Those of you who know me are asking how whether you should eat your placenta or not hasn’t been covered already.
Those of you who don’t know me:
Placentas are cool. Like, seriously freakin’ cool. This neato organ develops and grows with a baby in utero. It acts as a nutrient deliverer, toxin remover, immune building lifeline for the developing fetus. Plus, it’s edible.
It’s literally all that and a bag of placenta chips (if you choose to go down that route, of course).
Okay, I’ve now made two inferences to consuming this amazing body part. You’re probably wondering WTF?!
Fair enough, but let me explain.
Health benefits if you choose to eat your placenta:
This is a highly debated subject amongst Western and Chinese cultures. Traditional Chinese medicine has been practicing placenta consumption for hundreds of years and believes it has many benefits. Most Western medicine practitioners, however, tend to be more skeptical and don’t promote it often. Most of the information surrounding the efficacy of if you should eat your placenta is anecdotal in Western society.
I suggest you do your research, but keep an open mind. There isn’t hard, scientific fact surrounding the benefits if you eat your placenta so you have to make your own conclusion on the matter. My opinion is that it worked for me, and I would suggest it for most women who have just given birth!
Personally, I’ve done it after three births. I experienced most of the noted benefits, although I did experience post-partum depression with my third and fourth babies (keep in mind that I’ve also struggled with anxiety and depression for many years-so post-partum depression was probably inevitable to some degree).
-added to a meal (maybe don’t disclose to anyone who’s eating at your house that you’ve done this before)
I opted for encapsulation each time. The placenta gets sliced, dehydrated, and ground up. Then, the powder gets put into capsules. You can definitely do this yourself, but I arranged with a doula while I was pregnant to have her do all the hard work. I figured I’d done enough hard work and didn’t need to add any more pressure on myself. Before my placenta was taken to my lovely doula I snagged a small piece of raw placenta to add to a smoothie while I waited for my capsules. I added enough delicious berries and yogurt to not taste a single bit of that placenta.
**Note: Nobody wants a sip of your placenta smoothie. Don’t offer.
When she brought back my 2 month supply of pills I was thrilled! I took them faithfully every day and was happy with the results.
Have you experienced placenta consumption? Tell me how you did it!
As the cold weather approaches you’re going to need to know how to dress baby for winter!
Learning how to dress baby is yet just another one of those things that are in that manual that we DON’T get when your baby is born. However, there is a bit of a science to it to make sure that your sweet bundle is warm enough in these colder months.
How to dress baby for winter
There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you purchase something based on my personal recommendations in this post I may receive a commission at no cost to you. THAT will keep you warm and snug, for sure:)
Dress your baby as you would any other day. If you’re putting baby in a dress make sure they have thick tights underneath.
Pants and a onesie are ideal (with long sleeves if it’s super cold) when you’re going to dress baby for winter as they are warmest and easiest to have under a bunting suit.
Make sure your baby has socks on! You lose a lot of heat through your feet and with a baby it most certainly is not neat (okay, I forced the rhyme on that one a bit. What I’m saying is: keep your baby’s feet warm so their body will stay warm). The same goes for a toque: you lose a lot of heat through your head, too.
If it’s not terribly cold outside you can throw a jacket, pair of booties, and a toque on your baby before going out. When they’re in the car seat you can have a breathable blanket on them, too, which will keep them nice and warm.
Check-in periodically to make sure they don’t get too warm as the car heats up. In fact, if you’re able to and time allows try and warm up the car before you put your baby in so that there’s no need for extra blankets.
If it IS terribly cold outside and/or you’re going to be taking your baby out of the car seat you’re going to want to increase the warm clothing you put on baby.
When you dress baby for winter it’s nice to have a bunting suit for super cold days or days you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. These suits range from warm fleece to ones filled with down. Some of them can be really bulky, so avoid those if you’re putting baby in the car seat or stroller, however, if you do have a bulky one you can put your baby in it when you arrive at your destination or you can get one specifically made for car seats.
