Fun With Holidays

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Benefits of Eating the Placenta

Placenta in a Jar

Placenta in a Jar

Before Franci was born, I had heard enough anecdotal evidence in favor of eating the placenta (in capsule form, over the course of several weeks) that I decided to give it a try. My midwife is experienced in the preparation and encapsulation and believes in its benefits, so there was no reason not to try it out.

It turns out there is no scientific evidence to support placentophagy, which is the technical term for placental consumption. There is also no evidence to debunk the benefits either. At this point, no one has bothered to look into it at all beyond a small team from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. And all they’ve done so far was interview 189 women who “use the Internet and consumed their placenta”.

The results from the “study” conclude that 75% of the respondents had a very positive experience eating their placenta, less than 1% had a negative experience, and 98% said they would eat their placenta again.  It’s hard not to think that a placebo would produce similar results, if you’re feeling cynical.

Now that placenta #2 is processed and in my freezer, I’m a repeat customer myself. Do I believe in the health benefits ascribed to placentophagy? Proponents claim it improves mood, alleviates postpartum depression, increases energy and improves lactation. Since I’ve practiced placentophagy with both of my children, I can’t say for sure. I began taking the pills several days earlier this time around and it is easy to ascribe differences in recovery to this fact. It’s just as easy to claim that each birth is so different, so is the recovery period.

So what is in the placenta that is supposed to be so beneficial? Protein, iron, vitamins, oxytocin, and CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), known to reduce stress (according to Wikipedia). No one has studied how much of any of these is available once the placenta is processed and consumed.

As far as I am concerned, there is no harm in it.  Medical experts agree with my assessment, believers and non-believers alike.  Just don’t ask me to eat it raw or cook it for dinner!

Did you consume your placenta? Why or why not?



Recipe: Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites

Cooked and Crunchy

Cooked and Crunchy

Feeding a toddler is never easy, even if they aren’t particularly “picky”. A favorite food one day may cause a crying fit the next. Franci is going through a stage where whole vegetables won’t even be given a second glance. No matter how smothered the broccoli is with cheese, she won’t venture a taste.

Ready to Cook

Ready to Cook

Being fall, I thought it was time to try out sweet potato once again. The offering of cooked bite-sized chunks resulted in lots of tears, so I decided to try out a couple of recipes. One in particular was a huge hit, but not with Franci! She thinks they are the devil reincarnate, but her father and I think they are the best thing to happen to sweet potatoes since the fry. Since neither of us like sweet potatoes, I’d say that makes this recipe a winner!

Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites (based on a recipe by Superglue Mom)

  • 3 C sweet potato, cubed and cooked
  • 1 C broccoli, cooked
  • 1 C shredded parmesan, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Puree broccoli in a food processor until no chunks remain. Add sweet potato, 1 C parmesan and salt, and pulse until sweet potato is half pureed and half chunky.

Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and roll in the extra parmesan until coated.  This is the most important step, since the caramelized cheese makes these extra delicious. Place an inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Cook at 425F until the parmesan starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Re-cooked bites get even more crusted and delicious.

You can also make these ahead and freeze them. The cooking time is longer, but they make a surprising appetizer!

The Newest Green Baby Has Arrived!

Allison

Allison

Last Wednesday, November 12th, the newest member of the Green Baby Guide was welcomed into the world.  Allison was born at home just before noon with the help of a midwife, assistant midwife and doula (and, of course, my husband and mom).  We are happy to say that this was our second home birth and our first water birth!

Mom and baby are recovering nicely with the support of friends and family. Big sister Franci is still adjusting to her new role and insists on touching her sister’s downy head as often as possible.

We are excited to meet all the challenges that come with a growing family, and I’m sure that Alli will provide plenty of inspiration for blogging!

Fun With Diapers

gbghappynappy2

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

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“Every baby comes out eventually” may be true, but that doesn’t exactly provide comfort at the end of a long pregnancy. Whether you are past your due date or just ready to get that baby out of your belly, there are a few things you can do to speed the process up naturally.

While old-wives tales abound, some of the methods have actual research to back them up:

Sex: Although a recent study suggests that there is no correlation between having sex and going into labor, semen contains prostaglandins that soften and ripen the cervix. Women in the hospital are often given a synthetic prostaglandin at the first stage of inducing labor.

Oxytocin, a hormone released while having sex, plays an important role in initiating labor as well as stimulating contractions.

It’s also thought that orgasms can stimulate the uterus into action.

