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Ancestral Parenting

 
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Some other common ones are please (tummy tub) and milk (fist squeeze like milking a cow.

I think if used correctly, they are probably useful. Baby signs were something I was required to do with the infants in my care at other daycare centers I worked at. Which is probably why I developed a distaste for it. The ones who did do it, the parents were also doing it, but like I said, it was right when they started talking. And then it actually delayed their speech because they could just sign it. If it's truly possible to get a 4 month old to ask for more (more what?) then I'd be amazed and wouldn't be so critical of it. But in my 12 years experience working with infants and toddlers, I haven't. Perhaps I should look up some YouTube videos.
 
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Anna Tennis wrote:Ours started signing and talking around the same time, but we weren't very assiduous about using signs in the first place. I've heard of babies of deaf or hearing impaired parents starting to sign around 4 months old.



I used it constantly and consistently from the time was born. I like to talk with my hands, so it came easily to me. Looking at the ASL website, I read this:

"Some children can learn how to communicate through sign language at as young as 8 months. This is astonishing considering the fact that most infants don't even know how to walk until they're between 10-15 months old and won't be able to speak comprehensively until about 18 months,"

I don't quite know what they mean by "speaking comprehensively," but I do know at 18 months is when toddlers usually start learning 1-2 words a day. My son was doing that at 14 months, but I kind of doubt that 8 month old babies are learning that many new words in sign per day. I grabbed my son's baby book to see when he started talking. My son was using (in context), "Mama" and "Dada" at 7 months, and "mim" for milk and "gah-gung" for machines by 9 months, and had a vocabulary of about 24 words by 12 months. All of these were spoken.

Stephanie Ladd wrote:The ones who did do it, the parents were also doing it, but like I said, it was right when they started talking. And then it actually delayed their speech because they could just sign it.



I did kind of notice this, too. For about half a year, he stopped saying milk and substituted it for the sign language. That wasn't really helpful. So, we pretty much stopped using it, because there wasn't much of a point other than him learning a second language. I also remember some students when I taught preschool would be three years old and we had to work on them "using their words" because they would just sign "please," etc. instead of talking. But, this kind of delayed speech is also seen when kids learn two languages, and they seem to know less words overall, but that's because they're learning two separate sets of words. Learning extra languages is said to be great for brain development, so we'll probably be teaching him the signs around the age of three--it makes a fun way to communicate that other's don't always know, anyway! Also, it's useful for communicating with those who are deaf, as well as when you're out in nature and don't want to scare animals away.
 
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I'd like to know how older kids (3- were disciplined back in the paleo days. I don't ever plan on having my own, severely tokophobic and semi-antinatalist, but I have a nephew/brother/thing who's 4 and another one in my brother's girlfriend's belly. Also I'd like to know what I can do to help these kids to turn out right. By right, I mean intelligent, active, instinctive, self-sufficient, questioning of authority, and respectful of nature. Their mothers are the epitome of brainwashed, pill-popping, government-ass-kissing, humans-are-god American commercialism. The dad isn't much better. They aren't my kids, so I doubt there's a lot I can do besides convince the parents how bass-ackwards they are, but any little thing I can do would be better than nothing.
 
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Aetna, I'd say the best, most impactful, and probably most achievable thing you could do for those kids is to build a strong connection with them. Let them grow up feeling respected, valued, loved and heard by you. The rest is out of your hands just as the choices and futures of the kids of even questioning, conscious, active, intelligent parents are out of their parents' hands.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Has anyone read "Our Babies, Ourselves"?

How is it compared to "The Continuum Concept"?

I'm in the middle of read TCC, and I'm enjoying it, although, it kinda makes me feel bad. I feel like I was raised wrong (I was born in the 80's, so there is probably some truth to it) and also like unless we all move to the jungle, we will never be happy. I know she doesn't actually say these things, but that's kinda what she's implying.

Thoughts?
 
Anna Tennis
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Ha! That pretty much sums up how I felt reading TCC. Kinda desperate, actually. In a round-about way it helped bring me to a place of peace (usually) with making it work the best we can with what we have, and not wishing for an unattainable ideal childrearing scenario.
 
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Eek! Yes!

Thanks for this subject- I just found it.

When I was pregnant with my 9 month-old, I read a lot. Books by Ina May (midwifery, natural birthing), Dr. Michel Odent (for information on physiological birth), Sally Falon (for nutrition), Robin Lim (The Placenta Book), Dr. Jack Newman (breastfeeding). All very eye-opening and relevant.

So whilst pregnant, my feminism finally found it's niche. I was pissed off at all the things that women too often go through during their pregnancy/births. I was followed by an open-minded Dr, but it was still a far cry from what I wanted. No legal midwives in the area, no illegal ones either, so no other choice. I did refuse a lot of tests because I simply didn't want to interfere with what my body felt/my intuition/what nature intended to give me.

At 33 weeks, I had made my final decision - I was going to give birth at home unassisted, with my partner as my only companion - and two resources on the telephone need be. I wanted to trust my body. My Dr was aware of my decisions and I informed myself of the 10 most common problems in birth, as well as what I could do if it were to happen. So, lo and behold, my body did what women's bodies do everywhere since the beginning of time - I gave birth. No fuss, no muss. I had a couple "complications" (I didn't know they were complications at the time, so extra stress was never put into the process): my baby was in the posterior position (came out facing me, not facing towards the back), and I tore. I didn't have anybody telling me what was normal or not, so it became my normal, and there was no internal panic. Started at 1h30am, met him at 7h30am.

I didn't want to have baby things, and I've come to realize that none of it is essential, apart from a few pieces of clothes and diapers, and later on, something higher to sit on to eat. In 9 months, I have spent 30$ on my boy - and it was a second-hand baby carrier.

Give out the word that you need baby clothes, you'll get more than enough (I'm alright until he's 4 right now). We network.
Give out the word that you need cloth diapers, you'll eventually get them (I got 2 sets given, and a third that I paid 50$ for). We re-use.
He still sleeps with us in our bed - He'll leave when he won't want to anymore. We co-sleep, we won't do sleep training. I've never had a sleep-less night.
He's still breastfed - He'll stop when he doesn't want it anymore. We breastfeed.
I still wear him in a carrier to put him to sleep. We're baby wearers.
He never ate pureed baby food - just chunks. We did baby-led weaning.
We communicate with some signs (food, breastmilk, wear (baby wearing), all done)
We're doing elimination communication.

And all of that, because I didn't know how else I could do it. I didn't let anyone interfere with the needs he has. Your kid is the only one that knows what works for him. We just followed what he wanted.

Of all the people around me, it seems that we have/had the least amount of trouble to adapt. I think this is because we just did what our intuition told us to do.




 
Stephanie Ladd
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Thank you for your story, I really enjoyed reading it.

What an inspiration! At Thanksgiving with my very mainstream family, home birth came up. Man, people come up with horror stories! I mean, I know bad things can happen. It's the way of the world. But our culture is so so so fear based, it's a wonder we are able to make any decisions at all!
 
Rachel Dee
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Stephanie Ladd wrote:Thank you for your story, I really enjoyed reading it.

What an inspiration! At Thanksgiving with my very mainstream family, home birth came up. Man, people come up with horror stories! I mean, I know bad things can happen. It's the way of the world. But our culture is so so so fear based, it's a wonder we are able to make any decisions at all!



"Bad things" are far more common in hospitals than at home - but nobody speaks about that. I mean, in the last 20 years, Canada's mortality rate for mothers DOUBLED in hospitals.
 
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Stephanie Ladd wrote:

For the first couple days, have something to feed your baby, in case your milk is slow in producing. Me and baby were bawling on the floor at 2 am. Not enough milk. My body caught up and all was good.



I wonder, ancestrally, if other women nursed infants if mama's milk was slow to come in. Or did they never have that problem at all?



There's definitely a lot of wet-nursing in Shakespeare, and there's stories of babies being suckled by other creatures (like Romulus and Remus by a she-wolf).
I would bet on wet-nursing being an ancestral practice that would tend to crop up as a convenience, whenever two lactating mothers cared for one another's babies, or if any mother needed help and had the status to ask for it.

They definitely did have that problem sometimes, too, probably the same as us for individual hiccups and difficult starts. But definitely in extreme situations: starving mothers generally lose their milk, and often lose the baby. Our ancestors did endure that at many times. February is sometimes called "the hungry month."

On the other end of the spectrum, a friend's friend used a pump early after the birth because her baby was in ICU, and it being her first, she had no idea what a tiny newborn would eat, and ended up stimulating herself into massive over-production. She ended up sending coolers of donated milk to the hospital throughout her nursing stage, her baby simply couldn't drink it all, but it seemed worth continuing to pump so that others could use it.

I've often wondered if there are safe ways to help women lactate even if they have not been pregnant, to donate milk where it might be needed. I've read fiction where there's an herbal version, but no idea if it really works.
Seems like if it's not too chemically intrusive, it could be healthy for everyone involved. Might even be worth doing a "flush" at first, if it's the first time lactating, as we accumulate some fat-soluble toxins that can be excreted with the milk.
I don't know if induced lactation could make the super-useful immune-boosting early milk, but human wet-nursing seems likely to be a step up from formula or cow's milk anyway.


-Erica
 
Erica Wisner
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There's a book out called "All Natural*"
All Natural*: *A Skeptic's Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier
which goes into some of the pros and cons - on birthing as well as other topics.
It's written by an expectant father painfully aware that this is not his decision - he will ultimately help his wife do whatever she prefers - yet of course he wants to know as much as he can about what the risks are. Resonated with me as an auntie, but not a mother-as-such.

Not something I'd hand to an expectant mother, as it does contain a few horror stories, albeit carefully weighed. But for those of us with a strong stomach and a scientific bent, it's interesting reading.

One of the things the author brings up is that in calculating the risk of "harm" with or without a C-section, the incision of the C-section itself often is not counted. It's like they compare accidental baby-cutting by the surgeon with accidental tearing without surgery, and omit to notice the big scar across the mother's belly and organs. Scar tissue in the womb increases risk of bleeding in later pregnancies - I think the placenta can get oddly rooted near it, or something. My mother had a natural birth after a C-section, but some doctors at that time would just tell you you had to keep getting C-sections after the first one.
 
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I just wanted to jump in on this thread and give my two cents - I had a baby last year, and I am very much into ancestral/natural parenting.

I've been skimming some of the replies, and one thing I noticed is the concern over having enough milk - know that almost all women will naturally produce enough milk, provided your baby is allowed to nurse on demand. It's allll supply and demand, which makes those early days EXHAUSTING, because they nurse 24/7 to get your supply going, but keep at it, and do not supplement unless instructed to do so by a certified lactation consultant. Most doctors are grossly misinformed and undertrained when it comes to breastfeeding.

My milk didn't come in until day 4, and when it did, my breasts were so engorged my son couldn't even latch. It was painful, and we just cried and cried. My husband had to help. We ended up expressing a small amount into a cup, and my husband fed him with a syringe at my breast to encourage him to latch. When he finally did, the pain was excruciating, but after a week or so, it subsided.

Damn being a mom is tough, huh? But all of that aside, it sounds like you're absolutely on the right track. These days it's incredibly challenging to be a natural parent. As someone else mentioned, this was a job that was typically done by ALL of the women in the village, and it was very common to nurse each other's babies and give each other breaks. Now we have all the constraints of modern life - having to work and pay bills - on top of trying to parent this way and homestead, and it is extremely challenging.

Keep at it though. We've faced a lot of adversity and nastiness for our choices - homebirthing (tried and failed), no punishments/no rewards parenting, bedsharing, extended breastfeeding (which by the way, the global average weaning age is 4), babywearing, extended rear facing (car seats), no processed foods, no electronic or plastic toys, extremely limited screen time, etc. It's amazing how you can just be doing something for your own family, and people take it as a personal attack on their own choices. But keep on keepin' on mama - only you know what's best for your family. Just do your research, and know you can always reach out for support or to vent.

I agree, we do need a family section on Permies!
 
Stephanie Ladd
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They definitely did have that problem sometimes, too, probably the same as us for individual hiccups and difficult starts. But definitely in extreme situations: starving mothers generally lose their milk, and often lose the baby. Our ancestors did endure that at many times. February is sometimes called "the hungry month."



This brings up another thing I am (kinda) obsessing about. As my partner and I plan out this parenting thing, a "birth season" keeps popping into my head. What is the best time to give birth? Of course, every season has it's pro's and cons of course. But, was there a birthing season for humans? Squirrels have breeding seasons, do humans? Being a woman, I know I am fertile for a small period of time every month. But it's every month and all seasons. So, does that mean humans don't have a specific breeding/birthing season? Or was it more like a baby that was born in June would be more likely to survive as opposed to one being born in February? But, I also think, if I got pregnant in, say, March, I would have all summer/fall to soak up the vitamin d and eat all the yummy green veggies and fruits and abundant animals to create a healthy baby inside of me and then give birth in December and nurse and cuddle and stay warm all winter. Does that scenario seem to make more sense? I have no idea. I'm sure this varied in different climates. I tried to look up "birthing seasons" online in Native American cultures and couldn't find anything. I searched "best birth month" and all I got was some mamas talking about how awesome it is to be pregnant in Winter because they get to pig out at Christmas and wear their UGG boots, omg!!! I did find some scientific studies saying that being born in certain seasons can increase risks for various diseases (ie if you are born in winter, you have 10% more chance of having schizophrenia), but they are such tiny correlations and seeing that most people are eating the Standard American Diet, I don't put a whole lot of weight on big studies like that. My husband thinks I am overthinking everything and that I just have to let things happen the way they will happen. We could start trying next month and it could take months or years to conceive a baby, so I suppose you can only plan so much.

My milk didn't come in until day 4, and when it did, my breasts were so engorged my son couldn't even latch. It was painful, and we just cried and cried. My husband had to help. We ended up expressing a small amount into a cup, and my husband fed him with a syringe at my breast to encourage him to latch. When he finally did, the pain was excruciating, but after a week or so, it subsided.



I have a dream at least once a week that I have a baby and I can't breastfeed. They are very vivid dreams and it's always me trying to nurse and nothing is coming out and I just keep saying to myself "keep trying, don't give up".
 
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@ Stephanie L: "...does that mean humans don't have a specific breeding/birthing season?"

Hard to tell. Here's some additional information, although I don't understand the author's comment of "If springtime were the optimal time for births then a nine-month gestation period would imply wintertime mating, which is not the season that people associate with urges to merge." :

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/gestation.htm

If my math is right, assuming March 21st in the northern hemisphere as a common start of spring date, wouldn't 9 months prior be mid summer or early fall? Seems like a pretty 'randy' time of year to me, if you get my drift. 'Course, as a male, any time is "Miller time".....

It really would seem hard to me to believe that northern cultures would not have taken this into account.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Yea, I didn't get that part either. Springtime babies are conceived in Summer. I also don't see why the author automatically assumes that a winter birth isn't optimal. Some human cultures live in basically perpetual winter (intuit) and they still have babies. And, to me, winter does seem like the perfect time to merge. Cooped up and cuddled together, seems like it's a no brainer. Which would produce fall babies. I personally think fall would be the worse time to give birth. It's a longer time to wait until spring as opposed to a winter birth. And, in reality. At some point, no matter when you have a baby, you will have to go through a winter with a baby human. Maybe it's 2 months old or 10 months old, but you gotta do it. So again, does it really matter?
 
Destiny Hagest
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Stephanie Ladd wrote:

I have a dream at least once a week that I have a baby and I can't breastfeed. They are very vivid dreams and it's always me trying to nurse and nothing is coming out and I just keep saying to myself "keep trying, don't give up".



Oh don't even worry! Seriously, I think it's something like 97% of women can physically nurse, but the majority that fail just get bad information, supplement too early, or are just overwhelmed with the process (which is completely understandable, it is without a doubt the most exhaustive part of parenting).

I don't understand the not birthing over winter thing at all. I'm not sure about seasonal mating cycles, but babies are incredibly resilient - I've read that in European countries like Iceland children actually nap outdoors. And my son never really got sick or anything. If anything, it was awesome not being hugely pregnant during the hottest time of the year. I'm going to plan every future pregnancy the same way if I can.

 
Nicole Alderman
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Though totally not related to ancestral parenting, the time of the year is also really important--sadly--if you are on insurance and using it for your birth. I had a hospital birth because (1) it was my first (2) I was high risk (I'd had a group-b strep infection, not just testing positive for it) and (3) our hospital was vary supportive of natural births (I birthed squatting, no epidural, spent a lot of my labor in a bathtub, etc).

If you use insurance, you don't want to be stuck in the predicament of having reached your yearly delectable for the first part of your pregnancy, and then have to pay another one again when the insurance year rolls over. My husband works in the hospital, and there are LOT of women who get induced in the days before the New Years, because they don't have an extra $3,000 or whatever to pay to meet another year's deductible, and that's just sad. This wasn't something I thought about at all when I got pregnant with my first, but it's definitely something I'm working around when planning for my second.
 
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I'm a pediatrician, and I deliberately scheduled my babies for summer birthdays, because I wanted them to be at least 6 months old by the "sick months" of January and February. July birthdays, both girls. June would be even better, less time being uncomfortably warm.

I've admitted too many little babies with viral illnesses gone bad in the beginning of the year. (Yes, breast fed babies too. Breast feeding is hugely helpful, but it's not a guarantee of perfect health.)
 
Nicole Alderman
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I think one thing that helps if you do end up with a fall or winter baby (mine was October) is to limit their exposure to germs. Don't take them shopping or to daycare/babygroups, and make sure to change your clothes when you come home from work where people have been coughing (my husband is a phlebotomist in a big hospital, so we had to do a lot of quarantining).

