Jenn

Jan 312016
 

pestoWell, the friends of mine who are professional food bloggers will probably cringe at the recipe name. I think it’s perfect.

It seems this mama has “gone veg” again. I was a vegetarian for most of my life, and started eating it around the time Papa and I got together. Then pregnancy, kids, life, I kept it up because it was easy and convenient. Recently, probably not coincidentally coinciding with the new Hatha Yoga teacher training I’m taking, I decided now was the time. I’ve been practicing following my gut and my gut said, let’s go.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I am curious as to what effect, if any, this is going to have on my health. I don’t think vegetarianism is for everyone, and I also don’t think Paleo is, either. I’ve made this decision for reasons that are far from the possible health benefits of vegetarianism. As a meat eater, I actually felt quite healthy. What I do know about Ayurveda, is that with as much fire (Pitta) as I have, vegetarianism will probably be a good fit. So, here I am, a week back to it, feeling very good.

There is still meat in the house, but I don’t imagine myself cooking it every night anymore. This week, the rest of my family has eaten meat a few times, mostly on nights when Papa is in charge of supper. Tonight I made another quick vegetarian meal. It was so quick and so good that I wanted to share it here. Everyone had seconds!

Ingredients:
1-2 cups soaked and cooked beans (any kind, including chickpea would be great) a can is fine too!
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts (I’ve used walnuts before, they’re cheaper and very yummy)
A big bunch of parsley (you can sub with anything green, or even a mixture of different greens)
Good oil (I used avacado)Nutritional Yeast
Salt, pepper
Pasta of choice. We tend to use Quinoa a go-go’s gluten-free macaroni

How to:
Boil water for pasta
Meanwhile, wash greens, removing stems if applicable
Put peeled garlic cloves and nuts in food processor and whirl it around for a while
Add greens and continue to pulse until everything is chopped finely
Drizzle in your oil as the food processor is on. After a little while it will become creamy and look like store bought pesto!

When pasta is almost ready, add beans in the pot to quickly heat them.
Strain beans and pasta
Put oil in the pot and return pasta and beans to the pot, adding the pesto to coat the pasta and beans
Serve with Nutritional Yeast, Salt, pepper or chili flakes if that’s what you’re into.

Enjoy!

Jan 182016
 

This really isn't so bad, is it?In my prenatal yoga classes this week, the requested theme has been breastfeeding. It’s a topic, that up until now, I’ve shied away from bringing into the studio. Why? I guess it’s that I don’t want to be known as or thought of as one of “those women who push breastfeeding.”

What a touchy subject, eh? Why is something so normal and natural such a hot button issue? Lots of answers. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post. For anyone who knows me as a friend, blogger or yoga teacher, you probably know that I’ve been nursing for almost 5 years straight, nearly 3 of those years I’ve been nursing two kids. I hardly have any milk to speak of, because neither Babe nor Bug wake up at night to nurse anymore, and we spend hours apart every day. My attempts to wean Babe were a fail and I realized weaning her wasn’t a priority at all. Bug’s just going with it, nursing for like 30 seconds before he gets annoyed at the lack of milk and says “Goodnight, milky.” You might also know that my nursing journey was not an easy one. I look back and my mind is blown that Babe and I actually got it together. Here are a few archived posts about breastfeeding.

I didn’t expect to be nursing way beyond 2 years old. I didn’t expect to nurse through pregnancy or tandem nurse. Just a few examples of how we can’t really know what parenting will look like for us until we’re in the thick of it.

The reason I decided to get this post together is to encourage students and mamanaturale readers to dive into some research. Hopefully in or before pregnancy, not when it’s 4am and you’re crying because your baby is hungry and you have no idea what’s going on.

Things to research:
Risks of not breastfeeding  <– you can Google that. Not going to go on a “breast is best” rant, but know there are true risks for mother and child.
What is an IBCLC and where can I find one? If you live in the province of Quebec, here is a great link to find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. The woman at the hospital who comes to “help” you with nursing may not be a IBCLC and many people feel the help and advice they receive in the hospital leaves something to be desired. My experience was a very stressful one. The CLSC nurse that came to our house for a follow-up luckily was very knowledgeable and set us on our way to healing. With Babe, a local IBCLC named Deborah Van Wyck (514-605-6813 deborahvan.wyck@gmail.com) was a huge help. When we dealt with lip and tongue tie for Bug, we sought out advice from Jennifer Welch (514-296-8073 montrealibclc@gmail.com). Chantal Lavigne (514-947-1877) comes highly recommended too.

