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Filtering by Tag: oklahoma city postpartum doula

Postpartum Must-Haves

Chelsea Gonzales

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Baby will be here soon, and you’re probably all stocked up on diapers, wipes, and adorable little onesies. These are all important things to have, but they aren’t the only things you’ll need.

Have you thought at all about what you will need right after having a baby? These items are just as important—though admittedly not as cute—as the items you buy for baby.

Wondering what you should put on your baby-prep list after shopping for yourself? Make sure you stock up on the following.

Tucks Pads

Birth is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty. Having a baby can cause some serious soreness in your lower half, and the constipation that often comes along with the postpartum days doesn’t help matters. Tucks Pads are medicated and provide cooling relief down there.

Mother Love Nipple Cream

The first weeks of breastfeeding will almost certainly cause your nipples to become raw and sore. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market that soothe your sore breasts while also remaining safe for baby. Our favorite is Mother Love Nipple Cream. Be sure to pick some up before baby arrives!

Reusable Nursing Pads

Another thing that happens in the first weeks and months of breastfeeding is leaking. As your milk comes in and your body figures out how much milk it actually needs to produce, you’re going to experience some leakage. Nursing pads catch those leaks before they make an appearance on your shirt. Reusable pads are particularly helpful when you have a newborn to care for and no extra time for laundry.

Ibuprofen

After giving birth you’re sure to be sore in more places than you can count. Ibuprofen is an absolute lifesaver, and something you’ll want to keep on hand. Even if you don’t usually use medicine for aches and pains, keep some around just in case. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

AfterEase by Wish Garden

AfterEase drops are perfect for relieving mothers of those dreaded after-birth contractions. It contains a number of herbs that have been used for postpartum care for generations, and the soothing effect the product has is absolutely wonderful.

Never had painful after-birth contractions before? Grab some anyway, as these pains tend to increase with each baby.

L Pads

Tampons and menstrual cups are a no-no after giving birth, and the blood flow after having a baby needs to be caught by something. The obvious answer is pads, and we recommend investing in the super pads because your flow will likely be very heavy at first. Of course, organic pads are always best, but purchasing a large number of organic pads can be pricey.

That’s why we love L Pads from Target. They are cheap, organic, and get the job done.

Postpartum Herbal Sitz Bath

A relaxing bath is the perfect way to recover after giving birth, and a bath with baby can provide fabulous bonding time. Add in an herbal sitz bath, and you and your little one will be treated to the amazing benefits offered by the herbs included. Whether you make your own herbal sitz bath mixture or purchase it premade, you’re sure to love soaking in a wonderful and aromatic bath.

Freezer Meals

Not very many mothers have time or energy to cook healthy delicious meals right after giving birth. Even those who do, don’t want to. After all, they should be bonding with baby.

For this reason, making and freezing plenty of meals beforehand is an excellent idea. Doing this will help ensure you continue to eat well while removing the work of cooking from the already hectic postpartum weeks.

Belly Support Band

After baby is born, your belly is likely to need a bit of additional support for a while. A belly support band is perfect for offering support while reducing pain, swelling, and pressure. It can be worn under any clothing, making it a discreet way to remain comfortable after giving birth.

Do you have everything you need to keep yourself comfortable after baby gets here? If not, it’s time to make a trip to the store and pick up those last-minute things. Happy shopping!

Why Every Mom Needs a Breastfeeding Class

Chelsea Gonzales

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Most moms know that heading to at least one childbirth class before having their little one is a good idea. Unfortunately, the idea of breastfeeding classes hasn’t become quite as popular. In fact, this is an option that many new mamas don’t even know exists.

That said, breastfeeding classes are actually hugely helpful to new mothers. The things taught in such a class can help increase a mother’s chances of breastfeeding success, meaning a happier mama and healthier baby.

Learning to Latch

While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, that doesn’t mean moms automatically know how to do it. Therefore, if you plan to breastfeed at all, you will likely need somebody to show you the ropes.

Of course, the first thing you’ll need to know is how to help your newborn establish the perfect latch. This isn’t as easy as it might seem, and does take some practice. However, it is incredibly important, as a poor latch can lead to inefficient nursing and painful breasts.

Breastfeeding classes cover proper latch technique, helping moms understand what to look for and how to fix common problems.

