A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery

     Being a new mom and experiencing postpartum was, and is, one of the strangest and most difficult transitions I have ever experienced. As someone already familiar with the world of parenting and childbirth due to my education (masters degree in infant and toddler mental health and 8 years as an infant and toddler teacher), I thought I had some slight idea of what postpartum would look like. Oh, how wrong I was. Most likely, your body will look nothing like your pre-pregnancy body and really it shouldn’t. After all, you just created another human. It takes a toll on your body. From the fun and oh so stylish adult diapers to the roller coaster of emotions, postpartum can be a challenging and life altering experience.

      Having a home birth with my first, I had a supportive group of midwives to guide me and attended monthly childbirth classes. We discussed the process and what to expect regularly. Regardless of the support and education, there were things I just had no clue about, especially regarding the postpartum body. First off, I felt like I had been hit by a car after birth. Every muscle in my body ached and I couldn’t walk unassisted for a few days. To be fair, I had an unusually long labor, 75 hours, with around 7 hours of pushing, but I had no idea I would be so physically exhausted and aching after birth. I knew birth was hard and would be painful in its own regard, but I didn’t realize the residual pain it would cause, and not just in my nether regions. Pregnancy and birth completely changed my body. Everything looked and felt different. Fluids were coming out of literally everywhere. I would wake up drenched in sweat, breast milk and other fun fluids everyday for weeks. (Apparently heavy sweating is a postpartum thing?!). I didn’t recognize myself or my emotions. I would swing quickly from one mood to the next even though I had some lovely bliss hormones from meeting my new baby. Postpartum is different for everyone, but if no one shares what really happens, how can any of us really prepare for this crazy time? I had endless numbers of people attempt to tell me what to expect from the baby, but no one told me I’d be in diapers icing my nether regions for a week or so.

    Thankfully, my midwives, tips I picked up from other moms, and my own research helped me to make it through postpartum and heal my body. After what felt like endless months, I found my balance and my identity as a mother. I began to feel healthy and whole again. As I prepare to bring my second child earthside, I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful tips for postpartum to make the transition less dramatic and easier for myself and hopefully for other mamas who face the transformative time of postpartum. 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

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Magnesium and Zinc Supplements

A few months into postpartum, I found myself still struggling with the baby blues and mood swings. I struggled to regulate my emotions. Looking for solutions, I took to the internet and dived into the research. I was so thankful to have actually found somewhat of a solution. It turns out, depression or depressive symptoms can actually be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. I even heard a few other moms mention it helped them during their postpartum period. I decided to try it out and within a day I found it easier to enjoy daily living and not so hard to regulate my emotions.

“Magnesium deficiency could cause abundant psychiatric symptoms including depression, behavior disturbances, headaches, generalized tonic-clonic as well as focal seizures, vertigo, tremors, irritability and psychotic behavior”

“In pregnancy, the fetus and placenta absorb huge amounts of nutrients particularly magnesium from the mother; this depletion of magnesium with not enough intake of magnesium by the mother is hypothesized to be the cause of postpartum depression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Although I personally did not try zinc supplements during my postpartum time with my first, I plan to try it with my second. Similar to magnesium, this mineral may play a key role on postpartum mood disorders.

“Zinc as a trace element has the second highest concentration of all transition metals in the brain, and its deficiency is associated with behavioral disturbances. Lower zinc blood concentration was found in women with postpartum depression.” 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Herbs

Herbs have endless medical and healing properties and are a great resource for healing during postpartum. From sitz baths to teas, herbs can play a key role in healing after giving birth.

For a sitz bath or peri bottle to promote healing after birth, there are some great recipes of natural herbs to prevent infection, soothe pain, and speed up healing. My favorite recipe is from Wellness Mama:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf

1/2 cup Lavender Flowers

1/4 cup Plantain Leaf

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/4 cup Yarrow Flower

1/4 cup Calendula Flowers

1/4 cup Shepherd’s Purse

1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

1/4 cup Sea Salt or Epsom Salt

You can find a premade sitz herb mix here.

If you are interested in a calming cup of tea rather than a soak, there are a few great options that will help you heal and recover.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea strengthens the uterus, helps it to return to it’s pre-baby size, and eases postpartum cramping pain.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea regulates digestion and promotes calming relaxation to ease anxiety and promote better sleep.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea promotes breast milk production, relieves nausea, and reduces stomach cramps.

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea helps restore iron levels, calms the body, and boosts breast milk supply. It also replenishes the body because it is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

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Sunshine

Even if this seems like common sense, it needs to be said. Getting outside during the postpartum period is pretty low on any mamas priority list, but it’s necessary for you and baby. The sunshine will replenish your Vitamin D, as well as babies, and regulate both of your hormones, especially sleep hormones. The more natural light baby gets, the more likely they’ll jump on a day/night sleep schedule and you’ll all get more sleep. Not to mention, the awesome happy hormones the sunshine will help you release.

