Saturday, December 31, 2011

Breastfeeding Resources for Mama's

Breastfeeding is very important to me and because of this I have been looking into the resources available to me. I am also cheap and unwilling to pay for a class to teach me how to do it...There are so many resources available that are free there is no reason not to use them and save the money.

Free Huggins Resource

In our prepared childbirth class the book The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins was highly recommended. However, when I checked this book out at the library my first thought was "this is huge!" I don't usually shy away from reading a book but this just seemed like way more information then I needed at one time. I checked the book out but before I actually sat down to read it I came across an Enfamil insert in one of my registry packets. It wasn't about the formula it was about the importance of breastfeeding. I get that Enfamil is using this as a marketing technique and honestly it isn't a bad one.

At this link there is a 95 page reduced version of Kathleen Huggin's book. You can download the book or you can read it online. It has some great pictures and is much more my speed. Click the link below to access the resource.Nursing The First Two Months 

How Do I Pick A Breast Pump?

Like all major purchases I research the product. I like to look at how the product is rated by other uses and what are the comments that they have made about the product both good and bad. One site that I found was Consumer Search. They have a great page on what to look for in a breast pump. At this link you can also view a detailed report of breast pumps both manual and electric.  

I also found a site that gave suggestions on how to compare breast pumps. At Breast Pump Comparisons they only list the major breast pump companies but they do give you great criteria to use when trying to make your decision. They also have a section called User-Submitted Breast Pump Reviews.

I ended up purchasing a Medela Swing breast pump. This is the non-hospital grade version of the pump my doctor suggested that I purchase. This pump has worked great! It fits my needs and it was affordable. The Medela company has a great website and their products are easy to find. The best part of their website is that they have a survey you can take to find the pump that is right for you and your needs. 
Some Video Assistance

We are in the age of technology and YouTube is here to help. There are a wealth of videos out there so that you can learn how to make a proper latch or how to properly position the baby in different ways. The breast pump company Lansinoh has a really well done video.

Lactation Nurse

One of the greatest things that I did when my son was born was to consult with a lactation nurse. There was one in the hospital that advocated for me when a doctor wanted to give my son formula. When I was struggling with sore nipples my doctor put me in contact with a lactation nurse in my area. The lactation nurse held a support group three times a week which was amazing. I highly suggest that you find a breast feeding support group in your area or contact a lactation nurse. Breastfeeding was far from easy and it was great to have support from a nurse who understood and could help me through it! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Free Electronic Birth Announcement

When my little man arrived I wanted to send out an electronic announcement...It seems that these days I don't keep everyone's addresses anymore but I have their emails...I found a very awesome eannouncement at . You have to register as a user on Hallmark and then you have to register as a user on Smilebox... but the results are very cute and very cool. It can be emailed, posted to your twitter, facebook, and blog.

I am hoping to use ecards  for the grandparents often so that they can get pictures of my little guy often. I particularly like that this is a free service!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Birth Plan..? Uh...How do I do that?

Creating a birth plan was a very stressful process. One would think that it would be easy, after all women have been having babies since the beginning of time, this isn't brain surgery right...!?

What is a birth plan after all? 

I kept hearing this phrase "birth plan" and wanted to know what it really meant. It means that you have thought about what your ideal birth would be. This means that you have thought about what you want the day to look like, that you have thought about what you interventions the doctor my suggest or insist on and that you feel comfortable with the decisions that you may have to make. In trying to understand what "birth plan" was I had to understand what giving birth would entail. Taking a childbirth class was very helpful in understanding what the birth day would look like and in understanding why the hospital would suggest and do the things that they would do. For me, it didn't matter what my plan was because things did not go as planned at all!

My Journey

I have to admit that before getting pregnant I felt completely comfortable with a C-Section. I even told my doctor on my first visit that was how I wanted my baby to come into the world and I needed to know if she had a problem with that. She didn't and I was relieved. However, something happened in my second trimester and I started thinking about a vaginal birth, and after thinking about it I started to research it...that made me start to think that I could do vaginal birth if I prepared my body, mind, and husband for it. My husband is also an advocate for vaginal birth but is supportive of a C-Section if that is what I choose. In thinking about vaginal birth a little more seriously I started doing a little research...I watched a couple of movies...I talked to a few friends who have had kids and I read a couple of books. I started to feel more comfortable with vaginal birth. I even started taking a prenatal yoga class once a week because studies show that women who yoga do better at giving birth. However, there are still some factors that make me more than a little apprehensive about vaginal birth and make me feel more comfortable with a C-Section.

I feel very strongly that I do not want to deliver my baby at home, I want the safety and security of delivering in a hospital with doctors and all the proper equipment. That being said, when you go to the hospital you are also saying to the medical professionals "I want your help and your interventions" this is the area that begins to make me uncomfortable. I do not like the interventions that they use sometimes. My research has shown that hospitals tend to watch the clock and give milestones in the birth process time lines. When your body does not do things by that time line they want to give you drugs and use interventions to push things along. I understand that they have good reasons for this, they are scientifically trained after all. However, I do not like the side effects and consequences of these drugs and interventions.

There is plenty of research that shows given the right amount of time and the right techniques a women's body handles childbirth just fine without drugs and with out medical interventions. It seems that many medical professionals in the U.S. do not know these techniques or they do not fit into the timeline of when they think things should be happening. For example, laying on your back to give birth is absolutely the wrong way to give birth. It goes against gravity, it goes against the way the muscles function and does damage to the pelvic floor. Yet, this is the way women give birth in American hospitals...Another example: a woman's body naturally creates the hormones needed to make her body dilate but Pitocin, the synthetic version of this hormone, is free given in hospitals which speeds up the contractions and forces them to come faster and stronger. This often results in having to get an epidural because the pain is unbearable. The epidural slows down the dilation process and more of this drug is given...a vicious cycle. How about one more example: Women were not meant to lay in bed while they labor, our bodies need to move in order to make the baby turn and move into the proper birth position (it is the same with our bowels and with circulation). Laying in bed does not allow the body to do its job. Hospitals in the U.S. liberally give epidurals to laboring women which causes them to have to lay in bed. This not only prolongs the labor process and requires Pitocin to keep things going, it means that you are going to have to deliver on your back. Epidurals also cause more damage to the pelvic floor because you cannot feel when something is wrong or you are pushing too forcefully....So far my research on how to healthy and affect (not to mention time tested) methods of giving birth is making me feel justified in being concerned about having a vaginal birth in a hospital.

