Postpartum Recipe: Twice Baked Chicken Fajita Sweet Potatoes

I’m a bit of a foodie. One of the reasons that my clients enjoy having me as part of their postpartum support team is that I’m known to create tasty meals for them in their homes. There is something so intimate about sharing the kitchen space with a woman who has newly become a mother. Chatting with her about her birth experience while stirring a pot or seasoning a dish intended to fortify and encourage her is truly priceless.

One of my favorite places to visit for inspiration on meals for my clients (and my family!) is Cafe Delites - a blog authored by a young woman by the name of Karina who never, ever disappoints me. I mean that. She’s amazing.

Today I’d like to share her take on a cross between twice baked potatoes and fajitas. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole medium-sized sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed

  • Olive oil

  • ½ a red onion, thinly slice

  • 1x 250 g | 9 oz cooked chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch strips

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small red capsicum/bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 small orange/yellow capsicum/bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 small green capsicum/bell pepper, sliced

  • ¼ cup canned black beans, washed and rinsed

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon sweet (or smoked) paprika

  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (or cheddar or mozzarella cheese)

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • ¼ cup coriander/cilantro leaves

  • Extra lime wedges to serve

  • 1 Avocado, diced (to serve, optional)

  • Salsa to serve

Instructions:

Fast Method:

  1. Wrap sweet potatoes in one piece of paper towel. Microwave on high settings for 10 minutes. Remove carefully from microwave and unwrap (being careful of the steam that will escape from inside the paper towels). Pierce all over with a fork, wrap again and microwave for a further 14-15 minutes until soft (if the centres are still a little hard, don't worry they will continue to cook in the oven later).

Slow Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C | 430°F. Spray a baking tray/sheet with nonstick spray and arrange sweet potatoes the tray. Roast for one hour in the oven, or until soft (check them after 40 minutes, pierce with a fork, and continue roasting if needed).

  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, add a small amount of oil to the pan; add the onions to a skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Once transparent (about 1-2 minutes), add the chicken, garlic and capsicum/peppers. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the seasonings and continue cooking until chicken is completely coated in the seasonings. Mix the beans through; take off heat and set aside

  3. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven; allow them to cool for about 5 minutes until they are just warm enough to handle (not until they're completely cold); and carefully slice them in half. Slice around the inside of the skin, leaving 1cm 'wall' around the inside of the skin. Slice small cubes into the flesh for easier removal. Scoop out the flesh and transfer it into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set the skins aside.

  4. Add the chicken fajita mixture to the flesh in the bowl; mix it through until completely combined. Stir in the lime juice.

  5. Arrange the skins on the same baking tray/sheet, and stuff them with the fajita sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and the coriander/cilantro leaves. Put them back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown (or place under the grill/broiler in the oven for golden, crispy cheese for 10 minutes).

  6. Serve with any left over coriander/cilantro leaves, lime wedges, avocado pieces and smother in salsa dip.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

xo, Chelsea

How To Prepare Your Toddler For Your New Baby

My middle child is a force to be reckoned with. At two years old, she is bold, vivacious, and incredibly vocal, masha'Allah. She brings me so much laughter with an equal amount of frustration and adoration. When I realized that I was pregnant with my third child, I immediately thought of her. While spirited she is also very sweet, sensitive, and thoughtful. I was very concerned with how she might cope as we welcomed a new baby. Over the months to come, I found ways to affirm her, and I’d love to share them with you.

I know that I am not alone in this experience.

Many parents feel worry for how their children will cope when a new baby hits the scene. The change in family dynamic may be particularly difficult for young children to navigate. Suddenly, they’re no longer the baby - though they may still be working their way through early toddlerhood. At the same time, like my daughter, they may not have reached “big kid” status, placing them somewhere in the middle of two very different experiences. You may be wondering how you can help your child to adjust as easily is possible - here are a few things worth giving a try…

Prepare Your Child

Once you’ve made the decision to share your pregnancy with your child, take the opportunities to prepare him or her as they arise. If your child enjoys reading, be sure to bring books about welcoming a new baby (and about being an older sibling!) into your storytime. Encourage your child to become familiar with the idea of having a baby around. Introducing and engaging your child with a baby doll is a very common and helpful method of discussing baby’s needs and how your child might participate in meeting them. By providing your child ample time to become acclimated to the idea of being an older sibling, you may ease the difficulty that this change might cause your child when baby is finally born. Sibling doulas are an excellent resource for this, as well, and are a priceless investment for many families!