Self Care

Of course, in order to breastfeed a little one, a mother must take good care of herself. Proper nutrition and good hydration are both essential to breastfeeding. Additionally, some mothers may need to eat certain things to encourage milk production. On top of all this, moms also need to take care of their breasts, using the correct ointments to soothe sore nipples and knowing what to look for should they suspect a problem.

Luckily, all of these things will be covered in a breastfeeding education class, meaning all mothers who attend such a class will know how to care for themselves while caring for their babies.

Pumping Education

Being with baby all the time isn’t an option for some moms. For other moms, the chance to get away sometimes is not something she’ll want to pass up. For this reason, learning about the different types of pumps and how to use them is also a part of most breastfeeding classes. This is great information to have!

Tricks of the Trade

Aside from the things mentioned above, a breastfeeding class will also cover some “tricks of the trade”. Some of these will help moms and their newborns fine tune their breastfeeding technique, while others can be employed once they have established a strong nursing foundation. All of them will help make nursing easier and more enjoyable for all involved.

Building your toolbox with plenty of professionally chosen tips is sure to help you on your breastfeeding journey.

Confidence

Quite possibly the most important thing a breastfeeding class provides a new mama is confidence. As mentioned earlier, nobody is born knowing how to breastfeed. Because of this, the idea of jumping into the world of nursing a little one is intimidating to some. A breastfeeding class can instill confidence in these worried mothers, helping them enjoy the end of their pregnancy.

As you’ve probably figured out, a breastfeeding class is—in our opinion—a no-brainer, and something every pregnant mama should make time for. Have you signed up for your breastfeeding class yet? Do it now, before baby arrives!

Postpartum Anxiety 101

Chelsea Gonzales

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Anyone who has ever suffered from uncontrollable anxiety knows what a terrible feeling it is. Unfortunately, this same anxiety is something many pregnant women suffer from, and what’s even more unfortunate is that many of these women never recieve help.

The name for this condition? Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). Never heard of it? That’s okay, many people haven’t. However, it’s important that we get the word out, as this is a very serious condition that can actually lead to lifelong complications.

Therefore, we are going to use today’s article to introduce PPA and help raise awareness.

What is Postpartum Anxiety?

Like postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety is a disorder that occurs in women after they have given birth. In many women, the symptoms will appear immediately. In others, it could take several months after giving birth. Still others begin to feel the symptoms of anxiety a few weeks before they even welcome their little one into the world.

While PPA is similar to PPD in that it appears after giving birth, it is actually quite different in terms of symptoms. Women suffering from postpartum anxiety will experience nigh-unrelenting feelings of worry. Usually these worries are for her newborn and they refuse to be dismissed. This constant worry can result in trouble sleeping, changed eating habits, rapid heartbeat, hot flashes, nausea, an inability to focus, and shortness of breath.

Obviously, these symptoms are quite disruptive to everyday life, and can even make it difficult for a new mom to care for her baby.

What Causes Postpartum Anxiety?

After giving birth, women go through an enormous hormonal shift. This works along with changes in schedule, lack of sleep, and relationship changes with those nearest and dearest to them to set the stage for postpartum anxiety. At first, the symptoms may be subtle, or they may come on full-force right away.

Who Might Suffer from PPA?

Absolutely any mother who has just given birth can develop postpartum anxiety. In fact, as many at 11% of women suffer from this disorder. That said, there are some mothers who may be more susceptible to it, including:

  • Women with a personal or family history of anxiety

  • Women with a history of depression

  • Women who experience weepiness or irritability as symptoms of PMS

  • Women with eating disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Women who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past

What are the Treatment Options?

Luckily, there are very effective treatment options for PPA, meaning that those who seek out treatment will almost certainly overcome the anxious feelings that are disrupting their lives.

The first course of action will likely be ensuring the new mother has help with the little one, along with giving her a professional therapist to help her regulate her worried thoughts and give her coping techniques. Even these small steps can make an enormous difference, and by also adding regular exercise into the mother’s routine, the anxiety may be eliminated completely.

If the lifestyle changes mentioned above don’t do the trick, the next step is medication. Typically, medication is only used in the most severe cases and is paired with continued therapy and positive lifestyle changes in order to make the biggest possible impact.

Conclusion

Making people aware of the reality of postpartum anxiety is the first step in helping all mamas receive the care and attention they need.

If you feel you or someone you love is likely to develop PPA based on medical history or personality, hiring a postpartum doula is an excellent preventative measure. A postpartum doula can help the new mother by providing support during the weeks after baby’s birth.

