women's health

How to Support and Maintain Breast Health

By on July 31, 2020

Today I was going through my notes and stumbled on a topic that I haven’t addressed on this blog. I really enjoy this information and think it is very important. I talk so much about toxic exposure and one area we often neglect in cleansing and care is our breasts. This post is to share a few simple ways to maintain breast health.

The Importance of Lymphatic Flow and Breast Health

Breasts are made up primarily of fat and lymph tissue. Lymphatic tissue is the natural waste and toxin removal system. Lymph does not pump though, so it is our job to encourage the flow. Unfortunately, we wear tight, underwire bras and use antiperspirants that impede the flow. This is something we accept and do from the onset of puberty and often daily throughout our lives.

Have you ever removed your bra at the end of the evening and had indentations from your underwire? Here’s a little bit about the anatomy of the breast. We have neurolymphatic points under our breasts. On the right side is one for the gallbladder and liver and the left for the stomach. Wearing a metal, covered in plastic, wire on top of those points can really interfere with their natural processes.

Commercial antiperspirant/deodorants are also damaging to our lymph system and quite the norm in our society. Antiperspirants are formulated with known carcinogens and neurotoxins such as aluminum, phthalates, propylene glycol, parabens, and formaldehyde.

Supporting Lymph Drainage

So instead of wearing constrictive, underwire bras, opt to be braless as often as possible and purchase bras that are wire free, soft, and non-constrictive. There are a ton of options these days, even for well-endowed women like myself.

Another great, simple thing to do is a lymph massage. I do this in the shower and lather up (with non-toxic soap) and massage the breast from nipple to armpit and armpit to elbow. The lymph tissue is encouraged to drain out of the armpit area and away from the chest. I do the same thing again at the top of the breast from the nipple to collarbone.

A powerful detox technique is called pfluffing. Pronounced like fluffing, and is simple and quite effective. The video explains and demonstrates it very well. Correcting posture is also a great way to encourage lymph drainage. We often round our shoulders forward and our armpits lose their natural hollowing shape.

There are several yoga poses that will support breast health. I will often practice holding my arms overhead, allowing my shoulders to settle into their sockets, and hollow my armpits by rolling my shoulders forward. The hollowing shape is very obvious in a mirror.

Early Detection

About 15 years ago, in my early 20’s I found a large lump. I was still breastfeeding my oldest son at the time and had some inconclusive results via ultrasound. Immediately the specialist wanted to remove and biopsy and I looked for alternative opinions.

Breast thermography was recommended to me, and I have chosen it over mammography as my method for early detection. It is the right call for me. The benefits are that thermography non-invasive, and radiation free. The link explains the hows and whys nicely.

DIY Recipes to Support and Maintain Breast Health

Many women have trouble finding a natural deodorant that does the trick. There are a lot of alternatives and I have found the few that are effective for many people. If you are having trouble finding a natural version that stops the odor, an armpit detox may be for you.

An armpit detox removes the chemical buildup from antiperspirant use, can reduce perspiration, and neutralize natural odor. Detoxing the heavy metals and other chemicals is important to maintain breast health.

DIY Arm Pit Detox

1 Tbs. Betonite Clay

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 tsp. water

Mix together, apply to armpits, allow to dry then wash off in shower.

Another effective way to detox armpits is to use one of the Young Living deodorants applied at night all along the lymph areas at night before bed.

Also, adding the supplement Multigreens can majorly neutralize odors. It supports the body’s alkalinity which reduced body odor.

DIY Deodorant

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. Arrowroot Powder

3 Tbs. Shea Butter

2 Tbs. Coconut Oil

1 Tbs. Baking Soda

2 Tbs. Bentonite Clay

10 drops essential oil of your choice ( I use Cedarwood and Lavender) (where to buy)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the shea butter and coconut oil. Slowly add in essential oils.

In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the whipped ingredients in 1/3rds until incorporated. The mixture will look like a dough. Roll into a ball and store in a small mason jar.

Some people really enjoy just a coconut oil and baking soda mixture, however I am really sensitive to this combination and need the other ingredients.

This serum recipe is fantastic and contains a lot of essential oils to support and maintain breast health. I apply after my shower focusing on the areas stimulate during my shower massage.

Breast Supporting Serum

Empty 15 ml essential oil bottle or 4 oz mason jar

Fill about halfway with carrier oil of choice (I use Young Living V6 or Cel-Lite Magic Massage Oil)

10 drops Frankincense

10 drops Cypress

10 drops Orange

10 drops Ylang Ylang

10 drops Grapefruit

Mix together and apply a few drops after shower to support lymph drainage and breast health.

