[un]common sense

Alyssa Veneklase holds her daughter's hand in front of a field

Perfectionism in Parenting

Growing up, many of us were taught to do as we were told, don’t disrupt the norm, and don’t disappoint others. This leads to a perfectionist mindset where we can never do anything right or never be good enough. There will always be someone who is let down, disagrees, or finds something unacceptable. Even if we were happy with our decision, and it was the right decision for us, we are made to feel guilty because it wasn’t the right decision for others.

We become so focused on doing things the “right” way to please others, that it becomes our main objective. Pleasing others, doing things “right”, and not upsetting anyone becomes more important than what is truly right for us. We become perfectionists for everyone else, but to what end? What are we trying to achieve? Who are we trying to make happy?

Perfectionism in parenting is usually deeply rooted in guilt. If I don’t do X with my child, they will end up like Y, and never be able to Z. Fill in X, Y, and Z with any number of fears. I hear fears from parents about breastfeeding, developmental milestones, manners, picky eating, and the list goes on and on. Parents think they have a duty to groom or mold their children into who they want them to be, and if it doesn’t work they’ve failed as parents.

“I have to breastfeed or my child won’t be healthy.”
What about the babies that are bottle fed or formula fed? Are they unhealthy? Will they have worse outcomes as adults because of this? What path, in your mind, is a child on that breastfeeds vs formula feeds? Are these ideas fact based or are they unrealistic fears? Where did you get these ideas? Ask yourself these questions for any number of fears or misconceptions you may have.

“I have to co-sleep or my baby won’t bond with me.”

“I have to keep my toddler happy or they will throw a tantrum and embarrass me.”

“My child has to play sports or they won’t fit in.”

“My child has to get good grades or they won’t get into college and they’ll never find a job.”

When you find yourself having this narrative in your head, ask yourself where it came from. Who told you that? Why do you think that? Is it true, or is it an assumption you’ve made? Personally, I find that it comes from guilt I received from my own parents as a child. I don’t even believe in the shame or have those fears any longer, but somehow that pattern of thinking is hard-wired in me. It’s been a slow and steady process of rewiring over the past couple of years. As a recovering perfectionist, I know first-hand the struggle parents (especially mothers) go through on a daily basis with their children. It takes a conscious effort to rewire your brain. Finding a good therapist can be extremely helpful.

Parents today have a strong desire to be accepted by others and society. They are constantly striving to do their best when in actuality it isn’t their best, it’s what they perceive as the socially accepted definition of best. Instead of worrying about what others think is best for you, work on internalizing that narrative. If you make a decision that’s right for you but may disappoint someone else, is that ok? Can you look at that potential disappointment objectively and weigh your options to make the best decision for you? Instead of worrying about how something made someone else feel, look inward and ask if it aligns with your values and needs. Do you feel like you did your best?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be good or do good things. We all want to be good parents. But when we strive for perfection, we expect perfection from our children, and then we create discord. We have unrealistic expectations of our children, they will learn that they cannot rely on us to support them unconditionally, and we harm our relationship with them.

Our children are their own people. They’ve chosen their own paths and are on their own journeys. I don’t even consider myself a guide anymore. My daughter is already on her path. Perfectionism makes me believe I need to guide, or pave, or clear a way for her. That implies that I know where her path should lead and I will try to push her toward that goal. Instead, I am on this journey with her, walking alongside her. I don’t need to point out every turn and tell her which way to go. She needs to make those choices herself, knowing that if/when she needs me I am here.

I see parents struggling with perfectionism in many forms, especially when talking to mothers about sleep. They have an idea of what’s “best” even though they may not have looked at all the options or thought through what they really want. I see it when parents have an idea of what’s “best” that clearly does not align with their child’s temperament. I see it when a child struggles and parents assume that the child just doesn’t listen, can’t do it, will fail, or end up missing out on something in the future. Typically these are fears the parents have that they are projecting onto their child with no regard to how that fear affects their child.

