Ignore the people that love to regale with horror stories – the vast majority of the billions of human births that have taken place have been just fine.
Once birth process starts:
Breathe! Keep breath long, slow relaxed and focus on the out breath – if in doubt, breathe out
Don’t go to hospital too early (if you are not having a home birth) – try and wait until birth waves are really well established, and then wait a bit longer. The quickest way to stop a birth in process is to transfer to hospital before things are well established
Sleep whenever you get the chance, in between waves etc – getting tired is when things get complicated
Eat! – you need to keep your strength up
You have more control than you have been told over whether your birth is painful or not. Using Mindfulness techniques, self-hypnosis and breathing training all have the potential to put you in control of the sensations you experience. Acupuncture is certainly worth considering for natural pain relief.
Things your partner can think about:
See if you can have the baby put straight onto your chest skin to skin as soon as he/she comes out – babies can only see black and white at birth and head up towards the nipple to feed straight away if given the opportunity
There is no need to cut the cord straight away – best to leave it until it has stopped pulsing, 30-60 mins
Consider cutting the cord at the placenta end, not the baby end (google ‘Lotus birth’)
The partners role is to make sure all of the above things happen and to express your needs to the hospital staff when you enter ‘the zone’ and don’t want to communicate anymore
What to do afterwards:
Stay in bad for a month, don’t take the baby outside or overexcite by showing to too many people, eat 5,000 calories a day (i’m serious, a breastfeeding mother needs as much nutrition as a bodybuilder – and this should be 70% from good fats, not biscuits…), keep warm, don’t have cold food or drinks, sleep as much as you can.
Herbs which all increase and promote lactation –
Huang qi (Astragalus root), dandelion, purslane, alfalfa, fenugreek, walnuts, oatmeal, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Note that sage, thyme and mint tea inhibit lactation.
Fenugreek, fennel seed, aniseed tea are a good combo to promote milk production and reduce colic at the same time.
Avoid eating brassicas (cabbage/mustard greens family) as these can cause your baby to have wind.
More on breastfeeding –
Read this – “Roasting the mother”:
For optimal foetal positioning:
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