New Resources to Help You Achieve a Healthy Pregnancy, Lovely Birth & Successful Postpartum Recovery!

New Resources to Help You Achieve a Healthy Pregnancy, Lovely Birth & Successful Postpartum Recovery!

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Some of the resources featured in this post

Hoping for a Healthy Pregnancy, Lovely Birth & Successful Postpartum Recovery? Here’s some resources to get started!

**Note, I am NOT affiliated with ANY of these resources, and I do not receive any financial gain or otherwise for promoting these products!**

As you might know, I love trying to stay up-to-date on current research and information about having a healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery. I really want to be able to give clients good, solid information, and help them to achieve their desires for a low-risk pregnancy, beautiful birth, and end up with a supported, successful period of postpartum recovery. None of these things just happen, though. It takes concerted effort on the part of mom and her support team, and having some quality resources available to you can make all the difference in the world to achieving these goals!

These days, there are so many resources available, that it’s often hard to know where to start. And so many places have conflicting information, which only adds to the confusion about who to believe, and what is actual fact. Between blogs, articles, mommy boards, books and free advice, you might be wondering just where to concentrate your efforts in getting some basic information.

I have been so delighted to be made aware of some great resources that are available, and the purpose of this post is to introduce you to a few of these. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have more resources to suggest, please add them in the comments so we can all learn from each other!

Nutrition:

This is a MUST READ for all pregnant women, and anyone even thinking about having a baby. Optimal nutrition starts now, and builds a foundation for a healthy mom and healthy baby. Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science & Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols is the BEST book on nutrition that I’ve read in a long time. She will help you to understand how lacking our standard American diet is in real nutrients, and why so many moms end up with gestational diabetes, high blood pressure & pre-ecclampsia. For all the incredible information, it’s written in a very easy-to-understand style. She will help you understand why you need quality vitamins that utilize activated forms of B vitamins and folate, how much protein and good fats you need, what type of salt your body actually needs, how to reduce your carbohydrate intake, what type of exercise you need, and so much more. There is seriously so much more in this book than JUST nutrition, and your body will reap benefits from applying the information it contains! There is another book by the same author entitled Real Food for Gestational Diabetes that is especially geared towards helping moms to balance their blood sugars and manage gestational diabetes through quality diet changes.

Pregnancy Guide:

Have you seen the old “What to Expect” series for expectant moms? Well, you can think of The MamaNatural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth by Genevieve Howland as a new, up-to-date version from a natural, holistic perspective. It’s great, and I think it should be a standard baby shower gift for every expectant mom (though they should probably have it well before the baby shower, honestly!). With input from a CNM and a doula, this guide goes through all the typical questions you face week-by-week, and gives advice on nutrition, tests to consider (and why you’d do them or why you might opt out), what you should be thinking about and preparing for, and how to go about choosing the right caregiver, birth location and options that are right for you. I love the fact that the book gives great info on home, birth center and hospital options, helping moms to achieve a great birth no matter where their location, but helping them to do so as healthily and naturally as possible.

Exercise:

So, while the other two books I mention touch on exercise, there are also some resources available that FOCUS on exercise. As I’m sure you know, exercise is important during pregnancy especially as you prepare for birth (you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without training for it, right? We should think the same way about training for birth…), but did you also know that exercise is important for your body AFTER pregnancy? Our bodies go through some pretty amazing transitions as they grow a tiny human from smaller than a speck to 7-9lbs, which pushes our stomach up, our bladder down, and challenges our circulation. And then the baby has to come out…and our internal organs all must shift and readjust, and the muscles are stretched and then must get smaller…which means that there is A LOT of changes and stress for the body to recover from!

You’ve probably read or seen articles that talk about healing from diastasis after pregnancy, and/or about incontinence issues, pelvic pain, etc. that can occur postpartum, which can increase in possibility as you have more children, or have babies fairly close together without a lot of time for needed healing. But did you know there are actually things you can do about these issues? And that there are answers out there which can help you recover from pregnancy, and help you go into and through another pregnancy in even better physical condition than before?

One of the resources that can help is to take a prenatal or postpartum class through BirthFit. I love their motto: Giving birth might be the most athletic event of your life. Train for it. Isn’t that true?? In our area, classes are taught by Julie Kulig, a local chiropractor who uses her extensive knowledge to help moms develop a program that works for them. Her prenatal classes focus more on exercise, diet and birth options, and her postpartum classes focus specifically on helping the body to heal and recover from birth. She helps moms to strengthen their core in the correct way to heal any disastasis recti,  guides you in exercises to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor, and teaches you how to move (picking up fat, chunky babies off the floor, anyone??) correctly so as to prevent injury. I personally took her BirthFit Postpartum class, and have been very excited with the benefits I received…and it was really good for me to realize I was capable of doing more than what I realized I could do when it came to good workouts. You can check online to see if there is an instructor near you, and you can also access a lot of the BirthFit information on their website-they offer online classes, as well.

Now, maybe you don’t have access to a BirthFit class, or have lots of little people around, and wonder how you could ever fit something like this into your life. I get it! I’ve been on the lookout for years for a good, tailored-for-moms exercise program that could be done in 20 min. or less each day. Honestly, there are times in my life where I just don’t have more time than that, and if an exercise program is going to take longer, it just won’t get done. So I was really excited to get ahold of the Trim Healthy Mama “Workins” DVD series. What has been fun is to see so much of what I learned at BirthFit being re-affirmed by Serene & Pearl, only this program is one that I can do at home, and working along with the DVD helps to provide me with more motivation than going at it alone.  Each exercise routine can be completed in 19-20 min, using mostly items you have at home, and they are geared specifically towards moms in the childbearing stage. This means they are specifically targeting pelvic floor strength & core stability, and they include modifications to use during pregnancy, or if you’re just getting started postpartum or in exercising regularly in general. I love their down-to-earth style-it makes you feel like you’re working out with your girlfriends. You can find out more and watch an intro video about the program here.