Most of the time these little bunting suits will have the ability to overlap the material on the feet and hands. This is a great option to keep little extremities warm. If yours doesn’t have that option make sure to put your baby in some booties and mittens, as well as a hat.
Things to remember:
-When you’re dealing with how to dress baby for winter remember that there are a lot of layers involved. If you go somewhere indoors peel back one of those layers so that baby doesn’t overheat. The same goes for in the car, especially if you’re traveling long distances.
–Babywearing will help with keeping baby (and you) warm. Babies seem to be heat generators, so keeping them nice and close will keep everyone feeling nice and toasty. You can find add-ons that go nicely with brands like Ergo that attach directly to the Ergo and act as a jacket or blanket to keep both of you protected from the elements.
-Bring a blanket with you wherever you go. You may think you’ve got baby dressed warm and snug but then a super cold wind hits. It’s nice to have an extra layer that you can put in the car seat or wrap around your baby in the carrier.
Don’t let cold weather deter you from heading outside with your baby. It’s important for them and for you to get out of the house, even when inclement weather hits. If you’re looking for tips on how to take your baby outdoors to do activities check out Little Adventures Co. for tips from two moms who do it all the time!
Chances are you’re not going to feel like having sex after childbirth for quite some time.
Some partners understand this (particularly the ones that witnessed a vaginal birth, while others may be having a more difficult time coming to terms with waiting 6 weeks. Not that you need to justify yourself but there are some physical and mental reasons that you can fill them in on.
Most healthcare providers are going to tell you to wait 4-6 weeks until having sex after childbirth and these are the reasons why:
7 Reasons to wait for sex after childbirth
Okay, so you just pushed a BABY out of your vagina. That means that you pushed a watermelon-sized head out of a loonie sized vagina. #proudcanadianwoman
Even if you didn’t have any sort of tearing or episiotomy you probably are feeling a little stretched thin-yes, literally and figuratively, but we’ll get to the figurative part later. Your labia has been stretched and is likely feeling a little tender. It will take a few weeks for everything to be a little less sensitive and may need some being left alone during that time.
If you’ve had a cesarean birth you will have stitches or staples in your lower abdomen. If you’ve had a tear or episiotomy you likely have stitches in your perineum.
Neither of these healing wounds should be irritated until, well, they’re healed. Depending on the severity of the wound this will take at least two weeks.
Before approximately the 6 week mark your cervix is still dilated from childbirth. This leaves your body open to infection that may occur from a penis or other objects being inserted into the vagina. You’ll know that your cervix is still open if you’re bleeding or by going to see your healthcare professional for a check-up.
Be careful with taking chances on infection; truthfully, the last thing you’re going to want to deal with on top of your healing body and a newborn baby is a vaginal infection.
Your entire body is going to be experiencing a world of change: back pain from 9 million months of pregnancy, excess fluid, shoulder pain from nursing, aching breasts, sore feet, tired body, etc. etc. etc..
You’ve just had a workout of a lifetime and you may not be up to a romp session.
This is 100% okay.
You, my friend, have a lot of stuff coming out of your vagina. Blood, mucus, uterine tissue will come out strong for about 10 days after birth and then taper off somewhat until around the 6-week mark when it stops.
This is your body’s way of expelling all of the now unnecessary fluid, so if you have sex after childbirth when this discharge is being, well, discharged it will be quite akin to having sex while on your period.
*One thing to note is that the smell of the discharge after childbirth is different than when you have your period-it’s stronger and just plain different. This can be hard to get around when trying to get in the mood.
**One thing to note on the one thing to note is that if your discharge is foul-smelling you should see your healthcare provider to rule out an existing infection.
Decreased sex drive
Ohhhhh hormones, you bastards.
Your body is a tornado of hormones from the remaining pregnancy ones to the breastfeeding ones to the childbirth ones. What a mix.
