Our son joyously arrived at 10:08pm on Monday, April 29th. He came on his due date, which happily is the first of my expectations he decided not to fulfill. I had told people for months that we would have a May baby, but he had other ideas. My husband and I were lounging on the couch in the afternoon of the 28th when I felt a sudden desire to rush to the bathroom. I knew immediately that my water had broken and remembered to note the color, smell, etc. like Lori had told us. Water continued to seep from me for the next eight hours or so, in varying amounts. The amount of water surprised me! Good thing I had a bag of sanitary napkins on hand.
Dan (the husband, not the baby!) and I frantically packed our bags and called The Birth Center in Wilmington, which is where we were planning on giving birth. Because I am Group B Strep positive, the midwife (Durenda) requested we come in and start an antibiotic. I felt high and expectant on the ride to Delaware. I had not had any contractions yet. When we arrived Durenda confirmed that I had experienced premature rupture of membranes (PROM). I was about 2cm dilated and 60% or so effaced. She suggested that we take a walk and get something to eat at a local restaurant, which we did feeling anxious and gleeful. After dinner, we considered getting a hotel, which would have meant that we would have to come back to TBC every four hours during the night so the antibiotic could be readministered. Durenda suggested we sleep there, saving us the hassle. Very nice!
During dinner and the walk, I had several slight contractions that felt more like the Braxton-Hicks variety with little pain. Things were going slowly so we were reminded that if active labor had not begun within 24 hours of PROM we would be transferred to Christiana Hospital. After we returned to TBC, Durenda suggested taking some homeopathic tablets to help speed the process of labor. She also presented castor oil as an alternative. After consulting with Lori, I decided to try to castor oil immediately and try the homeopathy in the morning if it was needed. In hindsight, I should have done everything suggested immediately, but at the time I wanted to sleep a little and thought contractions would begin very soon. I slept on my left side that night with my belly hanging over the edge of the bed to try to help Baby Danny position himself in the ideal position, with the knowledge that he had been on my right side for the majority of my pregnancy. The castor oil did not kick in until early the next morning, and I had mild contractions through the night and was able to sleep pretty well.
The next morning, midwife Sarah gave me the homeopathic herbs and Lori arrived with breakfast foods from Wawa. I was still only about 3 cm dilated and a little more effaced, but satisfactory progress wasn't being made. I started to feel slightly desperate with the thought that we would be transferred, so after some more castor oil I tried nipple stimulation in the shower, which brought some better contractions. After about thirty minutes in the shower, we tried taking a walk and doing some pelvis-opening stretches, but another exam revealed that I still wasn't 4cm dilated, which had been our indication that active labor had begun. Sarah told me that we would need to be transferred, which was heartbreaking to me because I saw a C-section at the end of the ordeal. I had a good cry, then we packed up and went to the hospital.
As soon as we arrived, my contractions became more painful. I was incredibly frustrated with the paperwork in triage, including seemingly irrelevant questions like the name of the county in which I was born. Apparently, my husband, who took over after I showed clear frustration with the questioning, was also asked three times, "Are you sure she has no Spanish heritage?" Not sure why this was of interest to them. Finally, Sarah spoke up and asked if I could go to our room and we were told we could. We arrived in the room about 2:00pm. As soon as we arrived an IV was started and I was given Pitocin to induce more contractions. The nurses were kind to all of us; I didn't feel any animosity about our wanting to do things as naturally as possible. The nurses even seemed to respect Sarah and Lori's perspective and knowledge. I think they would agree.
I found not being able to walk, squat, or move in general very difficult. I turned to my left and waited between contractions. I experienced very little sensation in the front of my body, but the pain in my back was sharp. Luckily, Dan never left my side and massaged both sides of my spine during each contraction. Lori or Sarah stayed in front of my face, while the other stroked my leg or applied pressure on pressure points to help the contractions speed along.
A habit I developed that Lori later said was unique: during contractions I sang or repeated phrases. In the beginning, I said things like: "OPEN" in a firm, calm voice; "somos juntos" ("we are together"), a phrase that resonates with me after a trip to Mexico a couple of years ago; "ganbare!" ("go for it!" in Japanese); "there is no bliss like this" (a favorite affirmation from yoga practice); and simply "YES!" I also told myself to be calm and that what I was feeling was a pain that creates, not that destroys. As the contractions increased in duration and frequency, I sang long high notes or scales and didn't repeat phrases. Lori told me I also sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I could not have made it through without this comfort measure, which made me feel powerful and as though I was still in control of something. At one point, the nurses explained that they were concerned about the baby's heart beat, so they wanted to use an internal monitor. This device sticks into the baby's head using a piece of wire that looks like a screw. Lori and Sarah said it was a good idea, and with the idea that a healthy baby was the goal I agreed.
