Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doula Diary #1: Recommended Reads

I started a vlog series on my Youtube channel called "Doula Diaries". Basically I will be making videos related to being a Doula, pregnancy, childbirth, and answering questions from viewers to my best ability. The first video in this series is "Recommended Reads." I realize that "Recommended" is spelled incorrectly in the beginning, I apologize I must have been really tired... Also I am sorry about the sun in my eyes, cutting off half my head and my mumbling. So if you can get past all of that, hey this is pretty good for an inexperienced vlogger!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to identify, treat, and prevent Mastitis!

What is mastitis?
Mastitis simply means “Inflammation of the Breast.” Usually this inflammation is a result of a plugged milk duct, or of a bacterial infection within the breast tissue.


There are various causes of mastitis. The first common cause is an ineffective latch-on or sucking technique in the baby. Such things can result in inadequate milk transfer and the back up of milk can cause the mastitis. Also, if a problem with latch is causing  nipple pain in the mother, she might be reluctant to feed as frequently as she may have otherwise. This would cause the breast to not be drained well contributing to the build up of milk. Sometimes a ineffective latch can be due to engorgement in the mother rather than lack of ability on the infants part.
Breastfeeding mothers often experience Mastitis when the baby’s feeding pattern changes or becomes very irregular.
Things that may cause this to occur include:

*The baby begins sleeping for longer stretches.
*Ear infections or teething discomfort in the baby.
*Using pacifiers which reduce the time at the breast
*The baby is being supplemented with water or formula
*Imposing a feeding schedule and limiting time at the breast.
*Simply keeping too busy or returning to work

Another common cause of mastitis is pressure on the breast. Pressure that comes from ill-fitting bras, very tight clothing, sleeping on the stomach, and ill-fitting  manual breast pumps can impede the flow of milk through the ducts. Which causes a unnecessary build up of milk. Other causes include being run-down from stress, poor nutrition and cracked nipples allowing infection into the breast.

Signs and Symptoms of Mastitis
Usually mastitis will occur in one breast only., but can occur in both  breasts at the same time. Although mastitis can occur in any part of the breast, it usually occurs in the upper outer part of the breast because  this part of the breast contains the most tissue. The symptoms are different depending on the root cause of the mastitis.

If  a blocked duct is to blame the mother can experience:
  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • Tender lump or spot in the breast that may move from one spot to another.
  • Redness
  • Pain is very mild and mother feels generally well.
  • Low fever or no fever at all
  • No unusual warmness in the breast

If an infection is to blame the mother can experience:
  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • Tender lump or spot in the breast that is localized and does not move
  • Obvious signs of infected cracked nipple (redness, pus, etc.)
  • The breast maybe be swollen, hot and red.
  • Blood and pus may be in the milk
  • Apparent on the skin are red streaks flaring out from the site of infection
  • The mother has flu-like symptoms and feels unwell.
  • Fever is higher

Treatment Options
Seeking immediate treatment is very important because if mastitis left untreated can lead to a life threatening breast abscess. It is a misconception that a mother  with mastitis should stop feeding. This is actually the opposite of  the truth. Women are encouraged to breastfeed as much as possible and at least every 2 hours.  The affected breast’s milk supply is completely safe for baby and baby’s suck can actually help dislodge any blockage.  The mother can help get the milk flowing through a blockage by changing  the position in which she feeds the baby. Usually it is suggested that  the mother utilize a position in which the baby’s chin points in the direction of the affected area . The suggestion is due to the belief that this will cause a stronger suction in the specific location and help release the blockage. One can also find relief by briefly applying gentle heat like that of a warm damp cloth, a warm shower, or immersing the breast in warm water just before feeding to stimulate milk flow. While applying the heat therapy, it may be helpful to massage the breast in firm circular motions near the affected area and alternate the heat with cold packs to further soothe the area. The mother is often advised to act as though one would in treating the flu; plenty of rest, liquids and eating well. Due to the fact that fatigue is a huge contributor to mastitis a mother can also take this time to spend a day on bed rest with baby to maximize baby’s opportunity to feed and  help her rest. Over the counter pain relieving anti-inflammatory medications can also be used. However if a bacterial infection is present or the mastitis is severe, the mother’s doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication. 