Each day I will continue to work on my departure from perfectionism. I will remind myself that there is no one right answer. That my way may not be the best way for my child. That I do not need to guide her, push her, or sway her toward a certain goal. She will figure it out, with my love and support, knowing that whatever decision she makes I’ve got her back. And I also need to show the same love and support to myself when I make mistakes or don’t do it right.

Alyssa is a Certified Elite Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, and Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant. She teaches Newborn Survival, Tired As a Mother, and The Becoming a Mother Course.


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Anja's Stem Cell Collection Kit with three babies

Harnessing the Power of Stem Cells Through Cord Blood Banking

Stem cells are special human cells that have the potential to become many different types of cells, such as brain cells, muscles cells, and more. These cells have the potential to treat, or even sometimes reverse diseases that have left patients of the past without effective options. Umbilical cord blood banking provides potential treatments for many of the medical conditions we hope our children and family members never have to suffer through.

What is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking refers to the freezing and storage of umbilical cord blood and tissues. In the time leading up to delivery, there is a transfer of powerful stem cells and other immune-boosting cells between the mother and fetus. These cells remain in the blood and are often discarded with the umbilical cord and placenta.
Cord blood and tissue banking involve collecting the blood and tissues that contain these cells and freezing them for a later date, when they may be used to treat a variety of illnesses that were previously thought to be difficult to treat or incurable.

Did you know? Umbilical cord blood banking is OB, Midwife, and Doula recommended!
Types of Stem Cells Obtained from Cord and Tissue Banking
There are two main types of stem cells acquired during cord blood and tissue banking: hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Hematopoietic stem cells are obtained through umbilical cord blood banking and are approved by the FDA to treat a variety of illnesses, including blood disorders (e.g. sickle cell anemia), immune disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), and cancer (e.g. lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma). There are also over 1000 ongoing clinical trials examining other use cases.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the umbilical cord tissue, placenta, and bone marrow. They are powerful stem cells used to treat a variety of chronic and progressive medical conditions, including lung disease, Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and hair loss.

Public vs. Private Cord Blood Banking
While you have the option of receiving cord blood or tissue from a donor via a public cord blood bank, serious side effects may occur. There is a high risk of incompatibility, which may result in a range of significant acute or chronic symptoms.
Since the body is meant to attack foreign bodies it sees as dangerous, a condition called graft- versus-host disease may develop as a result of a stem cell transplant from a donor. This occurs when donor stem cells see the transplant as an immune system invasion. The body rejects the healthy new stem cells, leading to harmful symptoms and sometimes death.
By using stem cells you’ve privately banked that are at least a partial match, you greatly reduce the risk of developing such complications. When banking your cord blood and tissue for future personal use, the cells are always a match for who they came from. They may safely be used as a treatment for family members as well.
Siblings have a 75% chance of being a match, while parents are always a 50% match for their children. Extended family, such as aunts and uncles, also have a probable chance of being a partial match, which could have a significant impact, should they need treatment.

How Can Recipients Benefit From Private Cord Blood Banking?
Significant improvements have been observed in medical conditions with the help of stem cells. These improvements include but are not limited to:
● Reversing Type 1 Diabetes
● Significantly improving symptoms of Crohn’s disease
● Improving motor function in children with cerebral palsy
● Promoting CAR T-cell therapy, an immunotherapeutic cancer treatment
● Aiding in heart failure treatment
● Showing protective effects on hair loss

How To Store Your Cord Blood and Tissue Stem Cells
To bank your baby’s umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, or placenta, order a collection kit before your due date. Store the kit at room temperature and bring it with you to the hospital. When you arrive at Labor & Delivery, tell the admitting nurse that you plan to collect your stem cells. Before birth, tell your healthcare provider that you have the kit ready for collection.
Your collection kit from Anja Health has everything you need and their stem cell banking experts will help guide you through the process.
Use the discount code GOLD to receive 90% off the price of your collection kit!

