21 Weeks: To Do List Updated

We have made tons of progress on the nursery and my to-do list seems to be shrinking! I am very lucky to have a friend throwing me a shower in Hillsborough at the end of July, so some of my prep will have to wait until after that is over, but until then…only a few more things I can do now (like READ!)

Complete a baby registry and figure out what I am going to buy sooner rather than later (Done, I chose Babies R Us and MyRegistry.com)

Purchase and assemble crib and mattress [gah organic mattresses are expensive!!!] (I decided to just buy these myself rather than wait – big items checked off)

Finish making nursery décor decisions

Buy dresser, side table and some kind of rocker/chair/glider and assemble (IKEA done and done! Decided not to get a glider and will utilize the arm chair in the living room 10 feet away and the 3 rockers we have on the porch if necessary)

Paint closet and figure out closet system of organization

Re-do ceiling fan (Guf this is turning out to be a pain. No one makes cloth bulb covers!)

Hang curtains

Attend childbirth class, breastfeeding class, and baby care basics class (all scheduled for May!)

READ LOTS OF BOOKS!! I have about 5 I need to read, including Ina May Gaskin and Bradley Method (Now that LOST is over, this can begin!)

Baby proof the house (you guys said to nix this for now)

Buy a baby gate (nix this for now)

Hire doula (Woo hoo hard one crossed off!)

Write a birth plan (I’m not doing a reallllly detailed one, so this shouldn’t be too hard)

Research baby health insurance (Can’t do a thing about it till the baby is born, so on hold)

Research cord banking (Procrastinating..)

Research vaccinations (Have a book in possession)

Research local placenta encapsulation guru (Have one recommended – just need to touch base)

Choose pediatrician (Have one recommended)

Buy things for postpartum – like nursing bras or nursing pads (pads on registry, bras waiting till 30+ weeks)

Install car seat (once purchased!) and have it inspected

Wash all new things (trickle effect!)

Prepare cloth diaper system (and cloth wipes and get some disposables for newborn)

Take a nap (Nap tally: I)

Pack hospital bag (I know this is waaay too early, but it needs to be on the list!)

 

OTHER 21 WEEK POSTS

Saturday Snapshots

On Eating Real Food

Normalcy

Where It’s App

Baby Talk

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21 Weeks: Baby Talk

Have you heard of the Dunstan Baby Language?

I first learned about it on an episode of Oprah I watched years ago. Priscilla Dunstan has a photographic sound memory. When she had her son, she could pick out patterns in his cries and figured out that they were connected to his needs. She has since researched the “language” on over 1,000 babies from around the world. Watch the Oprah video here to see it all in action!

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The foundation of the language is that there are 5 basic baby cries (or pre-cry sounds) that are based on reflexes for baby’s basic needs. These sounds are universal to all babies, although some might express them more clearly than others.

Neh = sucking reflex = I’m hungry

Owh = yawn reflex = I’m sleepy

Heh = skin reflex = I’m uncomfortable

Eh = burp reflex = Burp me

Eairh = poot reflex = I have lower gas

When you watch the videos and hear her experience, it makes perfect sense! I have to say though that when I hear regular babies crying, I am horrible at getting it right!

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There was a Pregtastic episode on the topic and one of the moms recorded her son’s cries throughout the day. It turns out nearly all of them were “eh” = gas and I had guessed all 5 reflexes wrong before guessing “eh”! I kept hearing “neh.”

Critics have said this has not been scientifically tested, but when you watch Priscilla in action, it sure seems accurate. And I think the reflex theory makes great sense.

There’s a whole DVD set you can buy to practice and learn how to study your baby. Might be helpful if you’re really into it, but I think the online videos and samples are good enough to understand the language. But maybe I really do need more practice!

I feel that like elimination communication, you don’t have to sit and monitor every single cry to put this into practice. I have heard a lot of moms say that they just know what their baby needs. But I think this could be helpful as just another trick to be aware of in times when you might be having trouble figuring it all out.

Have any of you used the Dunstan language on your babies?

OTHER 21 WEEK POSTS

Saturday Snapshots

On Eating Real Food

Normalcy

Where It’s App

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4 weeks

5 weeks

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20 weeks

21 Weeks: Where It’s App

Motherhood, modernized 🙂

Here are some of the Android apps that I have downloaded and used over the past 5 months. I’m sure most are available for the iPhone as well.

