Well we’re coming up on six month since Athena was brought to this earth. That’s half a year…still blowing my mind. I mean, I swear I was just pregnant; I can still remember that feeling pretty strongly. What a whirlwind it’s been. Personally for me, adjusting has not been the easiest thing, nor the most beautiful thing. To me, Athena is the most perfect thing that has ever graced my life…but did you guys previously know that I never even wanted kids? There. I said it, so go ahead and judge me. Of course now that she’s here, I would never change anything at all about the events leading up to her arrival.
I was not excited to be pregnant. I was terrified of being a mom (sometimes it still freaks me out). But I was in it for the long haul, determined to do everything to the best of my abilities. There are great days…and there are downright horrific days. Those days where I would like to simply sit in my big walk in closet, and lightly bang my hang against a wall for hours. Mostly just so I can be alone. But with those shitty days, come the amazing ones, where I feel so damn lucky that Athena chose me to be her mom.
In all honesty, it’s recently been a pretty rough couple of months which is why I haven't posted as much I would've liked to. Sure, constant sleep deprivation doesn’t help, because shockingly my child isn’t one of those that started sleeping through the night at three months. But I’ve had days where I feel like a bad mom; have a given her enough attention? How can I help her with teething pain? What does she need? Why won’t she stop crying? Question after question running through my head, shaking my confidence (which hasn’t even fully been built). I feel like I’m completely winging it…but isn’t that what everyone’s doing at a certain point? Because every child is different. What works for one, might not work for another. Which brings me back to my point of babies sleeping through the night. Athena is just not developmentally ready to do so. Breathe, I keep saying, my nights of full sleep are coming soon.
And it’s not just me questioning myself as a mother but as a life partner too. Am I giving him enough attention? Does he still think I’m attractive? Am I all used up now? And it seems that no matter how many times a day he tells me I’m perfect in his eyes, it’s never enough for me. Why?? Why is it so much harder to practice the self-love that I preached, now that I’m a new mom. I guess it probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t put make-up on as frequently, or wear the cutest outfits anymore. Not that I was really girly before I had Athena, but just based on the sole fact that I had the time and patience to do those things. Is it still just because I’m not comfortable enough in my skin as a new mom? To be honest, I feel as though I’ve lost my identity in being a mom. To me, I’m just a mom. Liana left, she doesn’t have time to be around here anymore. And that frankly makes me sad. Liana the passionate artist barely has time to lift her paintbrush anymore. Liana the bookworm has a stack of dusty un-read books that she’s been meaning to read. Liana the horseback rider…well I sold my horse of ten years while I was pregnant with Athena. So what’s left in the aftermath of one of the most life-changing experiences one can possible have?
Well that’s why I’m writing this guys. This post isn’t going to have an “Ah-ha!” moment. No ending where I’ve suddenly figured out who I am and what I’m doing as mom and a partner. That’s not what this is. This is the reality of it. The real struggle that real new mom’s face. Not the Instagram-sepia-toned-picture-perfect moms. I’m not about that. This is for the mom’s who are on the path to a new version of self-discovery and happiness, but haven’t quite reached it. I’m here to tell you that I’m walking that road with you. Through all that scary shit, the self-doubt and the lack of self-love. All of the anxiety and disappointment, followed by the beautiful and glowing moments of being a new mom. Even as I’m typing this, I’m trying to hold back the tears- it’s taken a lot out of me to sit down and be honest like this. This isn’t a pity party. This is for all the moms who never planned to be a mom; who never felt the pang of maternity, and then were suddenly thrown into it.
DON’T MISINTERPRET THIS. Like I said before, there is nothing more that I love in the world than Athena. She’s perfect in my eyes, and don’t you dare tell me anything otherwise. That’s my cub and I will love her fiercely and protect her until the end. But I guess if you’re a self-fulfilled mom, then this won’t make sense to you. If all you’ve ever felt in your life is to be a mom, then you’re probably judging this post.
