Simply put: I’ve learned so much from the time I was first pregnant almost 5 years ago. Now that I have #2 on the way, things are going to be 100% different… and I’m excited.
Aside from the actual horrid birth experience, there were so many things I wish I could have had or done before, during, and after pregnancy… Surely you must know that feeling too? That feeling in the pit of your stomach that overwhelms you with guilt that you didn’t do (or know about) X, Y, Z.
Well, I’m throwing the mom guilt away for not knowing about radiation exposure, cord clamping, the importance of a real food diet, eating your placenta, using a brilliant tool to help reduce hemorrhoids, and looking for tongue/lip ties and redeeming myself with baby #2.
Since I know the guilt feeling all too well, I’ve shared 6 of the most important things (to me) that I wish I knew before I was pregnant with Andrew. I hope this finds you at the right time and allows you to open your mind a little and consider the alternative routes. <3
1. Food Matters
When I was pregnant with #1, I didn’t eat extremely unhealthy but it was far from what I consider nourishing. Food plays such an important factor before, during, and after pregnancy on not only your well-being, but your baby too. You can read more about what the Weston A. Price recommends for pregnant and nursing women here. If I could change one simple fact of how I used to eat when I was pregnant with Andrew was eating more organic or pasture raised foods.
Although I try and eat as many organic veggies as possible, I focus my money on food items that contain the worst combined offenders: animal products. Conventional animal products not only contain hormones and antibiotics, they are also fed GMO-feed and live in crowded, unhappy, and unsanitary conditions. Because of all these factors, I believe making sure you’re eating quality animal meats (eggs included.. they are so nutrient-dense!) is one of the most important things to do in regards for the health of you and baby.
If you need extra support (maybe your family doesn’t support you wanting to eat organic), you’ll want to join the Nourished Children Facebook group.
2. Reducing My Family’s Radiation Exposure Daily
I know you might be thinking, “Oh man, another thing I need to worry about?” And I totally feel you, trust me. It seems like every week there is something we learn that we need to worry about and the list seems to keep on growing, but hear me out for a minute.
I think, as parents, we need to arm ourselves with ALL the information and then decide which issue(s) are the most important that we want to protect our children from. For me, I want to protect my children from toxins in food and personal care products, unnecessary vaccines, unnecessary interventions, and radiation.
If you think about how much WIFI and radiation that we are exposed to every day, it’s quite scary. Who knows the long term effects of these issues?
The data and results have been mixed but according to Belly Armor, one thing is certain:
What we do know, is that radiation at the levels emitted by cell phones and wi-fi DOES have a biological impact. Numerous studies have shown that it impacts the way cells grow, DNA replicates, and brain cells function. Because of this, health experts believe early childhood and pregnancy – when rapid and complex cell development occurs – are the times of highest risk. (source)
A couple things I do to protect myself and my family are:
- I use Belly Armor’s radiation organic cotton shield blanket that blocks 99% of EMF waves to baby. Living in Florida, I thought it would be too hot but it’s super light-weight. I use it when I’m on my phone and my phone rests on my belly or while I’m on my lap top. Belly Armor also has belly bands to wear while you’re on the go and nursing covers when you’re feeding baby and are on your phone.
- I turn my WIFI off at night (I’m not perfect with this and often forget).
- I don’t place my phone on my body more than I have to and keep my phone as far away from my ear as possible.
- If Andrew is playing with my phone, I turn it on airplane mode.
- If Andrew is talking to Daddy on the phone, it’s always on speaker.
3. Reducing My Chances of Hemorrhoids with the Squatty Potty
All through my pregnancy with Andrew, I suffered from having hemorrhoids and mainstream advice said to just take Metamucil and eat more fiber. But I still had issues (you can read more about that here). It’s like all of a sudden I became pregnant and things just stopped moving.
I think a lot of it could have been relieved with a balanced real food diet, but the actual position I was sitting in while going to the bathroom also made a profound difference.
When I found out I was pregnant with #2, one of the first things I thought about was how terrified I was to start having issues with hemorrhoids again. I’ve always wanted a Squatty Potty so I decided that this was definitely the right time to get it. I have the simple Ecco stool and it’s super affordable!