Oh! Ya! I almost forgot to mention the inevitable sleep loss that you can factor in, too, and right there you’ve got yourself the makings of a (probably) decreased sex drive. It can also lead to decreased lubrication regardless of if you’re aroused or not. You may not have had to use lubricant before but having a water-based one on hand now is a good idea.
Changes in breasts
Breastfeeding causes higher levels of prolactin and lower levels of estrogen in the nursing parent. This can, like above, lead to a lower sexual desire.
Some folks find it very uncomfortable to have their breasts touched in a sexual manner when they’re breastfeeding while others find it to be a turn on. This is a conversation that you and your partner should have before resuming sexual activity.
For breastfeeding parents, there may be leaking or even spraying (!) during an orgasm. Some partners find this arousing while others find it unnerving. If it’s something that’s not for either of you it can be a quick fix with a nursing bra and nursing pads.
You just fed the baby. They’re snug as a bug in a rug and you’re certain they’re going to be asleep for at least a couple hours while you and your partner(s) give this sex after childbirth thing a go.
You do a half happy, half sexy dance, take off your clothes, start getting frisky, and….WAHHHHHHHHHHH!
Baby wakes up and the mood is killed.
It takes a few weeks to really get into the groove of having a newborn. That’s not to say that at the 6 week mark your baby is suddenly entirely predictable, but you’ll likely have a bit more awareness to their patterns.
There are so many variables when it comes to a person’s sexuality, especially after they’ve given birth.
Getting back into having sex after childbirth is something that should be given great care and consideration. Your first priority is making sure that your body is healthy and able to engage in sex after childbirth-you can be sure of this by allowing yourself time to heal and by checking in with your healthcare professional for medical clearance before jumping your partner(s).
When you do decide that you’re ready try and keep these few things in mind.
Begin with an open dialogue about how and when to resume sex after childbirth. Make sure that each partner is on the same page and comfortable with plans going forward.
Lower expectations. If things don’t go smoothly the first time give it some time before trying again.
Start small. Try masturbation first to become re-acquainted with your body. Then, finger penetration with your partner a couple of times. Then, give penetrative sex a go when you’re ready.
It’s possible that your idea of what a postpartum body should look like has been somewhat skewed by media and societal standards of where your physical appearance should be after you’ve had a baby.
Remember that Barbie that had a pregnant belly you could attach and then take it off after she had the baby and that was that? That’s not what having a postpartum body is like AT ALL.
We’re here to talk about the nitty-gritty of what having a baby is like, and here’s what a postpartum body really might experience (take note, Matel)!
Things you need to know about your postpartum body
Your breasts might be HUGE
If you thought your breasts grew while you were pregnant just wait until those things are filled with milk!
It can get uncomfortable, especially in the first few days, so avoid wearing a bra while your milk is coming in (a form-fitting tank top is ideal so you can still put breast pads in if necessary). Use cool compresses to alleviate any pain, and keep feeding that baby to:
It will take a while for your belly to flatten out
During pregnancy, your uterus has grown around 500 times its original size!! Go ahead and read that sentence again…your uterus has grown around 500 times its original size. While a good ol’ fundal massage will help it contract so it can start to return to its dainty little stature it will still take some time for that to happen.
You may look like you’re still in the last trimester of your pregnancy for a few weeks after you have your baby*. Be patient; this will go down. It’s all part of the joy of the postpartum body!
*Just a note here: it may look like you’re in the first trimester of your pregnancy for a few years/forever after you have your baby. The skin around your belly has stretched and it can be extremely difficult to become taut again. A lot of folks experience this, so you are 100% not alone on this.
You’re going to have some pain
So, there’s the obvious pain of “my vagina or lower abdomen has been opened and now must heal”, the lesser-known after-birth cramping (which gets worse with each baby and you should honestly have some midwife/doc approved pain relief handy for those babies), and also the general aches and pains from your body’s latest endeavor of getting a baby out of it.