What is tongue tie? Super duper common, and one of the biggest reasons breastfeeding doesn’t go according to plan. Many if not most doctors do not know enough about this. If you think your child has tongue/lip tie, please find an IBCLC to help you. This can save breastfeeding.

Other resources:

Support
La Leche League: Meet with other moms at local meetings run by La Leche Leaders.
Nourri-Source: I was a volunteer with this beautiful mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group for a few years. You get hooked up with another nursing mother who has been through a good amount of training. If issues come up, you can phone her, and this support is often enough to get us through some seemingly difficult situations. No question is silly. I highly recommend contacting Nourri-Source while you’re pregnant just in case.Me! If you’re a yoga student of mine, call me! Seriously, I’ll do what I can to help and refer if it’s out of my scope!

Books
The Womanly art of Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
Sweet Sleep by La Leche League
Anything by Jack Newman

Websites
KellyMom.com SUCH an amazing resource for all questions breastfeeding related.
BreastfeedingInc.ca
The Leaky Boob (also a great Facebook community)

I hope some of this is helpful. I regularly receive emails from strangers and students on topics like this. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need anything.

Jan 132016
 
kira2
Mindful Moments for Kids by Kira Willey, is music to this children’s yoga teacher (and mama’s) ears!
The 30-track spoken word CD is not meant to be listened to all in one shot. Adults don’t have the attention span for that! The nature of the mid is to continue to wander, which is why so many of us feel that meditation is “hard.” It IS hard. All the more reason to practice. And that’s what this CD helps us do. The earlier we start, the “better” we’ll be at meditating as adults, right?
Kira’s one-minute mindfulness exercises can be done seated or standing, any time of day. There are pretty guitar interludes between the tracks, as sweet and soothing as Kira’s voice. The meditations are perfect for the classroom or at home use. They can also be helpful on long car rides. We had this CD with us on our trek to Southern Ontario over the holidays. I was so impressed with how long the kids sat still and listened. They followed meditation after meditation, especially Babe, who at 5 years old is already a seasoned yogini. At one point though, she did yell, “Okay! Ca suffit!” Like I said–not meant to listen to all 30 tracks in one go.
The official release of this CD is  January 15, 2016, and leading up to the release, Kira has been offering a free download at 10am. Kindness, is being offered right here, through mamanaturale for 24 hours as of 10am January 14. Here’s taste if you’re not yet sold.
“Take a long breath in and let it all the way out. Think of something kind you’ve done for someone. Maybe you helped someone in your family with something at home, or you helped a friend at school. How about something kind that someone else did for you? Maybe someone did a really nice thing for you recently. Think about how it made you feel…”
Kira Willey is the creator of Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids. Her albums (Dance for the Sun, Kings & Queens of the Forest, and How To Be a Cloud) have all won Parents’ Choice Awards and earned national acclaim.  In its 2015 Gold Award review of How To Be a Cloud, Parents’ Choice said Kira’s songs “nurture the ear, the mind and the heart.”
Kira’s hits include “Colors” (featured in a worldwide Dell advertising campaign in 2008) and “Roller Coaster,” which won the Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Song; both get regular national radio play. Willey is also the host of a yoga-for-kids series of interstitial programs airing on selected PBS TV affiliates nationwide. She has twice been a featured presenter at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington DC, leading sessions with hundreds of teachers.
Enjoy Kindness, and the whole CD!
 Posted by at 7:00 am
Jan 092016
 

fossilWe’re starting to get into the swing of things in 2016, which means Papa and I are back to work and the kids are more regularly at daycare. It also means we have to have family days on *gasp* the weekend. I was a little afraid to go out to the Biodome on a Saturday, but as a friend suggested it might be, it was actually quite calm. Sometimes the busiest days at Espace pour la Vie (Biodome, Insectarium, Botanical Gardens) are during the week when daycares and schools take over en masse.

This is because Espace pour la Vie isn’t just a run of the mill museum. There are all kinds of activities specifically for schools, and financial assistance is also available for schools in underprivileged areas.

