Trauma and Drama; Baby’s first week

Even after a great birth, there’s body-trauma to deal with. And even with a healthy, peaceful baby, there’s a little first-week drama to face. Here are a few things I found to help with both.

Bruising on upper chest (stripe from armpit to armpit where I leaned into the side of the tub): lavender essential oil applied directly to the skin. I did not dilute, and was not concerned about the proximity to breasts/nursing since this is indicated for mastitis as well.

Bruising on sacrum: PanAway* essential oil blend, applied neat. I felt that this not only helped with bruising of the bones, but that the absorbed oil helped to mend the pelvic floor muscles faster than in previous births.

Sore Upper Arms: PanAway* applied neat on location.

After Birth Pain: Cramp Bark tincture (alcohol) every few hours in first day, decreasing until 3rd day. I also used more of my Labor/Birth essential oil blend as a foot rub and low belly rub. I did not need to take Advil or any other synthetic pain killer.

Neck Misalignment/muscle discomfort from turning my head tubside during labor: Valor essential oil blend, on location.

General Exhaustion (birth is a marathon, afterall!): Frankincense oil on wrists, and inhaled. NingxiaRed wolfberry juice with essential oils (Young Living) and Chinese herbal tea (blended by my doctor) really helped me feel revived.

Water retention; drinking lots of water with lemon essential oil to help flush out excess fluid.

Tissue Soothing/Regeneration; Gentle Baby essential oil blend in peri bottle with water: 1 drop per peri bottle at each potty use.

Emotional Stability Post Partum: I used Ylang Ylang on wrists and inhaled. At ten days I began ProgessencePlus* serum which contains wild yam extract; 3 drops on forearms 2xday. I also began 1 drop Sclaressence* essential oil blend under tongue 2xday. I continued to take nutritional oils of flax, evening primrose, and fish for their omega 3 fatty acids.

Mastitis/clogged duct/engorgement: lavender and copaiba essential oils rubbed on site. Lavender is very effective alone, but copaiba magnifies it’s potency and is highly anti-inflammatory in its own right.

Baby

Belly Button: a drop of myrrh on the navel helped the belly button to heal and dry faster than my other babies. Works as an antiseptic.

Circumcision: a drop of myrrh in a dab of carrier oil at the base of the penis as an antiseptic. For pain, the “morphine bomb” worked wonders: I mixed 1 drop each Copaiba, Idaho Balsam Fir, and Frankincense in the palm of my hand and applied to baby’s feet and spine, and he was sleeping peacefully within 5 minutes (previous frantic pain).

Colic: in week 2 baby had a night of colic after too many feedings. Upon applying 1 drop of DiGize to his bloated belly in a clockwise pattern, he became calm and we all went back to sleep.

*Note: PanAway, ProgessencePlus, and Sclaressence essential oil blends contain a small amount of peppermint oil, which in large amounts some women find to reduce their milk supply. I have not found this to be the case with these blends, perhaps because it is such a small amount, or perhaps because the other oils in the blends support milk supply.

I only use Young Living essential oils for topical and internal use in my family. Please do your research about essential oils; I feel confident that Young Living EOs are the safest and most pure oils on the market, and have personally seen a difference in their potency as well. Please see my Essential Oils page for more information on purchasing a starter kit of Young Living essential oils.

Labor and Delivery

Ten days ago I gave birth to my sixth child. At 9lbs 8oz, he was my largest baby. Yet his birth was my best.

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Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t easy to give birth “once you get to number six.” ๐Ÿ™‚ It is still labor. It is still transition, pushing, crowning, the whole works. But by this time I have learned how to work with my body, how to relax, and a few things to help the process.

This was my first birth using Essential Oils. (See my post on Labor and Birthย for all the details!) I absolutely think they helped my labor to progress, my cervix to dilate, my pain to be decreased, my energy to not give out, and my emotions to stay stable and confident. I feel it was the oils that helped me avoid feeling out of control…the “I can’t do this!!” stage. I will be guest posting the details soon over at The OG Blog.