To prevent mastitis from occurring or prevent a re-occurrence, a mother should feed the baby without restriction with a good latch, avoid pressure on the breasts from her clothing, bags or sleeping position and take good care of herself with adequate rest and proper nutrition.

Additionally, if the mastitis is reoccurring or does not resolve after a few days the woman may want to consult with her physician to investigate other possible conditions and treatments.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to Pick a Great and Frugal Halloween Costume for a Baby or Toddler!

Halloween is almost here and panic sets in when you think of picking the perfect costume. You know that your child will be too young to remember yet it is still important to you. Price also comes into play.. do you want to spend an enormous amount of cash on something that will be used once? Well stop panicking and read on to learn about  some great options you have this year to save you money and keep that cutie of yours comfortable and warm! I will share with you some options that I have come across in my search.

Double Duty
Many popular brands of clothing are creating pajamas that double as costumes. Giving you the most for your money and ensuring that your child is extremely comfortable. A comfortable child means that they might actually keep the costume on!
Here are some options like this I have found:

The "Glow in the Dark Skeleton" 
You can buy this in either the traditional black with white bones or you have the choice of pink for a girl! finish the look with some face paint.

The "Race Car Driver"
Your little guy (or gal!) will be ready to go! Finish the look with a ball cap.

The "Little Dancer"
For the sweetest little girl. Complete with a tiny tutu!
A great finishing touch would be some ballet flats and pinning up a bun in any hair she has!
(more like this can be found on

Sweat Suit Costume
Another money saving option is to use a plain colored sweat suit as your base and add on various things to create a custom costume. Then once the events are over, you can simply remove what you added and your child can wear the sweats all winter long!

You can add create animals easily by adding a oval to the tummy, ears to the hood or spots all over! Safety pin a tale on that you make from a stuffed pantyhose. Pipe Cleaners make great antennae and you can attach these to a hood or a headband. You can then paint the childs face or add whiskers with your eyeliner! To make "Veggie" suits, be creative...for example for a Carrot put the child in a orange sweat suit and a orange beanie cap and poke green pipe cleaners through the top of the beanie sticking straight up.

Here are some adorable examples of Sweat Suit Costumes:

A "Red Hot Chili Pepper" is easy, all you need is a red sweat suit a dark green hat and take a piece of green felt and cut a circle in the center and leaves on the edges and just like that you are done. What a cutie!

A Crayola Crayon is fairly easy. You can use solid colored pajamas or sweat suit. This one is definitely one of my favorites! And versatile because you can use any color! How great would it be to get your child's friends in on it and each a different color?

Another of my absolute favorites this year is this Octopus idea! Which is good for really young babies that aren't mobile or older children. Because the hanging parts might trip a wobbly toddler and confuse a crawler. You can make the face simply with adhesive backed felt or you can sew it on and your child can wear it all winter with the cute face left on.

Here are some additional links to DIY costume ideas!

Kaboose: Homemade Halloween costumes
Parents Connect: Extensive list of costume ideas
Rookie Mom: Amazing resource for Costume ideas and inspiration

So you could go out and spend $20, $30 maybe even $50 on a costume for your child this year, but why would you?  There are many frugal options that make more sense. Options that are homemade with love and options that a reusable.  If you insist on a store bought costume, why not host a "Costume Swap" with all your local mom friends to switch costumes that you have from previous years withe each other. Then switch back after the festivities. If all else fails save some money by shopping at a local consignment shop or Craigslist. There is bound to be tons of costumes is near perfect condition. This has inspired me to make my sons costume every year and I hope I inspired you as well. I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween. Happy Tricks and Treats! ;)

Friday, August 20, 2010

How time can go by so fast...

