Watch: What To REALLY Expect From A C-Section

I’m SO excited to have the hilarious Sharzad Kiadeh on my YouTube channel today. We’re talking about a topic we both know all too well: a c-section. Click on the video below to hear our experiences and what you should expect! It’s about to get REAL!

Head on over to Sharzad’s channel here to hear our tips on bringing home baby to their siblings! Subscribe to her, too. SHE’S HILARIOUS! 

#MOMGOALS: 10 Tips For Balancing Work & Motherhood

photo credit: Erica Hampton Photography

I always say it takes a village…because it really does. I’m a better mother because of the intelligent and inspiring mothers around me. We help each other, we give each other advice, and we’re there to just listen when things get rough.

I decided it was a MUST to start highlighting some of these amazing women right here on the blog. I’m calling it #MOMGOALS because these women really are. Starting today, I’ll be interviewing some pretty influential mommas on different topics every month.

To kick it off, I reached out to Christina Carbonell and Galyn Bernard who founded the affordable and essential children’s clothing brand, Primary. These two power moms make it their priority to balance both work and family. And, they do it well!

Here are Christina and Galyn’s 10 tips on how they balance it all: 

Tip #1: Be Picky About Things That Really Matter 

Being in a startup means living in an 80/20 world. There just isn’t enough time or resources to try to do everything perfectly, or try to do it all.

Tip #2: Exercise At Home

It saves time and avoids the whole pack-up of our entire bathroom and closet that is required to go to the gym or a class.

Tip #3: Work From Wherever 

From home, on the commute, at night after the kids are in bed. Flexibility is everything.

Tip #4: Know When To Disconnect

Take those opportunities to give your kids undivided attention…even if an email comes through. It will allow you to recharge, as well!

Tip #5: Have Great Role Models

You can learn a ton by watching and learning from other people’s approaches–including things that work for them and things that don’t.

Tip #6: Work With People You Love

As an entrepreneur, having a business partner makes a huge difference. It should ideally be someone you’ve worked with before so you know that it works through the ups and downs.

We also surround ourselves with a team that cares about each other’s personal priorities. You can have a driven culture that is also very supportive.

Tip #7: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: 

There’s nothing heroic about going at it alone, and not asking for help will just put you at a huge disadvantage. Try to be specific about what would be helpful, whether it’s asking for an introduction, or asking your neighbor to throw your grocery delivery in the garage.

Tip #8: Blur The Lines Between Work And Personal 

We have found that it helps to blur the line. A 4:30 weekly happy hour is a great time to decompress with the team, but still get home for dinner. We also love bringing the kids to work, and engaging them in what we do.

Tip #9: Shop Online

This saves some serious time! That’s why we are so passionate about Primary. It was the go-to we always wanted for ourselves–which is why we turned it into a reality. It’s the place you can count on for essential styles and beautiful colors at prices that make sense (all between $10 and $25)

Tip #10: Remember That Life Isn’t Perfect

And, neither are you! There will always be those days you feel guilty for staying late at the office. But, those things happen. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother. It means that you are balancing it all the best you possibly can. That’s what counts!

Make sure to check out Christina and Galyn’s clothing brand, Primary (here!) It’s the perfect online shopping destination for all mommas (working or not). With all the essentials in every color, it makes shopping super easy.

Also, make sure to stay tuned for next month’s #MOMGOALS. I think you guys will love it!

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Watch: My Newborn Must Haves

There are a lot of baby products on the market these days. You don’t need everything, but it’s hard to decide which products you’ll really use and which ones you won’t. That’s why I decided to share my newborn must-haves with you!

These are the products that are my must-haves since Baby Grey was born (and some of these I have used with my other kids, too!) Watch the video below and let me know which products you love for your babies:

1. Baby 411 by Denise Fields & Ari Brown  // 2. Natursutten Glass Baby Bottles // 3. Frida Baby Kit // 4. Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Wash & Shampoo // 5. Baby Connect App // 6. Erbaviva Baby Organic Lip & Cheek Balm // 7. Frida Baby NailFrida Nail Care Set // 8. Yema Baby Carrier // 9. Coveted Things Swaddles // 10. Boon Soak 3-Stage Bathtub // 11. Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper 

For more of my motherhood tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

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12 Girl Power Books To Read With Your Daughter

Happy Women’s History Month! I strongly believe it’s important to teach our little girls to be strong and independent…even from a young age. My momma taught me and I’m definitely passing along those same sentiments to Scarlett.

