Category Archives: Nursing Mamma

OW! Safe, natural, and effective pain relief while pregnant.

Pregnancy is an amazing, wonderful, life changing journey that has its wonderful ups and not so wonderful downs. For some there are more downs than up. For those of us with chronic pain issues, pregnancy can pose a serious problem to our pain management routines.

I have two bulged disks in my back from working in a hospital. I have gone to physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractors, acupuncturists, yoga, you name it. About three years after the injury I was finally able to manage the pain without drugs most of the time, only taking Ibuprofen occasionally for inflammation or pain.

Unfortunately for my back I got pregnant which made things flare up again. During my first pregnancy I mostly suffered through the pain, popping Tylenol like it was no ones business, and got massages at least once a week. As the pregnancy progressed and I got bigger (much much bigger), my back pain actually eased up. According to my wonderful massage therapist I had in Spokane, I have a deep curve in my lower back (she used the real term for this which escapes me at the moment), and as I got bigger the curve straightened out. Woo hoo!

This pregnancy is so much different! I had been doing hatha yoga for about 2 months prior to getting pregnant which helped manage the aches/pains/sore muscles early in the pregnancy. My body was much stronger going into things this time so the pain issues did not start until about 20 weeks. I stopped doing hatha around 12 weeks pregnant because the forward bends and twists were just too much for me and baby.

When my pain issues surfaced this time I really had no idea what to do. There is no tea I have found to help with pain that is safe to drink during pregnancy. Tylenol was not cutting it, and all the nice anti-inflammatory drugs are a no go. To top it off Colorado insurance laws suck, so although my insurance will pay for massage, no massage clinics around accept our insurance! This means I have to pay out of pocket and hope to be reimbursed. That sucks.

On my search for something to help the pain I went to my Apothecary and bought a brilliant oil called “Sore Muscle Oil” which is amazing and works well during massages to really loosen up the muscles that are bugging you. The oil is a bit pricey so I modified it a bit and started making my own back pain oil, this time with a little more kick. Recipe to follow in another post. The other problem with the oil is you really need a back rub to get it to sink in. It is not an instant topical relief.

Since I started using doTERRA oils to help supplement my natural health care journey, I did some research to see what oils were good to use for pain and inflammation. doTERRA has oil blends that are specifically designed for pain and inflammation but they have peppermint in them, which is not recommended for use when you are still breast feeding, which I am, and will be again shortly. So on the search I went and I found Frankincense.

Frankincense is known best as a holy oil from the middle east, but did you ever consider why it was such a cherished commodity? If you don’t have time to watch that big long video let me just say that this oil has a variety of uses, from anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, anticancer, antidepressant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, antitomor, immune stimulant, and sedative. It is pretty awesome stuff with many many uses.

We have been using Frankincense to help with the pain in my  husbands foot from gout so I figured what the heck, and rubbed it on my back on a particularly angry spot. I probably used about 3 drops. The pain I was having was gone in about 30 seconds and stayed away for about 6 hours. It was amazing. I now apply it every night before I go to bed topically to relieve pain, and prevent night time pain I might have, and have recently been taking it internally*, 3 drops, twice a day to help reduce inflammation and swelling, and to help fight this terrible cold we have been having.

It helps reduce my pain and inflammation drastically, and has helped me sleep better because my hip pain from side sleeping every night has been terrible.

The prenatal yoga and chiropractor were really helping me manage the pain, but the frankincense is what is reducing the inflammation and keeping the pain away. I would recommend all three if you are combating pain, especially while pregnant as there are no scary side effects to the oil. I have also heard great things about acupuncture for pain management while pregnant but have not had the chance to use it during pregnancy.

What do you do to naturally manage your pain during pregnancy?

* do not take any essential oils internally that are not approved for oral use as a dietary supplement. doTERRA Frankincense is Approved by the FDA for use as a Food Additive and Flavoring Agent. Always use caution when using essential oils and be sure anything you use is 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and is labeled for therapeutic use (not aromatic)

For more information on doTERRA oils feel free to contact me or check them out here. There are more affordable ways to get the oils than the retail price so be sure to ask for more information.

