up at night, but the fears that can creep in your mind around birth are endless. But pointless. I think the best way to overcome all of these questions is to be open to this little girl’s birth story and be willing to accept it completely...before it even begins.

Some of you reading may be coming from a very challenging, even traumatic first birth experience so I can only imagine the internal struggles you may be facing. This is even more reason to work on your mental game before labor begins.

In order to help create a healthy mindset and an openness to my upcoming birth experience, I have been working on a few things and I wanted to share in hopes of encouraging you as you near labor and birth (or send this along to a woman who is). There is a lot of negativity surrounding birth, albeit because of how we’re going about it in our medical world these days, and I’d really love to be a part of the positive change.

Read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Period. This book was the book that changed it all for me. Even as a holistic practitioner, I never truly understood the physiology behind childbirth and how our bodies were so perfectly made for it as well as how we complicate it with modern technology. This book was very empowering and it all just clicked for me here. It’s not an anti-hospital book or anything like that however, it does compares the midwifery model to the techno-medical model of birth and it is incredibly eye opening.

Just a little side note–I want you to understand that I am not anti-hospital birth nor do I judge any woman for their choices. It is a deeply personal decision where one decides to labor and birth. I am incredibly grateful for modern medicine and its ability to save lives when needed, but I do believe it creates a lot of unnecessary fear in pregnant and laboring women, among other things.

Affirmations

Anything that we repeat to ourselves out loud or in our head is an affirmation, so we can be affirming negative beliefs or ideas or positive ones. It’s really important that we are aware of our thoughts surrounding labor–are they positive or fear-based? If you have major fears or anxieties about labor or life with baby, I’d encourage you to work with a midwife, doula or a therapist to work out these heavy emotions.

Take some time to search for positive affirmations relating to pregnancy, labor and birth and choose a few that really speak to you. Write them down in a journal, on sticky notes, post them at your desk or wherever you’ll be reminded of them. Say them out loud or in your head often throughout the day. You can also use these during labor which is a great way to encourage your body to open up and relax into its God-given baby makin’ talents! With my first home birth, I hung birth affirmations that I had laminated next to our birth pool so that I’d see them while I was in labor (I printed them from Etsy, here are a bunch of great options).

Prayer

The most powerful weapon against the enemy...the one I believe plants many of the negative thoughts, disbelief and fear in our hearts and minds. Prayer is the communication path that connects us to our Savior–the one who writes your story, who already knows exactly how your labor is going to go and prepares your heart for the journey. I have learned over the years to captivate the negative thoughts, emotions and feelings and commit them to prayer. I’m surely not great at it, but recognizing the need for HIS intervention is key.

There is also just something about challenging situations and prayer...it’s the one thing that brings me the most comfort when I’m unsure, scared, overwhelmed, etc. I guess you can compare it to getting a big hug from your mommy when you’re not feeling well or are scared as a child. Such a powerful thing.

Avoiding conversations with others who may create negative emotions

This is a big one. People love to tell you about their experiences with childbirth and I find this can be incredibly harmful and toxic for creating an open and positive mindset. It’s rare that you hear a positive birth story...at least that’s been my experience. Unfortunately, so many women have traumatic and challenging birth stories and are not always aware of what those stories can do to a pregnant woman’s mind, especially if it’s your first baby!

Guard your heart and mind and look for more positive birth stories, like those in the beginning of  Ina May’s book I mentioned above. This isn’t to pretend like labor and birth is never challenging, because oh heavens it is, but hearing the journey of a mother who overcame hardship, who had a speedy and uncomplicated labor or the like, is really encouraging and empowering when you’re preparing for your own journey.

I’ll most definitely keep you updated on baby #2 and our journey together! Stay tuned! Aaaah!

I’d love to know–how have you worked to prepare your mind for labor and birth? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear!


Xo

Justine


4 Tips to Nourish Picky Eaters & How to Start Your New Eater Off on the Right Foot

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I post “what Elle’s eating” on Instagram stories all the time and I have so many mamas ask me how I get our almost 3 years old to eat all that nutritious food. A great question and one I think countless parents are asking these days.

