Category Archives: Safety

Combatting Common Pregnancy Symptoms with Nutrition

Photo courtesy of Friends, Food, Family blogger Tricia White...recipe below!

Photo courtesy of Friends, Food, Family blogger Tricia White…recipe below!

**We have a SPECIAL TREAT on the blog today! My nutrition-minded, talented, knowledgeable friend, Danielle Bolea, took some time to write an entry about nutrition and pregnancy. Double bonus: her mom, Tricia White (who is like a second mom to me), is a food blogger for Friends Food Family, so she has linked up her suggestions with some recipes. What a dynamic duo; enjoy!**



Food plays a significant role in one’s pregnancy. During this time it is important to maintain a healthy diet; however, many women run into symptoms that make it difficult to uphold proper nutrition. Yes, I’m talking about morning sickness, heartburn, and constipation. Here are some helpful tips and recipes that may help alleviate symptoms with home remedies.

Due to an increase in hormones, many pregnant women face morning sickness within their first trimester; although, sometimes the symptoms can prolong throughout an entire pregnancy. If you are experiencing signs of morning sickness (nausea/vomiting), try these tips to ease back into a normal eating pattern:

  • Avoid foods and smells that trigger your nausea.
  • Eat dry/bland foods that are low in fat such as rice, toast, crackers or a baked potato. Gradually introduce foods as you feel better.
  • Keep water, ginger ale, or crackers by your bedside. Try eating/drinking a little bit before getting up. Allow some time for digestion and rise slowly.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day (5-6) rather than three large meals.
  • Drink less water with your meals and obtain the rest of your needs throughout the day.

Another common symptom amongst pregnant women is heartburn. Hormones released during pregnancy relax the stomach muscles that keep acid from moving into the esophagus; thus, creating acid reflux/heartburn. Eliminating some of the foods below may help manage/avoid your discomfort.

  • High-fat, fried, rich foods
  • Spicy foods (foods made with paprika, chili, vinegar, jalapeno, hot sauce)
  • Tomatoes and tomato products
  • Citrus fruit and juice (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit)
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint/spearmint

For relief, try eating low-fat yogurt or drink a glass of low-fat milk; you want to make sure these dairy items are low in fat since high-fat products tend to cause heartburn. Be sure not to lie down for 30 minutes after consuming your meals; this will only contribute to your symptoms. These remedies work for different individuals, and may not provide you instant relief. It’s important to recognize the foods that trigger your heartburn, and eliminate them from your diet.

The growing of your uterus during pregnancy places pressure on other organs within the body, including the intestines. This compression can often cause constipation making it a common symptom amongst most pregnant women. It is important to exercise routinely, drink plenty of fluids, and incorporate high fiber foods into your diet. Need help distinguishing which foods are rich in fiber? Here is a helpful list:

  • Whole Grains (mix it up!): bran cereal (Raisin Bran), oatmeal, granola (Kashi bars), brown rice, quinoa, barley, faro, whole wheat pasta. Recipe idea: Quinoa, mango and black bean salad (pictured above).
  • Fruits and vegetables: avocados, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, pears, grapes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, artichokes, leafy greens (spinach, kale – although, they don’t have as much fiber as some of the foods listed prior). Recipe idea (substitute a pregnancy-friendly cheese, if you so desire): Green apple, avocado, and chicken salad.
  • Beans: lentils, black beans, lima beans, split peas, kidney beans. Recipe idea: Chunky beef and bean chili (the beer in it is just a tease!).
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flaxseed. Recipe idea: Epicurious’ Shaved Summer Squash Salad.
corn black bean

Photo courtesy of Tricia White

Here are some recommendations for incorporating fiber into your everyday meals:

  • Add fruit OR flaxseed to your oatmeal/cereal – (ex: oatmeal with raspberries or blueberries and sliced almonds). Or, substitute whole wheat flour and try this recipe for blackberry oatmeal breakfast bars.

