Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Having a Baby Naturally: Tips & Tricks

          Having a baby naturally doesn't come very natural this day and age.  When I told people that I planned on having my child with no epidural, women would give me that look like "well dear, you haven't FELT the pain of giving birth yet"..."you will probably change your mind".  Thankfully I have five mentors in my life who have influenced me greatly regarding how giving birth naturally IS possible today.  They have 3 to 5 children each and all delivered naturally! 

Quick disclaimer:  giving birth naturally is not the only 'right' way to give birth.  It won't make you more holy, Godly, or earn you Christian points.  If you have had or plan to have an epideral, I don't view you as a wuss, pansy, or weak.  I see you as delivering a precious God-given child into a home filled with loving arms.  Every child born has a different birth story and I simply am sharing one.  My husband and I chose to go this route because we personally feel this is a battle against culture worth fighting for.  The following items are all books or information that I found useful.  I pray you can find them useful as well.

         You must prepare your MIND and BODY.   It is never too early to educate yourself.  Become knowledgable about pregnancy, labor, and having your baby (even if your getting an epidural)!  Online I became a free member of Baby Center where they could give me an estimated due date, updates on the size and development of our little baby, and a place I could store and sort our favorite baby names!  

         Both of the following books I loved because it was written for the birth partner, my husband.  Loren was able to take ownership and responsibility!  He was able to get involved in a tangible way so he knows what to do!  My husband was there for me in the months leading up to delivery, during the painful process of delivering our child, and now with our son out in the wild.

         We borrowed the workbook for Husband-Coached Childbirth from a mentor.  Looking through the table of contents it looks like the same material we went through just in a book form.  We liked the focus on the natural birth process.  We liked preparing our minds the best way possible to go this natural rout.  It doesn't mean we took every word in this book as the only way- we were able to adapt it to what would work for our family!  
         This book gives practical ways to prepare before birth that were very useful to both of us.  One way was figuring out before I was in labor how I relax best.  So we got to do little experiments.  Bathtub relaxing, calming music while laying on your bed, messages... whatever works for you.  (yes, you will love it too!)  I found out the best way I relax was when Loren would message me and I could release that tension I was feeling.  This was VERY helpful during labor.  I would rock side to side standing up beside the bed with my elbows on the edge of the mattress.  During the pain Loren would message my lower back through the contractions.  This enabled me to focus on relaxing in the most painful moments when your first tendency is to tense up.  Which you find out through this book actually makes labor last longer the more tense you are!

         The Birth Partner is a great reference book for your husband (and you).   Read it like a dictionary to look up things you have questions about.  Not meant for you to read it from front to back like a novel.  It has a lot of information to educate you on childbirth.  From the last few weeks in pregnancy, the packing list for the hospital, the stages of labor, the medical side of childbirth, complications in late pregnancy or childbirth, cesarean birth, natural birth, vaginal birth after cesarean birth, first few days for the mother, the first few days for the baby, and getting started with breastfeeding to name a few.
       I also glanced through The Joy of Pregnancy, What To Expect When You're Expecting, and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.


          On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the gift of Nighttime Sleep worked wonders for our boy.   I got this one on my Kindle.  Remember that each book has some quirky parts that you adjust for the benefit for how your family works best!  You want to have read it before your baby is born so that in those tense sleepless moments your not panicking but you have a plan!   Scan it after the baby is born to practically implement the schedule they suggest for your baby.  This book showed me a schedule of eat, wake, and nap time that kept us on a consistent routine.  Little Zane was sleeping more than 7 hours through the night after the first month!  By 3 months he was sleeping 11 hours at night.  Z-man learned how to put himself to sleep.  He does not need us to sooth him to bed.  *note: does not work for babies who are colicky.

       Super Baby Food saves you money!  Making your own baby food is NOT hard.  If you follow the steps presented in this book you will gain knowledge on what and why your feeding your child in a healthy way.  It is a nice thick book you can also use like a dictionary.  This book describes what food, consistency, and amount to introduce on a monthly basis.  Extremely helpful when it comes to healthy choices for your baby's growth.  I use it on a monthly basis still to this day.


       My mom gave me the gift of the Growing Child newsletter to come to my e-mail.  When Zane reaches another month I get ideas of play and development for what he is currently learning.  I also get cognitive and physical development milestones to look out for.  If you are interested in this let someone on your baby registry know. 

