Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Yesterday he had a really uncomfortable time of it which culminated in him slapping his cheeks with both hands, clearly letting me know what was going on!
Instead of rushing for the pills and potions I bought him a length liquorice root, that is, liquorice in it's natural form.
Liquorice seems to work as it cools and numbs the gums.
Also when Kaya was about 4 months old, the time when teething begins for most babies, I was advised by my local healthfood shop to get him a piece of iris root. He seemed to like it. Chewing on the soft wood of the iris root has been known since ages to be soothing and helps the teeth break through naturally.
Here are some other ways to help your child through this natural process
Amber Teething necklaces
Natural Baltic Amber is used for relief from inflammation, fever and pain and is commonly used in European countries to relieve teething pain in infants. Whilst there are various types of Amber jewellery on the market, the only form suitable for a teething necklace is Baltic Amber. This amber can only be found close to the Baltic Sea and is the only one that contains Succinic Acid. Succinic Acid is the compound that relieves the pain and fever of teething. A natural analgesic, Baltic Amber will have a calming and soothing effect on a baby without resorting to over the counter drugs and remedies during teething. An amber teething necklace is not designed to be chewed on by a baby! When a baby is teething and the amber teething necklace is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth releases oils from the amber (a resin) which are absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream. Unlike teething gels, powders or pain relief syrups, the traditional beaded amber necklaces imported from the Baltic region are a less intrusive remedy for teething pain and side effects of teething, such as drooling, lack of appetite, upset tummies, ear ache, fevers and colds. Ambers anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are also recognized by allopathic medicine.
Massage your baby's gums
Teething pain is caused by the pressure of the new tooth pushing up through the gum. By putting gentle pressure on the gum, the pressure and pain caused by the new tooth can be alleviated. You can massage your baby's gums gently with your finger, which will not only relieve the pain, but will also improve circulation of blood in the gums which helps the new tooth to push through. You can try using a small amount of clove oil on you finger as you massage your baby's sore gums as this can have a numbing effect on the gums. Carefully limit the amount of clove oil you use, as to much can upset your baby's stomach.
Why not to use painkilling medicines and teething gels
I have never and will never use painkilling medicine and teething gels on my baby's gums for the following reasons.
Teething gels contain a range of chemicals that although in the short term can assist with teething discomfort it is thought that the actual relief comes from massaging the gums and not the gels themselves. Most gels contain a mixture of chemicals such as lignocaine, tannic acid, menthol, thymol and glycerol, and in some cases up to 40% ethanol!
If you are breastfeeding the teething gel can numb the tongue of your baby making it difficult to breastfeed.
In the case of fever associated with teething I have never resorted to medication which would lower the temperature, that includes any time either of my children have had high temperatures. This is because the unnatural lowering of the body's temperature goes against nature, the high temperature is there for a reason! I would like to add here that I have not been in a position where my children and ever had a raging temperature for a prolonged period of time.
When there has been some signs of fever like Kaya and his teething yesterday I simply breastfed him, if he allowed me,(it is unheard of for him to not want to be breastfed), if not, just holding him close, singing his favourite tune or his favourite past time at the minute is watching the birds out of the window. I've always got the liquorice root and iris root at hand
Hope this helps and most importantly, don't panic! Remember we went through it....and just like child birth it's one of the most natural processes, so hand's off and let nature do its job.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
As a mother I feel it is my duty to pass on to my children the true knowledge so they can grow up in touch with their intuition and deeper selves and not be too concerned or caught up with external things. I can only do this if I myself am in touch with my own true nature which at times I am but frequently find myself being caught up in my head with trivialities. Children don't allow space for triviality, they only want to know the real. What a journey we embark on when we become parents.
There's no more to say only if there's one book every woman should read it's this one. The gifts of wisdom are on every page. Don't we all love spontaneity, when just when we most need it the right person, book, poem comes along to inspire us once again and keep us moving along the right path.
What is Elimination Communication?
