The Purest Form of Pelvic Health

Now that we have a newborn in the house again, this means DIAPERS...

With our daughter we cloth diapered. So we decided to cloth diaper again.

But what I learned when my daughter was a babe is what I believe to be the purest form of pelvic health, called elimination communication.

Elimination communication is following your babe's verbal and physical cues when they need to go to the bathroom.

You've all heard a babe grunting or a toddler hide in the corner when they poop. These are less subtle than the noises they make when they need to pee. But it is the way your child expresses his needs. Just like the different cries for being hungry, tired or wet.

So elimination communication is essentially respecting your babe's needs by listening and following their cues for bladder and bowel control. Thus establishing the earliest pelvic health habit.

It is an incredible feeling to have your babe smile up at you after they have finished pooping on the toilet!

Since we were successful with our daughter, we decided to give it a go again with our son. The first week he was born, I pulled out our little potty bowl and followed the same steps I did with my daughter.

After every nursing session I would wait about 5-10 minutes then offer him the potty bowl and cue by saying "psssss" or grunting. My verbal cues re-enforced his cues and eventually he was becoming more vocal when he needed to pee or poo.

Once we had established I would listen to his needs, I now ask him if he needs to go both verbally and with sign language. Then based on his response or the timing of when he went last I bring him to the toilet, holding him in a secure squat position.

I believe that listening and following your babes cues, just like with feedings, you're showing them they are respected and teach them they know their body.

This creates a good habit of communication, since they can't get to the toilet on their own, and helps establish good bladder and bowel control and hygiene.

In other countries this is the norm. Diapers are not used very often if at all and babes are "toilet trained" in infancy, by listening to the infants own cues.

Elimination communication is not for everyone. And we are not as hard core as I could be. But I strongly believe both my children have better toileting habits for it. My daughter has never been constipated, even when she began solid foods. My son already has a regular bowel movement routine, which he established himself!

Yes, there were many hard times with my daughter, especially when our routine was thrown off by a milestone or a trip. But it was well worth it!

I bring the same compassion and devotion to your care.

  • I listen.
  • I observe.
  • I communicate.
  • I work with you to build your body confidence.
  • I empower you to connect with your body again on a deeper level.
  • I expand your knowledge about your health.
  • I support you through flare ups and set backs
  • I help you establish habits that create long term pelvic health

So I begin another elimination communication journey, or the earliest stages of pelvic health and wellness, with my babe.

How can I help you?

Top 5 Activities For New Moms for a Seacoast Mother's Day

As a new mom, most of us put ourselves last in line for everything.

And even though I believe moms should be celebrated every day (because really none of us would be here without a mom), we should at least take advantage of the one day a year that is named after us.

So in recognition of Mother's Day I put together a list of the top 5 activities to do on the Seacoast for Mother's Day.

Go to the Beach

Even though the weather has been on the chillier side these past few weeks... where did those nice warm days go? Heading over the beach is a great way to spend the day.

You can do this by yourself to reflect or take a breather (or a nap in the car, I won't tell anyone). Or you can bring your loved ones along and enjoy watching your little one play in the sand or snuggle up with you on a blanket while you breath in the fresh salty air and (hopefully) the sun.

Here's a list.

Have Brunch

You can either do this in bed (just like your little one does all the time) or enjoy an outing to one of the many great restaurants we have on the Seacoast.

Doing brunch instead of breakfast gives you time to get out the door without rushing and you should be able to time it around naps!

Here's just a few options.

Mom's Night Out

This one would actually take place before mother's day, but bare with me.  We have an amazing birth community on the Seacoast and they are putting on the play, BIRTH.

So call up or text your other mom friends or that new mom you just met on your walk and invite her to a night out.  Leave the babe home with your partner and enjoy an evening free of spit up and changing diapers.

Learn more about the play here.

Go for a Hike

Going up to hike the Whites or over to Blue Jobe may be a bit much for you right now, but there are some really pretty hikes around the Seacoast that are relatively flat and can be done with a newborn.

Head over to Portsmouth Forestry Center, Ordione State Park, Wagon Hill Farm, Vaughan Woods, Great Bay Discovery Center just to name a few.

Some of these locations also offer more than just a hike, including playgrounds, water access, indoor exploration and restrooms.

And because I'm also a realist (as a mom of an almost 3 year old)...

