Leafy Greens- Nutritional Powerhouse

May 1st, 2009

We recently splurged on a BlendTec blender and have really been enjoying experimenting with “green smoothies”.  Green, leafy vegetables offer so many nutrients and health benefits for everyone- and especially have much to offer during pregnancy. 

Leafy greens are a rich source of minerals (including magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium) and vitamins, including many of the B vitamins, C, E, & K. Greens also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of ultra-important Omega-3 fats.   There are a variety of “greens”, including but not limited to spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens, arugula, romaine lettuce…

We were previously most familiar with salads and cooked greens.  So here’s a little snapshot of what we’ve learned about raw green smoothies since our blender purchase two weeks ago (I’m sure we have much more to learn!):

First of all, a powerful blender like the VitaMix or BlendTec is a wonderful aid in making whole-food smoothies.  Another good rule of thumb (for someone new to green smoothies) is to blend 60% fruits/ 40% greens.  We’ve found that just about any combination of apples, grapes, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberries, pear, blackberries, mango, or lemon all make great fruit choices.  Then we cut up and add kale, collards, spinach, or dandelion greens.  (A friend has recommended lacinato kale, which I’ve not yet been able to find in our local grocery store, but hope to try at some point.)  I personally like to cut my fruit up in fairly small chunks and freeze some of it before making my smoothie.  Most of the fruits I’ve tried have frozen very well.  And then you can just grab what you need from the container instead of feeling like you need to use the whole fresh pineapple that day!  I don’t freeze large amounts, however, to keep them as fresh as possible.  You can also add some ice to your smoothie if you wish- less necessary if using some frozen fruit &/or greens.  One of the great things about a VitaMix or BlendTec is that you can leave the fruit skin (i.e. apple, kiwi, pear…) and it will blend it all right in.  It is definitely optimal to buy organic fruits and greens, especially if they have edible skins. 

Have a wonderful time experimenting with how you can increase the amount of green, leafy veggies in your diet!

Enjoying Springtime!

April 9th, 2009

We are very excited to have some beautiful spring weather here.  It’s so refreshing to watch the plants growing and trees starting to bud out in leaves.  It’s such a perfect time to get out and enjoy the outdoors! 

Which makes me think about how much we enjoy our Tuffo Water-Resistant Throw-About Blanket ($38 on Amazon) to bring along to sit on, picnic on, or whatever!  It makes a great “home base” for the older kids at a park.  If the grass is damp, it doesn’t seep through the blanket.   We have the Earth Stripe pattern, and I love how it can be folded up and put into it’s carrying case.  I’m sure you can get similar blankets elsewhere, as well.  They are are perfect to have in your car for that spur-of-the-moment stop at the park. 

I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy Spring!  And congratulations to all of our recent Bradley couples who have had their little ones– we’re looking forward to another Bradley baby reunion soon!

Baby Carriers

March 13th, 2009

I have a confession to make- I’m a baby carrier junkie.  There are so many great baby wearing options out there!  

One of my personal favorites of baby carriers once baby is beyond the newborn stage?  The Beco Butterfly II.  If you’d told me 6 years ago that I would become an avid fan of a “buckle carrier”, I would’ve told you “no way”.  I continue to prefer the ring sling for newborns (slings work great for toddlers, too– I primarily used my lightly-padded ring  sling with my oldest two from infant to toddlerhood), but I’ve found that my Beco Butterfly has more than earned its keep in our house!   We also have an Ergo Baby Carrier, which is also a great carrier, but the Beco has really become my go-to toddler carrier. 

What do I like about my Beco Butterfly 2?  I really like how it fits me- it has great lumbar support and great adjustibility, so both my husband and I can use it.  I also like how it works for babies from newborn to 45-pound toddler stage.  I appreciate that it can be used for front or back carry, and how you first secure the baby in it before putting it on your back- making it a no-brainer for any of us who are back-carry-challenged!  :)  It’s washable, and can be neatly rolled up and secured.  The snap hood attachment of the Butterfly 2 (as compared to the original Butterfly) is easier to attach.  The removable infant insert in the II is nice since you won’t need it for a very long period. 