This led me to look into doula's and birthing centers in my area. I started to feel, and still feel, that if I could labor at a birthing center but be near a hospital then that would be ideal. However, I have come to find out that there are no birthing centers in my area...there are only hospitals...the birthing centers in the LA area are no where near my doctor or my hospital should I need them...this is not ideal!

In the end, labor and delivery did not go has I had planned at all. I was in the latent stage of labor for almost a week without the proper progression. I ended up getting very sick and having to have a C-Section. My C- Section was a beautiful experience, it went smoothly and there were no complications. I was really glad that I had read the book The Essential Guide to C-Sections (See helpful Reading for Mama's). Now that I have been through a C-Section I have no desire to go through a vaginal birth.

Movies that I Watched:

Pregnant in America

This was a very interesting watch. I did not care for this film makers tactics or his style. My personal opinion is that he is the kind of person who is not happy unless he gets exactly what he wants and is not reasonable enough to realize that he is not the center of the universe. That being said I found the information he presented compelling enough to research some of what he was saying on my own. I am still of the opinion that he is incredibly biased and only presenting one side of things...his side. He is incredibly unfair to the medical profession.

The Business of Being Born

I first read the book that was written out of this documentary. I wasn't impressed with the book but I did watch the movie. I found this movie to be a little more balanced than Pregnant in America and it has a much more professional polish to it. I did not feel like they were trying to scare me into believing their side of things or that they were trying to shock me, it seemed that they were simply presenting information and letting the viewer decide.

Natural Childbirth Techniques I Researched:

T.E.N.S Machine during Labor- there is a good chance that they will not know how to use this in the hospital and you will have to bring your own machine. You will also have to take it off for fetal monitoring because it interferes with the equipment. Many doulas know how to use them and can assist you with them should you hire one to help you during labor and delivery. Below is a link to give you more information on using a T.E.N.S unit in labor.

Prenatal Yoga

The day that my son was born I spent about 40 minutes doing yoga. Yoga was an amazing benefit to me during pregnancy and in recovering from my C-Section it helped me with breathing techniques for the painful movements right after surgery. In the childbirth books that I read that movement is the key to a successful birth. Yoga helps with breathing and with birth positions. Here are a couple websites on the benefits of Yoga during Labor and Delivery.

Medical Advance Directive

This was something the I didn't really want to think about but I am glad that I did. I did not have a Medical Advance Directive on file and in thinking about the worst possible outcome I decided to put one together so that my wishes could be known. Even though I didn't need it and my husband would automatically make decisions for me, I felt it was good to cover my bases in case my family wanted to fight with my husband regarding medical decisions. It also gave me a chance to talk about my wishes withe my husband before hand.  I got the document for free online. If you are not married to your spouse or the father of the baby it is even more important that you have an Advance Directive on file and that your family knows what it is that you wish. Be sure to make sure that your doctor and the hospital have one on file as well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Father's Role in Labor & Delivery

Something that I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on is the role of my husband in the labor and delivery process. I have no doubt that he is going to be right there next to me supporting me in anyway that he can. I am also aware that my husband, as well as myself, has no experience with childbirth and that it is important to have realistic expectations for both of us.

I personally believe that understanding your expectations of someone else and being able to verbalize them and discuss them is a healthy way to approach a stressful situation and a relationship. Before my husband I got married we spent many hours discussing our expectations of each other. We also discussed parenting and child rearing in preparation of wanting children. We have continued these discussions throughout our marriage when we have been about to experience something new or we seem to be out of sync with each other. It has helped us both understand when we are expecting to much from each other and allows us to communicate when an expectation is unrealistic or may be difficult for the other person. During pregnancy we have had to make sure to take time and talk about how our expectations of each other have had to change as my body has changed. This process has brought us closer, it has taught us to effectively communicate with each other and I believe that it has kept us from feeling disappointment or resentment with each other.

Below is the original list of expectations that I put together for my husband when I started to think about what I expected him to do while I was in labor...I was shocked at everything I was expecting to need from him...

My Expectations for my Husband during Labor and Delivery- Wow I was expecting a lot!!!
  1. Play soothing music: pre-created play list done in plenty of time, play music on the piano or guitar during the process. Keep the music going during the process.
  2. Be Ready with: Ice Chips, Cold Wash Rags, Prayers and Scriptures.
  3. Meditative Prayer Leader: Keep the call and response prayer meditations going. Change them up to keep me focused on the prayer not on the pain. 
  4. Know the Yoga Poses: be familiar with the Yoga poses that will be helpful during the labor process so that he can assist me in getting into them and remind me of new positions to keep changing things up.
  5. The T.E.N.S Unit: Be familiar with the  T.E.N.S unit, how it works, when it should be used and when to turn it off. Make sure that there are plenty of batteries for the unit.
  6. Prepare the Tub: in plenty of time, make sure that the plumbing on the tub is unclogged and that the stopper will go down all the way. Check the water to heater to make sure it will refill and heat up quickly.
  7. Act as Gate Keeper: communicate with family, friends, and medical staff. Make sure that doctors and nurses are not trying to circumvent the birth plan for their own time line.    
When I read this list to my husband. He took it very well and didn't panic; for which I give him much credit. After reading the list I realized that there was a huge problem, I was expecting my husband to be everywhere and do everything all at once. I realized that he could not physically be and do all the things I was expecting. So how did I come up with realistic expectations for my husband?