Your abdominal muscles have gotten stretched which will affect your back. That, combined with the extra weight you’ve had on your front, can cause back pain. Be mindful of how you’re sitting when you’re feeding your baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Proper posture can help alleviate some muscle pain. If it doesn’t and you’re still suffering it may be wise to see a chiropractor or massage therapist.
There’s also new pain of holding your baby. Bicep curls done in pregnancy would come in hand here. Didn’t do any of those? No worries; you’ll be lugging around a tiny, adorable weight for the next 3 years so those muscles will definitely come!
You may experience skin changes
You may have noticed some stretch marks on your breasts, belly, and/or thighs as you went through your pregnancy. While those will never fully go away they will fade in time. Immediately after having your baby they may seem quite dark but as they fade they’ll turn a silvery colour.
If you had a linea nigra line that will entirely fade in time, although it may take a number of weeks.
You may also find that you’re getting some acne! Hormones combined with absolute exhaustion (trust me, washing your face might be the last thing you even think about at night) are a perfect storm for a pimple or two.
**You’re going to need some pretty heavy-duty under-eye concealer now that you’re a parent. You can use some of that on your blemish if you so desire!
Your postpartum body experience wouldn’t be complete without some lovely postpartum hormones to inject a little bit of panic in your life, would it?
While it’s not super common (around 10% of folks who have just given birth) hair loss is a thing in the postpartum period. Fortunately, most of this hair is excess hair that you would have had from hormones in your pregnancy but it’s still unnerving nonetheless.
Your hair loss should only last for about 3 months, but if it continues in full force beyond that it’s worthwhile checking in with the doc.
You may be constipated
You spent hours trying to push a baby out and now you get to relive (almost) the same thing!
The first postpartum poo is a bit of a doozy, and the few afterward can be pretty uncomfortable. The best advice: give your baby to someone else while you undertake this task (and no, this does not count as “alone time”). Eat plenty of fibrous foods and drink LOADS of water. This will help things go a little more smoothly.
Speaking of constipation…hemorrhoids may be an issue
You can prevent them/minimize them by doing things that you do to prevent constipation but sometimes they get out of hand and you’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider about it about some potential medications to help you relieve your discomfort.
Keep on top of your kegels. Ask your healthcare provider if you’re doing them properly-because there IS a correct way to do them. If you haven’t noticed an improvement by around a month maybe give pelvic floor physiotherapy a try. They can give you all the strategies you need to be able to build those muscles back up and save many a change of pants.
You need to watch for a few things:
You’re busy taking care of your beautiful new baby, but don’t forget about yourself, too.
If you notice any of these symptoms that www.parents.com indicates call your healthcare provider as soon as possible:
Chills or fever of 100.5 degrees or higher
Sudden heavy bleeding (soaking more than one pad an hour) or lots of large clots
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Severe pain or redness surrounding, or discharge from, a C-section incision or an episiotomy
Fainting, nausea, or vomiting
Frequent urination or burning with urination
Constipation that lasts three days or more
Swelling, redness (or red streaks), and pain in your breasts, accompanied by fever
A tender, swollen, or red area anywhere in your leg or calf
Persistent headaches or vision changes
Excessive swelling of the face, fingers, or feet
Intense sadness or feeling that you can’t care for yourself or your baby
The most important thing you need to know about your postpartum body…
You may not love it. We’re pretty inundated with “love your postpartum body”, “beautiful postpartum body”, “look what your postpartum body does”, etc. Yes, there is obviously validity to this. Your body housed and nourished a child, brought that child into the world, possibly continues to nourish that child, holds that child, and cares for that child. Yes, it’s incredible.
However, there’s often a dismissal of the fact that your body has likely experienced some significant physical changes which may be difficult for you to become used to, difficult for you to love.
This is okay.