We wind up at the Biodome pretty regularly, and as Babe takes more and more interest in life sciences, I can only imagine we’ll be back again soon. Until February 7 the Biodome is still in Tropical Adventure mode! This means two things:

capy2-eplv-martine-larose_0

Espace pour la vie (Martine Larose)

An adorable puppet show called Capy’s Big Day. Writer, director, designer and screenwriter Valérie Galarneau took her inspiration from the animals at the Biodome (obviously starring a capybara. We got a glimpse of the zoo’s real live capy as we passed through the rainforest section. While it kills me in the heat of summer, this is my favourite section. Takes me back to the time I spent in the Ecuadorian rain forest a few years ago. The show, geared toward 3-8 year olds–but enjoyable even for those of us who are a little older! is the story of  a capybara who decides he wants to be king of the forest now that he’s all grown up.

Also special at this time of year is Commander Macaw who greats everyone in the Tropical Adventure event. Visitors are invited to play and dress up in the “Beaks and Bandaids” rescue centre. They learn how to feed and care for the stuffed animals, just as though they were real ones.

mirrorWe spent a long time in an area we had never before discovered, the Fossil Affair, which included a 10,700 year old beluga skeleton. The exhibit is supposed to be for kids 6+, but Babe really did learn what a fossil is. There’s a quiz, where kids choose which 3 of the 5 objects are fossils and why, and she nailed it.

Another new area was this weird, dark maze of projections and mirrors. Papa said it was “a-maze-ing,” and we all agreed.

Jan 022016
 

eco8I’d have a hard time coming up with a more perfect place to walk around on a snowy New Year’s Eve Day.

We love the Ecomuseum at any time of year, but in the falling snow, it’s absolute magic. Read here for a more in-depth description of the park, which we visit as often as we can!

A few things have changed since we last visited. There’s a new cage for the eagles. The reindeer we saw last year had a new baby. Sven’s antlers aren’t new, but I’ve never seen anything so amazing.

We chatted with one of the employees for a while who explained the new deer would have to be relocated at some point so he and his father, Sven, didn’t fight. There are a pair of antlers attached to a tree stump that Sven can go grapple with if he needs.

eco9Many of the outdoor animals were either away for the winter or in natural hibernation. But we didn’t mind. It was a beautiful walk and there was a lot to see. The kids even got to participate in a scavenger hunt, searching for clues on the signs outside. This is part of the special holiday activities. You still have tomorrow to check them out.
Everyone inside, however was still there. All the familiar faces, like the albino snapping turtle and the big white catfish. Something we’d never seen was a gigantic bullfrog. We read that they can be cannibals. That was news to me too! We especially love this area because it’s laid out so perfectly for the kids to be able to see inside the windows

We got to the museum just as it opened and had the run of the place. Which we like. The animals were calm, and so were my animals (mostly). We got to share lunch with our neighbours then went out one last time to say goodbye to some of our animal friends. The zoo is open every day except Christmas. When one of the employees said it’s because the reindeer were exhausted from flying all around the world the other night, Babe just rolled her eyes. We’ll probably end up there again in the spring, they usually have fun activities planned for March Break and Easter.
eco2eco3

 

 

Dec 292015
 

Within the same week, the week before we’d head out on the road for a little holiday, I received two CDs for review that I was sure would bring me for a trip down memory lane. Very different times in my life, however.

Born in the ’80s, Raffi was where it was at. I don’t know how old I was when I first heard his music, but they’re the kind of songs that stay stuck in your heart forever. Remember Brush Your Teeth, Baby Beluga or Peanut Butter (and Jelly)? The nostalgic list goes on and on.

Fast forward a decade and in 1994, Lisa Loeb’s Stay (You Say) was on Much Music. She. Was. The. Coolest. I wanted to live in that apartment and I wanted to wear those glasses. I did, in fact, go on to live in an apartment and wear cat-eye glasses. I knew the song was in the movie Reality Bites so I convinced my whole family to sit down and watch it together. I was 11 and it was awkward. But at least during the credits I got to hear my song.

Today, I recorded a cover that song with my friend Matt.

paradeTWO decades later, Dec. 2015. Road trip with Babe, almost 5 and Bug almost 3. I had told them we’d be able to borrow a DVD player for the ride. It didn’t happen and I thought Babe would have a stromp the whole 6 hour drive. But I gave her the CD wallet she and her brother share and she first chose Lisa Loeb’s new Nursery Rhyme Parade!

35 short, simple songs that the kids mostly already knew. By the end of our trip (we almost exclusively listened to Nursery Rhyme Parade! the entire way from Montreal to Toronto…) Babe was singing along to every single song. It was pretty adorable. And a welcome break from hearing her sing, Let it Go!

ABC seems to be Bug’s fave while Babe’s is Jack and Jill. When Lisa sings about vinegar and brown paper, Babe laughs uncontrollably. She, however, hates (her word, not mine) the songs, It’s raining it’s pouring, and Ring around the Rosie, because she says, “They sound like teasing.”

Does Nursery Rhyme Parade! grab me the way Nine Tails, Cake and Pie or Firecracker did? No. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about a singer/songwriter, like Jewel, who got a little older, had kids and recorded some music for kids. Because, why not? Mamas like me who were huge fans can relive it a little with our kids. This CD isn’t for me. It’s for the kids and they love it!

This is not Lisa Loeb’s first children’s CD. Catch the Moon, 2003, Silly Singalong and Camp Lisa were released in 2008.

The first thing I thought when I heard Raffi‘s Owl Singalong, was wow, his voice sounds older. I admittedly haven’t heard last year’s Love Bug, which was his first set of children’s songs in twelve years. We can still tell it’s Raffi on this album, but with more than 25 years between me and my daughter, his voice has inevitably changed. Maybe a bit like a wise old(er) owl.

owlsingalong_300The 16-song Owl Singalong—whose title song was partly inspired by the owls he hears nightly outside his home on Salt Spring Island (oh, how I love that magical place!) was the perfect road trip CD.

The Lion Pokey might be my favourite new song. It’s the Hokey Pokey, but sung by Raffi the lion. It’s one of a few times in this album that Raffi gets into another character. This one make laugh cause he sounds a little like Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys. I’m not sure that was his intention.

He also invokes Bob Dylan in the bluesy Who Hoo Could I Be, which was a good laugh for the parents in the car.

A family favourite is the raggae-flavoured Green Dream. “Green Dream is an important song for me,” said the artist, in a press release.  “We live with the menace of global climate change, which is the greatest threat to future generations, and the kids who are alive today are gonna face the brunt of that challenge.  At the same time, we’re seeing a rapid shift from fossil fuels to green energy technologies.  My dream is a green dream for all of the world’s children, and I hope that’s something that all families want.”

See the Moon— yin to Mr. Golden Sun‘s yang. The kids loved recognizing the very familiar melody sung with new, almost opposite lyrics.

Raffi is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations’ Earth Achievement Award and he holds four honorary degrees. He is associated with many NGOs, including the Darwin Project Council, the Center for  Partnership Studies, the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, and the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development.

I have a new copy of Owl Singalong for one lucky Raffi fan! Please share this post from the mamanaturale Facebook page, and comment here with your favourite Raffi song. Good luck!

 

Dec 292015
 

Happy Holidays, however you and your family spend them. Over here, Christmas and its commercialism is a bit tough for me. I cringed the other day, as I found myself shopping in Walmart’s fluorescent lighting… But my girl asked for a watch. I opted for Hello Kitty instead of Disney Princesses, and it turns out she was delighted.

More than gifts and Santa Claus, this season, to my family, is about spending time together. Spending time just BEING. Being ourselves and appreciating each other.
I hope you are all able to do something similar.

Since yoga is probably still on your mind, as it is on mine, I wanted to give you a heads up for upcoming classes and workshops. Mull it over and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Om Shanti, light and love,
Jenny

For more information on the packages I’m offering, you can visit www.bonadeayoga.com or call 514.318.4566

yogabirthCouple’s Yoga Birthing Workshop
Sunday, January 10 at Happy Tree Yoga
1pm to 4pm

(also Sunday, March 13th 2016,
Sunday, May 15th 2016
)

How can we bring yoga into the birth room? This 3-hour workshop will help couples prepare for the exciting time ahead—one that is virtually unknown to first-time parents and still just as exciting for subsequent pregnancies! Wherever you intend to have your baby, learn how to bring yoga postures and breathing into your labour and birth. Your partner will learn how he can best support you using pressure points, massage techniques and conscious communication. We will talk about possible hospital interventions and pain relief options. You will leave feeling confident in your body’s ability to give birth!
$60+tx/couple
Register through Happy Tree

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Indian Infant Massage
austin9-12 Monday, January 18
Espace Shanti, 200 Delinelle, St. Henri

Learn how to massage your baby using the gentle, intuitive Shantala technique, which comes from Indian and is the base for most baby massage techniques. You’ll learn additional Shiatsu techniques to help relieve digestive issues. You’ll leave with a massage booklet and necessary tools to massage all the members of your family.