A Little Research Can Go a Long Way

I started to do a little research on what the role of fathers has been in labor in other cultures and other religions. I was aware that in many cultures women largely support other women in labor. In our current society many women do not live close to their mothers or in extended family units. I learned that the role of fathers has changed with the westernization of the childbirth process and in inclusion modern medicine in the process. Modern medicine excluded fathers from the process but since the 1970's fathers have been given more rights in the labor and delivery process and are encouraged to be a part an active part of the process. I personally like that fathers are encouraged and expected to be a part of the L & D process. It sets the tone for the relationship between husband and wife and father and child. It says "I am going to be there no matter how rough it gets and I am not going to miss a minute of your life if I can help it."

At the library I came across a great book: Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger. This book is a cross cultural look at birth practices over time and the affects of Western medicine on the Labor and Delivery process. It is an amazing book that is very well written. It does not only discuss labor and delivery by culture but also how they have changed over time and even the phychology of the modern hospital room. I found some great info on the role of the father in L & D by cultures.

What Do Other Father's Do?
  • In many cultures the father's role is to build a birthing hut, place stakes in the ground for the mother to grip while suffering a contraction  as in the island of Sarawark or the Great Planes Native Americans (Kitzinger, pg 128). 
  • He may be called to confess to adultery, if the labor is a particularly difficult one as in peasant Greece. It is believed that this confession is needed to remove a "blockage to the birth" (Kitzinger, pg 128).
  • The father may be asked to help the mother physically by holding her up or allowing her to lean on him for support (Kitzinger, pg 128).
  • My personal favorite "Huichol tribe of Mexico" (Kitzinger, pg 128). In this tribe the father of the baby is called on during labor so that a string can be tied around his testicles. The laboring mother can pull on the string during the worst of her contractions... 
  • The father in many religions is considered the spiritual leader of the family. This role does not change in both the Muslim and Jewish faiths. Fathers have the role of praying for the birth to progress and to talk directly to God during the L & D process. 
  • The Sephardic Jewish men gather to pray and recite the following scriptures:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?   My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore." (Psalm 121, NKJV

All of Samuel 1: "...She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: "O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head...But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time." Eli answered, "Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him." And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your sight." Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer...And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord." She left him there for the Lord. 

"The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, "God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." And she said, "Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned." (Genesis 21:1-8)

  • In Germany during the 18th century men would walk back and forth in front of the door reciting the following 3 times: "Sing, O barren one who did not bear; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married, says the Lord. Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will settle the desolate towns. Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon fit for its purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy. No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord." (Isaiah 54, NKJV)  
  • The responsibility of the Orthodox Jewish father is to sit in a room near the laboring mother and read the Psalms out loud.
What Did This Mean For My Expectations?

After much reflection, talking with my husband and with other women who have gone through L & D I was able to hone my expectations for my husband better. I wanted him to be able to support me during the process but I don't want him to be overwhelmed either. This was going to be emotional and stressful for both of us. I realized that if we did a little work ahead of time and we asked a few of our close friends to help support us that we could possibly reduce some of the stress in the situation. I decided to compile a notebook that my husband and I could both add helpful information to and that would aid us during L & D. This was also helpful to the friends that we asked to help us since they were the ones giving my husband breaks. I identified three areas of labor and delivery that were important to me: 

Yoga: Since I planned on using yoga to help me through the laboring process I decided to put together a few pages of yoga stretches with instructions. My husband and I spent some time on yoga together each week so that he could be familiar with the poses and how he could best aid me in them.

Play List: This we decided that we could put together ahead of time so that we simply had to play the music when we arrived. The play list was a huge help and comfort while in the hospital and was a relaxing even after the baby arrived. Don't forget to pack speakers to go with the playing device you are going to use.

Prayers & Scriptures: I planned to use scripture meditatively during labor. We compiled these before hand and put them in the notebook. My husband also had an application on his phone where he could keep these handy. Since we worked on these things ahead of time we were able to memorize a few of these before hand. Since they were in the notebook our support people were able to help with these as well.

One of the biggest changes that we made to the overall birth plan was that we decided not to hire a Monitrice so that we could labor at home for as long as possible. We decided that it would be best for us to rely on the medical professionals at the hospital to help us through the L & D process and that really was the place that we would both feel comfortable. This also eliminated some of the pressure on my husband during the process.

Since we took the time to really talk about the L & D process and what we were expecting from each other we went into our son's birthday calmer and more collected. While I was going through the labor process I felt confident that my husband was on the same page that I was and that he understood what my hopes and fears for the day were. This does not mean that the process was not stressful or even a little scary. It was filled with uncertainty and did not go as planned at all but we didn't have to worry about the basics, we had already worked those out. My husband did an awesome job supporting me the day that our son was born! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The "Push" Present or a Gift for Labor & Delivery

While watching T.V. the concept of a "push" present was introduced to me. I was very excited, I thought it was a great idea. My husband gives me a nice gift at the birth of our child in appreciation for carrying and delivering our child. When I explained this to my husband, he didn't believe me. He thought I was making it up so that I could get jewelry. When I really started to think about it I remembered from my history classes that kings used to give their queens gifts when they gave birth to sons and thus providing them with an heir. This was something that trickled down into the upper classes.

It is something that has come up several times and something that I have spent some time researching and contemplating. Even among our social group there is much discussion and debate. Last night we received my husbands baby book in the mail from my in-laws. While looking through the book I made a very interesting discovery, my father-in-law gave my mother-in-law a "push" present. She received a diamond and pearl necklace along with a dozen roses. I was jumping up and down for joy (or sorta jumping with my big belly)..."See!" I told my husband "Even your dad got your mom a push present!" Now my husband is an awesome man! He treats me all the time and I want for nothing. The only reason I have been "pushing" the "push" present is because my husband will not admit that I am right about it!

The Real Reason to Give a Gift

In all seriousness, there is a right reason and a wrong reason to want and give a gift. If presents and gifts are how you show love or how you know you are loved then there may be a problem here. If the price tag on the gift is how you measure love there may also be a problem. If gifts are your way of feeling appreciated or a way of marking the moment symbolically; then your heart may be in the right place. A husband should not feel pressured to give a gift with a huge price tag. The emphasis should be on the symbolism of the moment.

