Pregnancy is a transformative experience for parents-to-be. You may be wondering what life will be like with a new baby or how your relationship may change. Adding a child undoubtedly augments all aspects of life. Pregnancy serves as a really great exercise in being present. While you’re waiting for baby, enjoy some together time and connect. Here are ten Baltimore date ideas, that honor the now!
Spa Day Enjoy a couples massage. Mom can benefit from a restorative prenatal massage, while Dad enjoys relaxing bodywork. Try Jessie Bernstein at Satori Wellness Center in Towson, The Loft (formerly Missy Kibelbek) in Hampden, or The Healing Path, which has locations in Mt. Vernon, Fell’s Point, and Baltimore County.
Linger at dinner Sitting together, uninterrupted, for a meal is a rarity for many new parents. While you are still growing baby, enjoy dinners outside the home. My top picks are Petit Louis with two locations; Roland Park and Columbia and The Wine Market in Locust Point.
Fake a Vacation Staying at a local hotel for an evening or two is the more accessible little sister to a ‘babymoon’. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, near the Inner Harbor, has great boutique hotel amenities. It is in proximity to many downtown Baltimore sites and attractions.
Take a Long Stroll Taking a walk, especially in late pregnancy, can ease discomforts and even facilitate labor. For a picturesque water view, visit Fort McHenry. If you prefer the canopy of trees, head to Lake Roland.
Brunch Never overrated; brunch is perfect for special occasions. Wit and Wisdom delivers a fantastic Sunday brunch, located at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East.
IKEA A trip to IKEA is a right of passage for parents-to-be. Take a quick trip to White Marsh, or try the Prince George’s County store for the best selection of minimalist nursery staples.
Practice Yoga The Birth Well at Baltimore Yoga Village offers two enriching options: prenatal yoga classes and a yoga for birth workshop. Both programs will help you connect and feel empowered during pregnancy and birth. Baltimore Yoga Village has studios in Hampden and Mt. Washington. Heather Brown of Yoga Birth offers prenatal and postpartum yoga as well as a yoga-infused childbirth class. The Yoga Birth classes combine evidence-based childbirth education with the mind/body connection of yoga, so couples can understand and experience birth as a sacred and transformative passage.
Visit a Museum There are several great museums in Baltimore. Visit Federal Hill and stop by The American Visionary Art Museum. AVAM hosts an eclectic array of works by self-taught artists. The Baltimore Museum of Art, in Charles Village, houses the renowned Cone Collection and has an exceptionally well-edited contemporary collection.
Watch a Movie Both the Charles and Senator Theatres are landmark locations in Baltimore, where you can view a variety of mainstream and independent films.
Picnic Relax and have a romantic afternoon picnic. Cylburn Arboretum offers respite from city life with its charming gardens. Patterson Park features a vast open lawn earning its nickname, the ‘best backyard in Baltimore’.
If you are looking for resources or recommendations during pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Eating a colorful, varied, and minimally processed diet is ideal for optimal health, and during pregnancy this becomes more apparent. Your body requires specific essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support and grow baby.
In these three recipes, I will explain why certain foods are ideal during the first trimester, and how their specific nutrients help you and baby. These nourishing dishes are all free from grains, dairy, and refined sugars.
First Trimester Smoothie
Coconut milk is a great alternative to traditional dairy; it is a rich source of several B-complex vitamins including B1, B3, B5, and B6. (There are 8 B-vitamins) Some of the many benefits include immune and nervous system support, and enhanced energy production. During pregnancy, you also require more protein to support the rapid growth of your placenta and baby. Almond butter is a delicious addition to the smoothie and a great source of plant protein.
½ sliced, frozen banana
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tbsp almond butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup full fat coconut milk
¼ tsp lemon zest
Place all ingredients in blender and mix.
Ultimate Prenatal Lentil Salad
Adapted from My New Roots
This salad is particularly delicious! Lentils are an amazing source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps baby’s neural tube develop properly. Folate also helps support red blood cell production, which is important as your blood volume increases throughout pregnancy. Lentils contain a ton of protein and fiber, which really increases the satiety factor of this dish.
