Our Green House Blogs
Keep Calm and Call the Doula Let’s start with a little history of birth. For hundreds of years, women have been the main support through another woman’s birth. Experienced female birth workers, a.k.a doulas and midwives delivered babies (mostly at home) all around the world. Today – the number of midwives used has declined dramatically, with over 90% of births attended by physicians and in a hospital. The choice of where and whom you want handling your pregnancy and birth is, of course, a very personal decision and there is never a “right” or “wrong” choice – as long as the parents are secure with their care. Are Doula’s the same as Midwives? No – they are not the same, which is why many couples still hire a doula for their birth (and even after) alongside their midwives or physicians. While Obstetrician-gynecologists are medical doctors (MDs) who have completed medical school, midwives have not. They are trained with a different philosophy – focusing on whole-body health and prevention (although they are extremely medically knowledgeable in pregnancy, labor, and delivery). They are strong advocates in supporting the mother to make informed decisions with their pregnancy and birth. Three Types of Midwives: Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): who is trained both as a nurse and has gone onto graduate-level training as a midwife. Midwife (CM) Certified: they do not hold a nursing degree, but some have had graduate level midwifery training and do take the same certification as CNMs. Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): they obtain their certification from a different governing body versus a CM and CNM. They may or may not hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree. You may find a lot of CPM’s attending births alongside a CNM or CM. A Doula This brings us to a doula – your birth room and postpartum angels on earth! Unlike a midwife – doulas are not medically trained like a CNM. Although – more and more nurses are retiring to do doula care. Regardless, they have a different training and job with mothers and provide non-medical care. Their main focus is providing relief for the mom through gentle physical support such as massages during labor and emotional and mental support – helping the mom to feel safe and secure. Fact is, moms who have a doula during birth and in the postpartum period, have far better positive outcomes. The most important thing is finding the right doula that will fit your needs – check out this questionnaire you can bring with you when interviewing doulas. There are two different kinds of doulas: birth doula and postpartum doula and each have had their own training. Affirmation: I trust my instincts. I trust the wisdom of my body. I believe I can, so I will. Birth Doula A birth doula has one main objective: to make sure mom and dad have a positive and safe birth experience – even if that means intervention or a C-section. They are there to help you through every minute of it and feel empowered as changes may occur. Your doula will usually meet with you twice before birth, if not more, to go over what you hope for, your fears and thoughts and create a birth plan. She will educate you on many parts of the labor experience, so by the time labor starts, you feel more in control, educated and supported. A birth doula’s main jobs during labor: Breathing techniques Relaxation techniques Laboring positions Massage for comfort Making sure you eat and drink enough Advocate for you Emotional and mental support for both mom and dad Postpartum Doula A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first days or weeks after bringing the baby home. Having a postpartum doula has shown through research that mom and dad have a much smoother and easier transition into parenthood with a doula there to ensure them, educate them and support them however they need in those early weeks. She is essentially there to “mother the mother”. A postpartum doula can either do daytime hours or overnight hours, whichever the parents decide they need. A postpartum doula’s main jobs: Infant care: Answering all basic care needs and breastfeeding Help you rest and recharge – often holding your newborn for you Practical Help: Laundry, dishes, housework, cooking, errands Emotional Support: Mother the new mother - nurturing her so she can nurture her precious new baby. Listening to her worries, fears and being there so she can express her frustrations. You can find your doula through searching online in your area through the certifying organizations such as: dona.org cappa.net childbirthinternational.com Also – check with your OB or midwife as they might have a referral list. Doula’s range in price and can be costly, however, the care they can provide is worth it! Visit Lindsay's blog for more info about Doulas, including special concerns for mamas with high-risk pregnancies. Join the Our Green Moms Facebook Group to connect with other women (moms-to-be, new moms, aunts, and grandmas). We'll share tips, discover organic products, and find support among other eco-conscious moms. - Click Below!!!