Around 9:00pm someone asked if I was feeling pressure in my bowel, which I said was true. The pressure increased with each contraction, and Lori was coaching me not to push but to use puff breaths during each contraction to avoid the urge. During the puff breaths, I began to push uncontrollably. The pushing felt like a sort of muscle reaction that I could not control, similar to what I imagine a seizure might feel like. Someone (a doctor? I never saw her again) said that I was fully effaced and dilated, so everyone agreed with smiles that I could start pushing. A bar was used across the bed for me to put my feet on and the OBGYN on call arrived. He said the pushing was going very quickly. I commented to Lori and Sarah that this part was very satisfying and almost pleasurable because it was empowering to feel I was getting things accomplished. Several other nurses joined us and everyone was shouting "Go, Sara! Push!" which really helped me stay motivated. The hospital nurses commented that it was unusual for me to be smiling and seemingly enjoying myself. I think around this time I said to Lori, "I am a warrior" and she heartily agreed with an encouraging smile.
I expected to be shocked by my baby, so had done a lot of visualizing during pregnancy of the moment when he emerged. There was no shock involved, he felt like mine and someone I already knew. I don't think the visualizations had anything to do with this feeling; I just think it was the first hormonal reaction of motherhood to know that this creature is mine and no one else's, not even my husband's in the same way as he is mine.
The placenta came away quickly, though I think the doctor had something to do with that as his arm was somewhere inside me just before it emerged. The stitching process was not pleasant; I had a third degree tear because our baby was on the larger side (9lbs, 14 ounces) and came out with his arm wrapped around his head. I am disappointed with doctor's performance; he was by far the least caring member of the team and did nothing to keep me informed of what he was doing. He almost seemed annoyed by my questions. Our baby spent the next 3 and a half days in the NICU, which is another long story! If anyone is interested I'd be happy to share. The end result of all of this is currently asleep on my lap. :)
Last thing for all you first timers who might come across this: a short list of recommendations.
1. Hire a doula. I VERY HIGHLY recommend Lori. If possible, also have another support person plus your partner for a total of three. I know that these people's presence there meant that the interventions were kept to an absolute minimum.
2. Pack a bag in advance and pack as though you'll be gone for several days. Better to have to much than too little.
3. Get in shape NOW. Even if you're already pregnant, find something to do that will keep you fit.
4. I hate to say this, but expect to be disappointed in the doctors you meet. Find others to trust.
THE END! Ah, but also a huge beginning for our family!
Yesterday I heard the same exact words that I myself said minutes after I birthed my son in a birthing pool in my bedroom 4 yrs ago...she, standing up to push her baby out, supported by her husband...with a little disbelief in her face..."I DID IT." Yes, mama. Yes you did. :) 3 small but very powerful words that can mean so much to a woman.
She closes her eyes for a long second then opens them - staring off somewhere, she takes a deep breath, licks her lips, untenses her muscles, feels her feet on the ground, and finally hears her midwife asking her to reach down and pull up this new wet baby into her arms. She looks at her baby for just a second. Then she looks around the room at each person's face who witnessed her birth this baby as if to confirm that it really did and really is happening. Her wondering eyes are met with gentle smiles. Her most surreal moment. She is somewhere else and time is suspended. It's like she is almost between this world and another just for few moments. There may not be another time in life that a woman is here in this place. She is slowly brought back to this world, trying to wrap her head around what just took place in and through her physical body and what she overcome mentally to bring her baby earthside. She says it again a few more times over the next 30 minutes or so, believing it a little more each time.
Every time I get to watch another woman experience this, every time I get to be there smiling at her, standing in awe at her amazing power that she wasn't quite sure she had until this very moment, proud of her, happy for her, watching her realize how awesome she is and that she can do ANYTHING after having done THAT, giving her HER moment...well, there is just nothing like it.
How wonderful is this? Right after her cesarean birth, my dear client gets to hold her new precious little boy on her chest, skin to skin. She didn't have to beg, either. Within a couple of minutes of his birth and only after a quick observation and wipe down at the warmer a few feet away, he is back with his mommy. A short time after, they are both in recovery and baby is breastfeeding. This is becoming new standard practice at Pennsylvania Hospital as they are beginning to really take bolder steps toward the "Baby-Friendly" designation.