1 cup black (du puy) lentils, rinsed, cooked, and drained
¼ cup dried tart cherries
handful of finely chopped fresh herbs. (I enjoy mint and parsley)
3 tbsp chopped capers
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp strong mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
Place salad ingredients in bowl. Prepare vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a jar with lid. Shake well to combine. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss everything together. This dish tastes best fresh at room temperature.
Wilted Greens with Creamy Lemon Tahini
Adapted from Love and Lemons
This recipe is loaded with superfoods. Dark leafy greens including spinach, chard, and kale are rich in vitamins and minerals. Greens like spinach are a surprisingly great source of calcium, which is needed for baby’s bone development. The addition of avocado lends more than creaminess to the sauce. It also contains high levels of vitamin B6, which helps baby’s brain development. Vitamin B6 can also ease nausea, a common first trimester symptom. Dark greens and the sesame tahini provide a superb source of iron, which supports red blood cell production, helping to prevent fatigue and anemia. Adding lemon to this dish enables your body absorb iron more effectively.
4 cups dark leafy greens (I prefer baby spinach)
1 cup broccoli florets
⅓ cup sesame tahini
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
Sauté greens and broccoli in olive oil and set aside. Blend tahini, avocado, and lemon together in food processor. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, to thin, if necessary. Plate greens and pour sauce on top.
My guest on the blog today is Austin Rees. Austin is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Babywearing Consultant through the Center for Babywearing Studies. She is the owner of Breast+Skin+Sling, and the co-founder of Sacred Milk. Austin prepares mothers prenatally with the foundations of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, and babywearing. She facilitates personalized ceremonies to celebrate life’s transitions. Austin also provides one-on-one babywearing consultations in our community. (featured image credit: Kate’s Takes)
It is common today for parents to take a birthing class. Why should parents seek out a breastfeeding and babywearing class before the baby arrives?
An out of hospital birth class is essential to gaining the information on how to facilitate the process of birth and know your choices in birth. Skin-to-skin, and the breast crawl (infant independently moves to the breast to nurse) occurs immediately after birth. Understanding how to facilitate this instinctual experience before the birth is beneficial. I find mothers profit from the knowledge and foundations of how Milk works, the importance of skin-to-skin, along with an understanding of the normal newborn before the baby arrives. With this knowledge I have witnessed mothers step into motherhood trusting their bodies, their babies, and their Milk. I help mothers discover their innate instincts and wisdom so they enter their unique Milk relationship secure, confident, supported, and connected to their baby. Armed with the knowledge of how to initiate a good start is key to avoiding difficulties. I observed working with mothers postpartum that a majority of the issues they experienced could have been prevented if they had the proper information before the baby arrived. Babywearing can also start immediately, and knowing how to comfortably and confidently use a carrier can be a valuable tool.
Babywearing is commonly seen around the city. How would you react if you see someone wearing a baby improperly while at the store?
I am always excited to see another parent or caregiver wearing their baby while I am out. I usually try to make eye contact or say, “It’s great to see you wearing your baby.” If I notice someone wearing their baby and the straps are twisted, or it does not look to the carrier direction guidelines I may observe to see if they are interested in striking up a conversation. When I engage with someone who is wearing I ask how they feel. If they are happy and comfortable, I praise their excitement. If they say this is great, but xyz, I will share some babywearing tips that may help that situation.
On your website it lists you offer facilitating ceremonies for families in the DC/MD/VA area. What are some reasons for someone to reach out to you to create a ceremony for themselves or someone else?
I enjoy designing personalized ceremonies to create a circle of support for someone. I have been facilitating Mother Blessings for pregnant or adopting women for 10 years. In place of a traditional baby shower, a Mother Blessing is a special ceremony designed to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate a woman’s journey into Motherhood. Family, friends, and mothers contact me to create a ceremony and provide a loving place where the honored mother can explore the challenges and joys that lie before her as she approaches childbirth or adoption, and mothering her first or multiple children.