    Photo courtesy of Tricia White

    (pictured right)

  • Add flaxseed, spinach/kale, or almond milk to a smoothie.
  • Spread avocado on sandwiches or whole wheat toast for breakfast.
  • Add beans to your salads and soups.
  • Make whole grain salads with quinoa, barley, or faro. Mexican style: corn, beans, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, shredded chicken (your choice of meat) – add refried beans, salsa, or your choice of dressing (ranch). Recipe idea: Roasted corn and black bean salad (pictured above, just add your favorite whole grain!).

Photo courtesy of Tricia White

Mediterranean style: red/green peppers, scallions, (black or Kalamata) olives, tomato, lemon juice, parsley, shredded chicken (choice of meat) Recipe idea: Greek Pasta Salad (substitute quinoa or whole wheat pasta and a pregnancy-friendly cheese for best results-pictured left).

*  Enjoy a simple salad of spinach, red onion, almonds, dried cranberries, balsamic vinaigrette

* Try kale, roasted sweet potatoes, beets (marinated), balsamic dressing

A little about Danielle:


Photo courtesy of Danielle Bolea

Danielle is a graduate from Keene State College with a degree in Nutrition. She currently works as an Executive Assistant to the Chief of Radiation Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Nutrition is still her passion, and she thoroughly enjoys cooking and modifying recipes so they’re easier to make and healthier for you. Breakfast is her favorite meal to cook and is a hobby she looks forward to on the weekends (and I can tell you from experience IT’S DELICIOUS). Danielle enjoys educating others about nutritional lifestyles and guiding them in a healthy direction.

Thank you Danielle! Thank you Tricia! Please let us know how these recipes turn out 🙂

Affirmations for Dilation, Labor & Delivery

Failure to progress.

This is one of the most common reasons for a cesarean section and augmentation of labor in the United States. What does it mean? It means your apocryphal delivery hourglass is running out of sand. It’s when the scary words that you may have left off of your birth wishes begin to get thrown around. Cytotec. Foley balloon. Pitocin. Cesarean. The word that is often omitted from this list is time. Sometimes a laboring woman just needs more time to get her important work done. Sometimes she just needs to clear her head, and really think about dilating. If neither you nor your baby are in any danger, do not be afraid to ask for more time. If they do not want to grant your more time, ask why. Be in control of your labor and delivery.

I often reassure women about the strength of their bodies. Strength they don’t know they have until they need to use it. What’s stronger, though, is a person’s mind. Some people just need to tell their mind (and really believe and picture what they are telling their mind) what their body needs to do.

So, if you are at the very tail end of your pregnancy, or in a “failure to progress” situation, clear the room, enter a state of relaxation, and make the affirmations (below) your mantra. Your mind is a powerful thing-don’t be afraid to use it:


My body is strong and capable.

I have plenty of time to get this job done.

I am able and willing to do this work for my baby.

With each contraction, I visualize my body opening for my baby.

With each deep breath in, I exhale all the way through my body.

Each centimeter brings me closer to holding my baby.

My body was made to do this work.

I have plenty of space for my baby to come through.

Each contraction brings me closer to meeting my baby.

This process is natural, and I am ready for it.

My labor is progressing exactly as it is supposed to.

My cervix is opening and softening as it should.

I am in control.

My only focus is delivering my baby, everything else can wait.

My cervix is like a flower, blooming and opening beautifully.

The bond between my baby and me is strong and unbreakable, He/she knows how he/she needs to be born.

I am working hard for my baby.

My baby is slowly easing through the birth canal.

I am safe, calm, and ready to hold my baby in my arms.

My body knows how to deliver this baby, just as it knew how to grow this baby.

The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, as they are me.

Inhale peace, exhale tension.

My body will give birth in its own time.


Did you use affirmations throughout your labor and delivery? Please share any that you found helpful.