This is a must read for everyone - but I'm especially thinking those who are just starting out raising little ones. In utero! Newborns! Infants! Yes! This is when their eating habits and tastes are being formed! You can start preventing heart disease and diabetes in your child that early....and the habits could change you and your entire family's lives too. You've gotta read this post. Be inspired today :) What life saving meal have you cooked for your family lately? Please share!http://avivaromm.com/why-cooking-can-save-your-life
How's this for informed consent? First time mom says to her favorite doctor at 37 wk check up,
"I'm getting pretty uncomfortable but I really don't want to be induced because I heard it makes things harder" OB response, "1)The nice thing about inductions is you can not only plan your baby's birth into your schedule without the risk of surprise or something going wrong before you make it to the hospital in labor but you also get to assure I'll be the doctor delivering you. (He also reminds her that she won't have to push out as big of a baby either) and 2) We are only giving you the hormone your body makes itself, so it's not going to be any 'harder'. Labor is hard. We have epidurals for that." Mom is surprised how much the answer eases her mind despite everything she's been reading - and feeling much more in control now, says, "As long as it doesn't increase my risk for having a csection, because I definitely don't want that... when is the soonest we can do it?" Doc responds, "The ones coming in with Birth Plans increase their chance of cesarean. (chuckles) You'll be fine. Let's do next Wednesday, you'll be 38 wks and a few days - policy changes - I have to wait until at least 38 wks now no matter how uncomfortable you are."
SO. MANY. PROBLEMS. WITH. THIS. Where to even begin? Now, I feel pretty comfortable in my knowledge base of the evidence as well as ACOG guidelines, etc., so there are a few things glaring at me that I want to JUMP on... big time. But I fear if I start to address each untruth and danger within this OB's responses, I will write a book tonight, not a blog post! And frankly, I don't have the time! Ok, Breathe. In....all things good and right in the world, Out....all things &U#&$$*ed up....ok, again....nice and deep and slow. Repeat.
Ok. If this was your sister, friend, or anyone you cared about - what would you say to keep it short and simple!?!? For you doulas and childbirth educator's out there - what information would you be sure to relay to this client/student?
I tend to think that if I was involved with this woman either professionally or personally I might start with this:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Practice Bulletin No. 107 addresses counseling for induction of labor and specifically addresses elective induction in nulliparous women with unfavorable cervices as to the 2-fold increase in risk of cesarean delivery, length of labor, and the need for a readily available physician capable of performing a cesarean delivery. ACOG also offers a Patient Safety Checklist for induction of labor that includes documentation that risks and benefits were discussed with the patient.
I realize we can't save every woman and baby from similar doctors who are, believe me, absolutely still out there practicing in a hospital near you - but, if you heard a similar conversation being relayed to you, WHAT DO YOU SAY? And why do you speak up or not? I'm curious of the different perspectives on this topic.
Ah, the BIRTH PLAN. Dreaded by some, held on dearly to by others. I have to admit, my thoughts on these have evolved quite a bit since I wrote my own birth plan over 6 years ago and even as a newer doula just 3 yrs ago. After attending so many women in labor in different hospital settings in various labor situations, I have developed some, more experienced, ah hem, opinions. Overall, I think the more care providers and hospital staff see them, the less dismissive, condescending, 'superstitious' they’ll be about them. But, TRUTH - Women are mostly overdoing it when they write these up. And it's not their fault - they don't know better! Maybe it's because of the millions of options presented when they look at the birth planning worksheets all over the internet, I don't know. Moms should also know: all of the major things you 'want' should be verbally communicated with your nurse upon arrival at the hospital no matter what - whether it be for a planned cesarean or unmedicated birth. Talking and connecting with your nurse goes a long way. Humanize yourself. They might need the reminder. They are human, too.
But anyway - I think it's helpful, NO, scratch that - necessary
to work on a BIRTH PLAN and then 'turn it in' like homework that you probably weren’t assigned. Ask to discuss it with your care provider at that time, and also necessary to bring with you to hospital when in labor because... well, things like that don’t tend to transfer ;). Ok. Now while all that is necessary, the purpose of these is not so much to guarantee you'll get everything on your plan but that you learn and grow more aware and confident through the process of writing and discussing it with both your partner and care provider.
