Archive for the ‘Birth’ Category

Incorporating a New Baby into Your Daily Life

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Incorporating a New Baby into Your Daily LifeI sit here typing this blog at 39 weeks pregnant. I have a recently turned 4-year-old daughter and a newly 2-year-old son. I am either eating, cleaning, or worrying these days about my life with three little ones. So, how do you incorporate a new baby into your daily life? How do you still make sure you take care of everyone’s needs, including your own? Here are some ideas I have on how to make the transition easy for all involved.

Remember, you are supermom. I had a friend tell me that once, and it has never left my mind. Don’t let yourself get hung up on unrealistic expectations. There will be days when no one has real clothes on and you don’t shower. There may be days when your kids watch too much television so you can take care of a sick infant. All of this is okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. You can handle it all with grace and a smile. Celebrate small victories. If all you do today is feed your kids supper and snuggle, that’s a victory.

It’s okay to accept help. With a new baby comes new responsibility. Let your husband or friend help as needed. If you have children in school, allow someone to help you get them there. If you have a child that needs more attention, invite family or friends to come babysit. I am awful at accepting help, but I am learning as I age that I need it more often. If friends or family want to bring you meals after baby arrives, take them and show your gratitude. If you have older children, allow them to help in small ways. My daughter is a big help when I need to shower currently.

Start slowly and take small steps. It will be a transition for everyone in your household to have a new baby. Expect some chaos. When my son was born, my daughter wasn’t quite 2. She regressed with potty training, and I was convinced she hated me. Let siblings help with baby duties, such as getting diapers or wipes. If you are bottle feeding, allow your older children to help with feedings. My daughter already loves my nursing pillow, so I plan on having her get it for me when I need to feed the baby. Don’t expect the transition to go perfectly or quickly.

Remember a new baby is also a time of change for you, momma. Take care of your emotions and make sure to take time to eat, too. Don’t worry if things don’t go smoothly for a while. Find ways to make life easier. I know I plan on wearing this baby as much as possible so I can still function. Just remember it is just a stage, and don’t with the newborn days away. Before you know it, your kids and baby will all be in sync with the new routine.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost three, in Arkansas. She is ready to have this third baby…any day now.

When You Don’t Feel a Bond to Your Baby

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

When my first kid was born, the bond was immediate. The labor was induced, due to preeclampsia, and it went quickly: six hours after the Pitocin drip started, I was holding my tiny, squirming little bundle in my arms. I had dreamed of a natural labor and delivery, in a birthing center, and worried that the change to a hospital birth with medical intervention would impact the bonding process I had read so much about. Instead, my heart broke open and I never loved someone so intensely as I did the moment I saw my precious boy.

Eighteen months later, to the day, I was in labor with my second boy. I had taken all the precautions this time, doing all the things my midwife had advised to avoid preeclampsia, and was actually going to be able to have a home birth this time. We would be in our safe space, without medical intervention, and it was going to create the ultimate bonding opportunity between my child and me. What I couldn’t anticipate, though, was that eighteen hours of back labor, a much longer period of time pushing than the first delivery I experienced, and a baby that was 50 percent larger than my first resulted in me feeling exhausted, pained, and hollow. I looked at my second baby, perfect in every way, and though glad he was safe and healthy, I felt little more than appreciation that the entire process was over.

At the realization that I was not over the moon as I had been with my first, that appreciation was suddenly replaced with a crushing sense of Mommy-guilt. Why didn’t I feel the euphoria I felt before? Why didn’t I feel that bond the second I saw him, as I had before? I had checked all the boxes, done everything right—what was wrong with me?

Turns out, the immediate bond with your child isn’t something that everyone experiences. In fact, 20 percent of new parents don’t feel that intense attachment the second they lay eyes on their new baby. Those feelings are even harder to come by if your birth is traumatic in any way, as having a child doesn’t remove the part of you that is human. Experiencing pain, emotional and/or physical, requires healing, and your brain may require that to happen first before a bond can occur with your child. Worse yet, there is immense pressure to suddenly have an entire identity shift with the birth of a child, so in addition to dealing with the difficult transition to parenthood, a lack of bonding can be accompanied with a giant helping of shame. Those negative feelings, isolation, and other biological factors can spiral into developing postpartum depression, and it’s important to recognize when extra support is needed. In the meantime, removing the pedestal we place motherhood on with all of its attached expectations of perfection allows for more opportunity to talk about the times where we don’t meet expectations.

Four years later, that second boy of mine is full of more goodness than I could ever ask for, and I am fully over the moon for all the things that he is. It took some time to get there, but that doesn’t make me less-than—it makes me human.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Post-pregnancy Teas

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

post-partum teasThe first three months after giving birth are known as the fourth trimester. It is a time when baby is getting used to being out of the womb and in the world. Just as we do our best to nourish our bodies during the first three trimesters, the fourth trimester is just as important. Nutrition is still going to be important, and adding some herbal teas can be very beneficial as well. These are my top picks for postpartum teas.

Red raspberry leaf. If you started drinking it through pregnancy (or even if you didn’t) it’s a great idea to keep drinking it. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and especially high amounts of vitamins C and E as well as calcium and iron, which is especially important after giving birth. It also helps some women increase their breast milk supply because of its naturally high mineral content.