In honor of those women of our past who broke molds and stood strong, here are some books to instill those same qualities during your mother/daughter reading time:
1. Grace For President by Kelly S. DePucchio

 

Description:

“Where are the girls?” When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first.  And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election!    Author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought–and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

2. Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, & Explorers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

 

Description:

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.

3. Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo

 

Description:

From Roman Holiday to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, when Audrey Hepburn starred in a movie, she lit up the screen. Her unique sense of fashion, her grace, and, most important, her spirit made her beloved by generations. But her life offscreen was even more luminous. As a little girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, she learned early on that true kindness is the greatest measure of a person—and it was a lesson she embodied as she became one of the first actresses to use her celebrity to shine a light on the impoverished children of the world through her work with UNICEF.

4. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

 

Description:

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fl y but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose inisists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

5. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters by Barack Obama

 

Description:

Barack Obama’s moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

6. Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viva

 

Description:

Young Charlotte is a filmmaker who loves everything that’s black and white, including spiders, penguins, and the old movies that she sees with her dad at the Golden Theatre (where the floors are sticky). With her camera at the ready wherever she goes, she finds inspiration for movies everywhere she looks. But when her colorful parents and colorful classmates just don’t “get” her, she’s ready to give up—until a lucky encounter with a film curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York changes her perspective. Inspired by the films she sees at MoMA and stories of other pioneering directors, Charlotte gets to work. And it’s hard work! But when her movie finally premieres at the Museum, Charlotte is thrilled to be doing exactly what she loves best.

7. Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Description:

This book follows Marie Curie, whose love of learning helped her to revolutionize the fight against cancer with her discovery of radium and polonium. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Marie’s life at the back.

8. Players In Pigtails by Shana Corey

 

Description:

Did you know that one of America’s favorite songs, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” was written about a girl? And that in the 1940s girls all across America were crazy for our country’s favorite game?

These little known facts inspired Shana Corey to imagine a story about how one determined girl made her way to the big leagues & found a sisterhood of players in pigtails. With the same exuberant spirit that fueled the formation of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, joyful text & jubilant pictures celebrate these brave girls’ love of the game & the league they called their own.

9. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

 

Description:

Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”

Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says.

That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.

10. Violet The Pilot by Steve Breen

 

Description:

By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!

11. You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer by Shana Corey & Chelsey McLaren

 

Description:

Amelia Bloomer, a rebellious reformer and early women’s rights activist, invented bloomers (baggy pantaloons worn with a short skirt over them), thus liberating women from the dangerous and oppressive clothing of the mid-nineteenth century. Here is her story, told in buoyant, witty text and beautiful, high styled-illustrations.

12. Not All Princesses Dress In Pink by Heidi E.Y Stemple & Jane Yolen

 

Description:

Princesses come in all kinds. These charming illustrations prove that girls can jump in mud puddles and climb trees, play sports and make messes—all while wearing their tiaras! Not every girl has a passion for pink, but all young ladies will love this empowering affirmation of their importance and unlimited potential.

Looking for more fun books to read with your Daughter? Check out Scarlett’s reading list here

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10 Breastfeeding Tips From My Lactation Specialist, Linda Hanna

My lactation specialist (or guru, as I call her) Linda Hanna has been an absolute godsend to me. Her tips have made me feel comfortable, less anxious, and most importantly…they have worked.

I was first referred to Linda by Lori Bregman with my first son, Brooks and have worked with her ever since. Since I don’t want to keep all her breastfeeding knowledge to myself, I asked Linda to share her top 10 tips to help all you new mommas out. And, if you are like me–you’ll need it!

Here are Linda’s tips to help get you through those first few months of breastfeeding:

Tip #1:

Although most newborns will attempt to latch on to the breast within the first two hours after delivery, many infants will not show any signs of being breastfeeding-ready for 24-36 hours. Moms and dads of these babies should still try to do skin-to-skin (when possible) and continue to offer the breast, but be prepared to use a breast pump and feed your baby colostrum when available.

Tip #2:

The labor and birth process (vaginal delivery, assisted vaginal birth, or cesarean birth) can often cause the breast/nipple-areola complex to change shape and size, due in part to increased fluid retention. Although this is quite normal and will resolve, the first few days of breastfeeding can be challenging. Moms and dads should plan to address any of these issues with treatment plans such as warm compresses, massage, reverse nipple pressure, pumping and even ice treatment. Speak with your nurses and lactation consultants if this becomes one of your challenges and remember that the baby will be able to latch on well once this issue is addressed.

