Category Archives: Mommy Talk

You Know You Are a Crunchy Mama When…

almost every reference made in this video is totally sh*t I say!

Here is a list of my 10 favorites:

1: “Sorry if I smell like garlic, I’m trying to kick this cold”- Have you ever snuggled your baby to bed and realized they smelled like garlic bread? No? Huh…well, getting a hold of Gaia Herbs for Kids Ear Drops could help solve this problem. I recently learned about these through my friends whose babies have been battling ear infections. And they have worked wonders! For centuries garlic has been known to have anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. Mullein oil, another ingredient often found in ear drops, has an anti-viral action and also helps to work against inflammation and increases the lymphatic circulation. Make sure to consult your physician about this alternative method to conventional treatments.

2: “Who was your doula?”- Thank God for doulas! Before I got pregnant with Harper I was unfamiliar with the term, but after experiencing labor with a doula and a midwife by my side, I am a huge advocate of their work. If you or anyone you know is pregnant and expecting a baby, I would highly recommend having a doula at the birth. The support they provide both for the mother and the family is tremendous and can many times prove to be life changing. To read more on doulas, check out the DONA International site.

3: “I love the amber teething necklace“- If you have ever seen a baby with a necklace on and wondered why they are better accessorized than you, then chances are they were wearing an amber teething necklace. Amber teething necklaces are made for wearing not chewing. The Baltic amber helps to relieve teething pain. It also boasts other benefits such as boosting the immune system and offering anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties.

4: ” Wait, I’m doing my kegels, hold on a second”- For those of us who have had the pleasure of giving birth, kegels have become our new form of exercise. And that is all I have to say about that…because divulging anymore information would be a bit TMI!

5: “I might eat the placenta, I might not”- Believe it or not, placentophagy is all the rage, in this culture anyways. But don’t worry, no ones frying it up and serving it for dinner. Or at least let me say, no one I know. However, people are dehydrating it, grinding it up, putting it in capsules and taking it in the form of a multi-vitamin. And why not? All the other mammals are doing it!

6: “48 hour water birth”- Ok, so maybe my labor wasn’t 48 hours but 31 hours is a good chunk of time too. And unfortunately I wasn’t able to have a water birth, but more on that later. I look forward to sharing my birth story with you soon.

7: “We don’t have a crib”- As we approach our one year anniversary of family cuddles, and celebrate Harper’s 1st birthday, I am still grateful that our crib was originally on back order. Not only did we save money by eventually canceling our order, but better yet, we get the chance to snuggle up to our adorable little girl every night. It doesn’t get better than that!

8: “Coconut oil, where’s the coconut oil?”- Because who needs diaper cream when there is coconut oil? And the number of uses doesn’t stop there. It is great for cradle cap, baby massage, digestion. Check out this link for the many health benefits of coconut oil for your little one.

9: “I think she’s pooping”- A day in the life of a family practicing elimination communication, is all about staying in touch with your little one’s bodily functions. Check out the above links to read more.

10: “It’s called the Business of Being Born“- I know I have mentioned this movie before, but it is a powerful display of knowledge. This movie was the turning point for me when it came to how I chose to bring my daughter into this world. I would highly recommend it to all people, but especially those who are pregnant.

To be honest, growing up, I could have never predicted I would be considered a crunchy mom, but now that I am, I couldn’t be more proud to say it…and all the other sh*t!

ps: Love this video and want to see more? Check out Mama Natural’s Blog

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TMI

Hopefully we are all hip to the title of this post, but in the event that these letters have no significance to you, TMI stands for Too Much Information.

And as much as we all want this post to be filled with embarrassing facts about my life that have you screaming “TMI”…this post is actually intended to help new mommies and mommies-to-be find some sanity in the midst of TMI.

By TMI I am referring to the inordinate amount of information you begin to drown in the second you discover the double pink lines on your pee-stick. From books, to doctors, to friends, to blogs, to little old ladies at the grocery store, everyone wants to give you the low down on what life is going to be like for the next 9 months. And as grateful as we all are for the opportunity to get our questions answered, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. So this is my attempt to help you sort through the piles of stuff by giving you my two cents on some of my favorite finds.