You can love what your postpartum body has done, but not love your postpartum body. Make sure you take care of it all the same, but if you’re not fully comfortable with the extra weight on your tummy or the stretch marks on your breasts that’s okay.
It can be easy to get super carried away when you’re shopping for baby gifts, especially for a newborn.
Everything you pick up is really cute and tiny enough that you feel like a giant holding it which I’m positive releases some level of oxytocin that only adds to the enjoyment of shopping for baby gifts.
The thing is, as sweet and cuddly as newborn babies are they are 100% clueless to the fact that you’ve gotten them a gift. Depending on what milestone they’re at they may be able to see the gift clearly or perhaps even be able to grasp it and shove it in their mouth for a brief moment, but realistically they won’t be able to enjoy the baby gift you got them until they’re a little bit older.
This is a list of newborn baby gifts that has been compiled based on what can be given to them when they’re small but will be cherished as they grow.
Newborn gifts to be cherished forever
Hey! There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you make a purchase I may receive a commission at no cost to you.
This customized box can safely hold special treasures forever. A child is likely to receive some special gifts and having one place to put them all is ideal to help preserve them! Photo credit: Primitiveweddings
How sweet is it to have a message for baby in a necklace that Mom can wear while feeding, dressing, bathing, and holding baby? Then, the necklace that's filled with a beautiful message AND beautiful memories can be given to baby when they're a little bit grown up. Photo credit: LunaElm
Think of all the food you could put on here that baby will end up throwing at you! (I'm kidding...sort of.) Having a personalized dish set is something that will grow with your child for years and is a great keepsake for them to pull out when they have children of their own. Photo credit:RobinBadgerPottery
What did the night sky look like during baby's birth? It's hard to say because everyone was just a bit distracted...but these guys can tell you! This star map shows the exact location of the stars and constellations the night baby was born. Add a quote, name, and birth date and it's a perfect forever keepsake. Photo credit: TheStarsAboveCo
Baby's clothes bring back a lot of memories. They're so tiny and sweet, and there's always a favourite that the parents had baby in a lot. Instead of throwing it in a box when baby (very quickly) grows out of it why not have it turned into something that baby can cherish for years to come? A best friend can be made and kept forever:) Photo credit: 4MonstersMerchandise
You’ve probably heard of a birth doula, but have you heard of a postpartum doula?
A postpartum doula, as I like to put it, is a magical unicorn. I mean, we come and help out with baby, take care of Mom, and make sure that all is well at your home. It is pretty magical (and the whole unicorn thing just kinda sounds good alongside it).
Why have one?
Basically, a postpartum doula is there to “mother the mother”. The postpartum period is a really, really, REALLY hard one-you’re navigating hormones while learning how to take care of your baby while dealing with the physical aftermath of birth.
This is not something that any person should have to deal with alone. Ever. Even when there is a partner(s) available to help out they’re often dealing with the same “newness” themselves and are also depleted and overwhelmed. Having a postpartum doula come in can alleviate the pressure for both/all parents and allow them to get some rest.
Your postpartum doula will be able to refer you to community programs and provide you with resources. They are also keenly aware of what the symptoms of Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety look like in parents and can offer assistance in finding professional help if need be.
What will they do?
Every family has their own unique list of needs. What might work for one family might not work for another. This is a conversation that your postpartum doula and your family need to have to ensure that you’re getting the most of having your postpartum doula there.
Some of the tasks that your postpartum doula might do are:
-newborn care support (diapering, burping, bathing, etc.)
-assist with household organization for ease of transition into life with a newborn
-emotional support and mental health check-ins for parents
-help with older siblings transitioning to having a baby sibling
-care for baby while parent(s) nap, involve themselves in self care, or step out of the home
-provide resources for local community services
-meal prep, planning, and/or grocery shopping
-light pet care
Who needs a postpartum doula?
It doesn’t matter if this is your first baby or 14th baby (actually, a postpartum doula is highly recommended in both of these situations)! Vaginal birth or cesarean birth. Parents with twins. Parents who have adopted.