Since we have so many newly developed “kid” and “baby” foods on the market, I see so many parents turning to these foods as the “norm”. Kids don’t want to touch veggies and beg for the baby puffs, sugary cereals and mac and cheese they’re being served regularly...it’s just what kids eat, right!?

Wrong.

Of course kiddos love foods that are artificially flavored and perfectly designed to meet their palate’s every desire (hello super smart and crafty food scientists). The sad thing is that our little ones are suffering because of these foods and the ingredients they include.

The struggle is real.

Sure, I’m a Dietitian Nutritionist so it’s really no option for my kiddos to eat the junk, but the more I learn, the more I realize just how simple the whole “feeding littles” thing is. We complicate it significantly.

Actually, it’s a really similar conversation to the whole “feeding adults” controversy we’ve been up against for years. I am constantly telling my clients, “Just eat real, whole foods.”

It’s pretty simple when we take a step back from calories and diet this and diet that and get back to the root of the issue. Processed food is making us fat, sick and quite unhappy.

So I preach real food. To just about anyone who will listen. Sustainably raised meat, poultry and wild fish, organic veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, real butter and whole unprocessed raw dairy, avocado and the like.

And you know what mama, feeding our little humans is really no different.

They, of all age groups, need nourishment from real, whole foods like no one else. Their bodies are rapidly growing, changing, developing, learning, moving, etc. They need whole forms of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water so they not only grow properly, but thrive.

I know you get it, you’re no dummy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t struggle to nourish your little one.

And because I see this struggle with just about every parent I come in contact with, I’ve put together my top 3 tips to get baby started on the right path and 3 tips to help with that little picky eater.

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Top 3 Tips to Start Baby Off Right

Start with real food.

Right off the bat. Some of the best “first foods” for baby are organic avocado, frozen grated liver, soft boiled egg yolks from pastured chickens, soup stock, vegetables braised in stock/broth and stewed, pureed fruits (always with a little healthy fat like ghee or coconut oil). Not rice cereal. If you start them off with a variety of whole foods, you’re setting their palate (and bodies, of course) on the right path and keeping your chances of bringing up a picky eater at a minimum.

Avoid puffs, cereals and processed grain-based foods.

Babies are “functionally grain intolerant” as Dr. Katherine Erlich, MD puts it in my favorite book on feeding littles titled, Super Nutrition for Babies. Babies don’t begin making the enzymes to break down grains until around one year of age and aren’t fully enzyme equipped until around age 3. For this reason, I highly recommend avoiding processed grains all together and when baby hits one year, offering properly prepared grain dish

Focus on the fats.

Babies need plenty of fat and cholesterol for their rapidly developing little bodies and brains and I fear this is a nutrient many babies are missing in their diets today (fats are rarely found in pouches and other pre-made baby foods or even homemade blends). Saturated fats from organic, sustainably raised animals and animal fats help with nutrient absorption from foods, proper brain development, lung and heart tissue health, provide antimicrobial powers in the gut and so much more. Cholesterol, found in these same types of foods, is a healing agent and is necessary to protect cellular health, the nervous system, brain function and is critical for digestive health and intestinal wall integrity (no thank you leaky gut!), among other things.

Fats are also incredibly satisfying and will help to keep baby satisfied and their blood sugar stable (aka their mood!). Ensure baby is getting plenty of healthy fats each day by serving cooked fruits and vegetables with ghee or coconut oil up to 10 months of age when you can also add grass-fed butter as a fat option. Also include plenty of healthy sources of animal proteins and fats, preferably from sustainably raised meat, poultry and wild fish.

Top 3 Tips to Nourish Picky Eaters

Monkey see, monkey do.

Be an example to your littles, they’re watching you (ok, creeeepy!). You have such a huge job in growing up a good eater and being a good eater yourself is powerful in this respect. Practice trying new foods together, avoid using negative words or phrases around food like, “yuck” or “that’s gross”, and sit down together at the dinner table. Eating as a family can be a great way for your little ones to see what a good eater YOU are!