I also facilitate Birth Story Ceremonies; a place where a mother can experience deep listening, and allow the power of sharing her story to heal, celebrate, grieve, release, process and acknowledge her experience, her journey. These are designed to make way for the mother to experience her birth story. We open our heart and commit our undivided attention to her. This allows her to fully express her experience, reflect upon it, and take the steps she needs to move forward. We step aside and create a safe space so she has complete control, and unconditional support.
A Weaning Ceremony is a time we can come together to honor a Mother’s Milk relationship. We make way for the mother to experience her Milk story by opening our heart and committing our undivided attention. This allows her to fully express her experience, reflect upon it, and take the steps she needs to move forward. We step aside and create a safe space so she has complete control, and unconditional support.
I also create customized ceremonies. Recently I designed one for a special woman who was about to undergo radiation for breast cancer. We designed activities that supported releasing fears, created personal power, and we weaved a web of support, pledging our assistance throughout her treatment and beyond.
Sacred Milk is a sister program under the Sacred Living Movement. Can you share what is the Sacred Living Movement, and more about your involvement with Sacred Milk and Sacred Pregnancy?
Sacred Milk Baltimore
Photo credit: Kalimana Birth Films
The Sacred Living Movement acknowledges all aspects of our life’s journey need to be honored, and embraced with reverence and respect. The Sacred Living Movement was designed to bring back the age-old tradition of women sitting with one another during a time of transition, witnessing each other’s process and BEING there for one another. We have a local, active Sacred Living Movement Maryland group.
Sara Goff and I created Sacred Milk after attending a Sacred Pregnancy retreat. Sacred Milk is a movement inspiring women to trust their bodies, their baby’s and their Milk. Our mission is to nourish the wholeness of each mother’s journey and shift our culture to see Milk as a holistic practice, rather than simply a feeding choice. In the last century our culture has been saturated by marketing that has conditioned us to see breasts as sexual, and human milk as just a food source. The Journey to Milk program is focused on opening space for women to remember their innate wisdom and then surround themselves with a supportive community. Milk is instinctual, natural, normal, and necessary. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or filled with bliss. Milk is not something that can be fully learned from a book or taught on the internet. Milk cannot be told. Milk must be modeled, supported and nourished in community because it is a way of living not a way of feeding.
I recently co-hosted a Sacred Pregnancy + Sacred Milk 2-day mini retreat for pregnant mothers in our community. It was a gorgeous event full of women showing up and witnessing to each other. In September I will be facilitating a retreat to certify Sacred Pregnancy instructors in Nashville, TN. I am excited for more women to have the option to attend these classes or retreats prenatally.
Austin is such wonderful resource for mothers and families in our area and has such a beautiful way of bringing our community together. If you are looking for breastfeeding or babywearing education in the Baltimore or surrounding area, you can contact Austin here.
When my closest friends were having babies, I was just getting married. I was pretty clueless about most things regarding the postpartum period and since the last baby to be born in my family was my 22-year-old sister, I knew even less about babies. I hadn’t a clue as to ways to support a new mother.
My best friend, the first one of us to have a baby, had a long labor, which ended with a cesarean. When she returned home, I am sure she was incredibly sore, but she was also clearly frustrated with breastfeeding. When I think back to how painfully clueless and useless I was when she had her baby, I shudder. I mean, I brought her a plant. A PLANT! While plants are lovely and they brighten up a room, it’s also one more thing for her to tend to and it isn’t remotely helpful to her in any way. Oh, and that’s not all. When lunch time rolled around, she heated up leftovers for us to eat. SHE heated up leftovers for ME. (**shudder**) It actually makes my stomach turn to think that I was that out of touch with what she needed.
After my own postpartum experiences, coupled with lots of training on birth and the postpartum period, I think it’s safe to say that thankfully, I’ve learned a few things since then. Here are 10 ways to support a new mother, so the next time you have a friend have a baby, you’ll know how to shower her with love (and clean laundry).
