Hello friends. I've been wanting to share this post for AGES but the juggle of a newborn and a kiddo that has just started school is intense. I'm enjoying finding time to cook again though - while baby is sleeping and on the weekend. Having my creative pursuits really help me when I feel buried in the mum life.
I do hope you enjoy this recipe. It's a great one to make and have on hand. Also perfect to pass along to those that love you and want to make you something delicious.
These cookies are the perfect healthy snack to fuel hungry new mothers and support breastfeeding. Manuka honey imparts a gorgeous flavour and delivers valuable nourishment. I'm obsessed with True Honey and have partnered with them to write some lovely recipes. I’ve also used ingredients like fenugreek, fennel and oats to help promote lactation. If you're not breastfeeding, they are still a brilliant, wholesome snack.
This recipe makes a very generous batch. I like to make lots as they freeze really brilliantly. Add a half cup of good-quality dark chocolate chips for extra decadence.
My new mum must-haves
I'm excited to share a bit of mama chat with you. The items I'm talking about below all reinforce the idea that new mothers should take the first 6 weeks to truly rest as much as possible, to nourish themselves and to keep life as simple as possible. I have to say that from where I stand now at 9 weeks postpartum, I see that I could have done this time a little better. I sprung back into active family life just a little too soon. A lot of this was out of my control (it's tricky to totally stop when you've got a busy 5 year old) but I wished I'd talked in advance to my family and loved ones about how we might structure this time. I'd really encourage you to have those conversations in depth before baby arrives.
Also, I hope it goes without saying that I'm not an expert of any kind. Far from it! I'm simply a chatterbox mama sharing the things that worked for me. It would be really lovely to hear about anything that helped you in the newborn bubble. Comment below!
Magnesium oil spray
Honestly I cannot rave enough about the profound effect using magnesium oil has had on my sleep and my all-round chilled-out nice mum vibe. It's also awesome for soothing aching muscles. I do 3 sprays on the top of each foot, every morning when I get out of the shower. You can also opt to do this in the evening before bed.
I had been taking magnesium tablets for a few years when I tried mag oil and immediately noticed the difference between the two. This form of magnesium is said to be much more easily absorbed and for those that find magnesium tablets effects their bowels, this won't have that effect.
For me, sleep is deeper and more restorative. I also fall asleep with greater ease. Magnesium is a pretty vital mineral anyway but for me, when tackling life with a newborn, it's absolutely essential. There are a few brands around. I use Blants. I buy it online (along with their epsom salts). Would love to hear if you give this a go!
If you've already had a baby, you'll know that slightly odd 'empty' feeling in your belly after you've given birth. That stage when your uterus is still contracting back to it's regular size and your internal organs are finding their way back to their original spot. This time around I used a belly wrap from 3 days postpartum. I really loved the snug, supported, warming feeling of having it low on my hips pulling everything in tight. It felt great for my achey lower back in those first few weeks.
You are supposed to wear them 24hrs a day for 8 weeks. I only wore it during the day and still felt like I got benefits. Luke liked to tease me that I was wearing a Kardashian-style waist trainer. I appreciated him putting a sexy spin on my post-birth belly antics.
I bought this one from Breastmates as it was the most reasonably priced. I really recommend!
Those long hours of feeding in the early days can get rather boring and it's tempting to spend that time scrolling through social media. While I definitely did a little bit of that, I tried to keep it to a minimum. I think all that screen time is bad for your brain (keeping it busy and over-stimulated) at a time when it's important to be resting and recuperating. I found podcasts to be an awesome way to wile away the hours. Listening to something interesting made that feeding time more enjoyable.
I've included a list of my favourite podcasts (look them up on your podcasts app on your phone). My choices are pretty varied in genre. I'd love to hear any recommendations from you also.