Through writing it, you realize all the things that can commonly come up while birthing at a hospital and you find yourself having a mindful discussion with your partner about each of them. You might look into the risks and benefits of things you never heard or thought of or ask your doula or childbirth educator to explain why they might be harmful when used routinely but also when they might be helpful tools. You may discover why
you want what you do or why you don't, what to include in your ‘plan’, what not to, how to simplify it, figure out what feels most important, etc. And by the time you've written one up, you REALLY know what you want and SO DOES YOUR PARTNER. That is the goal. Then you put those details aside, take a breath, smile, and refocus again on the simplicity of this event! Birth is normal. I can do this. Women do this and have done this for forever. I know I trust in my body and baby and that I can decline anything I don't feel I need or want. Always remembering that with so many things in life, it's not about the result or outcome but the journey
- it applies with birth planning, too. So, while you want them to receive it well and respect every single part of it, the process
of planning and writing it is really the key. Some people feel a little discouraged by that, understandably, because it is a reminder of how much is out of your control. For one, we cannot control nature. Two, even the toughest, smartest, most determined and informed women will lose some
control just by stepping into a hospital system. A recent client said to me after writing her ‘birth plan’, “I realized how much I just have to hope things go smoothly with my labor so that I don’t need all of the things I just planned not to have.” UPDATE: Her labor and birth couldn't have went any more smoothly and I think she 'got' everything she hoped for, according to her plan and more. The nurse asked if she had a birth plan as we were settling into her room and when the dad handed it to her she looked it over and said, "This is a great birth plan! I think the best one I've ever seen. Nothing that doesn't need to be on there. I love it, thank you!" And then the midwife said, "I didn't even read it yet but I know I must be following it, haha" There was nothing for her to do! Except offer a birthing stool, smile, and wait ;)
Secondly, about that conversation piece at the end of pregnancy. It’s best to have it between 37-38 wks because you should have your Group B Strep results by then and that does come into play. A positive result may change when you’ll leave for the hospital in labor, how things may change if your water breaks before labor (PROM - premature rupture of membranes), or what to expect if your baby shows possible signs of infection during labor or after birth or you do not receive the recommended doses of antibiotics within enough time prior to birth, etc. So, after you find out whether you are + or -, have this discussion. You'll get your care provider’s feedback on any questions you have or what is not to worry about at your specific birth location, what might be an issue there, and if you'd like to compromise or fight for certain things and how to best do that. They SHOULD give you some guidance at that appt where you present it to them. Remember it’s not so much that you get xyz if this particular care provider says so, it’s more about navigating the system one step at a time based on your individual situation, working with the nurse on staff, and within or against certain hospital protocols. Having a doula to help do all of this really helps. And you may find that after taking a tour of the hospital and talking with the nurse there as well as your care provider during your appt, that most of your wishes are actually the norm for your birth location (such as intermittent monitoring, encouraged to eat and drink freely, being able to use the bathroom freely without placing a catheter - unless you have an epidural, accessing shower, etc). But in some cases, you may find that you would be lucky to get any of your wishes (such as a case of a nurse on a tour at a hospital with a 49% c-section rate scoffing at my client's idea of laboring out of bed and pushing on her hands and knees and said, 'no, we prefer to keep you safe here instead. Our patients stay monitored in bed the whole time and push on their backs with their feet in stirrups, it's non negotiable') If you find yourself getting similar feedback from nurses there or your docs, read an older post Choose Carefully
or stories of those who've jumped ship and Changed Care Providers
even in later pregnancy. It's never too late until the baby is out! But, ultimately I do think low intervention birth is possible in many hospitals. Again, hiring a doula REALLY HELPS. And if she tells you it might be hard to get what you're hoping for at your planned birth location, consider what she is telling you. Doulas are amazing resources and supports in ways you cannot understand until you experience it. Ask anyone who’s had one!
Ok, so...are you ready to start writing your Birth Plan? My advice is to definitely call it something other than a Birth Plan. Wishes, hopes, preferences. Then, as far as format – pick any of the 3 options:
1) Make three large index cards for each 1. Labor and Delivery, 2. Cesarean Section, and 3. After Birth/Baby Care and simply handwrite about 5 most important specific things you want. I suggest trying to keep language positive when possible
- so instead of saying "NO IV", you might say "Hep- Loc" preferred. Sometimes it doesn't always make sense as in really not wanting residents - you kind of have to say "NO residents". But do your best to stay positive and SHORT phrases. No explanations, no philosophy sharing - they don't care. You risk looking like a know it all, inflexible, and idealistic and yes, they are very superstitious. I have enough L & D nurse friends to know what they think - "You silly little woman, you'll be sectioned b/c of this PLAN!" And may treat you accordingly. Not always, of course. But it happens. No one wants their nurse to be in the hallway rolling her eyes and shaking her head while reading the hopes for their child’s birth.