After the birth of your child, the team at Anja Health will collect your kit from the hospital and take care of everything, including viability testing, optimization, and cryogenic storage in their AABB-accredited, FDA-approved lab in New Jersey.
If the time comes, you’ll be glad to know you have the stem cells to help your child or other members of your family when they’re in need!


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yoga self care

[uncommon sense]: The Importance of Quality Self-Care

Alyssa recently spoke at an event about the importance of self-care. This is a summary of her conversation. We hope you can take away some good advice about what quality self-care means to you and how to apply it to your busy life!

Self-care has become one of those phrases that we roll our eyes at and say, “Yea, I know I need to take more time for myself. Self-care makes me a better mother, or makes me a better wife, or makes me a more productive employee. Yup.” Then we do nothing about incorporating it into our life.

So I’ve been thinking about this topic, trying to figure out a way to define self-care in a way that makes it relevant to all us busy moms. Something to make us realize that in the midst of all the chaos, it is a MUST!

What are some things that come to mind when you hear self-care? Just think about it for a minute. Most of us think of manis and pedis. Maybe a massage. All that is great but what good does if do if we are only caring for our physical bodies? So we have pretty nails, did that do anything for our peace of mind? Was that quality self-care? Maybe for some. But I think we need to dig deeper into what self-care truly is.

Think about this – The quality of our self-care can determine outcomes. It can take us from where we are now to where we want to go. A pedi can’t do that.

Self-care is your path to well-being. When you take care of yourself you’re happier and you therefore attract help, support, productivity, positive relationships, and positive influences. You thrive. Quality self-care makes you radiant from the inside out. People can feel it and are drawn to it.

When we get “too busy” and overload our schedules, that in turn can have the opposite effect – unhappiness, poor relationships, and even physical ailments like migraines and insomnia.

Think of self-care as your fuel. It’s your on-switch. You have to fuel yourself, nourish yourself, so you’re not running on empty or just running on adrenaline. We all have busy lives, and making time for quality self-care actually gives you fuel to do it more efficiently.

Listen to your body. Think of quality self-care as your prescription. When your body is telling you something, be it mental or physical, ask yourself if self-care would fix it. Because your mind and body are not separate. They are fully connected and when you can relax you mind, your body will follow.

An example of this would be every single time I get a manicure. I was just joking with a friend that a manicure is actually stressful for me. I don’t have the use of my hands so I can’t answer the phone, I can’t check emails, or even just browse Instagram! I’m stuck there, staring at the wall, or the lady in front of me, in silence for an hour. I’m miserable. But my nails look good!

So that’s not quality self-care for me. The physical things we do should also be combined with mental practices and rituals. I think if I made it a ritual to get a mani with a friend, that would be quality self-care for me. An hour spent with a good friend is good for my soul. An hour staring at a wall stresses me out.

What could that practice look like for you? Maybe a float tank. Local peeps, has anyone been to phlot in Eastown? Maybe for you it’s meditating for 10 minutes each morning to set intentions for the day. Maybe it’s a massage or yoga (for me these work)! Maybe it’s working out, or reading your favorite book. All of these are great if they bring you some peace and joy. That’s mental wellness.

So think about all the things you can do for your mental wellness and add that to they physical things you are already doing.

What’s your current self-care ritual? Is it working for you? If so, great! Keep it up. If it’s not working, be open to trying some new things to create a ritual of self-care. Figure out what’s important to you and make it happen. No excuses. Remember, it doesn’t need to be lavish or expensive. It just has to work for you (not anyone else)! Like my example of getting a mani with a friend – the mani still only costs me $30 but now it’s quality self-care at no added expense because I have a buddy with me.

Maybe you like to soak in a hot bath, but can’t shut your brain off. So how about soaking in the tub and calling a friend. Or reading that fiction novel that’s been collecting dust. Or turning on a funny podcast. These are simple mental rituals to add to your physical self-care options!

Ok so how do we implement these mental rituals? First, you have to understand that they are a necessity. Something you must do in order to maintain wellness.