These are the tips and tricks I have found over the years to keep the girls healthy and happy, lol. If you have not started using essential oils, understand how to get 24% off.

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family wellness | health research | women's health

Small Changes, Big Results: Reducing Your Toxic Burden

By on July 15, 2020

I have brushed on the topic of chemical exposure and health concerns in many blogs. Today I want to dive a little deeper into the meaning of toxic burden. The toxic burden is the toxic load our bodies carry while still trying to function normally. We are exposed to chemicals and toxic substances in so many ways. There are toxins in our food supply, the air, the water, personal care products, household cleaning products, lawn maintenance, make-up, packaging, and so much more.

Green Washing

“Clean”, “green”, “non-toxic”– these are words that are trendy, or bougie these days. So many companies have “green” versions of products to cater to that trend. I have fallen into the trap of “green-washing”. You know, when the package looks non-toxic and good for the environment? The claims on the label even support it? However, the actual ingredient list is far from clean. The list is full of hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and artificial fragrances.

I have been keeping an eye on current environmental laws and recently 100 protections have been reversed. This means that even more, harmful chemicals will find their way into our personal care products and the environment. There are over 1400 chemicals that have been banned in Europe but are allowed in the USA. To become aware of these chemicals we have to become adept at reading labels and knowing what is in our products.

Risks of Toxic Burden

Like I said, the toxic burden is the load our bodies carry while still functioning normally. What about those times when our bodies say enough is enough? There is a time when the toxins build-up and start to affect our health. For me, it started happening in my teens (although I didn’t have a clue) but by my 30’s I had a lot going on. It was showing up in my bloodwork, health appointments, and truly making me feel unwell.

Some of us are more sensitive than others and there are a variety of ways toxicity will manifest. Fatigue, headaches, eczema, sleep issues, allergies/breathing issues, infertility, acne, certain cancers, and so much more. The toxic burden can also fuel existing conditions– think autoimmune hell!

Areas of Concern

There are so many things we encounter in our lives that are toxic offenders. In our family, we have several key areas we work to keep as pure as possible. We can not control all that happens in the world around us, however, we can control what goes on in our homes. I’ll share a list of the areas we are mindful of in our home.

  • Water Quality — Nothing quite wakes you up about water quality until you live through a “water crisis“. 2014 did it for me! In our home, we are particularly careful with our cooking and drinking water. Ultimately, a whole-home system is on my list but right now we make sure what we are ingesting is clean. You can receive a local report from your public water system to know where the areas of concern are in your system. We use a Berkey Water Filter in our home and also purchase some 5-gallon refillable jugs from a local water supplier. I am careful about the plastic our water is packaged in and won’t buy single-use bottles.
  • Air Quality— Mold, allergens, and synthetic aromas are all a cause for concern and air toxicity. Removing candles, air fresheners and synthetic fragrances improve the air quality rather quickly. We only use pure essential oils and diffusers and natural cleaning products.
  • Personal Care Products/Household Cleaning— These are one of the biggest offenders. After learning how to read the labels more closely (or even scan the barcode Think Dirty App or EWG) I’ve found that I am not comfortable using about 90% of the items found in most stores. I have a few places that I shop for the majority of these items. This means less choices or experimentation and sometimes I pay a little more. I’m okay with that. Less choices = less stress and also you generally get what you pay for. I’ve found that most higher quality products require less (a little goes a long way) and I have less waste and clutter as a side benefit.
  • Food— I know I’ve shared this info many times but it is worth repeating. I generally try to eat food that is as close to natural as possible. A diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, humanely raised meats/dairy, organic if I can or at least following the dirty-dozen list. Eating locally and in season is also great but isn’t always the most accessible.

Getting to Know Yourself

It is important to know yourself and do your own research. Information is so readily available and it is easy to find contradictory information. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to know yourself and what level of “green” living you want to adopt. My best advice is to find out what is most important to you when making the switch and start there. Baby-steps are always the best and most sustainable. When researching look at all sides and from different perspectives, from a reputable source.

In our family we have worked within our budget and have found solutions and for us, we are very, very cautious about what we use. Like I mentioned above, we avoid 90% (if not more) of mainstream-store personal and home care items.

I have a few companies I trust, I make some things and purchase some locally made items. The majority of our products come from Young Living, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. They offer so much, I love everything they create, and the ease of one-stop shopping does it for me.