2) A one page write up with a one or two brief sentence statement at the top about how flexible you will be if needed for safety of you or baby and then 3 or 4 categories, all with no more than 5 one line bullet statements. Such as "Want to try pushing on hands and knees" or "intermittent monitoring" or "NO erythromycin" or “Remind me to wear glasses before delivery”
3) Take a piece of blank paper and fold in half and fold again. You now have 4 categories for your birth wishes! Again, keep it 2-5 statements per box and SHORT and sweet. J - Thank you to Kelly Durbin for sharing this one with me, I love it!There is so much more I could say and I'm definitely not the only doula/educator with opinions on birth planning, check this out:
- If you are overwhelmed by creating a birth 'plan', maybe this plan will make you smile and relax a little so you can focus on the normalcy of this event and remember that with some conviction, you can make the staff adapt to you, not the other way around. Enjoy the simplicity. :) **And a few days after I published my blog post on birth plans - Giving Birth With Confidence published theirs - coincidence? HA! No, I love this blog - it's one of two blogs through Lamaze. (This one is more for parents use, and the other is Science and Sensibility, more for childbirth educators and doulas.) In addition to touching on many of the same themes I did here, the author presents her informative post in a more organized fashion less narrative than mine and gives a good list of questions to consider when writing down your preferences.
Happy New Year and Happy Birth Planning! :) :) :)
You've just got to visit Dr. Aviva Romm's site, subscribe to her newsletter, and read everything she's just blogged about in the first few weeks of her new blogging endeavor. She is amazing. This mother of 4, midwife, herbalist, and M.D. (yes, ALSO a 'real' doc) comes always with powerful information, creative solutions, and unbelievable insight. I have two of her books (one for pregnancy and another for babies and children) But for now, check out this particularly wonderful superfood packed list.
One for all the ladies, including our pregnant mommies. I love love love this list! Hey, I almost always 5 out of the 10 in my smoothie everyday ;) This list gave my busy self the encouragement I needed this week. Dr. Sears last month, Dr. Aviva this month! And...what other superfoods do you like to add to your diet? For me, chia and brussel sprouts - how about you???
My dear client and friend, Molly
, invited me to one of her Juice Plus sponsored events last week where the well known and respected Dr. William Sears was going to be the speaker. I enthusiastically replied "Yes!" of course. Dr. Bill and his wife Martha were a huge inspiration and source of strength for me as a new mom 6+ years ago. I was making my own way, mostly intuitively, but seemingly different than other parents I had been exposed to up until then, which was confusing to me. When I finally came upon The Baby Book, I finally felt some relief that my son and I were NORMAL! Not only did someone understand me and write about such things, but this someone who happens to also be a pediatrician-dad and nurse-mom of 8, RECOMMENDS parenting the way I am parenting!?!?! Ok! That seemed next best to having my mom be alive and tell me it was ok to meet my baby's needs the way I was. So I kept The Baby Book at an arm's reach for my son's first year. I referred to it sporadically throughout his second year, too, still always thankful for it as a complete resource to understanding my toddler. Any little question or curiosity I had from birth through age 2, this book held my answer and added a side of encouragement and calm. It led me to La Leche League when my son was 3 mos old, which also became an invaluable pillar of support and guide towards even more healthy living. I have read at least 10 more of their books in the Sears Library
, including bits and pieces of what I liked into my parenting philosophy and toolbox. The Attachment Parenting book, The Discipline Book, The Family Nutrition Book, The Baby Sleep Book, The Pregnancy Book, The Birth Book, The Breastfeeding Book, The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood Book, The Successful Child Book, and Now that Baby is Home. I've recommended these books to friends, family, clients, and strangers. I've gifted them, shared them, and treasured the wisdom within their pages. Everyone else warned me my baby would be spoiled and dependent on me forever if I continued to nurse him so much, hold him and wear him so often, sleep with him, not wean him at a certain time, etc (the list could go on with all the American mainstream rules I probably broke). Today, he is an amazingly smart and conscious thinker, independent, good- natured, outgoing, confident, and super kind hearted 6 yo boy. I didn't parent any way to be considered a 'better' mom or because I felt pressure to be perfect, I did it because it came natural and felt so right. I am glad I listened to my heart and my gut along with reassurance from Bill and Martha Sears. My boys are not perfect of course, but I see the benefits in my their demeanor AND our and their relationship every single day. I know the ideas aren't going to be a match for everyone, and we all deserve to make our own way. And I'm still learning everyday of course as my kids and I grow - but the foundation for us was already built so it makes going forward with confidence and trust so much easier. :)
So I drove to S. Jersey with an annoying cold in the pouring rain and horrible traffic to listen to Dr. Sears last Tuesday. It was an enlightening evening! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to listen to the incredible man behind all this wisdom and even had a chance talk with him for a minute afterwards. When I asked him to sign my two favorite books, he commented on them being well used ;) When I told him that I was a labor doula like his wife, he excitedly told me about the great time they recently had updating The Pregnancy Book and that it will be out in April of next year and thanked ME for all I am doing. I thanked him for his guidance which helped direct my own personal journey that eventually led me to supporting other women. Then he warmly and very comfortably put his arm around me for a photo. :) So...onto the presentation.
