A fresh empirical look at what is happening with online dating, the pill and their long term affects on our culture today.
Have you ever been curious as to what is actually happening in your reproductive system each month? Check out this 4½ minute animation of the cycle:
It is a brief explanation of the complexities of what happens in your body each month. You will be amazed at how intricate it all is – what extraordinary creatures we women are!
The Billings Ovulation Method® can help you to manage your fertility safely, successfully and naturally.
It is the most thoroughly researched method of regulating fertility available today – natural or artificial! Over 850,000 individual hormone assays and 25+ years of research into the role and function of the cervix in human fertility. Plus countless cycles of clinical study of women’s charts.
If you are interested in details of that research we can supply them, but probably you just want to know that it will work for you. And the best way to find that out is to give it a go. What have you got to lose?
The quickest and most efficient way to learn is to find your own individual, confidential tutor Franchesca Duval right here at Blue Lotus Fertility!
There are many reasons to consider not having your baby bathed in the first hours or even days after birth. Many hospitals seem to have an urgent need to have the baby bathed in the first hours after the newborn 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. There are several benefits to delaying baby’s first bath and you may reconsider when you would like it to happen after learning about the advantages of waiting. (Much of the research on bathing newborns is related to the preterm or low birth weight baby.)
- Babies are born with a natural skin protectantIn utero, babies are protected from their watery environment by a special substance called vernix, found on their skin. You may notice some vernix on your just born baby, it looks a bit like a white, waxy cream cheese, and some babies seem to have a lot and others not so much. 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. 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 think this is a great benefit especially for babies who are born in the hospital, with lots of potential for exposure to hospital-acquired infections. Vernix also is the best moisturizer ever and helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple. It’s important to note that the research is on the properties of the vernix but as of now there is no clinical data to prove this connection.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.
- Baby wants to be near momAfter birth, your newborn baby wants to be as close to you and your breasts as he can get. Snuggling on your chest, close to the food source, where he can hear you, smell you and feel you against his skin is a source of comfort for your new little one. Being close to your breasts can help encourage breastfeeding and support the baby making a smooth transition to life on the outside. Taking your baby away from you soon after birth for the purpose of a bath can disrupt the process of your baby getting to know you, feeling safe and secure, and interfere with those very important first feedings.
- Lowered body temperature New babies are still figuring out how to maintain their own body temperature. Taking a baby away from his mother for a bath, may result in the baby working harder to keep their body temperature in the normal range. I have seen babies who need to be placed under the heat lamp to bring up their temperature after their bath. Mom’s chest is the perfect place to maintain baby’s temperature. A mother’s chest has the ability to heat up or cool down to help the baby stay at just the right temperature. Adding a bath into the mix just makes it harder for baby to maintain their body temperature.
- Keep stress hormones low and blood sugar normalBeing separated from her mother can add an additional layer of stress to a new baby just figuring out life on the outside. When your baby is taken from you to be bathed, she may cry, feel uncomfortable and upset. This causes her body to release stress hormones in response to this new situation. Her heart rate and blood pressure may go up, she may breathe a bit faster and become agitated. Working hard to respond to this stressful situation may also lower her blood sugar temporarily. If your baby’s blood sugar is being monitored due to mother’s gestational diabetes, or her size at birth, the baby’s health care providers may be concerned and want to introduce formula to bring her blood sugar back up to the normal range. When she remains closes to you, she is better able to regulate all of her body systems and maintain her blood sugar where it should be.
- A bath with mom or dad sounds niceSince your baby feels most secure when she is close to a parent, you might consider taking the first bath with your baby, when you are ready. Getting in the tub with your baby and holding her in your arms is a wonderful way to have that first bath. Your baby will feel secure and loved, when she does not have to be separated from you in the first days. She will enjoy the soothing water while being held, happily splashing and giving little kicks. It might feel so good that she may even fall asleep! Remember, little babies are very slippery when wet, so you will need someone to hold the baby while you get in and out of the tub. It creates special memories to take that first bath with your baby, rather than having staff do it, shortly after birth, when mom is still recovering herself and not really able to engage in the process.
- Handle with glovesIn many hospitals, it is policy for staff to handle all unbathed babies with gloves on their hands, so as to protect staff from coming into contact with any amniotic fluid, blood, or vernix that remain on your newborn. Considering that the transmission of hospital-acquired infections is on the rise, some consider it good practice to have all hospital staff wear gloves when handling a newborn baby, even if a bath has already occurred. Some studies show glove use in very low birth weight babies have fewer infections when staff handle the baby with gloves on, despite the bath status.
There are many benefits to delaying the bath of your newborn until both you and baby are stable and ready to participate in this special “first” moment. There is no medical reason that a newborn must be bathed in the first hours or days. I encourage you to learn more about the appropriate time to bathe your baby and make a choice to do so when you and your baby are ready. Sharing your wishes with hospital staff can be done respectfully and your wishes can be honored.