It also really helps if the mother has a really good immune system. A lot of people don't, and good sleep and diet do help. But, so too does having previous exposure to a ton of germs. This isn't something you can really work on once the baby is in or out of the proverbial oven. But, if you are planning on having kids, maybe volunteer in a school, daycare, Sunday school, etc.

I worked in preschool for six years before I had my little one, and was only took a sick day once a year. I think this really helped keep my son healthy. He only had one actual sickness in his whole first year. He actually got sick LESS two years ago when he was 4 months old, than he does now at 2 years! Now he isn't getting nearly as much breast milk as he did back then, and so is more reliant on his immune system than mine. My husband has also been more lax about changing out of his work clothes, and our son plays with other kids. These things really do play a big role!
 
Destiny Hagest
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I totally agree. Unfortunately, we had to go out and get groceries and such, but I always wore my son in a wrap so he was tucked in close and strangers weren't tempted to touch him. We're big on immune system boosting here. Now that he's one, I let him crawl in the dirt, we do play dates, etc., but initially I was just more concerned with outside germs. Within our own home, we weren't crazy clean freaks - 3 dogs, 2 cats, and chickens made that impossible, so I feel like he got a great boost from the germs in our house. And of course, though breastfeeding is never a guarantee, when a mother gets sick, her milk produces antibodies for baby - it is so completely kickass.

I don't know if it's related, but I also ate a ton of game meat when I was pregnant and stayed really active, never got sick (thank goodness), and took probiotics regularly. This little guy came out tough as nails.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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(Yes, breast fed babies too. Breast feeding is hugely helpful, but it's not a guarantee of perfect health.)



I totally agree. Breast milk is only as healthy as mama. And working with families for 12 years, I know how some people define "healthy eating". Organic boxed macaroni & cheese is not health food, no matter how much you've convinced yourself of that.

I have been focusing on my health for the last 6 months or so. I try to only put nutrient dense food in my mouth, though this has proven to be expensive. We buy all our meat from Mastodon Valley Farm, a wonderful permaculture farm really doing all the good things. Organic, local veggies, wild caught fish, offal etc. But I have also been tracking individual nutrients because I am determined not to take a pre-natal or multi-vitamins. Through this process, I have lost 20 lbs and have moved myself into a healthier BMI.

I think one thing that helps if you do end up with a fall or winter baby (mine was October) is to limit their exposure to germs. Don't take them shopping or to daycare/babygroups, and make sure to change your clothes when you come home from work where people have been coughing (my husband is a phlebotomist in a big hospital, so we had to do a lot of quarantining).



I worked in preschool for six years before I had my little one, and was only took a sick day once a year. I think this really helped keep my son healthy. He only had one actual sickness in his whole first year. He actually got sick LESS two years ago when he was 4 months old, than he does now at 2 years! Now he isn't getting nearly as much breast milk as he did back then, and so is more reliant on his immune system than mine. My husband has also been more lax about changing out of his work clothes, and our son plays with other kids. These things really do play a big role!



Interesting. I don't see myself doing those things, though I see how it would be helpful. I will be going back to work at the daycare part-time, so baby will enter the germ-zone for sure. And I've never really been a huge germaphobe (although maybe my psyche will change once I have a sick kid!). Maybe I should lean towards having a spring/summer baby then. I've been working in daycare for 12 years so my body sure has been exposed to A LOT of germs. I don't get sick very often and my husband never gets sick. So, hopefully our kiddos will inherit a tough immune system.
 
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I'm getting close to being able to say I've raised 9 kids (my youngest is 15). Each child is different, from day one they are who they are. Now I feel like I really have a handle on raising kids and find myself without kids to raise.

My oldest daughter and her husband and kids (4 at the end) lived with us for several years while they were going to school and getting their feet under them.

It was wonderful to see how my kids at home took on and enjoyed their roles of helping and teaching their nieces and nephews. When my daughter and her family finally moved out it was tramatic for the entire family, both my kids and my grandkids (especially the toddler) were effected them for at least a couple of years.

We our big garage into an apartment so we could get away from each other, but the interaction was at least several hours every day. My daughter and her husband were pretty much free to go on dates or shopping when they wanted to. Now they almost never get that time to unwind and recharge.

My wife and I have spent 34 years of raising kids. We definitely realize that our energy levels have definitely dropped. Young children are exhausting, but they also add an element of life that is missing for us now. My mom, who raised 6 kids, lives in what amounts to a retirement neighborhood and she perks right up when kids come around. She says she misses the energy they generate. Our house is much quieter now, which is nice, but I still miss the roiling, rowdy life of it all.

When I was a kid we lived in Germany (Air Force) and visited the ancestral home several times in Alsace, France where my grandpa had come from. It was a huge farmhouse with 3 generations (including (I think) all my grandpa's siblings and their kids living in something like apartments in the same house, with a common kitchen.

My ideal situation would be to have my kids all living on my property, in their own houses, so they could get away from each other when needed. If we were all living next to each other we could all have both the quiet when needed as well as the liveliness. I felt like our family was more complete unit when my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids were living with us.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Haven't visited this thread in awhile.

I am currently 13 weeks pregnant and having a really difficult time. First curveball of many I assume. Morning (all day) sickness has hit me HARD and my diet and activity level is terrible. I've been a couch potato the last 6 weeks, my garden has gone to crap, and I haven't been eating a terribly nutritious diet. I'm not sure if morning sickness was something that our ancestors faced or not but I can't imagine having to deal with gathering my food whilst vomitting all day long. I've heard magnesium plays a role in morning sickness but my body doesn't react well the magnesium supplements and my magnesium levels were decent last I had them checked. And I still got hit hard with it. So I don't know.

But I did find a great midwife and plan on a homebirth. I'm having a great time finding used wool baby clothes for my December baby and I've reduced my hours at work in preparation for being a stay at home mom. And hoping that next year, even with a baby, it will be a little easier to garden and forage.
 
Mick Fisch
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I'm not too sure when would be the best time to have a baby. Nutrition is the big thing, but nutrition is something that needs to be going on prior to, during and after pregnancy so there isn't a time we can say 'malnutrition will fit ok here'.