“The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#mental-health

Support & More Support

As much as you may think you will not need support during postpartum (me thinking i could be  a super mom), you WILL need support. If you don’t have family or friends available to help, try to set aside money or request as a gift from your baby shower practical support like a maid or food service. Enlist those who are willing to help with the daily duties, not the baby, while you recover and bond with your new baby. Although I didn’t really want my mother to be present after having my daughter so I could enjoy my new time as a parent, I actually ended up being really thankful she did show up. She was happy to help with the grunt work like laundry, dishes, and walking the dog while I focused on my new role of being a mom. Also if possible, have your partner take off as much time as possible. You’ll both want to be present for these new days and learning together what works makes you feel more like a team.

Postpartum, or the fourth trimester, is a substantial time in your new experience as mama and while no one can predict how it will go, it is helpful to have natural healing remedies on hand to face any challenges that may arise as well as ease the basic aches and pains that come with giving birth.

Please note I am not a medical professional and this information should not be substituted for medical advice.

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Realistic Expectations for Motherhood

The Truth About Motherhood

I remember when I was the perfect mom, you know, before I had kids. It is so easy to say what kind of mom you will be before you have kids, but the truth is you have no idea and, honestly, it really hurts our experience as mothers when we have unrealistic expectations. Having unrealistic expectations brews resentment, disappointment, and self hate, while we could just live in the truth of motherhood, the dirty, difficult, but absolutely beautiful in it’s own right, motherhood. I wrote this to share my experience as well as hopefully prepare future mamas for the reality that is motherhood so they don’t experience the unfortunate shift in reality a lot of us go through.

I think the most important point that we often do not consider before becoming mothers is that we cannot control who are child is. You can do everything “perfect”, but each child has their own personality, tendencies, ways of doing things, and own struggles. We forget that babies and toddlers are just little humans with their own personalities and ways of seeing the world. Regardless of what you do and how you parent, you may have a very “difficult” baby or you may have a very “easy” go with the flow baby. This is their personality (or temperament) and we don’t really have a say in it.

Along with their own different personalities comes different ways of dealing with things. While it helps to be knowledgeable about child development and behavior management, some kids are going to have tantrums. Some children have sensory processing disorders and get overwhelmed. Most toddlers will develop separation anxiety and stranger anxiety and, to a certain extent, this is completely normal. You can’t parent to prevent this. You can however parent to be supportive and consistent, but that’s another conversation.

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The other thing is the expectation that we will be super moms before we ever even become a parent. This false ideal of being a super mom creates terrible disappointment and mom burnout. Parenting is EXHAUSTING. It is the most mentally exhausting thing I have ever done (and I taught a room full of toddler for five years. Parenting is different. It is constant). There really is no break, even if someone gives you a break, you think of your child pretty much constantly. Becoming a mom changes everything. Do not expect to be the same productive person who does it all when you become a parent. Actually, don’t expect to be the same person at all. Your child will be your biggest teacher in life and you absolutely will change and that is okay, embrace it. While you eventually will get into your own groove as a parent, there is a huge adjustment. I thought I was going to be able to build my business, keep the house spotless, take care of my young crazy dogs, maintain a thriving marriage and be an amazing, ever-present mama. Oh boy, was I wrong. It took me about eighteen months to really settle into myself as a mother and figure out the balance of being myself and a mother as well as a part of society and that is also okay. We don’t have to figure anything out right away and I just wish someone would have told me that.

How Gardening Makes You A Better Mother

Parenting Lessons I Learned From My Garden

Gardening makes you a better mother or parent. Not because you’re “being more productive” or “more natural” but because you can learn a lifetime worth of lessons in one garden season. If you allow it, the garden can help you grow and evolve. Gardening has taught me many lessons in such a short time. My garden has forced me to hone skills and qualities I’ve tried many times to master as well as qualities I’ve never utilized. From the natural process of growing a garden and the environmental challenges, such as deer devouring my garden, the following are a few of the skills and lessons this garden season has forced me to practice.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Effort Makes All The Difference

A seed cannot grow if you never plant it: in gardening and parenting. If you don’t put forth the effort, you can’t get what you desire. If you want Zucchini, you need to plant Zucchini seeds. If you want a child who lives with kindness you must show and teach kindness. We have to put in the effort to get the beauty & bounty; whether that be a thriving and healthy garden or child. 

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”

— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Growth Takes Time

It takes time to see the growth from your efforts. A sunflower doesn’t bloom the day after you plant the seed. It takes time.