When life gets busy and overwhelming, it can often be hard to keep a balanced perspective. Developing and sustaining a practice of gratitude can help you keep an even keel when life does hand you lemons (or, occasionally, throws them at you like a game of dodgeball ?). Coping with Life's Lemons I first realized the power of a daily gratitude practice during an intensely overwhelming period in my life. Ending my day by writing down, either on paper or a social media post, 5 things that I was grateful for that day truly was my saving grace. Particularly on days that I didn't think I could handle one minute more of the chaos, pain, exhaustion, and uncertainty of the time. I vividly remember one day when I was *really* struggling to find those five different things. I didn't want to use any I'd previously written down. Suddenly I remembered the shampoo bottle slipping from my hands and hitting my toe in the shower that morning. I'm all about minimizing the use of plastics, but at that moment I chuckled as I realized I was grateful my shampoo wasn't in a glass bottle. My gratitude practice fell to the side after I got through that period. Another challenging season arose a couple years later and renewing my gratitude practice kept me afloat, reminding me of many reasons to smile. Over time it was easier to remember that these challenges are just temporary hurdles in life. Alas, I've let that gratitude practice slip again. Life isn't overwhelming now, thank goodness. However, I've realized that, when I'm practicing gratitude, life just has a bit more joy and ease. So I'm challenging myself to renew my own practice - because finding balance and joy in my busy life is well worth a few minutes of daily focus. How Others Find Joy and Balance Talking to some friends about gratitude recently I learned that we each had embraced this practice for at least one phase in our lives, though we had all used different methods: writing daily in a formal gratitude journal counting as many blessings as possible during each shower beginning the day at the breakfast table with each family member sharing one thing they were grateful for And finally, the fourth method, which resonated with me deeply. This friend keeps a large glass jar on her counter and writes down those things she's grateful for on little strips of paper whenever the thoughts pop into her head. During the course of the year, that jar fills up and is both a visual guide to the wealth of good in her life and a resource. Whenever she's struggling, she'll spend some time with that jar – pulling out the slips of paper and letting her mind drift to the sweetness in her life rather than the lemons life has handed her that currently seem so sour. And you? I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite, refreshing and inspiring videos on gratitude, but before I do, please share in the comments below if, and how, you sustain your own practice of gratitude.
It's So Simple to Enter our Make Your Own Gift Basket Giveaway! to enter Giveaway: Follow us on Instagram Tag 3 friends on our Giveaway post ? ?Earn a Bonus entry to our Make Your Own Gift Basket Giveaway by using the form on the right to sign up for our emails!?? Drawings held on the 15th of each month Entries for September 2018 drawing close September 14th at 12pm EST Good luck!? Contestants can make a gift basket of their choice. Baby gift Baskets, Gift baskets for men Pregnancy gift basket. We even have baskets for pets. Last month the luck recipient chose products for kids. You can create an eco friendly basket in 4 easy steps. Why not send yourself a treat.
Glowing Pregnancy Skin Many women have heard how during pregnancy, their hair and nails might grow faster and thicker during pregnancy. Your skin might also have a “pregnancy glow” and be softer and smoother. You can thank all of the extra vitamins and minerals that you are required to take! However, for some women, not the case, as pregnancy skin changes for them respond more "gloomy" versus "glowing". Hormones may not respond to you the same way. How unfair! Let’s start in the bathroom. Pull out all of your cleansers and facial products. What are you using on your face? Hormones can cause all kinds of trouble – resulting in acne and a moist or oily complexion. Diet tip – cut way down on sugar! This includes processed foods and refined carbs. Switch out your dairy for nut milks or organic, cultured dairy like whole-fat yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and fermented cheeses. Make sure to take your omega-3’s! If you read the labels on a lot of facial products, you might read “for oily skin” and while this sounds like the way to go for your skin, it isn’t. This is because these products are too drying for your skin and while switching it out with something that contains oils sounds crazy – it really is the best thing you can do! Instead of drying out your skin, sometimes causing irritation and redness, only to have the excess oil and acne return – proper skin products will help your skin retain its natural moisture. You’ll be ridding the pores of all the dead cells and “gunk” in there. White Willow Bark is a natural source of salicylic acid and wonderful for oily skin! It cleanses all the excess but keeps it your natural oils balanced. For me, I hold the opposite problem in pregnancy – my skin is dry! Avocado oil became my best friend during my pregnancies from pouring it into the bath or applying to my face. Essential Oil Tip for DIY cleanser – part castor oil and the other part – jojoba oil. Make sure to never apply essential oils directly onto your skin. Extra step – raw honey! One teaspoon with warm water and massage onto your face and rinse. (Do not use the honey moisture if your face is already dry and irritated) What’s up with PUPPS? PUPPS - pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy – and is a terribly itchy rash that starts out slow with a few bumps and can manifest all around the naval and even onto legs and buttocks. There is no known cause as to why this rash appears but it will go away after pregnancy. There are some guesses that is it caused by rapid abdominal stretching and kidneys and liver are overworked and the body is not filtering correctly. Your doctor can prescribe something for the itch if it becomes too intense – however, some mamas do not want to do this route. Instead, load up on juice that you make yourself at home with vegetables. If you have a juicer, even better! Mix and strain as many vegetables are you can get in a variety of colors to help push toxins through your system. Uneven skin tone textures. As if oily or dry skin wasn’t enough to deal with – up to 70% of expecting moms deal with their skin tones becoming uneven. Take action: Eat foods rich in folic acid: leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus, beans, peas, avocado, seeds, and nuts. Also, don’t forget to take your whole food prenatal vitamins daily! Protect yourself when exposed to the sun. UV light can escalate dark spots on the skin and make it difficult for them to fade with ease after pregnancy. Use a mineral and chemical free sunscreen anytime you want to soak up some rays. Brighten up with Vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant can really help to keep your skin tones become brighter and more even. Pregnancy sure puts our bodies through quite a workout - including our skin! Since our skin is our biggest organ and the first line of defense against outside pollution and what you apply to it - taking some time out each day to take care of it and yourself is very important. Want More Tips? Download this FREE PDF: Safe Oil & Herbal Blends for Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum.