As new parents, we are thirsty for knowledge. We are curious and eager to digest as much information as our brains can hold. I can remember when Freddie and I found out that we were pregnant. The first thing we did was go out and buy two copies of What to Expect When You are Expecting, one for each of us. I had heard that it was a “must have” for all expecting parents. When we returned home that night Freddie and I sat up in bed, cracked open the book and started reading, with bookmarks and highlighters in hand. We lasted all of 5 minutes, max! Unfortunately, there was a bit too much information all at once. And the writing was very dry and quite boring. So we put it down and never picked it up again.

But I still needed to know what this whole experience was going to be like. So I started digging through a pile of books that someone had given to me. I was excited when I came across The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy: Or everything your doctor won’t tell you. I decided to take it with me to breakfast one morning and was laughing out loud as I enjoyed my chorizo and eggs by myself…mmmmm :). What I enjoyed most about this book was the author’s approach to the information that she provided. She was relaxed in her presentation and it truly felt as if it were a girlfriend who was offering me advice.

Speaking of girlfriends, one day I happened to be in a conversation with my co-worker who was also pregnant, with her second child, and she mentioned babycenter.com. I had never heard of it before and was excited to see what all the hype was about. Talk about a lot of information! Luckily, you can easily search what you are looking for and it will direct you to an experts take on it as well as community boards where other mothers-to-be share their thoughts and feelings. My favorite part about this site was signing up for the weekly emails that offer information on your baby’s development while in utero. This helped me to better understand what was going on in my belly.

As my pregnancy progressed and Freddie and I started looking into what to buy for our little bundle, my friend gave me the Baby Bargains book which truly is the bible for reviews and ratings of baby gear. I tailored my entire registry list based off of their recommendations. What I found most helpful was the safety ratings. With all the possible options out there, it helped to narrow down our choices, knowing we were purchasing the safest product on the market.

If you haven’t seen the movie The Business of Being Born, add it to your Netflix queue immediately. Even if you are not a mother-to-be, or have already birthed your babies, this movie is powerful. I am so grateful that someone shared this movie with me. It is a wealth of information that will move you to change the way you approach childbirth, or at least it did for me.

Finally, one of my favorite sites for natural parenting is mothering.com. There is a plethora of resources on everything from pregnancy and birth to green living and recipes all with a natural approach. This site became very helpful to me after Harper was born as I felt that it offered me the support I was looking for when it came to issues such as vaccines, breastfeeding and co-sleeping.

In addition to the books, websites and movie mentioned, I found attending a birth class with my husband was not only a great source of information on what to expect, but also a wonderful place to meet other pregnant women with whom I was able to form a network of peers. And almost a year later, all of our babies are buddies and now we participate in mommy groups together. Another great way to meet other pregnant moms can be through pre-natal yoga. I was lucky to find a pre-natal yoga class that not only offered good stretching and exercise but also a forum where we could share our thoughts and feelings with other women who may be going through a similar thing. Sometimes gathering information from your peers who are in the midst of pregnancy themselves can prove helpful.

So after bombarding you with more information, I hope it wasn’t TMI. At the end of the day it is all about balance. You don’t want to go into this experience blindly, but you also don’t want to be overloaded. I like to remember La Leche League’s motto which is “Take what seems right for you and leave the rest”. The truth of the matter is all the knowledge you need is already inside of you. It’s called your mother’s intuition. And its available to you 24/7 if you learn to trust it.

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La Leche League

I just returned home from a wonderful evening filled with mommies, babies, boobies and milk. And before your mind starts to wander to places it shouldn’t, I’m referring to a breastfeeding class for expectant parents sponsored by my local La Leche League (LLL).

An active member and advocate of LLL for over a year now, I was asked to sit on a panel of experienced parents to help answer questions and share my journey of breastfeeding with expectant mothers and families. Some of the topics covered included the benefits of breastfeeding, how to get started breastfeeding, different ways to hold your baby while nursing as well as how can one seek help and support. I was honored to be a part of this wonderful group of breastfeeding mothers, offering their stories to pregnant mothers-to-be.