Many of us come from a childhood filled with the same “kid” foods we’re trying to keep out of our little one’s bodies (Lord knows this is part of my story) and often times we don’t quite know how to eat well ourselves. This is a journey sweet mama (or daddy!) and remember that we need the good food too.

Involve your little one in gardening, farmer’s markets and meal prep.

Don’t you feel empowered when someone you look up to asks you for a hand? Our little ones feel the same when we allow them to touch, feel, stir, scrape, and scoop along with us. I love to encourage my daughter to smell the spices we’re throwing in the bowl together, taste the different ingredients we’re using and touch the different textures. It’s not always easy to include them (I am so type-A when it comes to my kitchen and cooking), but this is a powerful way to open them up to the food world and encourage them to try new things.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Growing up I was a super picky eater, but when I look back, I do believe it was in large part because I always knew I had a different option than the “healthy” meal that was on my plate. Enter cereal. If I didn’t want to eat what was served, I didn’t have to. I was always given another option, like cereal, mac and cheese or another “kid-friendly” food. If you don’t keep the processed kid food and other junk foods in the house, there isn’t a temptation to eat it or offer it. For you and for your little one.

In our home, we employ the “if you don’t want to eat your dinner, that’s fine, but this is what you’ll get when you’re hungry again.” Elle has learned that most of the time, it’s better to just eat it while its warm than go back to it later. It can be challenging, of course, to not just give her some yogurt or another healthy option I know she’ll fill up on, but we’re laying down a precedence that she’s understanding quite well.

Offer “friendly” foods.

With that being said, try to always have an item or two that you know your little one likes and then rotate new foods in every week. It can take up to 20 tries for your kiddo to finally choose to willingly scarf down a food. Introducing new flavors during the first few years of life is one of the very best ways to ensure you grow up an adventurous eater.

Keep in mind that as your little one’s nutrient needs shift, taste buds change, and their will to be the boss stretches, you’ll need to practice patience mama. Remember that every meal is an opportunity to nourish, but sometimes life happens. Give yourself grace and take steps forward day by day.

Our perfect little eater has recently started playing with turning down foods she loved the day before, especially when we’re out of the house. What do I do? I say something like, “Elle, this is what we’re eating for lunch. If you choose not to eat now, that’s OK, but we are not eating a snack or anything after this.” Sometimes she eats up, sometimes she chooses to go hungry for a little while. This phase has been short lived as she’s learned we mean business.

I do believe that choosing to nourish your little one is truly one of the most important gifts you can give your child because it will affect them for life. Don’t lose heart, it will be challenging as you go against the grain of what our society says is normal, but it will pay off.

You got this!

xo,

Justine

Episode 100 | Reverse Interview: Our Nutrition Passions, Journeys + Future Dreams

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You guys–can you believe we’re at 100 episodes!? Wow! We’re just in awe and so excited that we’ve been able to continually share 100 episodes of awesome and actionable content with you over these last 2 years! We have loved being able to share our knowledge, our food and healthy living philosophies, our hearts and our journeys with you and we pray they’ve been helpful within your own wellness journey.

On today’s episode, we wanted to do something a little different and ask each other a few questions since we’re usually the ones asking those we interview all the tough (and fun!) questions! We’re asking each other 3 questions each–from food and nutrition to raising healthy little eaters and even our 10-year plan, we’re digging a bit more into our beliefs, our dreams and some goodies in between!

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for listening to the Colorful Eats podcast, for sharing your journey with us, your questions and interests, for telling others about the podcast and for being there with us each Monday as we shared our hearts and passion with the world!

Download Episode 100 in iTunes!

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

03:20 | If Justine could only teach you one thing about nutrition…

10:10 | How Caroline’s Type 1 DM journey has lead her to her food and healthy living philosophy

37:25 | Justine in 10 years

43:20 | Caroline in 10 years

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Episode 99 | Navigating the Third Trimester

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On today’s episode, we are talking about our different experiences within our third trimesters of pregnancy and what this trimester taught us outside of the first two. We wanted to share some encouragement and a few pieces that we found helped us make it through these last months and weeks of pregnancy.

