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Placenta Encapsulation – Postpartum Support

When I first heard of placenta encapsulation my stomach lurched.  Having your placenta prepared to consume after birth? But I’ve learned to take time and really think through information before judging and after remembering that was my initial feeling when first hearing about The Diva Cup. I started to think that the idea of placenta encapsulation might be exactly what the Dr. should be ordering for moms that have a history of depression. I also didn’t know that placenta pills can assist moms that have low production with breast milk, expedite healing, and give new moms an increase in energy to cope with a new baby.  I feel so lucky to have a local advocate Roxanna Farnsworth of A Conscious Beginning who is trained and certified in the method of placenta encapsulation to ask questions and I’ve completely changed my view on the topic. Maybe rather than depression pills, new mothers can consume something that is natural, high in nutrients and can provide what a new mother needs to regain physical and mental strength after having a baby. So if you’ve heard of placenta encapsulation but couldn’t bring yourself to understand the process, this topic deserves a second chance at being understood. Read through my questions for Roxanna – I loved her answers and can feel her passion and dedication for improving the health of the postpartum journey.

Suzanne: who is a good candidate for placenta encapsulation – is it recommended for all new mothers? Any candidates that should think about it more seriously than others?  Prone to depression, low iron, etc.?

Roxanna: I think all women should be aware of the option and benefits of placenta encapsulation. Not all women will want to and that is ok. I believe strongly in women listening to their bodies and doing what feels right for them.
Placenta encapsulation is strongly recommended for women who have a family and/or personal history of depression or anxiety. It is also very beneficial for women who have issues with anemia (also women who are vegetarian or vegan).

Suzanne: how is it done if you have a hospital birth?  C-section birth?

Roxanna: If you have a hospital birth or c-section I highly recommend that you bring a small cooler to the hospital. You will need to have your partner or doula let the nursing staff know when you are admitted that you will be keeping your placenta (sometimes this will need to be repeated for staff changes). Within 2 hours of the placenta being birthed you need to put the placenta on ice. The hospital will bag the placenta in sterile bags and/or put it in a small white bucket (depending on which hospital you are at). As soon as its possible your partner or doula can get a bag of ice. I highly recommend that you keep the placenta with you at all times. If you have booked my services you text me and we arrange a time for me to pick up. I usually pick up within 24 hours of receiving the text.

Suzanne: are there any studies or traditional dr.s that have seen a drop in post-birth stress because of placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: There is current research in the works of being peer reviewed regarding the benefits of placenta encapsulation by the founder of PBi Jodi Selander. Most of the evidence so far is years of mother’s reporting the effects. Placenta consumption has been practiced for literally centuries in various forms. There is research based evidence showing that placenta has a strong lactogenic effect, meaning it helps with milk production. In China placenta is mainly used to help women make more milk. Placenta also has a very high iron content. Iron deficiency is highly correlated to fatigue which can lead to depression postpartum.

Suzanne: what does everyone needs to know about placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: Placenta encapsulation is a great way to consume your placenta postpartum to ease the transition into motherhood. I consider placenta encapsulation to be a vital part of planning for a healthy, easier postpartum. Placenta encapsulation includes safe handling of the placenta, rinsing, steaming, dehydrating, grinding, and encapsulating it. This allows you to consume your placenta by swallowing capsules, much like taking a vitamin. The encapsulation process needs to begin within 48 hours of the placenta’s birth. If it can’t begin within 48 hours the placenta will need to be frozen. A frozen placenta can still be encapsulated and is beneficial to the mother, though you do lose some nutrients.

Suzanne: why you started assisting women with placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: After my first son was born in Los Angeles, California I suffered from PPD. I was told by my doctor that I would need to stop breastfeeding and go on medication. I said bull. Breastfeeding was very important to me so I started researching other ways to get help. I found an acupuncturist and began treatment. She was fabulous! I changed my diet and continued my research. What I found was there isn’t much support for new moms in our culture. A lot of people dismiss baby blues as normal or as no big deal. Through my research and with the help of my acupuncturist I discovered placenta encapsulation. By the time I learned enough to want to do it I could not use my first placenta. I became passionate about helping new moms plan for their postpartums, from freezing meals to getting a dog walker and yes consuming their placenta it all makes a difference! I apprenticed with a doula to learn how to encapsulate, then a year later I completed the TCM training and certification with PBI. I have been practicing for almost 3 years now and love it so much!