Dr. Sears first talked about his background and how he started believing so much in the importance of nutrition not from medical school but years later when he nearly died from colon cancer. That was over 15 yrs ago. He not only survived, but he is healthier today at age 72 than he was then!
He talked about his current focus which is the L.E.A.N. program. "This is the educational arm and a true passion for the Dr. Sears family. The mission of Dr. Sears' L.E.A.N. is to build a healthier world, one family at a time through Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition. Our passion for L.E.A.N. is driven by our desire to do our part to treat the epidemic of nutrition-related illnesses at all ages, especially children. "In my forty years as a pediatrician, never have I, seen so many "Ds": ADD, ADHD, BPD (bipolar disorder), ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and the big "D" - diabetes. This epidemic is due to unhealthy lifestyles, not enough exercise, unhealthful attitudes, and unhealthy nutrition," says Dr. Bill.
He introduced us to the D-epidemic, a term in which he coined for all the diagnosing and treating of kids with so many D words like he mentions above. But basically he believes that most
of these kids are not plagued with disorders and diseases and deficiencies in anything BUT NUTRITION. For example, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is really NDD!
Below I'm going to share some of the notes I took during his presentation in which he mostly focuses on family nutrition and how we can get kids healthier so we can start trying to reverse this 'D-epidemic'. The most wonderful thing about Dr. Sears is that as smart as he is and as much as he believes in the science and big words behind all of this stuff, he is so incredibly skilled in breaking things down into very simplistic ideas that everyone can understand! Even young children were called up to answer some of his questions and they 'got it'! He has catch phrases for everything, so most of this stuff is not only self explanatory but also easy to remember. And like we say at La Leche League about the advice being shared - Take what you like and leave the rest. I included some links in my notes and I'm sure you can find more on either of his sites listed at the bottom of the post if you'd like further explanation of anything below. *my comments- "sticky stuff" builds up in our already narrowing, hardening, and aging arteries. From a young age, we need to minimize the 'sticky stuff' because it starts noticeably collecting by age 5! We need to set kids up
before that to maintain a healthy lifestyle. - Most kids today are overfed and undernourished- ADD ---> NDD - nutrient deficient disorder!
Importance of OMEGA-3's!!!
- Omega 3 best sources start with fish, then fish oils, then plant based (he mentions Flax the most) *ALA found in plants doesn't easily turn into the heart healthy EPA and brain healthy DHA in the body . In fish, it is already in those forms, no converting needed. Another reason why combinations and variety are recommended! I'd also add Chia, seaweed, and walnuts for plant sources. Chia seed goes in our smoothies everyday!
- right fat, right carb diet NOT 'low' anything - Ex.) mother's milk is high in fat for a reason! A human baby brain triples in size in just the first year and needs
the high fat. After that, our brains still depend on fat! The right
kind of fat, not a lower amount.
- importance of growing myelin! How a baby brain grows to an adult brain - omega 3's!
- 4 smart food groups - go fish, go blue, go green, go nuts! - model healthy eating habits!-
PURE MOMS = PURE KIDS - connection between how children are fed and how healthy and less labeled they are. After 30 yrs of practicing, he sees that mothers who consistently don't allow unhealthy food to pollute the minds and bodies of their kids have all around healthier children.
- give yourself an oil change - Cook with either real butter or organic olive oils!