Now granted, I don’t think it’s quite a cute as the adorable Mei Tai carriers that are available, because I prefer the look of ties to that of straps, but I am very impressed with Beco’s fun fabric choices, and I find the buckle straps to be more practical (no long fabric to drag on the ground when donning a mei tei or wrap carrier).  As far as cons of the Beco- well, I find it difficult to reach the midback buckle when I’m wearing my baby on the front, but I manage to get it done- probably a great exercise for shoulder flexibility.  It’s warmer than a sling in hot weather.  It’s difficult to nurse in unless you’re wearing a nursing tank. 

I stated earlier that I still prefer a ring sling for my newborns.  The main reason being that infants nurse more frequently & I find breastfeeding in the sling to be discreet and something I can do on the go.  I find it much easier to breastfeed an infant in a sling than the Beco, although it is also possible in the Beco.  I also like that they can be in the cradle position, as well as upright, in a sling. 

Lastly, remember all the benefits of baby wearing for you and your baby!  There are many great resources to learn more about the benefits of baby wearing, including Dr. William & Martha Sears’ book, The Baby Book, a great baby resource for any parent’s shelf.  Again, I have a thorough baby carrier library available to my clients when their bundles arrive.  Each person must find the carrier that best meets their specific needs.

Birth Video Contest

February 17th, 2009

Birth Matters Virginia Announces a Birth Video Contest
Make a 4-7 minute video about childbirth options and win $1000!

As the national rate of C-sections surpasses 30 percent, it is more important than ever for women and their partners to be educated about the options they have during pregnancy and birth.

Birth Matters Virginia (an organization that works to promote an evidence-based model of maternity care) is soliciting 4-7 minute educational videos about birth. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $1000. Second place $500 and an “honorable mention” prize of $100 will also be awarded. The deadline for entering the contest is Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009.

As a step toward the goal of educating women about their choices and options, this contest is seeking videos that will appeal to and inspire new audiences that may not have previously been exposed to any model of childbirth, other than the version we see on television and in movies, which can be dangerous, uncertain, excruciating, and usually in need of extensive and often emergency medical intervention. Birth doesn’t have to be this scary, and people need good information in order to make good choices. 

Guest judges include: Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, acclaimed producers of the Business of Being Born and Sarah J. Buckley., MD, international birth expert and author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Ricki, Abby, and Sarah will join a consumer-based panel of judges who will be evaluating the tone, educational content, creativity and more. You don’t have to be a professional to enter and you don’t have to be from Virginia.  They want to get videos from mothers, fathers, filmmakers, film students, birth advocates, and anyone else who is interested in birth or film or wants to win $1000.

For rules and to see how to enter, please visit http://www.birthmattersva.org/videocontest.html

And if you have questions, email Sarah at Richmond@birthmattersva.org

The more people submit videos, the more will be out there on YouTube and we could use all the help we can get spreading the word. A series of feature-length films (starting with The Business of Being Born) have inspired women to make decisions about their maternity care as carefully as they make other consumer decisions. Demand for evidence-based models of care is rising, and there is hope that we can turn the tide of medically unnecessary surgeries and interventions, saving them for when they are truly needed for the safety of the mother or baby.

Ring Slings

February 2nd, 2009

Well, January was a busy month!  Birthday parties, family visiting, Bradley classes, and many more good things to balance out the cold temps.  Congrats to my recent Bradley students who’ve had their little ones!

I’ll get started sharing some of my favorite baby products.  There are so many, it’s hard to even know where to start!  But I do think a good baby carrier is an essential for any new parents, so I’ll start there.  There are many options available, and I have a baby-carrier library available to my clients to come and try various carriers to find what works best for them and their baby.