Another thing that happens when you begin to remove toxic substances from your life is that you will begin to have keener sense of body awareness. Most likely your health will improve (issues you may not even know you have will clear) and you will definitely notice when you come in contact with a chemical and have a reaction.

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postpartum | women's health | yoga

Tips for Making Exercise Accessible and Enjoyable with Kids

By on February 3, 2020

Here it is February. You know the year will fly by. How many New Year’s Resolutions or Intentions are already misplaced or lost? Has the motivation waned?

My life certainly ebbs and flows. I have good spurts, and not so healthy spurts. Having Mira added another layer of crazy to our family as I’ve posted about before. Our sleep has changed, our work life has changed, my oldest is homeschooling, so I have had to do a lot of adjusting and adapting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise are always my “priorities”, however, they are sometimes the easiest to let go of when sometimes it feels as if every other piece of life is filled to the brim.

I am moving into my 9th month postpartum and historically this is when my life starts to balance out. The baby is mobile, she is sleeping better, and I feel more spaciousness. I remember this happening with my boys too. I think the change is because we are moving out of survival mode and adjusting to our new normal.

During this time, I have been able to find my love for physical activity. I truly like *certain* exercises (and if I don’t like it, I won’t sustain it) but I have a limited time in my day to get-it-done. I have decided that this season of my life isn’t for gym or studio classes. I have a wealth of knowledge, I have accessibility to gym equipment, my husband and I are yoga instructors, so I have the tools.

Making Time for Exercise

  1. Walk/Jog— This is my go-to exercise. For me this is the ultimate multi-tasking way to get my exercise in. I put my little kids in the stroller, strap them in, they get some sun and fresh air and I get my workout in. My oldest sometimes will go with me, so he gets time to chat/exercise too and we can end at the playground and let the kids burn off some of their steam. If the oldest isn’t with me, I can listen to a podcast or something inspirational to get personal development in my day. The only downside is weather. Luckily, I live in Florida so our weather is generally always manageable. If its cold, we just bundle up and go anyway.
  2. Yoga— I love yoga, it is always my default for strength, stability, calming, grounding– just about anything can be accessible in a yoga class. Self-motivation isn’t always my strong suit. So, how I am doing it now is by subscribing to Yoga International and doing a yoga class on my device. I have been using the time after I drop Ezra off at preschool to do a 30-45 minute class. At nap time or after the kids go to bed is also a good time. I like my YI subscription because I can set goals and pick what kind of classes I want to take. It is virtual accountability for me. Sometimes I will take a “live class” taught by my husband. He will run through a sequence with me and target certain areas of discomfort on. It is always nice to have him lead me through a class and provide adjustments if necessary.
  3. Family Hiking– One of our family New Year’s goals was to go outside and hike, enjoy nature one day of the weekend. We’ve been good over these several weeks taking family hikes. It’s great to go first thing in the morning after breakfast and spend a couple of hours outside. It gives us time to connect as a family, exercise, and the kids are exhausted after we get home so it promotes a very nice afternoon nap!

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pregnancy | women's health

Third Trimester: Woes and Remedies

By on March 16, 2019

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I am now a week into the third trimester. I can feel my body starting to slow down. My mental clarity and creativity are downshifting. Daily I have more aches and pains, and general discomforts. I am trying to work *with* my body. The show must go on in our family and in work. I can not just pack it up and nap for 9 more weeks. Life is actually busier than ever too. Chasing a 2 year old is no joke, my teen is wrapping up his final weeks of 8th grade, and we have work plans on the schedule until birth-day.

Mental Fatigue

Pregnancy brain is REAL! The physiological hormone changes reduce the amount of gray matter in a woman’s brain. I’ve left car doors open while taking yoga classes, put groceries in the wrong spot, forgotten to trim one toenail, and the list goes on. Clumsiness is also possible as weight is distributed differently in the body, and again HORMONES.

  • Utilize your phone to keep your brain going- Take notes on a note taking app. When you feel creative or have a brilliant moment, record it as soon as it occurs. Set alarms as reminders to do things (ahem, pick kid up from school).
  • Prioritize and Focus- For me, I have several goals that I would like to achieve before May 20th. I have my day plotted out on multiple calendars so that I know exactly what steps to take daily and I can check it off as I go. It is a structure and a discipline, and it keeps me accountable for my to-do lists.
  • Rest- This is tough for me. What I have done is know that I am in my peak performance hours when I wake up until between 12-2. I am now giving myself permission to relax, nap, or just prop up my feet for a few when I feel the slump. Often, during the third trimester night time sleep is disturbed as well, so a rest may be necessary to take you into the evening.
  • Minerals- Minerals are an important supplement for every stage of life. Our soil is deficient, our food travels a long way to get to our plate, which reduces it’s natural vitamin/mineral content.