“A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”

— Liberty Hyde Bailey

Patience

As the garden takes time to give back for the effort you’ve put in, it teaches you patience. Instant gratification doesn’t exist in the garden. We find instant gratification with most things in modern society, which leaves us inept with patience and therefore unprepared for parenthood. With gardening and parenting, we learn even with love and effort, we won’t immediately get what we desire.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

— May Sarton

Peace & Contentment

The garden, with all it’s beauty and calmness, teaches peace & contentment. Something about it’s beauty feeds the soul and shows you the way to your inner peace.

Lessons From The Garden

The Importance of Having A Relationship With Dirt

Gardening will show you how important it is to have a relationship with dirt. As a parent, this is an important lesson. Your child will crave to play in the dirt and for their health and wellness, it’s important you allow them to do so and even encourage them.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

–Margaret Atwood

The Undesirable Will Happen (and that’s ok)

The garden will never go exactly as planned; neither will parenting. The garden will show you that no matter how astray things may go, with commitment and love, it will still be beautiful. Flowers will blossom and fruit will form. 

“A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.”

-Dogen

These are all beautiful and necessary lessons to hone for motherhood and a garden is a wonderful and forgiving place to learn such lessons.

What have you learned or hope to learn from your garden?

Lessons From The Garden For Mothers
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What You Need To Read Before Homeschooling Your Child

Whether you’ve always planned to homeschool your child or have newly decided to homeschool due to changes from Corona Virus, homeschooling is a consequential and life-changing endeavor for the parents and child(ren). It’s important to be informed and change your view from mass schooling and typical education to individualized and personal learning. Public school is intended to easily educate a mass of people, so when you choose to homeschool, it does not make sense to follow the typical teaching and learning methods used in the education system. In order for you, as an educator & guide, and your child to thrive in homeschooling, it is necessary to learn the research behind natural, child-centered learning. This list of books will give you more than enough information to become an expert (and happy) guide in your child’s home learning process.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Unschooled by Kerry McDonald

If you read just one of these books, make it this one. This is a research and experience filled book that reveals the importance of taking an alternative approach to education that allows children to learn according to their own interests as well as how to support and optimize that learning process.

Passion-Driven Education by Connor Boyack

One of the reviews I read for this book talks about how it broke the mom’s heart that she didn’t read it before homeschooling because she felt she wasted years not igniting her children’s passion for education. A must read before homeschooling in order to change your approach and get your child(ren) engaged and passionate about what they’re learning.

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Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Written by a mother who homeschooled her own children, this book teaches parents how to make homeschooling a part of daily life rather than forced and scheduled curriculum. It invites parents to live curiously and role model for their children how to learn by exploring interests and adventures. It provides practical and applicable ways to make homeschooling easy and effective.

Free To Learn Peter Gray

A developmental psychologist discusses the importance of shifting learning away from structured and forced schooling to children pursuing their own interests through play to become passionate and curious learners.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

Learn the importance of unrestricted outdoor play on your child’s health and development. The book also provides helpful strategies on helping your child thrive regardless of where you live.

How To Raise A Wild Child by Scott Sampson

A research filled informative book on why and how to get your child interested and engaged in being in nature and outdoor learning.

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life.” ~ Vince Gowman

https://greenmamalife.com/2020/01/27/20-quotes-for-world-schooling/

The Beautiful, Natural, & Unassisted Birth Story Of Our Second Child

It is so strange and beautiful how every pregnancy and birth has its own story. I always hear how different each pregnancy can be even for the same woman, but I had no idea how true that could be until I became pregnant with my second child. We had wanted a second child for a while and were hoping to have two little ones close in age so they grew up enjoying each others’ friendship. I also knew I wanted to be a full time stay at home mom while the kids are little so taking a pause on my career made more sense if we had multiple children closer together (although now the plan has changed since we plan to homeschool/unschool long term). 

I became pregnant with our first almost immediately, so it was a bit surprising and frustrating when we couldn’t seem to get pregnant with a second, although it made sense because I was still breastfeeding full time. I loved breastfeeding and I knew how much my little one loved it, so I couldn’t bring myself to wean her just because I wanted another child, so we patiently waited. Finally, around when our daughter was 20 months my cycle returned and we conceived our second child! (I also think switching to a Berkey water filtration system helped with this, but that’s another conversation). 

The pregnancy was immediately entirely different than my first. As soon as I was pregnant with my first, I found myself irritable and moody, constantly achy and tired, and most challenging, I injured my back a few weeks into the pregnancy, which remained injured and painful until giving birth. It was definitely a challenging pregnancy. With my second, I found my mood and patience improved almost immediately. I felt great other than wanting extra sleep and the occasional upset stomach!

With the pregnancies being so different, I was surprised to find I had the same long last month of pregnancy full of prodromal labor. Being much more active and healthy during my second pregnancy, I thought I wouldn’t have the long and exhausting prodromal I had with my first, so when contractions started happening around 38 weeks, I thought baby would be coming soon, but I was very wrong! 