Tip #3:

Parents are faced with choosing a breast pump even prior to the birth of the baby. The insurance companies are providing a variety of options that can be very confusing to expectant parents. Speak with your childbirth educator and/or lactation consultant to help determine which pump best suits your personal needs. Some mothers will find they need a strong and effective double breast pump, such as a hospital grade breast pump, while other mothers will be very comfortable with a handheld single, battery-operated breast pump.

The need for a breast pump will be determined by multiple facts including working versus staying at home, milk supply concerns, nipple pain, and a host of other issues that can be discussed with a lactation consultant or your obstetrician.

Tip #4:

During the third trimester an expectant mother should begin wardrobe planning. This includes finding clothes to wear while nursing, nursing bras, a hands-free pumping bra, and the other accessories necessary to support breastfeeding.

Make sure you are fit properly for at least 1 or 2 bras or tank tops that you can wear while nursing or sleeping. Cotton or disposable nursing pads can help protect your bras and clothing from leaking, as well as nipple butters, creams or ointments you may use. A non-lanolin cream or ointment is best for nipple tenderness, and can be used after nursing or pumping. These products do not need to be washed off before feeding. Coconut oil is another option for tender nipples, as it can promote healing. Soothing Gel Pads can greatly help with nipple trauma and pain.

Tip #5:

Parents should work on recognizing the feeding cues and other signs the baby will display during a feeding. Some are indications that the baby is ready to nurse, while other cues are indications that the baby is ready for a break, sleep or other activity.

Each feeding event is usually going to take 45 minutes to 1 hour, and will occur 7-10 times in a 24-hr period. Each feeding should include 10 -20 minutes of nursing on each breast, often once or twice on each breast. Newborns will nurse in courses and take short breaks between breasts, and that is considered normal. Babies are known to nurse for 10-15 minutes, take a break, play and look around or engage with the parents/caregivers, and then come back to the breast to continue the feeding for another 10-20 minutes. The break time between breasts should be spent engaging with the baby in various ways, such as singing, reading, talking and playing with high-contrast (black and white) picture books.

Tip #6:

Mothers nutritional intake is as important as any other part of the breastfeeding experience. Healthy food choices result in excellent quality milk and significant milk production. Some foods are actually galactogogues, which means that they are known to support milk production. These foods include grains and oats, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and good fats like avocado and coconut oils, to name just a few. Drinking plenty of fluids, including as much water as can be tolerated, is essential for milk production. Find a good reference book that explains more about pregnancy and lactation nutrition and use this as a guidebook on your journey through nursing.

Tip #7:

It is important to take time for yourself for daily hygiene, naps, healthy eating and drinking to maintain your milk supply and emotional health. The normal birth recovery process is physically taxing and can be very emotional for new moms. Get help if you can with some of your typical day-to-day household chores. You may want to get some support with cooking, cleaning or food shopping. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support from friends and family.

Tip #8:

Take a few minutes to create a calm, happy place to nurse your baby. You will want to nurse in a variety of locations around your home and eventually outside of your home as well. For now, creating a safe area to nurse your baby with a comfortable chair, a pillow for nursing, and all of your supplies nearby, will make the breastfeeding experience more positive for you and the baby.

Tip #9:

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant when you have questions. The more support and reinforcement you receive, the greater your chances of success will be. Breastfeeding has many challenges. Balancing a nursing schedule, working, family life and other children’s needs is a full-time job. And, when you are doing many of these things on your own, it will be very helpful to get expert advice as quickly as possible so you can avoid any unnecessary bumps along the way.

Tip #10:

To avoid serious breastfeeding issues, treat problems that arise as quickly as possible. If you think you have plugged duct or other breast concern such as deep breast pain, cracked nipples, or infections, the sooner you get help the easier it will be to treat. You should reach out to your lactation consultant and your health care provider for a treatment plan and get started on that plan as soon as possible.

Even if you’re not in the Los Angeles area, you can still benefit from Linda’s services. Her app, Mahmee , is a postpartum healthcare app offering super-personalized, on-demand care and education to new mothers with infants 0-12 months old. Got a sore nipple or low milk supply? You can create your own physician-approved care plan to treat it, or start a text or video chat with a registered nurse. Click here to download! It’s definitely one of my breastfeeding MUST-HAVES!

For more of my must-haves, check them out here.

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My Breastfeeding Must-Haves

breastfeeding must haves

I’ll be honest–I’ve never been good at breastfeeding. I just naturally don’t produce that much milk. Before I had Brooks, I was dead set on nursing. No questions asked. No matter what.