- Eat more fish!!!! Less beef!!! *Although he never said he was ANTI - MEAT, he recommends eating way less. He gave kids images of hamburgers creating sticky stuff. Personally, I prefer not to exclude beef from our diet and believe that in moderation, it actually has a very important role in keeping our bodies healthy (complete protein! essential amino acids!) and that we are meant to eat some meat. Plus I've got a whole bunch of molars that seem awfully useless otherwise ;) - "Pre-diabetes" - Hearing this more often? Doctors have stopped using terms like overweight and obese with their patients as this has become too normalized and the health risks seem minimized. They are simply calling them "pre-diabetic".
He said it's not just to scare them, although it should, but it is being truthful. *Anyone who is over 45, OR under 45 but overweight, a family history, a personal history of gestational diabetes OR has given birth to a baby more than 9 lbs should get their blood glucose levels tested. The good thing about it only being "pre" is that you don't have to get to diabetes. Through good nutrition, exercise, and just 7% weight loss you can lower your risk by more than half! - Cancer prevention? Guess how? Nutrition plays a CRUCIAL role in this, too!
He didn't discover how clueless medical doctors were on cancer prevention until he became a patient and realized they are almost solely informed on treatment. (That's where the $$$ is, afterall)
- Taste shaping. Gut is your second brain. At 6 mo well visits he tells parents some of the most important advice he believes he can pass on - To make their own baby food! Start with mom's milk, continue on with it and only real food for AT LEAST 2 yrs. Don't put anything that's not real food into them. This is metabolic programming. And it matters.
- call good healthy foods things like "grow" foods, "football" foods, "tall" foods, "dance" foods, etc. to appeal to what is relevant to your
- rule of Twos
- eat twice
as often, eat half
as much, chew twice
as long. - Grazing! Reduces
ALL incidences of unwanted mind and body diseases.
- nibble tray
- great especially for toddlers and preschoolers! You don't need to buy anything special, though, the idea is to put out a variety of choices for colors, flavors, textures, and dips and let your child CHOOSE what, how, and how often to eat healthy! *We used to use ice cube trays!
- brainy breakfast
- high protein! Eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, match w/blues and greens!
- Those troublesome boys that can't sit still!?!?! = bbb - bright bored boy - Feed well and let him run! Results of a study used were amazing!
- let grocery store trips be health education! ex. of squishy bread making squishy muscles, relate it to their lives and goals ex. being stronger, faster, bigger, smarter, more focused, etc...
- teach kids three bad words - HFCS
, hydrogenated, #'s
- supplements - ask: is there science proving that it even enters my bloodstream? Is there science that it does good things once in there? *He says the only supplement he takes is Juice Plus because it has good science and makes sense as a safety net. Contact Molly if you are interested in learning more about including Juice Plus for your family and how your child may qualify to get it FOR FREE! We all take it everyday in our house, too!
- The Sipping Solution - water throughout the day - AND something else you should
drink everyday? A high fiber high nutrition smoothie including greens!!! *Hey! That's what I say, too! He showed us a video of himself in his kitchen making his own daily smoothie and I think we agreed during and after it that he put WAY TOO MUCH stuff in one blender, LOL (he gave us permission to laugh, too), but alas - we got the point to include a variety of superfoods!) - Afterwards when I overheard individuals asking him questions, he answered some toughies like his thoughts on GMO's and food allergies with "We just don't know enough yet. The science is not their to support all of these suspicions, but it may be. We just need to wait and see good research."
He is adorable. Am I allowed to say that? I think so. I adore him. What a gem. Thank you, Dr. Sears. I hope to give the same gift of health to my family that you have given to your own family as well as many others.
com***I'm looking for some good sites to include for healthy eating on a budget. Send your favorite sites and tips along, PLEASE! This is so important to many of us who cannot afford to just start going out and buying everything we want to at every shopping trip! Coming next will be a post to include these kind of practical tips and more for feeding your family healthily on a daily basis. Taking suggestions now! Come on, moms! It takes a village!
Lamaze International lists the TOP 5 Barriers to Breastfeeding. And while everyone who experiences these things when having a baby assumes they must be necessary, they are SO OFTEN NOT. Get the word out - moms have to know that they can ask for alternatives and while the practices may be 'normal' for that hospital, they are NOT normal for babies or getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Remember, the staff only sees moms through day 2 or 3 usually! What they don't see is the struggle afterwards that moms often encounter because of these barriers, and all too much without support. This is why our initial rate of 77% breastfeeding when discharged drops so drastically each week following.