Are you or someone you know currently suffering from PPA? please let a professional care provider know. Getting the proper help is the first step to happier days with your little one.

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Chelsea Gonzales

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We’ve all heard of the baby blues, but what exactly are they? Are they different from postpartum depression, and how can a woman know whether or not her postpartum emotions are normal? These are all questions that many new mamas have, which is completely understandable. After all, we all want to know what’s going on with our bodies.

Fortunately, there are some answers. That said, the differences between normal postpartum moods, baby blues, and PPD may not be incredibly noticeable at first. Therefore, if you even think you are suffering from PPD, seeking help from a healthcare provider as soon as possible is always the best thing to do.

What Are the Baby Blues?

The baby blues are completely normal and something a huge percentage of new mamas experience. Typically, the baby blues last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, during which the new mother will feel big mood swings and heightened emotions, a large amount of stress, and/or extreme disappointment.

These feelings are caused by a variety of factors including adjusting hormones, lack of sleep, and the enormous life changes that are happening all around the new mother. Luckily, the baby blues will gradually go away on their own accord as the family finds their new normal.

What is Postpartum Depression?

PPD looks and feels very much like the baby blues. It may include increased and relentless negative feelings, lethargy and lack of motivation, and even harmful thoughts. Unfortunately PPD affects up to 1 in 7 new mothers. This condition does not tend to go away on its own and can be dangerous if left untreated.

Fortunately, there are treatments available, and by finding help, affected mothers will be able to live the happy life they dreamed of.

How Can I Tell the Difference?

Length of Time

The length of time that the negative emotions last is a pretty good indicator of whether or not you’re dealing with a case of PPD. As mentioned earlier, the baby blues will almost always go away after 2 weeks. Cases that last longer are likely to be full-fledged postpartum depression and should be treated as such.

Intensity of Emotions

Because it’s good to seek out treatment as soon as possible when it comes to postpartum depression, waiting for two full weeks may not be the best solution in some cases. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the intensity of a new mama’s negative emotions. If the mother seems to resent her child, or if she is having thoughts of harming herself of others, it’s time to find help.

Other signs a mother is experiencing PPD rather than baby blues include any and/or all of the following:

  • No motivation to do basic tasks

  • Constant crying or anger

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

What Should Be Done about PPD?

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from PPD, it’s very important that you seek out help. The best place to begin is with a primary care physician, midwife, or OBGYN. This care provider will be able to help solve the problem with prescriptions, referrals, or a combination of both.

One of the best ways to keep negative feelings at bay and make your postpartum weeks a bit easier is by hiring a postpartum doula. If you’d like more information on how a postpartum doula can help you, please contact me today!

What to do When Your Birth Doesn't Go as Planned.

Chelsea Gonzales

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Doing your research and knowing exactly how you would like your birth to go is always a good idea. In fact, I even recommend writing these thoughts down to create an easy-to-read and easy-to-share birth plan. This helps ensure that your desires are well known, and with the right birth team, many of those wishes will probably be met if at all possible.

That said, things don't always go according to plan. Problems crop up, little annoyances snowball into big emergencies, and some babies and bodies just have minds of their own. These things aren't necessarily common, but they do happen, and many times this means the initial birth plan must be modified to fit the situation.

While I don't recommend dwelling on the “what ifs”, I do think it's a good idea to consider what you will do should unplanned things happen during labor and delivery that steer your birth experience in another direction than originally planned. After all, there is no way for us to control everything, and being mentally prepared for unexpected issues can help ensure your experience is a positive one, even if it isn't exactly what you planned.

Wondering what you should do in case things do go awry? Consider these tips.

Before The Birth

Hire a Doula — A doula is an advocate for birthing women. For this reason, having a good doula is essential when issues arise. She can ensure that your birth plan stays as intact as possible while also providing you with reassurance.

Know Your Stuff — Soaking up as much information as possible about birth is also incredibly helpful. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your own body and health, as well as that of your baby.

Create a Backup Plan — Making a birth plan is great. Making a “Plan B” and even a “Plan C” is even better. Decide what you'd like to happen in case you decide you absolutely must have an epidural. What if a C-section is required? Having a plan for these things will still give you a bit of control even if your initial plan gets tossed to the side.

During the Birth

Keep Your Cool — If you do get news that your caretaker won't be able to sick to the original plan, take a deep breath and keep your cool. Remember that you are doing your very best, and your caretakers are there to keep you and your baby safe. Getting upset won't help anything, and may actually hurt baby by causing them distress.

