Nature's Mothers Blog

Childbirth, Parenting and Other Passions

Saved by my sling! October 14, 2010

When Erin was a baby it was fairly easy. I only had her to worry about. I could sit around and be with her, and yes, I had to do housework and cooking but it wasn’t that pressing since if Steven was there he’d do it and if he wasn’t I’d eat/clean when she was asleep. I made a sling with Erin was not absolutely ideal and she didn’t like it much, I didn’t persevere as I could just hold her instead.

But this time around it’s all different…I have a toddler to keep an eye on, play with, feed, etc and I honestly don’t know how mums cope without a sling.  Ayla absolutely LOVES the sling and prefers going to sleep in it to going in her pram or our bed.  She can hear my heartbeat, feel the warmth of my body and smell me.  I can have her close, know that she’s safe, feel her snug warmness, kiss her head and get on with daily life with Erin.

It’s also much easier than trying to get a pram in and out of shops if you’re in town, nevermind being so much nicer for both of you.  Teach your partner and friends to use it too! Ayla has been carried around in our sling by 6 people so far…it’s one sure fire way of chilling her out and it’s a lovely thing to share with close friends & family too!

I had someone in the shop scowl at me and ask me if she thought babies were REALLY comfortable in “those things”.  I pointed out that I didn’t think my baby would be sleeping soundly if she was uncomfortable.  Getting shopping done without crying is such a bonus…

Do yourself a favour if you are a mama-to-be and get yourself one!! The one I use is called a Close baby carrier and is made from soft organic cotton. It is similar to a wrap sling except it is easier to use as you don’t have to remember special ties etc.  I bought it second hand (but it looked new!) by joining the UK Babywearing swap group which also has lots of information on the different slings.

For natural pregnancy products see Natures Mother

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How my Chiropractor stopped the crying!! September 30, 2010

Filed under: Birth,Breastfeeding,Parenting — naturesmother @ 6:05 pm
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It turns out that Ayla is a completely different child to Erin. **surprise**

In her first couple of weeks she cried so much that Steven and I were at our wits ends.  I could tell the crying was not discontentment…it was pain, or discomfort, something was not quite right and I was desperate to help my little angel. I remembered hearing about Chiropractors helping others and decided to call up Dr Maryellen Stephens, who has an amazing reputation.  Chiropractors and cranial osteopaths often work on new babies just to get everything realligned that’s been disturbed perhaps in the womb or during the birthing process.

Dr Maryellen was so welcoming and friendly and was wonderful with Ayla.  She explained everything in detail and I’m hoping I’m recounting it correctly…

She pointed out that Ayla’s head was quite uneven.. the dent in the one side of her head was bigger than the other.  Perhaps from how she was lying in the womb, perhaps against my ribs or hip or something. How I understand it is that this restricted movement in her skull which is still quite flexible and the crying and lots of sucking is natures way of increasing pressure to try and get everything to move into it’s correct place.

She also screamed whenever we got her dressed and couldn’t lift one of her arms all the way up (which I also hadn’t noticed until she pointed it out). The chiro said that her sacrum(which is not fused at this age) was not quite doing what it was supposed to and between this and her head her spine was tethered, limiting her movement and affecting digestion, latching onto the breast, etc etc.

I had just presumed she probably had colic and I was going to have to live with a few hours of really distressing crying everyday until she grew out of it, but am so glad I gave the chiro a go.  She did a bit of very gentle work on her sacrum which immediately released her arm and leg so they could move as they were supposed to (no more crying when getting dressed!!!) and her head is almost even on both sides now.

From the first treatment Ayla’s crying reduced from an hour or two a day to an hour or two once a week or every two weeks.  Ayla is a completely different baby now…happy and content and only cries when she’s tired or hungry and her nappy is full. We haven’t had a crying session like we had before in about a month. She also feeds much better and is less gassy (her head would have affected her jaw and therefore her latch on my boob, etc).

So I am a totally blown away and a 100% convert to something I was originally slightly skeptical of.  I really want any parent who is desperate with a crying or colicky baby to at least know that Chiropractic is an option. No one really knows what colic is, and apparently chiropractic work nearly always at least reduces the crying.