I’m still figuring shit out. All I know is that I love my family. They’re beautiful, and a huge part of who I am as a person, that’s all I know right now. Everyday, I need to wake up and choose to do something for myself that day, choose to be happy as much as I can, and choose a path of new self-discovery. Finding out who the new Liana is; the mom version of Liana. I like to think that’s she’s going to be pretty cool, probably an artist who likes to read and occasionally rides horses. I think she sounds like she’s going to be okay.
My husband and I planned a beautiful trip to Rome. Seven days in one my favorite countries...to which I had never visited. As an art historian and a lover of all things ancient and old, I could not have been more ecstatic to take this trip. My husband had already been twice, so I pretty much had a personal tour guide who doubled as a wine tasting buddy.
Now if you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm an exclusively breastfeeding mom; going on about five months now (which I'm pretty proud of). Exclusively breastfeeding means no formula, and also no rice cereal or solids of any kind. So yeah I don't get a lot of sleep, but Athena gets everything she needs which is ten times more important. So this begs the question: what did I do to prepare to go out of the country for a week with no baby to nurse? Well first of all, I had quite a stash of milk in the freezer to begin with, which we had barely tapped in to at all. Off to a good start...or so I thought. I started to do the math to figure out how many more ounces I needed to pump within two months (our departure date) in order for her to have as much milk as she could possibly need. After the calculations, I need to pump at least six ounces of milk to store each day until we left. At this point, my supply had leveled out and was accustomed to just what Athena ate within a 24 hour basis. Commence the increase of my milk. So here's a few things I did to get those extra six ounces.
1.) Fenugreek: I took my in capsule form. It's an herb that's probably most closely related to clover. So there are many things that it's used for; everything from skin issues to (apparently) erectile disfunction. I can't necessarily vouch for these things, but I will tell you that is DOES help increase your milk supply. Two capsules a day, and you'll definitely notice that extra ounce. Um, and a weird pro: It makes you and your sweat smell like maple syrup...so that's cool.
2.) WATER WATER WATER: I literally think I was peeing out my eyes.
3.) So much food. Mostly greens and protein.
4.) Pump, nurse, pump, nurse, pump, nurse. Around and around you'll go.
So needless to say I achieved my goal of upping my supply and getting enough milk to last Athena the week I'd be gone. Well then there's another issue: your breastmilk works on the function of supply and demand...how could I expect to keep up my beautifully established supply if I had no baby to nurse? And you can be sure I wasn't going to bring along a huge pumping backpack all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Which brings me to my handy dandy manual pump. This bad boy had been sitting in a drawer, waiting for his chance to shine. I was dedicated to keeping a pumping schedule in Rome. I even had an alarm set on my phone for every four hours to pump (with the exception of a few nights...momma needed to remember what eights hours of sleep felt like). And I stuck to it man. I would pop in to a random store's bathroom off the street and occupy their single stall for about 30 minutes (sorry people) and then go about the day. Sure it's a sad sight to see that liquid gold being poured down the drain, but I was drinking lots of wine, hehe.
Obviously my supply dropped a little bit during this trip, since a nursing baby is more effective than using a pump. And sure enough, when we got back, Athena was nursing around the clock to get the supply to where it needed to be. I also think she missed me a whole lot and didn't want me to leave her at all. Which made me happy.
Me: “Geez I’m tired, Athena was up a lot last night.”
Everyone: “You should do sleep training and just let her cry it out.”
Me: [insert eye-roll]
So yeah, I’m not the biggest advocate for sleep training, especially in infants less than a year old. It’s just a personal opinion that also ties into my technique of attachment parenting. I’m totally sure that sleep training has worked for some parents, and I’m in no way denying that: like I said, this is my PERSONAL choice. I get really irritated when people ask me why, why, why. Because it’s my life, and my baby, how about that. So yes I’m sleep deprived and at times a little (or a lot) irritable. Let’s get down to the root of why people want to “train” their infants like a puppy dog, or “train” a helpless baby to have some independence.