Our sweet baby didn’t come until 42+4 after about 4 days of strong labor. Once I hit 42 weeks, I was planning to get a scan to make sure everything was healthy with baby so I could feel comfortable letting the pregnancy continue as needed. I never made the call to make the appointment because right at 42 weeks, my contractions became much stronger and regular.

I listened to birth meditations, did lots of spinning babies moves trying to make sure baby was in a good position, walked, went up and down the stairs, did squats, and labored on my yoga ball. I was in pure bliss and excited to meet my baby. I thought surely the baby would come in the night. The contractions were waking me up so I labored in the shower while everyone slept. I finally fell asleep around 4 am and was disappointed and discouraged to wake up the next morning with my contractions slowed and my baby still not here. This went on for 2 more days (Saturday and Sunday) and while it was physically exhausting, it was much more mentally exhausting. I cried countless times feeling so discouraged that again, just like with my first, I had been in labor for days. I kept resetting myself, attempting to stay in a positive and oxytocin filled space. Finally Sunday evening, I got some encouragement. I lost my mucus plug! Soon after, my contractions became more intense and I could feel baby getting lower. I moaned and huffed and puffed through them grabbing my husband and tensing up. It was the first intense pain of my labor, so I was so happy to be experiencing it because it meant PROGRESS! However, with how exhausted I was, I was not handling them well and I had forgotten to relax and let the pain and pressure flow.

Although the contractions were only getting more intense, I told my husband to go to sleep since baby would be here soon. I too tried to sleep and somehow slept between my contractions which were only a few minutes apart and was in a half asleep daze for each contraction in which I’d wiggle and tense up while lying down. Around midnight, the pain became so intense I couldn’t rest anymore and I was wiggling everywhere. In my half asleep daze, I had a realization. I needed to try and relax and breath normal during a contraction. At least just try it rather than wiggling and making noise. IT WORKED. My contractions somehow went from intense pain to slightly painful pressure. I found myself back in the blissful and excited state I had been in my first day of labor.

After a few of the relaxed contractions, I had to jump out of bed because I very suddenly and urgently needed to use the restroom due to an intense contraction. I went to the bathroom and struggled to get off the toilet because the contractions just kept coming. I threw on a diaper, a very cute adult diaper I purchased for postpartum, in case of another intense contraction so I wouldn’t have to run to the potty again. I walked to the living room and had insane pressure so I hummed and calmly breathed through the contraction but another immediately hit and I again felt like I had to pee. I tried to make my way back to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. (Thank you diaper!) While stopped by a contraction, my body involuntarily started to push and I felt a big warm rush. My water broke! It was such an intense and relieving feeling. A warm gush soaked the diaper and more water trickled when I attempted to move. At this point I whisper yelled attempting to wake my husband up. I quietly yelled “wake up! The baby is coming!” I attempted to put one back on, but it wasn’t happening because baby was coming! With each contraction, my body was pushing. I told my hubby to put the shower curtain and some towels on the bed and I kneeled on the bed while holding his shoulders. I slowly and calmly breathed when my body wasn’t forcing me to push (fetal ejection reflex). After a few pushes, I could feel the baby’s head just an inch or so inside and I recall telling my husband “I feel something but I don’t know what it is” ( I wasn’t sure it was a head because it was wrinkly from the pressure). I pushed two more times, none of which were forced, and the head still wasn’t out and I calmly repeated to myself “it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay they’ll be here soon. They’re almost here.” With another push, the head was out! The baby immediately started crying and my husband said “what do I do she’s crying!” I told him leave her and get ready to catch the baby because I still had to push them out! We were both estatic and completely calm. I kept repeating “our baby is here!” With another push, the baby shot out and only their legs were still inside. My husband held them up as I took a few breaths before my body started pushing again. They were out! I asked my husband to hand them to me and he passed the baby under my legs as I flipped over onto my back. I layed there in bliss that our sweet baby was there and we both were doing great! I asked my husband to take some pictures and grab some towels and the bowl for my placenta. Within a few minutes I delivered the placenta. We started to clean baby and I up and decided to finally check what our baby is. Our baby is A GIRL! We were pretty shocked and excited!

We were both in a beautiful, exhausted, daze completely amazed we just welcomed or second daughter into the world. It was so peaceful and nothing felt rushed. I nursed our sweet baby, took photos, and slowly started cleaning us. I had my husband help me to the restroom and shower so I could get cleaned up. After a quick shower, we all relaxed, ate food, and basked in the beauty of the experience and our new sweet child until big sister woke up and met the new addition.

I absolutely loved my freebirth and know it was exactly what I needed. If we choose to add to our family in the future, I will definitely choose to free birth again.