Parents carry their babies before they can walk. Mothers help their baby to the breast before they can lift our shirts and self-serve. We help babies get to sleep when they are tired until they are old enough to do this unassisted. With Elimination Communication we are simply helping the baby to eliminate, just as we do, into a receptacle and not into their clothing until such time as they are capable of using a toilet independently. When a baby is never trained to use a nappy or taught to ignore the body’s signals that tell them they need to eliminate, they never have to learn to use a potty or re-recognise their body’s urges at a later date.
We are commonly told by doctors, child health experts and other parents that children develop bladder and bowel control between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. We also assume that babies are unaware of the sensation of having the need to eliminate before this age. Human knowledge of anatomy and physiology reveals both of these beliefs to be misconceptions. Not a new practice; the use of EC has been the norm in many non-western cultures for centuries and is still widely practised today.
We know that babies have bladder and sphincter control from birth. All mammals, including the human newborn, instinctively avoid soiling their nest and will follow the lead of their parents as to what is expected of them to achieve this. All babies are born capable of feeling the need to eliminate and if consistently given the opportunity, can easily learn to communicate to us when they need to eliminate as well as understand when we would like them to eliminate.
In contrast to toilet training, Elimination Communication is primarily about parent training. A close bond between baby and primary carer is essential as the adult must learn to recognise when baby needs to “go” through timing (regular elimination patterns), baby’s cues (body language) and intuition. For this reason, it is consistent with Attachment Parenting as the parent and child are in-tune with each other. This is achieved by being rarely separated, co-sleeping, baby-wearing and parenting instinctively and responsively.
Different parents approach EC differently but a common factor is the adult teaching the child a cueing sound (e.g. “ssss”). When the baby is newborn, the parent makes the cueing sound as baby eliminates and baby soon learns to associate this with elimination. Once this cueing sound has been learnt by the child, the parent can hold their baby over a suitable receptacle and ask the child to eliminate by making the cueing sound.
In time, babies learn how to clearly communicate to their parent their need to eliminate through their body language, baby talk or in some cases by using a hand signal that they have been taught or have invented on their own. Most ECed babies clearly signal either a full bladder or bowel from around 3-4 months onwards and are able to wait long enough for their carer to get them to an appropriate spot to eliminate.
Parents practising Elimination Communication might occasionally use a nappy as back up e.g. for long car trips or when baby is ill with diarrhoea. Some parents choose to EC part-time, perhaps during the day using a nappy only at night or perhaps only when at home. The human body in any healthy person excretes an anti-diuretic hormone during sleep which lessens the need to eliminate during sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, with the exception of people with medical conditions, humans don’t eliminate in their sleep but become semi-conscious when they need to eliminate. The mother who co-sleeps with her child and who is in tune with her baby can awaken to their stirring as they come out of deeper sleep and can respond to their baby’s elimination signals.
What are the advantages of Elimination Communication?
AVOIDING NAPPY CHANGES!
The most obvious benefit is avoiding the time and effort involved in frequently changing wet nappies and the sometimes unpleasant task of dealing with soiled nappies. This is a boon for me who started out as a mum wothout a washing machine and now manages using a twin tub which is very time consuming(see my very first post about off grid washing) It is much easier and generally quicker to take a child of any age to the toilet than it is to change their nappy. Avoiding using nappies means that there is no need to pack a nappy bag and lug it about whenever out of the home.
Elimination Communication is the cleanest choice for the environment
Disposable nappies and the plastic bags they are usually wrapped in once dirty are a major contributor to landfill. For those environmentally conscious parents who choose cloth over disposable nappies, ECing saves the environmental cost of nappy production plus the extra laundry detergent and water involved with washing 6 to 12 reusable nappies per child daily, nappy covers and soiled clothes from nappy “blowouts”.
With Elimination Communication we avoid the financial cost involved in both the initial purchase of the nappies plus all the other nappy changing essentials such as change mat, baby wipes, creams and nappy liners. For users of cloth nappies as well as the initial outlay there is the associated costs of laundry powder and running the washing machine which can add up over the years. Clothes fit for longer without the bulk of a nappy.