Walk her dog. She’s healing from birth and her partner deserves a break. Take Fido for a stroll.
Take her children outside. If mom has other children, take them outside to expel some energy. Playground, walk around the block, bike ride, whatever. Mom will appreciate the quiet and the kids will love the fun.
Fix her family a snack or bring her a meal (or 2). Anything you can do to take some of the load off, please do. Make them a meal or a snack, and if you can, involve the kids. The kids will enjoy the activity and mom will get a reprieve by them being entertained. If you won’t be there long, bring a meal already prepared, but also one that is freezable, so they can enjoy it later if needed.
Bring her groceries. When I had my first baby, a friend came to visit, and with her came 2 grocery bags full of food. Some of the food was already prepared and the rest was perfect grab-and-go foods for snacking. I was so touched and appreciated having new items in the fridge. We sat around the table and noshed while she held and loved on my baby. It was incredible and I appreciated it so much.
Hold the baby and send her upstairs for a long, hot shower. It’s amazing how much a hot shower can change a person. Even if she doesn’t need it, take the baby, and if she has one, the 3-year-old, and send her upstairs for a hot shower and some alone time. She’ll come down feeling grateful and refreshed.
Load her dishwasher and run it. I’m placing bets that when you go see her there will be a sink piled high with dishes. Load the dishwasher and be sure to run it. If you’re there long enough, empty it on your way out the door.
Wash a load of laundry. It’s amazing how much laundry a 7-pound baby can produce. Whether it’s spit up on the onesie or breastmilk leaked on her shirt, there’s bound to be a load of clothes waiting. Wash a load for her. If there’s a load that’s been done, fold it. Laundry is one of those things that can get out of hand fast. Helping her stay in front of it will take a lot of burden off of her.
Take out the trash. On your way out the door after your visit, take the trash with you.
Sweep. Dog hair, cheerio crumbs, dried up play-doh pieces. It’ll take 5 minutes and will make a big difference.
Bring her something for just her. Bring her something that will make her feel good. Ok, so maybe that plant wasn’t all bad. I love plants, but whatever it is, make sure it’s something that will make her feel warm and pampered. Maybe bring some great shampoo, bath salts, or handmade soap for the shower she’ll take during your visit. Whatever it is, make it special.
There are endless ways to support a new mother, these are just a few. The bottom line is make her life easy, make her plate lighter, and let her know you love her. Having a baby is hard, and sometimes the postpartum period is even harder. New moms are all too often left unsupported in our hustle-and-bustle culture, but we were never meant to do it alone. Be a good friend, show up, and give her what she needs. When she has a friend have a baby, she’ll remember how you made her feel, and she’ll pay it forward. Little by little, maybe our culture will begin to shift.
You’re pregnant, congratulations! There is so much to do to prepare for a new baby and even more to learn. We recommend taking a quality childbirth education class, but in the meantime, here are 3 things every pregnant mom must know.
Blood volume increases 50-60% during pregnancy, and daily protein intake supports that extra volume. Without it, mom’s blood vessels constrict, increasing blood pressure and potentially leading to pre-eclampsia. It is recommended that pregnant moms consume 80g of protein daily. Eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, yogurt… eat all the protein!
An epidural is more than just a needle.
I support women in their birth choices, regardless of what they are. I also believe in true informed consent. Many times, women decide to get an epidural and they don’t realize or aren’t told all that comes with the epidural. Epidurals, like dehydration, can lower blood pressure. Therefore, before the epidural can be given, mom must receive 2 bags of IV fluids to ensure she’s hydrated. Once the epidural is given, mom will be hooked up to an electronic fetal monitor. A pulse oximeter will be placed on her finger, and a blood pressure cuff on her arm. Because mom won’t be able to get up to use the bathroom, a catheter will need to be placed. Epidurals are known to slow contractions, so pitocin will likely be given to make contractions stronger. As you can see, there’s a lot more to an epidural than just a needle.