Some people just don’t function off of little to no sleep, yes I understand that too. So maybe being a parent to a baby is not necessarily what you needed. But I digress. There’s something about letting a three month old baby cry until they throw up everywhere that just doesn’t ring right in my mind. Did you know that your essentially shutting down their natural instincts? Let’s think of why your baby is crying: hungry, needs a new diaper, hot, cold, or just lonely. If it doesn’t break your heart to think of your lonely hungry baby just wailing away while you watch T.V, I don’t know what will. Since these helpless little creatures can’t speak yet…they will cry. This natural instinct of crying for something is obviously very primal. If a cavewomen put her baby down for a period of time, the infant would have naturally started to cry in fear for it’s LIFE. So it maybe doesn’t get eaten by a sabertooth tiger? Am I making more sense now? Your small baby is not manipulating you to come pick him up and hang out. He’s scared.
So a baby cries because he needs his mom. This is normal, am I right? Your baby cries for you…you don’t come. He cries more…you’re still not there. By now he’s really scared and lonely, believing that he’s been left for good this time. Scared and lonely people. I personally do not want my child feeling like this at any point in her life. Sure, the babies of the CIO method don’t remember it when they’re older, and who knows it they’re are any really side affects. However, by establishing in your child that you will come when she cries, you are creating a more independent toddler and child, having their comfort needs met as a young baby.
Possibly the most annoying thing out of this whole scenario? People telling you what you should and should not do. This goes for most parenting methods though. I’ll never forget having dinner with my parents friends one night. I had just put Athena down for a nap in the other room, and I had the monitor with me so I could hear her when she began to fuss. Sure enough, halfway through dinner, she woke up and needed mom. I finished my bite of food and stood up. Cue mom’s friend who claims to be a baby expert: “You should wait for her to really start crying before you go to her.”…..????? So me, being the sassy individual that I am, look at her in the eye and continue to get up and go get her. As I’m leaving the room I hear “Wow Athena’s got you trained well.” Yes. My three month old infant is manipulating me to meet her needs. She’s in the other room as well speak, rubbing her evil little hands together and smirking in pleasure as she gets what she wants. Evil little spawn.
I’m fully aware that this post was more of a rant than anything. I just needed to put the sleeping training method into perspective for some parents who believe it’s as easy as letting your poor child just cry for hours. As with all things, it’s a method that needs to be researched if you plan on doing it. It’s not as simple as just letting them cry. So if you do decide to sleep train using this method…please read about it and the proper way to carry it out. In addition to this, there are other sleep training methods you can look in to: there are such thing as no-crying methods. I know that I’m a hippy, tree hugging alternative type of person, who is super into co-sleeping and nursing and rocking to sleep. Hell, my kids a thumbsucker and I think it’s the greatest thing in the world. No, she’s not self-soothing yet…she’s only four months old. I’m relishing in her need for momma, and the fact that she snuggles up in bed with me, and rolls into me in the middle of the night be closer. I’ll always be there to help her fall asleep for as long as she’ll have me. Drink in the moments when your baby yearns for you attention and cuddling, it’ll be gone before you know it.
Birth is so beautiful and empowering, no matter how it’s done. Whether it is done naturally or with pain relieving drugs, or vaginally or a Cesarean birth, it’s a sacred rite of passage for a women to go through and to enter into motherhood. It’s pure bliss.
That is until you realize that you’ve torn up your vagina and there’s blood everywhere, and you’re semi aware that your doctor is down there stitching you up for a half hour, trying to staunch the murder scene-esque flow of blood coming from your nether-regions. But other than that it’s a magical time in your life. I personally remember being so infatuated with looking at Athena that I didn’t realize all the nonsense occurring down there until everything settled down. My midwife simply said, “Oh, you’re bleeding quite a lot.” So that took awhile to take care of. I actually didn’t even want any pain medication or anything…I’m not sure if this was the endorphin high talking or what, but I really didn’t take any sort of pain medication for the first 24 hours.