Affirm Your Relationship

While you are expecting, much focus is placed on the new baby to come and many times existing children feel misplaced. To avoid this, it is important that you relate to your child how important he or she is to you during this time. Your child may enjoy hearing stories about when he or she was a baby, and how excited you were to meet them at last! Let your child know how much you enjoy and appreciate them with kind words and acknowledgements. My daughter was very receptive to my reminders that I would always be her mom, and that she would always be my special girl. Find words that your child values, and use them lovingly to affirm their place in your heart.

Spend Quality Time

I attribute much of my daughter’s success in acclimating to her new sister to this tip. During my pregnancy, I made a point of spending time exclusively with her. Together we would go shopping, play dress up, or sprinkle bits of pink princess glitter on her cheeks. Over the months, these small activities grew into daily habits - traditions even. Now, each morning my daughter comes to my room to watch me apply my make up. She dazzles at herself in her small hand mirror, and she sits patiently as I do her hair. Getting ready in the morning with me makes her feel good, and I look forward to it because it’s something that she and I do together each day. Find something that you and your child can look forward to doing together, and during that time place your focus on him or her.

Avoid Applying Pressure

Because you know what awaits you when baby arrives, you may be motivated to move change in your child’s life. For example, you may try to push potty training or move your child to sleeping in his or her own bed. If you’re able to move these changes prior to baby’s arrival, then great job! Be aware, however, that it is very common for children to experience regressions once baby has arrived. If you begin to notice attempts from your child to return to “baby-like” behavior or habits, know that it is common and not cause for concern. Keep in mind that impressing the need for your child to “grow up” may result in feelings of resentment towards the new baby if this behavior is met with discipline or shaming. Try using positive reinforcement when your child does “big kid” things, and ignoring when he or she behaves otherwise.

With the help of close friends, my pediatrician, my experience as a postpartum doula, and - of course - my intuition as her mother, I found that these things worked for my family, and I encourage you to give them a try. Of course, as with every pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period - every child is unique and requires his or her own amount of affirmation. While some children will adjust to their new roles after baby arrives very easily, others may require a bit more encouragement.

What’s most important is that  you foster feelings of security, belonging, and love in your child so that he or she can be as open to the changes to come as possible. It will get easier as time passes!

Be sure to check out our Sibling Support board on Pinterest to find additional ideas on how to engage with your child during this transition!

xo,  Chelsea

Postpartum Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are one of my favorite dishes to make for my clients. These chilled salads are easy to prepare, and they keep exceptionally well. I know my clients may not always have the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a well balanced meal with a new baby to care for, so these are a staple to leave in their fridge as it makes for easy grab and go eating. I love to pack pasta salads with fresh, whole ingredients to meet their dietary needs. Fresh vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates, and healthy fats are common themes when I piece together tasty pasta salads - often tossed in a handmade vinaigrette that packs a flavorful punch.

Today I’d like to share the recipe for this Caprese Pasta Salad as authored by Pip & Ebby.

The Italian-inspired salad boasts fresh basil and rich olive oil for taste with pops of sweet tomatoes for brightness. Try tossing in a handful of baby arugula when you’re ready to serve for the added vitamins!

Ingredients:

  • 16-oz. box Rotini pasta, cooked to al dente and drained
  • 8-oz. container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8-oz. package Mozzarella pearls
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse pasta under cool water until chilled.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill until ready to serve!

Enjoy!

xo, Chelsea

5 Ways To Nurture Your Relationship After Baby

One of the most challenging aspects of the transition into parenthood that I hear about both from clients and friends alike is the new strain on your relationship. While you both are completely enamored by your new baby, you may also find that the addition of your little one brings forth feelings that you simply were not expecting. It is no exaggeration to say that having a baby is in fact life-changing.

Finding the time to connect with your romantic partner is paramount to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Here’s our top five recommendations for nurturing your relationship with a new baby in the mix!

1. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language

If you haven’t heard of the five love languages, this is an excellent time to do so! The five love languages, as defined in the book titled the same are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. By discovering your love language as well as your partner’s, you allow yourself the opportunity to both give and receive love in the way that is best understood and most appreciated within your relationship. While I recommend this tool for relationships of all sorts, this is particularly important for new parents when time, emotions, and exhaustion may also cause tension in your bond. You can find a quiz to help you identify your love language here.

2. Encourage Honest Communication

It’s incredibly important that lines of communication between yourself and your partner are open and honest. There may be feelings of resentment, sadness, loneliness, or frustration that are impacting your relationship as result of the transition into life with a baby. Generally, these emotions are normal, and are a part of the growing pains associated with parenthood. While normal, these things don’t need to overpower your relationship. Be honest with your partner about your wants, needs, and hopes for your relationship. Parenthood has the capacity to push your relationship to evolve in beautiful ways - encourage that growth with clear communication in the process.

3. Spend Quality Time Together

Especially when your baby is very small, it is easy to fall into routines centered about his or her care. While baby’s schedule may be important to you, try not to allow for it to consume you. Make the effort to arrange for time together as a couple, and try to limit conversation about the baby during this time. Focus your attention on your partner during this special time - it’s a great way to affirm your love and appreciation. You can get some great date ideas for postpartum parents here!

4. Don’t Neglect Physical Connection

While you might be tempted to place physical intimacy on the back burner after baby, I encourage you to do what feels comfortable for you. Physical intimacy may range from cuddling on the couch to exchanging massage. Keep in mind that intimacy does not have to equate to sex - even holding hands over coffee is an excellent way to connect physically. If sex is an important aspect of your relationship, and your doctor or midwife has given you the clear, then be sure to make time for this as well. You can find more tips on postpartum sex here!

5. Say “Yes” To Outside Help

Finally, treat yourself and your partner to the gift of helping hands. Call a friend, family member, or your postpartum and infant care doula to take over while the two of you spend some time together as a couple! Choosing to invest even an hour or two into your relationship can prove to be monumental in your emotional bond, and there are likely plenty of people who would be more than happy to enjoy baby snuggles while you do so. Keep note of willing parties, and take them up on their offers the next time you feel the need to get out and do something as a couple. You’ll be glad that you did.

It is my hope that with these five quick tips, you’ll better be able strengthen and nurture your relationship after baby!

5 Things I Know About Diapering

Once you've had your baby, diapering is one of very first tasks that you can expect to take on (and then repeat multiple times a day likely for the following two-ish years). Simple enough it may seem, right? You may find yourself surprised. Particularly for first time parents - though as a mother of multiple children I will say now that this also applies to repeat parents - there is certainly a learning curve. Here I'll give you a quick run down of five tips for what I like to call event-free diapering because believe me, you want to skip on any "events" in this department. 

Step To the Side

Save yourself the embarrassment - and the dry cleaning fee - of saving your clothes from the super potent newborn poo stain. As you're planning the layout of your baby's nursery, be sure to position the changing table in a way that will allow for you to stand at your baby's side rather than at his bottom. Babies' bowel movements can be quite explosive, and you don't want to be in the way when nature calls. Ask me how I know...

Be Prepared With Back Up

When preparing to change your baby's diaper, be sure to place a clean new diaper underneath her bottom before beginning to remove the soiled one. It's not uncommon for babies to pee once their bottoms become exposed to the cool air. Avoid a larger mess by having a new diaper in place and ready to catch the mess before it comes. Added bonus? As soon as you remove the soiled diaper, you can easily lift the front of the new one to cover your baby's bottom while you reach for the diaper cream or toss the soiled bundle.

Know Your Escape Route

Blow outs happen. Babies seem to be experts at getting poo up their backs and over the tops of their diapers. How do you get your baby out of his soiled clothes without getting messy? Easy! Notice the top at the shoulders of your baby's onesie. This envelope-looking bit will open wide enough to allow for you to pull your baby's clothes down and off his body instead of pulling the clothing over his head. You're welcome.

