Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

7 Ways to Truly Support a Postpartum Mama

3 days postpartum, the day the milk arrived! 
I just had my first baby. Nothing could have prepared me for how mind-altering the experience of early parenthood has been. I believe the correct word to sum it up is “fanaa”- destroyed in love. If you are pregnant, or know someone who is about to have a baby and you’re wondering how to be there for them in the most helpful and supportive way, read on.

Note: The number one most unhelpful way to support new parents is to hold the baby. If you are lucky, you will get your chance, but as a new parent when someone else holds your baby, you get that insecure feeling where you don’t know what to do with your hands.

1.     Feed her. A lot. Going through labor is the equivalent of running a marathon. Taking care of a completely dependent infant is time consuming and the mama needs to be nourished in order to be able to feed her baby and care for her baby optimally. Check out and set up one for your pregnant friend, or if you are expecting do it yourself and send it out to all of your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. Excellent meals for mamas are protein rich, full of greens and have warming qualities. No cold raw salads or smoothies yet! According to Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, it's important to keep the new mother warm, feeding her warm, nutrient rich food and hot herbal teas to replenish the chi lost in birth. For a breastfeeding mama, it's important to avoid foods that can upset the newborn's digestive system. As a general guideline; caffeine, chocolate, acidic foods such as lemons and tomatoes, beans, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are to be avoided.

1  2. Pamper her. Chances are the new mama is exhausted, sore from labor and learning how to breastfeed her newborn comfortably, and hasn’t had a proper shower since before her baby was born. She’s probably not going to be able to go out and get a massage, or have the time to fix her toenail polish for awhile. Give her a neckrub with some arnica oil, paint her toes, massage her feet- help her feel human again. 

23.   Clean her house. Back in the day, we lived in tribes and had grandmas and aunts and sisters around all the time to help us with keeping up our house. The new mama most likely has piles of laundry in inopportune places, a sink full of dirty dishes and a bed that sorely needs to have the sheets changed. When you go visit her, let her relax with her baby and spend 15 minutes speed-cleaning her house, then you might be lucky enough to cuddle that little baby.

     4. Love her up. The attention in the postpartum period goes all to the new baby, leaving the mama who is already most likely feeling depleted, exhausted and overwhelmed, in the dust. Not feeling acknowledged for the gargantuan feat of bringing a human into the world and her transition from maiden to mother, dare I say, may cause her to feel a little blue. In pregnancy women receive so much attention and love from their partners, friends and complete strangers- going from a glowing pregnant goddess to a perpetually ponytailed unwashed 24/7 yoga pants wearer is not conducive to a healthy postpartum experience. Tell her what a great job she’s doing, don’t give unwanted advice, compliment her healthy baby and her natural mothering abilities, focus on her.

My Mom holding my baby at 5 weeks old,
one of the few people I let hold her in her first 40 days!
     5. Help fend off unwanted guests. If you are a close companion of the postpartum mama who will be involved in the first 2 weeks postpartum, such as a husband, sister, mother or doula, make sure you know what the mama’s request are regarding visitors. Traditionally a seclusion period of 40 days is enacted before the mother goes out into the world, in order for mama and baby to learn each other and bond. There are most likely going to be persistent phone calls from in-laws, friends, acquaintances- even neighbors who are excited about the new baby. Keep the unwanted visitors away until the new mama feels ready, whether its 14 or 40 days later, protecting the mother and baby and their extremely sensitive energy field postpartum is absolutely vital.

    6.  Listen to her. Birth is bittersweet, it may not have gone the way she planned, and hearing the condolence “at least you have a healthy baby”, does nothing to help her. She is probably feeling more conflicting emotions at once than she ever has, with no break to process due to the demands of a helpless human. Listen to her. Don’t offer advice (unless she asks for it)-- just be there.

  7. Lastly, Hold her Baby. There are times when holding the baby can be extremely welcomed, allowing mama time to take a shower, stretch out her overworked shoulders and neck, change her clothes, and even eat a meal with both hands. Letting another person hold the baby can be really hard for a postpartum woman to do at first. It is entrusting you to hold what is essentially the most precious piece of her, her heart outside her body~ what an honor!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Newborn Cloth Diaper Review

I planned on using cloth diapers 100% of the time after my baby had passed all the meconium and her umbilical stump fell off, but it didn't happen that way. I bought 4 different types of newborn sized diapers and had 15 total cloth diapers. However... the type of diaper I had the most of did not perform and we ended up using the cloth diapers at night and eco-friendly disposables (is that an oxymoron?) during the day. I tried out three different brands of disposables, and I definitely prefer cloth over disposables both for the environmental factor and the performance factor!

Newborn Cloth Diapers

Rumparooz Lil Joey's Newborn AIO: These were by far my favorite! The company states that they are for babies 4-12 pounds, which makes it a great option for preemies/smaller sized babies, however my baby was born at almost 9 pounds, and could only fit into these up to 2 weeks old, even though she didn't hit 12 pounds until now at almost 5 weeks, her chubby thighs just didn't fit! They have a double gusset and are lined with fleecey absorbent fabric and NEVER leaked. Her skin was never irritated from these, and they are super easy to snap on and off. They sell new for $30 for 2 on their website, but you can find them on ebay used which is the most economical way, especially because they are used for such a short time, buying used is better with almost all cloth diapers!

Grovia organic cotton Newborn AIO: We used 2 of these before we realized that they were horrible. The liner is stitched to the waterproof exterior around the leg openings in ruffles that wick moisture from the inside of the diaper to whatever clothes baby is wearing, so you have to immediately change baby's diaper as soon as they go, which isn't really realistic, especially at nighttime. I do like that they are organic cotton and have a flip out "tongue" soaker that makes them dry quicker than if it was all stitched together. I bought all of mine on ebay for very cheap, probably because people know they aren't that great! I do have 2 Grovia AIO one-size diapers with snap in organic cotton soakers to use when baby is a little bigger, but right now she's in an in between size where the newborn diapers are too small and the all in ones are way too bulky, so we're using mostly disposables with the exception of....

Swaddlebee's "Blueberry" Simplex Newborn AIO: These ones still fit my 12 pound baby, even with her chubby thighs! They also have a flip out soaker that makes them dry quickly, and snap down to avoid the umbilical stump, which was nice the first week when she still had it, but luckily it came off quickly! They don't leak, but the liner is stitched pretty close to the exterior around the leg holes and can wick a little bit. We have 2 of these, and they are super cute and easy to use and we would definitely use these again.

Kissa's newborn cloth diaper
Kissaluv's Newborn AIO diaper: These are my husband's favorite. The inside is fleece polyester, the outside is polyester, so they're not my favorite because I'd rather have cotton against baby's skin, but these DO NOT LEAK, and are super easy to put on and off. There is no soaker or pocket for an extra one so they do get soaked quickly, but you could probably put a soaker pad in there and it would work great. These and the Swaddlebee's are the only diaper that still fit our baby at almost 5 weeks old!

Washing cloth diapers is super easy. Everyone does it differently, and you have to adjust how you clean them once baby starts solids, but right now all we do is run a cold rinse cycle in the washer, then add a scoop of Rockin Green laundry detergent, and run a warm water full cycle. We tumble dry them on delicate/low. In the future once we have a place to hang them dry I will definitely be using a clothesline for the one sized diapers we have.

I'll write reviews of all the different types of "eco-friendly" disposables we use in future posts!

Do you cloth diaper? Love it? Hate it? let me know!

xo, Ashley