Less than four weeks out from our anticipated due date (the irony found in babe’s presumed Labor Day weekend arrival too silly to let go unmentioned), Andrew and I spent the better part of this weekend finishing up our minute home details, getting together a comprehensive plan of action for what’s to become of our not-so-little Rooster Lou while we’re away (yes, we’re those puppy parents), and procuring the this’s and that’s of my ‘hospital bag’. Those little creature comforts and necessities to make our labor and first few hours with babe that much more comfortable and seamless. I can’t thank you all enough for extending such incredible wisdom and advice, unconditionally sharing your birth experiences over on Tallulah. Though your overall consensus lingered around packing light, there were some crowd favorites I thought I’d curate here for future mama-birds; items that have made their ways from your bags and birth stories into my very own.
Taking your suggestions and strategically packing everything from underwire-free nursing bras, nursing pads, a nursing pillow, and nipple balm (boobs boobs boobs), to my very favorite line of natural skincare products and pre-packaged granola bars in a valiant attempt to feel like ‘myself’, you’ll also note the addition of a yoga ball. A practice I’ve have been incorporating into my pregnancy routine for the past few weeks, nightly bouncing and hip circles have not only been so helpful pre-labor, getting our little babe into the right ‘position’ and warding off those aches and pains, but (from what I’ve heard!) can help ease contractions during the big shebang. I’ve also packed ‘granny panties’ and pads, a few favorite flannels and leggings to get ‘cozy’ during our stay, the most stunning and nursing friendly hospital gown from James Fox Co. (again, to feel more like ‘myself’), and the softest worn pillow and blanket. And of course, my camera!
One tip I found particularly helpful was to ‘make sure your significant other has snacks‘. Consciously coupled to a man that proudly lists ‘munching’ as a favorite past time, I couldn’t imagine leaving our home without his refreshments on a normal day, let alone on one where he’s in the position of keeping our moods calm, positive, and productive. Keeping Andrew’s hangry’s (a tornado compilation of angry and grumpy brought on by unsatisfied hunger) at bay while celebrating some of his very favorite flavors, these simple Hangry Bars, aka: dark chocolate, cherry, and walnut oat bars, are that perfect balance of convenience, nutrition, and sweet tooth satisfaction. Made with belly filling rolled oats, chia, and walnuts, tart cherries, and naturally sweetening medjool dates and rich dark chocolate, these almost oatmeal cookie like granola bars not only come together in minutes, but can keep up to a week on your countertop – ready to grab and go should labor (or hunger pangs!) strike. Andrew loves his alongside a piping mug of black coffee.
Hangry Bars: Dark Chocolate Cherry + Walnut Oat Bars [makes 18 bars]
2 ½ cups filtered water
20 medjool dates, pitted
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup unsweetened tart cherries
1 cup coconut flakes
½ cup dairy free dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, rack in the middle. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil, then line with parchment paper.
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the medjool dates and continue to boil until dates are very soft and the majority of the water has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Allow to sit for an additional 5 minutes, then using an immersion blender, whiz mixture until it forms a very thick paste. Set aside. (Note: if you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer mixture to your high-speed blender and whiz as noted).
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss oats, walnuts, cherries, coconut, and chocolate chips until well combined. Stir in date paste, thoroughly mixing until all of the ingredients are coated and sticky.
Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish, pressing down firmly so that it’s tightly packed and smooth on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from heat, allow to cool completely, then slice into 18 evenly sized bars. Enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per bar]
250 Calories, 10.5g Fat, 37g Carbohydrates, 5.5g Fiber, 22g Sugar, 4.5g Protein
Hospital Bag generously gifted by Lo & Sons: The Catalina Deluxe Large, Midnight Ash