  August 15th, 2010. Exactly 1 year since my baby was born. The thought of this is bittersweet. I have enjoyed watching him grow and learn but at the same time my eyes fill with tears at the thought that my baby is now my toddler. Where did the time go? One minute I am nursing my newborn baby in a stuffy hospital room and the next I am chasing after this little person that says words and eats what I eat!
   We celebrated by throwing a birthday party in my mother's home. I spent the past couple weeks creating the decorations myself. If you really knew me, you would know that this was due to my obsessive compulsive perfectionism. Those store bought decorations with that pooh bear guy holding balloons and skipping around didn't even seem the tiniest good enough. Sure it would be easy, head over to party city and drop a good amount of money, pick up all the  party necessities and then just worry about the food. That is not me.
  I bought a package of eco-friendly scrapbook paper, colored cardstock, ribbon, a hot glue gun, and a few other things and I was good to go. I made a birthday banner,Ceaghan's Birthday crown, cupcake picks, party hats, a birthday card and a photo display with 1 photo from each month of his life. All with a "woodland animal-eco friendly-foresty-naturalish type of theme.
   As for the party food, I planned his party only a couple hours long which I think is a good idea for a 1 year old. So I opted to only provide appetizers and cake.  I made fruit kabobs with orange flesh honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and grapes and mini wraps with spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers and rep pepper hummus. (YUM) Then to go along with the theme I made "toadstool mushroom appetizers." I did so by taking hard-boiled eggs, then topping them with a hollowed out tomato cap and piping on dots of miracle whip. I think they are adorable. Then instead of one large cake I decided to do cupcakes and a mini "smash" cake for Ceaghan. The cupcakes were half "regular" yellow cake with red and white icing decorated as toadstools and Sugar-free Vegan carrot cake with sugar free vegan coconut creme icing. The smash cake was also made from the Carrot cake. Our guests seemed to love the food and the toadstool appetizers were a big hit!
   Ceaghan had a blast at the party and that was all that really mattered. I know that he can't appreciate the decorations yet but I had so much fun making them I do not care!   It was a great party and I couldn't have asked for it to go better. Even though he is technically a toddler now, he will always be my baby. I am amazed by him, so in love, and excited about the future!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How small steps can make a huge difference...

    Oprah has created a contest for people to get their own TV show on her new network. Kerry Tuschhoff , a childbirth educator of over 20 years and Founder/Director of Hypnobabies LLC has entered the contest with a video titled "Every Mother, Every Baby!" Her idea for a show is about teaching expectant parents about "taking responsibility for their own decisions and care during pregnancy, birth and baby care".  She urges on the informational section for this video... 
"We need a fun and interesting show about "healing the earth through birth", teaching expectant families in fun ways how to have a safer pregnancy and easier childbirth, take responsibility for their own healthcare during pregnancy(just like Dr. Oz says!) There are over 4 million babies born every year in the U.S. and their moms are just crying out for representation and ways to make pregnancy easier! Let's do it!"
   What a fantastic idea! It would be an amazing way for ALL mother's to gain valuable knowledge about pregnancy and birth! Knowledge they would not receive otherwise. Knowledge is power! This could help expectant families make INFORMED choices! We can cause change to this current birth crisis that our culture has acquired! It is small steps like this that each one of us can do to help!

Please go HERE and VOTE for her video!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How raw garlic can cure...

Recently I suffered with a unfriendly infection known as Mastitis. This infection affects the breast tissue. I acquired this by not being able to unblock a blocked milk duct.
It all started one morning when Ceaghan decided to refuse his morning feeding and skip it entirely to play with his toys. This was very random for him and I didn't think much of it at the time. However, when he did decide to nurse, he did so lying down with me in the bed and we both fell asleep. When I woke up I noticed immediately that my breast had a lump, was swollen and was very tender. I realized that this was a blocked milk duct. I knew that I had to try and relieve the blockage as soon as possible because I knew it could turn into Mastitis. I spent the entire day trying my best to unblock my duct. I used heat, cold, compresses, showers, soaking it, compression massage, and had Ceaghan nurse on that side first during every feeding. However, nothing would help. I was very frustrated and in a lot of pain. About 30 hours later I started noticing symptoms. I had a fever, chills, and I was very achy. I knew that these were signs of Mastitis and I felt very upset that I could not prevent it from occurring.
I decided that it would probably be best to go to the Emergency Room (as it was the weekend) and have a Doctor prescribe antibiotics. When I was seen the doctor gave me shocking misinformation. She stated that I had mastitis indeed and that if I did not want to risk "passing" it to my child I should pump and dump my milk on that side for 24 hours! This indeed proves that most doctors do not have training in lactation as it is impossible to pass this infection to the infant and it is beneficial to continue to nurse on the affected side as much as possible. I took the prescription and went home, it was too late to fill it.
A little while after I got home my symptoms got intensely worse. My fever spiked very high and I felt extremely ill. I decided that I could not wait to get the antibiotics and decided to look up natural cures. Upon doing so I found multiple resources explaining how Raw Garlic is a natural antibiotic and has cured many ailments. After reading so many positive reviews on it I decided that it was my best option.
I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic as small as I could and put them on a tablespoon with honey. I then swallowed it all without chewing. Raw Garlic is gross, it tastes awful, hurts going down and makes you smell for a week. However you must eat it raw in order to obtain the benefits. Cooking garlic removes these properties and makes it basically useless. Also contrary to what you would assume, Raw Garlic when eaten by a lactating woman is said to make her milk taste sweeter not gross. In doing so this has been said to draw the infant to want to nurse more frequently.
About an hour or so after consuming the Raw Garlic I suddenly felt almost completely better! I was shocked! My fever plummeted, my chills and aches were gone, and although my duct was still blocked I felt so much better! I went to sleep and when I woke up about 8 or 9 hours later I felt even better! The blockage was gone by the next morning and I have been great ever since! Chris picked up the antibiotics in case and I never needed them. I would have been on them for at least 10 days and I hate taking antibiotics. I hate the risk of thrush as well.
I am so thankful for this cure. It could not have been a coincidence that my symptoms went away so suddenly on their own. I know that the raw garlic cured my infection and I am so amazed!
Raw garlic has been used for centuries to cure many things. I will definitely be using this amazing herb in the future when needed.
I almost wish I could go back to that Emergency Room and have a talk with the doctor that I was seen by. I hope to never suffer from Mastitis again.