I've read that studies of examined skeletons of Indians in Utah found that the hunter/gatherers were better nourished, but had some famine times (I'm going to guess it was late winter). The farmers (corn and beans) were more chronically malnourished but had a lot fewer hungry times.

I'm assuming the people have been smart enough to save and store food for as far back as you want to call them people.

Personally, most of my kids were conceived in midwinter. Just not as much to do requiring you to get out of bed as early. Cold rooms, warm blankets. Don't want to get up yet, but I'm awake. What to do, hmmm?
 
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Stephanie,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! "Morning" (ha ha) sickness can be terrible, though there is apparently some evidence that it is one indicator of a healthy pregnancy. Don't beat yourself up for your diet - the hit to your energy, plus the weird effects you may be seeing in terms of what food you crave or are repulsed from, will screw up even the best intentions for a diet plan. My wife found that keeping bland starches (saltines, etc.) by the bedside table helped a lot with the nausea.

Congratulations too on finding a midwife and managing to reduce your hours at work. Don't expect to get much done in the first 3 months after the baby is born, though. Some people do, and certainly the baby in the "fourth trimester" is very portable and sleeps a lot, but it can be a particularly exhausting period for everyone in the family.
 
Mick Fisch
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Stephanie,

Each person is different, so what I suggest may not work for you. My wife dealt with this through 9 pregnancies. What we found worked for her was that she had to nibble on a little bit of cheese before she raised her head off the pillow in the morning headed it off. If she raised her head up first, it was too late and she was making offerings to the porcelain god. If cheese doesn't work for you, then try something else. You need something on your stomach before you get up.

My wife would kick me out of bed to get her whatever she felt like she needed to eat an hour or so before she had to get up. I found with practice I could hold onto the sleep mode enough to get her what she needed and drop right back to sleep. This served me well when I was the baby burper in the middle of the night later on.

We did both standard hospital deliveries and midwife. My wife quickly decided that midwife was the only way to go and after that we only used midwives. We opted for a midwife in the hospital.

Don't beat yourself up about your activity level, etc. Your body is busy just growing a baby.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Steven Kovacs wrote:Stephanie,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! "Morning" (ha ha) sickness can be terrible, though there is apparently some evidence that it is one indicator of a healthy pregnancy. Don't beat yourself up for your diet - the hit to your energy, plus the weird effects you may be seeing in terms of what food you crave or are repulsed from, will screw up even the best intentions for a diet plan. My wife found that keeping bland starches (saltines, etc.) by the bedside table helped a lot with the nausea.

Congratulations too on finding a midwife and managing to reduce your hours at work. Don't expect to get much done in the first 3 months after the baby is born, though. Some people do, and certainly the baby in the "fourth trimester" is very portable and sleeps a lot, but it can be a particularly exhausting period for everyone in the family.



Thank you!

I have heard about the saltines thing, but they repulse me so I haven't tried them. I notice if I don't throw up in the morning, I have a much harder day. Like I'll be sick all day until I go to sleep. But if I do throw up in the morning, it seems to be an easier day. So that's been a weird thing. I do plan on spending the 3 months post-birth basically in hibernation, which is a perk of a December baby I suppose.

Im quite upset that I haven't been able to eat liver and minimal veggies. I chose not to take prenatal vitamins or folic acid before I got pregnant and even now. And I'm always a little nervous about that decision. I know the window for neural tube defects is very early on, like first month of pregnancy. I ate lots of healthy greens, beets, and liver in the time period. But at 6 weeks when the sickness hit, all that went away. I'm bad at remember pills so I didn't take the folate. so I'm feeling very paranoid about my choices. And people haven't been shy about telling me about how stupid my decision was.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Mick Fisch wrote:Stephanie,

Each person is different, so what I suggest may not work for you. My wife dealt with this through 9 pregnancies. What we found worked for her was that she had to nibble on a little bit of cheese before she raised her head off the pillow in the morning headed it off. If she raised her head up first, it was too late and she was making offerings to the porcelain god. If cheese doesn't work for you, then try something else. You need something on your stomach before you get up.

My wife would kick me out of bed to get her whatever she felt like she needed to eat an hour or so before she had to get up. I found with practice I could hold onto the sleep mode enough to get her what she needed and drop right back to sleep. This served me well when I was the baby burper in the middle of the night later on.

We did both standard hospital deliveries and midwife. My wife quickly decided that midwife was the only way to go and after that we only used midwives. We opted for a midwife in the hospital.

Don't beat yourself up about your activity level, etc. Your body is busy just growing a baby.



Oh I might try the cheese thing, thanks! My hubby has been IN REDIBLE through this whole thing and is basically waiting on me hand and foot. He's awesome and I love him and I'm grateful we are on this journey together.

Going to buy some cheese
 
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Stephanie Ladd wrote:
I have heard about the saltines thing, but they repulse me so I haven't tried them. I notice if I don't throw up in the morning, I have a much harder day. Like I'll be sick all day until I go to sleep. But if I do throw up in the morning, it seems to be an easier day. So that's been a weird thing.


Do what works for you! Every pregnancy is different.


Stephanie Ladd wrote:
Im quite upset that I haven't been able to eat liver and minimal veggies. I chose not to take prenatal vitamins or folic acid before I got pregnant and even now. And I'm always a little nervous about that decision. I know the window for neural tube defects is very early on, like first month of pregnancy. I ate lots of healthy greens, beets, and liver in the time period. But at 6 weeks when the sickness hit, all that went away. I'm bad at remember pills so I didn't take the folate. so I'm feeling very paranoid about my choices. And people haven't been shy about telling me about how stupid my decision was.



Well, that's rude and cruel of them, then. You did what you could, and in any event you can't change the past, so please try to be kind to yourself. No one is perfect, and in the storm of pregnancy it's hard to stick to a plan. Also, even without folate I think the overall risk of problems is still low.
 
Mick Fisch
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Do what you can, be kind to yourself and each other. Congratulations! You're on an adventure!!!