Shared on The Morris Tribe’s Blog Carnival.

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Saving money, living better, being green.

Ok so I have been thinking a lot about our budget lately, and looking at the “average” budgets most others have. I am trying to figure out where people get their numbers! Comparing our budget for a 3.5 person house to the national average is eye-opening.

Where we spend:

Food

We spend 18% of our income on food. We do this because it costs more money to eat organic whole foods. There is really no getting around that. By increasing the quality of what we eat we save in other areas of our life. My husband was missing a lot of work because of health problems before switching our diet. He is out of work 3-5 days less a month than he was before the switch saving us his PTO time and the salary cut he had to take when he ran out of PTO.

We spend less on doctors visits because of our diet changes as well.

Healthcare

Our insurance is subsidized through Mikes work, so we “only” pay about $400 a month for insurance. We do get the good insurance though (an extra $60 a month) so we can take advantage of the alternative care. I get masages almost every week for prenatal/post natal care and health maintenance. Mike and I take full advantage of the Chiropractor/Acupuncture benefits as well. I wish I could say we used a Natropath instead of a MD but there are no ND’s in our area who accept insurance and we don’t have the money to pay out-of-pocket and hope for reimbursement from the insurance company. I have found a holistic MD that I think I like though. We have a FSA so our co-pays are at least paid with tax-free money. It is helping a lot too with the hospital and midwife payments for the pregnancy. Too bad they are changing the way FSAs work starting next year due to the new health care legislation. Maybe we will get lucky and our insurance rates will drop?

Where we save:

Cleaning products

We have made our last big market cleaning product purchase. From here on out we make our own house hold cleaners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, laundry detergent AND dish washer soap! I am terrified of the dish washer soap, that is one we have not switched yet I just stocked up on my favorite out of fear, but when we run out I am making our own! Mark my words! Instead of spending an average of $30 a month on cleaning products we will be spending an average of $14 about every 3 months on vinegar, baking soda, borax, and Dr. Bonner’s soap.

By switching to home-made, natural cleaning products we not only reduce our cost of living but also reduce our families exposure to many carcinogenic, teteratogenic, and mutinogenic chemicals lurking in our home.

Personal care products

I make our personal care products. I have been using the Oil Cleansing Method on my face which has been FABULOUS and cleared my skin right up. More on that later. I make my own body lotion and oils, bath salts, diaper salve, eczema salve, deodorant, and have been “poo free” for 2 months now. Yes I still bathe daily but use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair instead of shampoo and conditioner. My hair looks and feels great by the way! We buy hand-made goats milk bar soap from farmers markets and craft fairs for soap, which feels so decadent to me. I love it! I used to spend about $40 on personal care items, not including makeup, which cost me another $20-30 a month.

By simplifying our personal care products, and knowing exactly what is going onto my family’s body we can better control the toxins we expose our selves to. I am not sure the accuracy of this statement BUT the herbalist I worked with in Spokane mentioned that 40% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our body and blood stream.  The skin is the largest organ on the body after all. If you could reduce your risk simply enough wouldn’t you? More on the health benefits of cleaning up your personal care products here.

Housing expenses

We live in a smaller than necessary apartment and keep the heater between 62 and 65* on a day-to-day basis. We turn down the heat and turn off the lights when we leave the house. Our light bulbs are all CFL’s which save a lot of power usage and our water heater is at 120* unless I am tackling some stubborn diapers. We spend an average of 19% of our income on our housing expenses when the average family is at 34%. (Note that is not including the cost of our home in Spokane, which is a rental and netting $0 profit or loss at the moment).