You may also like Ways To Prepare Your Body For An Easy & Intervention Free Birth and The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

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The cord was over her shoulders, but not around her neck.
She latched right away!
Meeting big sister! 🖤

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My Favorite Eco-Friendly Baby & Toddler Brands

The materials in clothing and toys matter! Most fabric (and toys) are not eco-friendly and have a negative impact on the Earth as well as effect your little one by exposing them to toxins. You can avoid harmful fabrics by using organic cotton! Organic cotton doesn’t use pesticides which is good for your little one, bees, and maintaining healthy soil for future growing!

While cotton is a natural fiber that can biodegrade at the end of its life, it is also one of the most environmentally demanding crops there is. The cotton industry now uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/eco-friendly-fabric-ranking

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Finn & Emma

Finn & Emma is a great choice for adorable, modern baby and toddler clothes and toys that are also non-toxic and eco-friendly. Finn & Emma uses 100% organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, and all natural wood for their products. Finn & Emma even uses fair trade practices! Most of my baby items are Finn & Emma, especially the clothes since they’re so cute and we aim to only put our little in organic materials.

Some of my favorites by Finn & Emma:

Adorable Organic Rompers Just in time for Spring and Summer at Finn + Emma

Beautiful Handmade Artisan Macrame Swing at Finn + Emma

Organic Toys, Teethers and Stuffed Buddies!

Little Lentil

Little Lentils Clothing is 100% certified organic cotton and low-impact dyes Little Lentils is one of the most sustainable options for clothing your baby. The Send Back and Rental Programs prevent clothes from going to the landfill! The Send Back Program allows you to send back your baby’s used clothes for 20% off your next order! They support fair labor practices and never utilize child labor. They also put 1% of all sales towards environmental initiatives.

Shop Little Lentil Clothing Here!

Natemia

High quality and adorable baby basics that are non-toxic! All products are either natural bamboo textile or 100% organic cotton so you don’t need to worry about harsh chemicals on your precious little one. 

A few of my favorites from Natemia!

Baby Wooden Hair Brushes and Combs Set

White Organic Hooded Bathrobes for Babies and Toddlers

Natural Changing Pad Bundle

What are your favorite sustainable and non-toxic brands?

Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth

Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. There’s the amazing experience of first kicks, your growing bump, shopping and preparing all the cute baby items (checkout my non-toxic baby registry), and, of course, meeting baby! However, some women experience anxiety when nearing labor. It’s no surprise many women experience anxiety about labor when we commonly hear and see horror stories about birth in the media and from others. However, many women still have easy and uncomplicated births and you can too! Whatever your desired birth, natural homebirth or uncomplicated and gentle hospital birth, it is important to prepare your body. There are many natural and easy methods to prepare your body for birth!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Prenatal Vitamins

Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy is the best thing you can do to keep your baby and body healthy and ready for labor. A good balance of of vitamins and minerals allows the uterus to contract effectively and prevent difficulties during labor such as hemorrhage. Easily absorbed prenatal vitamins and a balanced diet will help ensure your baby and body are healthy and ready for labor.

Dates

Dates are a delicious and nutritious treat that can benefit you greatly in preparation for labor and postpartum. Dates can provide you with antioxidants, high levels of magnesium (which can also lower blood pressure), and choline, a key vitamin B. They’re also a great source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese, and fiber! Not only will dates give you a great nutritional boost, research has found they can lower your need for induction, lower need for interventions, and lower risk of complications.

Women who ate six dates a day from 36 weeks until birthing dilated more quickly, had intact membranes (water hadn’t broken) more often, and needed induction far less frequently (96% went into labor spontaneously) compared to the control group which ate no dates.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

Research showed that women who were given dates to eat experienced significantly less postpartum bleeding over women who received a Pitocin injection.

https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/

If you’re not a big fan of dates, but want the awesome benefits for labor, you can try this tasty organic date syrup. We use it for baking or topping waffles as a great low glycemic alternative!

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Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea is amazing for the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to not use nettle tea before 35 weeks because there’s not enough research to decipher if it may cause preterm birth since it encourages the uterus to tone and contract. However, consuming Nettle Tea during the end of pregnancy may decrease risk of complications and increase chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Nettle leaf tea is also beneficial in preventing hemorrhage due to it’s high iron and vitamin K content.

Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Nettle tea is also helpful because the high calcium content helps the uterus to contract effectively.

The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, in the legs and elsewhere.

https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea, probably the most well known herb used for pregnancy, is a great tool to prepare your body for labor. Similarly to Nettle Tea, it is recommended to only use this tea after 35-37 weeks because it’s ability to tone and contract the uterus, possibly increasing risk of preterm labor. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a delicious and easy way to tone your uterus in preparation for an easier labor.

The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

Not only will it likely make labor quicker and easier, it will also decrease your risk for intervention.

Women who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy

Yoga Ball

An exercise or birth ball is really helpful in preparing your body for labor. Using a yoga or exercise ball during pregnancy can help strengthen the back and abs, open up the pelvis, and increase your chances of a shorter and easier labor.

Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/what-is-a-birthing-ball-and-should-i-use-one#benefits

Find great exercises for kick starting labor on a birth ball here.

Walking/Exercise

Exercising regularly during pregnancy may shorten the duration of your labor as well as decrease your risk of needing a c-section. (See why to avoid a C-section here).

The American College of Nurse Midwives, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine all endorse exercise during pregnancy.

https://www.gwdocs.com/specialties/midwifery-services/nutrition-exercise-guidelines/
Natural Ways To Prepare for Labor
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Let me know if you find these tips helpful! Was there something you did previously that helped prepare your body for labor?

My Minimalist and Natural Baby Registry

A Non-Toxic Guide To Everything You Need For Baby

There are SO many baby items. You can (and I have) spend hours upon hours looking into all of the different products. Creating a baby registry we love can be hard because we want what’s best for our babies but there’s endless products advertised that are dangerous, toxic, bad for development (see preventing container syndrome and growing a creative child), and just bad quality. For the mamas looking for non-toxic, gentle products that also support development, I’ve designed this guide to creating a registry you’ll love.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Gear

Gear is a great area to cut down on clutter and cost. You don’t need a ton of different things to put your baby in. Not only is it costly and takes a lot of space in your home, having a lot of “baby containers” is bad for baby’s development (learn more here). Stick to the basics and invest in high quality gear.

Car Seat

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats. It also saves lots of money by being convertible and growing with your child! No need for a bucket car seat or buying a booster later.

Bouncer/Rockers

A lot of bouncers and rockers contain harmful flame retardants. There are a few natural options that are great!

Shop Natural Baby Rockers at Finn + Emma.

I also love the aesthetic and organic Bloom Coco Rocker.

Moses Basket

Click photo to shop!

Baby Carrier

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Portable Crib & Play Yard

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it is the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Bedding

We chose to cosleep and have a bedside cosleeper. We decided to never get a crib, which saved money and worked great for us! However, I do understand that doesn’t work for some families, so I’ve included some natural crib gear as well!

Organic Crib Sheet

Organic Crib Mattress

Diapering/Potty

Cloth Diapers

We decided to cloth diaper in order to make sure our daughter isn’t exposed to toxic chemicals commonly in diapers as well as to lighten our environmental footprint. We LOVE cloth diapers. They’re cute, easy to use, and don’t create waste! Plus, you save a TON money. We used these cute pocket diapers.

Disposable Diapers

We love these compostable, non-toxic bamboo diapers! We used these for travel or anytime we needed to take a break from cloth diapers (such as when we were moving).

Wipes

We’ve primarily used reusable wipes and had great success with them. There are some great natural recipes, but we typically would use just warm water and a few drops of lavender oil which smells great and is naturally antibacterial.

Organic Reusable Baby Wipes

Reusable Wipes Container (BPA-free)

Disposable Wipes

Extras

Organic Portable Changing Pad

Organic Changing Pad Cover

Bathing

We love this large BPA Free, PVC Free, Phthalate Free, Lead Free, Non-Toxic, & Recyclable Polypropylene baby bath. It’s a bonus that my toddler can still fit in it!

Clothing

Always aim for organic!

100% Organic Gender Neutral Baby Clothes

While cotton is a natural fiber that can biodegrade at the end of its life, it is also one of the most environmentally demanding crops there is. The cotton industry now uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/eco-friendly-fabric-ranking

Cute Organic Baby Clothes at Little Lentil Clothing


Feeding

    Breastfeeding

Click photo to shop!

Reusable nursing pads are a must-have, especially the first few months while your supply is regulating. Not only are the reusable more sustainable, they’re also more comfortable. It can be really uncomfortable if the “fuzz” from disposable pads stick to your already sore nipples!

Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle

    Pumping

Always check with your insurance if they will cover a breast pump and if so what kind. I got an awesome $300 pump fully covered by my insurance!

BPA- Free Hand Pump

   Bottle Feeding

Glass Baby Brezza Bottle – All materials are food grade, FDA approved and free of BPA, BPS, Phthalates and all other harmful chemicals

Baby’s Health

Vitamins

Organic Vitamin K Drops

Organic Vitamin D Drops

Extras

   Helpful
Pacifiers

Natural Rubber Pacifier

Bibs Natural Rubber Pacifier

Both are 100% free from BPA, PVC and phthalates

   Toys

The Best Organic Toys, Teethers and Stuffed Buddies On Finn + Emma!

For Mom

   Pregnancy

Read my list of a minimalist Mama’s pregnancy must-haves here.

Birth

Check out my everything you need for a homebirth here.

   Postpartum

Find everything you need for a natural quick recovery here.

h Mama® Organics

Preparing For A Home Birth

Home birth is a beautiful and grounding birth option that allows you to experience birth your own way from the comfort of your home. 