Below is copied from their website: http://www.lamazeinternational.org/p/cm/ld/fid=324
In honor of breastfeeding awareness, Lamaze calls out the following top five breastfeeding barriers within the first 24 hours of birth to help expecting moms prepare for the best breastfeeding experience:
- Unnecessary birth interventions: While there are many unknowns during the birthing process, women can seek maternity care practices backed by science that can make birth safer and healthier. Fetal monitors, confinement to bed, artificially starting or speeding up labor and cesarean surgery can make birth more difficult and lead to a harder start for breastfeeding. For example, women whose babies are delivered by cesarean surgery can face a delay before the mature milk comes in. Pregnant women can find more information about reducing these and other challenges in childbirth by visiting Lamaze’s Push for Your Baby resources at: www.lamaze.org/ChildbirthChallenges.
- Separating mom and baby: Abundant evidence shows that mother-baby, skin-to-skin care beginning right after birth and continuing uninterrupted, for at least one hour, or until after the first feeding for breastfeeding women, helps mothers, babies and breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin care helps a mom feel more confident, respond more quickly to her baby’s needs, reduces stress and makes breastfeeding easier. There are also clear benefits for babies: they breastfeed sooner, longer and more easily, they cry less, have more stable temperatures and blood sugar levels, have lower levels of stress hormones, and adjust more easily to life outside of the womb.[i]
- Use of pacifiers or other artificial nipples before breastfeeding is well established: Does the hospital nursery use pacifiers or bottle-feed babies without need? It’s an important question for expecting parents to ask. Studies show that early pacifier use may interfere with breastfeeding, and could decrease mom’s ability to exclusively breastfeed and reduce the duration of breastfeeding. Artificial nipples should be avoided until breastfeeding is well established (after about four weeks).
- Supplementing breastmilk with formula: Breastmilk is best for babies. Formula simply does not provide the added nutritional and health benefits of breastmilk that’s naturally packed with antibodies, and should not replace formula unless there is a compelling medical reason to do so. Even the few days following birth are vitally important. The breasts produce a vital substance called colostrum, which protects the baby from illnesses and provides important nutrients
- Lack of postpartum breastfeeding support: Many new moms need breastfeeding support after hospital or birth center discharge. Support may include: a home visit or hospital postpartum visit, referral to local community resources, follow-up telephone contact, a breastfeeding support group, or an outpatient clinic. This is a good time for a mom to talk about any challenges she may be having, and get the help she needs to give her baby the healthiest start.
"While breastfeeding decision-making can spark controversy among moms, improving breastfeeding awareness is not about passing judgment,” said Deck. “It’s about considering the scientific evidence and giving women the support they need to achieve their breastfeeding goals."
Oh yeah! Mouth watering yet?
Need a dinner idea? How about make your own Fajita night? You could add some of your own fixin's but this is how we like em'!
I hope the photos below are explanation enough for how to use the ingredients listed to make an awesome marinade and filling for these mouth watering fajitas! They are versatile, of course, you can make changes as you and your family desire! These are not only delicious to sink your teeth into, but oh so nutritious for you, pregnant or not. Can you say IRON packed? Ok, how about chock full of vitamin A, B, C, K? Not lacking in protein, amino acids, calcium, and a diversity of color which always tells me the meal is well rounded. As I do a little nutritional education/counseling in my doula work, I'm often asked if I'm a vegetarian. It surprises some that I'm not. I am a proud and healthy meat eater, and think some moderate consumption of various animal fat and proteins is actually a really healthy habit for pregnancy. I think some of us even need it more than others. Some vegetarians can work through the challenges (mainly getting enough of the very important protein and making them 'complete') and do really well. I am comfortable adapting most things to help out my veggie friends and clients who are learning new ways to incorporate certain missing pieces into their diets. And I love learning along with them. I try to sop it all up, trust me. But this blog post was for my fellow meat eating friends!!! ;) Sorry, I'm not even going to say that tofu or anything else could be substituted because well, that would not fair to the Fajita name. ;) Enjoy!
*London Broil marinated for 4-6 hrs in fridge
*1 of each: orange, red, and green pepper
*3 large onions nearly carmelized before adding other veggies into the pan to complete cooking the 'filling'.
*a green as always. We used lacinato kale (not my fave, but what we had on hand tonight)
*fresh avocado or your fave guacamole
*your fave salsa
*whole wheat wraps (they may need to be larger than 'fajita' wraps to be whole wheat, but this is highly recommended)
1/2 large red onion
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro