Category Archives: Birth

Nourishing The New Mama~ Healing foods & Herbs

“Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip; joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace.”

I have discovered over the past few years that one of the most important things I can do for myself as a mother and woman is to focus on what I take into my body: the thoughts, the food and drinks. In my book, Moon Time, I write about creating a tea ceremony as a way of nourishing yourself with liquid, herbs, warmth and reflective time.

Never is this more important than when you are a new mama. New mamas need all the love and support they can get.

This guest post from Jen of Love and Tea really resonates with me. Jen is based in beautiful Vermont, which is where my American family are based, so I felt a natural affinity with her. She is an artist and trained herbalist who creates the most beautiful herbal teas which nourish every level of a woman’s body and soul. From the names, through the packaging and blends, they are made with a mother’s love and a woman’s wisdom. (Be sure to read to the end for a discount for Happy Womb readers!)

Becoming a new mama takes a tremendous amount of energy. After birth it is especially critical to receive proper rest and nutrition. It is crucial that you focus on…

* A balance of meals; Three full meal & nutrient rich snacks throughout the day are key to proper nourishment and keeping up the supply of breast milk. When a meal is skipped our bodies automatically produce an abundance of stress hormones. Stress hormones inhibit milk production and can lead to reflux in the infant.

*Nourishing grains include: Barley, Oatmeal, Corn Meal, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Quiona and Amaranth.

* In Ayurvedic post-partum care, it is stressed to avoid cold/raw foods during the post-partum stage. This helps reduce gas, bloating for both mama & baby.

* Proper fats. Yes FATS!!! Healthy fats play a crucial role in the body. They are used as building blocks to create cell walls, nerves, tissues and hormonal balance. They can also stabilize blood sugars – which help protect against mood swings. EFA’S or (essential Fatty Acids) play an essential role in brain & body functions. What we eat, literally affects how we think and feel!

*Sources of healthy fats include: Organic Coconut oil, cold pressed & traditional veggie oils. Also avocados, sesame seeds, raw nuts and oily fish (avoid deep water fish such as tuna due to heavy metal toxicity). 

* Eating organic & chemical free foods not only supports your entire body, but your baby’s health too.

* Water and proper hydration: Getting enough water into your body helps heal and rejuvenate at the cellular levels. Herbals teas are another way great way to keep properly hydrated. Ayurveda recommends avoiding iced drinks.

There are a vast array of herbs to nourish, re-store and re-vitalize mamas after giving birth.

*Nettles: High in Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting, Nettles is especially useful with post-partum bleeding. Used traditionally to increase and enrich breast milk.  The minerals and vitamins found within Nettles provides an excellent support in restoring and rebuilding the energy levels following birth.

*Dandelion: This little yellow flower is packed full of essential minerals and vitamins. Dandelion is very beneficial for new mamas!  Dandelion is high in Vitamin A, Calcium and rich in Iron. Dandelion also aids in exhaustion and fatigue.

*Lemon Balm: Relaxes and calms the nervous system.  Lemon Balm has been used traditionally for depression and insomnia. Lemon Balms add its hint of lemon aroma and flavor to uplift and refresh the new mama.  Lemon Balm is said to help one cope with new life situations, IE: Motherhood!!!

* Lady’s Mantle: Revered as an herb for the entire female system, Lady’s Mantle has an affinity to regulate and decrease post-partum bleeding.

* Jasmine Flowers: Have an affinity for the entire female system. Energetically these flowers increase compassion and love. Jasmine flowers are said to make the mind receptive, aid and receive while radiating vibrations of mantras.

“Lactation is the nutritional equivalent to running 10 miles a day!”

My Ayurvedic post-partum teachers would remind us this statement each class and I have never forgotten it! For those of you breastfeeding, here are some foods and herbs known to support and increase lactation:

* Roasted Cumin seeds

* Dill seeds

* Anise seeds

* Caraway seeds

* Coriander Seeds

* Red Beets

Foods to be aware of (Limit consumption)

These Anti-Lactogenic foods- these foods have been know to decrease the mother’s  milk supply and can cause reflux and other issues in the infant:

* Soft drinks & carbonated beverages; these not only decrease milk supply but rob your body of calcium.

