What is Vernix and Why would I want to leave it on my baby?

imagesHave you considered your thoughts on your baby’s first bath? So often today, we just follow along with the “one-size-fits-all” birthing and post baby procedures, that we forget to question what WE believe in, and WE as parents really think is best for our little one.

Today I want to talk about Vernix….Vernix is a white, waxy, cheese-like substance produced during the third trimester and it provides a temporary skin barrier around your baby for the watery environment which they live in while in utero. Babies tend to lose the vernix the longer the mother is pregnant, so those babies born at 42 weeks might not have a lot of it visible anymore, though usually there is still some hidden in the folds of their skin and under their arms. Babies born earlier often have a larger amount.

Many hospitals seem to have an urgent need to have the baby bathed in the first hours after your baby has been born, but as parents, you can make the decision on when to bathe your baby and who is the one to do it. Many studies today suggests that baby’s first bath should be delayed until at least twenty-four hours after birth, some may even wait until the morning you check out of the hospital or until you get home amongst your own germs and your natural environment.

Newer research indicates that vernix has immune properties and leaving it on your baby’s skin provides a layer of protection while your new baby’s immune system is getting stronger. I like to think of it as a “water/germ-proof immunity jacket” protecting your baby from potential bacteria; especially for babies who are born in the hospital, with lots of potential for exposure to hospital-acquired infections.

Amniotic fluid, which bathed the baby before birth has the ability to provide some extra resistance to infection as well, so the longer it remains on the skin, the better for baby.

Perhaps after reading this and doing your own research you may consider postposing your baby’s first bath. Giving them a head start with a healthy immune system. You can always add in your birth plan that you would like for the baby to just be gently patted down immediately following birth, and for the bath to be delayed/postponed.

Happy Birthing:)

Resources: 6 reasons to Delay Baby’s first bath

Formula….how to make you own!

I was recently asked about making your own formula, should breast milk not be an option for your little one. Its so important that you make sure you know what you are feeding your precious baby.

The human species has been breastfeeding for nearly half a million years. It’s only in the last 60 years that we have begun to give babies the highly processed convenience food called ‘formula’. The health consequences include five times the risk of gastroenteritis, twice the risk of developing diabetes and up to eight times the risk of developing lymphatic cancer – which are staggering.

All mammals produce milk for their young, and the human species has been nurturing its babies at the breast for at least 400,000 years. For centuries, when a woman could not feed her baby herself, another lactating woman, or ‘wet nurse’, took over the job. It is only in the last 60 years or so that we have largely abandoned our mammalian instincts and, instead, embraced a bottle feeding culture that not only encourages mothers to give their babies highly processed infant formulas from birth, but also to believe that these breastmilk substitutes are as good as, if not better than, the real thing.

Breastmilk is a ‘live’ food that contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, antibodies and at least 400 other unique components. It is a dynamic substance, the composition of which changes from the beginning to the end of the feed and according to the age and needs of the baby. Because it also provides active immunity, every time a baby breastfeeds it also receives protection from disease. Compared to this miraculous substance, the artificial milk sold as infant formula is little more than junk food. It is also the only manufactured food that humans are encouraged to consume exclusively for a period of months, even though we know that no human body can be expected to stay healthy and thrive on a steady diet of processed food.

Here is a great website with more of the above information that really lays it out for you.

So…if for some reason your little babe cannot receive your breast milk, a donor would be the next best thing! If that is not an option, consider making it yourself, so you know exactly what is going inside of it! Here is a great link with more information.

Why go cloth diapers?

Did you know the following facts about diapers?

  • Disposable diapers are the third most common consumer product in landfills today.
  • A disposable diaper may take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • One baby in disposable diapers will contribute at least 1 ton of waste to your local landfill.
  • Disposable diapers leave a trail of waste and pollution from manufacturing to disposal- an average of 2.7 tons of non-biodegradable waste each year; not counting the waste produced during their production.
  • Disposable diaper packaging instructs caregivers to dump solid waste into the toilet and flush it away, but most people are not aware of that. This means that human fecal matter is going into our landfills where it can leach into groundwater and possibly spread disease.
  • Disposable diapers leave a huge burden on future generations as our landfills fill.
  • The number of disposable diapers used from birth to potty training is on average about 6,000!

And what about baby?

  • Disposable diapers contain chemicals, paper, plastic, and have been reported to cause allergic reactions among other serious health problems in babies.
  • Your baby can be sensitive to the ingredients used in disposable diapers.
  • Disposable diapers use chemicals in the form of gel crystals that often leak out and sit on your baby’s skin causing irritation or skin burns.

This information came from a wonderful company called Luludew. They are an Organic Diaper Service located here in the Los Angeles area. They offer an array of affordable, smart, easy choices for you and your baby.