This may mean that you bring your wife flowers because you know she loves them and you only do that for really special occasions (or you never remember to do this).  If you have the budget and jewelry is something special then maybe this is the right kind of gift for your wife. This may be a piece of jewelry that she wears on special occasions, like your child's birthdays or wedding day and can be passed on to your child when the time is right. Maybe it is a CD of mixed music that has been meaningful during the pregnancy or piece of artwork that you created yourself with her in mind. Maybe you write her a song, a poem or a love letter. Maybe it is a special box or photo album to collect baby keepsakes. It could be that stuffed animal that she admired in the store but didn't buy when you were purchasing the rest of the baby gear you needed. The emphasis should be on showing appreciation and letting your wife know that you are aware of the special nature of the moment.

Husbands Shouldn't Be Forgotten

In my research I read a rather angry commentary by a man about the labor and delivery present. I could tell that he was feeling left out and possibly unappreciated. It can be easy to forget Dad in all the baby excitement. Suddenly, there is a whole bunch of attention being given to Mom and to the baby. Dad, on the other hand is asked to be a "dear" and take out the trash from all the presents and the baby shower. The man who wrote the commentary made a comment that has stuck with me, "No one is giving me a gift for putting up with her mood swings, cravings, and unreasonable pregnancy demands for nine months!"

Although I ultimately didn't agree  with his position on the labor and delivery gift; it made me wonder...if you have a wonderful husband or spouse who has been supportive during your pregnancy wouldn't it be nice to give him a gift to say thank you to him when the baby is born?

With this in mind I purchased my husband a "Push Support" present. His gift was an HD camera that he had his eye on. It was a camera that he would not have purchased for himself and would be a something that he could use to document our growing families journeys and special moments. I purchased the camera early just  in case our little one came early...which he did. My husband was very surprised and has found much joy in this gift.

Reflections on Appreciating Your Spouse

Having a baby is just as big of an adjustment of your husband as it is for you. Both of you are going through huge changes and so is your relationship. On a mission trip a man shared with me that he had been married to his wife for 30 years. I was amazed at this and asked him what his secret was. He told me that when his oldest child was born the doctor gave him a little advice "Remember who came first!" I puzzled over this for a moment and asked him "Did he mean God always comes first?" The man said "No, he meant my wife came first and I came first to her. Our marriage came first. If we have a strong relationship and we are united, we will be better parents to our children. He was right." I have tried to keep this in mind as I have gone through my pregnancy and I hope to keep it in mind when the baby arrives.

My hope and my plan is to make sure I take time out to focus on my husband when the baby arrives so our relationship remains strong. This will be a challenge but I know that the rewards to our relationship and to our child will be well worth it. I know that I need to feel appreciated by him and he needs to feel appreciated by me as well! My husband has been wonderful during my pregnancy. He has and continues to be supportive beyond my expectations. Dad deserves a Labor and Delivery gift too! He has helped delivery me to motherhood and he has labored right beside me!

The day after my son was born my husband presented me with a Sea Turtle necklace. During out baby-moon in Hawaii I fell in love with swimming with the Honu (Sea Turtles). While shopping at a store he opened an oyster that had a pearl in it. He had the pearl put into a sea turtle pendant. Now when I am leaving my son with a baby sitter for date night or spending the afternoon tutoring I wear the necklace. It is a nice way to feel connected to my son even though I am away from him. When I miss him, I find myself fingering the necklace. I am really thankful that my husband gave me this awesome gift, it is filled with wonderful memories both before my son was born and now that he has arrived.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The History of Child Birth Practices

I can't help myself...I have to share. While researching the "Push Present" I came across some great websites on the history of child birth. I have enjoyed learning about the evolution of labor and delivery within society. It is interesting to see how far we have come in our knowledge and in some ways sad to see that we have forgotten some fundamentals of human nature.


Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger
I loved this book. This was an excellent collection of information and presented birth practices from all over the world. It analyzed the state of labor practices in America compared to the practices in other countries. It also looked at the roles of fathers, mothers, woman-to woman support, and doctors and medical professionals in the labor and delivery process. There were great illustrations and beautiful poetry.

Below is an awesome website that I found on the history of childbirth. It was really neat to see the way our attitudes have changed and how the birthing process has changed over time. It focuses mainly European and American cultures. There are some great pictures posted as well.

The website below was very awesome. It talked about the birth practices of Native American women in the New York area.

This Website also gave a history of childbirth but more in a story like manner. I really liked the way that it was done. It was so much academic in style but it was still educational and imaginative.  It could use come pictures.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nicknames for IV or Fourth Generation

Since we know that we are having a little boy I have told my husband that I want him to pick the name. This is his first born son and I know that is a very special event for a father. My husband has mentioned that he may like to name his son after him which means that our son will be a fourth generation of an IV. My husband goes by the nickname Trey in his family which means "three" in Latin. He goes by his first name at work. As a matter of fact I had known him for over a year before I learned that his first name was not Trey. The first time he took me to a work event I called him Trey while talking to his co-workers and they were very confused thinking that I was talking about another man all night...

My husband says that he has not yet decided on a name but I can tell that he wants to continue the family name. His first name is a rather old fashioned (Mama Frankenstein is a hint) name and there are really no good nicknames for his first name. In preparation for this I did a little research on what nicknames are used for a fourth generation son. I did not realize that having a fourth generation name is not a common problem. There seems to be a trend to stop naming sons after their father's at Jr.

Now there seems to be a lot of debate on whether or not it is a good idea to name your child to make them a fourth. There are some who say that this will give the son a complex that he is always fourth, that it is a very lofty name for a child, that they will always feel like they are in the shadow of their father and grandfathers. One of the stronger arguments against naming our son IV is identification purposes. A lot of forms, particularly electronic forms, do not give an IV option in the drop down menus. 

For us, naming our son the fourth is the continuation of a legacy of great men who have been wonderful father's, providers and leaders in their family and community. I believe that naming our son IV is the right thing to do and that we will raise him to have his own identity. We will still call him by his first name but all parents give their children a nickname. I am simply looking for one that fits his fourth generation name. If he feels that he wants more autonomy when he grows up, he already has a nickname he is used to hearing.