Remind Caretakers of Your Plan — Reminding your birth team of your plan won't fix any problems that come up. However, that simple reminder might mean your team keeps your wishes in mind and sticks to the plan as much as possible.

Lean on Your Doula — Your doula is there to help you and advocate for you. Let her be the one to insist that measures be taken to mind your wishes whenever possible. Your doula will also be able to help you remain calm in stressful situations. Allow her to do her job.

After the Birth

Take Care of Yourself — Obviously, you'll be grateful about baby once they are born, and clearly you'll need to take care of and enjoy them. That said, it's also important to take care of yourself.

Remind yourself regularly of just how awesome you are and give yourself plenty of self-care time in order to reflect and heal mentally. Lastly, you'll want to watch out for signs of postpartum depression. A birth that doesn't go as planned can be a cause of depression, and PPD should be treated as soon as possible.

Are you looking for a doula to support you no matter how your birth goes? I'd love to chat! Please contact me today for a consultation. 

Overnight Doulas vs Night Nannies

Chelsea Gonzales

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We recently discussed the difference between a nanny and a daytime postpartum doula. If you read that article, you now understand just how valuable a postpartum doula can be to a new mother and her baby, and why a doula might be a better option than the more common nanny.

This is all great, but what about nighttime care? The family will be sleeping at night, so does it really matter if you choose a night nanny over an overnight postpartum doula?

Because a doula is more expensive than a night nanny, many new parents may be tempted to go the cheaper route. However, there definitely is a reason overnight doulas charge a bit more, and the extra cost is well worthwhile.

Breastfeeding Focused

Just as daytime postpartum doulas want your breastfeeding goals to be met, so do nighttime doulas.

Many night nannies give bottles in order to allow mama to sleep. This is thoughtful in a way, but it also makes building a nursing relationship difficult. Obviously, you could ask a night nanny to bring baby to you instead, but she still may not realize the importance of this, and she probably will not provide support when doing so.

Postpartum doulas, on the other hand, understand how important those first few weeks are when establishing a nursing relationship. They also have knowledge that can help you improve your breastfeeding skills.

For instance, most postpartum doulas recognize hunger signals quickly, meaning that many times you and baby can be ready to nurse before the actual crying begins. Additionally, a doula will set up a nursing station for you, ensuring you have any pillows you need, as well as water. This is invaluable in the middle of the night when getting up is less than ideal.

Help Establishing Routine

In addition to supporting your breastfeeding relationship, doulas are also excellent at helping families establish nighttime routines. Whereas a night nanny will be focused entirely on caring for your infant, a postpartum doula focuses on the family as a whole, meaning your entire family will be getting the nightly rest they need by the time your doula leaves you.

This is, of course, extremely helpful when it comes to adjusting to such an enormous change.

Light Housework or Cooking

Generally speaking, night nannies focus only on baby. Postpartum doulas on the other hand, are happy to lend a hand straightening things up while baby sleeps. Some may even make you a light breakfast before leaving for the day.

Of course, mama and baby are a doula’s number one priority, but when both are taken care of, she makes a point of seeking out other ways to help before taking a break herself.

Expertise and Respect

Many nannies have tons of experience with kids. However, not all nannies do, and since there is no true nanny certification out there, you really never know what you're going to get.

Because postpartum doulas must be certified, you can rest easy knowing the caretaker you hire has a certain level of expertise. This means you will feel no doubt that baby will be safe, and you both will be well cared for by a doula.

Doulas also do not impose their own parenting tactics on clients. Instead, they will follow your lead and respect your wishes, offering helpful tips and helping you ensure your parenting methods are safe along the way.

An overnight doula is definitely the way to go when you need nighttime help with a newborn. Do you need some overnight postpartum help? Please contact us for information on our Oklahoma postpartum doula services.

4 Ways a Daytime Postpartum Doula Differs from a Nanny

Chelsea Gonzales

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Many new mamas find they need a bit of help in the first few weeks after having a baby. Sometimes a mother is recovering from a cesarean and isn't as mobile as she would like. Other times, she's suffering from postpartum depression. However, the vast majority of the time, these ladies just need some assistance adjusting to their new normal.

This is perfectly understandable and completely normal. After all, in the past we women have had an entire village of other ladies to help us out after birth. However, many modern women are unsure who to turn to in this time of need.

Of course, there is the option of hiring a nanny. However, a nanny doesn't really offer all that a brand new mother needs. This is where a postpartum doula steps in.

