3 Things To Have Your Postpartum Doula Do For You Today

It is unfortunate that so many birthing people feel that hiring a postpartum doula is an unnecessary luxury reserved for the elite. It's just not true, and with more families feeling depressed, depleted, run-down and isolated I look forward to the day when most have a postpartum doula the same as most write up a birth plan.

The long-term benefits of having a postpartum doula are immeasurable. The immediate benefits can be seen by the relief on a birthing person's face when they know their doula is showing up on Friday and they will be getting a much needed break and a massage.

If you are unclear about what a postpartum doula is, you can imagine that the same as your birth doula supports and encourages you during labor, a postpartum doula encourages and supports every area of your new life after baby is born. This can look like cooking, cleaning, offering breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support, massage for achy muscles, listening and processing your birth story, brewing supportive herbal teas, filling the bath and holding baby while you soak...

Sound amazing? It's because it is!

I could go on and on writing out the benefits of postpartum doulas and support during the fourth trimester, but I think Kimberly Johnson did an incredible job covering all of the bases in a recent podcast interview with The Birthful Podcast. You can give it a listen here~

I myself did not have a postpartum doula, mostly because I did not know that it was a thing that is available. I heard about these unicorn doulas after my youngest was born, and although I'd had a beautiful and healing birth with Isabelle, I knew there was a lot of room for improvement in the way I cared for myself postpartum. Now postpartum work is some of my favorite work I do! I try to provide everything for my families that I didn't have but wish I did after my own kids were born.

After I had Surro-baby I set myself up for the ultimate stay-cation and fourth trimester laying around to restore my health and well-being. Armed with better knowledge and resources, I knew it would be important for my recovery and that I'd come back healthier and more radiant than ever if I could only take exceptional care of myself in those first weeks after birth. But still, I didn't hire a postpartum doula. I wrongly assumed that because I wouldn't be coming home with a newborn that I wouldn't need one, but looking back and even in the moment, I knew that no mother or family, no matter what their birth or postpartum experience, could ever have too much help. I absolutely would have benefited from a postpartum doula in many ways.

I hope that you are able to invest in your health and long term vitality by hiring a postpartum doula, and when you do, you may want to consider having her do these 3 things~

 

1. Clean Your Bath Tub

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Many postpartum doulas are happy to run you a bath, and will even go the extra mile to fill the tub with herbal brews for healing. I took a bath every night after having my kids because it just felt so good! But I was careful to clean my tub really well before soaking. I didn't want to soak in a dirty bathtub obviously, but there is also the thought that a dirty tub can cause an infection in your very open body. I would rather err on the side of caution and keep it clean~ but who wants to scrub a tub when you are supposed to be relaxing? Even if you aren't planning to take a bath during your postpartum doula's shift, ask her to give it a good cleaning so you can enjoy later.

 

 

2. Prep Healthy Snacks

One of my favorite things in the world is receiving love from others through food. Even having a friend drop off take-out makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and as more and more communities create meal trains for their newborn families, I am happy to see that dinner is very often covered by caring friends and neighbors after having a baby. But have you ever noticed that there is never anything in the fridge to just munch on? Sometimes you want to snack, and as well know, you will reach for what is available. Have a friend or your partner shop for some healthy snack ingredients, and your postpartum doula can prep them for later munching. Think chopped fruits and veggies, protein balls, broths, wraps, etc.

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3. Create Your Happy Spot

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Most likely you will find yourself gravitating to one particular spot in the house after baby is born for feedings, reading, snuggling and just overall comfort. This might be your bed, a cozy corner of the couch, a special chair, or even a little spot on the floor. You might have no anticipated this before the birth, but now it's your throne. You deserve to be surrounded by beauty and it can do wonderful things for your emotional and spiritual well-being to have this space reflect this serene and sacred time you are currently in. Ask your postpartum doula to clean and arrange this space. Set you up with a basket or two of supplies for yourself and baby. Think snacks, drinks, reading material, books, etc. for you and diapers, creams, feeding supplies, etc. for baby. She can arrange flowers, candles, hand lotion and others things nearby to give you something lovely to look at it. This kind of cozy corner is wonderful for everyone, and I find it to be especially comforting for those who are pumping breastmilk. Even if the rest of the house is not as clean or tidy as you like it, it will be okay because this happy spot will be clean and organized just for you.