Amazingly enough, even without folate pills, the vast majority of kids all over the world and throughout history come out fine. I'm sure it pisses off the pill companies, but that's the facts.

Pregnancy is tough, but the tough things are what bind a couple together.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Pregnancy is so exhausting, I couldn't believe how tired I was, especially during that first trimester. I do hear the sickness is the worst for the first half though, and that was definitely the case for me. Unfortunately, I seem to have one of those babies that is extremely high needs, so I wore him during everything - hauling firewood, foraging, even archery practice.

At 17 months, he's still the same way, still breastfeeding round the clock, but now with the added energy suck of being able to dart away from me 4,000 times a day. There were literally days during those first few months that I spent the entire day in the rocking chair, eating, nursing, and watching Netflix, because I couldn't get up without waking him and he wanted to nurse round the clock.

My policy has become, do what you can, when you can. I found a way to work online right before I gave birth, and have been telecommuting ever since, and that has really saved us as we couldn't afford for me to not work.

As far as the vitamins goes, I hear you there. There were a lot of research hours put into my search for the right ones. I chose to take prenatals because my diet was absurdly lacking in nutrients much of the time, and I just ate whatever didn't make me want to puke, which was usually just crackers and cupcakes up until I was around 4 or 5 months pregnant.

Don't let people bully or guilt you though - everyone has an opinion on how to raise kids, and everyone is right (sarcasm). Just do what works for you and what you know to be best for you and your baby, and tell everyone else to take a hike

On the magnesium though, I do love to refer pregnant women/everyone to it - it solved SO many problems for me. It's one of the most important nutrients to most metabolic processes in your body, and the conventional modern diet provides very little of it to boot. On top of that, during pregnancy of course, your blood volume increases by 50%, and so pregnant women often have a whole host of circulation related issues as a result. Magnesium is a tremendous anti inflammatory, and really helps with that.

I was having migraines with aura about once a month during my pregnancy that were progressively getting worse, numbness in my extremities, difficulty speaking, loss of vision, it was awful. My midwife told me to start taking magnesium and that immediately solved the problem. Can't recommend it enough!

Post partum one thing that really helped me too was eating my placenta. I had mine encapsulated, and had it raw in a smoothie right after delivery as well, and it really helped with the bleeding and my energy levels. It sounds completely weird, but I would do it over again in a heartbeat, the only difference being that I would have it all in a smoothie rather than in pill form. It was amazing how fast it made me feel better - I was hauling firewood 3 days after a natural vaginal birth.

Good luck mama, I'm sure you're going to do great!! And it's always nice to have mommy company here in the Permies forums!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Stephanie, you're pregnancy sounds so much like my first, and like my current pregnancy (I'm 19 weeks now). I also had severe nausea and food/smell aversions (didn't throw up my first pregnancy, but did with this one). It was really hard because I, like you, wanted to get all my vitamins from real food. I was on the GAPS diet before I got pregnant, too...and then got so nauseous that all I could eat was crackers, rice pasta, fruit leather/snacks and cheese sticks and yogurt, and some organic frozen dinners. It was horrible! So, all my thoughts of eating veggies and liver and steak and fish went out the window. I couldn't even stand the smell of them! And, it barely lessened in my second and third trimester.

I just made/make the best choices I could. I avoided gluten and stuck to organic rice toast/crackers/pasta, and ate organic fruit and fruit leather, and as much organic cheese and yogurt as I could, and lots of custards. A few weeks into it, I finally broke down and bought prenatals and took 2/3rd the pills, figuring baby could leach off of me. This pregnancy, I'm taking the recommended three/day, because I'm already depleted from giving birth once and nursing my first until I got pregnant. (I take the RAW Vitamin Code prenatal, because it has folate instead of folic acid, and all the vitamins come from real food: http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Life-Vitamin-Prenatal-Capsules/dp/B0032EZOAM).

Honestly, you were eating well and baby will take from you first before it runs out of nutrients. And, you were getting folate-rich foods when baby needed them, because the nausea hadn't set in yet. The human race wouldn't exist today if prenatals were necessary! I think you should be good. Hopefully, come second trimester (only a week away for you!) the nausea will relent and you can eat liver and steak and fish and veggies, etc. If you can't, maybe try supplementing with one of the prenatals that is organic and has whole food ingredients--mostly for your health.

Also, sometimes I wonder if our bodies compensate for our diet with our cravings. I was so low-carb, no starch, high protein before I got pregnant that all my body wanted during my first pregnancy was bland, fattening carbs. (And, yeah, I gained a lot of weight that first trimenester...something like 15 pounds!...and lost it all within months of giving birth due to nursing and carying a baby all day). This pregnancy, I was eating a more "balanced" diet, and have been able to eat steak and sometimes fish once a day. Eating when not-stressed also helps with my nausea immensely (which is hard to do with a toddler!)

Another suggestion for the nausea is rice toast/crackers and ginger. Those really helped with my more nauseous moments and helped prevent me from barfing. I also second not going long without food. Keep snacking, on whatever is healthy that you can keep down. It really helps a lot!

Just try to make the healthiest choices you can with your cravings and nausea, and try not to worry!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I just saw Destiny's post, and second almost everything in it, from colicy kids, tiredness in pregnancy, to magnesium, to prenatals, to not worrying. I never did eat the placenta, though (maybe it would have helped!). I also would suggest not pushing yourself after pregnancy if you don't have to. I thought I could be like a pioneer woman and was out there wearing my baby and gardening and making cider and cleaning the house...and then I started hemorrhaging and had to go on bed rest for a two weeks. Take it easy on yourself. I really wish I had a better support system the first time, too. My husband went back to work a week after I gave birth, and then worked 33 days straight of night shift, and no one cooked me dinners or came to help, and my son cried all day when he wasn't nursing, and I got very little sleep. Hello postpartum depression and hemorrhaging! (Honestly, it was so traumatic that I was really afraid to get pregnant again)

A month or more before you give birth, start making and freezing dinners and get as many easy, healthy meals as you can ready. Get people to help you, even if you have to beg (I would have had to beg, because every time I called my parents about what was going on, they just said my Mom did it by herself, and therefore so could I). Get your husband to take time off if he can, and don't let him work overtime unless it's absolutely necessary!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
A month or more before you give birth, start making and freezing dinners and get as many easy, healthy meals as you can ready.



Yes! This is something I did as well - stockpiled homemade frozen dinners. It was such a lifesaver!

Nicole, that sounds so rough - I can't imagine hemorrhaging, that must have been so scary!! I second family being ghostly though - it's amazing to me that you can push a football out of such a teeny place and nobody thinks that you might need to eat or sleep once in a while. Oi.

Also, I took those Vitamin Code Raw ones too, they're the bomb diggity! And they didn't exacerbate my morning sickness either, a huge win. That was like 90% of the reason I didn't want to take the vitamins, not exactly the most enticing thing when you're fighting to keep actual food down as it is.
 
Mick Fisch
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I am so sorry to hear about your hard pregnancies. There are times when I feel like us guys got the hard road and other times, like now, that I think we got the easy one. I guess we deal with the hand we're dealt.

I heard a story about a man who was accused of straying off of the strait and narrow path (the path of righteousness) and he responded "Yes, I do stray, but I at least try to cross it as often as I can!" We veer off course, when we realize it, rather than beat ourselves up we need to readjust course. A lot of people tend to waste focus and energy feeling guilty about things that are past. It's a waste of emotional energy that could be used for doing something that actually helps.

There aren't any perfect parents walking around, you won't be either. Do your best. That's all anyone can ask. We all want to give our kids the best chance we can in life, but we are all laboring under our own limits. The trick is the balancing act (wear yourself out doing a little more or rest and take care of yourself). That is an individual call and we all screw that up some occasionally.

When I was younger I had no concept of what a blessing a young, strong body was. Since I hadn't experienced it, I couldn't conceive it. My wife has also commented on this to me. Take care of yourself. Each pregnancy is a massive stress on your body and each time you spring back a little slower and the recovery is less complete (possibly partly just due to age). Slowing down for a few months is a real positive compared to a possible reduction of capabilities for the rest of your life (my wife now battles chronic fatigue which I think was due to her wearing her body too much for too long, which left her weakened and open to it.

Just a little nutrition note. When we lived in Alaska a friend of ours was pregnant and severely anemic. Her doctor told her she was going to need iron shots, which I hear are really painful. She asked if there was anything she could do to avoid it and he said, "Yes, if you eat moose a couple of times a week you'll be fine". I mention this because all meat isn't the same (Capt. Obvious strikes again). Moose are browsers and really like willows, which are incredibly mineral rich (They grow a huge rack of mostly calcium in a few months). Since deer are also browsers I would guess their meat would be similar (except here in Indiana with our corn fed deer population. We aren't what we eat, we are what we eat eats. Better soil = better vegies, better graze or browse = better meat.

One thing we have found is that home canned meat makes a wonderful meal really easy. One can per meal. You can put it up with onions, garlic and whatever flavorings you generally use. Thicken it with some corn starch or flour, put it over potatoes or rice and you have a feast. We do the same with chili, stew, spaghetti sauce. You can freeze it up also, but nothing is as fast as using your home canned goodness if you aren't up to doing a lot. If you have veggies put up or frozen you are really in business. It isn't as good as fresh, but when your feeling really sick or weak that may not be an option. It's a lot better than a box of mac and cheese and about as fast.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Thank you everyone for all your kind and uplifting words.

Amazingly enough, even without folate pills, the vast majority of kids all over the world and throughout history come out fine. I'm sure it pisses off the pill companies, but that's the facts.



My husband keeps telling me this. I think that folate does reduce the risk of it happening for a pregnancy that is susceptible to it, but not taking it doesn't mean it's going to happen. I've heard plenty of stories of women who religiously took folic acid before and during pregnancy and baby was still born with neural tube problems so it is not a panacea, although I acknowledge its important. I also think there is probably more to it, like deficiencies in other things that blocks absorption of folate.

Pregnancy is so exhausting, I couldn't believe how tired I was, especially during that first trimester.



I am certainly very tired. I feel like I could take a nap at any given moment during the day. And sometimes I do. I sleep like a rock at night as well which has been really nice.

I chose to take prenatals because my diet was absurdly lacking in nutrients much of the time, and I just ate whatever didn't make me want to puke, which was usually just crackers and cupcakes up until I was around 4 or 5 months pregnant.



Well, that makes me feel a little bit better. After going through the things I have been eating, I realize its not all that terrible. I have kept a steady intake of pastured eggs, grass fed meats, chicken, grass fed butter, grass fed yogurt, watermelon, sourdough bread, grass fed cheese, and I have eaten some tuna here & there. I get really bad heartburn and reflux on top of the nausea so I have to stay away from most fruit and all juice. And anything that contains sugar (besides watermelon) seems to bother me. I have tried to eat green things and they always come back up so there isn't a whole lot I can do about that. I am trying to listen to my body and it doesn't seem to want uncooked veggies. I also have to stay totally away from tomatoes, which has been hard. We have a meat and veggie CSA and access to raw milk & yogurt from a really great farm so at least I have been able to consistently keep that coming.

And, it barely lessened in my second and third trimester.



Oh please don't tell me that!!! Everyone I talk to says "Oh, yea I remember having morning sickness. It last for like 4 weeks. I never threw up, but I had some nausea" or "Oh no, I never had any sickness with my pregnancy". I am like the worse case scenario I've ever known, which annoys me. Even my mom said "Oh I wasn't sick like that with you". It has eased a bit which I hope is a good sign that it will wear off. Instead of throwing up 8 times a day, I am down to about twice a day. I don't know how I would survive if this lasted another 6 months. I haven't lost any weight luckily but haven't even gained a pound yet.

Another suggestion for the nausea is rice toast/crackers and ginger. Those really helped with my more nauseous moments and helped prevent me from barfing. I also second not going long without food. Keep snacking, on whatever is healthy that you can keep down. It really helps a lot!