Here are some nicknames for the fourth generation son:

Odin: which means Wednesday and is the fourth day of the week. Odin is also a Viking god.

Quart/Court: this is short for quarter which is 1/4 of a dollar.

Jounce or Snap: the 4th derivative of position. My husband is an engineer-what can I say- he came up with this one.

I-V or IVer: These are phonetic plays on saying the Roman numeral. I-V would be said as if it rhymes with the word "Give". IVer would be said I-Ver.

IVey: You would say this like you would pronounce the names of the letters and it would sound and look like the viney green plant. I feel this is a much to0 girlie nickname.

Fire: This is from the Norwegian and Swedish languages which means four.

Tre-Vor/ Trevor: Combining Trey (the nickname for the third generation) and Four.

Quade/Kade or Quay: These are both Latin and Gaelic for four or the fourth child. This one is my favorite.

Delta: The fourth letter of the military alphabet.

Daleth: is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the number four in Hebrew.

Four in Other Languages

Four and Fourth: These were also suggestions that I found online but were not so creative...I wouldn't want my son to feel like a number.

Quatre: The French version of four is pronounced "Cat". If that is too girlie it could be changed to Tiger.

Cuatro: The Spanish version of four and sounds like "Quat-ro".

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mama Cravings

One of the things I have found very interesting about pregnancy is the foods I have craved. I do not have a lot of cravings but I have had a few that have been completely out of the ordinary for me. I know there are a million wives tales out there about cravings and pregnancy, like all wives tales I enjoy them, recognize there may be some ancient truth, but ultimately do not hold much stock in them. Here are some things that I have craved over the trimesters.

First Trimester
  • Spicy Food: I never ate spicy food before I was pregnant. I very quickly started adding more pepper and spices to my food. If it didn't have a kick, I didn't want to eat it. My husband enjoyed this phase.
  • Bitter Flavors: My sweet tooth disappeared with my pregnancy. I found that I still liked sweets but that I rather eat them if they had more of a bitter flavor to them. This meant that I wanted things like coffee at Starbucks (which I find very bitter), Mocha Almond Fudge or Coffee ice cream.
Second Trimester
  • Peanut Butter: Although I have always liked peanut butter I found myself just wanting a spoonful of it.
  • Cheetos Cheese Puffs: Again a food that I liked when I was younger but haven't really eaten in years. I was watching TV and Snoop Dog happened to be on the show. In his hand he had a bag of cheese puffs and was munching away on them. From that moment on I had to have some!
Third Trimester
  • Cheetos Cheese Puffs: They continue to be my nemesis. I ration myself strictly though.
  • Red Meat: I still love chicken and pork but I find myself wanting red meat a lot more than any other meat. The funny thing is that I can't look at raw meat. It grosses me out to look at it. I can't shop for it in the store. I make my husband go and pick it out. When it comes to cooking it I have gotten my husband to grill a lot more or I make bake/broil it so that I don't have to look at it very long.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Picking a Car Seat for Your Little One

What a big decision it is to pick a car seat for your new baby. They car costly and there are a ton of choices. Just deciding on which one to register for can be challenge. There are right ways to install it and wrong ways to install it. There are color choices and different models. What it all comes down to is that you want you little one as safe as possible!

I don't have personal experience yet but the advice we received from friends was this:

1) Buy one of the infant carrier car seats but buy an extra base for the car seat. This allows both cars to be equipped. This is supposed to also prevent having to move a sleeping baby out of a car seat to take them in or out of the car.

2) Make sure the car seat you register for is compatible with the stroller you register for or just buy the stroller frame that fits the infant carrier to start. I have found in my research that Graco Snug Ride infant carriers seem to be the most versatile and highest rated. They also have an installation video you can watch.

3) Put your car seats (at least the base) in the car when your delivery window opens so that you don't have to worry about it after the baby arrives. You can also take your car with car seat to the local CHP for inspection to make sure it is installed correctly. You have to call ahead and make an appointment.

4) Don't buy a used car seat or use a hand-me-down if you can afford it. Safety regulations change all the time and if you buy it used you have no way of knowing if it was in an accident.

5) My Prepared childbirth class gave us this number for questions: Safety Belt Safe (800) 745- SAFE or online:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's No Denying the Belly Now!

I spent a good portion of my pregnancy looking as if I had just stopped working on my abs and was gaining a little weight. I actually had a lady at Destination Maternity tell me "You don't look pregnant. You just look like you gained a little weight." This comment did not get her a sale and made me wonder if it is more acceptable to be over weight in America than it is to be pregnant...

Around week 23 things began to change. The belly took on more of a rounded look and stood out a little better. When we when to Hawaii for our baby-moon I wasn't concerned about putting the bikini on (okay I was a little concerned) because I knew that I didn't look fat, I looked pregnant. As things progress the belly is becoming more and more noticeable and there really is no denying it now.

I have noticed that the belly bumps into things. I seem to forget how far it sticks out. The belly also peeks out under my clothes sometimes. Shirts that have always had plenty of room in them are now tight and some times they ride up and my belly shows. When I am in Yoga I am very aware of the belly, it has a tendency to get in the way and I have to negotiate it in certain poses. When I curl up in bed the belly is between me and my husband and we have to take it into consideration when we hug and kiss. The cats are even aware of the belly. They like to lay on the belly and purr. I know the baby can hear or feel the purring because he reacts to it by kicking at the kitty.

My favorite part of relaxing is when you can see the belly move on it's own or jiggle from the movement. It is a very strange experience to have something inside of you moving independently. It is unpredictable and sometimes the strangest of sensations. Late at night when I am trying to sleep, sometimes I will wake up but not fully and really feel my little man moving around in there. It is strange and fearful all at the same time.