Hanging out At Home

Sometimes the best thing to do on mother's day is to send out the family and have some peace and quite at home.  Then you can take a bath, with dare I say candles, and a nice body soak. Actually shave and maybe even read a book while absorbing the sweat smells and releasing tension without the interruption of a crying babe or screaming child. Then maybe you can pamper yourself with a little nail painting or a nap!

Just whatever you do, don't do housework (unless you enjoy cleaning and would really like to without the interruption of a little one, then have at it!)

Enjoy your Mother's Day mamas and as always, if you can't enjoy any of these activities because of pain or pelvic floor issues...you know who to call!

 

Benefits of Mindful Movement while Caring For Baby

You've had a baby, your body is recovering and sore, you're sleep deprived, you're trying to figure out feeding...

So what now?

The best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.

What do I mean by this?

After birth we are recovering from hormone changes, weakened muscles, possible birth injury, cesarean restrictions and much more. Your recovery is highly influenced by many factors, such as daily habits, posture and movement patterns during regular activity.

While you are healing you're asking your body to work in a weakened state, which can cause altered posture, body mechanics and movement patterns. These alterations can cause soreness, pain, and long term changes to the soft tissue and joints, especially in your pelvis and spine.

Being more mindful of how you are moving and holding yourself while healing from birth will aid in your recovery and help you take care of baby.

I've created a list for you to better understand the importance of being aware while taking care of baby.

BENEFITS OF GOOD BODY MECHANICS WITH BABY

  1. You can prevent undue muscle soreness
  2. You can prevent back (upper, mid and lower) and pelvic pain
  3. You sleep better
  4. Your muscles and soft tissue are less strained
  5. Your joints move in proper position and with more ease
  6. You put less pressure into the pelvis preventing pelvic floor dysfunction...like peeing your pants and prolapse!
  7. You provide better nutrition to your muscles, soft tissue and joints for healing
  8. You set yourself up for life long positive pelvic and spine health
  9. You allow your muscles to work when they are meant to and rest when they are meant to
  10. You are more mindful of your body
  11. You can safely get back to the activities you love
  12. You improve your nutritious movement (coined by Katy Bowen)
  13. You reduce your risk of post partum depression
  14. You reduce your risk of spine or pelvic injury
  15. YOU JUST FEEL BETTER!!!

So there you have it, a list of benefits to paying attention to your posture and how you move your body while taking care of baby. I'm sure there are so many more benefits, so if you think of more let me know!!!

It is so important to start early to establish good movement habits rather than needing to change bad ones that are already causing pain and dysfunction.

Check out this video for a quick tip on lifting baby!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwsFaVPH8w8

 

All of us can use a little help, so reach out, as for it. After birth it's hard for many of us to feel what our bodies are doing, our body awareness is reduced, our body may not be responding the way we anticipate or we're just too tired. So having another person who is trained in postnatal body mechanics watch your movement patterns and posture can be a game changer!

 

 

 

 

Childcare During the First Year

I listened to this story as I drove to pick up my daughter from an amazing childcare center on her first day in the preschool room. As I sat down to share it on Facebook I realized I had more to say on the topic than a quick link.

 

Our family has only been at our childcare center for 6 months. I knew when M was born I did not want to return to work full time and we made the decision I would stay home with her for as much as possible until she started Kindergarten. For financial reasons I returned to work per diem, one day a week when she was 4 months old and her daddy stayed with her until we found an amazing nanny who cared for her from 6 months until the summer she turned 1. We were then fortunate to have a friend care for her until she was 2 years old, when I increased my work days to 2 as I was starting my own practice.

I knew when M was born I did not want to return to work full time and we made the decision I would stay home with her for as much as possible until she started Kindergarten.

We felt confident as we approached her first birthday she and we were ready to enter into the childcare scene; to increase her kid exposure and to socialize beyond our smaller play groups. Though to this day I still feel I am in a rat race to drop off and pick up in a small window that fits with my work schedule; and there is a guilt of leaving her for a full day.  Even though she is LOVING it!!

As I listened to this story my heart ached for those families who couldn't find childcare for their infants. Or found childcare but in the end workers put her infant's safety at risk.

I think the problem in this country is not that there isn't enough childcare, but our capitalist country expects parents to return to work within the first year of our babies lives when many of us are not ready to give up this precious time of bonding and figuring out how to be parents.