I feel like this pregnancy is going to be a lot different now that I have a Squatty Potty to help me go to the bathroom and I’m eating better foods. Even when I was healing with my postpartum hemorrhoids, I think the Squatty Potty would have helped tremendously.
4. Don’t Cut the Cord!
Since the 1950’s standard procedure when baby arrives has been to cut the umbilical cord almost immediately after birth. For a first time mom who doesn’t know any better, going with the flow seems like the right thing that should happen.
According to midwife Amanda Burleigh, she believed cord cutting after birth should not happen.
Burleigh’s original thought was that cutting the cord too soon deprived the newborns of vital blood cells from the placenta. With the help of a group of fellow medical experts, evidence was found that the standard practice for cutting the cord could deprive a baby of one third of its blood stock. It was also linked to an increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia, which can lead to cognitive learning delays. (source)
A study published in 1995 showed that infants who had delayed cord clamping end up with 32% more blood volume than infants who have their cords cut immediately — without any increased health problems. A few more recent studies can be found here and here.
I’m going to hold my baby until the umbilical cord stops pulsating and then we’ll cut it.
5. Encapsulating the Placenta & Eating It
5 years ago if you told me that some women ate their placentas after birth, I probably would given you the most weirdest, disgusted look ever.
Thank goodness I’ve learned to open my mind to alternatives since then because now I’m all for it! When it occurred to me that humans were some of the only land mammals that don’t eat their placenta after birth, it made me wonder. Why? Or maybe a better question is, “Why not?”
Placentas are the life giving sources for babies in the womb; they are full of vital hormones, growth factors, and minerals. Do most land mammals instinctively know that this sacred organ is full of things that will help themselves feel better, which ultimately helps care for the baby better?
I’ve read eating the placenta benefits the following things:
- Improved mood and less depression (I had PPD with Andrew so this is a super important benefit for me)
- Increased milk supply (I struggled with breastfeeding from day one and now I think it partially had to do with Andrew having an undiagnosed lip/tongue tie.. more on that below)
- Faster healing from birth (my first healing process was miserable)
- Increased energy
Some people eat the placenta raw in the smoothie, and I have to admit, when I met with my midwife a month ago I cringed at the thought of it. My best friend just had a baby and she said she had some placenta in a smoothie and it wasn’t bad. Well, that made me reconsider my initial thought and I may just go ahead and do that for the first couple days and then switch to pill form.
6. Being Aware of Possible Lip/Tongue Ties
I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t get to nurse Andrew for almost 2 hours after he was born or that I had no support (and the lactation consultant at the hospital sucked) or that I was experiencing postpartum depression and didn’t feel that bond so many women talk about, but I struggled with breastfeeding from day one.
And we supplemented with formula from day one.
I only ended up breastfeeding for 6 months (half of the time supplemented with formula) and couldn’t figure out why my supply wasn’t great or why the latch never was perfect. I tried every conventional method of increasing my supply but nothing worked or helped. I gave up, switched to commercial formula and Andrew was on that for about 3 months. Thankfully at 9 months, I became aware of the Weston A. Price Foundation and put him on raw milk formula (which he thrived on).
But almost 4 years later, I learned of something that could have very well been a cause of all my nursing issues: lip and tongue ties. We didn’t have most of the symptoms but I think it was hugely due to the fact that we also supplemented with formula.
When I look into Andrew’s mouth, I can definitely see a lip tie. Now that he’s 4, I’ve noticed that his upper teeth need more care when brushing and I think this is due to the fact that lip ties can cause cavities in the four top front teeth as food is unable to escape freely. It can also cause speech and dental issues.
I haven’t taken on the task of researching what can be done with his lip tie but I know for the next baby, we’ll look for it at birth and get it taken care of right away. Thankfully my friend went to a good facility local to me to get her infant’s lip and tongue tie reversed and now I have a good resource if that time comes.
This post is sponsored by Belly Armor and Squatty Potty. However, the opinions and photos are of my own. Authenticity is important so I would never promote any brand or product that I wholeheartedly don’t believe in.