Try Raw Garlic, what can it hurt to try the natural remedy first. What do you have to lose?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to set a postitive parenting example....

A Facebook friend posted THIS link to an article about a 4 year old girl who breastfed her doll in a restaurant! This got me thinking and here is some of the thoughts that flew through my caffeine buzzed brain...

I think we should encourage young girls to embrace their womanhood and what their bodies naturally do for babies. I think it's a bad idea to be giving young girls baby dolls that come with a bottle and a crib. I think this instills the assumption at an early age that bottle feeding and detachment are natural, acceptable practices. I think that we should not be afraid to share birth and breastfeeding with our children, there is nothing wrong with that and it should not be sexualized like it is so often. I hope if I have a future daughter that she "breastfeeds" her baby doll, wants to wear them in a sling and co-sleep with them. If in the future my son wanted to attend his siblings birth, I wouldn't bat an eye in allowing him to do so. Our culture lies in telling children and brainwashing adults alike into believing that birth and breastfeeding are something to be ashamed of, something that is a sexual as intercourse. This is simply NOT true! These are natural processes and are part of life. It makes me sad that most Americans will never view a true birth, will put down women for breastfeeding anywhere they need to, and put others down for believing and living the opposite. What message are we sending our children? How will things ever change if our culture continues to do such things as this? Okay rant over, in summary, I thought that the little girl in the article was precious and good for her and for her parents for being such a positive influence! :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to explain AP beautifully...

Attachment Parenting: What It Really Means To Be AP

This article contains an amazing interpretation of Attachment Parenting! It is very well written and I very much agree.

"Attachment Parenting is often referred to as "child-led" parenting, and I see a lot of confusion as to what this means. Yes, we ARE the parents. Yes, we set the rules and boundaries. However, what child-led means is that we follow our child's lead. It's about showing your child respect as a person, for their needs, wants, and feelings. It has nothing to do with letting your child rule the roost, and anyone who claims such doesn't really understand attachment parenting in the first place. Child-led does not mean your child tells you what to do. It means paying attention to when your child is tired, and adjusting your routine accordingly, or being able to tell when your child is about to get into the restricted drawer, and gently reminding them that that is not acceptable, and there are better alternatives. We understand that every child is different, and we follow the cues of our child, and respect their individuality while shaping them towards the person we want them to be without squashing who they are or disrespecting them.

We also do not spoil our children -- to the contrary, we teach our children the difference between wants and needs, and to respect when mommy's needs will inevitably override their wants, and that they WILL be tended to -- if they wait patiently."

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to understand true love...

I made Ceaghan a photo video montage thing during my study breaks and some down time. I thought I would share it with you all...

In hopes that one day he can watch it and see how truly loved and wanted he was! I love my baby so much! Thanks for watching...

Friday, May 21, 2010

How everything comes together...