Think of that safety card on an airplane. You’re told to put on your own air mask before you help anyone else put on theirs. Even your children! Why? What would happen to you if you helped everyone else put their masks on and you forgot about yourself? You would suffocate. Without your own mask on, you don’t have the capacity to help others. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity.

Make quality self-care a non-negotiable. Caring for yourself is not an act of indulgence, remind yourself it’s a necessity. Eliminate any shame and guilt that accompanies your self-care ritual.

Self-care is not selfish. Or maybe it is, and that’s okay!

I want to leave you with a quote from Ghandi:

“I had a really busy day today so I better meditate —- for two hours instead of one.”


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[un]common sense: Managing your guilt as a Mompreneur

Today’s blog is written by Alyssa Veneklase – mother, wife, doula, and business owner. She talks about not just mom guilt, but very specifically the type of guilt we have as mothers and business owners. Enjoy!

I worked full-time in an office when I found out I was pregnant, and my assistant at the time was pregnant as well, due a few months before me. She came back to work after a couple months of leave and decided after two hours at work she wanted to quit and stay home with her baby. That was that.

Even though I hadn’t had my baby yet, I knew for certain I did not want to be a stay at home mom. I was going back to work, no question. But I began to feel this sense of guilt. “Am I a bad mom because I don’t want to stay home all day with my baby? Is she a better mom than me because she loves her baby so much she physically can’t be separated from him?” This guilt came from somewhere outside of me – a perceived notion; a very conventional belief that mothers should stay home with their children. But it was not my belief, so why was it making me feel guilty?

I had my baby, went back to work, and everything was great. Except that I began to feel another sort of guilt. I resented my husband for having (what I thought was) an uninterrupted schedule. He still got to go golfing whenever he wanted, meet the boys for a beer without worrying about who was watching the baby… I, however, felt trapped. When I did go out I felt guilty. “I have a baby at home. She needs me.”

It took several months for me to realize that this guilt I felt was my own doing. I was not allowing myself the opportunity for self-care and time apart from my baby. “Why can’t I leave her to go out with my friends more often? Why don’t I get a babysitter so I can have an afternoon alone?” I felt like because I was her mother, I was stuck with this extra responsibility that my husband didn’t have, when in reality he just valued his own time more than I valued mine.

This type of guilt came from a place inside me. It was only mine. I created it, nurtured it, and then took it out on others (namely my husband). It took a while for me to understand, but now I make self-care a priority. I make sure if I want to do something, I do it. No excuses. And I don’t feel guilty about it. I’m still an amazing mom!

So let’s talk about that extra special type of guilt that comes with being a Mompreneur.

If we work from home, we get to play more often…right? We’re lucky because we get to spend all this extra time with our kids while they’re small. Or does it mean we just feel more guilty because we are home on our computers instead of playing with our kids?

For moms with office jobs they are more likely to be able to disconnect when they get home. I mean, we’re never really fully disconnected since our phones are attached to us, but I think the moment we leave the office something happens in our brain that allows us to focus on home. The physical disconnect creates a mental one. Unless you own that office, then going home is just an extension of your office.

When you own your own business, when are you ever able to disconnect? You are the one your employees and clients call. You may be the receptionist, the manager, and the marketing coordinator. You’re the boss.

When you have a newborn at home, you’re on-call for that baby. It doesn’t matter how important the project is you’re working on, baby needs to be fed or held or changed. As our kids get older they’re just as needy, but in different ways.

Even if your child goes to daycare during the day, we struggle to focus on them in the evening because we’re still at work. The phone still rings and the emails keep coming. And we just can’t put down our phones.

The thing that works best for me is to set a schedule and stick to it. If your child is home with you while you’re working, set specific times of the day that you are focused on work only. That means no laundry, no dishes, and no distractions from your child. So… you will need another care-giver there to help.

If your partner is able to help, make sure you set strict guidelines. “I’m working from 9-12, don’t bother me. That means you don’t need to tell me when she’s crying or when she poops. Handle it.”