But, then he was born with…A TOOTH! We didn’t even realize at first. When I was nursing at the hospital, I was in such pain. Breastfeeding does hurt…but this was a different type of discomfort. I ended up finding a tooth a few days later. Since I was in such pain, the milk wasn’t coming in. But, I still wanted to nurse. I was stressed and I was frustrated.

With nowhere else to turn, I reached out to SUPER lactation specialist, Linda Hanna here in Los Angeles. She was a literal angel sent from heaven. Linda helped me nurse with what I did have which made me less anxious. She definitely took me away from a dark place.

With Scarlett and now Grey—I knew I wanted to try again even if it was just for that colostrum aka liquid gold (which Linda got me past!)

With that said, I respect women who decide it’s not for them. Breastfeeding to me is a JUDGEMENT-FREE ZONE! These days, breastfeeding guilt is everywhere…but remember that it’s a personal decision.

Since this is my third time around, I definitely have my list of breastfeeding must-haves. If you are about to give birth and plan on nursing, I highly recommend these products to the new momma: 

BREASTFEEDING MUST HAVES

1.  Nursing Bra Pads 

What’s worse than breast milk leaking through your shirt? Um, nothing. That’s where nursing bra pads come in handy. I’ve always loved and used a brand called Bamboobies. They are soft, don’t slip off, and can be thrown in the washing machine.

2. A Breast Pump

Out of all the breastfeeding must-haves, this is the most essential. I feel like all I’ve been doing lately is pumping. I’m not kidding! Medela is the trusted brand they use at the hospital so I went with that. It’s a lifesaver especially as a working mom.

3. A Nursing Pillow

You’ve gotta have a nursing pillow. It makes everything so much easier on both you and the baby. It helps holding the baby up while feeding, supports your back, and snaps in place so it doesn’t move around. The brand, My Breast Friend, is literally…my best friend.

4. Mahmee Breastfeeding App 

When I had Brooks, I started working with Linda Hanna who is a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding can be really stressful and she helped me out… a lot. Luckily, her and her daughter have made a support app for your phone called Mahmee that can be available anytime, anywhere.

Mahmee is a postpartum healthcare app offering super-personalized, on-demand care and education to new mothers with infants 0-12 months old. Got a sore nipple or low milk supply? You can create your own physician-approved care plan to treat it, or start a text or video chat with a registered nurse. Download it here.

5. Lactation Supplements

Some women get lucky when it comes to milk supply. Not me, though. I tend to have a harder time. That’s where lactation supplements come in. Look for labels that contain Goats Rue, Fenugreek, and Moringa. These herbs help milk flow and production. With Grey, I’ve been taking the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend supplement and I’m loving it.

6. A Seamless Nursing Bra

Two words: easy access. Who wants to change everytime they need to feed? Not me. The nursing bras on the market these days are fantastic. They are soft (which is great on sore nipples!) and can slide right off. The brands Rosie Pope and Boob Design have styles that are actually really, really cute. I would wear them even if I wasn’t breastfeeding. My top pick? Boob Design’s Fast Food Bra. The name says it all!

7. Breast Milk Storage

Since I pump during the day, I need something to keep the milk fresh. Medela actually makes small glass BPA-free storage bottles that are easy to take on-the-go.

8. Soothing Gel Pads

UGH, SORE NIPPLES! Get yourself some soothing gel pads for after feeding. You’ll thank yourself.

9. Lactation Tea

Along with the supplements, I also drink lactation tea. It has the same herbs and benefits but I find it a little more enjoyable. Nothing like a cup to tea to soothe any stresses or worries. This tea also tastes…amazing. I switch back and forth between Earth Mama Angel Baby “Organic Milkmaid Tea” and Traditional Medicinals “Organic Mother’s Milk.”

10. Glass Bottles 

Since I don’t produce much milk, I also supplement with formula. It’s important to get the BPA-free glass bottles for their health and safety. A friend recently told me about a brand called Natursutten, which is 100% natural. They are great!

11. Nipple Shields 

Nipple shields are for those moments when you can’t handle the pain…but still need to feed. They also help when your baby is having issues latching on. I only use them in emergencies but they are always good to have on hand, just in case. A brand called Lansinoh, which is sold at Target, makes a version that is super thin and flexible for easy use.

12. Nipple Balm

Nothin’ like rubbing nipple balm on while fighting back tears from the pain. Yeah, I’m sure we’ve all been there. I’ve used Earth Mama Angel Baby’s nipple cream for years but recently found a new healing salve from a company called Twig + Petal. It smells amazing and feels really soothing for both pain and skin irritation.