   Life is good. I don't share that enough. But really it is. I get to spend the days with my baby and do my studies at night while he is sleeping, cuddle with my hubby and catch as many play dates as I can.' It's all good' as one would say.
   Currently I am studying the communication portion for school and I am enjoying it much more that I assumed. I am very intrigued by the impact certain things make in a conversation.
  The biggest lesson so far has been that of learning to empathize over sympathize. It seems easy enough, but it comes with great struggle to most. I have been practicing and I am reaping great benefits from utilizing this. It is always good for one to take a step back and examine how their words are being used and interpreted. I hope I can find the right words to say to help and support my future clients.
  There is such a need to revert back to ones own experiences when challenged with another persons', however it is more effective to focus on how they feel rather then how you would. Am I rambling or am I making sense? It makes sense in my mind.  For some however the biggest challenge is excepting another decisions. I too will struggle with this. I will remind myself that I am supporting women in *their* choices and not my own. All you can do is put the information and facts out there to ensure they can make informed and educated decisions. Something that is right for you, might not be right for another.
   Anyway, I didn't imagine I could learn so much within this topic. My next challenge is completely the extensive paper I need to complete. This will be a challenge, mostly from having to reflect on my birth which I found traumatic and such.
  I recently bought a Mei Tai style baby carrier (Kozy brand) and I love it dearly. I have many different types of slings and baby carriers and this one is my favorite and by far the most comfortable I have ever worn. Ceaghan seems to like it as well. I cannot wait to have a reason to use it for an extended period of time!  That will most likely be at next weeks Health Fair. Here is a photo of him in it...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breastfeeding and Birth Control

     I wanted to share with you all my newest Vlog post on Youtube. It is about Birth Control and Breastfeeding. I hope you find this interesting and informative. Please excuse how weird I am being and the bad quality of the camera. I filmed this video once before on a higher quality video camera and the battery died half way through. How annoying, but anyway it is up and that is all that matters. Here you are...
Also know as LAM or Lactational Amenorrhea Method. I might have left some things out or some things I said might be confusing. If so, please check out the wonderful and factual information on this topic at 
Look at my little spectator in the background. You have got to love him. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

How great it is to be loved by you...

   I know, I know... I haven't posted a blog in awhile. I think about what I should write about often. I have to edit myself or I would end up with a blog full of hundreds of birth, breastfeeding, and Attachment Parenting activism blogs and a whole lot of hate mail.
   Today however I decided to write about something important, actually the most important. My family. Since Mother's Day is approaching rather quickly it has got me thinking. I don't think I say enough how much I really love and appreciate my family. I mean the truth is I have it real good. I have a loving, hard working husband and the most amazing, intelligent and sweet little boy. What more could anyone ask for?
   Ceaghan will be 9 months old on the 15th of this month! Wow, time flies when your world is lovingly devoted to someone. He is doing great and I cannot fathom how it is possible for one to harbor so much energy!  I wonder if I will get extra cuddles as a mothers day present? :)
  I am doing well with my training. I have passed all the tests I have summoned up the courage to take so far. I am such a perfectionist and will be disappointed if I don't do even better on the others. I am learning a lot of very useful and interesting things however. I still get excited like a child in a candy store when I study. That's a good sign right?
  Nothing much else has really been going on. I have been extremely busy trying to keep up with everything while trying to soothe my teething child. I do however manage to attend lots of local meetings and support groups with other mothers and their children. Which I find really relaxing and nice to talk to other adults.  I did however meet someone who is only one year younger than me that upon speaking with her, I felt as though I was twice her age. How awkward it was. We had nothing in common other than our motherhood. How interesting is it that women who are in so many different life stages and paths can all be mothers! And even with all their differences, for the most part all we strive for is healthy happy children!
So to all you hardworking, exhausted, and beautiful mothers out there... Happy Mother's Day! I hope someone makes the day go by a little easier for you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How some stories can imprint on the soul...

This has to be one of the most beautiful birth stories I have ever read. And I have read thousands. The entire website is dedicated to the story. You should go through each tab on the left side, as the story starts with "before the birth" and then ends at "after the birth". You are not simply reading another birth story, you feel as though you are on a journey with this family. Their son comes into this world at home and outside. Just a warning to the squeamish, this story contains graphic birth images.
"Suddenly I felt incredibly vindicated. I knew that no one, not even medical science "authorities" like the doctor who shot through me with fear after Sage's birth, has the power to name or describe the capability of my body but me. My bones moved, I opened up as wide as I needed to birth my big gorgeous son. I've never felt more powerful and sacred and immense."
A lovely photo of the couple with there new son as he enjoys his first meal.
 God bless them!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to provide the best thing possible for your baby...