Additionally, having a caring supportive and highly qualified midwife from A Gentle Beginning, being able to spend transition and pushing in warm water (in the tub in my own bathroom), having my caring husband, mother, and for the first time, my oldest daughter on hand to support me, having a dark and calm environment…these all helped me to handle each contraction well.

Holding your new baby in your arms…the baby you just powerfully birthed…that is just about the pinnacle of life’s great moments!

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Baby Body Building [Diet Makeover pt. 7]


Here’s a picture of baby Mac playing with his mom today. He’s doing so great. He’s been on the upswing since Friday (came home from hospital Saturday) but was still experiencing low grade fevers, and was in obvious discomfort and had congested breathing.

On Monday Mrs. Mom rubbed Aromatic Chest Rub by Badger into his back, feet, and armpits. It’s an essential oils balm I brought with me similar to Vicks Vapor Rub, only because the oils are natural vs. synthetic menthol it works so much more powerfully than Vicks. Within half an hour it seemed to have a positive effect on his ease of breathing, oxygen saturation level, and heart rate. His heart rate had been too high for several days from breathing distress, but since beginning this therapy it has continued at the lower rate because of easier breathing (Mac is on a continuous monitor and has oxygen when needed).

Here’s a visual on the chest rub:

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If you use it in the future, rub it into your feet as they absorb so well and it will be used by the lungs.

Also on Monday, we introduced a high-potency vitamin A drop to baby Mac. Started with a single drop; 12,500 A palmitate. He tolerated it just fine, and his fever broke, although it is difficult to correlate that with just that one measure. Nonetheless, since this is so effective in immune support and lung health, Mrs. Mom has been dosing him at 2 drops twice daily. She has been giving him d3 for some time now, which is a balancing vitamin for the A.

(Using Bio-Ae-Mulsion Forte by Biotics Research Corp.)

By dinner time he was smiley and happy to sit in the high chair at the table with the rest of the family. To my utter delight, he drank about .5 ounce of bone/veggie/butter broth from a bottle.

Here he is:

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The remaining 2 ounces Mrs. Mom gave to him by bolus feeding. We had determined that it had about 115 calories, whereas his formulas have 75 calories for 3.2 ounces. Although this alone is not a substitute for formula, as a supplement of “real” food it is very nourishing in ways the formula isn’t, and seemed to be absorbed better/faster and yet keep him more satiated. All around success! His mom has continued to dose this to him twice a day while we research homemade food based formulas (WestonAPrice.org is our info source).

Mac has gained 4.5 ounces since beginning the broth (48 hours), which is great for this little guy, but we are still crossing our fingers, as this is obviously just the beginning. Also, he had been throwing ketones in his urine (a sign of insufficient calorie intake as he consumed his own stores of fat). Since beginning the broth he has tested negative for urine ketones.

Here’s the bolus feeding.

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This baby has had so many prayers from hundreds of people and we just praise God for each day with Mac. I’m grateful to have this week to be enjoying him and his family.

Egg On His Face: Baby’s First Food

I’m introducing solids to my 7 month old baby this week. He has had nothing but breastmilk to this point (even water!) and I’d say he’s doing pretty well at 22 lbs. and wearing size 18 months.

Thad with egg yolk on his face.

 

On Monday I tried acorn squash (or is it an heirloom pumpkin?) which I baked, pureed, and froze in small containers last fall. Tasted pretty good to me, but Baby hated it. At least he just let it hang in his open mouth while drool dripped out. Next day I tried again, with the same reaction.

On Wednesday I gave him some veggies from our dinner: zucchini roasted with garlic, sea salt and olive oil. He loved it, even though I only mashed it with my fork.

On Saturday morning I tried soft egg yolk, and was surprised again that he loved it. He kept opening his mouth and “diving” for more. Although squash is a fine food to start on, I’m particularly happy about him going for egg yolk, as it is a super-food with excellent nutrients and essential fats, especially for brain development. And since I use duck eggs (because of an allergy I have to chicken eggs) the yolk has B12 in it as well.