Baby products

We cloth diaper almost all of the time. Ellie gets a rash at night, or wakes up wet in cloth so she sleeps in sposies almost every night. Other than that though we cloth diaper. If we were buying her disposables at the rate we change diapers and in the brand we use that does not cause her rashes, we would be spending an average of $90 a month, which would end up being about 1,080 a year. In Ellie’s first year of life we spent $320 on cloth diapers (that includes the very generous gift of my wonderful sister for Ellie’s baby shower), and I just bought some new-born diapers for when #2 comes for an additional $200. We are now over supplied with diapers and I will probably sell off some of my extras once we see how well we go through what we have. I spend $12 every 3-4 months on laundry detergent and the water/electric cost really is minimal with the washer and dryer, especially since we line dry during the summer. So we can call that a $59 a month savings on cloth diapering in the first year, and more for the second year into potty training, especially since half of year 2 will be spent diapering 2 kids! Good planning on our part.

And really what is cuter than a kiddo in a cloth diaper. Yeah she posed for this.

By cloth diapering we are reducing our child’s exposure to the toxic chemicals in children’s diapers. Ellie rarely gets diaper rash or yeast infections like a lot of babies I know who use disposables. I think once parents get over the learning curve of cloth diapering they will truly appreciate the health and financial benefits.

Breast Feeding

Ellie was exclusively breast fed for 6 months and is still breast fed to this day. She does not get cows milk when she is not nursing, she gets water. This saved us $1,733.75 in her first year of life alone (according to these calculations done with numbers from 2007). This is not including the cost of Organic Whole Milk we would have switched to afterward.

This cost is also not including the fact that miss Ellie has very rarely been sick enough to take to the doctor. Here is a good article about the benefits of BFing and some great links to scientific articles.

Clothes

We rarely buy new clothes for our selves, but when we do we buy quality. We never buy brand new clothes for our child unless they are on serious discount. It just seems like a waste of money for something she will grow out of quickly or destroy while playing. My MIL does buy her a new wardrobe at least twice a year because shopping for little girls is so fun. My savings tip: do not buy small children new clothes, they don’t need new clothes (unless it is a special occasion) nor do they care if they have new clothes. Let them be a little rough and tumble, creative and artsy, and have fun without worrying about staining or tearing. It will make your life much less stressful.

This is why we don’t need to destroy new clothes. 

How is this green? Re-use baby , re-use!

Transportation/vehicle expenses

We have 1 car. It is 10 years old and well maintained, most days. We own the car outright and have no monthly payments. Maintenance cost (including the big repairs spread out over the year) average about $80 a month. We spend about $80 a month on gas if I am driving a lot.  We live 5 miles away from Mike’s work and he bikes to work as weather permits, which is about 9 months out of the year. The rest of the time I give him a ride to and from work or he carpools. Bike maintenance is about $10 a month. Insurance cost is about $60 a month. That makes our transportation cost $230 a month, about 4.6% of our budget. The average American household spends 16% of their household income on transportation. It pays to drive an old car with decent mileage and only have 1 car if your situation allows.

By only driving one car we reduce our emissions by half, our gas usage by half, and our 10 year old car is just as fuel efficient as a car of the same size made this  year.

I could go on about how we save “being green” but I would love to know how you save? What are your tricks to benefiting your family and your environment by “being green”? I find the changes we have made help us support our expensive food habit and make our life much more enjoyable. I would love to hear your experiences.

Shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Our Simple Farm’s Simple Living Wednesday.

Attachment parenting for the win.

So I don’t usually post a lot about parenting styles because it becomes such a heated debate so quickly. I did see this cartoon that a friend of a friend of a … well you get the idea, posted on face book and a lot of my mommy friends have encountered a similar situation!

I do my damnedest not to judge other parents and their methods, although I may not understand them, and they may not work for my family in most cases I can say, “Well its your kid, you know what is best.” I wish other people could do the same!