Apprenez à masser votre bébé avec les techniques inspirées de la méthode “Shantala”, une technique indienne douce et enveloppante.  Apprenez également des techniques complémentaires empruntées au Shiatsu pour soulager les petits problèmes digestifs de bébé ainsi que l’agitation.

Vous repartirez avec des notes écrites et les outils nécessaires pour masser bébés et tous les enfants de votre famille.

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Diastasis Recti (Ab separation) Yoga Workshop
9-12 Monday, February 1
Espace Shanti, 200 Delinelle, St. Henri

Diastasis recti (or ab separation) is more common than we think. It is a condition that often afflicts women who have been pregnant (but can affect men and non-moms too!) That “mummy tummy” that we have a hard time getting rid of, is often because of a separation of the abs.

In this three hour workshop, we will learn all about diastasis, which yoga postures are best avoided in the postpartum period, and which asanas, breathing techniques and pilates exercises can help us to heal the separation.

This workshop is for women with diastasis recti or yoga teachers who want to learn more about the subject in order to help their students.

Jenny is a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher and Yoga Therapist. In her 300-hour Yoga Therapy training at Yoga Re:Source, Jenny’s specialty was Diastasis Recti and she worked with over half a dozen women moving towards healing and acceptance of this very important area of the body.

$45 Register through Espace Shanti here or call 514. 996.0570

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                                                                       Make your own Kimchi!
Saturday, Feb 6 12-2
KimchiEspace Shanti, 200 Delinelle, St. Henri

Kimchi, one of the healthiest foods on the planet, is a traditional Korean side dish, usually made of napa cabbage and loads of spice!

Come learn the basics of lacto-fermentation, or build on the skills you’ve already learned in our carrot or pickle workshops. While kimchi is perhaps a difficulty level up from saurkraut, we’ll help you to prepare your own kimchi in a fun group setting and you’ll leave with the confidence to do it again at home!

$30
Price includes ingredients and your jar to take home and a pdf for future reference. Register through Espace Shanti here or call 514. 996.0570
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boochKombucha making workshop
Espace Shanti, 200 Delinelle, St. Henri
More dates to come in the new year

Kombucha, “the elixir of life,” has been around for 2000 years and just might be 2015’s most popular drink. It’s full of antioxidants–bubbly, flavourful, and will rehydrate you after a night of too much partying. What’s not to love?

This workshop will teach you how to make your own Kombucha for pennies, saving those of you who are addicted to it, lots of cash!
We’ll learn how to flavour the “‘booch” in a second ferment, and even about how to get a continuous brew going.
You’ll leave with your own scoby (mother) so you can have fermented tea in your house at all times!

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saurkrautCultured Probiotic Veggie Making
More dates to come in the New Year

Make and take home your own batch of fermented veggies

  • Learn why probiotic foods are crucial to good health
  • Learn about the link between the gut and the brain
  • Overview of different foods that are easily fermented
  • Go home with a great list of resources for getting more cultured foods onto your dinner/breakfast table. Even stuff your toddler will love.

Suitable for vegans!
When we think of probiotic foods, we often think of yogurt or kefir. We will not be using dairy products. Everything will be gluten-free and vegan.

25$ (includes your own jar of homemade probiotic veggies)

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milkNutmilk Know-how

NEW DATES in the New Year

Does dairy leave you congested or gassy? Many of us are learning cow’s milk might not be the healthiest option out there. But neither are store bought nutmilks!

This workshop will teach you how to make your own fresh, healthy nutmilk. We’ll talk about the undesirable ingredients in the most popular nutmilk brands and the secrets these companies aren’t telling you. You’ll learn how to make thick, creamy coconut milk and almond milk that doesn’t taste like cardboard. We’ll talk about different ways to flavour and sweeten and what you can do with the nutmilk byproducts. You’ll leave with a jar of your own dairy-free, sugar-free, junk-free milk and tips and tools to make more at home.