    I have been thinking lately about the benefits of breastfeeding compared to those of bottle/baby formula feeding. Personally, I do not see how breastfeeding could be so "inconvenient" to some mothers.First of all, my babies food is ALWAYS: made, warmed, the perfect amount, sterile and contains everything he needs to thrive. I cannot imagine how irritating it must be to have to wake up, make a bottle, warm it up and then sit there while feeding your baby. I would have never gotten sleep if I didn't practice safe co-sleeping and side-lying nursing.
   One of the best things about breastfeeding is that it is FREE. Yes, you heard me right, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on bottles, nipples, warmers, bottle brushes, formula...etc. And when you factor in the benefits to baby and mom, there really is NO comparison.
Here are a few (not even close to all) of the benefits of breastfeeding:

For Baby:
  • Babies receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients & antibodies
  • Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets
  • Reduced risk of childhood diabetes
  • Protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicemia (blood poisoning), 
  • Protection against allergies,   asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease
  • Reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) Statistics reveal that for every 87 deaths from SIDS, only 3 are breastfed.
  • Breastfed infants develop higher IQ's, and have improved brain and nervous system development
  • Breastfeeding plays an important role in the emotional and spiritual  development of babies 
  • Breastfed babies enjoy a special warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mothers 
  • Are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life
  • Decreased risk for acute appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, inguinal hernia, pyloric stenosis
  • There are factors in human milk that destroy E coli, salmonella, shigella, streptococcus, pneumococcus....and many others
  • Less risk of childhood obesity. 
  • I could add 100 more things...
For Mom:

  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers
  • Reduced risk of anemia
  • Protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life
  • Helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies
  • Develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child
  • Breastfed babies are sick less thus reducing health care costs to family in Doctor office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medicine purchases, and hospitalizations
  • Helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding
  • Breastfeeding saves moms about 7 hours a week off their feet.
  • It's the only time you can ever lose weight without dieting or exercise!
  • Breastfed babies smell great....spit ups don't stain, or smell, and poopie diapers are not offensive...(until solids are introduced)
  • The strong bond developed with nursing is much more intense.
  • Breastfeeding requires the use of only one can do other things while breastfeeding, (except cooking and driving)
  • Many, many more benefits, too much to list!
  I realize that breastfeeding can be difficult at first, and it really is something that mom and baby must take time to learn to do. But when you read these benefits, don't you agree that it is worth it? In our society, women are misled everyday to believe that formula is a reasonable replacement for breast milk. When in reality, it could never measure up. So please, give breastfeeding everything you've got. Call for help. There are many many wonderful friends, Doulas, Lactation consultants and more that are more than willing to help you! Come get support at your local La Leche League meeting. Not to mention the plethora of information here on the internet. 

KellyMom is a great source.
La Leche League International
Breastfeeding Basics

You and your baby both deserve the best.

(Some of this was pulled from this source . Thank you so much!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to save thousands of dollars on toys...

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million."  ~Walt Streightiff

Friday, April 23, 2010

How television is ruining the beauty of birth...

   I recently was reading that TLC's 'Baby Story' will soon be airing a sequence of episodes documenting home births. This is great news. I am thrilled.
   It got me thinking however, about the shows more commonly known story. The hospital birth. In most episodes of 'Baby Story', it ends up becoming the same pattern or cascade of intervention. The mom starts contracting and everyone panics, they grabbed the bags and head to the hospital, they check mom she is a couple cm dilated, they admit mom to L&D, she gets an epidural, lays flat on her back, the doctor comes to check her, shes not progressing, cue the pitocin, Contractions get really intense and hard, mom isn't dilating fast enough and baby goes into distress, they all suit up and race to the OR. Then the parents get a couple glimpses of their newborn and they take him or her to the nursery while the doctor explains that they did "all they could" and at the end of the day "this is what needed to happen to save you and the baby..." I know, I know, this isn't always what happens, but wouldn't you agree, this is what happens on average in the American hospital, every day?
     No wonder American women have such a skewed idea of what normal birth should look like. This is what has become "the norm" in our culture. Interventions for normal healthy births, rushing the labor process and a 30% cesarean rate. It really saddens me. It makes me want to scream off a mountain to the American pregnant women "You can do this! This is what YOUR body is made to do and you CAN have a beautiful, natural and amazing experience!"
   Why has it gotten to this? Well my theory is that doctors like the control, they like that they can take the unpredictability out of birth and do it on their terms. "But that isn't right!" you say... Well it isn't!  Women need to take back the power and fight to get the birth they want nowadays. How horrible of a thought is that. We have to fight for a human right!
  Anyway, back to my original thoughts. I am so pleased to hear that normal birth, (home birth or not) is going to be shown on this show. In my opinion, for this show, this is a very rare occurrence. I am glad that people who are ignorant about home birth will be able to see that it is not a scary, dirty, and risky thing. I hope this will soften the minds of many and fuel many more to give birth themselves in the comfort and safety of home.
Photo (c) S. Meeuwissen