Daily Apps

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Baby Bump Pregnancy Pro ($2.99) 

My favorite of the bunch for its content. I love that the home screen tells you how many weeks + days you are along loud and clear, so it’s always fun to click on and see this accomplishment as well as a clear countdown to how many days are left. The information included is lengthy and informative with both daily and weekly updates. I don’t use the journal or photos options, but the birth plan checklist was helpful to read through. I don’t use the kick counter or contraction counter….yet…but I hope to. I browsed the baby names a few times and visited the community a few times, but haven’t spent much time there. I mostly just read the daily updates.

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Baby Center

Daily tidbits about pregnancy plus longer weekly updates. The content varies from informational scientific facts to fluffy days like “drink more water today!” Favorite part: the videos are great!! And the weekly updates are lengthy – I look forward to them all week. I also love the interactive photos. I don’t really use the checklist feature. And I’ve read some of the forums via my phone and like that there is one for my due date month, but I haven’t spent much time there do to the nature of pregnancy forums in general.

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What To Expect

An app version of the popular book, this is my third favorite daily app. The information presented in both weekly and daily formats is helpful. The tracker is nice to get a glimpse of where you are in your pregnancy. I’ve found the updates are often the same ones in the book, so sometimes I feel like I’m re-reading. One pro and con of this app is that there are days just for Dad. Good for dads reading; a bit unnecessary for the moms (except you might want to know what they are recommending to dads, but I’d rather get a foot massage than read about one 🙂 ) Weekly updates are the best part!

Weekly Apps

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Happy Pregnancy

This app is a bit cluttered and not as easy to use. There is a lot of potential in this app, but I don’t use most of it. The dates/timeline is nice, but I get that with my daily apps. The weekly illustrations are kind of cool. The weekly updates are very short. There is a random facts section, but they are so short I rarely bother to open it up each day. The weight graph is nice if you’re closely tracking weight.

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Pregnancy Assistant

The biggest plus of this app are the cool life-like photos each week. The length and weight are also very easy to see. The weekly updates are short, but they are medical, which I like. That’s about all there is!

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Mom 2 Be

This app has a nice list of facts on your due date, weeks, baby’s weight and length. The weekly tips are very short.

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Monthly

My Pregnancy

This app is just a counter and a video each month. The videos are incredibly cheesy, but I still watch them each time and they have mentioned a few useful things (like round ligament pain). Wish it told you if you had already watched it because I have a hard time doing the math to remember which month I’m in and which videos I have already seen!

Baby!

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Baby Connect ($4.99)

My friend Alice showed me this app that tracks all-things-baby digitally. From feedings to sleep to activity. It graphs the data as well. I’m such a digital girl and always have my phone on me that I think this will be incredibly helpful during the first few weeks of motherhood.

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Baby ESP

This app looks a lot like Baby Connect, is also $4.99 and has a lot of the same features!

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So are there any apps I should be reading/using that I’m not!!?

 

OTHER 21 WEEK POSTS

Saturday Snapshots

On Eating Real Food

Normalcy

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4 weeks

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6 weeks

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20 weeks

21 Weeks: Normalcy

21 weeks (11)

I feel like things are almost a little boring around here I feel so normal. Maybe I’m just used to feeling pregnant! While my stomach continues to protrude, my arms, legs, stomach, hair and brain feel pretty much like my old self. Considering all the symptoms out there, I’m pretty thankful!

21 weeks (4)

My bump is starting to get that nice little round shape to it, especially when I lie in bed in the morning! It’s definitely a mound on a horizontal plane. Very cute and very fun to put my hands around!

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Check out this extreme shelf I can make! Old torso vs. new torso! You can really see the space the baby occupies.

21 weeks (3)

Can you even tell I’m sucking in here!?

21 weeks (10)

The baby moves sporadically, some days more, some days less. I feel the movements most when I’m seated after a meal. I suppose because there is less room in there when I’m bent in half. But I almost always feel them when I get in bed at night! The books say that when mom moves, baby sleeps and when mom lies down, baby wakes up to play. I still haven’t had any true interaction – like I push in and he kicks back – but the movements are still so fun to feel. The other morning they were so strong they were almost uncomfortable! He likes to tap dances on my cervix, which isn’t the most pleasant feeling. My doctor said it’s normal and I might just be hypersensitive down there.

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21 weeks:21 weeks (5)

I did a bit of maternity shopping this week at Old Navy. I had a 40% off coupon that was good for one day and came home with $200 worth of clothes for just over $100, mostly tanks, shirts and a pair of shorts. Shopping with a bump is so strange. More than my bump, it’s my boobs that determine whether a shirt is a yay or nay! Also: I tried on a bunch of dresses for the wedding this past weekend, and again, it’s my chest that is preventing them from fitting!! Never would have predicted that, as I hoped to wear my dresses into the third tri!

