Conscious Motherhood

Let Her Fail

Photo by Diana Feil on Unsplash

Photo by Diana Feil on Unsplash

This week I’ve been presented with some different opinions around motherhood. I’m not sure I would have heard them 6 months ago, but this time I was ready. A part of me has been keeping it all together, making sure the family flows just right. Everyone is happy, things are in the right spot where they need to go – well most of the time anyway.

But is this all a little too much? Is making things perfect for my daughter really the best thing for her? I’m not saying I don’t let her fall down when I know she’ll fall safe, just so she can experience what it’s like to fall. But, am I stripping her from other experiences because I want to save her from pain?

I know just as well as anyone else, no one can escape pain. While bullying is wrong, and not sharing is wrong and feeling awkward and vulnerable and out of place is painful. Isn't there a part to this that our kids need to experience, just like we did?

I say yes. But when is the right time? When do you let go? When do you start to lay back and give them their independence enough to stumble, fall, be uncomfortable.

All kids are different but around 3 ½ is when I started to notice she was ready for this next step - I just needed to get ready myself. I think that took a little longer. Now at the dinner table we not only talk about what we're grateful for but also our one failure for the day. We celebrate both.  

The good news is that with this change I finally feel free to get back to me. Find that old go-getter, sexy, fun, full of life me.

It’s time to let her out, the family needs her too.

Breastfeeding Uncovered

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Dear Lady Friends,

I’m going to give it to you straight. After 9 months of caring for a baby, and going through hours of delivering your baby, you will get the magical prize of having to breastfeed.
 Yes, breastfeed. Oh didn’t they tell you about it? I’m sure they mentioned it to you at some point. I mean you know about it generally speaking.

Well, my question is…

Why the hell doesn’t anyone tell you how damn hard breastfeeding is? And for the love of god, why doesn’t anyone prepare you?
We have Lamaze classes, so where the hell are my breastfeeding warnings, my breastfeeding best practices, and my breastfeeding videos!?

So ladies — here is your official warning. Don’t say I didn’t tell it to you straight. It sucks, literally. And not only does it suck, it hurts, its mentally and physically draining and it will be one of the very hardest things you’ll ever do in your life.
You think doing your residency was hard? Think again. You think running a marathon is hard? Think again bitches. The stamina needed for the first few weeks of breastfeeding is REAL.

It will rock Your World. If someone says it was easy. Immediately dismiss them. Either this is a lie or they are some type of superhuman.

The good news is that if you can make it past the first month, you are pretty much home free. I’m not saying you won’t experience possible complications, a clogged duct here and there, sore nipples, wet spots on your shirt at work, having to leave a meeting because your baby relies on you for food and if you lost your milk stash to a power outage, you my friend are especially screwed. But, mostly you are in a good groove and you’ll be able to overcome these continuous challenges!

If you plan on breastfeeding from the beginning, a few words of wisdom from this mama:
Have the hospital perform skin on skin for you at birth, which is the act of setting the baby right on your chest after delivery, forgoing the bath. The smell from the delivery will awaken an instinct, and your baby is more likely to search for your nipple and begin the breastfeeding process.

Don’t give up!
Hire a post-Douala to come to your house as soon as you get back from the hospital and help you breastfeed.

Don’t give up!
Don’t use a pump until week 3

If you’re still not getting it, hire that Douala to come back another day and help you. Have her give you recommendations and best practices on pumping.

Don’t give up!
Express milk right into a bottle (glass bottles are best mamas) and give it immediately to the baby for the first time. Do this three more times if you want the baby to take a bottle easily.

Go dairy free if your baby is experiencing any gas, re-flux or colic. Of course tell your doctor and collaborate on a solution.
Watch the wonder you created while you breastfeed your baby. Her eyes, his face, this moment…
If you’re a traveling mom, do your research. I lost my milk on a 3 day trip across the country.

I’ve also pumped on an airplane right in my seat, in a shower of an airport lounge, and in a closet at work 5 days a week. We need to make this easier on women, people!

If you can’t keep up with the feeds, my advice is to cut out the late morning, afternoon, and late evening feeds (one by one) and just concentrate on the night and morning feeds. Build your milk with these two feeds and it will allow you to breastfeed for longer period without losing your milk altogether.

You’ll know when it’s time to stop.
Wean slowly. It will make an impact on the health of your breasts as well as the baby.
There are so many wonderful benefits to breastfeeding if you can do it. The longer you go, the more benefits the two of you get to experience!