So I can’t speak on behalf of someone who had a C-section, but I can speak for those who had a drug-free vaginal birth or are expecting to have one. I had a fairly fast labor, only about four hours, so I had a second degree tear and a lot of bleeding. I didn’t realize how significant all of this was until the nurse told me stand up so I could try going pee. Pee? Do things still work like that down there? The process of attempting to stand up was dizzying…literally. It took a couple of attempts for me to get off the bed and moving the direction of the bathroom. And the blood, oh the blood. How could so much be coming out of me and I’m still alive? Anyway, as the overachiever that I am, I peed on my first try, and my nurse was so proud.
Then she proceeds to tell me about the “self-care” routine that I would need to conduct for the next three or four weeks. I never thought it would be such a process to go pee; like you need at least 10 minutes to get everything cleaned up and ready to go again.
Oh, and your cute little sexy panties? Forget about them. Keep them away, you’ll just ruin them. And frankly, they won’t be comfortable for quite some time. So in this post I’m going to tell you what saved me in the first few weeks after birth; what made me comfortable, what relieved some pain, and what made my life easier in generally in caring for my body.
So here’s what you need to make your life easier postpartum:
Granny panties: Yes really. I bought a 5 pack of cotton undies at target…they’re actually more like board shorts because they’re so big. Not cute, but definitely necessary, especially because the massive pads you’ll be using won’t fit on any pair of thong. Which brings me to my next point…
Maxi pads: Not the little ones that you use when you have a light period. Think along the lines of what would be necessary if you had enough blood coming out of you to fill a kitty pool. Like borderline adult underwear sized pads. The bigger the better. They give you some at the hospital, but not enough to sustain for the next few weeks.
Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera: To make padsicles! This was the best thing that I’ve ever done for my coochie I swear. Take out a pad, spray some witch hazel on it and then smear some aloe vera over it. Wrap the pad back up, and pop it in the freezer. I did this to tons of them and I used every single one. It’s sweet relief on the soreness downstairs.
Peri-bottle: So this is something that’s absolutely necessary and they give you one at the hospital. It’s for spraying your nether-regions with warm water instead of wiping. Wiping after you pee or poo is actually a scary thought after you give birth because you literally don’t want anything to make contact down there. A nice warm spritz cleans you up and dilutes the urine so it doesn’t burn you stitches either. I used my for literally 6 weeks because I was scared to wipe.
I know the hospitals usually give you some Dermaplast spray too, but for some reason that stuff always freaks me out. It smells strongly like chemicals, and you know how I feel about all of that. So let me know what you guys think! What did you use to make your healing process easier and more comfortable?
What No One Will Really Tell You About Breastfeeding: Some Encouraging Words About the Reality of this Journey
Boobs are great. The amount of things they can do for your baby are out of this world. Something as simple as a comforting pillow, all the way to providing to most nutritious things that they could possible benefit from. It’s no wonder that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your little one. Obviously I’m an advocate of “fed is best” because we all know there are situations in which it might be too difficult or impossible for a mom to breastfeed her baby. I personally know a girl who could only do it for 11 weeks, solely because it never got easier for her, and it was a huge stress in her life. There’s no reason for the process to be a daunting one, so in my opinion, she made the right choice for her and her babe.
I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed when I had Athena; it’s healthier, it’s cheaper, and it’s way more convenient for me to whip out a boob and feed her, rather than going through the process of heating up a bottle. Sure you’re kind of a slave to them for the newborn period, but once you learn to embrace public breastfeeding, the world is your oyster. And after the second month, things got SO MUCH EASIER. So you would think that breastfeeding would just come naturally, as our bodies are made to do it, right? Wrong. It was quite possible one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That being said, it’s probably one of the things that I’m most proud of in my life as well.
Everyone always said it would be painful at first, but nothing really prepared me for my nipples getting chewed on every 2 hours for 2 weeks straight. And nothing really can prepare you for it. Don’t run washcloths on them or do anything to “prepare” them. Your body is producing the hormones necessary to make it easier for you to adjust. I cried. A lot. Just because it hurt, and I didn’t feel like I was doing it right, and that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. So I was worrying about pretty much was all first time moms worry about. But you know what? I powered through, just like so many women have done before me. We all get through the first rough couple of months. Then it gets easier. Just like with everything else, we learn. I’m happy and satisfied knowing that my baby is getting all the nutrients she could possibly need, all because I decided to keep on going. Much love to me husband and my mom for being amazingly supportive, and for pushing me when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember my husband sitting right next to me so many times, and helping Athena get a good latch. And then coaching me the whole time.
