Pregnant holidays can present some joys and some challenges. Allison of Divine Doula Services, Emma of (Em)powered by Birth Doula Services, and Johanna of Nested Mama Prenatal & Postpartum Doula Support collaborated to share their best tips and suggestions for making your way through a holiday season full of expectations!
Many families also spend their first trimester keeping their pregnancies on the DL. A few things with this - there is absolutely no rule or proper etiquette when it comes to announcing a pregnancy besides announcing at the time that is best for you and your partner! You can't announce too early or too late. If you want to announce in the early weeks of pregnancy because it is the holiday season and you have family around to celebrate with you and also support you during this time - then announce and celebrate! (As I am writing this, I just looked up holiday pregnancy announcements and they are just the cutest.) If you and your partner choose to keep your news to yourselves, set up a plan prior to going to any sorts of gatherings to be sure you will be able to get the space and time you need to keep yourself healthy and happy.
This holiday will be unlike any other! Enjoy the beauty of the season, the company of so many loved ones, and the excitement that your little "poppyseed" will be a sweet baby to snuggle by the tree at this time next year!
Eat as much as you would like:
Hold off (until next year):
As your pregnancy becomes increasingly visible, you may find friends, family, or random people while you are out running errands making comments about your size. First of all, anyone who says anything to you other than that you are beautiful and glowing needs etiquette lessons. Secondly, know that your body is doing exactly what it needs to grow that sweet little babe, and anyone who assumes that you are "having twins" or "ready to pop" or declares with astonishment that "you should have had that baby already" has no obstetric knowledge and no conversational skill, either.
If you find that people are reaching out to touch your growing belly without your consent, feel empowered to say no - this is your body and no one should touch you without your permission. The work of establishing your little family will certainly come with moments where you have to emphasize boundaries and advocate for yourself. This is the perfect, if totally annoying, chance to practice. Know that you are strong, and you've got this. And, baby will be here soon!
Feeling all ready for baby? Check out all the services offered by Doulas of Iowa City and see how we can support you before, during, and after birth.
Are you ready to get out of the house with your partner but not ready to leave baby at home? We asked local parents their recommendations for where to take their cute little 3rd wheel out on the town. Check out these fabulous suggestions!
NODO Downtown, Iowa City
"Inside and outside seating, casual menu, kid-friendly food for older siblings, delicious, and staff have always been very calm even when my youngest has cried or thrown a fit." - Hannah S.
Big Grove Brewpub, Solon
"I’m quite sure both of our baby’s first outings were to Big Grove in Solon. They are incredibly welcoming of families, have private and high backed booths, and it’s typically busy/loud enough in there that a little crying would go unnoticed." - Shona B. M.
Black Sheep Social Club, Cedar Rapids
"Black Sheep Social club in Cedar Rapids has a nice changing table." - Corey H.
Bread Garden, Iowa City
"You can sit outside (but inside is noisy and kid commotion goes unnoticed, too) and the food is inexpensive and delicious. Plus, a solid food eating kid can get foods from the salad bar with no wait, and they always have the well-received Mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and fruit. They have high chairs and are right next to the play equipment in front of library. The only hardship can be if you’re the only adult and have to go back inside if you ordered something from the kitchen (like the delicious flatbread pizzas!) and don’t love the idea of leaving the toddler in high chair alone but don’t want to hassle with taking them back inside with you. The owner is always super helpful and so are the workers." - Allison G.
Village Inn, Coralville (& Iowa City)
"Our first outing with our first was breakfast at village inn...which is great if you want a bunch of old ladies fawning over your baby." - Barb D.
Not feeling outdoorsy? Try a car picnic!
"[We] liked "car picnics" when she was really little, picking up a Pagliais and eating it in the car while she slept, just listening to music and talking. Doesn't really fit the getting out maybe but it was quite romantic for us and we connected so well being side by side in the car alone - baby asleep and no other people or commotion to distract from talking to each other. It felt like being teenagers. I have great memories of those dates." - Becca D.