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Dec 132015
 

train4Some people are crazy for Christmas. The decorating, shopping, wrapping, Christmas carols… I’m not one of them. We’re not religious and our kids don’t believe Santa is real. So at the end of the day, what’s left?

Ba humbug!

We do have a tree and had lots of fun decorating it. We’ll all give each other a small gift. But the real way we celebrate the holidays is by spending time together as a family. Throughout the year, this is still out biggest challenge, as one of us is usually alone with the kids while the other works.

Today, for the first time in ages, we woke up together and neither of us had to work (well, not till the evening, at least). We took a trip out to St. Constant to visit Exporail for the second time. Last year we went for Halloween and had so much fun. Today was the same.

trainWhat the kids love about this place is … the trains! Ha! Who doesn’t love trains? You always hear about boys and their trains, but my girl, probably not the only one, loves trains just as much as her little bro. At this museum, the largest of its kind in Canada, you can go on the trains to check them out. Push buttons, sit in seats, etc. Then there’s the model train room, where we could spend all day watching the trains go around and around.

train2 train3 train5 train6Like at Halloween, during the Christmas season there were themed activities, super well-organized– which as parents, Papa and I appreciate. There was no time wasted. The planned activities were seamless and all very enjoyable.

When we first arrived, so had Santa. He set himself up in one of the trains and the kids got to go sit beside him and tell him what they want for  Christmas. Apparently my kids don’t want anything. After refusing to talk, they each left with a gift of their choice, which for both of them, was temporary tattoos. I was shocked and delighted that none of the gift options were candy. Places like this always try to give out candy canes!

Then there was story time, in another train. After the animation, we followed the storyteller out of the train where he started up a sweet electric train, just like the one in the story. All the kids were pretty mesmerized.

We went on to do a simple craft. It was easy enough for Bug, and involved glitter, so Babe was all over it. After we ate lunch, we wandered into the trains that were open for exploring. There were cute Christmasy touches all around.

Before we headed out, we caught a choir, caroling. A first, for my kids. And they loved it so much.

By this point everyone was a little tired. We were heading to the car when we realized the miniature train ride was happening. So, that was the icing on our gingerbread house.

 

Dec 022015
 

DSC_0037In one of my prenatal yoga classes the other day, one woman, expecting for the second time, said that she wished someone had spoken to her, in pregnancy, about healing postpartum. What a great idea for a theme! If you’re coming to this post as a yoga student, and new MamaNaturale reader welcome! And welcome to anyone else who’s found her way here.

Talking about tearing in labour can make many, if not most mamas-to-be, cringe. But it’s better to talk about it now, than later. For a while, episiotomies (cutting the perineum in labour) were routinely performed here in Canada. Luckily, that is a trend that is shifting. As stated by the Society of Obstetricians Gynaecologists of Canada,

“There is no evidence to support doing an episiotomy for all women (making a cut to widen the opening to the vagina). In fact, there are more benefits to NOT doing this, such as:

  • less pain after the baby is born,
  • better sexual function later, and
  • less relaxation of the pelvic muscles

In some cases, an episiotomy is necessary to relieve pressure, or to deliver a baby in distress more quickly”

There’s a good chance that in labour, you will tear, at least a little. The chances are increased if you’re pushing for an extended period of time, which is common if an epidural has been administered. You can ask for help and guidance in pushing the baby out slowly, and ask that a warm compress be used to help baby’s head ease out gently. If you do tear please know, you will heal, and it’s usually quite easy to take care of the area.

What you can do in the postpartum period:

periA Peri Bottle
Some hospitals give them out, but don’t count on it. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this, get creative. You fill the bottle with warm water/herbal tea concoction and clean the area by spraying the water, rather than wiping with toilet paper. You can also spray while peeing to reduce stinging.

Raw Honey
You can apply raw honey to the wound. It is anti bacterial.

Frozen pads
Freeze some of your maxi pads at home, the cold feels great and helps with swelling. You can also use baby facecloths, frozen, and place them on top of your pads. It feels great, I promise.

