Posts in Postpartum
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

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!

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

Let's Be Real: Sex After Baby

Alright, ladies. It's time we had a little chat. 

Let's check our inhibitions at the door - we're about to get real about postpartum sex. And please, for the benefit of everyone involved here, let's rise above the need for formalities or political correctness.  There's no space here for clutching your pearls, alright? You've just had a baby, for goodness sake. We all know how that happens...

After 40 weeks of pregnancy, your body is now yours once again. (Kind of. Maybe. You may be breastfeeding, which means you may still be feeling like shared space, but alas, here we are.) While you might have experienced an increased libido and easier achievement of the Big O due to increased blood flow from the second trimester forward, odds are that by the time you reached the tail end of your third trimester, you were ready to call #allthefouls in the bedroom. And for good reason! Late pregnancy comes with a slew of discomforts, and it may be particularly difficult to feel sexy with all of the physical changes you've experienced over the weeks and months prior. 

But nowNow things have changed. Now that you've had your baby and are acclimating to postpartum life, you may be feeling more attractive than ever. Exhaustion from caring for a newborn aside, you're in a good place. Physically you're feeling lighter after having lost the water weight associated with pregnancy, your hair is thick and shiny, your nails are strong and growing nicely. Not to mention the fact that you now have the blessed mobility to reach your legs and lady bits for the wax or shave you likely craved for the past few weeks. So... You're ready to get back to it again. And I, my dear, am here to help you with these quick tips to make it as pleasurable as possible. 

BE PREPARED FOR DIFFERENT

You're likely to find postpartum sex a little different from the sex you left behind. Your body has experienced a good bit of change, and you may find that the sensations of sex take some getting used to again. You may find that your breasts are tender or sensitive, and your hips and pelvis may just not feel "normal" - perhaps they are tight or perhaps even a little too loose due to the adjustment from round ligament softening in late pregnancy. Positioning may be a challenge the first few times. Don't be shy about saying what feels comfortable and what doesn't. 

WHEN YOU FEEL SEXY, 'THE O' COMES EASY

Pun intended. I strongly encourage you to do what you need to get yourself in a mindset for sex prior to involving your partner. This may mean doing your hair, putting on your make up, or painting your nails. It's my firm belief that just as new brides are provided with a number of pampering rituals and gifts intended for intimacy, postpartum women should be in receipt of the same. Create a ritual for yourself! Here are a few tips for this:

  • Purchase yourself a bit of new lingerie.  I recommend checking out Frederick's or Hips & Curves for good quality items in a variety of styles and sizes.
  • Spritz on a bit of perfume. Once a young woman asked Coco Chanel where one should apply perfume, and she replied "Wherever one wants to be kissed." You're welcome.
  • Dress to impress. Queen Bey said best: Pull out the big guns, and put your freak'um dress on
  • Turn up the volume. Consider putting on a bit of music that makes you feel sexy - whether that's nature sounds, drum tracks, or trap music. 
  • If you don't use it, you lose it. Be sure to practice kegels throughout the day or, if you're feeling adventurous, try using beads to help tone your vaginal walls.

THINGS MAY NOT GO AS PLANNED

Let me tell you this right now because it's totally possible that no one else will. Things likely are not going to go as planned - especially the first time you hit the sheets after baby. For you, your body still may be impacted by a number of hormones that affect your body's responses to sexual stimulation. You may go from 0 to 60, and then stall out unexpectedly. Be prepared with a good quality lubrication at the bedside. Understand that if you are using contraception, you may need to take account of compatible lubricant formulas. Some women choose to use natural lubricants like coconut oil. If you're looking for a water based variety, LELO's personal moisturizer comes highly recommended. For your partner, there may be another challenge - he's likely gone for anywhere from six to eight weeks (or more) without sex which can result in the first few times being a shorter experience than you might prefer. Show grace, and remember that this is normal.

There's a saying in Spanish that goes el primer polvo no cuenta. Essentially, "the first time doesn't count." Things will improve - promise. 

PLACE PARENTHOOD ON THE BACK BURNER

Look, I get it. You've got a baby who has your attention 100% of the time, day and night. If you're following the AAP's most current sleep recommendation, then your little one is sleeping in your room. As you'll learn over the upcoming years, there's nothing like having plans for something for yourself to set off your little one's sixth sense. But please, do yourself the favor of being present during intimacy. If baby wakes, but isn't in immediate need of anything, you can feel comfortable focusing on yourself and your partner. If it's difficult for you to do the deed with your baby in the room, don't feel obligated to stay. Explore intimacy in other areas of your home. The novelty can be a great addition to your overall experience! If you have older children, toss them some snacks, and pop in a DVD. Distraction is your friend. 

THE ONLY LOCATION THAT MATTERS

Let's get right to the grain of it: the clitoris. To help guarantee that sex is enjoyable for you, please do take the time to pay this little bit of your anatomy some attention. Encourage your partner to take part in foreplay and to spend some time pleasing you before engaging in penetrative intercourse. Clitoral stimulation here is an ideal way to warm up your body for penetration, and the possibility of reaching clitoral orgasm is an added benefit. When you're ready for intercourse, it's recommended that you start slowly - especially if you've experienced a tear or episiotomy during childbirth. Once you've gotten comfortable with penetration, you can work together to reach vaginal or blended orgasm (more about that here)Speaking of orgasm, understand that some of hormones responsible for sexual stimulation are also tied to milk production. Don't be surprised if you feel let down during intimacy. Using nursing pads or having a small towel nearby is helpful for quick clean up. 

CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

While you may be wanting to hit the sheets, please do be sure to check in with your doctor or midwife to be sure that your body is ready for sex again. In the meantime, consider alternative options like manual or oral stimulation. Sex is not limited to penetration, and there are definitely other routes that can be taken. A steamy make out session, oral sex, intimate massage or trying out toys together might be all you need to make it through the weeks following childbirth without feeling like you've said goodbye to sensuality. These options also provide choices for you and your partner to select from if you're unsure of what you plan to do in terms of birth control - but that's a chat for another day.