I guess the whole point of this post is an encouraging word to all you new moms and moms to be: it gets better. All of it; the nursing, the sleeping, everything. Of course, there are things that make it easier, like a good support system (and some soothing nipple cream). If you’re like me and you’re sold on having an exclusively breastfed baby; go for it! And guess what? If it’s three months later and you’re still miserable…f*** it. Give in and give yourself a break, because you can’t be the best mommy if you’re unhappy. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, and don’t let any outside sources make you feel like less of a mom or woman for choosing not to do it.
So remember earlier when I said there’s things that can make it easier? Well here are a few things that I personally found to be useful on this journey:
-Boppy pillow to provide support for mom and baby
-Coconut oil for nipple soothing
-Ice packs (to literally put on your boobs)
-Andddd breastmilk! When your nipples start to get raw, they might even crack and bleed. After your done feeding, keep some of the breastmilk on your nipples and let it air dry.
There are a lot of other useful things, like Lanolin cream and things like that. I personally don’t like any cream type of stuff because I feel like under a nursing bra it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria; as opposed to coconut oil and your own breastmilk. Plus we all know that I like to keep it as natural as possible.
So what helped you on your breastfeeding journey? How long did you breastfeed for? Any advice to new moms?
Note: Affiliate links are in this post. But don't worry! I would never link my readers to anything that i didn't fully back 100%. Enjoy!
So if you already read my post on attachment parenting, you’ll know I’m a huge advocate for baby wearing. Wearing Athena on my chest has literally kept me sane. We all have those days where our babes are clingy little (adorable) tumors. As much as we love the baby snuggles, those dishes are starting to pile up, and there’s a load of laundry that’s still sitting in the washer waiting to be dried. But the second you try to put baby down, all hell breaks loose (“How DARE you mom!”). In fact, as I type this, I’m currently standing up with my laptop on the kitchen counter, while wearing a sleeping babe. So for these days, and anytime in between, there’s the magic of baby wearing. Wearing your little one creates bonding and comfort for your baby, and by keeping her close, you know that she is safe and sound.
There are several different styles of baby wraps and carriers, and also several methods on how to wear them; from the newborn stage, up until the point where they no longer like to be worn on mom. I opted for a Moby wrap, and also a Tula carrier. I loved the idea of the Moby wrap for a newborn; the soft and supple materials, and the thicker cloth to keep her warm. I used this wrap religiously throughout the entire newborn stage. Now that she’s little bit older, she enjoys the stability of the Tula carrier, especially when she goes out on walk with me. Either one of these products are amazing, though I recommend both so the baby can grow with them.
Even though Athena is about three months old, I still love to use the Moby wrap, especially when I’m trying to get some chores done around the house. In this post, I’m going to demonstrate the different wrapping techniques you can use for your baby; the newborn hold, and the three and four month hold. Your little one will definitely let you know when they’ve outgrown the newborn wrapping method (and you’ll know because they’re now able to fully stretch their legs out).
1.) So I know it looks like a lot of material, and it might take you a few tries to get it right, but once you figure it out it’s like second nature putting it on. Start by making the wrap flat. Find the tag in the middle of the wrap and fold the entire thing in half, keeping an eye on the middle tag.
2.) Keeping everything as smooth and flat as you can, position the wrap around your torso so that the opening of the fold is facing down towards your belly button, keeping the tag centered on your torso as well.
3.) Reach around back and grab one side of the wrap and pull it over your shoulder, keeping everything smooth and the opening of the fold to the inside. Tuck this side down under the piece across your torso. Repeat this for the other side, crossing the pieces in front of each other. The first side you pulled down is referred to as the “inside” piece and the second is the “outside” piece.