13. A Nursing Gown

Just like a nursing bra, a cute gown is also an essential for that easy access. I prefer all black because…well, it’s slimming. Only Hearts (here) and Ingrid + Isabel (here) have gowns that I’ve been wearing non-stop!

For mommas who need a little extra help, check out these lactation recipes that are just as delicious as they are effective: 

Lori Bregman’s Lactation Energy Bites // More Milk Smoothie // Chocolate Chip Banana Lactation Muffins 

BTW–I’m still breastfeeding so if you have any tips, I’d love to hear them! Comment below! I need all the help I can get. 

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The Healthiest Snacks For Kids On-The-Go

Kid Snacks

photo credit: Erica Hampton Photography

What’s worse than a cranky, tired kid? A cranky, hungry kid. Now that both Brooks and Scarlett are BOTH old enough to be in activities, they have me running all over this city. Soccer, ballet, music class, basketball–the list doesn’t end there.

Since our schedule is so packed, I never leave the house without a good stash of healthy snacks for them. No drive-throughs for us! Like I always say, it’s all about the preparation.

Kid Snacks 4

All of the snacks listed below have been a mommy lifesaver for me at one time or another. All you need to do is throw them in your bag and go. Plus, it makes me feel better to give them an organic and more nutritious choice. I love how many options there are these days! Check them out:

Kid Snacks 3

1. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies 

2. Stonyfield Organic YoKids Yogurt Smoothies 

3. Late July Organic Peanut Butter Crackers

4. Bitsy’s Brainfood Orange Chocolate Beet Smart Cookies 

5. Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks 

6. Late July Organic Bite-Size Cheddar Cheese Crackers 

7. Honest Kids Juice Boxes 

8. Wuts Up Baby Organic Cereal 

9. Boom Chicka Pop Organic Popcorn Snack Packs 

10. GoGo Squeez Organic Applesauce On-The-Go 

Down to prepare your own healthy snacks for on-the-go? Check out these recipes:  

Orange Cranberry Muffins | Parenting // Hummus Veggie Wraps | Weelicious // Oven Dried Strawberries | Yummy Toddler Food // Homemade Larabars | Pamela Salzman

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The Benefits Of Placenta Post-Partum

Placenta pills

I won’t lie to you. When I first heard about using your own placenta post-partum, I wasn’t convinced. Actually, I was super turned off. I’m supposed to eat…what!? But, here’s the thing. Once I learned the benefits (and that there are many options other than eating it), I became a believer.

When I had Brooks, it wasn’t as popular or readily available. When I gave birth to Scarlett, it was definitely starting to become more mainstream. I ended up trying it and I loved it. I could notice the difference in my energy level off the bat. I also loved the way it balanced my hormones. Yes, I still had those post-baby mood swings–but it wasn’t as drastic. Those are just a few of the benefits!

When I became interested in the possibility of using my placenta, I was referred to a postpartum doula by Lori Bregman. reached out to Ida Reid who is a postpartum doula here in Los Angeles. She’s been working in this field extensively for years and has helped me through the process.

Since the topic of placenta is still relatively new, I thought it would be a great opportunity for Ida to share her insight with you, too. I’m currently taking the pills after I gave birth to baby Grey and I highly, highly recommend it!

1. What are the benefits of the Placenta post-baby? 
There are many benefits to consuming your placenta postpartum. Many women report a boost in energy, more balanced hormonal shifts, a fuller milk supply, less fatigue and a more relaxed/“ease” into the wild transition that is motherhood.

Hormones found in the placenta are (taken from my website doulaology.com):

  • Prostaglandin – anti-inflammatory
  • Prolactin- promotes lactation
  • Interferon- stimulates the immune system to protect against infection
  • Cortisone- combats stress and gives an energy boost
  • Hemoglobin- replenished iron deficiency and anemia
  • Gamma globulin- immune booster
  • Oxytocin- often referred to as the love hormone it aids in a person’s ability to bond with others.

Hormones from placenta are absorbed in the mother’s bloodstream; in turn, these hormones cause a clamping down of uterine contractions which can lead to reduced postpartum bleeding.

The placenta produces and carries an array of hormones within it. Some benefits to these hormones are; stabilizing a mother’s metabolism (managing fatigue), aid in the production of the mammary glands (milk supply), and stress reduction, it also triggers the body to heal and increases postpartum iron levels.  One of the key factors to combating depression is being well rested and as stress-free as possible. While there is no current research on the effects of placentophagy and depression, I have had clients report a drop in overall mood once their supply of pills was done. Placentophagy can also help with PMS and menopause.