I also tried on a few bathing suits. I have no problem wearing a bikini that shows my stomach, buttttt….I really need super-duper top support. I don’t know if my old suits are going to be up for that challenge. I tried on a few one pieces, but they were all tummy controlled, so even the size large was too tight on my stomach. I might need to just look into some maternity suits for our Memorial Day beach trip. Or maybe some kind of supportive sports bra two piece?

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My only symptom complaints continue to be round ligament soreness and SI joint pain.

My SI hurt pretty badly after a day of standing on my feet at the bakery. I’ve ordered a belly support brace as recommended by my prenatal yoga teacher that will hopefully help me with my posture. I actually read the month 5 chapter of What To Expect and part of it was on back pain. There was a list of things you could be doing wrong (standing with arched back, sitting on non-supportive couches, relaxing abs) and of course I was doing everything wrong! Not intentionally, of course, but it’s just more comfortable to stand with my back arched and abs relaxed! But I’m working on it and am hoping the support helps a lot. I’ve also taken the advice of some of you and have been doing leg lifts during the abs track of Pump. I think they are helping?

The round ligament pain has caused me to cramp there a few times when subconsciously stretching in the mornings, but thankfully it’s not nearly as bad as a leg cramp (although I had half of one of those this week too!)

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After holding Lynsie’s baby this week, I pictured my own, wiggling in bed that night, in my arms. I can hardly wait!!!

OTHER 21 WEEK POSTS

Saturday Snapshots

On Eating Real Food

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

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19 weeks

20 weeks

21 Weeks: On Eating Real Food

Eating while pregnant can be a challenge, from morning all-day nausea to food aversions to heartburn and the different food safety considerations for you and your baby.

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I made a few changes to my diet right off the bat, but for the most part I’m focusing on eating when I’m hungry and listening to my body for direction. Here are a few of the food changes I have made:

1) Prenatal vitamin. I’ve been taking one since I signed up for maternity insurance, about 6 months before we started trying to conceive. It’s important to get your iron and folic acid stores to optimal levels before conception. Of course real food is the best source of nutrition, but most doctors and dietitians recommend a prenatal to ensure you’re getting everything you need. I take Whole Foods brand prenatals. They are plant based, have some DHA (from algae), a few bonus nutrients like probiotics and haven’t bothered my stomach at all.

One point to note: I almost always start my day with a boost of calcium from yogurt, milk or the like. Yogurt for lunch or a snack is also a frequent occurrence. Since the body can only absorb so much calcium at once, I take my prenatals with dinner when I’m less likely to eat dairy. This helps distribute the calcium more evening throughout the day.

2) Juice [as well as lots of water!] Juice isn’t something I’d normally keep in the house because I prefer to eat whole fruit that comes with fiber and chewing power. But during the first trimester, I craving OJ out the wazoo. Perhaps because it’s a good source of folate! I discovered early in pregnancy that I wake up so thirsty and a glass of water combined with an energy boost from juice made me feel much better much faster than if I had taken the time to peel an orange and chew it (which at times sounded awful). I also use juice right after a workout (a swig here or there) for a quick replenishment or as a cure for blood sugar-induced insomnia in the middle of the night. Look for juices that are 100% juice with no added sugars if you can and keep the portion relatively small. You just need a boost, not a sugar high!

OJ

3) Protein. The average female requires about 0.8 g/kg of protein a day, whereas the requirement during pregnancy jumps to 1.1 g/kg of body weight. I tend to get my protein from dairy, beans, whole grains, cheese, eggs and a small amount of meats at dinnertime. These got me to ~50 grams no problem. But to get to closer to the 70 grams or so that I need during pregnancy, I’ve been focusing on getting more protein with every meal. 

Sources I have added include eggs, almonds/nuts, meat (double boost of iron if it’s red!), sardines/fish, extra portions of beans, drinkable yogurt, string cheese and cheese, and the addition of a glass of milk to a meal.

A glass of milk is probably the easiest way to add protein to a meal with about 8 grams per cup. Soy milk is a good plant-based option, but almond and rice milks are much lower in protein (which is why I never drink them).

Milk

I bought a few protein powders (either grass-fed whey or plant based. Vega is my favorite plant kind.) but I try to choose real food as a first defense (yogurt, cottage cheese) for a smoothie before turning to protein powder. Good to have in the house though for when you’re running low on fresh things and are totally craving a smoothie.