Coconut Oil Is Your Friend

Particularly for newborns, it is a wonderful idea to rub a bit of coconut oil over your baby's bottom after changing her diaper. Baby's first poos are of a dark, sticky, tar-like consistency. This substance - called meconium - may be tough to cleanse, but with a touch of coconut oil you'll be able to remove it from your baby's bum in no time. Coconut oil is also a gentle moisturizer and an anti-fungal meaning it may also prevent your baby from developing yeast or diaper rashes. 

Soak It All Up

...and not in a gross way. Enjoy this time. Yes, you'll change many a diaper, but your baby will be a little different each time you do so. Changing your baby's diaper isn't a race. Take the time to notice the small details on your baby - the tiny feet, the new chunks on her legs, the birthmark on her belly, her smile or coo. Your baby will only be this small for so long, and this small exchange between the two of you is something that will one day be very dear to your heart. Revel in this gentle, quiet, and possibly messy moment. You'll miss it one day. I promise.

There you have it! Five quick tips about diapering that can apply to any parent or caregiver. No matter if you choose to use cloth or disposable diapers, may these tips make your diapering journey a bit more pleasant! Not a fan of changing #allthediapers? Postpartum doulas do that! We'll be happy to help when you need us - just give us a call. 

xo, Chelsea

My 5 Favorite Postpartum Date Ideas

With a new baby at home, it can be a challenge to come up with date ideas for yourself and your partner. Outings are often shortened or hindered by baby’s nap or feeding schedules, and even when timing is not an issue you may feel uncomfortable leaving your little one in someone else’s care while you’re out. On the flipside, the lack of time spent together as individuals may be taking its toll on the relationship between you and your partner. Investing time into your relationship with one-on-one date nights is something that may be seen as easier said than done, but rest assured that it is totally possible to do. Check out our top five baby-friendly (and possibly even stay-at-home) date nights created just for you!

1. Dessert Date

Find a local restaurant or bakery that creates specialty desserts - visit in person or pick it up for date night at home. Order one of everything that catches your eye, and skip out on dinner. Enjoy these sweet treats with a warm coffee or tea and a heaping spoonful of good conversation. If you’d like to enjoy a special beverage, you might try a sparkling cider, fresh pressed fruit juice, or non-alcoholic wine varieties like this one to make it feel extra romantic.

2. Movie Date

It may not be possible for you to comfortably visit the movie theatre with a new baby in tow, but you don’t have to miss out on the newest titles. Check out your cable company’s current new release listings to order a new flick on demand. If this isn’t an option, try picking out a movie at your local RedBox or on Netflix. Give the microwave a rest, and prepare some popcorn on the stovetop together for fun. Add a few specialty sodas into the mix, and turn the lights down low. Remember to set your phone to silent!

3. Game Night Date

Don’t underestimate the enjoyment that a classic board or card game can bring your way. For game night, prepare a snack tray for two with your favorite finger foods like cheeses, crackers, dips, or even wings. Spread out together on the floor like kids, and go for the best two out of three. Be sure to bring some extra pillows and a blanket - really make a night of it!

4. Outdoor Dining

If the weather is great, try taking to the outdoors for a daytime date with baby in the stroller or carrier. Check out your local botanical gardens or other outdoor city centers. Getting out of the house will feel great - especially if you’ve been indoors for a while with baby. Pack a cooler or basket with homemade specialty sandwiches, fresh fruit, and a chilled dessert. Enjoy an outdoor meal together and take in a bit of fresh air.

5. Self-Care Date

Spend the evening with a little extra relaxation as a couple. Put on your most comfortable clothes, and prepare warm foot baths for each of you to soak away the stress of the day. Hire a mobile massage therapist or manicurist to come and provide their services to you in home. Be sure to have a bottle of sparkling juice or refreshing cucumber water on hand to really up the spa theme.

Dating with a new baby to consider can be hard, but with a little planning and creativity it can certainly be done! Remember that if you need an extra set of hands and eyes to care for your little one, you can always reach out to your postpartum and infant care doula for help. Enjoy!

xo, Chelsea

Postpartum Recipe: Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

A favorite recipe to have in your back pocket when you’re wanting something quick, easy, and restaurant-quality is this Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken. This recipe is authored by The Recipe Critic, and is fabulous!

The flavor is deep and garlicky, and the cream sauce is delicious when served over pasta! I recommend pairing this with a fresh salad and garlic bread.