I feel I owe our sanity to Dr Maryellen Stephens of  Westcountry Family Chiropractic!

Dr Maryellen Stephens is also available to answer questions on the Nature’s Mother forum, under “Ask the Chiropractor”. (Wonderful natural pregnancy products available here too!)

Other interesting articles about chiropractic and colic


Tandem breastfeeding July 3, 2010

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Parenting,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 11:17 am
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To answer the question a lot of you are asking…what is it like to breastfeed a toddler AND a newborn??

The honest answer…not without it’s difficulties, but extremely rewarding!  The difficulty, mainly, has been Erin wanting more boobie than ever, perhaps due to Ayla feeding so much(a bit of jealousy), but perhaps due to the yummy new milk that’s come through. For the first few days Erin got really upset when I fed Ayla and not her, but I have kept her routine (mainly) of only feeding at naptime, bedtime and in the morning.  On the day my milk came in and my breasts were full, hard and sore, I gave Erin an extra couple of feeds, which really helped to ease the discomfort! Erin seems to understand and accept now that Ayla needs boobie more than she does, and often sits beside me and strokes Ayla’s face while she feeds. It’s very sweet.

The other difficulty has been that Ayla’s latch onto my breast doesn’t always seem right and she often slurps my nipple in and out of her mouth which has made them a bit tender.  I think this is due to the thrush she has in her mouth, making it uncomfortable for her to suck, and I’m hoping it will pass soon.

Other than that it is a joy to be able to bond with both my girls in this way-and them with each other- and know that the benefits of breastfeeding, for all 3 of us, never end.  I had a moment the other day when both girls were really tired and upset and I was at my wits end, so I sat on the bed and offered them each a breast and bathed in the stillness that followed, watching them both drinking hungrily and gazing up into my eyes, completely content, Erin instinctively rubbing her baby sisters arm.

We surely have two breasts for this reason, and while controversial in our consumerist western culture where bottle replaces what nature has provided and breasts are often associated purely with sex, it feels like the most natural thing in the world to me!


My poor, tiny baby has thrush (Candida)… July 2, 2010

I realised about a week ago that our now 2 week old girl had thrush. Thrush is an overgrowth of the candida bacteria which lives in our gut and is very common in babies. Ayla had a white coating on her tongue, palate and the inside of her cheeks, which didn’t rub off when I tried to rub it (with a clean finger), and latching on for breastfeeding seemed to be painful for her.  She also got a couple of raised red spots down there on her bits and bum, which multiplied and got really red and angry looking within a day or two .  I mentioned it to the midwife who I saw on Monday who immediately recommended Canesten cream for the rash and nystatin drops to put in her mouth. When I asked if there was anything natural I could do she said no.  Being a nature mama, I really don’t want to put real life drugs into and onto my teeny baby unless there is absolutely no other option. I also, obviously, don’t want my beautiful Ayla to suffer…

So I popped into two different health food stores, spoke to friends and called my Naturopath to ask advice.  The consensus was that I should take loads of Acidophillus(friendly bacteria), as it would go through my milk, and also cut out yeast, sugar, mushrooms and anything that feeds thrush. I also got a pro-biotic(friendly bacteria) in powder form which I am putting on my nipples before each feed for Ayla to suck off and mixing with Calendula cream for Ayla’s bottom rash.  I must tell you that in the 2 days I’ve been doing this the signs of thrush have completely vanished from Ayla’s tongue and palate and there is just a bit left on the inside of her cheeks and her gums.  Her bum is still looking red and sore (although it doesn’t seem to be bothering her) but the sores seem to be drying out and I am just hoping that the acidophillus is working it’s way through her gut and that this will be over soon.  I am glad I didn’t just reach for the drugs though, as I am amazed at how fast the acidophillus and me cutting out sugar, yeast, etc has worked.  We’re also all sticking to our own towels and I’m making sure I’m washing my nipples after each feed and washing my bras in a hot wash.