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I hope you can find some of these resources helpful in your own journey to better health, especially in relation to pregnancy & postpartum! I’d love to hear what you would recommend, so please feel free to share!

Natural & Nutritious Formula Options: Resources & Info for Families Needing a Healthy Alternative to Breastmilk

Natural & Nutritious Formula Options: Resources & Info for Families Needing a Healthy Alternative to Breastmilk

Before I had children, I would have said that breastmilk is the absolute best choice for feeding a baby, and that a mom should try everything possible to breastfeed…and that if you tried hard enough, you would be able to succeed. However, once I entered the realm of motherhood, and actually experienced the things I had only previously read/observed/seen, I have learned that ideals are not always reality. My youngest baby just turned 10 months old, and I have once again faced the challenges of tongue-ties, latch issues, lack of sufficient supply, colic, fussiness, food sensitives, and more. Some of those subjects will be material for future posts, but I mention them to give you the background as to what inspired this post. As we have worked through these challenges, my husband has encouraged me that perhaps the things we learned will benefit others, so this is an attempt to do just that!

If you’ve struggled with nursing challenges, you totally understand the emotional roller coaster that is included. For some reason, the inability to feed and nurture your baby via the way in which you were designed to nourish him cuts deeply into our mother-hearts. As we tried one thing after another, I also felt like I was mourning a loss…I WANTED to nurse my baby, and I wanted to feed him the best, and know that I was nurturing him both emotionally and physically. I mean, breast milk is the best, right?!? And on top of those emotions (and who is not hormonal and emotional when you have a baby, aren’t sleeping, and are worried about your baby’s health?!?), there are all the questions about what to do, and if you’re going to supplement, what are you going to use??

This is where I want to help! While I know it can take a while before you can look at your situation objectively, there ARE other options available by which you can feed your baby and know that you are giving him something that is actually going to help him thrive and will meet his nutritional needs. I think that moms in the midst of feeding challenges have enough on their plates that they don’t need to add sorting through all the supplement information on top of it. My hope is that I can give you some pointers, and put some information at your fingertips in order to simplify your quest to figure out what is best for you and your baby.

As I spent time researching different options available, here are the three categories that I would recommend checking out:

  1. Weston Price Foundation Home-Made Formula: (find info here) This is what I used with my second child, who had similar nursing challenges and needed to supplement. At the time of his baby-hood, we lived in a rural area and had access to organic, raw milk from a dairy I trusted. He did really, really well on this formula, and I liked the fact that I knew exactly what was in it, and that it was REAL food. It took a bit to get the rhythm down and purchase all the ingredients, but once the pantry was stocked it didn’t take long to whip it up, and was actually a low-cost option long term. When he reached 6 months he used this formula exclusively until he was eating table foods, and was healthy and happy.  Once I used this, I figured my quest for a good supplement was over, but I didn’t count on the individual baby involved! My current baby could not tolerate it made with the milk I had available, and was also unable to tolerate it when made with goats milk. So the research continued as I tried to figure out how to help THIS baby and his own personal needs…
  2. Mt. Capra Goat Formula: (Info here) As I was continuing to research my options, I came across a number of recommendations for this formula. While it is not made using raw milk, you still assemble it yourself according to a specific recipe, thus allowing you to know exactly what it is in it, and still sticking close to the “real food” ideal. There is a kit available to simplify the process of acquiring all the ingredients, and the Mt. Capra website supplies high quality resources. After my baby didn’t tolerate the goat’s milk, I decided against the investment needed to try this, but it still looks like a really good, healthful option, and I’ve heard that there are many happy, thriving babies using this formula!
  3. European Formulas: I eventually stumbled across the realm of imported baby formulas from Europe. I’ll warn you, they aren’t cheap. And they are powered (that part still bugs me if I think about it long-what about feeding your children REAL food?!?). But they have been a literal answer to prayer for me and this baby. One of my big objections to using traditional formula is the fact that most of them are sweetened using corn syrup solids. Corn syrup!?!? We don’t even eat that ourselves, so why would I feed it to my little baby? And then there are the issues of soy, additives, and the list goes on. So I was amazed when I realized that there are several options of formula available that are made from organic milk, sweetened with lactose, have pre/probiotics, and are soy free. Instead of repeating information about these formulas myself, I’m going to include some links where you can see the brands available, along with their features and ingredients:

I will admit, too, that while powdered formula might not fit my ideal, it has been a helpful simplification to our life! My baby actually really liked the taste, and I happily observed that his diapers were hardly different in texture/smell than the usual breastmilk diapers. At 10 months (he started using formula exclusively at 7 months) he is a solid little guy that is SO much happier than he was before. There are several different suppliers in the US, and I have been happy purchasing from www.buyorganicformula.com.  Their customer service has been excellent, and my order always arrives promptly, and I’d highly recommend checking out their site. If you sign up for their mailing list, they will frequently send you coupon codes that can be quite helpful!

My happy fellow at 9 months!

My hope is that my experience and time spent searching can help to lift the load for another mom wading through her options! May you be encouraged today, and remember that you can still have a special bond with your baby AND know that you are meeting his/her nutritional needs even if you need do it in a different way than nursing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts-and what worked for you. Please feel free to comment with your own resources, experiences, stories and information-it’s great when we can help each other this way. Thanks for your contribution!