EC is the healthiest choice for babies
There is no doubt that EC is kindest to babies’ delicate skin. A baby in nappies will have them next to their skin almost continually for many years which can lead to irritations. With disposables there is the issue of chemicals used in the production and in the absorbent gel which can enter a baby’s bloodstream and in the case of girls get into their vagina. With cloth there is the constant issue of keeping baby dry so they are more comfortable and sleep better. With both cloth and disposable nappies there is the age old problem of nappy-rash which can be painful and difficult to clear up. An ECed baby will never have nappy rash and ECing parents will never have to purchase nappy rash salves or preventative barrier creams. Elimination Communication reduces the risk of UTI’ and constipation plus enables parents to take closer note of baby’s elimination patterns to develop a better sense of a child’s digestive system and potentially react to allergens more quickly.
Elimination Communication supports positive child development
EC is considered to be the approach to toileting that optimises healthy sexual development. A baby who is constantly wearing a nappy becomes to an extent desensitised to that area of the body and can’t get in touch with their bodies uninhibited by a nappy. EC respects babies’ abilities to communicate their needs from birth which builds the baby’s self-confidence. Older siblings can be involved in the EC process thereby reducing rivalry and also helping them to develop healthy attitudes about bodily functions.
Elimination Communication leads to enhanced bonding
Perhaps most importantly, the development of a trusting relationship between the parent and the child is enhanced through communication about a basic human need. Baby feels more secure: “Mummy and Daddy listen to what I am saying and respond to my needs.” Parents learn to trust their instincts through accurately reading their baby’s body language building their confidence in their parenting ability. They have an additional parenting tool under their belt because they understand that a baby may be crying due to the need to eliminate and can therefore respond in the appropriate way.
What happens when a nappy free baby is old enough to use the toilet?
Achieving toilet independence for nappy free babies means a gradual transition from needing help to confidently using the toilet on their own. One big advantage for families is that many children are dry at night from around 12 months of age and have achieved complete toilet independence by 14 months. However, while early independence is common with ECed babies due to their increased awareness of their bodily functions, that is never the aim and indeed some ECed babies are independent from an age that might be considered late.
While the focus of being nappy free is primarily on being responsive to our babies and respecting their awareness of their elimination needs and ability to communicate those needs from an early age, the benefits to the whole family as well as to society are many.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I firmly believe it is a myth, a very recent one at that, that babies should be in nappies for say at least 3 years, some perhaps less some of course much longer. Why is that? And why is it that we presume that if our baby girl was nappy free by 3 there's no way our baby boy will be nappy free earlier as, "it always takes longer for a boy to do everything!" Well that's just pure conditioning. Our culture has done a good job of making us believe many things that we should do in our lives to make the whole system tick along nicely for those at the top. Unfortunately we're carrying these values over to our parenting and therefore passing on our conditionings to our children.
I'm a great advocate of the continuum style of parenting, ie no prams/pushchairs, cots, contraptions, even nappies!
I did dabble with the EC(Elimination Communication, see next post for more info) method for a few days when Kaya was first born. It was pretty messy so did opt for the organic cotton and bamboo nappies with woollen overpants after that.
Why is it though that all women in say Africa know instinctively when their babies are going to pee or poo? Of course the warm climate helps so they only have a simple covering on the baby's body but it's mainly because they're in constant contact with the baby and as well as feeling a physical tensing in the baby's body which let's them know they're just about to go, they haven't lost the knowledge, an innate knowledge which involves being totally in tune with our children from day one.
Gwendoline who's now 3 was totally nappy free by 2. Shortly after her first birthday a friend visited and left us her daughter's potty so there it was from then on and we'd let Gwendoline wander around bare-bottomed most of the time. There was certainly plenty of cleaning up to do but no big deal with tile floors. By 20 months the only time she wore a nappy was if we were going out not even in bed(yes, a few accidents in the bed too but It was worth it.) A nappy free 2 year old is almost unheard of in this day and age.
Kaya who has just turned 1 is allowed to be bare bottomed even more (and younger) than Gwendoline. He has about half his wees in a potty. Now that saves me a lot of washing! And imagine if I'd been using disposables with either of my 2 how much waste that would have saved! All of the nappy companies are making a fortune having us believe our children need to use nappies for longer than they have to, if at all! Ok maybe that is a bit much to imagine in this climate but it's worth considering.