Ayla is very lovely, and quite different to how I remember Erin to be, both in looks and in nature…though you can’t tell a lot about her nature yet.  She also seems to smile a lot as Erin did  (just wind, they say, but she does look us in the eyes and smile).  She seems to be more fragile than Erin was, although maybe I’ve just forgotten how completely dependent  and helpless newborns are.  She also cries a lot more which I find quite upsetting although I’m sure it’d be much more distressing if she was my firstborn! She also doesn’t latch on and feed quite as easily as Erin did, but I am hoping that this and the crying is due to the thrush and will pass soon. (she also seems to prefer my right boob to my left…) She is an absolute little miracle and we are so enjoying falling more and more in love with her everyday.

I will say that life with two children is busy, but exciting. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to just veg in the garden and hold baby while Erin runs around, and not try to do a million other things too.  I am very thankful that we share the cooking of meals with Andrew and Julie. That means I only have to think of and make one meal per week, and I make loads so there’s leftovers for other meals.  Quick meals are a must for other times – beans on toast, veggie burgers and salad, leftovers!

Next blog will be about how it’s going with breastfeeding my toddler and baby at the same time…watch this space…

Don’t forget to enter the Nature’s Mother Competition with your bump photos!!!


Letting go of expectations, fear and anger… June 17, 2010

Filed under: Birth,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 3:00 pm
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So, I’m now 4 days overdue.  I know this is no great big deal, but it feels like it is to me as I was on time with number 1, so expected to be the same if not earlier with number 2! Expectations, huh?! The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for me, which is peculiar because I’d been so calm and positive up until then.  I accept that this is part of my journey, that because Erin’s birth was like clockwork doesn’t necessarily mean that this one will be although it has no reason not to be.

I went to see the midwife yesterday (saw a different one to usual) and came away feeling so angry and upset.  She did a Stretch & Sweep (where she just uses her fingers and does exactly as it says to my cervix).  It was slightly uncomfortable, but not painful, and caused a show (the mucous plug from the cervix to come away – often a sign of pre-labour, but not always!).  She then proceeded to tell me that my cervix was still high and thick and spoke about seeing me next wednesday again and about induction.  None of the positive stuff I normally get from my regular midwife, who is very motherly and gives me the confidence that my body is going to do it when I’m ready. In her defence she was probably just doing her job and doesn’t want to give me false hope, but I felt like she could have given me more encouragement.  If I felt more hopeful, I’m sure I may relax and things might happen quicker. After all the babies head is engaged, it is really low and I get plenty of twinges and Braxton Hicks contractions. Anyway, I shall try not to diss the midwife, as I have realised that I have my own issues that I need to deal with….the biggest one being my fear of ending up in hospital.

I see hospital as a place for sick people and know that pregnancy and childbirth is NOT a sickness.  However , after talking to my lovely friends, Andrew & Jerusha, who run birthing workshops and pregnancy yoga classes in Falmouth, I have been comforted by what I already know, that some do give birth naturally in hospital and that if it comes to that it is not the end of the world.  I do not WANT to be induced, but I am beginning to accept that this is a possibility, although much less likely if I work through my issues… I want the perfect home water birth, but if I don’t get it I will actually deal with it, even though I feel a bit like I can’t! At their suggestion I am going to contact a Doula, who will be able to give me a much better idea of what my options REALLY are. The medical profession do not always make all your options clear, and unfortunately sometimes we need to fight for our rights to birth the way we want to. Since I’m not really in a head space where I want to be fighting and I want Steven by my side I think it will be a good idea to get someone like a Doula, who knows all the ins and outs thoroughly to do the fighting for us if necessary.  And if fighting is not necessary (I don’t think it will be) then it will still be nice to have an extra pair of hands at the birth, wherever and however it may be.

Another thing I keep asking is whether I’m actually ready for another baby??? Physically, yes! Emotionally…are we ever ready? Can we be when we don’t know exactly what is to come? I’m sure I didn’t know if I was ready with Erin, yet I managed and enjoyed the magic of falling in love with her and watching her grow. It’s a constant learning curve and such a blessing to be a mother.  How will I cope with looking after a toddler and a newborn?? The answer:…my wonderful hubby. He is SUCH an amazing daddy and is very capable and, lucky for me, at home a lot. Since we live in a little community on the farm, we’re pretty much like extended family and I will have plenty of eager hands to help me should I need it when he is at work.  What a life we have here too…growing our own veg and doing odd jobs around the farm in such a beautiful place. It is wonderful to see Erin so free and happy!

