With Mother's Day approaching, I thought it fitting to write a post for all you brand new, gluten free moms (myself included)...
You survived pregnancy, huffed and puffed through labor, and baby is here! Now what? The first three months with a newborn, commonly known as the fourth trimester, are an exciting and exhausting time filled with lots of change, both for you and the baby.
The past several weeks in our household have been a beautiful blur as we've been getting to know our new baby boy and adjust to being a party of five. Although this is my third child, it's been a while since the last two. Some things (swaddling, diaper changes) are old hat, while others (sleep deprivation) I'll never master. I thought I'd share some of my learnings over these past six weeks, along with some ways to stay on the gluten free track during these happy but a bit hazy beginnings.
The Baby: It goes without saying that there's a lot of eating (every 2-3 hours), a lot of pooping (ALWAYS get a pack of diapers when you are running out to the store because you'll use 'em!), and a lot of sleeping (at unpredictable times). But, around 5-6 weeks you get an occasional smile or gurgle and coo. That lights up your world.
The Mommy: Having celiac disease, it's even more important to keep nourishing your body with healthy gluten free foods. You need to keep your energy up and promote healing during these first few months. If you are nursing, you need to keep your calories up to produce enough breastmilk for your new baby. So, be sure to remember to eat. I know that sounds funny, but trust me, it can happen. Having healthful snacks and easy to eat meals help you stay nourished while you care for baby. Some of my favorites? Snyder's gluten free pretzels with hummus, tortilla chips and guacamole, and sliced apples with peanut butter. We've been digging into our frozen meals and making simple, but healthful gluten free meals including many I post here as mid-week menus.
Constipation is common the first few weeks as your system adjusts. Eating fiber rich foods can help, along with a stool softener (I know, not the best topic of discussion). Dulcolax is free from gluten ingredients to help get you kick started. Adding flaxseed meal to your smoothies and breakfast cereals gives you another fiber boost. Van's new Ancient Grains waffles are filled with fiber and make for a yummy breakfast too. Schar's ciabbata rolls are packed with fiber and great for a mini sandwich or to accompany a big salad.
There's no way around it. You don't sleep much in the beginning. So, try and get a nap in when you can. Every parenting book says to sleep when the baby sleeps and with my first two, I never heeded that advice. Oh, just let me vacuum the carpet really quick. If I just fold that load of laundry.... I learned my lesson by this third child. Although I am writing this post as my little cherub is zonked out, I usually lay down once a day or every other day. What's that phrase? A well rested mom is a happy mom?
The Walking Uterus
Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby book series, suggests adopting the role of a walking uterus the first few months. Babies are used to constant motion in the warm, safe harbour of the womb and recreating that environment by keeping baby close to you in the initial months can help ease their transition to the outside world. We've taken many stroller walks on these recent nice days. The motion calms my little man and the fresh air, sunshine and open spaces calm my psyche.
Friends recently gave us a Moby Wrap as a baby gift, which I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about at first. Well, I've been using it all the time with Little Man. He hates the swing that his older sibs loved. With this, he snuggles in close to me in an upright position and accompanies me throughout the house, back and forth to the bus stop, wherever. He is peaceful and calm and I have hands free to write a blog post.
That's about all I have energy for right now....gotta get a nap in before the next feeding. Congrats to all you new gluten free moms out there and Happy Mother's Day!
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Tags: ancient grains, casein free, celiac, celiac disease, dairy free, dulcolax, fiber, flaxseed meal, fourth trimester, gladly gluten free, gluten free, moby wrap, post partum, pregnancy, Van's Waffles