We have to start considering all the possibilities in all the areas of raising our children instead of just doing what is the done thing. Let's bring about some real change for a better future for our children.
Friday, March 19, 2010
This system teaches maintenance and protection of the whole person (mind, body and soul). Ayurvedic medicine is based on an individual's characteristics and body frame rather than oriented toward treating disease or sickness.
Each of us are made up of a combination of the three types of Dosha. The three Doshas are comprised of these five universal elements:
Vata is a combination of air and space.
Pitta is mostly fire with some water.
Kapha is mostly water with some earth.
Although there are only three Doshas, they can be combined in ten possible ways to arrive at ten different body and behavioural types:
3 single Dosha types
6 double Dosha types
1 tridosha type
If you're interested in finding out your constitution i.e. your combination of the 3 Doshas you can use the following link to complete a short questionnaire.
However, the most reliable way to discover your Dosha type is to visit an Ayurvedic Doctor, who by simply taking your pulse can ascertain it.
The single Dosha type:
Vata Pitta Kapha
If one Dosha is much higher than the others, you are a single-Dosha type. A true single - Dosha type displays the traits of Vata, Pitta or Kapha very prominently. Your next highest Dosha will still show some influence in your natural tendencies but to a much lesser degree.
The two Dosha type:
Vata - Pitta or Pitta - Vata Pitta - Kapha or Kapha - Pitta Kapha - Vata or Vata - Kapha
If no Dosha is extremely dominate, you are a two-Dosha type. This means that you display qualities of your two leading Doshas, either side by side or in alternation. The higher one comes first in your body type, but both count.
Most people are two - Dosha types. In some, the first Dosha is very strong which would qualify them as a single-Dosha type except for the prominence of another Dosha. In other cases, the difference is smaller, the first Dosha still predominates, but the second will be almost equal. And in still others, one Dosha will stand out but the other two are exactly tied. They are probably still a two-Dosha type, but the written test did not pick up the second Dosha. If your score is like this, pay attention to the first Dosha as your dominant one, and with time the second will become more clear.
The three Dosha type:
Vata - Pitta - Kapha
If your three scores are nearly equal, you are a three-dosha type. This type is considered rare, however.
Interpreting body types
Your body type is the mould you were cast in and is genetic, it is inherited at birth. Knowledge of your body type enables you to evolve to a more ideal state of health. Understanding it's corresponding behavioural characteristics gives you a better appreciation for the inherent behavioural traits and instincts that you display so easily, without thinking. To grasp hold of yourself and attempt to develop a life of balance, the way you approach the world through your thoughts may be more important than even your body type. Everything you create in your life first starts out as a thought and even your body follows the directions of these same thoughts.
The pure Vata type
Light, thin build. Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget . Performs activity quickly. Tendency to worry . Irregular hunger and digestion . Tendency toward constipation. Enthusiasm, vivaciousness, imagination . Tires easily, tendency to over exert. Excitability, changing moods. Mental and physical energy comes in bursts
The pure Pitta type
Medium build. Enterprising character, likes challenges. Medium strength and endurance . Sharp intellect . Sharp hunger and thirst, strong digestion. Precise, articulate speech. Tendency toward anger. Cannot skip meals. Irritability under stress. Blond, light brown or red hair . Fair or ruddy skin, often freckled (or reddish undertones)
The pure Kapha type
Solid, powerful build. Slow to grasp new information. Good physical strength and endurance. Good retentive memory. Steady energy; slow and graceful. Tendency to obesity. Slow digestion, mild hunger. Tranquil, relaxed personality; slow to anger. Affectionate, tolerant, forgiving . Cool, smooth, thick, oily and often pale skin. Tendency to be possessive . Complacent.