 

Curious to learn more about hiring a postpartum doula? You can leave a comment below or contact me here! Did your postpartum doula do something for you that you really loved? Tell us below or share with me on Instagram: @jasmine.rose.doula

My 4 Favorite Remedies for Postpartum Hemorrhoids

I was at a workshop all about pelvic floor, geared toward pregnant and postpartum women. As is common for most workshops I have been to, the teacher began our time together with having each person introduce themselves~ their name, where they are in their pregnancy if they are pregnant, and a question: what is your favorite and least favorite thing about pregnancy?

I was just a few months out of my own pregnancy and was finally sitting normally again, so I knew exactly what my least favorite thing about pregnancy would be. I was one of the closest to her, so I spoke before most of the group:

"Hi, my name is Jasmine. I am 3 months postpartum, and I love absolutely everything about pregnancy! My least favorite is definitely hemorrhoids."

All around the room, young women in expensive yoga clothes with tiny little baby bumps raised their eyebrows and looked shocked. Yup. I said it, and anyone who has had more than one child has probably experienced the unmentionable postpartum annoyance that is hemorrhoids.

As we continued introductions around the room it became obvious that as 99% of the women were still pregnant with their first, I'm sure most of them were thinking to themselves, "Sure, that happened to her, but it would never happen to me!"

But here's the thing. It doesn't matter who you are or how expensive your yoga pants are- hemorrhoids don't discriminate. And aside from being unsightly, embarrassing, or whatever else you associate with having hemorrhoids, when you have just given birth to a child and your bits are already pretty sore, hemorrhoids can be downright painful!

If you've got 'em, you want them gone as soon as possible, so I am going to share with you some remedies that are actually effective so you can move on with your life and sit like a normal human being.

A little side not- I didn't get hemorrhoids with my first labor, but I did with the next two. So don't think that just because you escaped the first time that you will be so lucky the next. I recommend being prepared ahead of time because there is just nothing worse than waiting for shipping or making a trip to the store when you are bleeding and your insides are falling out. You want to be home in bed, congratulating yourself on your preparedness and forethought.

Firstly, where do hemorrhoids come from?

The inter-webs will have you believe that hemorrhoids are mostly a result of dehydration, not enough fiber and constipation. Any Google search gives you advice for not straining during a bowel movement, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking more water... all good things. But postpartum hemorrhoids are a little harder to avoid because during a vaginal delivery there is quite a bit of force involved in pushing your baby out. And well... straining is kind of a part of the package. With all of that pressure, the veins in the rectum may become swollen. Sometimes women find themselves pushing for very long periods of time, and hemorrhoids as a result of an extended period of pushing makes sense, but as I said in the beginning, they don't discriminate, because even a quick labor and delivery can cause the uncomfortable little beasts.

Control what you can control and let go of the rest...

Eating a healthy diet during your pregnancy, getting plenty of exercise and keeping hydrated will absolutely help to prevent hemmies as much as you can. Keeping your pelvic floor in tip top shape will also benefit your booty! Make sure to work your pelvic floor correctly and often throughout your pregnancy for an easier delivery and the possibility of lessening your chances of painful hemorrhoids.

Don't panic, here's how to get back to your normal bum as quickly as possible.

1.)  What I am going to share with you are the things that have worked for myself and clients. Not everything will work for you, and some remedies may take a few days, but don't fret! I've had great success with these easy solutions.

My absolute favorite remedy for hemorrhoids might be the most unlikely. It is a tea by Euphoric Herbals called Vascular Toning Tea. Yes, like a tea that you drink! You can check it out here..

Euphoric Herbals is a small company doing big things with herbs. Her teas aren't just tasty- they work! This toning tea is like a miracle in a mug and resolved any issues in just a few days, bringing relief after day 1. (Check out her other blends while you are there for breastfeeding, fertility, and even a tea to help you sleep.)

If you are very desperate or dealing with a particularly painful problem, you can make a compress out of the tea by brewing the tea in a muslin cloth bag, letting the water cool to room temperature, squeezing out some of the liquid and them placing the bag directly on the affected area for a period of time. You may even place the bag in the fridge or freezer to make a cold compress, using the cold temperature to provide relief and lesson inflammation.

 

2.)  Sitz baths are a favorite postpartum for so many reasons! And this is one of them. Make an herbal sitz bath using herbs such as calendula flowers, chickweed, yarrow, comfrey and plantain leaf. You can create a strong brew of the herbs overnight in a large mason jar or two, and pour the liquid directly into your bath. Or, similar to the tea above, you can place the herbs into a tea bag and create a compress.