Wondering how the care offered by a postpartum doula differs from that of a nanny? Read on!

Mama Care

A newborn nanny comes in to take care of the newborn and only the newborn. While you can hire nannies who are willing to take on older siblings as well, you aren't likely to find a nanny who'll take care of mama.

Considering that the mother just gave birth, she needs someone to care for her too. Fortunately postpartum doulas are happy to take care of baby while also checking in on mama, making sure she has water, bringing her snacks, and even checking in on her emotional health.

Bonding Help

Good nannies are wonderful in that they take great care of their charges. In fact, most nannies even form strong bonds with the children they care for. This is sweet and can help put a mother's mind at ease, but it isn't enough for the brand new mom who is still bonding with the baby herself.

Women who recently gave birth need plenty of time to connect with their newborns. That said, they also need energy to do this. A postpartum doula cares for baby while mama showers and naps, but is quick to offer the baby up and encourage active bonding when the mother is available.

Breastfeeding Assistance

Postpartum doulas are also great for breastfeeding support. Instead of bottle feeding whenever baby is in their charge, they will bring the little one to his or her mother. This helps the new nursing relationship blossom and grow stronger, something that can't happen when bottle feedings are offered as an option.

In addition to ensuring baby is nursed whenever hungry, postpartum doulas are often able to offer tips and advice to mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding. This can be enormously helpful to a new and frustrated mother.

On the other hand, a nanny might be quick to quiet baby with a bottle, and may have no experience at all with breastfeeding. In any case, a nanny is unlikely to be willing to offer breastfeeding support.

Family Support

A good postpartum doula knows that it's her job to help the family adjust to their new addition and ensure this transition goes as smoothly as possible. She will offer help wherever she sees she is truly needed, but she's also acutely aware that the family needs to find their own rhythm. Therefore, a postpartum doula doesn't inject herself unnecessarily and will often offer tips to help the family get things on the right track.

This is in contrast to a nanny, who is only in the home to care for baby. This care may be helpful in the short run, but will be difficult for the family to wean themselves from later. It may also make it hard for the family to find their own way of doing things.

As you can see, while there is nothing wrong with hiring a nanny in many scenarios, postpartum doulas are a superior option for families with a brand new addition.

Are you looking for post-birth help in Oklahoma City? We'd love to assist! Contact us today for more information on our postpartum doula services.

Finding the Breastfeeding Support You Need

Chelsea Gonzales

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The first few weeks postpartum are filled with huge changes. Perhaps the biggest change of all is learning to effectively breastfeed your little one. While babies are born with the instinct to nurse, they won't necessarily be great at it right off the bat. At the same time, mothers sometimes need a little help getting started themselves, and this can lead to some serious frustrations.

Fortunately, there is help available out there, and finding the right help could turn your nursing relationship around in no time.

Knowing When You Need Help

So how do you know when to find this help? How do you know your situation is dire enough to warrant it? Honestly, you'll likely know if things aren't going right. However, just in case you don't recognize it right off the bat, it is good to go in knowing what red flags to look for.

Any of the following could be cause for concern:

  • Prolonged separation of mother and baby
  • Nipple pain that cannot be easily remedied at home
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Trouble finding a comfortable position
  • Shallow, painful, or incorrect latch
  • Baby losing a significant amount of weight

Of course, this is not an exclusive list of reasons to find a breastfeeding professional. Therefore, if your gut tells you something isn't right, it's best to find the help you need, if only to put your mind at ease.

Who to Call On

The next step is finding a person who can offer sufficient help. Finding the right individual may seem like a daunting task, but once you dive into the world of breastfeeding you'll discover that it's not as complicated as it seems.

If you had a doula attend your birth, or if a postpartum doula is helping you around the house, she may be able to offer the support you need. These individuals are not always trained lactation consultants, but even those who aren't have plenty of experience with nursing mothers and may be able to offer some pointers.

When a doula isn't available or when her help isn't enough to solve the problem, it's time to turn to a lactation consultant. Many hospitals keep lactation consultants on staff, and these individuals can be a great option if you're still in the hospital when problems arise or if your insurance company will only cover the services of an in-hospital consultant. However, out-of-hospital lactation consultants often offer more personalized attention and assistance. These lovely helpers can be found through such organizations as Thrive Mama Collective.