We wanted to get into both the nutrition side as well as the emotional side because both play such a huge role within pregnancy and your postpartum journey. We’re sharing why persistence is key, a few of the top nutrients to focus on in this final stretch, some different aspects of preparing emotional for baby.

It’s so interesting to see the different perspectives from person to person and even from baby to baby and we hope that today’s episode will serve to encourage you as you continue to grow and nourish your little one and prepare to meet your precious baby.

If you missed our previous episodes on first and second trimester, definitely take a listen!

Download Episode 99 in iTunes!

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

11:35 | The payoff of staying persistent

13:25 | Nutrition for 3rd trimester

34:30 | Emotionally preparing for baby

46:00 | Addressing fears within pregnancy and birth

 

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Episode 98 | Real Food for Pregnancy with Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE

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Today’s episode is all about pregnancy and who better to dig into the topic with than the expert herself, Lily Nichols, RD. Lily is the author of Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes and is so beautifully bridging the gap between the conventional medicine and functional medicine approaches to prenatal nutrition and wellness and empowering pregnant mamas with her evidence-based knowledge.

On today’s episode, Lily shares how she’s married a real food approach to nutrition with her conventional nutrition training and how this has helped her to begin to shift the prenatal wellness paradigm for the better. She also dives into what inspired her to write her second book, Real Food for Pregnancy,  as well as the topics we all have questions about–how to deal with nausea, vomiting and food aversions; food fears, her take on food safety and all those “no-no” pregnancy foods; and a bit on her recommendations for blood sugar testing.

We could have talked to Lily for hours and hours–her knowledge of prenatal nutrition and wellness is expansive, we highly recommend you snag her latest book to hear it all! You can also connect with Lily on Instagram or her brand new website!

 Download Episode 98 in iTunes!

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

03:10 | How Lily married her conventional training with traditional wisdom and functional nutrition

09:35 | Why Lily wrote Real Food for Pregnancy

18:25 | Nausea, vomiting and food aversions

29:15 | Food fears and food safety

42:15 | Testing your blood sugar during pregnancy

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Episode 97 | How Sleep Impacts Your Day + Sleeping Time Tips

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Today we are talking about one of our very favorite things in life–sleep! We’ve touched on different aspects of sleep in previous episodes, but we wanted to take some time to focus on it specifically today. Sleep is one of those daily habits that can truly make or break our overall health and hugely affect how we function day in and day out.

In today’s episode, we’re talking about why sleep is so important, sharing some interesting sleep facts and of course, giving you some actionable ways to create healthier sleep habits to make sure you’re getting enough of it and the best quality possible. We’re also talking a bit about our own sleepy time routines and what has worked best for us personally.

We want to thank you for listening in today, we are SO grateful for you! And we’d love to hear what you’re loving about the podcast so if you haven’t already, head into iTunes or your purple podcast app and share your experience by writing a review. Your reviews mean the world to us!

Download Episode 97 in iTunes!

Highlight Reel:

09:20 | What good sleep can do for you

11:40 | Sleep facts–a few things you may not have known

20:50 | The emotional piece of sleep

23:30 | Sleep time rules

32:45 | Our sleepy time routines

Episode 96 | 4 Things We Do Daily Linked to Our Success

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Success is truly in the eye of the beholder and we by no means have got it all together, but there are daily rituals that we’ve created for ourselves that have helped us to focus better on our families and our dreams and to live lives we truly love.

On today’s Colorful Eats episode, we’re both sharing 4 daily habits that have helped us cultivate success within our personal and professional lives. From what we do first thing in the morning to how we choose to nourish our bodies throughout the day, each habit serves to help us create productive days that allow us to live out our dreams.

We hope that you’ll be able to glean a few helpful tidbits to make the best of your days and to take steps forward in creating the life you love to live!

Download Episode 96 in iTunes! 