If you have to go through the formula route, I suggest making your own or finding an European brand formula. America formulas are nasty. Check it out for yourself!

Good speed to you!

STRONGER BABIES FOR ALL!

A lot of things baffle me about American culture as well as our all-encompassing Allopathic/western medicine healthcare practices. No doubt antibiotics are the bomb, true enough. I unwillingly had to take a cycle last week to finally knock out a lingering nasty concoction made up of some type of strep, sinus, and chest nightmare. I tried all my usual suspects to cure myself; acupuncture, fresh ginger and lemon tea, greens, herbs, homeopathy, bone soup, Vitamin D, the list goes on and on. My husband finally had to threaten me. And I must say, thank you baby Jesus, because I seriously think I could have died without them. What a wonderful, beautiful, lifesaving drug; yet sadly they are over-prescribed and overused which is leading to our longer term sickness.

“How did we get away from the point where antibiotics and pain pills save lives up to 4 billion prescriptions served”. Ben Fuchs Pharmacist, Bolder Colorado

Here’s the low down… Antibiotics are needed to kill pathogens, the bad guys, but in the process, they also kill all the good bacteria living in our gut. This good bacteria (in the trillions) help to regulate our health, how quickly we can lose weight, how we process toxins, the list goes on and on. So we want to make these guys happy. If you are depleted, you’ll have a harder time fighting off the bad guys and the chances of multiple rounds of antibiotics could be greater the next time you are ill. So it becomes somewhat of a cycle. And you think one round of antibiotics isn’t so bad, think again, it could take an adult up to 1 year to build back up their microbiome (good bacteria).

Mothers ask me often about my daughter. She is hardly sick, has never been on antibiotics, and doesn’t have any allergy, asthma, or auto-immune issues. Below I share my insights that have worked for me in keeping her immune system strong and healthy.

Her morning regimen includes: Probiotics, Kefir & fish oil

Her diet is mostly made up exactly what I eat to make it simple: oatmeal, nuts, grassfed and organic protein, wild caught fish, fruits, veggies, fats such as ghee, coconut oil and olive oil. She eats sprouted bread, almond flour tortillas, raw sauerkraut with probiotics. All fresh, all bought at organic markets and made at home.

She drinks plenty of water, coconut water with lunch w/ some vitamin D drops, coconut milk and organic cow’s milk from grass-fed cows.

Snacks if requested: raw nut bars (rx has a good blueberry, one she loves, go marco has a great cashew, one she loves), organic pouches in a pinch, hamburger meat, edamame, apples with cashew or almond butter, ice pops (made of fruit and coconut milk — she makes them herself!). Of course, she eats normal stuff too like ice cream, and the occasional candy.

If she’s around a lot of kids for the day, I will give her a teaspoon of elderberry syrup. She also gets a multi-vitamin but I don’t sweat this too much. She has her own whole food kid’s vitamin or I let her suck on my vitamin drink throughout the day.

If she is starting to get sick, I make her chicken soup right away with bone broth from scratch. The secret is to add apple cider vinegar to extract all the minerals from the bones into the broth. If she won’t eat it, I mix the broth in with her food. I usually cook a whole chicken every 2 months and freeze the broth so I have it.

If it doesn’t look like she’s going to kick it, I take her to the acupuncturist and she can usually needle it out. The symptoms she’ll experience are less and she can also give her an herbal tincture if needed to help boost her immune system to fight it naturally. Alternatively, I might ask her homeopathic doctor for her recommendation. Sometimes she recommends homeopathic medicine you can buy at wholefoods.

That’s pretty much it. Feed her the right food, avoid bad food as much as possible without being extreme. Find ways to help her immune system be strong, get populated with the good bacteria and get her some help when sickness comes on.
 Of course, if more serious signs are present, I take her to the doctors as necessary.

If this seems like too much to change to your routine, pick one or two things to do and slowly work it in over time. Adding the probiotics and fish oil is easy and can make a big difference. In all honestly, this is so second nature to me now, and it’s really little to no effort at this point. I cook double chicken at dinner time and save her some for lunch the next day. Simple things like that.

I think as a society, we’ve traded good nutrition for quick fast food and our overall wellness is suffering. You can either spend the time to set your life up for wellness or spend your time dealing with a sick kid. For me, I’d rather not deal with a sick kid constantly on antibiotics. The stronger she is, the stronger we are as a family. I want to teach her that she has the power to heal her body and keep it healthy — wellness is her responsibility. It’s the greatest gift I’m giving her.