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Do What You Love

    As most of you know, I recently discovered that my calling is to help pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It did not take me long to come to this conclusion. Anyone who knows me well enough knows how passionate I am about it. I have enrolled in Childbirth International to become certified as a Birth Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor. For those of you who do not know what a Doula is, I will give you a quick quote from the website... "A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information."
     There is a list of things one must complete in order to obtain certification. These things include, A communication reflective paper, A series of physiology tests (multiple choice tests that examine your knowledge of the physiological processes of pregnancy, labor, birth and the early postpartum period), Practical skills, Evaluations of attending real births and providing support to nursing mothers, and one must also read a number of books off of the CBI required reading list and then submit a book review. Whew, sounds like a lot huh? Well, CBI is one of the most comprehensive Doula training programs in my opinion. Something that makes all of this easier to swallow is that you go at your own pace and the time limit to finish, which is a whopping 3 years I believe. It will not take me that long.
  I purchased some of the books off of the required reading list ahead of time and have been flipping through them. I cannot decide which to read first! I am sure glad I love to read so much, or this could be an extremely daunting task. I also love studying and doing the work in the online classroom, it is so convenient!(And the crunchy tree hugger side of me is super pleased that they have an option of online workbooks). I thoroughly enjoy learning every little bit of information I can grab onto. I am for the first time in my life hungry to learn and excited for the future of my career. I just have to remind myself sometimes to slow down, take a deep breath and take each step slowly, so I don't end up tripping myself. 

And just for fun, here is a cute picture of Ceaghan with watermelon all over his face. What can I say, I love him just as much covered in sticky juice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Face of Birth - documentary teaser

A new documentary is said to be released soon. The Face of Birth is "a documentary about pregnancy, childbirth and the power of choice." The documentary is going to expose the issues that women all around the world are facing when it comes to their births.

It struck something within me when one woman in this teaser clip stated.."People say "Oh my God, you had a home birth you are so brave"...the reality nowadays... especially once you said the word obstetrician...that's brave.." She is so right. When someone tells me that they are going to birth their child at the hospital under the care of an obstetrician, my mind immediately cringes and the thought of how hard they are going to have to fight for what they desire for their own birth. In most cases that is. And I get quite the opposite feeling when told about an impending home birth. I think "that is great!" and I automatically assume their birth will be a beautiful fulfilling experience. I find it sad that I must feel this way. Don't get me wrong, I will support many women within my future Doula services who will birth within hospital walls and that is okay. It is however obvious to me that anyone who chooses to or is forced into birthing at a hospital will have to fight hard and demand not be thrown into their cycle of interventions and time restraints.
I have hope. I have a feeling that things might change soon in the years to come. I have to believe that or I might just lose it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ceaghan plays with Demoh

I captured Ceaghan playing with our dog Demoh. They were having so much fun! You can hear Ceaghan giggling in the video! Please excuse the clutter in the video, I had so many packages delivered that day I didnt know where else to put them. Haha. Well I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. You've got to love when the kids play together... right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Skindeep challenge & Everyday Minerals Review

One day I came across the website SkinDeep and I am making it a personal mission to remove all of my current hazardous chemical filled junk with all natural and/or organic products that work. That is the key, I want products that work. But is it possible to find natural products that produce the same results as their toxic counterparts? We will see.