 

sitzSitz Bath
You can buy these at any pharmacy. You place it on top of the toilet, fill it with a herbal concoction that you can make on your own, or Earth Mama Angel Baby makes postpartum bath herbs containing: Sea salt, oatmeal, kernel meal, witch hazel, yarrow, plantain leaf and calendula flowers. They’re teabags that can be used in the bath  (regular or sitz) and also worn over your pad. You soak the perineal area in the basin of water or tea. Take the time to do this for yourself while someone holds baby.

 Tucks Pads
In the hemorrhoid section of the pharmacy, you can find a product called Tucks Pads. I feel they’re less than ideal because they contain alcohol, which can be drying. I did, however, use them after my first baby. With the second, I took the time to prepare my own, which was inexpensive and easy. You need:

To make these compresses, you only need: Witch Hazel, Aloe Vera, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, a box of 10 6×6 inch Medical Gauze Pads, Ziplock bag, Airtight container. Here is the site I used to make mine. I recommend checking it out, and get excited about making your own! 😉 You can find all of these items at the pharmacy, though the EOs might be of lesser quality. Try finding Witch Hazel without alcohol and pure aloe vera

Can you avoid tearing/episiotomy? Here’s a great post from my friend, Megan the Doula.

 

Nov 252015
 

sunRecently, I’ve been doing all I can to learn about Ayurveda. I realized Yoga’s 5,000 year old sister-science is the perfect complement to going to yoga classes. When you start to practice yoga regularly, you usually become more in tune with your body and start to notice cause and effect a little more.

For example, when it’s hot outside, I feel like…, when I eat cheese, I feel like… It was partly the noticing that brought me to Ayurveda. That, and getting a really great massage! If you’ve had a coffee with me or been in one of my yoga or baby massage classes recently, you’ve probably gotten a bit of an earful about all of this. I can’t help it–I’m fascinated.

In Ayurveda, there are three Doshas or Constitutions–“types of people”: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Most people will be made up of large parts of one or two of these, some an almost 3-way split (but all three exist to some degree in all of us, and they’re linked with our systems and environment).

The Doshas are governed by the elements:

Pitta- fire/water

Vata– air/ether

Kapha- water/earth

I was a skeptic at first. Just like reading your horoscope in the daily paper, right? Of course, if it’s general enough you’re going to identify somehow. But it’s not general. It’s very personal.

But the more I learn and observe myself and the people around me, the more I know that this is the truth.

When I learned what my constitution is (and I recommend getting a consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner) it was the dead of summer (Pitta season). I was hot, cranky, and pretty miserable. I was drinking four cups of coffee a day and eating too much red meat and fermented foods.

I discovered I was Pitta-Vata. The Pitta part: I have always been quick to anger. I’ve been accused of thinking I’m always right. I’m passionate, driven… I am Pitta Girl, for better or worse. And, with all the fire I’ve got inside me, fueling it with heating foods was just about the worst thing I could do. I learned to eat foods which were more cooling, and cut down on the ones that were heating.

But the Vata part of me, in the middle of summer, I hardly registered. I identified as Pitta, and in the heat of summer, it made sense. But the season has changed. Fall, into winter, is Vata season. This season holds the same qualities as that part of me. And maybe of you. The airy, ever-moving, ungrounded… It’s very, very present right now even as the snow has fallen, and tough to get used to now that I’m aware of what it is. I’m learning to embrace Vata Girl in a way I didn’t know I had to. I’m more emotional, sensitive and less confident in this season. I’m misplacing things and having a hard time making decisions. Can you relate?

The other day, I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack. I didn’t know why or what was happening. It was perfectly timed, as I was taking a series of workshops on Ayurveda and the teacher, Dominic (who I’ve talked about before, here) clued me in that maybe I hadn’t been doing enough yoga. I had been leading a lot of workshops and teaching– things that increase Vata.

So forgetful me remembered to take care of myself again. I made the time that night to take a challenging hot yoga class. And again, the next day– yoga at noon. Increase Pitta, balance Vata…

And the next day, I got an Ayurvedic massage to relax, re-balance, and ground down. We tend to think of massages as a treat, but I’m realizing they’re part of living a healthy and balanced life– re-balancing when the seasons change, by getting an Ayurvedic or Shiatsu massage has officially become a priority!

So this is me. The strong, opinionated, motivated and confident Pitta Girl, taking care of the sometimes fragile, sensitive and always on-the-go Vata Girl.