Aches and Pains

  • Chiropractic care-This pregnancy and my last I utilized chiropractic care to rid myself of many aches and pains. It is incredibly useful to keep yourself aligned as body weight and posture shifts and changes. I look for a chiropractor that uses torque release or activator methods of adjustment.
  • Massage- So, my husband is my current massage therapist and I have been so incredibly pleased with his work! During my last pregnancy I had prenatal massages pretty frequently. This time, it isn’t in our budget or schedule so he is doing the work. It really helps keep tightness at bay and promotes relaxation.
  • Collagen- Again, I sing praises of my collagen. I feel much better in general, and collagen is a wonderful support for skin, hair, nails, and joints.
  • Essential Oils- There are many, many oils for physical discomforts. I could write an entire blog on just recommendations for that. I will narrow the list down to my two personal go-to’s. I love the blend Deep Relief and the single oil Copaiba. I use roller balls on the bottles and apply directly to where I feel the discomfort. If you have not purchased oils before, understand how to get them here for 24% off.

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Leg Cramps

  • Again, the beloved minerals. A friend of mine reminded me of this yesterday. She recently had her baby girl and said her cramps disappeared when she added minerals to her regimen. I did it myself last night and viola! A night charley-horse free!
  • Magnesium + Calcium is also known to be helpful. Finding magnesium in the citramalate form seems to work the best for me.
  • Hydrate drinking 3-4 quarts of water per day during pregnancy means you are adequately hydrated. This is probably the first pregnancy that I have actually managed to do it. Hydration is important for every single bodily function!
  • Foot Soak. I like to do this with about a half cup of Himalayan pink salt with a few drops each of geranium, lavender and cypress essential oil.

Varicose Veins/Hemorrhoids

During pregnancy these are related maladies, and are often linked to constipation. Heredity also plays a role in this issue.

  • A diet high in fiber and an adequately hydrated body can help relieve some of the pressure that is intensified by a sluggish colon and extra uterine weight.
  • Essential oils- Diluted lavender or helichrysum is wonderful for hemorrhoids. And a blend that is known to help with varicose veins: 30 drops of cypress, 20 drops of lavender, 10 drops of lemon and 20 drops of lemongrass with 60ml of fractionated coconut oíl.
  • Compression stockings- these can be helpful, as long as they are not cutting off circulation. The compression from the stockings will help recirculate blood flow so that it is moving toward the heart, and moving out of the lower extremities. Some insurance companies will cover the cost too, and can be ordered through sites like aeroflowbreastpumps.com.
  • Change your position frequently- avoid sitting or standing in the same postion too long. Take breaks, shift your position and avoid sitting with crossed legs, or with legs tucked under you.
  • Elevation- elevating legs periodically throughout the day can also help with circulation.

Heart Burn

Argh, this is one of my biggest complaints. I have tried all of the remedies during my 3 pregnancies. The things I have found the most useful are:

  • A natural alkalinizing supplement- I can drink this and immediately feel relief.
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals- I have to be very mindful of my eating patterns, and what I am consuming. I avoid acidic or spicy foods and make sure I have digested before lying down.
  • Essential oil- Peppermint oil is helpful as well. I will apply on my esophagus where I feel the burn, and sometimes will ingest a drop or two of peppermint vitality.
  • Digestive enzymes- these are also a nice supplement to add in to aid in the digestion and assimilation of your food.

Pubic Bone Discomfort

The hormone relaxin is something women naturally produce during pregnancy to aid in pelvic joint mobility, so that the baby can fit through the pelvis at birth. Sometimes the joints become misaligned and the pelvis too loose which can cause tremendous discomfort. This pregnancy is the only one where I have experienced this and my go-to remedies are.