Right now the belly is only slightly uncomfortable but I can tell that things are only going to get worse. My favorite outfits are the ones that put no pressure on belly. So far dresses and overalls are my outfits of choice...!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Diaper Decision: Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers

One of the things that my husband and I have spent some time thinking about are what kind of diapers we should use. This seems like such a silly debate to have...why would we spend very much time talking about this...well we want to be responsible and there has been a lot of hype about the negative affects of disposable diapers on the environment. We decided to do a little research and at least explore the idea of diaper alternatives. Since we live in LA there is no shortage of diaper services for cloth diapers and it isn't a problem to find stores that offer eco-friendly diapers, the issue of choosing an diaper alternative was not about completely about convenience.

These were some of the questions we asked when thinking about which type of diaper to choose:
A) Is one choice more cost effective than another?
B) Do the landfill benefits of cloth diapers really out weigh the water, energy, and chemical effects of cloth diapers?
C) What kind of issues do we face with cloth diapers verses disposable diapers?
D) Is one type of diaper healthier for our baby over another?
E) What kind of time commitment are we making in choosing cloth diapers over disposable?

The results we came across were rather surprising.  Here are some of the things we found that helped us to make this diaper decision.

 Cloth Diapers

My mother may have been the last generation that really embraced cloth diapers before the disposable diapers became so popular and accessible. My parents did not own a washer and dryer but when I was born they could only afford to buy one of the machines. They bought the dryer and made their way to the laundry mat for the washing...I understand not wanting to use your home washing machine for soiled diapers. My parents decision was mainly based on economic factors. They could not afford disposable diapers which were simply not affordable on my father's enlisted military budget.

Advanced Features: Since my birth their have been many advances in the world of cloth diapers. There are new and improved ways to make cotton absorbent and they have created liners that help control the "flow of waste". In big cities there are several diaper washing services available if you do not wish to wash the diapers yourself. It is reported that children who use cloth diapers have less diaper rash, this may be that the children are more aware of the wetness against their skin and cry sooner. The downside of cloth diapers  is that they still hold less liquid and therefore need to be changed more frequently. The upside to cloth diapers is that children who use them tend to potty train earlier because they are more aware of the wetness they experience in connection to the sensation they feel to go potty.

Think Carefully: In considering cloth diapers I thought long and hard about the scenario of using cloth diapers. I found a really great four part online cloth diaper tutorial which really helped me understand how they work and what I would be getting myself into. After the tutorial I realized that I personally do not wish to wash the diapers in my own washing machine. I also am not willing to go to my local laundry mat with my baby to wash and/or dry diapers (call me a snob if you like but I do live in LA). So for me a diaper service is the only way to go. It was also pointed out to me that cloth diapers require that you flush solid waste in the toilet first (breast feeders don't worry as much about solid waste but when baby starts to eat there are concerns). This makes sense but I am not sure that I can really see myself standing over my toilet with my baby on my hip while I flush the contents of the diaper. The older the child gets the less I can see myself having the time to spend laundering cloth diapers. There is a definite time commitment involved with cloth diapers. With cloth diapers you also have to consider the smell factor as they wait to be washed and the exposure to poop factor. With a disposable diaper I can quickly roll it up and trash it...with a cloth diaper...I may have the issue...  

Don't Forget Daddy: here is also my husband to consider in this situation. My husband is a very patient man but if we chose to use cloth diapers I would be the one taking on this commitment. I will be the one at home with the baby and he would much prefer the ease of disposable diapers. Since I definitely want my husband to help change diapers I want to make the process as "husband friendly" as possible. If I was at work all day and had to come home to a pile of stinking diapers that needed to be washed over simply taken to the trash can, I might be adverse to them as well...

Environmental Impact: The impact of a disposable diaper on the environment was the main reason for considering cloth diapers. So are they really better for the environment? Interestingly enough there are two schools of thoughts on whether or not they are truly better for the environment. The main argument made in favor of cloth diapers is that they do not have plastic components which do not biodegrade. The creation of a cloth diaper does not cause deforestation or pollute the air as a byproduct of creating them. Since they are made from cotton you can also buy organic materials which are still better for the environment. Cloth diapers are the most you can reuse and recycle.

The questions is do they really reduce? They reduce the amount of product in landfills, they reduce the number of trees cut down, and they are cleaner for the air because they do not require plastic. However, they do require water to be rinsed, soaked and washed. They also require harsh chemicals for sanitation and electricity (or natural gas depending on your machines system) to complete the cleaning cycle. The larger the load the more energy efficient you can be but in addition to the water and energy used just to clean the diapers there is also the energy cost to process and clean the water soiled by the cleaning process. The benefit to this process is that waste that goes into the water from the dirty diaper and the dirty water is correctly processed rather then dumped and left unprocessed in a landfill. In some cases the water can also be reclaimed but this is not as widely practiced as one might think because of human health concerns. If you choose to use a diaper service there is also the fuel and air pollution factors to consider. The truck delivery truck will require gas and will have to sit in traffic, this will not only negatively impact the air in CA but also the traffic.  

Special Environmental Concerns: In CA we have some special environmental considerations due to our desert climate. There is a water shortage in CA and we depend on aqueducts for our water and in many cities can only water our lawns on certain days and for strict time limits. In the summer we face an energy shortage due to the need for air conditioning. During the summer months we are asked to flex our power, which means that are asked not to use major appliances until after 7pm. When I consider this I can foresee a diaper crisis in the middle of a hot summer day. This is bound to happen regardless of how well I may time manage. To be a responsible, Earth-friendly citizen I also have to consider these factors.

What about cost? In our research we found that with a diaper service they rank about 4th place for cost effectiveness. Although the price of the service does not change much over time you will need them, they are slightly more expensive in the long run. In our area a diaper service picks up once a week, 80 diapers for $20 a week. A diaper service also requires higher start up costs because you have to purchase the diapers and or shells/covers. You may also need to buy replacement diapers and or shells/covers as they wear out or your child grows. Even if you launder the diapers yourself you are going to have the same higher start up costs and replacement costs as the child grows but you also have higher energy costs (gas and electricity) and materials (detergent and bleach). My husband also pointed out that washers and dryers are not cheap. The baby will already add to the wear and tear on our washing machine and dryer but cleaning diapers at home will increase the use of these expensive machines.