Highlight Reel

02:00 | Morning rituals

12:20 | The one thing we never skip

14:30 | Getting dressed and its impact on your day

18:30 | Creating a POD—plan of the day

26:40 | The importance of practicing grace

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Episode 95 | Postpartum Health & Why it Matters for Your Future Health

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Today’s episode is a first for us, but as you may have figured out by now–we love talking about real life and keeping our content true to our hearts and lives! Postpartum health is not a topic you hear a whole lot about in mainstream health or media–at least not a lot of helpful information–yet it’s a chapter in life that can truly make or break your health journey and even your experience as a new mother.

Creating a human from scratch is a miraculous feat–one that demands an incredible amount of energy and nutrients and requires a period of time for healing afterwards. On today’s episode, we’re sharing our take on postpartum health (hint: it has nothing to do with getting your pre-pregnancy abs back), how to nourish your body and baby best during this time and a few super helpful tips for supporting your health through this chapter so you can truly thrive as “mommy”.

Motherhood is an incredible journey and our hope is that you can prioritize your wellbeing so that you can best serve your beautiful family. A healthy mama makes a healthy home!

Thank you to the Nutritional Therapy Association for sponsoring this episode—real education for people who believe in real food.

Highlight Reel:

14:00 | Nourish–some specific recommendations for food and nutrient needs after baby

25:30 | Sleep–tips to help make it happen

32:10 | Adrenal support–helpful ways to love on your adrenal glands

36:50 | Going against the “I can do all the things” train and asking for help

Link Love:

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Episode 94 | How to Create a Business with Passion & Heart

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Today’s episode is a little different than our usual focus, but we’re talking about something that is near and dear to both of our hearts. As business owners and passionate women, we tend to get a lot of questions about how we got started and what has contributed to our success as Nutritional Therapy Practitioners so today we wanted to share a few ways to help other passionate women get their own dream businesses off the ground and into action.

On today’s episode, we’re sharing 4 tips to help you start a business with passion and heart. From just pressing start to serving your audience with authentic heart, these actionable tips will help you overcome some of the common obstacles new businesses face and create an income producing business right off the bat.

We are always encouraging women to live out their passion and to start the businesses they’ve always dreamed of–it’s what we’ve done in our own lives and believe that every woman has a gift to share with the world.

Highlight Reel:

06:00 | There’s no right time to start–just do it

11:10 | Lock down your mission and find you niche

18:25| Focus on income-producing activities

29:40 | Serve your audience well

Episode 93 | How Modern Radiation Exposure is Affecting You with Aileen Chen of Belly Armor

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Today we’re digging into a new topic–one that has been a big piece of our personal lives and education with clients, but one we haven’t addressed directly on the podcast yet. We invited Aileen Chen on the podcast, co-founder and CEO of Belly Armor, a company dedicated to increasing awareness about the health risks from EMF radiation and provide simple, effective solutions to reduce exposure.

Aileen shares her story and where her own awareness for this topic began, what radiation is, where it comes from and how it is affecting us, and who is at the highest risk for adverse health issues related to radiation exposure. She also digs into the topic of radiation and pregnancy, an area most would be surprised by. But with all the info, we wanted to make sure this episode didn’t create fear, rather a greater awareness with some actionable info to help you protect yourself and your family. Aileen shares so many ways to do so on today’s episode and really serves to empower individuals and families through Belly Armor’s educational resources and amazing products.

Belly Armor has been a company we’ve both loved and supported for years so it was such a gift to have Aileen on to learn more about the topic of radiation and how to begin protecting ourselves in this modern world!

To learn more about Aileen’s story, research on health impact, helpful resources, more tips to reduce exposure, and for solutions to protect yourself and loved ones, head over to Belly Armor.

Listen to Episode 93 in iTunes!

Thank you to the Nutritional Therapy Association for sponsoring this podcast episode!

Highlight Reel:

07:00 | Radiation–what it is, where it’s coming from and how it’s affecting us

12:00 | Who’s at the highest risk of radiation exposure

23:00 | Radiation and pregnancy

27:15 | How to protect yourself from radiation

Link Love:

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