Everyone who has a newborn can benefit immensely from having a postpartum doula come to their home.
Folks who are lacking familial or partner support, are trying to maintain a business during their postpartum period, have had traumatic births or experiences, are having breastfeeding struggles, or are at high risk for Postpartum mood disorders can potentially benefit most from having postpartum doula services.
What education is required?
In order to be considered a Postpartum doula, you have to take a course through an accredited Doula agency. For example, I took my course through DONA as theirs were the values that I most related with and felt most comfortable advocating.
Within this course a postpartum doula will learn about:
Breastfeeding-how to help a new parent establish a breastfeeding relationship with their child, the physiological responses that occur in the body while a milk supply is being established, breastfeeding positions, the hormones that contribute to various aspects of breastfeeding, potential challenges that can arise with breastfeeding and how to problem solve to create a positive and effective breastfeeding relationship between parent and child.
Birth- what is entailed in each form of birth and how to best help in the recovery of the birthing person, what is normal healing, what is abnormal, and when to suggest seeing a doctor. (**Postpartum doulas DO NOT administer any medical tasks nor do they offer medical advice or make diagnoses. They are aware of what is typical but will always encourage you to see your midwife or doctor if you are concerned).
Newborn care-bathing, differences between types/brands of diapers, diapering, bottle feeding, differences between baby carriers, soothing techniques, teaching strategies for new parents, developmental milestone awareness, burping, getting baby dressed, newborn characteristics.
Emotional support-listening to new parents as they divulge their struggles, assess new parents for postpartum mood disorders, encouraging new parents to rest, understanding what needs to be done without being asked to do it (i.e. making meals, getting groceries, light housekeeping), nurturing new parents, providing resources that could be beneficial for the parents.
Family dynamics-introducing baby to older siblings, helping older siblings adjust to their new role, walking pets, feeding pets.
Professionalism-providing care with no judgment or personal bias, maintaining confidentiality with each client, not offering medical advice, respecting the needs and requests of the parent(s), accepting various family dynamics, communicating effectively with clients so that everyone benefits from the interaction between family and postpartum doula.
Questions to ask
Your search for your postpartum doula should begin while you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy to ensure that you have found someone to begin right away when baby arrives.
You can do a quick Google search to find out what postpartum doulas are available in your area. Check their websites to see if you might be able to establish a connection with them, and then consider asking these questions that are recommended by DONA:
-What training have you had? (If a doula is certified, you might consider checking with the organization.)
-Have you had a criminal background check, a recent TB test, current CPT certification?
-Tell me about your experience as a postpartum doula.
-What is your philosophy about parenting supporting women and their families during postpartum?
-May we meet to discuss our postpartum needs and the role you will play in supporting us in the postpartum period?
-What different types of services do you offer?
-May we call you with postpartum questions or concerns before the birth?
-When do your services begin after birth?
-What is your experience in breastfeeding support?
-Do you work with one or more back up doulas for times when you are not available? May we meet them?
-What are your fee and refund policies?
These are all reasonable questions to ask your potential postpartum doula. You may also ask:
-How far are you willing to travel (if you live outside of their service area) and will there be a travel fee?
-What is your general availability?
-Do you offer a night service? What are the fees for that?
The postpartum period is a very intimate one and you will be at your most vulnerable. If you have an interview with a potential postpartum doula and decide that they’re not for you don’t feel bad about kindly declining their services and continuing on your search.
Hiring a postpartum doula is a very personal endeavor. It takes time and energy to find someone that you feel will fit in best with your family in this postpartum period. Often times, postpartum doulas will offer introductory meetings free of charge so make sure you take them up on that. While it’s possible to get a feel for someone via text it’s worthwhile to meet up and see if you jive together in person!
Do you have experience with a postpartum doula aiding you when you welcomed your baby? I’d love to hear about how your experience went.