I was first introduced to LLL back in college. As a Family Studies and Human Development Major, I learned about each stage in life from birth to late adulthood. While we were studying infancy, we had a guest speaker from LLL who came to share the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits with the class. I was so inspired by her presentation I felt moved to become a volunteer and help spread the word. However, at the time, I wasn’t yet a mother and therefore hadn’t had the first hand experience of breastfeeding.

The mission of LLL is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. The key component of LLL is the mother-to-mother support, which to me is what makes LLL so wonderful. Not only does it make you feel more comfortable to talk to your peers, but no one knows more about breastfeeding challenges and successes than the mothers themselves.

Tonight, as I was sharing my journey through breastfeeding with the mothers-to-be, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. For one, I am continually grateful that I have had a successful breastfeeding journey. Secondly, my desire to help spread the word about breastfeeding, sparked by my initial introduction to LLL, was fulfilled. Although I am constantly advocating for breastfeeding in my every day life, this was my first “official” presentation on a panel. It made me feel good to give back, especially after all the wonderful help and support I have gotten from other mothers along the way. I look forward to continuing to be involved in similar presentations and volunteer opportunities. (side note: can you guess what I was wearing? duh…my chucks!)

Before you go, I wanted to share a wonderful video with you. If you are unfamiliar with LLL as a whole, or have ever wondered how it got started, please enjoy this quick look into the history of LLL. It is truly inspirational.

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What to Expect After You Have Expected

Having a baby is an awesome and miraculous event. For 9 months your body is busy growing a tiny human being in your tummy. And before you know it, your baby emerges into the world, just as perfect as you could have ever imagined. It is pretty amazing.

And with all that awe and wonder, comes hard work and pain. Every moment is absolutely worth it. But as they say, anything worth having, is worth fighting for. And when I say “fighting for” what I mean is trying hard with all your might, not leaving anything behind. This is what motherhood means to me. Especially in those early days.

Giving birth is no joke! Your body has just run the most incredible marathon of your entire life. Imagine what the result of that would be. Fatigue, soreness, frailty. All normal, all ok. Rest is extremely important. The irony is that you are now responsible for a tiny bundle of joy who needs to be fed, diapered and cuddled. So finding the time to rest can be tough at times. Having a team to support you is vital. This is when I really came to appreciate the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child”.

As exhausted as a new mommy and daddy are, you will need help to accomplish even the simplest things. For example, eating. Eating is extremely important. I mean, it always is, but after going through childbirth you need to replenish your body with good, wholesome food. And if you are breastfeeding you need the nutrients even more, because your baby depends on you. So we were extremely grateful that Freddie’s job set up a food tree. Every day one of his co-workers would come by the house at about dinner time and bring delicious, homemade goodness. Not only did it provide us with days of nourishment, but it was a good reminder to actually eat, as sometimes in the fog of new parenthood, this small detail often gets overlooked.

Having an extra pair of hands around the house is helpful too. We were appreciative to have my mom, my dad, Harper’s god parents and friends come stay at different times to pick up wherever we left off. They helped with everything from laundry, to grocery shopping, diapering, you name it. Looking back, I don’t see how we could have done it without them.

And besides the logistics of bringing a new baby home, there are the surprises of your body doing some wacky things. But don’t be alarmed, it’s all normal. For some reason, I don’t remember anyone giving me a heads up on these specific things. So I thought I would pass them along to you. Just in case.

1. Baby Blues: Having a baby is a huge life changing event. It is totally normal to feel overcome with emotion. Not only are you doing your best to take it all in, but your hormones are on a roller coaster ride. So there are times where you find yourself crying for no reason. And that’s ok. However, baby blues only lasts a few weeks. So if your baby blues continues past this point, you may have postpartum depression and should seek a health professional.