You can hire a mother’s helper, babysitter, or nanny to help out part time during the day. You can find a childcare establishment that you trust. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 3 hours without a kid around!

No distractions means no distractions while working, but on the flip side that means no distractions when it’s family time. If you can have dedicated times to focus on work, it should be easier to set work aside when it’s time for family. That means leave your phone in the other room. Don’t check emails or browse Instagram while playing with your kids. Physically separate yourself from it otherwise you will not be able to give them the quality attention they desire.

It’s much easier to focus on your kids when you know your work is done. And it’s easier to get your work done when you’re able to fully focus on your work. A half-ass day of work makes for a half-ass evening with family. You will be distracted. It seems so elementary, right?

The biggest thing I’ve learned from having a baby is it’s okay to be selfish. Being selfish does not have to be a bad thing. There’s still a gender bias that mothers need to be selfless especially when it comes to our children. Why do we have to give up our sense of self, sacrifice our passions, for our children?

Do you think men sit around and talk about Dad guilt? Probably not.

I see a shift happening, especially now with the amazing movements that women are making in politics and leadership roles. We are redefining what it means to be a woman. We can be strong leaders and also great mothers. But do not let this discount the significance and magnitude of our maternal urges. They are real. They will always separate us.

I’m not giving you many specific tips or secret formulas for managing guilt. I think instead I’m asking for a shift in how we see ourselves in our roles, therefore eliminating the guilt and pressures put on us whether by external sources or internal.

When you start to feel guilty, think about what a great role model you are for your kids. You are setting the standard high. They see a strong, independent woman who owns her own business! They see her working hard and providing for her family. I get to see my postpartum clients from an outside perspective, and they often feel guilty and scared and angry, but you know what? They’re doing a lovely job. We are sometimes hardest on ourselves. The fact that you feel guilty sometimes means you’re a good mother and care about the time you spend with your children. And more than likely, you’re doing way better than you give yourself credit for.

So remember you’re a badass Mompreneur! You’re making it all happen and when you start to doubt yourself or feel guilty, take a look at everything you’ve built and feel proud.


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sleep training

Sleep Training is a Four Letter Word

Sleep Training. Those two words can stir up some pretty aggressive emotions for some parents. I guess it’s because there are so many methodologies, many of which are controversial, and there are so many different thoughts on parenting and what is right and wrong.

My answer is there’s no one way to do this! If there was, it would be simple.

Whether a family wants to co-sleep or have baby in his own crib, it’s not my job to judge their decisions. My job is to figure out a solution that works well for them.

Sleep training shouldn’t be a controversial topic. Everyone needs and wants a full night’s rest. I don’t know many (actually any) people who would argue with that, but how you get there is where it becomes tricky. We don’t want to let our child cry for hours or make them feel neglected, which many methodologies tend to do.

Sleep training, at it’s most basic level, is a plan to help the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of both parents and baby. Without sleep, parents are exhausted, mentally drained, and overly-emotional. A sleep-deprived baby can find it hard to nap during the day, be too exhausted to nurse, cry all the time, or just zone out because daily activities are too stimulating.

A good sleep consultant will take all factors into account. They will listen to your story, your history, your values, and your end goal. They will come up with a solution that works for everyone, not a method that works for “most”.

As parents, I think we need to give up on this idea that there is only one certain way to do things. It’s great to have a plan, but they must always be flexible. I see parents beat themselves up over plans that aren’t working, especially feeding and sleeping patterns. They see their friend’s baby sleeping through the night or their niece on a perfect feeding and nap schedule. They’re given all sorts of advice that doesn’t work for them, they read all the books and each one gives them conflicting ideas, so they end up more confused.

I had one client tell me this, “I read all the books but none of them ever told me what to do in the night when my baby wouldn’t stop crying. We did the consistent night time routine, we did the ‘shuffle’ slowly out of the room, we tried to soothe him back to sleep, but nothing ever worked. We felt defeated.”

