Growing your family is beautiful. (Congratulations by the way). For little kids, expecting a new sibling can be a time of excitement, confusion, and concern. One way to help your child process these emotions and gain more understanding around the changes in their life is story telling. Relevant story books can help children process the big changes in their life and even become more excited about the new baby!
When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I knew it was important we help our daughter transition into being a big sister. We put a big focus on how exciting a little sibling would be and how important her role is as a big sister. We began reading books about being a big sibling every day as the end of my pregnancy neared and sure enough, our first child was excited and proud to become a big sister! Even more heartwarming, big sister now loves to “read” the sibling books to her baby sister.
Picture books are an important source of new language, concepts, and lessons for young children.
I wrote this book after seeing there was a lack of books explaining pregnancy to kids in a fun way! This books talks about how mommy’s are magic and how sometimes they might not feel well while growing a baby but it’s worth adding another amazing person to the family!
This book adds a fun twist to typical big sibling books since it’s about a dragon getting a new sibling! This book addresses the emotions of jealousy or avoidance a big sibling might feel when expecting a new baby in a fun and gentle way.
There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.
Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. There’s the amazing experience of first kicks, your growing bump, shopping and preparing all the cute baby items (checkout my non-toxic baby registry), and, of course, meeting baby! However, some women experience anxiety when nearing labor.
It’s no surprise many women experience anxiety about labor when we commonly hear and see horror stories about birth in the media and from others. However, many women still have easy and uncomplicated births and you can too! Whatever your desired birth, natural homebirth or uncomplicated and gentle hospital birth, it is important to prepare your body. There are many natural and easy methods to prepare your body for birth!
This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.
What to Put in Your Body
Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy is the best thing you can do to keep your baby and body healthy and ready for labor. A good balance of of vitamins and minerals allows the uterus to contract effectively and prevent difficulties during labor such as hemorrhage. Easily absorbed prenatal vitamins and a balanced diet will help ensure your baby and body are healthy and ready for labor.
Dates are a delicious and nutritious treat that can benefit you greatly in preparation for labor and postpartum. Dates can provide you with antioxidants, high levels of magnesium (which can also lower blood pressure), and choline, a key vitamin B. They’re also a great source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese, and fiber! Not only will dates give you a great nutritional boost, research has found they can lower your need for induction, lower need for interventions, and lower risk of complications.
Women who ate six dates a day from 36 weeks until birthing dilated more quickly, had intact membranes (water hadn’t broken) more often, and needed induction far less frequently (96% went into labor spontaneously) compared to the control group which ate no dates.
If you’re not a big fan of dates, but want the awesome benefits for labor, you can try this tasty organic date syrup. We use it for baking or topping waffles as a great low glycemic alternative!
Nettle Leaf Tea
Nettle leaf tea is amazing for the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to not use nettle tea before 35 weeks because there’s not enough research to decipher if it may cause preterm birth since it encourages the uterus to tone and contract. However, consuming Nettle Tea during the end of pregnancy may decrease risk of complications and increase chances of a shorter and easier labor.
Nettle leaf tea is also beneficial in preventing hemorrhage due to it’s high iron and vitamin K content.
Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.
Red raspberry leaf tea, probably the most well known herb used for pregnancy, is a great tool to prepare your body for labor. Similarly to Nettle Tea, it is recommended to only use this tea after 35-37 weeks because it’s ability to tone and contract the uterus, possibly increasing risk of preterm labor. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a delicious and easy way to tone your uterus in preparation for an easier labor.
The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.
An exercise or birth ball is really helpful in preparing your body for labor. Using a yoga or exercise ball during pregnancy can help strengthen the back and abs, open up the pelvis, and increase your chances of a shorter and easier labor.
Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.
There are SO many baby items. You can (and I have) spend hours upon hours looking into all of the different products. Creating a baby registry we love can be hard because we want what’s best for our babies but there’s endless products advertised that are dangerous, toxic, bad for development (see preventing container syndrome and growing a creative child), and just bad quality. For the mamas looking for non-toxic, gentle products that also support development, I’ve designed this guide to creating a registry you’ll love.