Lets not forget the time factor: Although I am not planning on returning to work for a few of years after our son is born there are still management issues with a new baby. I know we have all heard the argument that housewives work and I agree if you put a monetary value on the care your provide to your home, children, and husband you might be surprised at what your services are worth in the work force. I am blessed to have a husband who values my time and contributions to our family that being said, lets put a monetary value on your time, you can calculate that one load of diapers takes a minimum of 2 hours to process (soak, wash, dry, fold). You may find yourself doing 2-5 loads a week. You are then spending 4-10 hours just washing and caring for wage of $9.00 an hour (minimum wage in CA) that is $36-90 a week in labor not to mention washing materials and energy costs.

Disposable Diapers

The "green" people of the world will tell you that disposable diapers are one of the great banes of our Earth. There is a definite convenience factor when it comes to disposable diapers. They offer leakage protection that can not be argued. They hold more liquids and waste then cloth diapers. They require no special cleaning or schedule to follow (cloth diapers picked up by a service must be ready and out on time or you must also carve out the time to wash them if you do it yourself). It is, however, reported that more children get diaper rash with disposable diapers but babies with colic are reported to be less irritated and fussy because they are not bothered by a wet diaper as often.

Public Health Concerns: If you are planning on putting your child in daycare or even in the nursery at church there are health concerns with cloth diapers that requires children wear disposable diapers. The reason for this is simple, disposable diapers hold in the bacteria and waste better and they are thrown away rather than contained until washing. Disposable diapers are cleaner from a public health standpoint. With disposable diapers you do not have to revisit the poop so that you can clean the diaper or have to soak and wash the diaper. They are thrown away and not messed with again. Best of all, you do not have to worry about running out of diapers. Sure you can forget to buy them but a quick trip to an all night drugstore and you are no longer in serious doo-doo...sorry couldn't help myself.

Impact to the environment: The negative impact to the environment is undeniable. Opinions seem to differ on the length of time a plastic diaper spends in a landfill. Some studies say 200 years some say 500 years. Disposable diapers are made of plastic and paper. They are destructive to create and destructive to throw away. The plastic and inks used are toxic to create and have difficulty returning to the earth. The paper used to make them causes deforestation and some say adds to the carbon dioxide levels in the air. They also create a human waste processing problem in landfills which can cause water and ground contamination. Mainly because human waste is not being treated properly when the diaper goes to the landfill. Diaper companies are trying to make diapers that are made from recycled material, organic material, and materials that biodegrade better. Advances have been slow but some companies like Huggies are trying. However, there are not enough consumers to create a big enough demand to make the companies feel the squeeze to create better alternatives faster.

Cost Effectiveness: The cost of disposable diapers is awesome when compared to other alternatives. They are not only easier they are also cheaper. When my husband did a spread sheet of diaper costs (he didn't include wipes) disposable diapers were the most cost effective by far. If you have time or budget concerns disposable diapers are the only logical choice. Disposable diapers can also be price compared and you can be a savvy shopper by using coupons and bulk rates to save even more on them. Major diaper companies also offer rewards programs that help you save by sending you special coupons and rewarding your loyalty. Disposable diapers honestly make cloth diapers look like a luxury.

Eco-Friendly Diapers

First of all let me say that eco-friendly diapers are still disposable diapers. They are made in a way that reduces the materials needed to create them and in turn are better for the environment. In some cases they also biodegrade better. There seems to be some complaint that they are not as absorbent as regular disposable diapers. They do offer the same conveniences to parents and they are perfectly acceptable at daycare and nurseries. The two companies that seem to be a leader in eco-friendly disposable diapers is Huggies Pure and Natural and Seventh Generation.

What are my Options:
The Huggies Pure and Natural diapers are made from organic cotton, renewable materials and less ink. The liner of the diaper is recyclable. They are slightly more expensive than plastic disposable diapers but are better for the environment. Online ratings for these diapers are excellent and many people comment that they are super soft and hold the leaks in as well as plastic diapers. 

The Seventh Generation Diapers are Free of chlorine processing, fragrances, latex, and petroleum based lotions. They are more expensive than Huggies Pure and Natural by a dollar or two. They are also a little harder to find but are sold at Target. The online ratings for these diapers are not as favorable as their competitor listed above.

Cost Effectiveness: When it comes to cost these diapers rank in 3rd and 5th in cost effectiveness. They do cost a little more to buy and in some cases they may be harder to find. They are still better in price than cloth diapers. If you are concerned about the environment and would like to encourage larger diaper companies to keep developing this type of technology the slightly extra cost may be worth it to you. At this time it is worth it to us. They do not solve the problem of diaper pollution but at least I feel that I am taking a step in the right direction and encouraging corporate responsibility by buying them.

Reusable but also Disposable Diapers!?

I just came across this diaper a couple of days ago at Whole Foods Market. They are called gDiapers. When I saw them I asked myself: "Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?" Dare I to hope...

How do they Work: With gDiapers you buy the reusable shell or cover and you can either purchase compostable liners or washable liners. i love it when a company gives me options!!! The company also claims that with the gRefill liner (disposable liner) you can household compost one wet diaper in a single compost cycle (we don't have room for a compost system at our LA town home but the idea is nice). If you choose to use the gCloth then you can wash the liners at home (see above for commentary on washing cloth diapers at home). The shell is made from soft cotton and hemp and uses Velcro that attaches at the babies back to keep them away from babies hands.

Health Concerns: It is reported that babies using this product have less diaper rash because of the shell/cover is intended to breath and the liner is gentler on the skin. Since you can use the gRefill liner which can be thrown away this limits the human waste exposure concerns. I have not found any info on whether or not these gDiapers are acceptable in daycares and nurseries...

Environmental Impact: The same concerns apply for these diapers as with cloth and with the disposable liner (see above). If you use the gCloth you have the washing concerns, if you use the gRefill you don't have the same landfill concerns because they are compostable but there is still the issue of human waste in the landfills. The company recommends that you flush poop rather than throw it away to reduce this concern...but ultimately it is your choice. The impact of throwing the gRefill liner away is less abrasive to the environment. 