Books and articles on sleep can only help to a certain extent. You need a physical presence that can ask questions, assess your individual situation, and come up with an individualized plan. Most of the time there are other factors at play that the books aren’t going to mention.

As a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant, Certified Postpartum Doula, and Newborn Care Specialist, I love helping families set goals and figure out realistic ways to reach them. There’s nothing more satisfying than happy parents and a happy baby.

Contact me to talk about a customized sleep plan for your family.


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Baby Shower Gifts

[un]common sense: Buy them what they asked for

[un]common sense is a blog about navigating through everyday life, using some common sense tips to make it just a bit easier, and sometimes a little more fun. Alyssa is a wife, mother, and postpartum doula who has some tricks up her sleeve and wants to share them with the world. Well now, don’t you feel lucky?

I recently attended a friend’s baby shower; the first I’ve been to in years. I was surprised to see that not much had changed since I had my own (over five years ago). The mother was showered with gifts alright, most of which she did not register for.

There’s nothing more annoying than opening boxes and gift bags filled with presents that your Aunt thinks “Is just the most adorable outfit ever” or your Grandmother says,”I just couldn’t pass up when I saw it!”

They have the best of intentions, but when it comes to having a baby, or babies, you don’t need extra stuff just because it’s adorable. You need practical, useful items that will make your life easier, not just make the baby or nursery look cute.

I remember after my baby showers having a pile of baby blankets, toys, and stuffed animals. What the heck was I going to do with all of it? I didn’t register for any of them, most of them were hideous, newborns don’t play with toys, and most importantly you can’t put any of that stuff in a crib, so why in the world would anyone think a baby needed all this stuff?

I returned what I could (blankets, onesies with silly phrases, gigantic toys, fancy pacifiers, stuffed animals) and donated whatever came without receipts and the stores wouldn’t take. I wonder how many hundreds of dollars were spent on those gifts, wasted. Wasted because it was not what I asked for! People took it upon themselves to decide what I needed for my baby instead of buying what I requested. It made all the time I spent researching what I needed, then registering for it, seem pointless.

So, I watched in agony as my friend opened up gift after gift that she did not register for. I watched as the mound of “Oh my god, it’s sooo soft!” blankets grew, the pile of “So stinkin’ cute!” stuffed animals overflowed, and the boxes of expensive newborn outfits began to stack up.

I wonder when people will get it? Baby showers are about the Mom and baby, not about them.

In-home support from a postpartum doula is the most wonderful gift you could give to new parents. If I could have taken the hundreds of dollars wasted on fuzzy leopard print blankets and extra large stuffed animals and put it toward a doula, you better believe I would have! My friend ended up getting a very generous amount gifted toward postpartum help because she requested it in her baby shower invites along with her registry.

If you are pregnant and planning to have baby showers, contact Gold Coast Doulas about a customized invitation stuffer. It’s an easy way to ask your friends and family for postpartum support.

The most common question I get asked as a Postpartum Doula is “What do you do for families?” It’s hard to answer because I consider my work to be fluid. It will change from family to family, and even day to day with the same family. One day a mother might need a nap, so I make sure the baby is cared for while she lies down, and maybe pick up the house a little or do some meal prep while she sleeps. The next day the same mother (because she got a nap) may be full of energy so we take our first outing together, be it to the grocery store or a walk around the block. If the mother has older children, she may feel like they’ve been neglected and want to spend some quality time with them; so again I will care for the newborn so she can focus on the older siblings.

Our services allow a mother to a nap or shower, drink a cup of tea, or finish her thank-you cards. We offer local resource suggestions for health care providers, chiropractors, mother’s groups, kid-friendly restaurants, or maybe the best place to buy a bottle of wine. We are also there for emotional support. We let her talk, cry, whatever she needs to do. And we make sure she is heard. A Postpartum Doula is an expert voice of reason that will not offer opinions or judgment.