I have tried plenty of walks, plenty of sex, plenty of just about every trick in the book (except curry or castor oil – the runs in the birthing pool would not be great!). Clary sage gives me some good contractions.  Reflexology (done at home by Steven from looking at a reflexology map) feels great and makes baby wriggle.  Homeopathy has not done much yet. And I still haven’t got my hands on the herbs. Yoga and bumpy roads I’m sure have helped get baby right down there. Another big walk this evening and then possibly a repeat of all of the above. I believe Acupuncture works very well..has anyone had experience with it?  I do not believe I will be seeing the midwife next Wednesday!

So this is my journey, my lesson. I need to relax and accept what is to come, but also know what my rights are when it comes to medical intervention (hence the Doula), and hopefully now that I’m not feeling so angry, fearful and emotional, my body will begin to do what it was designed to do…to give birth naturally!


10 ways to encourage labour June 13, 2010

Today is baby’s official due date!  I was expecting her to come a little early as Erin was born on her due date, and normally the second comes sooner, but apparently baby Beanie has not read the books!  I wouldn’t say I’m fed up of being pregnant, because I’m not that huge and not terribly uncomfortable, but I would like to meet my little girl soon!  I’ve been having mild contractions off and on over the past few days, but that must all be practice ones.  At least I know something is happening, my body is doing all the right things. Slightly more twinges than normal today…we shall see, I don’t want to get too excited! Babies generally come when they’re ripe and ready, although sometimes they don’t and need a little help!

There are a few tricks I can try to help things move on…

  1. Walking –  I went for a long walk on Friday, and yesterday did plenty of walking and exercise too.  This morning Erin and I took the goats out, went to check for alpaca babies in the far field, swept & vacuumed the house (well, a bit of it anyway), and watered the poly-tunnels. This was taken during our long walk on Friday.On a long walk!
  2. Sex – as mentioned in a previous post – this worked with Erin…my waters broke minutes after sex with her. (not worked so far this time!) Semen contains prostaglandin which causes contractions. Sex also causes the release of the “love drug” oxytocin, which causes contractions.
  3. Yoga – there are a few yoga postures that are good, specifically squatting and rotating your hips. This helps get baby’s head down there, and hopefully triggers things off…I’m squatting as I type!
  4. Driving on bumpy roads – I drove the tractor over bumpy lanes and fields yesterday to go collect some wood. Perhaps I should do that again this afternoon.
  5. Spicy food – or anything that gets your bowel moving, it’ll often get contractions going apparently. I’m not sure I want to try that one as I’m going to hopefully be giving birth in a pool, and am not sure I want to risk it…if you get my drift?! Castor oil is another one that is meant to be successful but can make you feel nauseas for your entire labour…no thanks…unless I’m desperate.
  6. Herbs – black or blue Cohosh.  I have neither, but may try to get my hands on some if I start going way overdue.  I’ve heard of things happening REALLY fast with these, but you have to be careful and should only use them under the direction of a herbalist, as they are powerful plants.
  7. Homeopathy – Caullophyllum: I’ve heard of women delivering REALLY fast after taking this and then it doing nothing for others.  I have it in my Homeopathic birthing kit…I shall save it for when I’m desperate!  You should really consult a Homeopath before using this…
  8. Reflexology – The reflexology points on your feet which relate to your uterus and ovaries are said to help trigger labour.  This is best done by a Reflexologist, but you only need to do a google search to find out where these points are. So it’s worth demanding a thorough foot rub from your other half if you go overdue, focusing on those points….click on chart to see bigger version.
  9. Essential oils – Clary Sage!  You can mix a few drops with a carrier oil (olive oil from the kitchen will do) and rub it on your belly, or burn it in an oil burner, or alternatively put it on a tissue on a radiator. Why not get your other half to massage you all over with it if you’re way overdue.  I only have to sniff it to get a contraction.  I did add a couple of drops to my stretch mark oil this morning and rubbed it all over my belly. I am probably being a bit too impatient.
  10. Relaxation, Hypnosis or guided imagery – these help many woman…I have yet to trial them myself, although I do relaxation and visualizations a bit when I do yoga.  I also have been talking to baby Beanie and hoping that she feels safe enough to come into this big, wide and completely different world.

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