  • A yoga therapy ball-. I can put this where I feel the discomfort a few minutes per day. This will relieve some of the pressure.
  • A SI belt this is designed to support the sacroiliac joints and will relieve instability in the hips.
  • A chiropractic adjustment- again a chiropractor can adjust the pubic bone or any of the surrounding areas that are misaligned and causing discomfort. Just look for someone who is well versed in prenatal adjustments.
  • Ice therapy- icing can be a great relief. My husband suggests it all the time, and often I ignore him. However, when I actually listen, I feel relief for quite some time. It is also nice to ice after a chiropractic adjustment or using the yoga therapy ball.
  • PT- Some women need to see a Physical Therapist, and finding one that is well versed in pelvic floor therapies is ideal.
  • Homeopathic Remedies- I have heard several midwives suggest the homeopathic remedy of Rhus Toxicodendron 30C from Boiron. This can be found in health food stores, or online. I have never actually tried this myself, it is just something I have heard from multiple people in the birthing community.

Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change, and the female body is amazingly adaptable. Many of the typical complaints rebound very shortly after delivery. In my opinion, it is lovely there are so many natural remedies out there to help us along the way. I always opt for natural choices over medications and synthetics, and I’m even more hypervigilent about this during pregnancy.

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postpartum | pregnancy | women's health

Preparing for Postpartum: Mama Essentials

By on March 4, 2019

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I had a moment of clarity that I was never preparing for postpartum the way I was preparing for my births.  January Harshe

I ran across this quote on Instagram and thought it was genius. I have had two boys, and of course spent a lot of time and energy preparing for their arrival. Both boys were born early, and as I shared in another post– I didn’t even have a hospital bag prepared. It is amazing how the third pregnancy is so different. I am not stressing anything. We have clothes, a bed, some accessories and I feel we are good to go. I do not have endless baby “to-do” lists, and it is quite a freeing feeling.

The thing I am preparing for is postpartum. With our last birth, I was out of sorts for many months after delivery. I could not quite get my balance back after my c-section, Ezra’s NICU stay, and adjusting to a newborn and sleep deprivation. This time I am going to make sure I have my main bases covered so that when I return from the hospital, our family can easily adjust to our “new normal”.

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Postpartum Recovery

Regardless of how the birth occurs, vaginal or cesarean, it takes the body 6 weeks or so to heal. Pregnancy stretches and changes our anatomy over a 9 month period and it takes time to rebound and recover.

A c-section is a bit slower recovery since we are dealing with an incision and surgical healing. Either way, there are many support tools to have around to aid in the recovery and make things feel as comfortable as possible.

  1. Postpartum Girdle— This was a newbie for me after my last birth and it made a world of difference with mobility. Some insurance companies will even cover the cost of one. I’m in awe with this bellefit girdle and am excited to try it after Mira’s birth (yeah, I know I’m weird). It doesn’t matter if you have a vaginal or c-section delivery, I’ve read many reviews on how the support helps with body mechanics, getting back into pre-pregnancy clothing quicker and general post-delivery achiness.
  2. Perineum careHerbal sitz bath, perineal spray, padsicles or ice packs. If you have a vaginal birth, these are a MUST. Caring for this delicate area and helping aid in healing is important and these tools will help you bounce back faster.
  3. Pads/disposable undies— Tampons and menstrual cups are a no-no and you will likely have a pretty heavy flow for some time. I like organic, chlorine free pads and have even been known to use mama cloth.
  4. Peri Bottle— This is an important tool for mama’s, no matter how you delivered. So important that they send you home from the hospital with one. The fact is, we all will have about 6 weeks of lochia, which is the bleeding and discharge after birth. It is nice to have something to help rinse it away from delicate skin after a vaginal birth and just for extra hygiene post-cesarean. I have heard great things about the Fridet by FridaBaby
  5. Water Bottle— Hydration is a necessity, I love my stainless steel cup and straw or a big mason jar with a stainless steel straw. I know that drinking 4 full glasses per day I’m staying hydrated and after birth and while breastfeeding the more water, the better!
  6. Constipation Remedies— I’m crazy about my probiotic and fiber supplements. They have withstood pregnancy constipation and will be the remedies I use postpartum. Drinking plenty of water is important to reduce constipation, I mentioned some essential oil remedies in this post, as well as the constipation tea from Pink Stork.
  7. Walking— Staying active and moving around after delivery actually speeds up recovery. Muscles will rebound quicker, and your joints and fascia will stay in top condition. Walking around the neighborhood with the baby in a carrier or stroller can do wonders for the psyche. I live near the beach and that was a place we frequented for fresh air and vitamin D.
  8. Meal Prep or Healthy Food Delivery Service & Healthy Snacks— I am prepping 2 weeks of dinners for postpartum. This is something I have not done with my past pregnancies and have learned this is an essential step for ease during the postpartum period. It is nice to not think too much about groceries, cooking and cleaning for the first days when you are bonding with baby, sleeping very little, and trying to regain strength. A food delivery service is another idea, and a gift we received after our 2 year olds birth. It was extremely helpful and took a lot of pressure off of meal prep. There are many food delivery services to cater to different dietary specifications and where we live, we have several local services. Stocking the pantry with healthy, nutrient dense snacks is also vital. Birth and breastfeeding is very depleting, so making sure to things readily available takes the mindlessness out of snacking.