This is my husband's trick to perfectly cooked farm fresh corn on the cob (which we get at our weekly farmers market). We send the boys out to the porch to husk the ears of corn while we prepare the grill for cheeseburgers. We cut huge slices of fresh tomato from the market for our burgers. The kids eat their tomatoes cut in wedges sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. Boil a big pot of water. Add the corn and bring it back to a boil. Once it’s returned to a boil cook for 2 minutes. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes or until you are ready to eat it. It will stay warm for serving for an hour. Just add butter, salt, and pepper and you have perfect corn on the cob with no fuss!
This week our featured Pregnancy Gift Basket is a lovely, nurturing gift for a cat-loving pregnant woman. We love this pregnancy gift basket because it included: Custom Gift Basket - Mouse Tote Organic Herbal Tea - Mama Pregnancy Tea Pregnancy Oil - All Natural Pregnancy Gift - Leg & Foot Lotion Natural Pregnancy Belly Butter Burt's Bees - Baby Bee - Buttermilk Soap Organic Socks for women - Rag 9-11 Purple & Natural also Gifts for Cat Lovers - When You Love a Cat Organic Baby Toy - Scrappy Cat - Assorted Print Kitchen Towels by State - Washington Handmade Pure Beeswax Candles - Unscented Yellow, Oatmeal, White, & Silver Ribbons and, of course, a handwritten note card sending love to the beautiful and beloved mother-to-be! Remember to Check out our Inspiration page to see what amazing gift baskets other customers have created using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
Birth and Your Perineum Tearing during a vaginal birth is a fear many mothers have. As a mother myself who had two large babies over ten pounds each at birth – this is certainly something that has crossed my mind too! Whether you actually tear or not, all moms experience swelling and trauma to the perineum as the baby pushes against your pelvic floor in birth. The good news is that there are things we can do to prepare your pelvic floor. The Dance of Birth Between Mom and Baby You may not be thinking too much about it now while still pregnant, but think of it this way: every ounce of preventative care you put into to strengthening your pelvic floor is worth a pound of cure. Meaning – even little efforts go a long way! The care you put in now will dramatically help reduce the trauma that birth will put on your pelvic area. During labor, movement is critical. It helps the mom to dance in tune with her baby coming down the birth canal. It helps to ease the baby out without tearing and even fewer tears. Mom and baby become in sync and strengthening the pelvic floor is a tremendous help so the mom can choreograph this beautiful dance she will do with her baby while in labor! Ideal Position for Birth We all know that breech is not ideal at all and the majority will end up with a C-Section if their baby is breech. However, there are other positions that are not so great either. Does the baby’s position while head down really matter though? Yes! An occiput posterior or otherwise known as “sunny side up” when the baby is facing away from the spine – can cause many more complications such as back labor or cause prodromal labor in the weeks leading up to birth. Hands and knees is the best position if the baby is in this position during labor. The ideal position is called occiput anterior or with baby head down and facing spine. This position encourages your baby to tuck his or her chin to his chest, so the smallest part of his head pushes on the cervix for a quicker exit. Affirmation of the Week: - I see my baby in the perfect position for birthing. I am in complete control of my body and mind. Pelvic Floor Strengtheners and Positioning There are ways that you can get your baby to settle into a good position and strengthen your pelvic floor, hips, and thighs for labor. To encourage proper alignment, make sure to not recline too much in the third trimester (which is all a pregnant mom wants to do - sit back and snooze!). This compresses the pelvis whereas leaning forward helps the baby to rest his or her back against your spine. Leaning forward keeps you from getting dizzy from laying too much on your back too! Grab a birthing ball (large exercise ball) and while watching T.V. at night – spend ten minutes bouncing, rocking side to side and tilting your pelvis forward. Next, to keep things loose – exercise! Even just simple walking 20 to 30 minutes a day will keep things warm and loosened up rather than tight. After walking, sit on the floor in “butterfly” pose with knees open. This helps to open up your pelvis and keeps your lower back flexible. Pulse your legs up and down as you sit in this pose and stretch by gently leaning forward. Follow with getting on all fours, in the “cat and cow” pose and tuck your chin and hold – then release and look up. If exercise feels good – you can always add more a few days a week with lunges and squats to strengthen your thighs and legs. This area is heavily needed in birth! Doing these things will help to ensure a more positive experience during labor. Join Our Green Moms Facebook Group - click below!!!