Give it a try!

Prep time: 10 mins.
Cook time: 15 mins.
Total time: 25 mins.

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup spinach, chopped

  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown on each side and cooked until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.

  2. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium high heat until it starts to thicken. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt. Add the chicken back to the pan and serve over pasta if desired.

Notes: If you are serving over pasta and like it saucy, definitely double the sauce. I do, and it is just enough! Also, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and parsley take this to a whole 'nother level!

Enjoy!

xo, Chelsea

The Hardest Job Ever

Hey, guys! I have a very special treat for you! Our friend Victoria McCollum of The Virginia Baby Company joins us on The Birth Under Wraps Blog today with a guest post with some real talk about the struggles of early parenthood. Are you ready? Let's go!


Why is parenting SO HARD?

Becoming a parent is like becoming being made a CEO only because you had been a great executive assistant: your previous experience is invaluable, but has left you unequipped with the skills to be able to effectively steer the ship from day one.

My tiny boss is a little tyrant.  Will I ever sleep again?  When was the last time I had something to eat? Why is this so hard?

Being a mom is the hardest and most exhausting thing I have ever done.

At least in the workforce, we can always rely on an operations manual to be in place to guide the daily functions of our business, but no one book or piece of advice works for everyone in parenting. That’s because you and your precious bundle of exhausting joy really are unique and different from everyone else, so their advice may not pertain to you. Or every time. Frustrating, right?

I find that the more “successful” we are in life before parenting, the harder the transition can be.  That is because doctors, lawyers and administrators and the like are very good at taking tangible evidence, making a decision and moving forward with a strategy or innovation. We are driven, talented, hardworking, and leaders in our field. We have amazing qualities that make others want to work with us, and will ultimately be exactly what our kids need.

But in this newborn stage though, there aren’t a lot of tangibles to show we’re doing it right.

There isn’t a lot of feedback, and that which is there looks unlike anything we are used to.

Being “successful” at being a mom isn’t something that can be measured or qualified quickly or easily.  I’m not even talking emotional baggage we place on a new mom to “do all the things, do them well, and do them by yourself.”  I mean merely the “how-to's” of taking care of a new baby.

Also, can I side note for a second?YOU AREN’T GETTING ANY SLEEP.

In order to maintain sanity, just barely MAINTAIN it, your body needs a minimum 12 hours of sleep out of every 48 - five of which need to be uninterrupted in a single stretch. Your baby is literally driving you crazy, just by being their (adorable) self.

So why is parenting so hard?  Becoming a mom is so hard not only because it requires you to change every concept you have ever used to efficiently complete a task, but because it also is trying to break the chemistry and electricity in your brain as well.  Nice, right?

As postpartum doulas, my company has the privilege of working with families in their homes as they grow.  At it’s core, our job is to sit with people when they are at their most raw, their most sleep-deprived, and their most frustrated, and we listen to see where to begin creating an action plan.

STEP ONE is almost always rest. A full-night’s sleep or even a nap can change our perspective and help make parenting not feel so overwhelming. No magic there, just get some sleep while someone experienced and compassionate takes care of your house and your baby. That is the easy part.

STEP TWO is the recognition that parenting is hard because there is no Operations Manual, no end date, and not a lot of positive feedback that you are on the right track. This is a hard one because I’m asking you to do some mental work when you are so exhausted, but it’s necessary. You will find routine, you will learn what your baby’s cries mean, and how to tell if they are getting enough to eat.

You can trust your gut when it comes to your baby, and you will be the best mom for her.  But this IS hard and isn’t going to look like anything you’ve ever done before.  Own it, and move on to…

STEP THREE is self-care. Your oxygen mask first, please. Most often at the newborn stage, self-care for a mother looks like that 5-hour stretch of sleep and a meal she hasn’t had to cook or clean up. But it can be taking a shower, even brushing your teeth, or spending 10 minutes outside in the fresh air with no baby attached to you. Fill your emotional cup, and you can more adequately take care of all of the other stuff.