Egg yolk (raw or soft cooked) is the recommended first food for babies in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

The easiest way to feed soft egg yolk to an infant is to soft boil the egg, then scoop out only the yolk to feed him.

Cloth Diapering Myths Debunked


My first two children spent all their diaper years in paper diapers, and even though I felt small bursts of guilt when I thought of our contribution to landfills, I didn’t consider cloth diapers an option. I mean, cloth is so yukky and hard to do, right?

Wrong. But it took two cloth diapering friends to debunk my myths.

Myth 1. Washing Cloth Diapers is a lot of work.

It’s work, but not a lot of work. Like 2-3 small loads a week, and I don’t even fold, I pile. It’s also a little work to keep up a stash of paper diapers, and this is eliminated.

Myth 2. Cloth Diapers are uncomfortable to the baby/ aren’t as healthy as paper.

Maybe vinyl pants are uncomfortable, but not the new laminated or fleece cloth covers (which there are dozens of choices on). Paper diapers do tend to wick away better, keeping baby dry, but then mommies tend to rely on that and not change the paper diapers as often as they should (this was me!) and that paper diaper can heat up. Some people think hot paper diapers are associated in male infertility when those baby boys grow up. Whether or not this is true, I’m just glad to avoid those clear bead things (chemical absorbants) which are use in the paper diapers and the bleach in the paper which is a known carcinogen.

Myth 3. Cloth Diapers are ugly.

Oh, they are so cute, with colors, patterns . . . whatever your flair. What’s ugly is a plastic bag of cartoon printed paper diapers, and later a pile of soiled paper diapers.

Myth 4. Cloth Diapers and hard to put on.

There are several methods of diapering (inserts, all in ones, prefold plus cover, etc.) but each is pretty easy to learn. With the new Snappi fasteners, it’s easy to secure the cloth diaper without pins, and most covers velcro on like a paper diaper.

Myth 5. It’s better to throw away the mess.

A (non-stinking) diaper pail which is dumped into the wash is so much nicer than a trash can of diapers stinking up the garage every week. And, ever thought of all the poop entombed in the landfill forever? That seems like a ecological nightmare.

Myth 6. Paper Diapers are a pretty cheap luxury.

Huggies from Costco was costing us about $40/mo. That’s times 30 months or so (if they potty train early). I think I can get more fun out of $1200 than buying diapers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Myth 7. It’s All or Nothin’.

Even doing cloth diapers, I still use paper when we travel. And now on my 2 year old who is potty training (fingers crossed) and keeps the paper one dry a lot (Seventh Generation: no bleach in the paper diapers).

How To Start Cloth Diapers

There may be better ways to start cloth diapers, but I gave myself a challenge to spend about $80 and try it for 2 months. That way, if I hated it I could resell the diapers on diaperswappers.com and still be ahead money-wise.

I started reading some diaper websites, and was amazed at all the options (it can be overwhelming). What I finally settled on is the most simple, cost effective, and easiest method I know.

Cotton prefold from greenmountaindiapers.com because they are extra wide so they fit better. (Started with 12, at the end of my trial added another 12.)

Snappi from babyworks.com for fastening. (Started with 1, got another as a spare.)

Thirsties cover from babyworks.com to cover; reuse all day long unless a blowout. Fits well, few leaks, cute, good price. (Started with 3, but quickly had to buy 3 more so I could get through at least 2 days.)

Read about using Cloth Wipes here.

5 Gallon Bucket with lid which I had on hand; for throwing the soiled/wet diapers in (breastfed baby; but for baby eating food, the poop gets flushed down the toilet first). No solution in the bucket, I just dry bucket. When the bucket is full, I do laundry.

Laundering: dump bucket into washer, rinse bucket with 1 cup white vinegar which I then pour into wash. Rinse cycle on cold with vinegar. Wash cycle on hot with tiny bit of Bioclean soap and scoop Oxyclean. Second rinse in warm, no soap. Line dry the covers, send cloths through drier on hot (or line dry in summer).

That’s it.

It’s doable, cheap, and soft on my baby’s bum. What’s not to love?