Though you may have seen her in one or two of our videos and as one of our blog post authors, we've yet to formally introduce Lindsay Gibson so I want to take a moment to do that today. I met Lindsay last year and was immediately drawn to this inspiring woman! Her first book, Just Be: How My Stillborn Son Taught Me to Surrender, is a beautiful memoir that shares how she pushes through a lot of pain. It is a lesson to us all not to let tragedy define our selves. She's such a positive role model! Lindsay is an author, motivational speaker, birth psychology and maternity health specialist. Beyond raising her daughters to be strong, independent women who know that they are well loved, her mission in life is helping to bring inner healing and joy for women everywhere. Her wealth of maternal health knowledge comes from 10+ years of experience as a birth and postpartum doula. She is also a maternal health practitioner & nutritionist. Her personal experience as a mother of two - soon to be three - daughters contributes as well. As we announced today on Facebook, Lindsay will be a big part of our new Baby Registry. We are so excited to have her sharing her expertise on our blog, with members of our baby registry and on our Facebook Group: Our Green Moms! You can also find Lindsay on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Instagram. In case you missed our live Facebook announcement, you can watch it below:
Eco Nursery All the options… They are endless! Unless you are an interior design professional or perhaps decorating is a personal hobby that you just love – chances are, seeing all the options out there for a baby’s nursery can ignite a load of panic and overwhelm. The big box companies certainly don’t help this either with their clever marketing and having dozens of choices to pick from. Then there is Pinterest – you could seriously spend hours scrolling through all of the nursery designs. Take a deep breath. First of all – let’s backtrack a bit. Does a baby even need all of those things in their nursery? Quick answer – no. Long answer – it doesn’t mean you can’t create a nice space for your little one. However, you don’t need to have it all done prior to the birth. Many parents prefer this though because once the baby is here and especially if mom has to return back to work, there won’t be much time to put the nursery together. Whether you plan on co-sleeping or not with your baby, it is still a good idea to have a designated space for your baby for napping, playing and storage of their clothes and toys. As your baby grows, this space will be used more and more. A Natural Nursery Paint – let’s start with the basics. Painting the nursery is often seen as the first step in many movies. You usually see the husband and wife happily painting the nursery and transforming a room once used as an office or guest room into their little one’s new space. So, naturally, this is a good place to begin. Colors There is much debate on the proper color scheme for a nursery. Some argue bold bright colors because it is a fact that newborns can distinguish high contrast colors and patterns and bold primary colors more easily. You will see many toy manufacturers using this in their designs with these bright color tones and patterns. On the flip side – others argue a more restful retreat, with softer neutrals. When choosing your color scheme, it really boils down to what you want as the baby will receive all the love and stimulation he or she needs from you and other family members. Nursing/feeding, snuggles and kisses, and noises around the home are enough to satisfy your growing baby’s sensory needs. To keep it natural – keep your attention off what color and focus more on what type. Steer clear of the conventional paint that has aldehyde, heavy metals, and VOC’s (which can “off-gas” chemicals for years). Affirmation of the Week: Slow Down, Calm Down, Don’t Worry, Don’t Hurry. I trust the Process. Be careful when selecting a low VOC or environmentally safe paint as even low VOC paints contain high VOC colorants and companies do not have to disclose this on their labeling. When shopping for paint – find ones that are truly green paints, using natural materials in place of: Petroleum Solvents Biocides Heavy metals Terms to look for: ECOS Paints, Unearthed Paints, Old Fashioned Milk Paint or ones labeled “zero-VOC and zero-VOC colorant”. Brands to check: Mythic, Sherwin-Williams Emerald or Benjamin Moore Natura Furniture Save on the changing tables and opt for a two-for-one deal like a dresser with a non-toxic changing pad on top. Many dressers are now being designed to