 

3.)  Earth Mama Angel Baby has done a lot of the hard work for you by creating their postpartum sitz tea bags. I love these for creating a brew to put inside of your peri bottle postpartum, and the soaked tea bags make a great compress, or another strong brew that you can place directly into your bath.

 

4.)  The postpartum poo... bring it up in any mom group and sit back while you listen to story after story and watch the knowing head nods, because we have all been there! The irrational terror of pushing in those first days after giving birth is real, and when you have hemorrhoids... I mean, what are you even supposed to do?! I avoided it as long as physically possible. (They recommend NOT to do that by the way.) But there is an answer to our postpartum woes, and should apparently be decor in every bathroom, because the list of benefits is long. It is the squatty potty! And it need not be an ugly plastic contraption that you are embarrassed for guests to see. This bamboo squatty on Amazon is so pretty and gives your bathroom a spa feel, and it even has a foot massager built in!! (You will never want to leave your porcelain throne.)

 

Hopefully you have the ability to spend most of your time postpartum lying in bed and getting acquainted with your new little babe, so even if hemorrhoids are an issue they can become an after thought. And if you do find yourself plagued with the unmentionable- I'm sending you my love and hopes that these remedies being you relief.

Happy birthing!

 

Songs To Add To Your Labor Playlist Today

   I use music intentionally in my prenatal yoga classes, with playlists that will coincide with the flow of my plan for that day. There are always slower songs in the beginning of class, music that picks up the pace in the middle and then we end on a relaxing note. I use many of the same songs in my classes knowing that when my students hear certain songs start to play through the speakers, it sparks a response in the body.

"Oh perfect, that song always means savasana is right around the corner!"

   I love the idea that they might use some of the same music that I play in class to assist them in their labor. I get asked for my playlists often and I am always happy to share! Today I'm listing some of my most popular and requested songs that you can use for your own home yoga practice, meditations and even your labor playlist. The songs are in no particular order, and some are intended to build energy in the room while others bring quiet and calm. If you come to class on Sunday's you will probably find all of them very familiar!

Yoga & Labor Playlist

Om Shanti by Shiva Yoga, Sachi Driver and Glenn Sharp

Aad Guray Nameh by Jai- Jagdeesh

To Zion by Trevor Hall

Green Mountain State by Trevor Hall

Heaven by The Rolling Stones

Funky Guru by Prem Joshua

Be The Change by MC Yogi

Higher Love by James Vincent Mc Morrow

Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez

Halo by Lotte Kestner

Painter (Valentine) by Lapsley

Shanti (Peace Out) by MC Yogi

Directions by Nahko and Medicine for the People

For What It's Worth (India Dub) by DJ Drez

Ma Durga by Krishna Das

Awake My Body by Alexander

Ocean Eyes (Astronomy Remix) by Billie Eilish

The Boxer by Jerry Douglas

Tus Pies by Nahko and Medicine for the People

Skinny Love by Bon Iver

Hero by Family of the Year

The Goddess Suite- Mother Song by Krishna Das

Om Namah Shivaya by MC Yogi

Heal by Tom Odell

Sea of Love by Cat Power

Daughters of the Soho Riots by The National

Without You by Harry Nilsson

Charlie Boy by The Guitar Tribute Players

Creations Daughter by Nahko

Any song by A Tribe Called Red

 

   I hope this is gives you some ideas for your own playlists at home! You can also find some great music at two of my favorite Spotify Playlists: Gabrielle Bernstein Meditations and UMAMOTHER (Patti Q).

Do you have a favorite song (or songs) that you know others would love but you don't see it here? Comment below and share it with us!

 

And p.s. for those of you reading this blog post near January 8th of 2018, I'm inviting you to join my husband and I on Instagram Live during the new moon (January 17th) for a cocao ceremony and to chat with us about life, love, parenting and whatever else comes up! I will give everyone the exact time in my IG Stories, so keep an eye out there for further details.

And if you'd like to stay in touch with me, connect to the moon cycles and get fun things like random recipes, stories and anything else I am inspired to share in the moment, sign up for my newsletter! I know, email newsletters can really clutter an inbox and be a pain... but I think you will like this one! Find the sign up box below or email me at jasminerosedoula@gmail.com to be added. (Want yoga class information but not all of the other stuff? No problem! Email me and let me know~ I will make sure to add you to the right list)

 

Your Guide to Early Labor

   At the end of a long road, there's nothing quite like the mix of emotions you experience when you realize you are actually in labor. This is happening! Yay!

