*CHOICE you have a choice. You can choose what feels best for you and your new family. Make choices out of a place of wholeness and empowerment, not out of place of fear. Practice using that motherly intuition, even if your baby is still on the inside!
*READING do not read the typical pregnancy/birth books. They are fear-based and filled with mis-information. Refer to my recommended book list.
*READ The BabySense Secret by Meg Faure. It is the best book I have found on parenting your baby from a sensory perspective. If you buy one book, buy this. I do not endorse her feeding advice though, but the rest is great.
*SOMETHING along the way will surprise you in how hard it is. It may pregnancy, birth or postpartum. Talk to other women and ask for help from everyone around you.
*REST more than you think you need to throughout pregnancy: especially the few weeks before and at least 6 weeks afterwards. But expect to be very tired and recovering for up to one-year post-partum with your first baby especially.
*ENCOURAGE dad/partner to take as much time off as possible to be with the new baby and support the new mommy. I really think this first year is a crucial time for development of the deeper patterns, feelings of wholeness and social development. It is said that the more dependent you let a baby be, the more independent and self confident they will be later in life.
*USE your local resources! We have great alternative health care providers, lactation consultants, mom’s groups, post-natal yoga classes, etc. Find like-minded women and families. Create a mom’s group or join an existing group. The Nest in Grass Valley is an amazing local resource.
*TREAT YOURSELF to chiropractic, craniosacral, massage, acupuncture, and other bodywork during and after pregnancy! Chiropractic can keep the pelvis open and balanced throughout pregnancy. It can also be very useful postpartum as your pelvis is repositioning after birth and as the relaxin leaves your system. Postpartum is a good time to change chronic pain patterns due to structural patterns and misalignments.
*PLAN AHEAD make a post-partum plan where you freeze meals or get meals delivered for at least 2 weeks. Postpartum is harder then you think and it tends to be overlooked with the focus emphasizing the birth only.
*NUTRITION eat an insane amount of saturated fat during pregnancy and postpartum: Butter, eggs, animal fats (leave the skin on chicken and eat it, or else put some butter on top of it), raw whole milk/yogurt products, kefir and coconut oil. Your hormones are made of these fats and cholesterol, and you pregnant women know this is a hormonal time! You need to constantly replenish the building blocks so that you do not become depleted (which leads to tiredness, general dis-ease, adrenal exhaustion, mood swings, etc). Olive oil alone doesn’t count. In fact, it should only be used as a dressing as it gets unstable when cooked at higher temperatures.
*Eat an insane amount of fermented food during pregnancy and afterwards. You need two cups a day (sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso) or else take a probiotic supplement to make your own gut healthy to pass onto your baby. Your baby is born with a sterile intestinal tract and its first inoculation with bacteria is the journey through the birth canal. If you have a tendency towards yeast infections (candida, etc), use a probiotics as a vaginal suppository daily during pregnancy or at least for the last few weeks before delivery. We carry medical grade probiotics and also Dr. Dale has a informative and entertaining articles on gut health in his book, Guide to Healthy Living available online and at our office.
*PRENATALS keep taking your pre-natal vitamins after the birth, or better yet ask me for my recommendation on a woman’s multi-vitamin. You need this extra nutrition more than you might realize and I have some great suggestions.
*ADRENALS: Ask me about adrenal support or read my adrenal health hand out. Your adrenals are the endocrine glands that secrete your stess hormomes. Pregnancy and postpartum are times of huge life changes and thus stressful events. Many women get adrenal fatigued and feel mentally foggy, forgetful, have increased anxiety or mood disorders, have sweet cravings and generally just lack the kind of energy they are used to. Likely you need adrenal support. I use various adrenal support that are safe for pregnancy and breast-feeding and are cost-effective. They will nourish your adrenals so that you can get back on your feet again.
*POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION and BABY BLUES While many women experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child (“Baby blues”), up to 1 in 8 women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety. Please know that with informed care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. www.postpartum.net is a great support network and they have a free hotline.
*CRANIOSACRAL even the most successful birth is traumatic for both mom and baby. Due to this, I recommend a baby craniosacral visit for all babies. I like to treat them within the first 3 months of age. Colic is not normal. This can usually be helped through cranial work.
*BREASTFEED your baby if at all possible. It will be one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them, the gift of health. Your baby is born without a mature immune system and s/he will depend on your immune system that is transmitted through breast milk especially for the first year. Your milk also has the perfect composition for both neurological and gastrointestinal growth and development.
*VACCINATIONS do not vaccinate your baby at birth. I am not against vaccination, but I am VERY AGAINST vaccinating your baby the day it is born with the Hepatitis B vaccine. This disease is passed the way AIDs is (through blood and bodily secretions). Good chance your baby will not be sexually active with infected partners the first multiple years of life! If you choose to vaccinate, wait until you get to know your baby first so you can tell if there are any adverse effects of the vaccinations. Only get one shot at a time. This way your baby can actually mount an appropriate immune response against one vaccine and not be bombarded with many. My dad, Dr. Dale Jacosbon DC has an informative essay on Vaccine Information and Safety.
*USE CLOTH DIAPERS they are so easy now with the new designs. They cost a quarter of the price of paper diapers. You can use them on multiple children. They are better for your baby and the earth. Enough said.
*IF FORMULA FED if your baby or other babies you know are formula fed, I recommend giving this baby probiotics the whole time the baby is on formula. We carry International Nutrition’s Baby Biotics and it is a great product. Always use organic formula, no soy, and if you are ambitious make your own! Recipe at westonaprice.com.
Our Website has tons of great information, www.jacobsonchiropracticinc.com
Dr. Dale Jacobson’s Guide to Healthy Living. Hard copies at our office or online
The BabySense Secret by Megan Faure. And anything else by Megan including Sleep Sense and Toddler Sense. Everyone should read Baby Sense, it is invaluable for caring for your baby. It is my absolute favorite.
Anything by Ina May Gaskin or Dr. Sears
Nourishing Traditions Cookbooks, Sally Fallon