Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The First Forty Days
Heng Ou

reviewed by LLL Leader Jennifer Stover

Not all wonderful books will appear in the International League's recommended book list. This book was published in 2016 and is too new to have completed the LLL evaluation process. But I can tell you it aligns beautifully with League's views on the postpartum period. It is a LLL New Baby at Home meeting within the pages of a book. Leaders know cocooning, rest and nutrition is the name of the game if you want to be sure to bring in a full milk supply. All cultures around the globe have known this through the centuries. Taking care of the mother during this critical time in the life of the newborn ensures the infant's survival. The author weaves the ancient wisdom of China, embracing and supporting new parents, with the practicalities of modern American life. Chalk full of tips, recipes and insight into the physical, emotional, and energetic changes happening as pregnancy and birth are over and lactation begins. 

It is broken down into helpful sections. These are the 4 sections I found the most helpful. The Gathering gives you comprehensive lists of what to do to prepare for life after birth. The Gateway divides the postpartum time into 4 phases, each with a unique tone and therefor support needs. Filling Your Cup gives general ideas about the categories of foods you need to consume and why. The last 100 pages are all delicious looking recipes! This book makes it so simple to ask for the help you need.

An ideal gift for a pregnant friend. A must read for your partner so he or she can understand and help you prepare your pantry and your life. Perfect to loan to friends and family BEFORE baby arrives; especially if they plan on helping during your postpartum days. Growing into parenthood doesn't happen over night. It is an unfolding over the first days and weeks. This book will help you get your feet underneath you as you set off on your nurturing at the breast adventure. 

Quotes I Love

"Nourishment is more than a bowl of soup: It is the sensation of being cherished and sustained. It comes from the way you feel inside your home, or the way an intimate friend sees and hears you fully. But it starts with a bowl of soup, because that is the simplest and most satisfying way for your cup to be filled."

"This gentle retreat-claiming the right to draw your world closer around you for a while and stay home to cocoon with baby instead of venturing out-is the first insight of the first forty days. It is a sacred act of self-care and preservation that allows you to be raw and exposed-literally and metaphorically."

"Food feeds the cells and fills the senses, and it also nourishes the vulnerable and hidden parts of ourselves that may be crying out for encouragement and comfort"

"And you've probably experienced more exhaustion, more frustration, and more love than any other woman on earth. Except for that mother over there. And that one over there. And that one..."

"For the new mother, this meant meals rich in iron to rebuild blood, protein to repair tissues and support hormones, fatty acids to enrich breast milk, vitamins and antioxidants to speed tissue healing, and therapeutic herbs and spices to counter inflammation or boost milk flow, if needed."

"No book or healer can tell you more than your own body can. So, rather than following strict rules, use gentle recipes, designed to be low in gas-forming compounds, and focus on baby and notice how he reacts after certain meals."

"When it comes to filling your cup, it's all about the bowl."

"Forty days of care today, is thought to lead to forty years of vital womanhood tomorrow."

Support a local mother owned business.
Buy this book at Len Collective in SLO.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Your Fexible Pelvis

Yesterday this flexible pelvis model arrived. It got me thinking.

Imagine you are in a dark cave. The only way out is through this opening...

At first the walls of the opening appear to be rigid, like stone. But what if they are not?...

What if there are places in the walls of the cave that will move, that can flex and shift if you push against them?

What if someone on the outside of the cave could help you by actively moving these pieces changing the shape and size of the passageway you are trying to squeeze through? What if?...

We are looking through the bony cave that your baby will fit through. We are looking at it from the direction of the top of your baby's head, from above your pelvis, rather than the direction midwives and doctors look at it, from below. At the bottom of the picture is the sacrum bone. The two illia, or hip bones attach to the sacrum and create the sides and front. They wrap around and meet each other at the pubic symphysis  joint at the top of the photo.

Here is the same pelvis from the side. Notice the angle of the sacrum pointing down with the tail bone the sharper point at the very bottom. My hand is holding the pubic synthesis. Notice the shape of the opening in each of the photos.

Now let's go back to our cave with the flexible walls. Bones aren't flexible right? Well actually bones have more flex than we imagine. They are living tissue. When they are alive, versus hanging in a skeleton, they have more ability to move. Plus there are joints! Your pelvis has 4 joints; the pubic symphysis at the front, 2 sacroiliac joints at the back, and the joint between the sacrum and tailbone. All of these should be able to move or shift. Your baby can move them by pushing against them and YOU can move them by activating certain muscles and deactivating others. Certain body positions can either allow or enhance this movement.

Let's look at the shape of our cave if we move the sacrum in at the top and out at the tailbone end.

Wow there is a lot less space at the top, the inlet of the pelvis. The cave just got really tight if I am just beginning to wriggle through but...

Look what happened at the opening at the outlet of the cave! Way more room.

Now let's see what happens to the shapes if we move the sacrum backward at the top. Or our pelvic floor muscles are pulling the bottom third of our sacrum and our tailbone forward.

It is a little hard to see in this photo but the distance from pubic symphysis to top third of sacrum is much longer. So the bone moved out of the way of baby getting INTO the cave but what happened to the outlet of the cave?...

YIKES! That's going to be one tight fit.

In actuality my "flexible" pelvis model isn't nearly as flexible as YOUR pelvis. Your sacrum doesn't just tilt forward and back. The whole sacrum can also shift left and right. It can tip left or right pointing your tailbone either left or right. It can also rotate or tilt taking one side closer to your pubic symphysis and the opposite side further away. To learn more about the mother/baby birth bone dance  and how Moving Toward Ease sessions can help prepare your pelvis to move during birth visit my Moving Toward Ease page.