   Along with the excitement, you might grapple with feelings of anxiety, fear, disbelief, and a rush of energy. You might find you are asking yourself "What next?" and "Am I ready? What do I do?"

   This is the moment you have been waiting for after all! But from the moment you experience your first consistent contractions to your baby's first breathe, there can be quite  a lot of space in between. So let's dive deeper into this first part of labor and give you some ideas of what you can do to use this time wisely.

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What is happening to my body??

- Now that you are probably full term and your body has released the hormones necessary to begin labor, you might experience a feeling of being "out of it" or maybe you are more tired and cranky than you have been.

- Some women get loose bowels during the body's preparation for labor.

- The tightening sensations you have probably been feeling in your belly are now feeling different- you can feel the tightening on the top of the belly and you feel your whole belly get hard to the touch. Maybe you experience a little bit more sensation in your low back now.

- You may lose your mucus plug, which looks a lot like a glob of snot! Not everyone loses their mucus plug all at once or even at all- some people experience small amounts of the mucus plug leaving the body in a stream throughout the day. Some people don't notice it at all.

These things that are happening in your body are some of the "signs of labor". You may experience some of them, all of them, or even none of them! (Every pregnancy is different) But for the things that you do experience, each of these is your body's brilliant way of bringing baby earth-side.

_ _ _ _

In these early moments of labor your cervix has begun to shorten, and then it begins to dilate. Your body is working on this, maybe very subtly, in this first stage of labor, also known as Early Labor.

The stages of labor are: Early Labor, Active Labor, Transition, Pushing, Delivery, and Delivery of the Placenta.

In this first stage of labor, early labor, your contractions don't go away with rest or water anymore. The sensations are very manageable- maybe barely even noticeable, lasting about 30 seconds. You can walk and talk through each contraction and you have some time in between each one (somewhere around 5-8 minutes).

If you have a doula, this would be the time you would want to alert her of what is going on, but don't expect her to rush to your side just yet! She knows this is just the beginning~ she will probably begin to get her own ducks in a row and rest up for the coming adventure, which is what you should be doing too!

Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm in labor... now what?!

  • If you can, this is the time to rest. Sometimes bringing your baby home is a long and exhausting road. You have a lot of work ahead of you, so if you are able to try to get some sleep.
  • Sometimes sleep doesn't want to come, which is very understandable! There's a lot of excitement, and this first stage of labor can last a long time. So maybe you took a nap, but you would like to move now. Being on all-four's is a good way to get your baby in a good position for birth. Try cleaning the floors with a rag (seriously!) or you can do some cat-cow and gentle yoga.
  • Put a nourishing soup in the crockpot. You can eat small amounts when you get hungry to keep you energized and fueled up, and leftovers will be wonderful for postpartum.
  • Bake a birthday cake for your baby! This is one of my favorite ways to pass the time in early labor. Have your birth team pull it out to celebrate after the baby is born or surprise your nurses at the hospital.
  • Get crafty with a knitting, painting or a needlepoint project to welcome baby with. An unfinished project can be nice for sleepless nights or quiet moments postpartum as well.
  • Organize the baby's room or do a load of baby laundry.
  • Journal out your feelings and write a letter to your baby.
  • Distract yourself ~ the best way to ease the anticipation and anxiety of early labor is to simply go about your day and pretend that it isn't happening. The time is going to move verrryyyy slowly if all of your attention is hanging onto every contraction and twitch! Go out with a friend, take the dog for a walk, pick up the house... just take it slow. This isn't the time to use up too much energy and fuel because you will need it for later!

If you can prioritize one thing on this list, let it be rest!

Labor can last a very long time, and if avoiding an epidural is one of your goals then you want to be well-rested in preparation for what's to come. Many women ask for pain medication simply out of exhaustion.

Print out this list of ideas of things you can do during the early labor phase and hang it on the fridge as a reminder for when the time comes! If you are a doula or birth worker, print out a copy to give to your clients.

Click here to print the Early Labor Checklist.

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If you have any further questions on labor or what to do during early labor, leave them in the comments below!

 

(Stay tuned next Monday to learn more about what is happening in your body during active labor and some ideas on how to find the rythym that will carry you through.)