As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!
Gear is a great area to cut down on clutter and cost. You don’t need a ton of different things to put your baby in. Not only is it costly and takes a lot of space in your home, having a lot of “baby containers” is bad for baby’s development (learn more here). Stick to the basics and invest in high quality gear.
The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats. It also saves lots of money by being convertible and growing with your child! No need for a bucket car seat or buying a booster later.
A lot of bouncers and rockers contain harmful flame retardants. There are a few natural options that are great!
Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.
Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it is the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).
We chose to cosleep and have a bedside cosleeper. We decided to never get a crib, which saved money and worked great for us! However, I do understand that doesn’t work for some families, so I’ve included some natural crib gear as well!
We decided to cloth diaper in order to make sure our daughter isn’t exposed to toxic chemicals commonly in diapers as well as to lighten our environmental footprint. We LOVE cloth diapers. They’re cute, easy to use, and don’t create waste! Plus, you save a TON money. We used these cute pocket diapers.
We love these compostable, non-toxic bamboo diapers! We used these for travel or anytime we needed to take a break from cloth diapers (such as when we were moving).
We’ve primarily used reusable wipes and had great success with them. There are some great natural recipes, but we typically would use just warm water and a few drops of lavender oil which smells great and is naturally antibacterial.
We love this large BPA Free, PVC Free, Phthalate Free, Lead Free, Non-Toxic, & Recyclable Polypropylene baby bath. It’s a bonus that my toddler can still fit in it!
Always aim for organic!
While cotton is a natural fiber that can biodegrade at the end of its life, it is also one of the most environmentally demanding crops there is. The cotton industry now uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides.
Reusable nursing pads are a must-have, especially the first few months while your supply is regulating. Not only are the reusable pads more sustainable, they’re also more comfortable. It can be really uncomfortable if the “fuzz” from disposable pads stick to your already sore nipples!
As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you. I only recommend items I love and use. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!
Effective & Healthy Prenatal Vitamin
The prenatal vitamin you use during pregnancy is extremely important. Depending on the vitamins’ contents, it can either promote or hinder your baby’s growth and development. A plant based vitamin is necessary for the best absorbtion. Synthetic versions are much less readily absorbed. It’s also important to use an organic vitamin. Pesticides, used on non-organic food, have been linked to irregular brain development and autism. My favorite plant based vitamin is the Organic Garden of Life.
Comfortable Maternity Clothes
You’ll be pregnant for nine months and for at least four of those, not fit your usual clothes. For both of my pregnancies I’ve been in maternity clothes by three months since my belly pops so early! A few of my Amazon favorites are below and
Peppermint Tea helps with heartburn, nausea, lowers stress, headaches, sinuses, and energy, so pretty much everything you need help with during pregnancy! I had a cup of peppermint tea almost every morning of my pregnancy and it instantly would soothe any nausea or heartburn I had and gave me a little boost of energy!
A water filter is a necessity because a leading cause of miscarriage is chlorine in tap water (learn more here). I use the Berkey filter which is one of the most effective filter systems you can get and also offers an optional fluoride filter.
Modern birth has become scary, medical, and often, an experience mamas fear. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many resources available to get educated and take power of your birth. After planning my last homebirth, and beginning to plan my second (see my birth plan here), I have found endless amazing resources to learn how to take charge of pregnancy and birth and get the experience you want.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made with no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!
This book will help you understand all your options in pregnancy and birth and decipher what the best plan is for you. It’s full of facts and information and is not judgmental, regardless of what kind of birth you want. It even gives information on how to have a woman-centered and empowered C-section. I also recommend this book because it pulls on experiences from many different women quoting them on their personal birth experiences.
A straight forward guide to succeed in natural child birth. The book goes into depth on how to prepare your body for a healthy labor, what labor will entail, how to involve your birth partner, and how to get the information you need to make informed decision for your birth and avoid induction and surgery.
A funny and personal reflection and assessment of the modern culture around pregnancy and birth as well as the science of pregnancy and birth. A great guide to understand the basics from miscarriage, pregnancy, and labor, to postpartum and breastfeeding.