Oftentimes new parents just need someone to guide them through the first few weeks or months with a newborn. Breastfeeding is often harder than expected. Parents finally understand what sleep deprivation means. They may be scared to give the first bath or clip baby’s nails the first time. A Postpartum Doula’s role is so very important. We are your village. We are here to support you and your family, judgment-free with no hidden agendas.

Contact Gold Coast if you have interest in any of the services we offer.

Bedrest Doulas, Birth Doulas, Daytime and Overnight Postpartum Doulas, Customized Baby Shower Stuffers, Lactation Consultations, or any of our classes including HypnoBirthing, Newborn Survival, Breastfeeding, Preparing for Multiples.


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Healthy Breakfast for Kids

[un]common sense: redefining breakfast one bowl at a time

[un]common sense is a blog about navigating through everyday life, using some common sense tips to make it just a bit easier, and sometimes a little more fun. Alyssa is a wife, mother, and postpartum doula who has some tricks up her sleeve and wants to share them with the world. Well now, don’t you feel lucky?

Your child’s daily breakfast probably consists of cereal, right? And if you allowed it, so would lunch and dinner. At least in my house, that’s what would happen…cereal for every meal! My daughter loves cereal, like possibly as much as she loves me.

Most of us know it’s not the healthiest way to start our day, but I don’t know many kids who will sit down to a flaxseed and barley bowl in the morning (except my friend Julia’s kids). So what’s a parent to do?

I’ve come up with a few tricks to at least make breakfast a smidge healthier for the wee ones.

  • Instead of cereals loaded with sugar (which most are), find cereals that have 8 grams of sugar or less. You can add sweetness with raw honey or fruit on top.
  • Try getting your kids to eat oatmeal. Plain oatmeal. Not the prepackaged crap that’s flavored and full of sugar. Again, sweeten with honey or fruit.
  • Make your own granola. I know, I know. Who has the time right? But it’s actually super easy and something that the kids can help with. Making your own allows you to control how it’s sweetened, usually with honey or maple syrup.
  • If you don’t want to make your own, buy granola at the store. But the same rules apply, look for granola low in sugar.
  • Try yogurt in the morning with fruit and granola. Shocker, yogurt is also full of sugar! I know how delicious the vanilla flavored Greek yogurt is, but just check out the label. Go ahead, I’ll wait….see? Go for the plain yogurt and add honey, fruit, and granola. It’s delicious.
  • My final tip here is the most important….add things to the cereal/granola/oatmeal to make it even healthier. Get sneaky. Hide behind the open refrigerator door to add stuff without the kids seeing if you need to. I’ve started adding fish oil, a probiotic, and vitamin d to my daughter’s breakfast every morning. She has no idea. And I’ve had no complaints.

Side note: You can add anything you’d like, obviously taking into consideration any food allergies or sensitivities your child may have. Even if your kid will only eat frozen waffles or toast in the morning, do what you can to add some nutrition. The fish oil I use tastes like key lime pie, so I’ve used it as “syrup” on waffles for my daughter. The probiotic has no taste and neither does the liquid vitamin d. Be sure to talk to your health care provider first to make sure they approve of you adding these things. Mine is all for it.

See the video below to watch the magic unfold.

See, it’s simple. Just add all sorts of wonderfully healthy things to their breakfast and they’ll be none the wiser. Get creative with your ideas. It’s okay to be sneaky!


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high risk pregnancy

High-Risk Pregnancy Support

Being on bed rest can be challenging. I know this from personal experience, as I was on bed rest for several weeks with preeclampsia during my first pregnancy. I was lucky enough to live above the Electric Cheetah at the time. The staff delivered healthy meals to my door when my husband was at work. They treated me like family. I could have used an antepartum doula back then.

Gold Coast Doulas want women to feel supported and secure during this time in waiting. We offer antepartum doula services in the home and in the hospital. Our trained and experienced doulas can offer the following services: in home childbirth education, sibling care, errands, baby shower planning, nursery set-up, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry and more.

We offer practical and emotional support focusing on the needs of the mother and her family! Call today for a free consultation. 616-294-0027

Posted by Kristin Revere




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