Suzanne: did you consume your own placenta after the birth of both of your boys?  If not, what was the difference you felt with your 2nd?

Roxanna: After the birth of my second son in February, 2012 in Port Moody I encapsulated my own placenta. I was so excited! My postpartum was VERY different emotionally with encapsulation compared to my first postpartum. I still experienced ups and downs postpartum, especially in regards to my older son adjusting to being a big brother. The big difference for me was being able to handle all the transitional stuff without being overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed. I could tell myself that yes I was having a tough moment, but it will pass.

My thanks to Roxanne for answering my questions!  I hope it helped with questions you might have. Check out her Facebook Fan page to follow her journey in Placenta Encapsulation and Reiki healing treatments.

Related Articles:

Holistic Birth Plan Additions

Johnson & Johnson – Building A Brand With Carcinogens

 

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Baby & Children Car Seats – How to Dispose or Reuse?

I’ve been asked a few times over the last 2 months if I had seen the wording on Health Canada’s website regarding the giving or reselling of used car seats since the new car seat regulations came into force January 2012. In December 2011, Health Canada published this statement regarding updates to child car seats and requirements from car seat manufactures.  But it was the wording on the Health Canada website that had many parents of local Facebook groups concerned which is how I become involved with deciphering the language used on their website which included:  “Health Canada, which is responsible for the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), requires that seats for sale (or giving or loaning) must meet the criteria set out by CMVSS. It is not lawful to sell, distribute or advertise a seat that doesn’t meet the current criteria of CMVSS.” But it was the next statement found here that includes “Any person who sells, distributes, or gives away products not complying with the current legislation is breaking the law in Canada. By selling or giving away an item that poses a hazard, a person could also be liable in a civil court of law” that has parents stressed about breaking the law if they gave or sold a used car seat (that wasn’t expired)! My question when I spoke with Health Canada last week was asking them “if parents have a car seat and it’s not expired, are they not allowed to resell or give it to a friend/parent/sister to use”?  I mentioned that parents are not used to being told to put something into a landfill with our green minded parenting focus. The official answer from Health Canada is they hold children’s safety first and would like to see children in car seats meeting the new regulations set forth Jan, 2012. But, since this doesn’t help the thousands of parents wondering what to do with car seats that haven’t expired and taking up space in their garage if they are finished using them, there is another option. Health Canada did say that if a parent contacts the manufacturer of the car seat with a model number and serial number and the manufacturer approves that this car seat still meets the new requirements, then it’s okay to resell or give your sister (for example) your car seat. And if your sister/friend/person that purchases the 2nd hand seat is in an accident down the road and injury occurs, you are no longer liable for being sued, etc.  – the manufacturer is now liable for the safety of that car seat. If the manufacturer doesn’t know what these updated car seat safety regulations are – here is a link as provided by Health Canada for you to send them.  Click here.  And while you are talking with the car seat manufacturer – I would recommend putting pressure on them and asking the following questions:

~ is the interior of your car seats made from recyclable material? (I did talk with Transport Canada in my research and apparently different car seat brands are better with using recyclable materials than others)
~ when will they (the manufacturer) be starting a car seat recycling program for car seats they manufacture?
~ would they consider the option of being shipped back the car seat if parents have kept the original box?

Now all of this addresses the issue of parents having car seats that have not met the expiration date. What do parents do if the car seat HAS expired? Bad news on this one. Unless you live close to a recycling depot like our friends at Gibsons Recycling Depot who take used car seats for a very inexpensive rate, and look after stripping down and recycling the car seats for you, pressure needs to be put on Environment Canada and within your own municipality for car seat recycling programs. Of course I agree that kid’s safety and car seats needs to be the number one priority, but the massive amounts of waste that results from parents dropping off car seats in the landfills is not a satisfying answer. How many car seats do your children go through over the course of their life?  Anywhere from 2-4 with many people using infant seats, rear/front facing seats, then booster seats. Why isn’t there a country wide recycling program?  And smaller car seat recycling centers that ask parents to strip down car seats (cut off straps, rip off foam, etc.) should NOT be asking parents to do this?  Why?  The foam within car seats contains flame retardant chemicals that will become air born and ingested if you are doing this without training. A parent trying to do the right thing and strip down a car seat to see if the plastic inside, etc. can be recycled should not be asked to ingest toxic chemicals – this is something that a trained professional should look after.