What to Do After the Initial “Recovery” Period

I have never completely felt human until month 3 or 4 post delivery and will often put exercise on the back burner. It is a priority! Things to do after you are physically recovered are moving gently back into an exercise program. I plan on doing a Postpartum Recovery Class which targets pelvic floor and core.

I also kept chiropractic care in my routine, my body was misaligned for quite a while after my c-section and the chiropractor was a major help. Even carrying a new baby, sleeping differently, and nursing a baby can throw the body out of alignment, so maintenance checks are life-savers.

Making the decision to get out and join mommy and me groups, finding a tribe was another biggie for postpartum recovery. New mommyhood can be isolating and redundant (and full of joy and beauty, don’t get me wrong). Women need women, so making time for friends does wonders for healing and rebounding from birth.

Emotional Healing & Helpers

Being prepared for the emotional shift that happens with childbirth is also important. Baby blues is completely normal, however postpartum depression and anxiety are also very real. If your emotions feel out of control, please talk to your doctor and get support from trusted friends or family.

  1. Natural Mood Boosters— Essential oils are my go-to’s for mood uplifting. I use Young Living only, and my favorites are Valor, Peace and Calming, Joy, Frankincense.
  2. Enlist Help– Friends and family are invaluable. Having someone over to hold the baby so you can shower or nap is helpful. A postpartum doula is also a wonderful resource. An additional pair of loving hands can ease pressure and help you find balance in your “new normal”.
  3. Nutritional Support– I suffered from postpartum anxiety, and my major relief happened when I found that I was having many triggers from the food I was eating. I have posted about this many times in my blog. For me healthy fats, removing grains, sugars and processed foods and filling up on good veggies did a world of good for my anxiety. My baby also benefitted greatly, the of my milk improved, his weight improved and his jaundice reduced. Adding some additional supplementation was also a necessity.
    • B-Vitamin Complex– I wrote an entire post about the importance of b-vitamins. Research is now pointing to a vitamin-b deficiency as a link to postpartum depression/anxiety.
    • Probiotics– Oh my goodness, not another recommendation for gut-health. But, yes. There are actually strains of bacteria in our guts that affect our mental health. The probiotic I use is quite potent and contains all of the necessary strains for balanced mental health. The thing is, not all probiotics– no matter how wonderfully packaged and the price-tag– can survive the digestive juices and acids. Which means that you can take a probiotic and never actually receive the benefit. Clearer mind and a calmer emotional state are the first things I noticed with my current choice.
    • Collagen HA- I wrote another post all about collagen. This has been a game-changer in my life. Period.

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Nursing Mamas

Choosing to breastfeed is wonderful, and I am partial to it. Being prepared for it is important as well. Nursing a newborn is a round-the-clock experience and can be challenging at first. Having adequate support and supplies makes the transition much easier.

  1. Comfortable Nursing Clothes–  I basically live in nursing tanks and yoga pants those first few weeks. Being able to be accessible to the baby, having plenty of skin-to-skin contact and mobility make a difference.
  2. A Good Pump– A good pump is great to have around. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of one. I’m not a daily pumper, but I do like having a stash and I use a pump to increase supply when needed. It is also nice to have one to relieve engorgement.
  3. Cabbage Leaves– If engorgement does occur, which mine always happens around day 6, putting cold cabbage leaves in my bra alleviate it very quickly. I did not believe this would be the case, but am always happily surprised.
  4. Milk Production Support– There are many galactagogues, or things to help enhance milk production. My favorites are fennel essential oil, Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea, and power pumping. Having some yummy lactation cookies are also nice to make, freeze and have on hand. Most of the commercial brands are loaded with junk, so making my own or using the brand I linked above is my preference.

This post is quite long, and full of information and recommendations I have found and researched over my 3 pregnancies and doula life. I will follow-up with some freezer meal ideas, more breastfeeding tips, and anything else that is helpful that I find along the way.

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