Top Five Tips for Babysitting an Infant

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I had the absolute pleasure of babysitting my friend’s infant, Macie, when her momma returned to school from her maternity leave. Macie Mondays quickly became my favorite day of the week, and I made sure to give her the best care I was able. I learned a lot along the way, and thought I would share my top five tips for babysitting an infant:

1.   LISTEN to the parents. They spend the most time with the infant. You DON’T know best when it comes to someone else’s child, so listen to what they have to say. What may have worked for you and your children, or a family you’ve babysat in the past, or your nieces and nephews, could be the worst thing in the world to that baby.

2.   FOLLOW the parents’ schedule. Parents give you a schedule for a reason. Usually because they have tried numerous different scenarios, and this is what works best for them and their baby. Is it going to vary slightly? Sure. You have to adapt, and read the child’s needs. But don’t forego a nap at a scheduled time because you want to catch Oprah at 3:00 and you don’t want to be disturbed.


3.   PLAY with infants. And READ to them. And TEACH them new things. Are they going to throw a ball back to you? No. Are they going to understand how many red circles can be found on a page? Probably not. But, they are learning, rapidly. Their brains are growing so much, and they are making connections and learning about the world around them. So give them the best chance at a good start by interacting constantly. For more tips about reading aloud to your infant, please check out this link.

4.   REALIZE that you are being trusted to care for the single, utmost important, precious gift in the parents’ lives. Whatever they say, goes. If there is a reason you need to stray from their guidelines, be honest and tell them why. If they aren’t comfortable with something you want to do, you HAVE to listen. Caring for their child is not a time to be selfish, and they need to be able to trust you. If they say no TV, don’t turn it on. If they say you can’t drive with their baby in the car, surrender your keys. They are the parents, and they make the rules. This message applies VERY WELL to all you grandparents out there, too 😉

5.   LOVE that infant with everything you have while they are in your care. During a stage where they are learning so much everyday, they have to know how loved they are, how special they are, and what a healthy, loving relationship means. And they are just so cute, how can you not <3

Do you have any additional tips for babysitting an infant? Please feel free to leave them in the comments!


Seriously, how freaking cute is she?! 🙂 Not to mention smart, expressive, happy, curious, interactive, beautiful, fun, energetic, and the list goes on and on and on <3



Babyproofing Basics

As my earliest clients are very quickly realizing, their babies are growing. Like, FAST. Everyday there is a new discovery. One day, they realize they have feet…that are attached to their body…that they can put in their mouth! The next, they are rolling. All by themselves. And getting frustrated that they can’t crawl around. But soon enough, they will be crawling, and then standing, and then walking and running around.

With my new moms and dads realizing how quickly their babies are growing, the next thought is: “shit, we have to babyproof!” One day they leave the room for one second while their baby is “enjoying” tummy time, and the next they find their baby all the way across the room.

There are HUNDREDS of safety tips to prevent injury for your child. Actually, probably thousands. But first and foremost, the tip that can’t be replaced is supervision. You can take every safety measure in the world, but without supervision, your baby can still get into all sorts of trouble.

The following are just a few of the ways you can prepare your home before your baby begins crawling, you know, aside from wrapping your entire house contents in bubble wrap:


  • Install a toilet lock on every toilet
  • Remove mobiles and hanging toys from baby’s crib, and remove all toys that mysteriously end up inside the crib
  • Install gates at top AND bottom of stairs. Make sure the gate has the JPMA seal of approval
  • Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms outside of every bedroom
  • Use door holders/stops to protect little fingers and toes
  • Install window guards
  • Lock medications away
  • Install latches on any drawers, cabinets, or rooms with dangerous items. This can include knives, chemicals, cleaning products, glass, etc.
  • Tie window cords out of reach
  • Consider choking hazards around your home, and remove unnecessary clutter
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with plug-in style plates that cover the whole outlet, RATHER than the small (choking-hazard) individual plates. Or, block them completely with furniture, if that is an option
  • Follow crib safety standards


If you decide to make these changes to your home yourself, PLEASE read the instructions on how to do so carefully. There is no use for faulty equipment, or gear that is not installed properly. To find a childproofer in your area, please click here.

Please feel free to share other safety tips, or questions below! 🙂