2. What are the different ways you can consume Placenta? (ex: pills, smoothie, etc.)
There are many ways to ingest a placenta; pills, tinctures, smoothies, Homeopathic remedies, some people fry it up (like a steak) some will even put a raw chunk between the gums and cheek allowing for the nutrients to be absorbed that way. The most popular methods of consumption are through pill form, a tincture, or smoothie.

For women who want to reap the immediate benefits of placentophagy postpartum to control postpartum bleeding and in some scary cases a postpartum hemorrhage; a smoothie is going to be desirable. These smoothies can be made by placing a palm-sized chunk of placenta into a blender along with your favorite smoothie ingredients.

Placenta pills are the most common form of placentophagy. There are two methods to making placenta pills: the raw method and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) method. There are benefits from both these methods.

TCM- the placenta is placed in a water along with lemon, ginger and pepper (these ingredients are believed to bring a cooling and heating element Yin/yang) the mixture is steamed up to 30 minutes, then the placenta is cut into thin strips and placed into a dehydrator for 8-10 hours, those strips are then finely ground to make a powder which is then encapsulated.

Raw method- The placenta is cut into strips and placed in a dehydrator at 50 degrees Celsius till dried, then ground into fine powder that is encapsulated.

Both gelatin or vegan pills can be used for encapsulating.

3. Can you explain the tincture process more in depth? 
Tincture is made by placing a chunk of the mother’s placenta along with a high-grade, high-alcohol content liquor ( I use vodka or tequila) into a glass jar and steeping it for 6 weeks. This liquid is as potent as the pills and can be taken by placing several drops into a glass of water and consuming this mixture. Tinctures can last forever by replenishing the alcohol.
4. Is one better than the other? 
Both these methods have their benefits; it’s up to the mother to decide what she is comfortable with. Some people believe that we as humans have evolved over the years to eat cooked food and that by heating the placenta the nutrients are better absorbed. It is true that by heating the placenta some of the nutrients will be affected (to what degree is unknown) such as, vitamins, stem cells and some hormones. Other less sensitive vitamins, hormones and nutrients for example, iron, is not affected by the heating process.
4. What do you think scares people the most? 
My clients are most concerned with the sterilization and storage of the utensils/ instruments I use when processing placentas. It is important when considering a placenta specialist to employ someone who has been certified in food and blood safety and uses a disinfectant that is effective against blood borne pathogens. I personally will not process more than one placenta at a time. For this reason, I tell clients to expect a 24-72 hour turn around for the pills.
5. Is it expensive? 

The cost of placenta pills can range from as low as $150-350. I charge $300 for the pills and tincture. Most placentas will yield 75-200 capsules. I will tack on an additional charge for smoothies. This additional charge is dependent on where the mother has given birth and what I need to supply for these smoothies.

7. Any other information new moms should know?! 

New moms should be aware that placentophagy is not FDA approved; but has been a known practice in many cultures for centuries. I personally get great satisfaction out of knowing that I am helping new moms transition into motherhood in a supportive way. The feedback I get from my many clients has been extremely positive. Two years ago, I personally enjoyed the benefits of ingesting my placenta. I was able to freeze additional pills and continue taking them to this day when I’m feeling tired or as if I’m coming down with a cold. The benefits are enormous!

If you’d like more information on how placenta can be benefit you post-partum, visit Ida at her website here.

 

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Mommy Must Have: The Snoo

the snoo

In the mom world, Dr. Harvey Karp would definitely be considered a celebrity. Have you heard of “The Happiest Baby On The Block?” a.k.a the book that has saved new mommas everywhere? Yeah, that’s Dr. Harvey Karp.

When I found out he invented a bassinet that’s aimed to comfort and help babies sleep more soundly, I knew I had to try it out. I mean, is that not the biggest struggle we all have as new moms!?

grey in the snoo copy

He actually lives in my area so I had Dr. Karp stop by and help me test drive the Snoo on baby Grey (HE LOVED IT!). When he walked in, I was star struck. I’m not lying, you guys! He also agreed to take some time to answer a few questions that I could share with you guys on my site.