Loring, C., Gregory, K., Gargan, B., LeBlanc, V., Lundgren, D., Reilly, J., . . . Zaya, C. (2012). Tub bathing improves thermoregulation of the late preterm infant. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(2), 171-179. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01332.x
Medoff Cooper, B., Holditch-Davis, D., Verklan, M. T., Fraser-Askin, D., Lamp, J., Santa-Donato, A., . . . Bingham, D. (2012). Newborn clinical outcomes of the AWHONN late preterm infant research-based practice project. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(6), 774-785. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01401.x
Ng, P. C., Wong, H. L., Lyon, D. J., So, K. W., Liu, F., Lam, R. K., . . . Fok, T. F. (2004). Combined use of alcohol hand rub and gloves reduces the incidence of late onset infection in very low birthweight infants. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 89(4), F336-340. doi: 10.1136/adc.2003.031104
Preer, G., Pisegna, J. M., Cook, J. T., Henri, A. M., & Philipp, B. L. (2013). Delaying the Bath and In-Hospital Breastfeeding Rates. Breastfeed Med. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2012.0158
Visscher, M. O., Utturkar, R., Pickens, W. L., LaRuffa, A. A., Robinson, M., Wickett, R. R., . . . Hoath, S. B. (2011). Neonatal skin maturation–vernix caseosa and free amino acids. Pediatr Dermatol, 28(2), 122-132. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2011.01309.x
Now proudly offering online home study courses for the Billings Method of Tracking Ovulation. Learn how to track your fertility from the comfort of your home any time of the day!
Are you interested in learning about the Billings Method but live far from Franchesca or have a challenging schedule to work around? The online home study and email/phone follow-up is a great option for you!
The online class room contains the exact material Franchesca would be teaching in a group workshop and offers simple tests throughout the material to highlight aspects of the class that are important to pay attention to. Once the online class has been completed you will begin charting using either an online service or Iphone app which Franchesca will explain once she contacts you to answer any questions you may have about the course material and schedule your follow-ups.
Steps for Self Registering For Online home study course.
Step One: Follow this link and click the blue button on the lower right that says “New Account” create a user account for yourself.
Step Two: Once you have created an account you will log in and be taken to a page that says “You are not registered for any courses at this time”. Click on the tab on the upper right hand corner that says “Catalog”.
Step Three: You will be taken to a screen where the Billings Ovulation Class will appear along with a green button that says “Add to Cart”. Click the green button and the class will be placed in your online shopping cart.
Step Four: Click the green shopping cart in the upper right hand corner and complete the checkout process.
Step Six: Once you have paid for the course click the tab on the upper right hand corner that says “Dashboard” and you will be taken to the Billings Ovulation Class.
Step Seven: Click play on the course. There will be two screens side by side, one that the class will play on and the other that is a black white space. If you would like to take notes while watching the class material click the word “Notes” on the top of the white blank space and you will be able to type up notes and print them out at the end of each course section.
Cost for the online home study course and unlimited follow-ups is $350
Setting Yourself up for Breastfeeding Success
Breastfeeding looks like a straightforward easy experience but it can be surprisingly challenging for the first time breastfeeding mother. Here are some resources, suggestions and tools to set yourself up for a sweet successful experience.
If you are reading this and are still pregnant try to sit topless in the sun for 10 minutes a day, exposing your nipples to direct sunlight helps gently toughen them up. Also, while showering or taking a bath you can use a washcloth and gently rub it over your nipple, don’t rub until you feel pain, rub to the point that you think “hmmm that could feel painful if I kept going” the washcloth will also get your nipples used to some extra stimulation and ease the beginning breastfeeding experience.
It is important for your baby to have your breast deep inside their mouth with their lips flanged (like they are puckering up) around your nipple and some surrounding areola. If your baby is sucking on just your nipple and not the nipple and surrounding areola the latch will be painful.
It is common for first time breastfeeding mothers to experience soreness or some cracking of their nipples in the first 10 days of breastfeeding. If you see that your baby has an improper latch at your breast simply wet a clean finger with your saliva, slide it into your babies mouth alongside your breast and turn it to the side to break your babies suction so you both can try again. Calmly bring your babe back to your chest and stroke the side of their cheek or tickle their chin with your nipple to get them to open wide so you can angle your nipple towards the upper back of their palate for proper depth so there is a good latch.
In the beginning both the baby and mother are learning how to breastfeed and the mother is not used to having so much suction on her breasts. Never fear, you both will learn how feed and it will become a beautiful and enjoyable experience.
It is well worth your time to secure a few simple items before giving birth so you are prepared for a smooth and graceful transition into first time feeding. Here are some tools to help you through the first few weeks of feeding and beyond:
Tall Glasses of Water: Hydration is profoundly important during pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding. While feeding, your babe is not only getting food, they are getting hydration. It is important that the mamma stays juiced up so her milk supply is strong and her baby can receive what he/she needs. Drinking a tall glass of water (follow your thirst, if you are still thirsty keep drinking) just before or while feeding will help your milk flow easily and keep you from feeling parched.