A spiritual guide to pregnancy. This is one of my favorites for pregnancy because it provides resources and ideas to connect to your pregnancy experience and your baby. This also doubles as a pregnancy journal with weekly journal prompts to ensure you are feeling positive and connected to your pregnancy process.
This book focuses on women’s natural abilities to birth and empowering them to believe in their bodies abilities with science backed information. It’s a great guide to understanding how to optimize your chances of a natural birth, naturally lower pain during labor and even learn about orgasmic birth.
A helpful guide on making pregnancy, birth, and postpartum a positive and calm experience that pulls research from the neuroscience and mind/body medical field. The book provides effective methods to reduce stress and pain while improving confidence and connection.
A great guide to learn hypnobirthing and avoid other forms of pain management. This book boasts “Over 85 percent of Hypnobirthing Home Study Course mothers birthed naturally and easily, with most saying they were entirely comfortable throughout the birth and didn’t even think of asking for pain medication.” The book focuses on teaching you to control your thoughts and gain control of your experience.
I hope with all of these empowering resources you will be able to kick the great of pregnancy and birth and gain control over your experience.
My Favorite Resources To Visualize A Positive Birth
Having the birth experience you want requires planning, education, and understanding. It’s important to know all the whys behind different approaches to birth and navigate what will be best for you and your baby. If you approach birth without knowledge, your birth experience will be whatever your medical professional would like it to be rather than your own preferred experience because unless you give direction, others will take the lead. There are endless resources to understanding and learning all about birth. In order to align with the birth you want, it’s important to dive into that experience. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help learn more about birth and decipher your own ideal birth.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!
The Birth Hour Podcast
“The Birth Hour Podcast” is one of my favorite and one of the most accessible resources. I listen on Spotify, but it’s available on a myriad of platforms. It’s important to be aware though that it shares ALL types of stories, including the more negative or more medical focused experiences, but it’s a great place to start in figuring out what you may or may not want. This resource is all about the birth stories and not so much the educational side of things or hearing research behind birth although it does come up occasionally. It’s a great place to start when forming ideas about your ideal birth because you’ll begin forming a vocabulary around birth and hear about all the different things that can come up and the approaches to birth. I think it may be ideal to lay off this resource or be more selective with episodes once you do have a set birth plan to make sure you’re not filling yourself with fear or giving yourself different visions of birth than you would like.
The Empowered Birth Project was one of the first birth resources I was exposed to outside of my formal education and I was immediately obsessed. I had never seen birth framed as a beautiful and empowering experience before and that’s what the Instagram page is all about. This page shares real stories along with photos and videos, and emphasizes birth education and awareness.
Ok so this one is probably a no brainer, but I think Pinterest a great resource for planning a birth because you can find stories, research, and inspiration for any birth you may desire. I have a Natural Birth Inspiration board you can check out here. It provides a myriad of resources from research to things like affirmations for birth.
Books can be an amazing resource as they go into depth about topics allowing you to gain more understanding and possibly even more skills to prepare you for the birth you want. This is a quick list of a few of my favorites, but I will probably write a separate article shortly to go into more depth about all of my favorite birth books.
Some of the most important resources you will use are those in your community. I personally suggest using a midwife group or hiring a doula (or both). They’re a great resource for natural and empowered birth options. You can also check into local Le Lethe League meetups which is a great moms’ support group for breastfeeding. I also suggest looking into local birth classes, pregnancy support groups, baby-wearers clubs, prenatal yoga, chiropractic, and acupuncture. All are amazing resources to ensure your body and mind are healthy and prepared for natural and/or an empowered birth. You’ll also find the transition to motherhood much easier if you already have a like minded mama tribe through different prenatal groups.
Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.
If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.
First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.
An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.
If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving).
This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.
As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!
1. Follow Your Gut
Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.
2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence
It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.
The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.
3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas
Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level.
4. Self Care & More Self Care
I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.
Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves.
My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.
If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.
5. Find Relevant Resources
Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.
As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!