* Coffee & Caffeinated beverages

* Chocolate

* Citric Acids in foods & juices (tomato, citrus fruits etc)

* Aspartame  (should be avoided in any case as it is highly toxic)

Potentially Anti-Lactogenic herbs:

(These herbs can potentially decrease and dry breast milk)

* Parsley

* Sage

* Rosemary

* Thyme

* Mint

Jen Lashua is a Certified Herbalist, Artist and Mama to four little sweet beings.

She is founder of Love & Tea Company, which features handcrafted organic teas, including a line of specialty teas specifically formulated for Women & Children’s Wellness.

A fusion of her two passions, Tea & Art, you will find Jen’s original paintings on her tea labels. Love & Tea Company promotes the Art of Tea; engaging the mindful art of loose leaf tea while promoting artist’s creative works. She is offering at 10% discount  at  www.loveandtea.com to all Happy Womb customers, for the next 7 days. Enter code “happy womb” to avail of this wonderful offer.

Connect with Jen via her blog: http://artfultea.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Tea/153226064491

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LoveandTeaCo


 

Advertisements

Speaking for birth

“How can I speak for birth?”

That was my question, back when I first felt called to do birth work. To advocate for birth. Natural birth. Birth as she has always been for millions of years. Generation after generation. Nothing weird or hippy. Nothing worthy. Just the miracle of biology which is birth. Donkeys, goats, dolphins and cats do it: nothing weird there. That’s all I wish for women, is to experience the magic of life, the wonder of birth. But we have been told that birth is dangerous, uncertain, not to be trusted. And that birthing like animals is beneath us. We need to be saved from that.

But the opposite is true. Natural birth gave me back to myself. It was a revelation to me. And it has become a large part of my life’s work. I truly want to help more women share this most fundamental and natural of experiences, because in our medicalised birthing world this is not an inevitability, but a rarity. Continue reading

Birth: an introduction to the Women’s Mysteries – Guest Post by Jane Hardwicke Collings

I am delighted to share our first post on birth today, by a woman whose work I fell in love with the moment I discovered it: Jane Hardwicke Collings. Her words speak deeply to my soul – and I hope they do to yours too! Be sure to take a few minutes to watch her video, below – to hear about birth on a whole other level than that which our culture currently admits.

And you, dear woman, how birth has impacted on your understanding of what it means to be a woman? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Birth initiated me into the Women’s Mysteries and introduced me to Goddess, as it does for so many women. As a young midwife during my hospital training I was shocked by what was going on – institutionalised abuse on women masquerading as safety. I left the ‘system’, unable to participate in the unconscious perpetuation of violence at birth, and became a homebirth midwife, and my learning really started. First there was a lot of ‘un-learning’ and then there was learning the rest of the story, how birth is a reflection of a woman’s beliefs, attitudes and fears, and as if the culmination of her life so far. We have the births we need to have to teach us what we need to learn about ourselves and about life and the way of things, that then takes us to the next place on our life journey to wholeness. No failures, no mistakes, just opportunities for self awareness and choice.

My work with women over the last 28 years through pregnancy, birth and mothering, and their daughters at their menarche, has shown me over and over the power the patriarchy and the fear based medical system has over women. This has also shown me the power that our rites of passage have for us in reclaiming our feminine wisdom, our inner knowing, our strength, Goddess energy and our connection to each other and everyone and everything. Bringing consciousness to our rites of passage and consciousness to our menstrual cycle is of great value and huge healing potential.

What informs my work today is my deep understanding of birth from the physical, metaphysical/spiritual/shamanic and metaphoric perspectives. This combined with my awareness of the opportunities the experiences of our rites of passage (menarche, childbirth, menopause) give us to know ourselves through the lessons we have come to learn this life time and seeing these as the unfolding of our life journey, as well as the wonderful cycle of renewal our menstrual cycles gives us.
Jane Harwicke Collings is a mother and grandmother, and a homebirth midwife since 1984. She lives in NSW, Australia, south of Sydney with her husband, two of our four grown children, many animal friends, and with elderly parents on the same property.
Her role is as midwife, and teacher of the workshops and programs of the Women’s Mystery School she founded in 2009 – The School of Shamanic Midwifery. She is author of several books and shamanic journey CDs, which can be bought here www.moonsong.com.au. More of her work can be found here: www.placentalremedy.com

And her blogs are:

http://schoolofshamanicmidwifery.blogspot.com/

http://janehardwickecollings-moonsong.blogspot.com/