Choosing a care provider and birth location are the biggest decisions you will make during your pregnancy.
You can prepare for your birth for 9 months. You can eat well, take a childbirth class, and hire a doula, but if you don’t choose your care provider carefully, it can derail the birth you are hoping for. It is imperative that you and your care provider are on the same page and have the same values regarding birth. For example, if you are desiring a natural birth, choosing a provider with a high induction or cesarean rate will only make achieving your birth goals an uphill battle. It’s important to ask your care provider tough questions, but it’s equally important to get satisfactory answers. If you feel rushed, blown off, or mocked, it might be time to shop around.
If you’re pregnant in Baltimore and looking for a modern, comprehensive childbirth education class, take at look at our Birth Boot Camp curriculum. We cover these topics and many more in our 10-week class and will leave you and your partner feeling confident and ready. Contact us to discuss how we can help you and your partner prepare for an amazing birth!
Postpartum mothers need support, especially in a culture that unrealistically expects women to bounce back so quickly after giving birth. As a society, we can be so hard on new mothers. Culturally, new moms often receive messages that there is shame in needing help. This is a huge shift from 100 years ago when mothers had a tribe of women lending their love and support when a baby was born. Moms may experience feelings of guilt for letting the laundry pile up while they nurse and bond with their baby and some may feel inadequate for hanging onto baby weight, choosing different parenting philosophies than their families, or needing more time to adjust to motherhood. In this social media/Pinterest age where everyone seemingly has it so together, modern mothers are under an immense amount of pressure to do it all and to do it all well.
A new mother has just gone through an intense physical and emotional experience and needs time to rest, heal, and get to know her baby and growing family. A postpartum mother needs support, nourishing foods that promote health and healing, and she needs to be able to sit and feed her baby as long as she needs without feeling guilt over the pile of dishes in the sink. But how is a veteran mother supposed to rest after having her baby when she has a home and other children to tend to and no real support network to help? And how is a new mother to rest when she’s navigating the physical and emotional demands of her new role as a mother?
A postpartum doula is a trained professional who not only brings support to the whole family after the arrival of a new baby, but she also brings with her a wealth of knowledge related to baby care, breastfeeding, and postpartum health. A postpartum doula can fill the gaps, so the family has more freedom to do what is most important, be together.
Perhaps you’ve had a cesarean and your partner doesn’t get much time off of work to help with the house and the other children. You have a lot to tend to, but are healing from major surgery and your baby is nursing or wanting to be held around the clock. What’s a new mom to do? A postpartum doula can come over, do a few loads of laundry, play with and look after your kids, fix lunch and prepare and easy dinner you’ll be eating later that night.
Maybe you’re a first time mom, you have no experience with babies, and you’re feeling a little lost. A postpartum doula can come over to help you feel more comfortable caring for your baby. The doula may show you how to give baby a bath, she may teach you some breastfeeding positions to make nursing more comfortable, and she may give you pointers on calming a fussy baby. A postpartum doula also comes with a list of vetted resources to help meet all of your postpartum needs whether it is a lactation consultant or a therapist specializing in postpartum mood disorders.
Maybe you’re really struggling and are finding the lack of sleep is really effecting you. A postpartum doula can come lend a hand and tend to baby overnight, only disturbing you if you choose to nurse.
The Nurturing Root provides
postpartum doula services to mothers and families in Baltimore, Annapolis, and the surrounding counties. As postpartum doulas, we can help and support your family in a variety of ways to suit your needs:
Clean and fold laundry
Support the overall transition with a new baby by providing education on baby care, baby sleep, diapering, etc.
Provide a list of local resources to help make your postpartum experience a peaceful one
Preparation of healthy snacks & meals for your whole family to enjoy
An ear to listen
Light housekeeping, including sweeping, mopping, dishes, etc.
If you are an expecting or new mother in the Baltimore, Annapolis area and are looking for postpartum support, our postpartum doulas at The Nurturing Root would be honored to serve you as you transition to a larger family.