Scroll below for the Dr. Karp low down on the ultimate mommy must have: 

the snoo

1. How did you come up with the idea of the Snoo? What inspired you? 

I came up with the idea of the fourth trimester in 2002 and it has been used by millions of families and we have trained thousands of educators to teach it. It has helped so many people but despite that, the number one problem that new parents still have is that they’re exhausted, and it’s not just a minor burden. It’s causing very serious problems like post-partum depression, marital stress, breastfeeding failure and even infant sleep death. And that’s what energized me to want to help parents with this problem that is so burdensome and that can steal some of the joy from this beautiful time of life. On average, 50% of new moms get less than 6 hours of broken sleep a night and that level of sleep deprivation changes the way their brain works so that it makes them almost the same as legally drunk (as many accidents are caused by exhausted drivers as drunk drivers)

2. What’s the difference between the Snoo and other bassinets? 

There’s been no change in other bassinets in virtually 1000 years. In essence, they’re just boxes that you put a baby in for the night, to keep them away from the family dog. On the other hand, SNOO is the most advanced baby sleep tool ever created. It is the only bed that guarantees (when properly used) that the baby will stay safely on the back for the first six months of life as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is the only bed that imitates the mother’s womb to use the sleep cues that work best with babies to improve their sleep from the very first days of life. It is the only bed that can help sleep train babies so that they can learn to sleep more at night and more awake during the day. And, it has the most advanced motion and sound system that automatically responds to a baby’s fussing, just as an experienced caregiver might. It’s also the only swinging bed that allows babies to sleep safely in a swing (the AAP has now recommended that babies not sleep in any seated device, including swings.) The AAP has said that it is unsafe for infants to sleep in a seated position. And it’s a beautiful designer bed with organic cotton sheets on top of all of that.

3. Some moms will say it’s expensive but what makes it worth the price? 

 Of course all new technology is more expensive when it first comes out, but many working families see the value in getting extra sleep so they can meet their other responsibilities and not miss work or get in a car accident.

For many families, just the peace of mind knowing that their baby will stay safely on their back makes it worth the price.

As mentioned before, this is six products in one, the safest baby swing ever made, the most sophisticated white noise machine and motion system ever made, a beautiful designer infant sleeper, an insurance policy that the baby will stay sleeping safely on the back all napsall night (when used correctly), three of the easiest, safest organic cotton sleep sacks and organic cotton sheet, and a virtual night nurse that is available 24/7 to help hold and rock the baby whenever you need to take a shower, be with your other children, take a nap or be able to get a little bit more sleep at night.
It is six things in one but I think most importantly it’s really getting your own personal night nurse for about the cost of a sandwich or a coffee a day for six months. The biggest difference is that this is more of a service than a product.

4. What are your most important tips you always give a new mom? 

I always tell them that these months go by very quickly and to put aside whatever things don’t need to be done, so they can concentrate on the miracle of having a new baby in their lives. Also, to ask for help from people. It’s the time of life that you need it and it’s the time of life that your true friends really want to help you. Also, be extra neurotic about hand washing and keeping away sick people, because babies immune systems are week for the first 3 months and they need extra protection. You can go out for walks but make sure that people coming into your home are not sick, haven’t been around sick people and put up a sign telling them to wash their hands when they come in.

5. You are known for The Happiest Baby On The Block and The 5 S’s. For all the moms who may not be familiar, can you explain what those 5 S’s are and why they are so important? 

The concept is based on a new way of understanding babies which is that in an odd sort of a way our babies are born three months before they are really ready for the world. Another new discovery is that all newborn babies have a calming reflex, which is a relative off switch for crying and on switch for sleep. And the way that reflex is turned on, is by imitating 5 sensations that babies enjoyed in the womb. Those are the 5 S’s:

  1. Swaddling
  2. Side/Stomach
  3. Shush
  4. Swing
  5. Suck

6. Any plans for future products? 

Yes, our company’s goal is to create many products to help parents with their most important job – raising healthy, happy children. For right now, I particularly encourage parents to take a peek at my book and DVD, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, to learn some very simple tips that can help young children be more patient cooperative and emotionally resilient, starting at 8 months.

Thank you, Dr. Karp! Grey thanks you, too. We love our new Snoo!

For more information on the Snoo or to purchase your own, visit the Happiest Baby/Snoo website here. There’s also an exciting giveaway so make sure to enter when you visit the site. It ends tomorrow! (2/14) 

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Dr. Ghadir’s Fertility Checklist

the doctors

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I just didn’t know when. Until one day, it finally dawned on me. Am I running out of time? I remember it like it was yesterday. My biological clock was suddenly ticking so loud that I thought my head might explode. Oh, and to make matters even worse I hadn’t even met Scott yet. I was alone and not getting any younger, and I was terrified. 