Overall well-being and striving for longevity depends on keeping your doshas balanced. Any imbalance among the tridoshas causes a state of unhealthiness or disease. Factors that can bring about balance of the tridoshas are diet, exercise, good digestion, and elimination of toxins.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I only started taking a teaspoon of the organic, Indian grown, powdered herb, 3 times a day a few months ago, when Kaya my second born was 3 months old. I was feeling quite exhausted from breastfeeding and keeping up my usual level of activity.
Almost immediately I noticed, not only an increase in my energy levels but that my energy level became more consistent. It's something I've always had trouble with and it's not a commodity you can be short of with two children under 3 demanding all of your attention!
I was recommended to mix the organic powder with some organic, ground ginger then add it to hot milk(it can be any milk ie normal cow's, soya, rice, oat, goat's etc) or even just water. Also, depending on your Dosha(see next post for defintion) you can then add extra herbs such as cinnamon, cloves, even a touch of nutmeg. It makes a delicious, soothing and grounding drink which I positively look forward to three times a day. The grounding benefits being of great importance to my Vata tendencies(see next post).
I first came across it in Mysore, Karnataka, Southern India in 2004 and even took some back home to England for my sister who had just given birth. So yes, a shame maybe that I didn't remember about it before becoming pregnant in the summer of 2006 but thank the Indian gods that I remembered it now.
Shatavari is actually considered to be the most helpful herb for women as it overall helps in balancing the female hormonal system. The main herbal rejuvenative for women Shatavari totally nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs causing it to be very effective in enhancing her fertility. It nourishes the womb and ovum and almost prepares the female organs for pregnancy and prevents threatened miscarriage. It also improves super lactation. Shatavari contains the phyto-estrogens, the precursors of estrogen and is really very useful for women who suffer from low natural estrogen levels as a result of menopause, hysterectomies or oophorectomies.
Benefits of Shatavari
• Shatavari is exceedingly effective in improving fertility. It tones and nourishes female reproductive organs and greatly regulates ovulation
• Shatavari normalizes hormonal secretion
• Shatavari treats PMS symptoms just by relieving pain and controlling blood loss.
• Shatavari aids in proper lactation for nursing mothers
• Shatavari relieves the menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. By producing estrogens it overly makes up for low estrogen levels in women who are in menopausal or have had hysterectomies or oophorectomies
• Shatavari is highly beneficial in amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, leucorrhea and other pelvic inflammatory diseases.
• Shatavari increases the white blood count and almost stimulates macrophages which helps to combat candida.
Indications for taking Shatavari
Shatavari helps in treating for these disorder
• Irregularities in ovulation
• PMS symptoms such as those excessive bleeding, cramps, pain, bloating
• Menopausal and other post menopausal symptoms
• Reduced breast milk secretion in the nursing women
• Amenorrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Leucorrhea and pelvic inflammatory diseases
• Decrease in the libido
Botanical Name : ASPARAGUS RACEMOSUS Family Name : LILIACEAE Common Name : ASPARAGUS, WILD ASPARAGUS, ASPARAGUS ROOT, SHATAVARI Shatavari is in its a climbing plant which grows in low forests all through India . It is mostly the roots of the plant that are used for medicinal purposes. The roots are in nature bitter, sweet, emollient, cooling, nervine, tonic, constipating, opthalimic, anobyne, aphrodisiac. They are in character useful in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, and tumours, scalding of urine, throat infections, tuberclosis, cough bronchitis and for general debility. Shatavari increases the white blood count and stimulates greatly macrophages which helps to combat their candida. Shatavari also contains various bioflavinoids, and essential vitamin B components, and the essential elements of calcium and zinc
Shatavari in Ayurveda:
Shatavari has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like the Charak Samhita and Susruta Samhita, and Astanga Samgraha. Pandit Hem Raj Sharma and in the Kashyap Samhita, has evidently stated that shatavari promotes maternal health and noted its meticulous use as a galactagogue (enhances breast milk secretion in lactating mothers). Shatavari actually literally means "having a 100 spouses" and ayurvedic texts accurately claim that shatavari strengthens a woman to the point where she is being capable of producing thousands of healthy ova. Ayurveda has called Shatavari the Queen of herbs and is the primary herb recommended for female health. Among the three Ayurveda Doshas of 'Vata', 'Pitta' and 'Kapha' , Shatavari efficiently helps in balancing 'Pitta Dosha'. Shatavari's rasas are sweet "madhura" and also in nature bitter "tikta". It is a natural coolant.