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4) Iron. Iron is very important during pregnancy due to the huge increase in blood volume. During the first trimester, I craved red meat and ground beef like crazy for a few weeks. Pregnant women craving hamburgers are probably more iron and protein cravings than “junk food” cravings (it won’t be junk food if you use good grass-fed beef or bison and keep the portion single-decker and the fries to a minimum!) We had tacos and burgers quite a few times to satisfy those cravings. After a while, my cravings went on to other things (pulled pork for instance!) but I’ve still chosen red meat more than I might normally just for the nutrition.

Leafy greens and beans are the other great iron sources (among other foods) and we try to eat them a few days a week. Note if you’re a vegetarian it’s ideal to consume these with some citrus for optimal absorption of non-heme iron! It’s a good thing I am an omnivore because I couldn’t tolerate the thought of either of these two things in the first trimester, so I was able to get iron from meat.

My prenatal also has 18 mg of iron. I asked my OB if I needed any additional iron supplementation (hoping she’d say no if I’m getting the rest of the 27mg or so that are recommended from food) and she said that my iron was great at my first appointment and they would check it again at 28 weeks when they do the glucose test, so for now I feel good.

5) Calcium. Calcium is a very important pregnancy nutrient! Aim for 1,000 mg a day to ensure your bones don’t get depleted as the baby uses calcium to build bones, teeth, etc. Milk and yogurt are my favorite sources, along with sardines (!) and veggies, but don’t underestimate cheese or ice cream! Choose a natural brand like Breyers All Natural. I was surprised to find that there is less sugar in a half cup of Breyers Vanilla Bean than in a typical fruit on the bottom yogurt! The important thing about ice cream is to keep the portion size small and choose a natural kind (not the loaded-with-candy-bar or processed ingredients kinds!) Bonus if you can find organic/grass-fed milk versions : ) This is one pregnancy craving that I enjoyed to the max.

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6) Fats. Fat is important for baby’s brain and nervous system development, so now is not the time to go all fat-free on your diet. Avocados are a great source, and I’ve been trying to buy one a week to incorporate into sandwiches and lunches. Nut butters, olive oil drizzled on a green salad and cheese are also delicious ways to enjoy fats. Twinkies and trans-fats….not so much.

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7) Listeria risk + raw cheese. One of the “rules” of pregnancy eating is to avoid deli meats and smoked meats that have an increased risk of containing listeria, a bacteria that can harm a fetus without you even getting sick yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have turkey or smoked salmon, but it is recommended that you heat it to steaming first. Yeah, I know steamed smoked salmon sounds like an oxymoron, but I’d rather have it steamed than not at all I love it so!

Smoked salmon

Several people have asked me how I have been able to enjoy goat cheese and blue cheese since soft cheeses are on the no-no list. It’s because it’s really unpasteurized soft cheeses that are not recommended. Here in the USA, those are rare to come by, but they do exist (my beloved goat milk feta cheese is raw, for example). So I just ask restaurants (especially fancy ones) if their cheeses are pasteurized and then you can goat-cheese away!

Goatcheese

You can also enjoy sushi!! Just choose cooked versions and stay away from the higher mercury fish (like Yellowfin tuna, which wouldn’t be cooked anyways).

8) EPA + DHA. I’ve looked into taking omega-3 fish oil supplements many times throughout my nutrition career. My decision was finalized when I talked to one of my internship mentors who had been involved in extensive omega-3 research. She shared with me that eating a fish high in these essential fatty acids twice a week was ideal for intake. So when I asked her if she thought I should be taking a supplement, she simply asked me: “Why not just eat more fish?” Duh – that seemed like the obvious solution! Fish is a bit hard to handle in the kitchen. It’s expensive and you have to eat it the same day you buy it for optimal freshness. But canned or frozen wild Alaskan salmon and sardines are cheap and shelf stable, so they are my go-tos for omega-3s.

Since pregnancy, I’ve been trying to eat salmon or other omega-3 fish twice a week. I have to say that this wasn’t always possible (ironically salmon was one fish I could not stand during the first trimester) but now that I’m in the second and feeling much better, both are back on the menu. I’ve been buying frozen wild salmon because it’s easier to manage in our meal plan than fresh, and sardines made a comeback this week. This site was recently sent to me as a great resource to cook fish directly from your freezer. I’d much rather spend my money on a fish that comes with protein, calcium and flavor than an expensive pill I have to swallow everyday. I don’t eat fish as often as I should, but I’m working on it.