We are expected to all healed by 6 weeks, to have our parenting skilled rock solid and be emotionally stable to hand off our precious new bundles and return to work ready to give 100%.

I can tell you I was a mess the first day I returned to work and my husband was the one home with her. But as a nursing mom, I felt I was abandoning our daughter, especially since she was not keen about a bottle.

So the real issue is not if there is enough, quality child care for infants but that families should not have to rely on outside sources of child care for the first year of our child's life because mothers and fathers should be given a full year of maternity/paternity leave.

This provides the family time to bond, learn how each other works...because let's face it infants change every day...and get into a good rhythm.  It also gives moms time to focus on nourishing not only the baby but herself, which we tend to put off. Time away from work outside the home, we can focus on our health, the health of our baby and new family  rather than "am I being productive enough," "I'm not producing enough milk," "I can't get the time off to stay home with my sick child," etc.

This provides the family time to bond, learn how each other works...because let's face it infants change every day...and get into a good rhythm.

My family was fortunate that we were able to keep our financial burden low enough that we could live on one income and are still living on a reduced income as I work part time and only get paid when patients come to see me.

This is not the case for so many families across America, who have to return to work to survive.  But I believe by switching our focus on not having enough licensed child care centers, which is a short term mindset to companies being mandated to provide 1 year leave, without the risk of losing your position, could reduce so many problems we face as a society.

As mammals, we were born to do one thing, continue our lineage. So lets support our first "job" and demand better maternity & paternity leave!

Reflections of a Mom

As I sit here during the post bed time quite I reflect on the past two days.  When I dropped my daughter off at day care yesterday I was called half an hour later asking for me to pick her up as they suspected she had conjunctivitis.  After a quick convo with my husband who was already at work I reversed direction and picked our daughter up, while leaving a message with our pediatrician to schedule an appointment.

My first thought was how did we miss this, since I was just with her. And I felt like a terrible mom, but at the same time I realized I had no reservations about canceling all my patients that day to be with my little girl when she was sick.

Don't get me wrong, I love my patients, and do all that I can for them. But my daughter will always be my number one patient when she is sick.

In this moment of clarity I was reminded of my "Why".  Why I decided to go out on my own and be a private practice owner.

To be able to be home with my daughter while providing the services I love.

So when it was suggested today that the antibiotics she was on may be the wrong medication because the symptoms had returned I was disheartened.  In an age when strains of bacteria are becoming more resistant, I am not one to keep guessing which antibiotic will work. Because that is what it feels like so many times in the medical world.  You go into the doctors and they prescribe medication even before doing any testing or even examining you. Luckily for the most part practitioners use knowledge from anecdotal evidence and best practices so most guesses turn out to be right.

Don't get me wrong, some of my best treatments are based on guesses.... I like to call them hunches or gut reactions... that are fueled by my experience and knowledge of the body.

But when there are alternatives to western medicine that have proven to work, why not use them?  So now I will be going with my gut and using a tincture of water, honey and salt, to use those wonderful antibacterial and anti fungal properties of honey.

I also recommend the use of honey to my moms for perineum care after birth.

This clarity made me realize more of my "why."  I believe in finding alternatives to the explanations or lack there of, moms receive from their OBs when confronted with the changes we face during pregnancy and after birth. Especially to provide hope to those who are told your pregnancy pain is normal, there is nothing that can be done for mastitis except antibiotics, just live with peeing your pains after birth or keep trying to have sex, it'll get better.

I'm not willing to let my daughter grow up into a medical system where a women's body is not respected or revered during pregnancy, delivery and after birth.  This country is far behind others in this respect and I'm going to use my love for my daughter and my passion for maternal care bring our medical system up to date one expecting mom at a time, because as a physical therapist I would consider myself one of the best providers to be seen during this most special time because of all the physical changes that happen to our bodies.

If you have a daughter, sister, best friend who you want to see have the best maternal care possible please share.  The more we are able to spread the word that we demand more time to heal, better education around the changes that occur and more instruction on how to take care of our bodies during pregnancy and after birth the medical world will start to take notice.

By doing this we can significantly reduce many issues that women have to deal with later in life and help generations of moms to come.

All it takes is one voice to start the conversation, so consider it started.