Shatavari Research and Clinical Studies
Shatavari nourishes the overall female reproductive organs and prepares them for conception. It also prevents some miscarriages and is useful as a post partum tonic. A clinical study also performed in the Dept. of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Ayurveda Hospital, Nepal on The Effect of Shatavari in to Threatened Abortion and High Risk Pregnancy, showed a 90% of the mothers had successful, healthy pregnancies and deliveries when using the herb shatavari
In a study published in J.Post Grand Med, by Reg.N.N. et. al 1993, Shatavari was greatly shown to stimulate macrophages and thereby combat candida. Macrophages are immunity cells that greatly help to destroy harmful organisms and cancer cells.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I awoke at around 1am with what I thought was a pain from something I'd eaten!
By about 3am I knew it was definitly not something I'd eaten and called the midwife.
The pain to me wasn't pain, it was an intense sensation, which through the use of yogic breathing/postures and some experience of Vipassana meditation was able to handle on my own as I urged Neil to go back to sleep.
At around 8am we greeted Sinnead and she could see the birth was imminent.
Surely enough after taking it easy up the stairs, she told me I was fully dilated and ready to give birth. It all happened so quickly as I wasn't at all anxious and the atmosphere was calm.
I didn't really push Gwendoline out, more breathed her out. The moment her head crowned was certainly the most intense sensation of my life up to that point.
All of a sudden my waters broke her head appeared as did the rest of her body as Sinnead caught her, just!(She was in the middle of explaining to Neil what should happen, normally there would be a long pause between the head appearing and the rest of the body so almost dropped her!)
What a moment of exhiliration, at around 9.30 Gwendoline was on my tummy trying to suckle. Incredible! Nature knows exactly what to do if only we listened and allowed.
Here we are moments after her birth.
This is a great website!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
This brings me to what I believe to be the main reason why I forged ahead and did what I felt was right for me from the start. I simply didn't take on board any 'advice' from anyone and certainly didn't pay heed to any negativity coming my way. Which fortunately wasn't a lot due to our decision to move away from our family and hence our conditioning.
With only two meetings with Sinnead my pregnancy continued to be easy throughout which I put down to my keeping active(I'd taken my hand to hemp/lime plastering a week before Gwendoline's birth) and diet. I was and had been for 2 years, vegan. In order to keep my iron/protein and vitamin levels high I was eating a lot Dilisk(Dulse) which grows prolifically along the Atlantic coast
And so drew closer the birth of Gwendoline.
Due date was the 24th April, she decided to come on the morning of the 8th.
It was strange that on the day of the 7th Neil started to light bonfires all around the place. Here I am enjoying the one he lit in front of the cottage, little did I know I'd be holding my child in my arms only hours later, or did I?
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I have been truly blessed. I have two vibrant, happy and healthy children who came into the earthly world as nature intended, completely naturally.
In the summer of 2007 when I found out I was pregnant I had mixed feelings of joy - as no matter how much I tried i couldn't ignore the overwhelming urge in me to create - and uncertainty - as my partner, Neil, had always expressed he didn't want children.
However as we slowly got used to the idea and I positively bloomed in pregnancy, we started to arrange our lives in a way that we believed would be more suitable for raising children in the very volatile 21st century. Our wish to live naturally and as sustainably as possible started to unfold.
Again, being very blessed, we were in the process of selling the house of Neil's grandmother, Gwendoline, who had passed away at the end of 2001 and the timing was perfect. We'd decided to take a trip to East Clare a particularly beautiful corner of the 'Emerald Isle', also known as the Republic of Ireland. Within a few days we'd found a tiny, stone cottage in need of some love and a lot of work! We were in a very unique position of being able to buy the building which stood on a 1 acre strip of land with a mature fruit orchard surrounded by nothing but green. Heaven to the eyes of a geordie girl, being raised in the small, coal mining town of South Shields.