STEP FOUR is GET HELP! And be specific in what you need. People WANT to help a new family, but often don’t know how.  Much like you before you had kids, they think holding the baby will help. Sometimes yes, but only if you can go take a shower while they do. More often what you need help with is all of the other tasks, like putting away laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or cooking up that Blue Apron box you haven’t had the time or the energy to make, so you can focus on this newest task of LEARNING how to parent your new baby. Make a list of things people can do to help. Ask a family member to come stay overnight take the midnight-3am shift, or hire a postpartum doula to nurture your whole family while you get the hang of this new job you’ve just accepted.

You’ve got this.  

The qualities that made you an amazing and powerful woman will be the things that serve you well in parenting. You have everything you need within you, it will just manifest itself differently because this job is different than any other you’ve ever had.

Now let’s discuss getting you some rest…


Victoria McCollum is the co-owner of The Virginia Baby Company, doula extraordinaire, SuperMom to three amazing boys, and a carbohydrate connoisseur who currently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her very handsome and amazing husband. You can connect with her on Facebook and on her Instagram for updates! The Virginia Baby Company serves Northern and Central Virginia, from Arlington to Richmond and Charlottesville.

Newborn Care: Treating Cradle Cap

You've recently had your baby, and one day while snuggling her close you see something strange. You smooth her hair over, and notice that she's got some whitish scaling on her scalp. The flakes seem to brush off easily, but you also notice a touch of redness below. You begin to wonder if she's developed an allergy to her shampoo or if this cause for concern. Odds are, these dry patches are baby dandruff, also know as cradle cap and are treatable at home.

Cradle cap presents as dry, flaky or reddish oily patches on the head and neck.

Typically this is found on the scalp, but it is possible for the symptom to also be found on the body and diaper area. While unsightly, cradle cap does not cause itchiness or discomfort for your baby. Cradle cap is not a sign of poor hygiene or of an allergy, and generally resolves within a matter of weeks. 

What causes cradle cap, you ask?

There is speculation in the pediatric community that hormonal changes in the mother during pregnancy stimulate the baby's infant glands causing this condition. Anecdotal evidence might suggest that the dry, flaky variety is influenced by the baby's climate conditions. While the exact cause is unknown, it is very easy to treat cradle cap at home

Check out our infographic below for instructions on in home cradle cap treatment!

It's important to note that while cradle cap is not a condition that is cause for concern, it is possible for yeast to grow within the crevices that cradle cap create. If you notice inflammation or if your baby shows signs of discomfort, then it's prudent to reach out to your child's pediatrician. Your care provider may prescribe a cream or ointment to aid with these symptoms. 

Do you have any tricks for treating cradle cap at home?

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics

xo, Chelsea

What's The Deal With Delayed Cord Clamping?

Recently a new official statement was issued by the AAP that "Umbilical cord clamping should be delayed in term and preterm infants due to several health benefits, according the the AAP-endorsed guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)." This new recommendation replaces the ACOG's prior committee opinion published in December 2012. 

What is delayed cord clamping?

In short, delayed cord clamping is the practice of clamping (and subsequently cutting) the umbilical cord after it has ceased to pulse or after the placenta has been delivered after childbirth.

What are the benefits of this process? According to the new committee's report:

  • In term infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes." 
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant neonatal benefits in preterm infants, including improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of adverse health issues such as intraventricular hemorrhage.
  • Given the benefits to most newborns and concordant with other professional organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping in vigorous term and preterm infants for at least 30–60 seconds after birth.

In terms of potential or previously cited risks, the committee adds this:

  • There is a small increase in the incidence of jaundice that requires phototherapy in term infants undergoing delayed umbilical cord clamping. Consequently, obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers adopting delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants should ensure that mechanisms are in place to monitor and treat neonatal jaundice.
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping does not increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

You can find the ACOG's complete report here and the AAP's condensed version here

What's this mean to you?

As you prepare for your baby's arrival, this new recommendation is relevant as it will likely impact the conversation you have with your midwife or other medical practitioner. Note that per the ACOG, the ability to provide delayed umbilical cord clamping may vary among institutions and settings, and the decisions in those circumstances are best made by the team caring for the mother and infant. Because of the possibility for variations, if delayed cord clamping is something that is important to you, it's recommended that you speak with your care provider to determine which options are available to you. As always, we offer birth plan consultations both virtually and in person, and would love to help you sort through your birth preferences.

xo, Chelsea