The first thing I decided to change was my foundation. I was using CoverGirl Clean Makeup in Ivory 105.
This product scores a shocking 7 on The Skin Deep cosmetic databases' scale. I knew it was going to be hard to measure up to this as it has been my favorite and what I have used for 5 years. I do not have horrible skin, however I feel most comfortable in a makeup with a fair amount of coverage. I looked through my options and it became increasingly obvious that I needed to try Mineral Makeup. Believe me, I was as skeptical as anyone would be. How can a POWDER provide any coverage without looking cakey and disgusting?
 I decided to give it a shot anyway and spent hours going through different brands of mineral makeups' reviews on various websites. Finally I decided to try Everyday Minerals.
  Everyday minerals stood out to me because they are animal friendly, make it themselves and their products do not contain Bismuth Oxychloride  which can cause allergic reactions in some people. I was pleased to find on their site that you can order 1 gram sample jars with just the cost of shipping !
So I ordered sample jars of 5 different shades of foundation (there are MANY shades to choose from as there are multiple undertones to choose from)  I knew I didn't have pink undertones like most but I had no clue if I had buf, beige, olive, or warm. I also got 2 sample jars of concealers, 4 different finishing powders, 1 eyeshadow and 3 blushes. I also received a free full size bronzer! 
Don't these little jars look adorable or is it just me?

One of the tricks I learned when using mineral makeup is that it is extremely important to clense and properly moisturize before use. Otherwise you will get that cakey dry look that I was talking about earlier.
I have been using this makeup since I received them a week or so ago. I have to say so far I am impressed! It  goes on smooth and comfortably.
It stays put way better than my liquid ever did.
It feels light.
I still haven't picked which one is the best color for me but I am set on their matte formula. None of that preteen shimmer looking shimmer for me.
I am so glad that I found this, it is much cheaper than other mineral makeups ($12 for a full size jar that will last roughly 6 months) and I am going to continue using this.  I am about to order my full size jars now. The samples are so generous I still am using them up!
Overall I say this makeup is great! I will update my thoughts on it as I go along but I am thinking it is a keeper!

Here is a photo of me wearing it (this is after 5 hours of wear):
 Please excuse the silly face and that I just pulled my hair back that day...

Look for my next reviews on face cleaser and moisturizer.

Sharp drop in Maternal Deaths Worldwide...

According to this yahoo news post the number of women dying in childbirth worldwide has dropped dramatically since 28 years ago. I do think this is great news if its true, however at the same time I see those numbers and think that it is still not even close to being low enough. Between 350,000 to 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year. I know that even with modern medicine we cannot expect to prevent ALL deaths related to childbirth but I think that these are scary numbers and it needs to still drop dramatically..
   The united states has an extremely high rate of Maternal deaths. Why is this? Is it due to poor choices by the American woman? Like poor nutrition, drug abuse, etc. Think about how a fast food and candy filled diet can lead to hypertension and diabetes. Or could this be caused by our soaring Cesarean section and intervention rates? I am a firm believer that women are capable of natural and intervention free birth. I also believe birth should not occur in the hospital unless mother and child are at serious risk and the need is really there. Don't get me wrong, interventions can be wonderful when used properly.. All I know is that you can see a trend between low maternal mortality rates and the use of midwifes and home-birth in certain countries. Maybe its a little of both problems, maybe it is something else entirely.  Well I just wanted to share this news piece on here. I think it proves nothing and doesn't change how anyone is feeling about the state of our current birth crisis.

And then my blog was born...

This is my first blog and soon this will be rather obvious to you. Lets learn together as I make spelling and grammatical errors, babble on forever and talk freely about my opinions as if they were fact.
What's with the title? Well it pretty much describes me, even if there is more crunch than class. I am a wife, a mother, an aspiring Doula, a future breastfeeding counselor, birth and lactation activist, and general birth, baby and all things natural obsessed individual. We are vegetarians and attachment parents. We planned our pregnancy after we got married. I don't drink or do drugs and I am the strongest willed and most optimistic person I know.
Oh and I happen to be 19 years old. Shocked? Most are. Who knew that a "teen" could be as mature and responsible as most 30 year olds'.
All of this said, this is my life and who I am. I don't claim to be anything else. I will write down any thoughts that I wish and hope deep back in the edges of my mind that someone else out there might someday take a glimpse at it and enjoy or learn from something I have written.
Here is to a blog about my life, my career, and doing it all with nothing less than crunch and class.