My personal favorite for a newborn carrier, is a locally-made lightly-padded ring sling.   Currently, this sling is being made on a custom-order basis only, so you can contact Tammia directly (ltprotts @ juno . com) with questions and requests.** She asks that you provide the fabric (2 1/2 yards (for an average-sized woman) of light-weight 100% cotton fabric).  A great Iowa City fabric store is Home Ec, or if you prefer buying online (then you could have it shipped directly to Tammia), www.quilthome.com is a good source.  (Some of her favorite fabric designers are  Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, & Heather Bailey.  If purchasing online, it’s best to check with her before purchasing to make sure the fabric is suitable.)  Her cost is $60.00, with you covering fabric and shipping costs.

I don’t believe all ring slings are created equal- with the little differences being very important.  I like the adjustability and versatility of ring slings, and have found them very convenient for breastfeeding in while I’m out and about.  While some parents prefer non-padded slings, I’ve found the lightly-padded slings to be much more comfortable for me.  But keep in mind:  there are some padded slings that are not as adjustable as others, which is one reason I am particularly fond of Tammia’s slings.  I also like the pocket she puts on the tail of her slings.  Perfect for tucking in a diaper or small blankie or toy, or for turning inside-out and tucking the rest of the sling into so it will fit compactly into your diaper bag.  **Please remember that Tammia is NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACCIDENTS OR INJURIES that may happen with this product.  It is your responsibility, as a baby wearer, to practice safe baby-wearing techniques, and always check the stitching that holds the rings and the integrity of the fabric before each use to enure your baby’s safety.

Here are some other sling websites to check out.  (These are some lightly-padded ring slings that I’ve personally tried and liked) .

www.kangarookorner.com -much baby wearing info available here!
www.poshpapoose.com – cute designer fabrics & matching baby hats, diaper pouches, blankets

Best of luck finding that perfect carrier for you & your baby!  The benefits of wearing your baby are numerous.  If the first carrier isn’t the perfect match for you, don’t despair.  There is likely another one that will work for you.

PurelyBorn.com officially up!

December 19th, 2008

I am very excited to have my Purely Born site up & running.  I think it’s fantastic that you can now register online for the Bradley® classes– hopefully this makes it more convenient for you. 

I also want to give Karen Arnold Design my highest kudos & thanks in designing this site.  Karen has been great to work with- even when I bring up the smallest detail, she has been open and able to make the appropriate changes.   She has shared my vision for this site, making it happen!  Thanks, Karen!    :) 

And thanks to each of you who contributed your beautiful pregnancy and baby photos to the site!  They capture such beauty and essence of pregnancy and natural parenting.   

I hope to do more blogging in 2009, so stay tuned.  I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!

For Fathers

November 3rd, 2008

The Bradley®-trained “coach” (typically the father, but potentially any person committed to the well-being of the mother) plays an active role in the pregnancy & birth.

Fathers report feeling empowered, no longer a helpless bystander, in the birth of their child; armed with ways to support the mother’s prenatal health and nutrition, to help her relax and and work with her body, and to communicate her needs to the caregivers attending the birth.

Birth Throughout History

October 6th, 2008

Throughout history, giving birth naturally was the norm not the exception. Birth was viewed as a natural life event, not a medical procedure. There was no fear, only confidence in a woman’s innate ability to birth a child.

The profound passage of birth begins the incredible journey of parenthood. The result of a positive birth experience should not be underestimated.

All too often, women relinquish the power of their birth to others. Interventions may be a more convenient… but for whom?

When we interrupt the natural process of birth, we risk causing unforeseen complications. Yes, there will occasionally be circumstances and complications that will prohibit a natural childbirth. And there will be situations requiring skilled medical intervention to save the life of a mother or her baby. With that said, the Bradley® goal is to help couples make routine medical intervention the exception, not the rule in their birth experience.

We believe the best way to have a satisfying birth experience is by educating yourself. No matter what setting you choose for your birth, decisions will need to be made. Without knowledge of childbirth, you may be limited in your ability to advocate for yourself and your baby and to make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and childbirth.

Hello world!

September 21st, 2008

Welcome to my site and blog!  I’ll be blogging about various childbirth, breastfeeding, natural parenting, and natural living subjects, as well as some of my favorite products that I’ve come across.  Come and visit often!