As you may or may not know we chose to co-sleep. It was not planned that way from the beginning but as everyone who has children know, it is all a learning experience. We decided to co-sleep because SHE WOULD NOT SLEEP anywhere but in my arms. I guess that makes sense right? Why throw her in another room in a crib all alone and cold when she has been nice and warm and safe inside me? Plus co-sleeping let me get so much more sleep! It was amazing. Yes we followed safe co-sleeping practices, I understand people are afraid of co-sleeping but you can debate that somewhere where else. Lets just say that’s what we did and it worked well and leave it at that.

For good information about co-sleeping and if it may be right for your situation I love the ask Dr. Sears website. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/safe-co-sleeping-habits

We also breast-fed on demand. I am of the opinion that, especially new borns, know when they are hungry. Their bodies tell them so and we, as parents, need to listen to their needs. I found it quite easy to tell the difference between her hungry cry, wet cry, tired cry. We spoke the same language. We were completely in tune to each other. It was pretty amazing. She knew what she needed and I gave it to her. She was such a happy baby that she hardly ever fussed and I think this is largely because we breast-fed on demand and I listened to her signals.

We got into baby wearing for a similar reason. Her needs were to be with mommy ALL THE TIME. She constantly wanted to be held. She would scream bloody murder if I set her down too long, so I wore her around the house, when shopping, and pretty much any time I needed my hands. This let me meet the emotional demands of my child AND be a functional adult! Why suffer with a screaming un happy child because “you don’t want her to be spoiled” when you can easily resolve the situation by wearing her around?

Babies need physical contact, they need adult interaction, they need to know they will be cared for. They are defenseless and need our presence, love, and support.

I never read a book about attachment parenting. I rarely read blogs about it either, but I am an attached parent and could not be happier at the results.

In fact, the only problems and complaints we have really had about parenting have been when we have tried to fit into other people’s expectations of how our child should be sleeping, eating, etc.

“Is she sleeping in her crib yet?” – No she is not sleeping in her crib, she is sleeping with us. When we tried to transition her she was obviously not ready and caused severe emotional distress. Mind your own damn business. She will sleep on her own when she is ready. (She now sleeps in her crib just fine and made the switch nicely between 11-12 months using the No Cry Sleep Solution http://www.amazon.com/No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-Gentle-Through/dp/0071381392 methods which I highly recommend.)

“Are you still breast-feeding?” – Yes we are still breast-feeding. It is best for her and for me. No it is not inconvenient, in fact it is very convenient! I forget sippy cups often and the boob is easily at hand when in a pinch. Of course now at 17 months she gets too distracted when we are out and about to even think of boob. See my diatribe about breast-feeding here: http://naturallivingmamma.com/2011/08/09/breast-feeding-yeah-we-are-still-doing-that/

“Aren’t you going to wean her when the new one comes?” – No. We thought about it and after much research have decided that as long as she wants to nurse, it is the best for all of us to tandem nurse. No I  do not think it will cause jealousy, in fact most people I know who have tandem nursed said it helped the children form a life long bond. No the baby will not starve or suffer, my body is made to feed a child or children from it. My body will make food fit for the baby’s needs not the toddler. The human body is an amazing thing and knows what the correct priorities are better than we do.

“Don’t you ever put your child down?”- Sometimes, when she wants to. When she was smaller I wore her or carried her all the time. Now she is a fiercely independent toddler who likes to run and explore. She tests her boundaries and learns her limits. She likes being carried but prefers to walk or run wherever she is going. She is not afraid of me leaving her behind because she knows I am right behind her. We have a bond of trust that works great for us. It doesn’t hurt that I watch her like a hawk while still maintaining that she be able to explore, safely, on her own.

Yes my little girl is a happy well-adjusted child. She rarely throws fits or tantrums, and does not hit, scratch or bite. She gets along well with other kids and is very self-assured and not at all afraid of experimenting or trying new things.

A lot of people say I got lucky. Maybe I did. I think the real luck is that I was in tune enough with my self, and my child to know that Mother Nature has instilled me with the instincts to properly take care of my child in the way that she needs. The more I listen to my body, her body, and our interactions together, the better our relationship becomes. I love my little girl and would not change a thing. I am also very excited to co-sleep, breast feed, and baby wear #2 in 10 short weeks!