Of course, there is nothing like peer-to-peer support. While breastfeeding support meetings aren't the solution to serious problems, they can be helpful if you're just needing emotional support, tips and tricks, or help finding better positions. If these are the kinds of things you need, I recommend checking out the breastfeeding support group at Thrive Mama Collective, or one of the other local support groups.

The Importance of Finding Support

Why is finding breastfeeding support so important? Well, there are a couple of things to consider.

Finding help could make or break your nursing relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is a super important part of human development. It is an excellent source of nutrition for your little one and can even help boost their immune system. Additionally, the bond you will create with your little one through nursing is absolutely priceless and will set the stage for many healthy, strong relationships in the years to come.

Not only that, but finding help could also pinpoint any medical issues with you or baby that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Therefore, seeking out help as soon as you feel it is necessary is always ideal.

As you can see, finding breastfeeding support is easy enough and also incredibly important. After all, two sets of eyes and hands are always better than one when you're trying to carry out a difficult task, and learning to breastfeed is a difficult yet wonderfully rewarding task, to say the least.

If you've been thinking about finding some help as you establish your nursing relationship, don't hesitate. Hire a postpartum doula for general help and support, or seek out a lactation consultant if you believe there may be an issue. You'll be glad you did when you see baby nursing like a champ and growing leaps and bounds.

 

7 Amazing C-Section Recovery Tips

Chelsea Gonzales

Whether your cesarean was planned from the beginning or a complete surprise, the recovery is something you'll need to go through. Luckily, you'll have your new bundle of joy by your side, softening the pain and more difficult days a little. However, a C-section is still major surgery, and as with all major surgeries, recovery isn't exactly fun.

That said, there are ways to speed up the recovery process and make it go a lot more smoothly. By knowing the right steps to take, you can help ensure all goes well in the weeks postpartum.

Walk, then Rest

Surgery leaves even the best of us feeling groggy and in pain. For this reason, walking is likely the very last thing you want to do. Still, walking is one of the necessary steps you must take before leaving the hospital. It's also beneficial during recovery because it helps get blood moving, reducing the likelihood of clots. For this reason, you will want to do a bit of walking around the house each day.

With that said, I must point out that this walking should be kept to a minimum in the first few weeks. No strenuous exercise should occur until at east 6–8 weeks postpartum, and even then, a new mama should get permission from her doctor.

Eat Well, Drink Plenty

Nutrition is hugely important when your body is working hard to recover. Besides, if you're breastfeeding, you're providing your baby with all of his or her nutrients. Therefore, you simply must eat well after having a C-section.

Besides eating a well balanced diet that is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats, you will also want to make sure that the foods you choose contain plenty of fiber. This will help prevent the post-cesarean gas and constipation that so often plagues new mamas.

Additionally, plenty of protein, iron, and vitamin C are all musts in an after-surgery diet. These nutrients help your body rebuild muscle, recover from blood loss, and fight off infection.

Finally, you will need to consume A LOT of water. In fact, I recommend drinking around a gallon a day. Your body needs water in order to function properly, and with a post-operative recovery on its plate—as well as the usual postpartum work—it's going to need as much water as it can get.

Add in Supplements

During the months postpartum, be sure to continue taking your prenatal vitamin. Not only will this help baby get plenty of nutrients through your breastmilk, it will also help your body recover more quickly. Other supplements you may consider should include 1) a quality probiotic in order to restore order in your gut, as well as 2) zinc and magnesium, also for gut health.

Baby Your Scar

One key part of recovery is making sure your scar heals correctly and without infection. The best way to do this is by babying the area.

Stick to showers in order to avoid submerging your scar, never scrub that area, and gently pat it dry after showering. Put aloe vera gel and vitamin E on the scar to reduce swelling and visibility, and keep it covered with a organic or free and clear maxi pad or some other sterile, soft covering for the first two weeks.

Banish Pain

Of course, you're going to feel some level of pain after a C-section. In order to reduce this pain, be sure to use the painkillers prescribed by the doctor. As you wean off the prescription drugs, slowly make the switch to over-the-counter options such as ibuprofen.

Other options that can be used along with these painkillers include essential oil aromatherapy, arnica gel, cinnamon supplements, garlic supplements, coconut water, omega-3 fatty acids, hawthorn berry tea, and hibiscus tea. Using a combination of a few of these should have you feeling a bit better.

Address Your Emotions

Not every mama is happy to have had a cesarean. If you are upset by the way your birth went, be sure to address this right away rather than allowing it to fester. Having your placenta encapsulated and adding the capsules to your daily regimen can help keep your emotions under control, but this shouldn't be your only course of action.