I loved having my talk this morning with Barb from Gibsons Recycling Depot this morning. They are a West Coast recycling depot that is truly changing the earth and encouraging consumers to be responsible for the items they bring into their life.  She agreed with my points on car seats and agrees that consumers need to speak up and ask our communities for car seat recycling programs.

I personally would have loved to have seen more interaction between Health Canada and Environment Canada regarding regulating baby products and their disposal when they reviewed car seat safety standards in 2010. When parents are being encouraged to not reuse and recycle baby and children’s products due to safety, we need to give them options to lesson the impact on the environment with the waste these actions will cause. The largest ripple effect I could see being levied by the government would be to research the car seat manufacturers that DO use recyclable pieces when making car seats and give them a green star and spread the word throughout the country and have their be a cost reduction if parents make the decision to purchase and use these car seats. Then give parents a place to dispose of their car seats. The cheapest option I could see if having parents return (ship) expired car seats back to the manufacturer to reuse the parts.

I personally found the strong wording on the Health Canada website frustrating because at every level of our parenting journey, we are asked to be accountable for everything to do with our children’s safety. These are not things we are taught or educated on before we give birth to our beautiful children. Of course we want them to be safe, but when you are juggling trying to feed them healthy meals, reduce their chemical exposure, find products that don’t contain toxic ingredients, etc., being responsible for one more thing like car seat safety just doesn’t seem fair. And it doesn’t seem fair to our environment to take the easy way out and ditch them in the land fill. I’m thankful that Health Canada took the time to answer all my questions and although they do recommend using new car seats that meet all new safety requirements, I’m thankful they agreed to give parents the option to call the manufacturer to check if not-yet-expired car seats meet specifications so they can be reused or sold.  Thank you for putting the responsibility of car seat safety back to those who have the expertise…the car seat manufacturers!  But there is a ton of work to be done and without the public’s encouragement back to car seat manufacturers, this problem won’t change. Tell your car seat manufacturer that having a method to dispose of your car seat when it’s expired is important to you. Take action and call!  And if the car seat manufacturer doesn’t know if a) car seats they manufacture meets the new specification set forth here or b) can’t answer if their car seats are made from recyclable materials – we need to know who these companies are!  Post the brand to my fan page: Mommy Footprint and let’s find out which companies are ready to help buffer the environmental  impact with car seat recycling!

I’ve tried to break down my discussions with Heath Canada in easy to understand wording, but I’d like to include Heath Canada specific recommendations on car seats so that their voice is documented. Here were my initial questions:

Q1) What is Health Canada telling parents to do with car seats that have not expired and who want to sell them or give them to someone else?

Look for the date of manufacture printed on your car seat. If you own a car seat or booster seats made before January 1, 2012, you can still safely use it. However, under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act you may not be able to advertise, sell or give it (including lending) away because it may not meet the latest requirements set out by Health Canada and Transport Canada. For more information, go to: www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/safedrivers-childsafety-faq-1131.htm.

Q2) How can parents meet the criteria set out by Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in order to sell or give their car seats to someone else before they are set to expire?

For car seats manufactured prior to January 1, 2012, parents and caregivers should contact the manufacturer to find out whether or not their specific model is compliant with the new requirements. Any seat with a manufacturing date of January 1, 2012, or later will meet the new requirements.

Q3) Is Health Canada telling parents that car seats for which they are no longer needed and are not expired have to go into the landfill? If so, what should parents do with car seats that are sitting in the garage? Is there a place where parents can bring their old car seats to be safely recycled?

Consumers should contact their municipal recycling program to see if they accept car seats.

There is no necessity to replace a child seat that hasn’t expired unless the child seat was in a car that was involved in a collision. Even if your child wasn’t in the child seat when the accident occurred, the child seat could be damaged. The previous standards have provided a high level of safety for children for many years and will continue to provide protection throughout the useful life of a child restraint.

I know that many of my readers are from the US so I called the Transport office for the United States and the rules for car seat reselling or giving away is very simple – if the car seat is over 6 years old, it’s considered expired and should not be resold or given to a friend. If the car seat is under 6 years old, there are no regulations on resell or giving away. There isn’t a Government supported program for car seat recycling. Again, it’s a topic that needs to be addressed with manufacturers.