How have you fielded the “naysayers” responses to your parenting style (whatever it may be)?

Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea

So I guess pregnancy makes me crazy. I noticed feeling depressed this pregnancy around 12 weeks. I was just down and completely useless as a mother and a wife. I mentioned to my loving husband that I felt down and he said he thought I was depressed during my last pregnancy. I must not have noticed it over all the puking, gall stones, high blood pressure, pain and over all grossness.

Anyway I talked to my midwife about my options. We discussed antidepressants, because I have been on them before for situational depression and postpartum depression. We discussed the merits of massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and therapy as well. She wrote me a prescription for antidepressants but I decided to do some research before filling it and taking the drugs. After careful consideration I did not think the benefits of the drugs did not outweigh the risks, namely the baby dealing with detoxification effects after birth, increased chance of colic, and increased chance of behavioral/neurological problems. Considering I was not suicidal or homicidal, I decided to try natural solutions first.

I decided to take better quality health supplements that I was taking before I got pregnant and stopped taking because they cost more. I highly recommend finding a good whole food supplement. I was taking Standard Process, which I really like, but have gluten in them (I very recently got diagnosed with gluten intolerance) so I had to switch to a different supplement which is working well for me. I got my vitamin D levels tested and am taking liquid vitamin D drops.

I get massage at least once a week, and am going to start going to acupuncture again (insurance ran out last year, but now it is covered again so I am going again).

I have increased my fat and protein ingestion with healthy animal fats, coconut oil, and omega-3 supplements in the form of cod liver oil. There is some great information out there about how these fats are beneficial to your nervous system and health. See http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/principles-of-healthy-diets .

On top of all this I did a lot of research on herbs that can help balance my nervous system and the rest of the body. I am very careful with herbs while pregnant because they are not tested for safety during pregnancy. You need to depend on years and years of gathered data from herbalists, doctors, midwives, and other professionals who deal with herbs on a daily basis. A good rule of thumb I have found is if it is food it is usually safe. There are some notable exceptions though so do your home work!  There are some great books out there about herb safety during pregnancy, nursing and for use with children. I went to my herbalist to discuss options for tea, and between the research I had done with my books and the interwebs, the herbalists vast knowledge, and the assistance of my midwife checking for safety we came up with my crazy pregnant lady tea. This tea is also safe for breast-feeding, we checked as I am still breast-feeding. I actually see an increase in my milk supply when I drink it, I am guessing because of the nutrient boost.

Not only is the tea great for depression/anxiety/neurological issues, but it is also extremely nourishing, especially for woman. All woman can benefit from this tea but it is extremely nourishing and tonifying to benefit pregnant woman.

Here is what we came up with:

All ingredients are equal parts except for the St. Johns Wart which is 1/2 part to the rest.

Red Raspberry Leaf
Nettle leaf
Oat straw
Chamomile
Lemon Balm
St. Johns Wart
Lavender (optional)

This is why we decided on these herbs:

Red Raspberry Leaf:  Is the “best known, most widely used, and safest of all uterine/pregnancy tonic herbs.” -Weed p.18 It is nutrient dense with high levels of vitamin c, vitamin E, easily assimilated calcium and iron, vitamins A and B complex, and many minerals including phosphorous and potassium. It is known to increase fertility, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, ease morning sickness, reduce pain during labor and after birth, and assists in the production of breast milk. If you do nothing else at least have a cup or two of this great tea every day. And it tastes good too! – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Nettle Leaf: Nettle One of the finest nourishing tonics known. Contains vitamins A, C, D, and K, Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulfur. It aids in kidney health and function, increases fertility, nourishes the mother, fetus and placenta, eases cramps and muscle spasm, reduces pain, prevents hemorrhage after birth and increases the richness and amount of breast milk. – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Oat Straw:  This was an addition mentioned by my herbalist as a highly beneficial ingredient to the nervous system AND breast-feeding. It is also highly nutrient dense with high levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamins B (complex), A, C. The oat straw I get from the herbalist is not processed in a plant with wheat or other gluten containing grains and is gluten-free. If that is a concern from you be sure to ask this to your herbal provider.  “Oat straw is a nervine, which means it provides nutrients to reinforce nerves, particularly when an individual is suffering from stress. It is high in vitamin B and can help people maintain restful and regulated sleep patterns and other nerve-related problems associated with sleep and stress, including insomnia, anxiety, memory less, depression and restless legs”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/105497-benefits-oat-straw/#ixzz1kX3xrKuS