Women of the hour
Longest shortest time
Slate political gabfest
Slate culture gabfest
Pod save America
Essential oils and diffuser
I'm new to the realm of essential oils but I did treat myself to a diffuser a month before Diana was born. I bought this one from Huckleberry in Grey Lynn. I used the Birth Calm blend from Absolute Essentials. I would have it diffusing in the room while I practiced my hypnobirthing breathing in the weeks leading up to Diana's birth. I used it throughout her birth and also at home for the first few weeks of recuperation. I loved the scent during her birth. It helped keep me focussed on staying calm and grounded through the challenging parts of birth. I'd come to associate it with only positive and empowered thinking.
Using it afterwards reinforced the cocoon feeling I hoped to have while getting to know my new babe and establishing breastfeeding. I've got lots to learn about essential oils but this initial experience was really positive
Bone broth / Nourishing soups
The period immediately following birth is a demanding time for your body. You are simultaneously trying to heal from a rather momentous event and caring for your new baby (especially demanding on your body if breastfeeding). It's crucial to be fueling yourself in a way that will support this time. I found having loads of homemade broths and vegetable-packed soup ready to go incredibly helpful. I really love sipping mugs of home-made chicken broth (with a little lemon juice, sesame oil, salt & pepper). It's hydrating, soothing and a wonderful healing food.
Vegetable soups are an easy way to get a good dose of nutrition during a time when you're often grabbing meals from the freezer and making things as quickly as possible. It might sound crazy but I often have vegetable soup for breakfast. It's a lovely, gentle was to start the day. This EVERYTHING soup I wrote for Dish Magazine is a great one as is my Broccoli, spinach and coconut soup.
These are both very easy to digest and that's incredibly helpful for your healing body.
Supplements that suit
Following on with the theme of nourishment, I think it's worth exploring supplements that target the areas you want to really care for. Pregnancy is an important time for nutrition but in some ways, breastfeeding and caring for a new babe is even more taxing because you've just tackled that herculean task of growing and birthing a baby. With Bonnie I found myself completely wrecked and worn out by the time she was 5 months old. I remember hitting a wall and feeling like a ghost of my former self. This time I'm considering it well worth the investment to build on the good food I'm eating with supplements that suit my needs. If seeing a naturopath is too pricey, you can pop into stores like Tonic Room and Harvest by Huckleberry and the naturopath on duty can give you great advice. I've carried on taking my practioner-only prenatal vitamin, a good fish oil supplement, an iron supplement, a greens powder, a probiotic (as well as lots of fermented foods) and also this gelatin / collagen or this one (amazing for gut health, clear skin and sleep - will share more another time!). I've come to understand that all these work well for me.
Treats just for you
You deserve to feel special when you've just had a baby. You've just done something spectacular and quite miraculous. I loved having little treats that were mama-specific. This cookie recipe is a great example. I also was lucky enough to try the breastfeeding cookies from Franjos (malty, soft and home-made tasting) and also the ones from Totally Devoted (slightly spicy, nice crunch, nostalgic flavour and delicious).
I loved indulging in the foods I'd missed while pregnant too. Blue cheese, smoked salmon and the occasional small glass of red wine were a total joy. Spoil yourself!
Mothering Cookies w/ Manuka honey
Makes 40 bite-size cookies
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds (can leave out if not breastfeeding)
2 teaspoons fenugreek (can leave out if not breastfeeding)
1/3 cup True Honey Co Maunka honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 very ripe banana
1 free-range egg
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (I like use either Pics or Fix & Fogg)
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
Place the fennel seeds and fenugreek in a dry skillet for a few minutes over a medium heat. Use a a spice grinder or powerful blender to grind into a powder.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and run until the cookie dough is evenly mixed. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula a few times.
The mixture will be very sticky. Use damp hands to roll heaped teaspoons of dough into a ball and lay out on the baking sheet. You’ll need to bake the cookies in two batches. Use two fingers or a damp fork to press down each cookie.
Bake for 12 - 17 minutes, placing higher in the oven than you would usually, until lightly golden. Keep a close eye on the cookies as they’ll burn easily if not monitored. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack and baking the second batch.