by Carrie Saum
Mornings are nightmares in my house.
Even before having a baby with some extra needs, I struggled to feel like a human before 10:00am. I know now that I need thyroid support. I need extra vitamins B and D. I need sleep. I need no talking until coffee has kicked in. I need to wake up slow with a silent, sweet cuddle from my toddler.
LOL. I know. These things will never happen.
But I do know what I absolutely need to be a good person during the rest of the day: Breakfast.
I also know I need extra protein and veggies in the morning. I have a hard time taking care of myself. This is NOT NEWS. But I have a specific behavior that pops up when I start to feel overwhelmed and stop taking care of myself.
What is it, you ask? Well, I eat trail mix. For every meal. With a side of coffee. (Or maybe coffee is my main meal and trail mix is a side?)
I started the trail mix/coffee routine when I was exclusively pumping. I ate a limited diet in order to help my son thrive. Nuts, beans, and seeds, thankfully, were never an issue for either of us, so I kept a bag of homemade trail mix next to my pump and snacked while I pumped. I also ate other things, like gluten-free toast and quinoa and oats with a side of salad for breakfast. I ate bags of frozen veggies sautéed in olive oil and topped with an over-easy egg, (until my son reacted to the egg through my breastmilk).
When the challenges I faced far outweighed my capacity to cope, the first thing to go was breakfast. Those simple, warm, fueling meals turned to snack and convenience foods. Which was TOTALLY OKAY for that season in life. I was in full survival mode and I give myself a total pass.
But the reality is this: I need a hot breakfast to be at my peak, and really to even start climbing that mountain. I can handle prepping and eating a hot breakfast every morning, now. I have the capacity.
So, last week when I started eating trail mix, a tiny warning bell went off in my head. Taking care of myself often gets filed to the bottom of the pile when work, family, and community are all scrambling for my attention. Which is crazy because food is kind of My Thing.
I have compiled a list of ways I can restart and ensure my path to self-care. Yours might look different, or there might be more steps, or there might be fewer.
- Eat a hot breakfast.
- The end.
The easiest way to I’ve found to consistently care for myself is to eat a hot breakfast. I prep a breakfast cassarole on Sunday and portion it out for the rest of the week. Then I reheat it in the toaster oven and eat it while it’s
piping hot not ice cold.
- 12 eggs
- 1 cup cheese (I prefer parmesan or asiago, but any cheese will do)
- 1/2 cup half and half, or milk of your choice
- 1 lb of browned sausage or cooked bacon, crumbled (I prefer mild Italian sausage, but you can skip meat altogether to make this vegetarian.)
- 1 medium onion, diced and sauteed
- 1 large fennel bulb, sliced and sauteed
- 12 oz chopped broccoli
- 2 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch of swiss chard or spinach, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp of fresh herbs of your choice, or 1 Tbsp dried herbs. (I use rosemary, basil, from my garden, and fennel fronds from the bulb if available.)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Whisk together eggs, milk, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix in shredded cheese.
- Add protein and veggies, and mix thoroughly.
- In a large, greased baking dish, bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the middle is cooked all the way through.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately. Cut into individual portions and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- To reheat: Place in the oven or toaster oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees and eat.
I am a better person with this method. I am a nicer mom and functional human for at least three hours of the day. Until it’s lunchtime, but that’s another post for another day.
Take Good Care,
*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.