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Nursing Buckwheat Pillow via Organically Hatched

I’ve had babies on my mind. It’s not a huge secret I could very easily be talked into having one more baby.  I also like to keep informed on what’s evolving in baby products so I can write and I have lots of nieces having babies. I love to peek on baby registries to see if I can spot green washing or products to talk with them about…I very rarely make purchases on the big box store registries.  One of the latest products to catch my attention was an ‘organic’ crib mattress my niece purchased. It’s sad that big box stores can market a crib mattress as organic when it’s made from organic cotton on top – but what about the flame retardants inside the mattress?  Unless there is wool or natural latex in the mattress, we know that the flame retardant element is probably synthetic.  This got me thinking about other products for baby that contain a ‘stuffing’ or batting interior. After spending weeks thinking of a gift that would be really special for my niece, I started researching a sustainable breast feeding pillow.  A truly organic option. And it gets better. Thanks to Organically Hatched, I found a breast feeding pillow that is beautiful (incredible fabric and design), manufactured in Canada, stuffed with buckwheat, and something that a baby truly needs!  Whatever method you decide to feed your baby, a nursing pillow with great support will save your back and baby spends a lot of time snuggled into the pillow and later napping when they get older. Here are some images of the Mayukori Organic Buckwheat Nursing Pillow – isn’t it lovely?

 

The fabric of these Mayukori pillows are so hip. For mamas that don’t know the gender of the baby they are having, I think the above fabric is perfect. I love chocolate brown mixed with pretty much any color!  Because the filling of the pillow is buckwheat – the pillows are hypoallergenic and naturally dust mite resistant!

Next I’m coveting the everyday organic buckwheat pillows from Organically Hatched for the kids. It’s that time again where pillows need to be replaced in our house and I will be trying buckwheat options next for their pillow interior. And these pillows being made in Canada and filled with buckwheat from an organic Canadian farm is a pretty great story. I also like the subtle fabric selections…a style my boys would be happy with.  Pillows are filled to maximum capacity, then you remove the access hulls to achieve your proper ergonomic fit. Very cool – the kids would like customizing their pillows too!  This is also how these pillows are washed; pillow stuffing is removed then the case is washed, then buckwheat is added back into the pillow. Thanks for having these great options Organically Hatched – another great store that can answer your questions regarding products safe for baby!

Related Articles:

Is Your Child’s Crib or Bed Toxic?

Tips To Immediately Remove Toxins In Your Bedroom

Natural Tips To Improve Bedroom Air Quality

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Holistic Birth Plan Additions

After writing the article about Johnson & Johnson and their deception with using preservatives that contain carcinogens in their baby products, I started thinking of other places that might use J&J because of it’s long shelf life. I asked new moms on the Mommy Footprint fan page if anyone had a baby recently – what did the hospital use to bathe baby? Based from the feedback it seems (like everything) it’s not a regulated decision within hospitals and everyone uses something different. I wanted to write this article and tell expectant moms when you’re writing your birth plans or going to on hospital tours, these types of questions belong under your birth requests. Two items that might be not be talked about unless you have enlisted holistic professionals with your birth or mid-wives are:

Request “Do Not Wash” For Your Baby

The easiest way to get around the issue of washing your baby in the hospital is to request your baby not be washed. Many people in the holistic world will tell you the benefits of leaving the vernix coating on a newborn. This is the white coating babies are born with – this study suggests that antimicrobial properties of amniotic fluid and vernix caseosa are similar to those found in breast milk. A coating that is so rich in nutrients – what is our rush to wash it off? Treating a newborn’s skin is very different to ours…it is much weaker and is very absorbent with what is put on it. It’s very important to research and find all natural skin care for your baby – definitely without chemicals.

Delayed Cord Clamping:

While researching The Whiteout Movement for this article, I learned about Delayed Cord Clamping. I had never heard of this before!  Talk to your Dr. and see if this is another note for your birth plan!  The below quote has been taken from Dr. Greene’s Whiteout FAQ.

Unfortunately, in the 20th century it became vogue to quickly clamp the umbilical cord within 10-15 seconds after the head is delivered. If cord clamping isn’t rushed, and takes place when the umbilical cord stops pulsing (~60 to 180 seconds), the baby gets several tablespoons more blood, which could be enough iron to tide them over for an additional 3 months later on when they are starting solids. Thankfully, what the medical community calls “delayed” cord clamping is now becoming more common.