grow with your child like the cribs are. This means you can find ones that have a removable changing tray. However, it is tricky to find natural furniture with these handy additions. The key is to buy furniture that is real wood. Most furniture items you see are made from press-wood, particleboard, and composite materials. Remember that many babies once they can move and stand up, will have their mouths all over the crib rails! For furniture – look for wood that has: Solid and sustainable materials no formaldehyde Free of VOCs Free of phthalates If you receive second-hand furniture as a pass-down or shop for it all used, then refinish it with a non-toxic stain. That furniture has already spent a lot of time off-gassing which is good for you! Gliders/Rocking Chairs Choose ones that are made from organic or eco-friendly materials. Free of: Phthalates Formaldehyde Flame retardants Final tips - Pull carpeting if you can and replace with a natural area rug with natural fibers. Take down all old curtains and toss and replace with natural wood shades or organic cotton curtains. Throw in some natural wooden toys and your natural nursery is complete!
Pick-Your-Own farms are a great (and yummy!) summer activity. With blueberry season in full swing here, I wanted to share a blueberry smoothie recipe I created recently. Mommy Mixologist I love my morning smoothies. My kids laugh at me as I walk around the kitchen throwing things into the blender. The more ingredients the better. I add anything with nutritional value. Because I don't follow a recipe, sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a miss. This one was a hit! Blueberry Smoothies 2 cups organic wild blueberries 2 ripe bananas 4 strawberries turmeric - 1tsp cinnamon 1 tsp 1 cup almond butter almond milk - 2 cups sesame seeds - handful flax seeds - handful almonds - handful Walnuts - handful 1 tsp vanilla Ice 1 cup water Directions: Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until smooth What's your favorite way to use up all those fresh berries?
Zoodles My oldest son loves zucchini season because of this dish: (click here) Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce. It’s not the fastest zucchini dish we make (wait for our easy roasted zucchini wedges if you like quick) but it’s still super easy if you have a spiralizer. I like to put my son to work making the zoodles with the spiralizer while I make the sauce. He loves to see just how long he can make the noodles. We enjoy this dish alone for those hot nights when you are looking for something light, but we’ve also eaten it with turkey meatballs or grilled chicken thighs. If you have a spiralizer, what veggies do you turn into noodles?
Closed - See New Contest Winner: Congratulations Alyssa! It's So Simple to Enter our Giveaway! Follow us on Instagram Tag 3 friends on our Giveaway post ? ? Earn a Bonus entry by using the form on the right to sign up for our emails! ? ? Drawings held on the 15th of each month Entries for August 2018 drawing close August 14th at 12pm EST Good luck! ?
Buddy Walk - I could not have made it through my kids teen years without my friend Joanne. One day at a kid's sporting event she gently suggested that maybe I would like to join her for a walk. What I thought was going to become an exercise routine, turned into something so much more. It became my sacred time as a mom to center myself and work through whatever I was struggling with at the moment. I would like to share what I learned and encourage you to do the same. First of all choose this friend wisely! Find a Good Listener - Find a person who is willing to listen Upbeat Positive Person - I can’t emphasize this enough, the goal is not for you to take on the other person’s problems, but, to uplift each other so that you both feel rejuvenated after the walk. Similar Interests Trustworthy - someone that you can confide in without fear of telling others Choose a Great Location Choose an area in town that allows you to connect with nature. Preferably somewhere that is not super crowded that you will get interrupted. Start Slowly Let it build organically, so that you start to crave it as opposed to adding another “to do” to your list Commit to 3x a week 1/2 hour at a time Weather - agree to go out in all kinds of weather (it adds to the mindfulness as you go through rain and snowdrifts) No Electronics agree to put the cell phones aside so that you can be focused on your walk and your time together Pet Optional Let your dogs in on the action. Warning: side effect may include toned legs. Share with a buddy that you think would make the perfect walking partner.