That’s when I met Dr. Shahin Ghadir. At that time, I knew NOTHING about fertility. Honestly, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. Fertility is an extremely emotional subject…and Dr. Ghadir understood that. His call of action? Being proactive and having a plan. I may not have met Prince Charming yet (aka Scott) but that wasn’t the point. I ended up getting pregnant naturally but I froze my eggs too. I liked to think of it as my insurance plan.

ghadir 2

Since fertility is something I am very passionate about, it was an honor to join Dr. Ghadir on The Doctors. Since fertility is such an emotional topic, it’s important to know WHEN and WHAT to check. With that said, Dr. Ghadir wrote up a little checklist to make sure you have all bases covered. Oh, and BTW–it’s never too early to check!

YOUR FERTILITY CHECKLIST

#1: Check your AMH

Testing your Anti-Mullerian Hormone level is a way to test your ovarian reserve. Your Ovarian reserve is the pool of eggs present in the ovaries at any given time.

Side note: No test is perfect, and fertility specialists will often use a combination of tests to try to get a more accurate estimate of the overall level of your egg reserve.

#2: Check for any vaginal infections or STD’s regularly

Infections or STD’s can impact your fertility negatively. It has been reported that as many as one-quarter of all infertility cases are caused by a previous STD. Not every sexually transmitted disease will affect your ability to become pregnant or carry a healthy baby to full term.

Some STD’s that will affect your fertility are:

Chlamydia

Chlamydia may be the worst of the STD’s when it comes to causing fertility trouble. Chlamydia infections cause inflammation of the fallopian tubes which can leave scarring and block the fallopian tubes. Women who have or have had the disease will need to be honest with their doctors to prevent permanent damage to their reproductive systems. The longer Chlamydia goes untreated, the more severe the damage to the tubes.

Trichomoniasis

A common cause of Fallopian tube inflammation which can lead to scarring or blocked fallopian tubes.

 Gonorrhea
In women, Gonorrhea can cause infection in the entire pelvic region, leading to PID, (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) with irreversible damage.

#3: Check your Uterine Cavity and Fallopian tubes to make sure they are open

Related Tests: HSG and Saline Sonogram

HSG:

A Hysterosalpingogram, or HSG shows whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and whether a blockage is at the junction of the tube and uterus. Radiographic contrast (dye) is injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity.

 Saline Sonogram:

A Saline sonogram is when an ultrasound and sterile fluid is used to show the overall health inside of the uterine cavity.

#4: Check Your Hormone Levels

These hormones all directly or indirectly represent a female’s overall fertility and should all be evaluated by a gynecologist or fertility specialist

Related Tests: FSH, LH , TSH, Estradiol, Prolactin

Folliclestimulating hormone (FSH)

Measuring a woman’s baseline FSH is to get an indication of her ovarian reserve.

Luteinizing hormone (LH)

Is a test that measures if you have ovulated. It can also help to check for menstrual problems, such as irregular or absent menstrual periods (amenorrhea).

Thyroidstimulating hormone (TSH)

This test checks your thyroid function. Many women don’t realize that good thyroid function is necessary for optimal fertility. An under (or over) functioning thyroid can prevent you from getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. While there are many and varied reasons for infertility, suboptimal thyroid function may be that “missing link” especially for those with no specific reproductive problem. This can also impact the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

Estradiol

Your levels should be checked is to determine your ovaries’ ability to produce eggs and can also help to determine if your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test was accurate or not.

Prolactin

Is related to your thyroid and pituitary gland. High prolactin levels can cause reduced FSH levels which then results in ovulation problems. Milky nipple discharge may be a result of elevated prolactin levels.

#5: Check Your Ovaries

Related test: Ultrasound

The female ovaries provide two key functions. They produce a mature egg for fertilization each month (ovulation) and they deliver the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are essential to establishing and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. An ultrasound will check that your ovaries, cervix, and uterus have a normal shape and size and are in the normal place. This will also check to make sure there are no growths, tumors, fluid, or other problems, such as cysts. The overall appearance of the ovaries can be an indicator of the overall fertility level.

NOTE: EVERYONE has their own journey to motherhood. How you get on that path is entirely personal. To find out what is best for you, just make sure you go to a doctor you trust. If it’s not happening, talk and keep talking. There are always options. If it gets hard, keep opening doors. I wish you love and all the best!

Want to learn more about my fertility story? Check out my journey here: 

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