A picture says so many words. Here is a picture of one of my twins having her first hospital bath:

Two little notes that I only thought about recently that I think are wonderful additions to a birth plan or to discuss with the trusted birthing assistants you’ll have if you’re an expecting mom.  If you have birth plan addition that’s holistic in nature, please comment on this post.

 

Related Articles can be found in Baby’s Favorite Things category

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Johnson & Johnson – Building A Brand With Carcinogens

It became mainstream news today that Johnson & Johnson Baby Products contain carcinogenic chemicals (formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane) in their products sold on store shelves. We’ve talked about staying clear from Johnson & Johnson products at Mommy Footprint in this article, this article, and here. Here is the scoop on what’s gone down with Johnson and Johnson in the media today.

For two years, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been requesting that Johnson & Johnson reformulate their flagship products….you see them at every baby shower and I’m sure they are still in hospitals and are used for a baby’s first bath:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And every time I’ve seen them at a baby shower I’ve stumbled through an awkward speech of why they shouldn’t be used on a baby.  Me “that shampoo has chemicals that really irritate baby’s skin”.  It’s an argument that really isn’t remembered by many new moms. Well thank you to mainstream media today, Forbes magazine, Healthy Child Healthy World, The Campaign For Safer Cosmetics, etc. are all writing the scary facts about these products: they contain cancer causing chemicals. And the sickest part of this is Johnson & Johnson knows how to produce formaldehyde-free products because the products they sell in many European countries, Japan, and South Africa are without these carcinogens. Yup – the formaldehyde ingredient called Quaternium-15 is found in the products sold in the U.S., Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia. So here is fact number one they know how to not manufacture not using Formaldehyde and a second chemical, 1,4-dioxane, that is considered a likely carcinogen. 1,4 in short is dioxin and a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin. Fact number two that Johnson & Johnson knows how to make a product without carcinogens is their brand “Johnson’s Natural”. This more natural version of the Johnson & Johnson products don’t contain these chemicals, but the products are double in cost.

Do you know that Aveeno is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson?  This is likely the brand your family Doctor will recommend when you tell them your baby or child’s skin is inflamed or they appear to have the onset of eczema.  Brands like Oatmeal Baby Wash, Moisture Care Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash also contain 1,4-dioxane. It’s terrible that a known side effect of formaldehyde is also a skin irritant. Ask around parent groups and see how many babies, toddlers, and children suffer from eczema and asthma – the numbers are out of control.  So many toxic products targeting babies and the bottom line is money. Johnson & Johnson has proved it by creating a product that doesn’t contain formaldehyde but continues to sell the products 1/2 the price of the more natural version.  It’s sick.  And even once they remove these ingredients, know that it wouldn’t have been done without the watch dog groups I’ve listed at the start of this article. It is these groups looking out for our children – not the companies.

Bottom Line?  Reward the companies that do care with your consumer dollars. Do not allow one more bottle of this sub-par product come into your home or purchased as a gift. Pull that expectant mom aside at the baby shower and quietly mention that the yellow bottle of shampoo contains cancer causing chemicals. Be blunt because words like ‘skin irritant’ and ‘product with chemicals’ doesn’t get people’s attention. Over the years, I’ve mentioned many companies that are doing the right thing by our families with producing safer skin care products for our children. Most of these companies are listed under the category called Childhood Eczema. If you don’t have time to read through the tips in these articles – here are some great places to start:

My Little Green Shop - They are offering 10% discount for Mommy Footprint readers. Just type MF10 at checkout for a discount.

Nayla Natural Care
– One stop shopping for trusted advice and products.

Saffron Rouge – Many great products and they offer low shipping and free samples.

Lalabee Bathworks
– Goat Milk and Essential Oils.

Green Beaver – Canadian made and with trusted ingredients.

There are so many  small companies that deserve and have earned your consumer dollars with their research and product knowledge. Sad that the huge companies are not looking out for customers, even though they are aware of what is going into their products. I know my site has many green minded parents that don’t find this information to be new, but check out the Facebook Fan page for Johnson & Johnson and you’ll see the connection they have with new parents, grandparents, etc.  They are a brand that is trusted and there is a tradition that comes with shopping at Johnson & Johnson..you can see it in the consumer relationships they’ve built.

So like always I struggle with the fine line of stressing out expectant or new parents with information like this – but I’d want to know. Wouldn’t you?

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