Nettle tea. This is a wonderful restorative tea that helps get rid of new motherhood fatigue by boosting energy and even helping to calm anxiety. It has a deep, rich flavor that I think resembles the earthiness of coffee. It gets its dark color from green chlorophyll, which helps create rich blood and is said to strengthen vitality.

Lemon balm. One of my very favorite teas it is an antiviral, which can help keep you from getting sick but it is also a wonderful calming herb. It has a mild delicious flavor and you can drink it throughout the day to help calm your nerves or before bed to help you sleep. My favorite way to drink it is to make a large batch, mix it with some honey and store it in the fridge to drink cold.

Chamomile. Known as one of the best relaxation teas to help before bed it also serves many other purposes. In the same way as lemon balm you can drink it throughout the day to help reduce stress, tension and nervousness. It is also great to help reduce gas and bloating making it a great post meal beverage. Try mixing some chamomile leaves with lemon balm for an even more delicious tea.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

Should Dads Be in the Delivery Room?

Friday, August 19th, 2016

should dads be in the delivery room?A recent article in the Huffington Post brought up a question that many modern parents probably thought had already been put to rest in the 70s: Should dads be in the delivery room?

Trends surrounding childbirth tend to follow a pendulum swing. From the days when women endured natural childbirth because there was no other way, to knocking women out with ether while their baby was delivered, to natural childbirth, to the height of C-section popularity. Birth experiences even vary widely within one  mother’s experience with multiple children. One thing is certain: there is no one right way to have a baby, for any couple. For that reason, the trend of having dads in the delivery room may well be worth re-examining. Many people also consider allowing siblings to be present during birth, and these are worthwhile considerations for that decision, too.

Here are a few points to consider when deciding how to wrap your head around how childbirth might go for you and your spouse:

  • Birth is a stressful situation, even when everything goes textbook perfect. It may be hard for your partner to see you in pain and not be able to help. Consider how you each react to the other’s stress, and what impact that might have on the labor process. Relaxation and oxytocin help speed labor up, while stress and cortisol slow labor down.
  • Would other people (in addition to your spouse) in the delivery room make the situation worse or better? A doula might be helpful for facilitating involvement. Other family, like adult siblings and parents may or may not help, too.
  • Does your spouse handle needles and/or blood OK? it’s possible that they may need to leave during certain parts, like administering an IV or epidural, and return when it’s over.
  • Consider where your spouse might stand during delivery that might allow them to offer support but not be overwhelmed.
  • Think about decisions like whether or not they want to help catch or cut the cord ahead of time.
  • Birthing classes can be helpful at giving your spouse helpful suggestions for how to assist during labor.

My husband passed out at the sight of needles and would shut down in a stressful situation, so we worked with a doula from early on in my pregnancy. She tagged him in on and off during labor, allowing him time to help and also get away during the process since it was long and overwhelming, and I felt safer knowing I would still have support if he needed medical attention.  I also decided no one but us and the doula would be at the birth. I had never really thought about this until I got pregnant, but once I did, there was no question. I knew additional family and the associated travel plans–on an unknown timeline, no less–would be stressful for me. It was disappointing for some, but I held my ground. It was one of the first times I felt a mother instinct.

In the end, only you as a couple can decide what’s best for your family. You may end up making some unconventional choices, or at the very least, not making the choices you imagined you would before you got pregnant. If you think family or friends will not be supportive of those choices, you can choose not to discuss the topic with them. Remember, it’s your body, and your birth. This is a time to be selfish and think about your health and what’s best for you.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

 

Iron-Rich Foods for Postpartum Recovery

Friday, August 12th, 2016

iron-rosh foodsI have struggled with keeping my iron levels up since adolescence. I thought that finally I would have a break from dealing with it when I was pregnant (no period, no blood loss!). Which is true, you aren’t menstruating every month. However, building a tiny human from scratch (Good job, moms!) demands a lot of iron. It’s the reason why prenatal vitamins tend to have so much iron in them (which is why some women have tummy troubles with them).

If you are having troubles with your iron levels, there are lots of foods that can help. For me personally, my body seems to absorb iron best from red meat (I don’t like liver, but if you do, liver is an excellent source of iron). I got that tip from an ANP I used to see. When I start to feel weak or get a bit bruisy, I try and eat a serving of steak. I’m not a huge meat eater, but it makes a big difference in how I feel. Iron from animal sources is called heme iron, because the source originally contained hemoglobin. Shellfish like clams and oysters are also very good sources of iron.

Broccoli, potatoes,  and spinach and other green leafy vegetables are also good sources of iron. Iron from non-animal sources is called nonheme and doesn’t absorb as well as heme. Blackstrap molasses is a good as well–if you enjoy the taste, you can get a hefty iron boost by stirring some into Cream of Wheat (which is fortified with iron).

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, tofu, quinoa, lentils and red kidney beans are all good sources of protein and iron.

One thing to keep in mind, whether you’re trying to boost your levels through food and/or supplement, is that vitamin C is BFFs with iron. Try and get vitamin C, through either food or supplement, alongside your iron-rich food or supplement.

Finally, if you don’t tolerate regular iron supplements well but need something beyond what you’re eating, Floradix is a really excellent supplement. You drink it before eating. I’ll be honest, it’s super expensive and it tastes kind of yucky, but I have had a lot of luck with it when I dip too far down.

Meaghan Howard is a busy stay-at-home mom to two little boys and a houseful of animals. She and her family are enjoying living overseas for the time being.