For some reason, ginger gives me heartburn so I haven't been able to use that as a remedy, though I heard it helps a lot. And yes, I finally learned that I must eat like every 2 hours or I get sick. It took me awhile to get to that realization and I wish I would have figured it out sooner. I noticed I need more protein than normal and if I don't have a protein rich snack, I will get sick and need to eat 20 mins later.

never did eat the placenta, though (maybe it would have helped!).



I do plan on getting my placenta encapsulated. My naturopath and midwife highly suggested it since I have a history of anxiety. My best friend is one month ahead of me in her pregnancy and we plan on going to acupuncture together after we give birth to ward some of that off as well.

A month or more before you give birth, start making and freezing dinners and get as many easy, healthy meals as you can ready. Get people to help you, even if you have to beg (I would have had to beg, because every time I called my parents about what was going on, they just said my Mom did it by herself, and therefore so could I). Get your husband to take time off if he can, and don't let him work overtime unless it's absolutely necessary!



I am sorry your mom said that to you! What a hard thing to hear when you are asking for help. Luckily, everyone in my family is already being very helpful. I am already running into disputes with my mother though about what kinds of clothes she is buying for the baby. I gave her some guidelines of what I think it appropriate and she is deliberately going against it and I can already tell this is going to be an ongoing issue. But, as far as help, I don't think that will be a problem, but who knows. My husband plans on taking 4 weeks off after the birth so that will be very helpful.

Just a little nutrition note. When we lived in Alaska a friend of ours was pregnant and severely anemic. Her doctor told her she was going to need iron shots, which I hear are really painful. She asked if there was anything she could do to avoid it and he said, "Yes, if you eat moose a couple of times a week you'll be fine". I mention this because all meat isn't the same (Capt. Obvious strikes again). Moose are browsers and really like willows, which are incredibly mineral rich (They grow a huge rack of mostly calcium in a few months). Since deer are also browsers I would guess their meat would be similar (except here in Indiana with our corn fed deer population. We aren't what we eat, we are what we eat eats. Better soil = better vegies, better graze or browse = better meat.



At my last blood test, my iron was good so hopefully that won't be an issue. I am eating lots of beef so hopefully that's keeping my stores up. I have never actually tried venison and I don't think I can try it now for the first time, though I don't doubt that it would be beneficial to me.

Thank you everyone again for your support, kind words, and advice. I really do appreciate it! It always nice to hear this kind of stuff from experienced people
 
Mick Fisch
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I've got a magic cure for heartburn. (wait for it.... drumroll please)

IT'S CELERY!!!

Yeah, to me that sounds weird, but you don't even have to swallow the chewed up chunks, it's the juice that does it. My mother-in-law told my wife who told me and I thought to myself "You are all full of crap!" ( I at least had the good sense to keep the comment to myself). Then one day I had heartburn and nothing else available so I tried it. It works almost immediately and it didn't come back (that day, anyway).

I hate raw celery, but for me at least, this is the bomb!

On a side note. You are eating your vegetables, only in a more processed, condense form. Remember, you are what you eat, eats. So, since you are eating animal products from properly fed animals, you are getting lots of good nutrition. I am pretty sure that most of the tests they run on the nutrition levels of animals are on severely malnourished animals (like, if a lion ate only people who ate only candy, the lion would probably come up malnourished)

Reminds me of the joke I saw somewhere. Two tigers are standing on the edge of the jungle looking at a field full of rice farmers and one says to the other "no thanks, an hour after eating one of those, I'm hungry again!"
 
Destiny Hagest
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Yes, I knew there was a correlation between game meat and iron levels! I ate so much venison and elk and organ meat when I was pregnant, and am prone to iron deficiencies, but never had any issue.

My husband always jokes that it was the elk heart I ate during pregnancy that made our son so boisterous.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Speaking of nutrition, if you like/can stomach potatoes or sweet potatoes, they are pretty much the most vitamin dense food out there. A person could almost live on potatoes alone, vitamin-wise. So, bake some fries or mash potatoes or skillet potatoes, or make a soup or bake a potato, etc.

Also, I found garlic and lots of salt & pepper often helped me get things down when I was queasy, though of course your millage may vary!

Oh! And, something I found useful during those times when I was worried about not getting enough nutrients, was plugging in all my food into a food calculator like fitday and seeing how my RDA calculated out. It was really reassuring seeing I hit most, if not all, the daily values, and exceeded some of them.
 
Stephanie Ladd
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Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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Thanks again for the replies.

I'm officially in the 2nd trimester! People say things should get better now. I do feel like I'm slowly turning a corner.

One thing I wanted to mention in the realm of nutrition is Susun Weeds Nourishing herbal infusions. I believe they are an excellent way to get vitamins and minerals into your body. I did them before I got pregnant and now that I'm starting to feel better, I'm going to start it up again. She suggests rotating through a few herbs during the week. The ones she uses are nettle, linden, red clover, comfrey LEAF, and red raspberry leaf. They are easy to make: a quart mason jar filled with one ounce by weight of the dried herb, then filled to th top with boiling water. Cap the jar and leave for at least 4 hours, I usually do overnight. Then strain out plant material and drink throughout the day. Only use one herb at a time.

In my opinion, if you can stomach it during morning sickness, these can replace prenatals vitamins because they contain so many vitamins and minerals in usable form. Nettle is probably the most nutritious of them all and I usually do it 2-3 times a week. I dislike comfrey the most so I rarely do it, it's a little slimy to me.

The only downside is I think it's a lot of plant material to go through if you are doing these everyday. You should of course compost the left over plant material, but still, it can be costly. You COULD harvest your own plants and dry them, but it would take a lot of work and you'd have to have access to a large amounts of the plants.

What I really love about Susun Weed is she emphasizes using the plants in your area for healing and nutrition. I think this is really important. I know Ayurvedic and Chinese healing are really popular right now in America, but I'm not Asian or Indian so my body will not respond in the same way to those herbs as they would to traditional European and American herbs.
 
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