I was fortunate enough to meet with the owner, Sandy Barajas, a few months back, and I left our meeting with a new respect for cloth diapering. I, like you I’m sure, had my own ideas and fears surrounding cloth. I imagined being at a restaurant, my baby having a blow out, and me carrying around poop in my purse for the afternoon! However, during our conversation, I expressed all of my concerns with the owner, and to be honest, she had a great answer and solution for each and everyone of them! She has really thought of cloth diapering from a convince standpoint.

Disposable diapers are something that we all know are not the best for the environment. We know this, we want to do something about it, you may even feel bad every time you throw one in the garbage; but you tell yourself “this is just the easiest way.”

But today I am telling you, there may be another way! Go cloth! Just as all fashion trends seems to be making a comeback, lets let our babies butt wear make a comeback too! Its better for mother nature, and I think you will find with research that its better for your baby too.

Heres a video to show you just how easy this really is:

Here are a few resources to help you along the Disposable VS. Cloth journey:

http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

http://www.diapernet.org/whycloth.htm

Please Visit Luludew Diaper service and see if consider going cloth is right for you! Your babies bottoms will thank you!!

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Another cloth diaper service which has had great reviews is: www.blessedbums.com

Healthy Fats….So important!

Healthy fats are so important during your pregnancy.

Some fats are particularly important during pregnancy because they support your baby’s brain and eye development – both before and after birth. They also help the placenta and other tissues grow!

Each of the following contains 5 grams of fat and 45 calories:

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) avocado
1 teaspoon safflower, olive, canola, or peanut oil
6 almonds or cashews
10 peanuts
4 pecan halves
1 1/2 teaspoon nut butters (trans fat free): almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 Brazil nuts
5 hazelnuts
3 macadamia nuts
8 large black olives
10 large green olives with pimento
16 pistachios

Every morning I personally make a delicious smoothie that is full of healthy fats… This is what I put in:

Hemp seeds ( very high in protein – great for keeping your membranes intact – which you want)
Sunflower seeds
Chia Seeds
Flax seeds
1/2 Avocado
Handful of spinach
1-2 table spoons of coconut butter (not oil – this is brain food for you and baby!)
Hemp milk
Coconut milk
Frozen berries & Banana
Sometimes for a little extra treat I’ll add a scoop of some kind of nut butter!

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It is delicious and nutritious! Not to mention it has all the fats you need in a day. Fats help your tissues to soften for the delivery of you baby.

10-15 Prenatal squats and Natural fats everyday will set your pelvic floor muscles up for success….

Food for thought…..literally!

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed Cord clamping has become increasingly more popular in the US today.

Studies have shown that a delay of as little as thirty seconds between delivery and cord clamping can result in 20-40 ml*kg-1 of blood entering the fetus from the placenta. Umbilical cord blood is a baby’s life blood until birth. It contains many important cells: like stem cells, red blood cells and white blood cells (including cancer-fighting T-cells) to help fight disease and infection.

Studies like this one published in 1995 have shown that infants who have delayed cord clamping end up with 32% more blood volume than infants who have immediate cord clamping – without any increased risk of problems.

The main benefits of delayed cord clamping are:

  • Increased levels of iron
  • Lower risk of anaemia
  • Fewer transfusions
  • Fewer incidences of intraventricular haemorrhage.

A two-minute delay in cord clamping increased the child’s iron reserve by 27-47 mg of iron, which is equivalent to 1-2 months of an infant’s iron requirements. This could help to prevent iron deficiency from developing before 6 months of age.

Immediate cord clamping clearly reduces the amount of blood in the infant in terms of volume, blood cells, and iron content.   It would seem that premature clamping removes blood from the infant, that the infant was “destined” to receive absent the intervention of immediate cord clamping.

Let the wonderful Penny Simkin explain it to you:

For more information:

http://academicobgyn.com/2009/12/03/delayed-cord-clamping-should-be-standard-practice-in-obstetrics/

http://academicobgyn.com/2011/12/14/an-update-on-delayed-cord-clamping-and-thoughts-on-internet-expertise/

http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/cord-clamping-delaying-cord-clamping#.Uri-G_1SFol

Eating dates in your last 4 weeks of pregnancy can make a HUGE difference!

This is something that I mention often in my prenatal yoga classes:Unknown
Eating 6 dates daily for the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy can significantly reduce the chance of induction and augmentation, lessen laboring time and much more!
  • Cervical dilation was significantly greater in the date-eating mamas upon arrival at the hospital
  • 83% of mothers who consumed dates had their membranes intact upon admission at the hospital
  • 96% of the women who ate dates went into labor on their own
  • Use of Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin) was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit mothers (47%)
  • The latent phase of the first stage of labor was almost 7 hours shorter in the date-eating mothers compared with the non-date fruit eaters (510 min vs 906 min)

Here are the studies and information to back me up on this….

Food for thought ~ literally 

http://thepeacefulbirthproject.org/2013/10/ancient-wisdom-and-research-agree-amazing-fruit-eases-labor-and-prevents-postpartum-hemorrhage/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989