I'll be awkward so you don't have to.
        After your dear one comes into the world- he or she will leave a lasting impression, with your body.  I had in my mind I would be back in my pre-pregnancy clothes in a week and be skinny as ever.  Now every women in this area is different but I had to wear my pregnancy jeans for a good 5 months after baby was born!!  No one told me that was a possibility.  I later read that it took 9 months to grow the baby and will take 9 months (or more!) to get rid of that baby impression.  To top things off my hips must of gotten forever wider after him coming through the birth canal because even 10 months later (now...) I have grown a size up in pants.  But you know what... it was worth it!
       After giving birth your body will get rid of fluids from being pregnant.  One way your body gets rid of these fluids is by sweating in your sleep.  So don't be surprised the first few nights if you soak your sheets and sweat like a man.  My husband also claims I snored super loud the hour I got to sleep between feedings when the little man was first born.  I beg to differ.  Sleep when the baby sleeps.  The house work, food, and tasks can all wait.  You need energy and to be in the right mind when your precious bundle needs more food.
       There are items you will need after your baby is born that are awkward to say the least.  I had my child in South America.  I had to get a few items down here that they don't automatically give you like you might have in a first world country hospital.  (Ask if you are not sure!)

You will want the following:
  • This advice is for a normal vaginal birth, I do not know the procedure for after care when having a C-section. Perineal squirt bottle  to wipe with since you no longer can wipe the regular way until your fully healed (took me a good month and a half to heal, some women it's faster).  
  • Tucks Pads to lessen the burning sensation after giving birth.  Wear like a pad for as long as you feel you need to.  
  • Lanolin Cream for breastfeeding.  You will be extremely sore.  Extremely.  If you can get through the first 2 weeks the pain will lessen and will not hurt near as much.  Very healthy choice for your baby to keep with breastfeeding through this painful time!  Put this cream on after every feeding.  The first few days after having your little bundle your body will trigger for your uterus to contract with the onset of breastfeeding.  (Miracle by God that this happens!)  This is painful.  Feels like a medium contraction during labor.  
  • Nursing Pads so you don't leak milk everywhere.  You can re-use washable ones to be green and save money in the long run.  The brand I bought and like is Epibi Nursing Pads.  I was also given some home made ones that worked great as well.  If you use these kind you will want to have at least 10 pairs.  There is a tutorial HERE if you want to make your own!  If you want to buy the throw away kind which are the best for traveling, I really enjoy the Lansinoh Nursing Pads.
  • Swing Medela Breast Pump and storage bags for your milk.  
Cloth Diapering

            I really enjoy Cloth Diapering.  The brand I like is bumGenius.   I have also had great success with the gDiapers.  The baby must be at least 8 lbs before he is big enough to use bumGenius.  With our little boy only being 5 pounds at birth we had to use disposable until he was about 2 months old.  Although when he was 2 months old he fit nicely into the small size of the gDiapers.  This is probably recommended anyway because you have to change their diapers every 2 hours (or more often) when they are newborn.  When they get to be about 3 months old you don't have to change their diapers near as much and therefore becomes easier with cloth diapering.
             Tip: Cloth diapers can be really expensive up front so you can register for them on your baby registry.  Amazon has an online baby registry that people from all over the world can access and order things off of there for you.  Brilliant for those of us living over the seas.  I promise it will save you money in the long run!

  • I have about 12 bumGenius 4.0 all-in-one one size cloth diapers.  These diapers you put on just like a disposable diaper.  When you go to change this diaper you must wash the whole diaper.  This is a great diaper to have for naps and bedtime because it absorbs a lot.
  • I also have about 14 Flip diapers with inserts.  Buy at least 6 extra inserts for the Flip diaper.  When the flip diaper insert gets soiled I can just change out the insert and keep the same flip cover.  This means less washing.  I have bought both the 'stay dry' insert and the 'organic' insert.  I personally think the 'stay dry' ones absorb more liquid.  This diaper is good for during the day use and only have to change the outside one if it gets soiled.  Check out you tube videos for tutorials on how all this works.

You don't have to have these Bio-soft Liners that go inside the cloth diapers.  But they do help with clean up once babies poop becomes more solid.   (This happens after baby starts eating solid food, around 6 months).  All you do is throw the filled liner in the trash (or toilet) and the rest in the wash pail.  Make sure you have a wash pail with a lid that seals well.  You can get re-usable liners for the pail, make one yourself, or just use trash bags.  When the pail gets full you run a load of hot water and just toss in the diapers.  It really is a simple process.

I use Bac-Out Spray right after I change a soiled diaper.  I will spray a little directly on the effected area for stain remover and smell eliminator.  You can use other brands just make sure they can be used with cloth diapering!
Country Save Laundry Detergent can be used with cloth diapers.  Do not wash cloth diapers with your regular detergent.  It will cause the cloth diapers to loose their ability to absorb liquid.  That would be bad!  This detergent is not the only cloth diaper detergent out there, just look up on amazon or youtube detergent that is compatible with cloth diapers.  
Zane 3 months old! Loving his cloth diaper. 
I line dry the outer shell of the cloth diaper (recommended) and dry the inserts in our dryer.  Tip: if any of the inserts or cover get stained put them in direct sunlight.  Never use bleach, it will ruin the diaper.  Sunlight will take out the stain naturally. 

I pray that all this information can serve you and your family well in the coming years.