Home birth may be an option for you if:

•You are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy

•You want to avoid an episiotomy, cesarean section, epidural and other similar interventions

•You want to share the experience with family and friends

•You want to be free to move around, change positions, take a shower, and eat or drink freely during labor

•You want to enjoy the comforts of your home and familiar surroundings

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth

Benefits of Home Birth:

“Benefits of planned home birth include lower rates of maternal morbidity, such as postpartum hemorrhage, and perineal lacerations, and lower rates of interventions such as episiotomy, instrumental vaginal birth, and cesarean birth.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/

“An average uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about 60% less in a home than in a hospital.”

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/home-birth/

Birth Supplies:

Although you don’t need much more than your body to give birth, it’s helpful to have plenty of supplies to create a comforting and relaxing environment that can address any issues should they arise.

The birth supplies you’ll need will depend on whether you’re having a midwife or an unassisted birth. If you’re getting a midwife, you’ll want to ask what they will supply, otherwise you’ll need to get most items yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Helpful Gear:

If using a birth pool and planning a water birth, there are a few additional items you may want or need.

  • Lead-free potable water hose
  • Sink water hose adapter
  • Fish net (in case any accidents happen in the pool)

The Basics:

  • Extra sheets, towels, and rags
  • Thermometer
  • Underpads
  • Plastic sheet or shower curtain liner

Setting The Environment:

  • Dim lighting options
  • Essential oils

Comfort & Pain Management:

  • Birth gown for mom
  • Organic Herbal Heating Pad
  • Ice Pack
  • Healthy Snacks
    • Homemade fruit popsicles
    • Peanut butter
    • Vegetable Broth or Soup
    • Any quick & easy healthy snacks you love!

Unassisted Birth Medical Gear:

Home Birth On Your Own Terms: A How To Guide For Birthing Unassisted

•Hanging Weight Scale

•Blood Pressure Cuff and Stethoscope

•Umbilical Cord Clamp

•Kleenprint Footprint

For Baby:

  • Newborn diapers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Birthday cake (for family to celebrate!)

C-Sections: What You Need To Know and Why To Refuse Unnecessary C-Sections

What Research Says About C-Sections and How To Mitigate Negative Effects

C-Sections are a revolutionary medical procedure that have saved many women’s and babies’ lives. C-Sections are an important emergency tool, however, C-Sections should only be used as a life saving tool and not regularly used by physicians as a way to control birth or as an alternative to vaginal birth. 

“Nearly a third of childbirths in America happened by cesarean section in 2017, but whether a woman has a C-section may have more to do with where she gives birth than her health or that of her baby.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/slideshows/c-section-rates-are-highest-in-these-states

Although some may feel C-Sections are a better choice because they are more controlled than vaginal birth, C-Sections can have a myriad of consequences for both mom and baby.

Not only can more medical issues occur for mom such as hemorrhage, infection, and blood clots, C-Sections can also have a lasting impact on baby’s health and development.

“Research had shown various associations between cesarean delivery and long-term health problems, including higher rates of obesity and asthma in children.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Despite the research showing the negative impact on both moms and babies, C-Section rates remain high. Some doctors continue to push mothers to schedule a C-section merely because they are near their due date or because it is more convenient. 

“Rates of cesarean deliveries have increased despite warnings from WHO that it should only be used in life-threatening cases due to risk of complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611

It’s important as mothers that we are aware and educated about the possible effects of a C-section so we can make an educated decision when a doctor suggests a c-section, whether it be continuing with a C-section, getting a second opinion, or changing doctors.

Risks For Baby

“Studies have reported negative health outcomes in offspring born via cesarean delivery, including obesity, allergy, asthma, type 1 diabetes, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2749054#225229759
subscription box for moms

Asthma and Allergies

“Cesarean section rather than vaginal deliveries may raise the risk of childhood asthma and allergies by interfering with the child’s immune system development”

https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20080521/c-section-tied-to-childhood-asthma

“The report found that infants delivered by C-section were at more than double the risk of developing food-borne allergies and asthma by their third birthdays than babies born vaginally.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Autism and ADHD

“Birth by cesarean section was associated with a 33 percent higher risk of autism and a 17 percent higher risk of attention deficit disorder.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/well/family/autism-c-section.html

Type-1 Diabetes

“Even when accounting for all the known risk factors, it was found that children delivered by C-section were 20% more likely to have type 1 diabetes than those delivered vaginally.”

https://defeatdiabetes.org/c-section-delivery-increases-risk-type-1-diabetes/

Decreased Breastfeeding Success

“Women who had a cesarean delivery showed a lower rate of exclusive breastfeeding and any breastfeeding than those who had a vaginal delivery. In addition, cesarean delivery was related with using formula in the hospital and delayed breastfeeding initiation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29365288/

Risks For Mom

“Women who had C-sections were 80 percent more likely to have complications than those who delivered vaginally” even when controlled for pre-existing health issues or complications.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cesarean-section-complication-risk-rises-mother-s-age-study-finds-n993611
Earth Mama Organics

What If I Need An Emergency C-Section?