Nipple Stimulation: This is used for several reasons during labor, including stimulating contractions. It can also help move from pre-labor to full labor, regulate contractions, and help shrink the uterus after birth.

Herbals: There are herbs, most notably Raspberry Leaf, that help tone the uterus and are often taken throughout pregnancy. It relaxes blood vessels, which is thought to help during labor. Other studies suggest that women who ingest Raspberry Leaf are less likely to require intervention during labor.

Evening Primrose: While there is no scientific evidence to back this up, it is believed to act as a prostaglandin that softens and ripens the cervix. Whether or not you should take it orally or apply directly to the cervix is up to you.

Black and Blue Cohosh: LoveToKnow has a great run-down of what the two types of Cohosh do. In my experience, they were very effective so I would strongly urge you to only take Cohosh under the supervision of your midwife or doctor.

Acupuncture: According to one study, women who received acupuncture went into labor sooner and were more likely to go into labor spontaneously (without medical intervention). There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that acupressure helps as well. The most common suggestion is to press on the webbing between the thumb and index finger.

Visualization and Relaxation: We all know how powerful mind over matter is, so visualizing the cervix ripening, the uterus contracting, and the baby dropping is worth a try.  Tension and anxiety work against labor, so focus on releasing both the best way you know how: yoga, meditation, a long bath or whatever was taught in child birthing class.

Did you try any natural methods to get your labor started?  Were they effective?

TBT: Green Laundry Choices

line drying baby clothes

The Original Solar Powered Clothes Dryer

Our new house has a clothes line, and I’ve already put it to good use. I learned a very important lesson the first time I used it: clothes that were dry become less dry once the sun goes down. Unless I want to leave them out overnight to dry again in the morning, the laundry must be collected before dark!

We’ve posted a lot over the years about doing laundry in an eco-friendly way, and here are some of the highlights!

Green Breakthrough: Save Energy by Washing Diapers in Cold Water

The Cheapest Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent

Save Water, Energy, and Money Washing Diapers with a Front-loading Washing Machine

Making Homemade Non-Chlorine Bleach

Using a Drying Rack to Fight Global Warming

5 Great Indoor Drying Racks for around $25

Best Parenting Advice

Eating in front of the TV? Not on my watch!

Eating in front of the TV? Not on my watch!

When we are about to become new parents, it seems like everyone has a piece of advice to share.  Although we may not agree with all of it, the best course of action is to just smile and nod.  I mean, there’s no point in arguing with the lady in line behind you at the grocery store!  Sometimes I like to pester seasoned parents for wisdom, just to hear what they have to say.  Who knows when that gem of advice will come my way?

Parenting books are another source of advice, and you can find one that suits all parenting styles.  Sometimes they really speak to you, and sometimes not.  I got a kick out of reading sleep books from both ends of the spectrum before Franci was born, since the advice from one completely contradicted advice from the other.

Whether or not I decide to follow the advice, I really don’t get sick of hearing it all.  Knowledge is power, after all.  And just because I disagree completely, doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything!

One piece of advice I find myself coming back to over and over is, “Begin as you mean to go.”  It means that it’s easier to take a stance now, instead of having to change it down the road.  It may take a lot of energy up front that you don’t really have, but you’ll see the pay-off eventually.  It goes hand in hand with, “Choose your battles.”  Decide what the rules are the moment it becomes an issue, and stick to it.  And if you don’t see yourself fighting that war down the road, for whatever reason, don’t half-ass it up front just to give up after a weak show.

What is the best piece of parenting advice you ever received?  How about the worst?

Fun With Halloween Costumes

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Happy Halloween!

Expecting a Second Child

Big Sister

Big Sister

The end is near! Of Pregnancy, I mean.  The birthing bed is made up and ready for laboring, the water heater is turned up and ready to fill the birthing tub, and the fridge is filled with coconut water. Bring it on!

I’ve been talking to Franci about her little sister for months, but lately I’ve changed the conversation. It’s not so much about, “there’s a baby in my belly” but how she’ll be helping care for the baby: reading her books, being gentle, doing laundry (her favorite chore).

Since we’re having another girl, there wasn’t really anything to buy. We picked up a case of diapers, but she’ll be in cloth (and infant potty training) as soon as the meconium is passed.

Despite the preparations, it’s hard to feel “prepared”. What are we missing?

Did you do anything else to prepare for a second child, or is there anything you wish you had done?

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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