Don't see your favorite on the list? No worries! Pack up that diaper bag and give it a try. Here are a few tips.
"I’ve found that everywhere in the Corridor is welcoming of families. We have always taken our babies out from the get go, and have never had a negative experience from staff including the many times I’ve breastfed at the table." - Barb D.
"It’s helpful to try to time a restaurant visit outside of peak hours, not only so it will be less busy/loud, but also to allow you your choice of booths or tables, and to ensure quick seating and service. There’s nothing worse than having to wait forever for a table with a cranky baby. We’ve found that eating outside on a patio/deck, etc. is always more soothing for babe when available, and usually any crying stands out less outside. Also, if you have a baby or toddler who is eating solids ordered from the menu, place that order ASAP, even if the adults don’t have their selections made yet. This will ensure that the LO’s food comes out first." - Grace S.
Still feeling nervous about your first time out with baby? Repeat this pep talk in your head.
"My biggest advice on going out with the baby is to be confident that you belong there, that your baby is welcome, and that other customers are more charmed than annoyed! A lot of discomfort can come from the self-imposed perception that others are constantly watching or judging you, and they're mostly not - they are socializing and eating! One person being annoyed with her spouse and staring off into space can be perceived as a judgmental look at your nursing if you are self-conscious already, so just own it and you'll be fine. If babe starts fussing or crying and you're shushing and rocking and furiously trying to get her to take a paci and cleaning spit up off of your date clothes, 90% of people who notice are impressed that you're getting out and reminiscing about "those days." Anyone who actually says anything negative (god forbid) is a reflection of their poor character. I did always choose restaurants with high chairs and a kids menu when bringing my baby or toddler because I considered that an endorsement of our presence." - Becca D.
One of my favorite things about summertime in the corridor is all of the colorful, delicious goodness I get to enjoy from our farm share with Local Harvest CSA out of Solon. CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a way to buy local, seasonal, high quality food while supporting sustainability in our community. At the beginning of the season we invest in our share and then once a week, we pick up a generous haul of farm fresh produce and eggs at the North Liberty food pantry. We get a weekly email with updates from the farm and details and recipes to go with the share. After a fun conversation with the farmers each week at pickup, we normally come home with at least a dozen different types of produce. This week we are enjoying Napa cabbage, kohlrabi, zucchini and summer squash, green onions, and all sorts of delicious leafy greens. I love community supported agriculture and we are so lucky to have so many different farms that offer shares throughout the year!
We all know nutrition is so important in all seasons of life and especially during pregnancy and postpartum. During pregnancy, I loved learning to prepare nourishing, satisfying, delicious meals. I loved sitting down to eat and thinking that my baby was enjoying my meal with me. During my pregnancy, I learned to truly love and respect my body and have never turned back. Body love and respect can be so simple- this week I practiced body respect by fixing up this delicious Chef Salad with a lot of the goodies from this week’s share. This salad is perfect during pregnancy- jam packed with veggies, proteins, and dressed with healthy fats. Also perfect for postpartum because, of course, those nutrients remain so important, but it is also such a breeze to throw together! And the balance of macronutrients provides good, sustainable energy.
I pulled out all of the lettuce from one of four bags of leafy greens and washed and chopped it up. We have been enjoying our CSA for three years now and I am still astounded by the amounts of produce we get each week!
For some more protein, I added some turkey and ham and chopped up some bacon. We like our animal proteins in our house but chickpeas or avocado would be delicious alternatives. I also added some Monterey jack and cheddar cheese and some seasoned croutons. (I wanted to make some homemade croutons but I was just loving the quickness and easiness of this recipe too much!)
When I make salads I love to line up all the toppings before mixing just to appreciate the colorful beauty. I made up a quick dressing too using ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and generous shakes of paprika and black pepper. Perfectly creamy and zesty.
So summery and satisfying.
The Doulas of Iowa City blog contains guest posts by Doulas of Iowa City member businesses. We are excited to share with you about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and surrounding communities and to help you connect to fabulous local resources.