Sardines Fish

[Note: I recently blogged about Barramundi from Whole Foods that my neighbor recommended for its omega-3 content, but I discovered after I had it home that it was from Indonesia. After checking out Seafood Watch and some helpful blog comments, I realized this was not only a poor choice in sourcing but wild Barramundi is high in mercury too! I would not buy this fish again. Shame on Whole Foods for having this fish on their shelves.]

9) Mocktails. The biggest reason why I love alcohol is for the process of drinking it. I love pouring something to sip on while I’m cooking dinner or swirling around ice cubes in a glass at a party. Rather than cut out cocktails, I’ve just replaced alcohol with a variety of mocktails.

From cherries fizzing in sparling water to asking restaurants if they can make me a virgin version of one of their drinks, this has made all the difference in participating in the social aspects of drinking. While a part of me does ache for a potent glass of red wine or a few glugs of a malty and sweet Belgian strong ale, I really haven’t missed the alcohol much at all. My favorite mocktails have been the lemon/lime/simple syrup martinis I’ve had (any bar should be able to make that if you describe it!) and the Spice-a-rita made with limeade at Mono Loco. Better than the original!

Mocktail

10) Caffeine. The research says that 200mg or less of caffeine is safe, but since I had weaned myself off coffee due to its addicting and jittery/headache effects on my body the year before I got pregnant, giving up coffee wasn’t a big change for me. I still drink a cup of black tea nearly every morning (~40 mg caffeine) and have had several cups of real coffee and sodas with no worry because they aren’t part of my daily life. But since it’s easy enough to choose decaf coffee, I usually just opt for that over regular, more because I hate coffee’s effect on my sleep cycle and body than because I’m concerned about the safety.

11) Don’t stress. There were definitely a few days during the first trimester where I ate very poorly. Nothing green, too many carbs, too much sugar. But for the most part, I was able to sneak in nutrients even when I couldn’t stand the thought of them. Take advantage of your cravings and just do the best you can. A prime example: mac and cheese (craving!) with a small amount of greens (on the bottom) and some salmon. I took a comfort food craving and amped it up a bit with pregnancy superfoods.

Cravings

Another example we had a few times: a meaty tomato sauce with spinach and zucchini (in small pieces!) stirred in over whole wheat pasta. All of those tricks people sneak into kids’ foods – use them on yourself! For a while a green smoothie was the only way I could get in salads at lunch, so I had one everyday for a week!

Now the only kind of salads I like at home are simple greens with lemon juice and a fun topping (like goat cheese! or hummus) so that’s what you’ll find on my plate most.

Simple salads

Many of you wisely told me this in earlier posts, but I’m here to repeat it: don’t stress too much about weight gain either. I had a big gain in weeks 12-16 when I found my appetite back and strong, putting me on the high end of weight gain charts, but I barely gained any in weeks 16-20. I really do believe that everything will balance out so long as you’re making a good effort to eat well. I’m back to eating 3 meals a day plus a snack, swig of juice or dessert here or there, and so far my doctor says my weight gain is right on track: about 10 pounds in 20 weeks.

All in all, pregnancy hasn’t changed my diet that much. Just a few tweaks here or there and a bit more conscious though into getting more of the things I need most.

Please note that while I am a Registered Dietitian, it is important to check with YOUR doctor when you have any questions regarding your pregnancy diet, as individual circumstances may differ from person to person.

Other 21 week posts

Saturday Snapshots

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 Weeks: Saturday Snapshots

Can you tell in this photo that I have pigmentation on my forehead? My doctor says it’s melasma, when the melanin in your body goes a little crazy and makes pigments darker on your face in response to sun. I think the main purpose of the changing pigments all over is to make your nipples darker so the baby can see them when he is born. No comment on the status of those…

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Another weird body thing – I have blue veins all over my chest. Like in a scary road map way!! They are so obvious that I can see them across the room in Pump! I tried to take a photo, but the lighting wasn’t totally cooperating. But you can see a few!

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In other news, we have a crib mattress!! After a fair amount of research, I decided on this one by Naturepedic. It cost more than our crib did. Ouch. But it fits the crib well, and I think it was a good purchase.

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The swaddled bear loves it.

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In other nursery décor news, baby now has a set of bunting flags from Etsy in grey, yellow and blue! I’m hoping to hang them above the crib soon. I could have DIYed this, but by the time I purchased all the materials, hauled Karen’s sewing machine from the attic, butchered half of the flags and found a few hours to do all of this, I decided I would rather support someone else who enjoys sewing and has an Etsy shop. [Note: I am going to make something with the sewing machine soon…but it will be a much more simple project!]

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PREVIOUS WEEKS

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20 weeks