2. Postpartum Hair Loss: After minimal shedding during your pregnancy, your hair may begin to fall out in clumps. But don’t worry, you won’t go bald. It took about 6 months of heavy shedding before my hair started to grow back again and I was on my way to my pre-pregnancy thickness. Like everything else that comes along with having a baby, this is hormone related and won’t last forever.

3. Postpartum Incontinence: Don’t be surprised if you experience a little leakage with a sneeze or cough. As embarrassing as this can be, its part of the recovery process of having a baby, especially for those with vaginal births. It will go away over time and can be improved through exercising your pelvic floor.

4. Night Sweats: No matter how cool the room was, or how light my PJs were, I was sweating like crazy. Sometimes I would have to wake up in the middle of the night and change my clothes because I was so soaked. Sounds gross, but this is your body’s way of getting rid of the excess water you retained during pregnancy. It is important for your body to go through this change. And besides, it is only temporary. Look forward to lots of showers, and make sure you keep yourself hydrated.

Although there are many more changes you have to look forward to, these were the ones that affected me the most. Looking back, almost 11 months later, nothing was so hard that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it again. The amazement for me comes from the fact that your body works it all out on its own. You are merely the vessel. So if you can grin and bear it, it will be over before you know it. And your prize, of your little one in your arms, outweighs it all!

Photo taken by Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Call a Plumber!

I think I have a plugged duct!  (did you solve the puzzle?…pretty clever, eh?…thought it was more appropriate than alternative images).

Like I said before, I have had the pleasure of breastfeeding my daughter for the past 9 months.  For the most part we have been smooth sailing.  Until now…

I was nursing Harper to bed the other night and when I got up I felt a large, hard rod in my right breast.  I had just nursed on that side so I was surprised at what seemed to be engorgement.  How could I still have this much milk left if I just nursed her?  And then it dawned on me…I think I have a plugged duct!

I wasn’t caught too off guard, thank God.  Being involved in La Leche League, mommy groups, postpartum yoga, I have heard my fair share of stories from my friends.  And luckily, all of them were successful in working through it.  But when it happens to you, it’s a different story.  I immediately started running through all of the remedies in my head.  The first thing that popped into my mind was to take a warm shower.  While I was in the shower I massaged over the affected area in the direction of the nipple.  I did this for about 3-5 minutes until, bam!  I was able to see a little tiny particle shoot out of my nipple and then a constant stream of milk followed.  I stood in the shower for another 5-10 minutes, hand expressing until I felt that I had completely emptied the breast.  When I got out of the shower I decided to pump to make sure I had gotten every last drop.  I had a hard time sleeping that night because I was scared that it would come back.  But luckily, when I woke up in the morning, everything was back to normal.

The silver lining in this little episode was an incident I remember when I was still pregnant.  My husband and I went to buy some maternity bras one evening.  The lady who helped us was talking about the different features of the bras and why certain ones would work best.  At one point, she mentioned that this particular bra was her favorite because it did not interfere with the ducts.  Freddie was tickled by this because I don’t think he had ever heard that word before.  And from then on would always ask me how my ducts were feeling.

I am grateful I was able to cut this thing off at the pass.  However, in the case that this would have continued I am glad to have a tool box full of little tricks.  Here is a short list of things you can try if you find you have a plugged duct.

1.  Feed from all angles.  This will help to ensure you have emptied the entire breast.  Try lying down on your side, hovering over the baby, having baby lie on your chest.

2.  Massage the breast while you are feeding, working toward the direction of the nipple.

3.  In addition to warm showers, warm compresses can be very helpful as well, especially before nursing.

4.  My close friend prescribes a paste made of goldenseal and almond oil to be applied to the affected breast and then removed.  This should be repeated several times a day.

5.  These websites go into more detail about the above suggestions as well as offer many more ideas:  Kellymom.com, Askdrsears.com, Babycenter.com.

If you happen to have any remedies that are not mentioned that you have tried I would love to hear about them.  It’s always best to get first hand experience.

For all those nursing moms out there, stay hydrated, stay rested and good luck with your ducts!

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