Home Birth: My Favorites in the Postpartum Season

Welcome to the last round of my favorite things about home birth!  Okay, most of my postpartum favorites don’t deal with home birthing in particular, but I’m trying to make home birth a comfortable household term across America, you know, so the more I say it the better, right?  Home birth.  Home birth, home birth, home birth.

Shoot.  I’m losing my edge.  It must have something to do with it being 10.30 at night while two audio tracks are playing at once in the living room and I’m a wee bit tired from breastfeeding at regular intervals at night for eight weeks running.  I am not complaining, I promise you: I love it.  Well, all except the two audio tracks playing at once.  And maybe being tired isn’t what I’d order off a menu, but I am a happy mama.  Ready to hear my secrets?

1. Encapsulated happiness

Soooo…  I’m eating my placenta.  Yes, I just said that.  I haven’t had the guts to tell many people about my secret to postpartum happiness.  I didn’t want to gross anybody out, you know.  But then I figured, hey, the gross-out factor for things is always highest the first time, right?  If I’m willing to be the bearer of this news, then every time you hear of placenta use from here on out, the more mainstream it’ll sound.  Doesn’t that just make you feel better already?

To be honest,  placenta ingestion is on an upward trend, according to my bit of  personal research anyway.  My midwife estimated that last year, ten percent of her clients took their placentas in pill form; this year, it’s 50 percent.  This isn’t a new thing, by the way.  Dig around the web and read articles like this and you’ll learn how other cultures have been honoring and using the placenta for centuries.  It’s fascinating.

The placenta is loaded with nutrition and healthy hormones, and it’s especially known for helping combating postpartum depression as well as helping the body heal after childbirth.   But I wasn’t really craving it prepared as a steak, you know?Instead Rachel prepared the placenta similarly to the technique described on the peaceful parenting blog:  she steamed it, dehydrated it, and then Kyle and I packed placenta powder into empty capsules.  Taking two capsules a day for the first three weeks, and one capsule every day for the three weeks after that, I don’t think it was coincidental that my postpartum season has been so blissful.  I love how Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking describes how bonded she has felt with her newborn in her blog article this week about the benefits of placenta encapsulation.  Like Lindsay, I had a few weepy days, all on days when I had forgotten to take my placenta pill.  I’m telling you, ladies: sometimes being crazy pays off…

2. Open hands

Accept help. Period.

If people offer to bring meals, let them.  If someone asks to come visit and hang out with your boys so you can take a nap, say yes.  If your husband tells you should hire someone to help around the house, bite your tongue and, um… strongly consider it.  You may want to be a superwoman — all blissed out on your postpartum happy pills — but superwoman just isn’t your role in the domestic duties department.

3. Freezer meals

Of all the nesting activities that claimed my time, food preparation was the most worthwhile.  I’ve decided that when you’ve got three little boys to love on, cooking goes way down on the list of priorities.  But you want to feed your family well, you know?  So I started packing the freezer during the summer, and I got serious about it.  We actually had to buy a deep freeze after I got everything made.  Curious what we’ve been eating?

Chicken noodle soup

Chicken pot pie with homemade biscuits

Black bean burgers

Black bean-quinoa burgers

Beef enchiladas

Lasagna

Chicken and brown rice casserole

Falafel, pitas, and hummus

Spinach quiche

Spelt-raisin bread

Zucchini bread

Chocolate chip cookies

Food.  It speaks to my nursing-mama heart.  Food with little to no preparation time?  Now we’re talking.

4. Cloth diapering

Well, I wouldn’t say washing out poopy diapers is one of my favorite pasttimes, but you may as well save a load of money and a chunk of landfill by using some cute cloth diapers.  Face it: doing laundry isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially if you can have a positive attitude about it.  We started out with prefolds and Thirsties diaper covers, followed by an older used model of the BumGenius one-size pocket diapers, but there are plenty of viable options out there these days.  And while I’m doing diaper laundry, it’s no more work to use squares of old colorful t-shirts (edges don’t fray so they don’t need hemming), sprayed with water laced with lavendar and tea tree oils.

5. Activity packs

I haven’t had much of a creative brain since the birth, so I’m happy I spent the time packing up an array of projects for my bigger boys.  I did much of the supply preparation before the birth, and now it’s easy to pull out projects like these:

Pinwheels

Funny face pots

A blend of dry beans or colored rice

Kaleidoscopes

Sponge toys

Hot rocks

Funnels and hoses

Orange birdfeeders

6. Baby-wearing

While I was waiting for our son Ari to join us from Ethiopia, I read all I could about attachment in childhood.  I discovered so much research on how holding a baby, especially with skin-to-skin contact, is crucial in bonding.  And that year, I fell in love with the Moby wrap, and I fell in even deeper love with Ari.  Ergonomical and comfortable, this baby carrier is a must-have for me now.  Newborn children need their mamas, want their mamas, change so fast.  I think Amber from The Run-a-Muck would agree; she recently posted a heart-wrenching but sweet article on baby-wearing.  Why lug around a car seat, more than double the weight of a baby, when you can keep your hands free and your baby nurtured?  Ray is a beautiful person; I’d rather keep him close.

This post is the last in a series on my experience with home birth.  Other posts in the series:

When life happens, hold it closely.

Home Birth: Some Natural, Everyday Miracles (Part 1)

Home Birth: Some Natural, Everyday Miracles (Part 2)

Home Birth: My Favorites in Pregnancy

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