The Buzz: The comments that parents have left on these diapers is that the g Refills (disposable liners) do not attach to the shell and when baby becomes more active the liners tend to bunch up and move. This leads to some awkward messes. For the most part parents seem to really like this product. 

 Cost Effectiveness: The start up cost for these is a bit high. The shells/covers are not cheap! Putting the start up cost aside,  the g Refills which would be our preference are slightly more expensive than the eco-friendly diapers. In terms of cost effectiveness they ranked last at 6th place but may be less depending on the length of time we use them. Even though the cost is greater than even the eco-friendly diapers we are willing to give them a try since they are offering both convenience and reduced environmental impact. I had  to promise my husband that at the first signs of trouble we will move the the eco-friendly disposables...a fair compromise since I am also inclined the same way...

The Economics of the Matter

Here is the chart that my husband put together to show the the cost of diapers based on type. These numbers are based on prices for our area and bulk diaper rates. Since we knew that we were not interested in cloth diapers without a diaper service we did not go into detail with our utility costs for washing at home. For gDiapers the cost of buying the shells according to babies growth is factored in. The standard deviation is 10 diapers per week. This chart does factor in the difference in diapers for a newborn (approx. 70 a week) and diapers for a toddler (approx. 28). These numbers are based on what parents (or my husbands engineer co-workers) have reported as average use.

Our Decision

After my husband ran the numbers and we considered all of the in's and out's of cloth diapers we felt that cloth diapers really were not the right choice for us. At first, they look like they will be cheaper but in the long run not so much. Since we are in position that we could spend a little more on an eco-friendly diaper and there are savings options available; this was our first choice. When I found gDiapers I was able to get my husband to consider them. He is willing to give gDiapers a try because he can throw the liners away. Although, the shells will need to be washed, this is an undertaking I feel okay with because I will be able to wash them in the same load as the babies soiled clothes. We are both apprehensive about messes and may change course when our son becomes more active.

Our thoughts are that gDiapers may be more realistic for us in the very beginning and when our son is potty training. Since I already shop at Whole Foods Market for my produce I will not have to go out of my way to purchase gDiapers either. As with all things concerning children, we will give gDiapers a try (with the disposable gRefills only) but if it doesn't work we will change course and try something different.

Here are some links that we found helpful when making the diaper decision:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For a Wanted Child

My Mother-in Law sent me this poem a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it here with all you. It is a beautiful poem and I have found it very inspirational when I am having a bad pregnancy day. When all the symptoms of pregnancy are getting me down or I am feeling the pain the sacrifice of pregnancy brings this poem reminds me to treasure this time as a gift and a blessing.

For A Wanted Child

Oh, God, thank you for the child I carry.
I am in love with it as I am in love with my husband and my life – and you.
I walk the world in wonder. I see it through new eyes.
All is changed, subtly but singly different. The beauty of sunlight upon the grass, the feel of its warmth along my arms. It is cradling me in tenderness as I shall cradle this child one day.
I am mother and child in one, new as a child myself, innocent, excited, amused, surprised.

I marvel at my changing body. It is as sweet and new to me as when I was a little girl. Even its symptoms are less of misery or fatigue than signals of its secret. “See how important I am,” my body claims. “Feel my insistence as I make and shape this child for you.”
God, I am happy. God, I am sad. God, I am vital – alive, alive. Life has me in its hands. Life is moving me in an immutable direction that I don’t want to resist and couldn't if I tried.
It is almost comical, this sweet and stern insistence. It is like night and day and the changing of seasons. “Stop, stop!” I might as well cry to the winds or the sea.
No, no, I am for it now, and I rejoice, though I am also a little bit afraid. The labor, the delivery, the care. But it is an exciting kind of anxiety. It is the part of the privilege of being female.

Oh, God, bless this body in which the mystery of life is working. Let it be equal to its job.
And bless the tiny marvel it is responsible for. Your handiwork! Oh, bless my baby too – let it be whole and beautiful and strong.

-Author Unknown-

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Little Mama Humor

For Mother's Day Tina Fey and Maya Rudolf did a funny song on motherhood. I did not see this episode on Mother's Day but it was rerun this weekend. I cracked me up and I wanted to share it with you. It made me laugh and reminded me that we have to keep things into perspective while we are pregnant or we can get carried away with all the things that may be troubling us during this time.

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leg Cramps & Coconut Water

One of the great joys of pregnancy that I began to experience in week 24 was painful debilitating leg cramps. I was really upset to have this added to my list of pregnancy wonders, especially because I have exercised and taken my vitamins just as I was told. When I talked to my doctor she suggested that I drink coconut water. I was a little surprised that this was what the doc suggested but I was in so much pain I was willing to try anything. It worked wonderfully and has some really great benefits other then just stopping my leg cramps. It turns out that coconut water is a natural laxative, it can also help regulate blood pressure, and it when you are breastfeeding it is said to improve the quality of your breast milk.

When ever possible I drink coconut water straight from the coconut! There is a Whole Foods market near my yoga studio that cuts the top off the young coconut and all I have to do is stick a straw in it and drink up. The picture below was taken at my local farmers market where they also keep them on ice. Coconut water tastes much better this way and doesn't need to be mixed with other juices when it is straight from the source. You can even put the lime in the coconut and sing the silly song as you drink it down...hehe!

 Unfortunately, I couldn't drink coconut water from a can all by itself so I had to come up with a way to mask the taste. Below are some ways that you can get your coconut water in and not have to suffer through the taste.

Coconut Water Freeze

1 can/or carton of Coconut Water
1/4 Cup Frozen Berries
1 Spoonful of Concentrated Orange Juice
1-2 Spoonfuls of Greek Yogurt or Cool Whip lite
1 Dollop of Honey (to taste)

Add all the ingredients above to the blender and enjoy!

Coconut Water Slushie

1 can/Carton of Coconut Water
1/2 Tsp to 1Tsp Coconut Extract
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup Pineapple chunks
1/2 Cup Orange Juice or 2 Tbsp of orange juice concentrate
6-8 Ice Cubes
* Sugar or honey as needed

Add all the ingredients above to the blender and enjoy!