In the case an emergency C-section is needed or you choose to go through with a C-section when suggested by a doctor, there are a few ways you can mitigate the potential negative effects. According to research, there seem to be a few key factors that cause the negative health effects to babies born via c-section. A primary factor is babies receiving moms’ microbiome by going through the vaginal canal. An alternative that can be used when a c-section occurs is vaginal seeding.

“Experts have long suspected that bacteria passed from mother to baby during vaginal birth – a process known as “microbiome seeding” – could play a role in protecting children.”

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/health/2019/4/19/1_4387238.html

Vaginal seeding, also known as microbirthing, is the practice of using a cotton swab to transfer mom’s vaginal fluids to baby’s mouth, nose, and eyes in an attempt to transfer mom’s vaginal bacterial flora to baby. While there is little research surrounding vaginal seeding since it is a new practice, the only risk of attempting vaginal seeding is if a mother has a vaginal infection or STD. Otherwise, baby is simply being exposed to the fluids they would have been exposed to had they experienced a vaginal birth.

Another key factor is breastfeeding. It is often hypothesized that the lower rate of breastfeeding among c-section mothers plays a role in the negative effects correlated with c-sections such as obesity, allergies, and Type 1 diabetes since breastfeeding has been found to protect against all of these issues as well as other illnesses and disorders.

“There are many health benefits to your child from breastfeeding, including prevention of infections such as ear infections, diarrhea, and other bacterial and viral infections. Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help protect against diabetes and some cancers.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107563

Whatever choices you make, it’s important to make the decisions knowing the facts and choosing the best direction for your family. I hope this helps empower mothers to make the best choices they can and feel informed when being their own and their baby’s advocate.

5 Reasons To Want A Tiny Home

Have you heard of the tiny home movement? It’s growing and becoming more common as people look for ways to escape debt and focus on enjoying life more. Americans are loving the idea of “stepping off the hamster wheel” of endless work and debt and have jumped on the tiny living band wagon (including myself)! Around 700 new tiny homes are being built in America every year (find more info here). With all the benefits, you should jump on board too!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

The Money

Let’s be real, owning a home or renting a home is expensive. Deposits, rent, repairs, utilities, etc. are all black holes continuously consuming our money. But what if you could drastically reduce those costs? Tiny living means way less in home costs. With the cheaper cost, it’s much easier to own and skip out on the cost of deposits and rent. Although we have some other costs, our home only costs in the range of $0-700 a month (depending where we set up camp). The most we spend in a month on housing is less than half the cost of any other living situation we’ve previously had. Less mortgage and a lower cost of living also means more freedom to decide how much much you work, if you want to stay home with your family, and the kinds of education your children have. Without tiny living, I wouldn’t be able to work from home part time, but would instead be working to pay for the hefty cost of living!

Studies show that roughly 50% of tiny house owners have more money saved that owners of traditional homes.

https://www.godownsize.com/tiny-house-statistics/

Outside More

A small space can actually mean more space. When you have a tiny space, you get much more creative and a huge part of that is being outdoors more. We now have most of our meals outside together. This has had so many benefits such as more sunshine, an occupied toddler, and a relaxed, enjoyable time. Along with meals outside we now have more time for walks, hikes, and exploring new places.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

– Hans Hofmann

Less Stuff, More Living

Do you get exhausted from endlessly picking stuff up and cleaning? I know I did. When you live tiny, there’s just less to deal with. Once we went minimalist and moved into our tiny home, I found cleaning up took way less time. Instead of investing hours daily to maintain a clean home, I typically can spend 20 minutes to keep things pristine. 

Get Exactly What You Want

When it’s a small space, it’s much easier to personalize everything to be how you want it. In regular sized homes, I have always allowed it to not be exactly what I want either because of cost or the sheer size of a project. While remodeling a kitchen in a regular home typically costs thousands, updating our tiny home is easy to do ourselves and takes way less supplies (aka less time and money!). We were quickly able to achieve the aesthetic we wanted, while in our previous, larger home we put in tons of time and money and never quite got things how we wanted.

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

– Socrates

Less Stress

Along with less stuff and more living comes less stress. Don’t get me wrong, things can still break and get chaotic when you have a tiny home. Just in our first month in our tiny home our A/C unit caught fire (thankfully everyone was safe and the fire caused no damage) and had to be replaced costing us about $1K, however there’s just much less to go wrong. Our large home has cost us thousands in repairs and updates in the two years we owned it.

What to know about tiny living and homes

Having a tiny home allows for more flexibility and freedom! Have you ever considered going tiny?

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