I hope this helps you and your family. Let’s take our health & vitality back!

Halloween’s Trick on Me

Unsplash — Hide Obara

Unsplash — Hide Obara

This year was the first time my family celebrated Halloween with my 3-year-old. The past two years, she was just too young to enjoy it. She went back and forth about 10 times with her outfit choice (just like her mother), but finally, we landed on Flo the Floogal (a new cartoon on Sprout). Unfortunately, because the cartoon is so new, there were no ‘out-of-the-box’ Floogal costumes to be found. I tried my best to piece one together, but my efforts were pointless. Instead, I just bought a Toy Story Buzz Lightyear outfit and helmet and told her to let people know she was a Floogal. Surprisingly, she agreed and was happy. So every place we went; dance recital, gymnastics, etc, I could hear her say — “no I’m a Floogle, my name is Flo.” sometimes the kids understood, sometimes they didn’t, but she didn’t care. She was having fun!

Fast forward to last night — Halloween. We got together with some longtime friends and our girls went trick-o-treatin together. For one hour, two little girls, a silly shark, and Buzz Lightyear/Flo the Floogal rang doorbells and got candy. Shrikes of excitement came out every time they found a new house to attack. Of course, they didn’t want to stop until they filled their pumpkin baskets with candy to the very top. We began our walk back home. The girls walked a bit ahead and I was chatting with other mom. Suddenly, we came upon this spooky house. I have to say that was putting it lightly, it was beyond spooky. Dead electric bodies everywhere moving around, people tied up with rope to trees, scary music, and blood. It actually looked like a massacre. The girls saw it first and started screaming and crying.

Mistake #1
 I was stuck for the next 10 minutes explaining how the massacre is not real, just fake machines, even though it did look pretty real. Ugh. Ok, next. Finally, we were headed home to now eat some candy, Um, Great, good old candy. I just hate that word so much. I mean it would be one thing if our candy was made of a real, natural ingredient like, let’s say — pure cane sugar. That would be fine. But of course, our candy is loaded up with preservatives, dyes, and harmful chemicals.

Still not sure why Americans don’t care about this??? Can anyone shed some light here?

So not only do I have to worry about my three-year-old eating sugar; but junky, addictive, crappy, mood altering, cancer causing sugar. Wow, this holiday is getting even better! Being the cool mom, I lifted my shitty candy ban for one night and let her indulge in a few items with her friends as I looked away.

Mistake #2
 We eventually ventured home and sat down for a late dinner. I gave my daughter some soup, turned around to get some for myself and I heard a loud BANG! What was that!? My daughter, usually a wonderful kid, turned the entire bowl of soup upside down on her table and pushed her table across the floor. Like she was possessed. I’ll spare you all the details but some evil words came out of her mouth which caused an immediate bath and bedtime. 10 mins later, she was fast asleep. Thank goodness, I thought. She’ll sleep off this shitty candy and spooky stuff and we can start tomorrow, a new day!

Fast asleep around 11pm, I heard my daughter screaming. I ran into her room just to find her eyes shut and locked in a deep sleep. She was having nightmares. For the first time ever. She is usually such a peaceful sleeper. I woke up again about 1pm, but this time to a little body standing over my bed asking if she could sleep with us. Again, unusual. “Ok, I said,” she hopped into bed with us. But she did not sleep for the entire night. Not one wink. Hopped-up on shitty candy and spooked from the house. She was a mess. A complete mess. My husband decided to move to the basement so that at least one of us could get some sleep. No sleep for me. No sleep for her.

I realized in the morning — this was the shitty-est holiday ever. I hate it.

Not gonna lie — I did get a small glimmer of pride, finally feeling like the last 3 years of keeping my child away from all the crappy candy and food (not without enduring ridicule) has paid off brilliantly. Who wants a life like this every day, I’m sure you don’t. Sadly, it makes me wonder what role our poison food is playing in all the sickness (ADD, ADHD, etc) that’s plaguing our children. My child turned into a completely different child in 1 hour. For the love of God. Scary shit dude. As you can see, Halloween has nothing to offer Moms but a big bag of horrible tricks. Oh, and of course I ended up eating a few pieces of shitty candy myself. Damn it all! I’m glad I have 364 days until next year.