4.) Take the two pieces and pull them down so the fabric over your shoulders tighten. Wrap each piece around your back, criss-crossing them, and pulling them back to the front. Tie a secure safety knot in the front.
5.) To put your babe in, open up the fold of the inside piece against your chest and slide baby’s leg and booty in there. Pull the fabric over and across her butt. Next put her other leg in the outside piece and pull that fabric across her back and butt too. Always make sure baby has the “M” shaped frog legs when she’s in this position as a newborn, it’s easier on their little hips.
6.)Next, pull up the piece of fabric wrapped around your torso, the one with the label in the middle. Pull this piece all the way up to the back of babies neck, though it should still be supporting the booty too.
Note: Your baby may struggle at first from being so close and secured. It took me two weeks until Athena and I were both comfortable and confident enough to use it regularly. Also, always make sure the top of you baby’s head is close enough that you can kiss it easily; if not, then she’s too low in the wrap, which probably means it’s not tight enough.
There you have it! And like I said before, don’t give up on it! It seems like a lot of fabric at first, and you’re going to have a try a few different times. Once you get the hang of it though, it’ll save your arms from carrying a clingy baby around all day!
On a personal note, I had a midwife throughout my entire pregnancy and present at my birth. In my town, our regional medical center works with an entire staff of midwives, with their office right next to the main hospital. It was truly an ideal situation, and know I even use the midwives for the gynecology services as well.
I’ve alway had serious anxiety around doctor’s and hospitals, so my first thought when I became pregnant was that I need to research alternative forms of medicine during my pregnancy and birth. I’m a huge advocate for natural births and no medical intervention, so my choice between a midwife and a traditional doctor was a no-brainer for me. Although at first, I allowed outside opinions to influence my choice. Due to this, I initially went to a popular obstetrician in our town. I was immediately uncomfortable upon entering the building. The waiting room was full of women, and the front desk personnel were all rude and seemed stressed out. Not an ideal situation for a first time pregnant woman who was already feeling anxious about everything anyway. At the end of the appointment, I received a folder FULL of papers, pamphlets, and so many unnecessary things. Information overload. Half of the things in there did not even pertain to me in anyway. And then I happened upon a paper, and this little paper made my decision for me: “Dear valued patient.” Dear valued patient? Really? I have a name, my child has a name, I am a human being. Not just another number in your computer.
That’s when I decided I needed a more personalized experience. At first I saw an independent midwife…and she lived about an hour away from me. I loved her, but I didn’t like the idea of her being that far away from me. The family I was nannying for at the time referred me to the midwives association of our town. Upon my first visit, I was already 20 weeks pregnant (I’m not kidding when I say I was super picky about what I wanted). I fell in love with the practice. There were five midwives, as opposed to the TEN doctors from the first practice. I met every single one, and they took the time to ask personal questions and really get to know where I was coming from, and how I wanted my pregnancy and birth to go. I was ready to have my baby with them.
So then the time came. Around 4am on October 16th, I felt strong contractions…which immediately became active labor. I called my midwife panicking, for the woman who was so adamant about natural birthing procedures was now yelling, “I don’t care what I said before, I need drugs.” My baby daddy and I hi-tail it to the hospital, arriving around 6:30am. My midwife checked me out and pronounced me 8cm dilated. Yeah, sh** was moving fast. Even though things were going quickly, my midwife was the epitome of calm. I swear she was a doula and midwife all wrapped into one. Quiet and sweet, coaxing me along in a calming “yogi” voice. The only time she touched me was to check Athena’s heartbeat as she made her way down. At 8:30am…my midwife literally caught Athena as she made her way into this world. Midwives are often nicknames “baby-catchers,” and truthfully so. She knew that I wanted no medical intervention, and talked me out of any drugs, and I could not have been more grateful to her. I went from wanting a home birth with an independent midwife, to having a hospital birth with a practicing midwife from an association. My birth was an empowering experience, and I truly have my midwife to thank for that.