Chamomile:  Chamomile is probably one of the most widely used relaxing nerve tonics. It is used to relieve mental stress and tension. It is calming, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic for easing muscle cramps, nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green

Lemon Balm:  *fresh lemon balm is listed in the Wise Woman Herbal as an emenogogue (helps bring on periods). I use dried lemon balm and have had no issues but if mis-carriage is a concern you may want to exclude this from your tea. This was one recommended by my herbalist to add to the tea and was checked for safety by my midwife with no concerns. Lemon balm is considered specific for helping one cope with life situations that are difficult to accept. It is an old favorite for depression, melancholy, and hysteria. – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

St. Johns Wort:  Is nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). It has a sedative and pain relieving effect appropriate for treating neuralgia, anxiety and tension, and any irritable and anxious effects of menopausal changes. As an anti-depressant, it is highly recommended for treatment of melancholia or “the blues”. -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green.  There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about St. Johns Wort. It has never been proven  to cause miscarriage, birth defects, or to decrease milk supply. It has at best been anecdotally linked. My herbalist consulted three different books, (two written by medical doctors) about the risk to pregnancy and did not find anything concerning. It in fact is known as a moistening herb and can slightly increase your milk supply. If you are concerned please consult your health care professional and find information for your self!

Lavender: I listed this herb as optional because it is not synergistic to me. It does not calm me, but makes my nervous system twitchy, which is not a normal reaction. For this reason I do not include it in my tea but the herbalist suggested it might be beneficial. It is well-known to ease stress, tension and headaches. -Natural Health by Nerys Purchon

I hope this helps explain the tea and the great things it does. As always this is not intended for medical advice and you should speak to your health care provider before starting any herbal routine. As I said I worked on this with my herbalist and midwife to come up with the best solution for me. I hope this helps anyone who is suffering and can serve as a great guideline!

What do you do to help combat anxiety/depression?

Shared on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.

Breast feeding…. yeah we are still doing that!

Ok so no post for a long time because life has been SUPER busy! So I have had a lot to catch up on. \

This Saturday we went to an event called the Big Latch On where a bunch of moms from around the world gathered at the same time to breast feed their children hoping to set a world record for the most people nursing at the same time! Ellie was the oldest at the location we were at by two months.

Last week was world breast feeding week and I am SO glad we are still breast feeding at 11 months. I know people stop earlier for various reasons, or don’t bf at all but we chose to extend breast feeding. I feel very good about this choice and am so glad I have a great group of moms who have also made this choice for their families who I can go to for support.

Now I understand we are coming out of the big “formula is best because it is made with science” generation. The last two generations of children (including me) were formula fed because that’s just what people did, or because people tried to breast feed and had no support and failed. Let me tell you though I AM SICK of people treating me like it is weird that I am still breast feeding my 11month old daughter. I am going to assume it is because people are miss informed and not because they are just idiotic pervs who only think breasts are there for sexy fun time and do not serve a functional purpose.

SO here are some reasons as to why we have chosen to extend breastfeeding.

– Breast feeding a child past infancy is NORMAL

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that  “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first  year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding  confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological  or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement.

It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2008)

A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)

The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).

Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

– Breast feeding children are better nourished

– Breast feeding children are sick less often

– Breast feeding children have fewer allergies

– Breast feeding children are smart

– Breast feeding children are socially well adjusted

– Breast feeding reduces the mothers risk for breast cancer, and the longer you breast feed the lower      your risk is!  It also reduces your risk for ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancer.

– Breast feeding increases the mothers bone density without the need of calcium supplements reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

– Breast feeding moms lose weight easier (YAY)

So these are the reasons why we chose to extend breastfeeding. I hear those of you out there asking questions in the back of your head so here are a few I have heard and my answers:

Q: But she has teeth doesn’t that hurt?

A: Well it hurts but only if she bites and we have done some training with her so she does not bite that  often. If she bites she gets the boob taken away and she does not like that.

Q: I heard breast feeding was only for comfort after the first 15 months.

A: See above and don’t be ignorant

Q: Doesn’t it hurt your sex life?

A: Anyone with a child can tell you that a child puts a wrench in your sex life; I doubt any choices we have made make it any worse. Seriously, only someone who has not had children can ask that.

Q: Isn’t it a lot of work to breast feed all the time?

A: No. In fact I would say breast feeding is the lazy parents way out. When my baby is hungry in the middle of the night I grab her, lay her down next to me, boob her, she nurses in her sleep doze. When we are done she goes back to her mattress and sleeps and I roll over and go back to sleep. This is instead of waking up, getting the bottle (hopefully there is a clean one), measuring formula and putting it in the bottle, adding water and heating it and hoping that it is not too warm or cold. Then burning your child because you did not test the heat of the bottle, getting up and sitting in a chair to feed baby then burping baby then putting baby back to bed all over again before going to sleep. I will nurse a baby any day over that!

That all being said I do miss my freedom. It is so wonderful and sometimes kind of annoying to have someone so dependent on you. I am the center of her universe and although that is wonderful most of the time, sometimes I would love to do something without considering what effect it will have on my child, my milk, my milk production etc., etc. But these are sacrifices I am willing to make for the relatively short time that I am supporting the child with my body.

In a few years she will be weaned and off on her own and want nothing to do with me, so I will deal with the cling monster and the slight inconvenience  and the love and cuddles and hugs and slobbery wet baby kisses for a little longer.

Thank you for reading and if you see a woman out there nourishing her child with her body smile and support her!

How did you celebrate world breastfeeding week?

Baby Wearing for the bigger ladies: Performance ERGObaby Carrier Review

When I was pregnant and planning out the future of my child, the kind of parent I wanted to be, the kind of care I wanted my child to have, I decided I wanted to do attachment parenting and baby wear. It seemed like the perfect balance for a nursing mother to stay close to and with her child while still being allowed to be functional. I dreamed, I made a sling, I was given a baby carrier at my shower, I was excited.

Then I had my baby, I discovered that slings are not made for the plus sized mama, and my breasts are too large to wear a new-born by my chest! My breasts were large before pregnancy, but when the milk came in they were GINORMOUS! So Ellie grew and got older and we tried the baby go carrier I got at the baby shower. It did not fit around my waist comfortably at all. I have two bulged disks from working in the hospital (a big reason for my large waist line) and the baby go carrier just aggravated the bad back.

Then when Ellie was around 5 months old we went to BRU and got an infantino baby carrier. My husband loved it and convinced me to buy it. We spent $30 that I will never get back. It is easy to put on but ultimately her legs were not in the correct baby wearing position http://www.chiropractornanaimo.com/2011/05/how-you-carry-your-baby-can-affect.html and I could not use the carrier because the straps bit into my arm fat and it hurt my back. It didn’t matter she was on my back or front, it was still extremely uncomfortable.

I was all but ready to give up completely on the baby wearing when I went to Mothers Haven in Idaho to stock up on my Flip Diaper stash and I was able to try the ERGObaby and the Performance ERGObaby. I fell in LOVE with these carriers!