Good Fats In Your Food: Nutrition is paramount while pregnant and continues to be while breastfeeding. Your child is literally being built off of your breast milk and everything that you choose to consume. Having healthy fats in your diet in the first few weeks will help your milk come in and create richer milk which helps your child’s growth and brain development. Good fats are fats that are organic, unprocessed and either from an animal or uncooked plant source. A good piece of steak or salmon is packed with nutrients needed to sustain mamma and babe, if mamma is vegetarian then turning towards raw, organic, cold pressed coconut oil (use it like butter on toast, in oatmeal, on potatoes – pretty much anything) as well as cold pressed, organic olive oil (don’t sauté with it, pour it over your food after it is cooked for maximum health benefit. Can be added to soups, salads, rice etc.) is wonderful. Eggs, avocados, and nut butters are also fabulous sources of healthy nourishing fats. The first few weeks after giving birth are all about maximum nourishment and rebuilding your body, not a time to worry about loosing weight. Your happy breastfeeding babe will nurse any extra fats or food you consume right off of you as they gain healthy weight.
Lanolin: Helps keep your nipples hydrated while first learning how to feed and prevents cracking and bleeding. Ideally the lanolin would be used in a situation where you are topless after feeding and alternating the breast which you are feeding from. For example, nurse your babe on your right breast until they are full then apply the lanolin to the right nipple to protect it. When your babe is hungry again they can nurse off of your left breast and after the second feeding the lanolin should be absorbed by the right nipple. Lanolin residue is not harmful to the baby, but large amounts of it should be gently wiped off before attempting to feed – this will prevent your child from slipping all over your breast and getting an improper latch. The best quality of natural lanolin I have found can be purchased here.
Proper Pillow or Prop For Shoulder Support: The first few weeks your babe will be feeding round the clock and it is important to have proper support for your upper body while you feed. Different pillows work for different stages, I personally have had the best experience with this pillow while my daughter was small (this pillow also doubles as a great way to prop babe up when they are wanting to see what is going on in the room). Once she was three months old we switched to this Sweet Pea Pillow which doubled as a fabulous maternity pillow while I needed support when sleeping with my pregnant belly. Having a pillow to rest your babe on takes the strain off of your body and allows you to fully relax which also helps your milk flow and the overall enjoyment of connecting to your child.
Happy Bonding and Nursing!
Labor Snacks, Sweet Simple Foods to Keep You Going
The process of giving birth burns on average the same amount of calories as a 30mile hike! When thinking about snacks to have on hand think hydrating, juicy, and easy to prepare treats that the momma and birth support will enjoy. All drinks can be offered through a straw for ease and sips should be given to the momma at least once every 15 minutes to help her stay hydrated.
Here are some sweet simple snack ideas to get you inspired:
Home Made Labor Popsicles:
This is a simple way to stay both hydrated, and nourished throughout labor. Many women experience nausea with contractions, and these labor pops are a great way to head that off. The coolness is also refreshing and easy to take in.
1-2 oz of dried red raspberry leaf
1 quart of water
Quart size jar with lid
Honey and lemon to taste
2-3 1mg calcium tablets
ice tray or paper dixi cups
To make the labor pops, steep 1-2 ounces of red raspberry leaf in a quart of water for at least 20 minutes up to four hours. Strain and sweeten with lots of honey and lemon, these will add much needed calories and lemon can help ease the nausea (as well as the red raspberry leaf). Crush the calcium tablets and add to the tea. Calcium is a muscle relaxant and can help with some aches and pains during labor. Pour the mixture into the ice tray. When labor commences, eat throughout the labor. They really are easy to eat when nothing else sounds to good! (credit to hakima widwifery).
Also Try Peppermint Tea pops, brew up a strong batch of peppermint tea and add a decent amount of honey to taste – the honey will give you a boost of energy while the cool refreshing peppermint will give you and your birth support just the thing you need to feel refreshed.
Instant Miso Soup is a nourishing swift snack that can be prepared with simple not water in the hospital or added to some bone broth at home (see article on making bone broth for instructions and health benefits).
Home Made Electrolyte drink:
In a mason jar of water fill with chilled fizzy water the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, two pinches of salt and either honey or maple syrup to taste. The lemon/salt combo provides electrolytes like any energy drink without the added dyes and preservatives.
Once your baby is born the momma is going to be quite hungry (and rightfully so!) good post labor foods to have on hand are things that can be prepped/reheated easily that are rich in good fats and carbs. Think lasagnea, cheese tamales, good burger, her favorite comfort foods. The richness of the post labor meal will help the mothers breast milk to come in. Good fats and hydration are key to a healthy milk supply.
Happy Birthing and Snacking!