A few more things to take into consideration: a midwife is only a good choice if you are a low-risk pregnancy and plan on having a drug free birth. If you are a high risk, most midwifery practices will not accept you as a patient, as most midwives do not perform C-sections. Midwives are also advocates of a natural birth, so if you know you want an epidural, it might also be in your best interest to see a traditional doctor. I’m not here to convince someone either way, I’m simply here to share my story with everyone in the hopes that it may help a future mother make an important decision. Birth is sacred and beautiful and every mother has the right to be heard and appreciated during this intense and life-changing process.
Your body does crazy and amazing things during pregnancy. I mean for one thing…you grow an entire human being head to toe, enough said. In addition to that however, your body also grows an entire new organ in the span of nine months; the placenta. Even before I was pregnant, I was always fascinated with the placenta; I mean, it provides everything for your baby the entire time they’re in the womb. It’s really kind of a miracle-like organ.
Let’s break it down: in utero, the placenta provides temperature regulation, waste elimination, nutrients, infection fighting properties, and it also produces hormones. All of these aspects support a healthy and successful pregnancy. So why ditch it after pregnancy? When I decided that I wanted to keep my placenta, my husband was 100% supportive (just like he was when I switched doctors three separate times). Other people seemed confused, but nonetheless supportive. My dad said it was “cannibalism” and didn’t want to be in the same room when I talked about it. I get it; it’s not a conversation for the faint of heart. I was dead set on keeping my placenta, there was no way around it.
After a lot of speculation, and realizing that I wanted the most raw benefits of the placenta, I decided I was going to eat mine as opposed to encapsulating it. Okay, well it’s not not like I pan seared it over medium heat with a little squeeze of lemon; my method was a little different. In addition to this, encapsulating was a relatively intensive process, and I didn’t want to pay $300 for someone to do it for me, nor did I want to take the time to do it myself right after giving birth. Also, I just want to give a HUGE shoutout to my amazing older sister and my best friend for taking on the task of preparing the placenta for me while I stayed in the hospital. My placenta came out, and ten minutes later, my friend was driving it back to the house to store it in the refrigerator. What a champ.
So I’m sure health professionals and certified placenta encapsulation specialists are going to HAMMER me into the ground for this method, but I’m not concerned with that. It worked best for me, and I received all the nutritional benefits of the placenta. Want to know what I did? My sister and my friend made frozen placenta tablets to throw into a smoothie everyday. Seriously these girls are my angels.
Method: (This process is best done in the 24 hour period after giving birth…so it would be great to find some friends and family who are down to help!)
-Midwife (or doctor) examines the placenta at the hospital and gives me the OK.
-My sister and friend then take home to placenta, and wash all the blood and the blood clots off
-They removed the outer membrane from both the fetal side and the maternal side (fetal side = where the umbilical cord is coming out of)
-Cut the cord off and put to the side
-Then they began cutting the placenta into quarter sized pieces, placing them on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
-Put them in the freezer until they are thoroughly frozen, and then you can throw them in a freezer baggie for easier storage.
That’s it! And everyday I took a few pieces, and added them into my green drink! (See this recipes for the Green Drink minus the placenta under the “Meals” link) You can’t taste anything, and you’re receiving all the benefits of the placenta.
So I keep saying the word “benefits,” and you might want to know what this entails. A few things:
1.) Helps lessens postpartum bleeding
2.) More energy
3.) Staves of the baby blues and postpartum depression
And I SWEAR by this people. Personally, I had a natural birth with my midwife and it resulted in a second degree tear. I had some pretty bad bleeding. I started taking the placenta tablets, and my bleeding lessened exponentially in the next weeks. I was energized (high on emotions as well I’m sure). And the cherry on the cake, I’m almost four months postpartum with not even a touch of depression or the baby blues (and I’m very susceptible to depression issues). I truly believe that this was due to the placenta. How could such a miraculous organ not be amazing for you? Nutrient dense and straight from your own body.