You will also want to find a way to express your disappointment, air your grievances, and allow yourself to wade through, make sense of, and understand the strong emotions you may be feeling. For many women, simply talking with their partner or a close family member or friend is enough. Others need a professional to help them sort through their emotions. Still others prefer to write, draw, or use some other form of creativity to express themselves and get through this difficult time.

Find what works for you and go with it.

Get Help

As you're recovering, you're going to need plenty of help. While your family is sure to help out as much as they can, it isn't always enough. For this reason, it's a great idea to hire a postpartum doula. Doulas are knowledgeable when it comes to postpartum recovery and newborn care, and are immensely helpful in nearly all aspects of life after birth.

Are you ready to hire a postpartum doula? I'd love to talk to you about your options. Please contact me today!

Tips for a Successful VBAC

Chelsea Gonzales

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There once was a time when mothers were told they would never have a successful vaginal birth after having a cesarean. Fortunately, times have changed, and more and more mothers are making the choice to give it a try. After all, if it can be carried out safely, a vaginal birth is almost always the best option in terms of a mother’s comfort, recovery times, mother/child bonding, and so much more.

If you are considering having a VBAC, you may be wondering what you can do to increase the chances of a successful birth experience. Here are my top tips.

Build a Strong Birth Team

First and foremost, you will need to have a good, strong birth team. This is one of the most important steps you can take, as an unsupportive birth team will be discouraging at best.

Be sure to pick a primary care provider who is willing to attend a VBAC birth. If you are birthing away from home, the hospital or birth center your care provider is associated with must also be okay with your choice. Ensure you trust your midwife or OB completely. If you feel at all uncomfortable or concerned with your care provider, make a switch. Even if your feelings are apparently unwarranted, feeling comfortable during labor and delivery is imperative to a successful VBAC.

In addition to a good doctor or midwife, you will also want to hire a doula. A doula will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout labor, and may even make the process move more quickly. Additionally, a doula can help you work through any fears that may arise.

Go Natural

Inductions, epidurals, and other interventions increase the likelihood of a c-section. Considering this is the very thing you are wanting to avoid, you will also want to avoid intervention as much as possible, letting nature take its course throughout the birthing process.

While this make take more time and patience, and while it might require seeking out natural pain management options, it's so worth the end result.

Educate Yourself

Confidence plays an enormous role in the success of any birth. The more confident you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

This is probably due in part to the fact that the more confident women tend to be the more educated women. Therefore, these individuals have a good understanding of their bodies, leading to less fear. They are also better able to make educated decisions throughout labor, meaning they're less likely to be pushed into doing things they don't want to do.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women—and especially those wishing to experience a VBAC—do everything they can to boost their confidence and educate themselves. The best ways to go about this include attending quality childbirth classes and reading as much as possible. Finding books about VBAC specifically can be especially helpful.

Banish Fears

Another step toward confidence that every potential VBAC mother must take is banishing fears. Traumatizing birth experiences stick with us and tend to fester, growing into paralyzing fears. These fears are strong—so strong in fact that they can stall labor, something that can lead to interventions.

Fortunately, you have the power to banish these fears. Find a therapist to help you work through your unwanted thoughts, hire a doula to help in case these fears surface during labor, and repeat uplifting and inspirational mantras to yourself throughout your pregnancy and your labor.

Many women also find it helpful to hang posters or flags with inspirational messages throughout their home and birth space.

Expect a VBAC, Prepare for a Cesarean

In some cases, it just isn't possible for a mother to have a VBAC safely. Because of this, it is always best to go in expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

What does this mean for you? Here is what I suggest:

  •  Know where to go — If you're delivering at home or in a birth center, know in advance where you'll be transferred should the need arise.Prepare for postpartum — Obviously, you'll want meals planned and help in place no matter how your birth goes. However, having extra assistance lined up in case of a c-section is a smart move.
  • Speak with your care provider — Ask your doctor any questions you have about what will happen should you need a cesarean. Have a midwife? Find out what her typical procedure is in these cases.
  • Create a birth plan — You've probably already thought about your birth plan should you have a vaginal delivery, but have you considered what you'd like in the case of surgery? Think about it, write it down, and make sure your birth team knows your plan.

Following these tips is not a guarantee of anything. They will, however, help you achieve your dream. Why not get started today?