I am sure finding carriers that don’t maim woman completely are pretty easy to find if you are fit, young, and not a gimp. Being as I am not fit because I am a gimp, and not particularly young, it has been difficult. I can not express my gratitude enough to the nice woman in the store who allowed me to take out the different types of ERGO carriers and try them with Ellie. Front and back, front facing, the ERGO worked wonders. I did prefer the Performance model better. This is the newest design with shoulder straps designed to work better with the curves of a woman. Instead of digging into your armpits and supporting the child on your shoulders, it actually curves around the front of your shoulders and lays there so comfortably that you can hardly feel the straps! It is wonderful. You carry the weight of the baby on your hips where the very well reinforced support belt lays. I believe the sales woman also mention the fabric wicks away moisture. It is amazing!

ERGObaby grey performance carrier

We are getting ready to move to Colorado and there is a lot to do around the house, and very little time to sit around and make sure the child does not get into the one box with the fragile glass, or cleaning products. With the ERGO I am able to wear her when I am getting the house ready. I have worked in the garden with her on my back (she had fun with that one), cleaned the shower and whitened the tile grout, done countless dishes, cleaned the floors, packed, gone to the farmers market, and cooked countless meals. This thing is awesome!

Ellie in the Ergo with Mom, Dad, and "Be-wa" in tow

Thankfully, the waist strap fits around my chubby belly without giving me rolls, so that’s a plus. And lugging around a 23lb baby, doing squats and lunges is great exercise!

Oh and did I mention Ellie LOVES being worn! I can’t believe we have gone almost 9 months without one of these! I would say this is a must have for any parent who has dreams of attachment parenting and baby wearing.

I am very much looking forward to many days of hiking in the rocky mountains and exploring the new neighborhood, people and places with my beautiful daughter firmly and securely on my back learning and growing while watching me live life. What more could a mamma want?

Check out ERGObaby at http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/ or go to your local natural parenting store and see if they will let you test one out. I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

What is your favorite baby carrier and why do you love it?

Nettley Goodness

Last weekend I went to the farmers market and the nice man who gathers all sorts of goodies had bags full of nettles! Nice fresh nettles. So wonderful, so delicious, and so medicinally chock full of goodness!  I bought a whole gallon bag full of the fresh stingy little things for $3 and brought it home.  Can’t beat that!

urtica dioica

I dehydrated some for tea for the year; as nettles are only medicinally useful before they flower so there is a very short season. Once the plant flowers it is linked to stomach upset and a lot of other fun stuff. I made spanakopita with nettles instead of spinach, and made an oil infusion of nettles in olive oil.

What am I going to do with my oil infusion? My daughter has eczema on her eyebrow that is very dry and scaly and it bleeds easily when she rubs her eyes. I have been looking for a treatment that has not involved harsh chemicals, preservatives, or petroleum products and have found very few treatments. After I got home with my bag-full-o-nettles I looked in my herbal guide and read that nettles used in a salve is an effective treatment for eczema.

So tomorrow I am going to the farmers market and getting some local bees wax. I am also going to have to get about 2-3 cups of chamomile so I can do an oil infusion with that. I will take the beeswax, coconut oil, nettle and chamomile oil infusions and combine them to make a salve to put on little miss’ eyebrow and see how it works!

What are nettles good for you ask? The whole herb is used to nourish the body. Externally it can act as an astringent and can stop bleeding, cleanse and heal wounds. As a tea or tincture it can help improve circulation, increase red blood cell count, promote milk production in nursing mothers and can be used to stop internal hemorrhage.  It works well to heal UTI’s and bladder infections. It can help hamper the inflammatory effects related to allergies. “It is a specific for treating infantile eczema, especially in combination with chickweed.” (Natural Health by Nerys Purchon) For more detailed information check here: http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_nettle.htm

All in all this is an herb every mother (especially one with little nurslings) should have around the house! Tis the season! Go out and get some this weekend before it gets too hot and they are not harvestable!

I will post a follow up in about a week.

Until then happy herbing!