Thoughts, opinions, questions? Leave a comment, send me an e-mail and let’s talk. I think this topic makes for some of the most interesting discussions. If there is enough interest, I’d be more than happy to go into detail about the process of prepping the placenta as well.
I know there’s a lot of debate on this subject…but then again there’s a lot of debate on any parenting differences between people. I’m a firm believer in that fact that every child and every parent is completely different from the next. So why should all parents and conform to one style and standard of raising their children. It just doesn't work. I’m using this blog and this space in order to explore my own parenting style, and I definitely want to hear other people’s opinion!
So I’m thinking that my parenting style definitely floats in the space of attachment parenting. And I had no plans for it to be this way either. In fact, when I got pregnant, I adamantly told my husband that there would be no bed sharing with the baby under any circumstances. Well fast forward to three months and we’re still co-sleeping and snuggling together. Honestly, I don’t plan on doing this for much longer, but right now it’s very convenient because Athena is such a nighttime nurser. And boy have I gotten some weird looks and have been chastised by complete strangers…ummm, thanks but this is not your child.
From the very beginning I’ve also been an advocate of baby wearing too. Keeping baby close makes them feel more comfortable, and honestly it makes me feel better too knowing that she’s right there. Once you get really good at baby wearing, you can figure out how to slip a boob out and they can nurse when they’re in there as well. Super. Awesome. They literally only have to come out for a diaper change. Baby wearing is such a natural and primal thing as well; it’s more than comforting for the baby to feel and smell mom so close to them. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do with Athena.
My last little attachment parenting technique is the fact that I feed on demand; yes even at three months old. Obviously this is something that should be done for all newborns, but some parents get their babies on a feeding schedule. And that’s fine if that works for them. I like the idea of feeding on demand, especially during the daytime…this way I know that she’s getting plenty of calories in small intervals, which lessens the chance of her spitting up everywhere. I believe that all babies have a bit of acid reflux, some are worse off than others most definitely.
So what's everyone's thoughts? Let's make this a nice space to share and try to chastise other mom's about what works best for them...remember, just because it works for you, doesn't mean it works for another!
Ew, that word literally makes me cringe…"schedule". If you're anything like me, you're free-spirited, go with the flow type personality just doesn’t fit into the rigidness of a tight schedule. And so why should you conform your baby to one? I get it, it does help a lot of people, but I’m just talking from a personal standpoint as to why I can’t get behind the whole aspect of putting your baby on schedule.
First of off, I don’t think I’ve ever even had a personal schedule for myself. It’s not that I’m scatterbrained or can’t follow one, I just do better if I’m able to adjust during the day. So maybe a better word for me is a... routine? Let’s use that instead, it doesn’t make my toes curl. So me and my babe do better in a highly flexible routine. Here’s an example of a day for us:
-Wake up between 7am-8:30am (she loves to sleep in like her momma)
Note: she usually doesn’t wake up too hungry because she’s little nighttime nursling… I swear she gets most of her calories between 4am and 7am *eye roll*
-We usually lay in bed and play and talk for awhile, then go out to the living room and she plays on her mat with her toys and watches the dogs. I usually check e-mails and surf the internet, and straighten up the house if it needs to be done.
-I let her decide when nap time is, and she usually goes down around noon for about an hour. She wakes up and goes on a run with me around the neighborhood. Obviously I'm the one doing most of the running.
-She naps again around 5pm or 6pm, and is down for the night between 8:30pm-9:30pm
Some things to note: she is 3 months old, sleeps in the bed next to me, and I feed on demand. I’m not a scheduled feeding mom either, when baby is hungry, baby eats.
And this just works for us, you know? I know some people think it’s crazy, but in my opinion as long as she's getting good naps during the day, is eating well, and is overall a happy baby… why not? I get things done around the house, and even personal things for me (like a pedicure and face mask) I’m a relaxed and easy going mom, and I think that it reflects on my good natured babe.
There are defintely good days and bad days of course, but I don't think it has anything to do with schedules...rough patches usually revolve around growth spurts and Wonder Weeks.
What do you think? Does your baby work better in a schedule or something more flexible like this? Share with me!