Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sick Baby... Now What?

A nasty cold's been brewing in our household. Jaden was the first to get it and it was a bad one! Jericho started getting strangely fussy the other day and that's when I knew we were in for it! Surprisingly, Jericho hasn't had any bad illnesses since he had pneumonia, a year ago now. Maybe it's because he caught everything in his first year of life! Later in the even on Wednesday, Jericho became very lethargic and just wanted to snuggle. The next morning he was even more lethargic and would cry, almost inconsolably and out of the blue, saying, "Owie!!!". He slept on and off most of the day, didn't eat a thing, nursed every hour (thank GOODNESS he's still breastfeeding!) and towards the later part of the day became sort of shaky. I decided that my Mama intuition was telling me to call his doctor (our Naturopath). We took him in and SURPRISE! Jericho had his first ever ear infections! Two of them; one being pretty infected. *Sigh*

A day later our boy was mostly healed (Praise God) and we were able to get through without any pharmaceutical drugs. Here is a list of natural methods of healing our sick children.

As always, my post is NOT to diagnose or treat. I am not a doctor and am just sharing what has work for us. I'll put a * next to the ones that we did for this current illness.

All Around Immune Boosters:

*A scrupulous diet will do more for your body than any medicine or vaccine!

*Garlic! Preferably fresh.

*Probiotics* (I add these to whatever Jericho is drinking- the higher quality the better), especially if your child has EVER been given antibiotics.

*Natural, food based vitamin C* (best way to get this is through food. If you can get your child to eat, an orange or some baked yam is a yummy way to get tons of vitamin C) or vitamin C in the sodium ascorbate form (find SA online or at Super Supplements)

*Vitamin D is great for all around immune support, as well*

*Cod Liver Oil is my favorite natural source of vitamin D as well as a host of healthy fats

*Echinaccea* (you can buy children's tinctures at any store that sells natural remedies)

*Elderberry syrup* is a great antiviral and immune stimulator. Jericho's ND whipped us up a customized antiviral tincture that included Elderberry. How cool is that?!)

Cold and Flu Symptoms With Fever:

A note about fevers: fevers are the body's natural response to an invader. The higher temperature is NECESSARY to fight the illness. The goal during a fever is to stimulate a strong immune response and healing. Not reduce the fever.

*PLENTY of fluids. Preferably nutrient packed ones, such as:

*Breastmilk* (PACKED with perfect nutrition, including specific antibodies to whatever your baby is sick with! Check out the link for more info)

*Home made chicken stock* (An old time classic- and for good reason!)

*Whole fruit smoothies made with high vitamin C fruit* (sometimes I'll buy an Odwalla and dilute it a bit)

*You can freeze whole fruit juice or smoothies (even breastmilk) to make into cooling popcicles!

*Coconut water- a natural electrolyte drink that used to be given in IV's!

*Wet or Warming Sock Treatment* and find more Hydrotherapy information HERE.


*Belladonna* (specifically when the child's fever is accompanied with red cheeks)

*Gelsemium (specifically when fever is accompanied with headache, weakness and dizziness)

*Hylands and Boiren (to name a few) have a variety of Homeopathics to suit your needs (I've heard especially awesome reports of Osccillicinium by Boiren.

*Allium Cepa (give at the first sign of cold such as runny nose with clear mucus)

*Pulsatilla (to be given as the clear mucus progresses to thicker mucus)

*Raw Honey* to babies over one. My sister has a friend who made her a concoction of delicious immune support by simply mixing raw honey and slivered ginger

*Vitamin D3* in an important immune booster

*Sodium Ascorbate (a type of vitamin C) has been touted as an amazing antiviral and even cancer fighter. I know of many parents who swear by Sodium Ascorbate for healing even from Whooping Cough. It's best to use this in powder form. Give your child (the amount depends on weight- click on the link for more info) enough to cause loose stools and then cut back (known as dosing to 'bowel tolerance')- Buy Sodium Ascorbate HERE.

Coughs and Congestion:

*Raw honey* can coat an inflammed throat and be very soothing

*Raw ginger is a dirt cheap natural cough inhibitor

*Traditional Medicinals has an arsenal of teas to help with coughs. I've heard great stuff about "Throat Coat" for helping with coughing

*Eucalyptus oil applied to the chest, bottom of feet or under the nose can help relieve congestion. You can add it to your humidifier, as well.

*Prop your child's head up at night for better rest. This can help with cough as well as stuffy nose symptoms.

Ear Infection***:

*Wet or Warming Sock Treatment* (this is great for ANY inflammation or fever)

*A few drops of olive oil with garlic juice* (add mullein oil for even more benefits! I actually purchased a mixture of these three items at Fred Meyer. You can warm it a bit if you choose)

*Breastmilk* (just squirt it on in!)

*General immune boosters listed above (make sure your child's immune system is prepared for battle!)

*Homeopathic Pulsatilla is effective in treating ear infections

Stomach Flu or Food Poisoning:

*Breastmilk (besides the nutritional benefits, such as probiotics, it provides tons of comfort!)

*Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics! You ideally want a mixture that includes L. rhamnosus, S. boulardii and L. Reuteri. These have been proven to be the most effective strains in healing rotavirus infections. Your standard P.B. (they usually contain acidolphilus and bifidobacterium bifidum) will also work.

*Fermented, nondairy foods such as sauerkraut (probiotics!), water kefir or Kimchi. These would likely be best given as a preventative when the entire family is already sick and after the storm has passed a bit. I believe food based probiotics are your best bet for making sure your gut is populated with plenty of good guys!

*Bentonite clay mixed however you can get your wee one to take it (we ended up using applesauce) will bind to the toxins in the gut and dispose of them.

*Raw honey for babies over the age of one (I have a friend who healed her stomach flu by eating coconut oil mixed with raw honey! Hallelujah!)

*If possible, forgo store bought electrolyte solutions which are full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. Use either coconut water or make your own. Here's a recipe for a homemade solution:

4 Cups of Water

2 TBSP of natural sugar, raw honey or sweetener of choice

1/2tsp sea salt (we use Real Salt as it has all of it's natural minerals intact)

1/2tsp baking soda (aluminum free, if possible)

Find other recipes HERE.

*Homeopathic preperations:

*Arsenicum Album (give at the first sign of vomiting and diarrhea- especially if it comes on in the middle of the night)

*Podophyllum (this remedy typically corresponds to watery, stinky diarrhea that fills the diaper)

*Ipecacuanha (for repeated vomiting)

Am I missing anything? Feel free to post your tried and true illness remedies in the comments section!

***If your child is prone to recurrent ear infections or infections of any type, please seek help from a Naturopath or another health care provider trained in whole-body healing. Illnesses weren't meant to settle in children's ears and a healthy immune response should prevent this from happening repeatedly. When you start giving antibiotics for an ear infection, you kill off the healthy bacteria that live in the intestines. This ultimately lowers your immune response allowing for more often and more pathogenic illness to take hold (thus causing even more infections). My husband is a classic case of the antibiotic- recurrent ear infection circle. He ended up needing tubes put in his ears and his hearing isn't all that great to this day. To put a halt to the vicious cycle, in addition to seeking professional help, start a daily regimine of immune support. Reestablish the gut flora by given quality probiotics, eating probiotic rich foods (kefir, coconut kefir, kombucha, fermented veggies are all great examples). Make certain your child isn't Vitamin D deficient. If s/he is, begin giving vitamin D3 supplements. If you're breastfeeding and your child is under 6 months, simply make certain you're getting enough probiotics and vitamin D yourself. These benefits (and more!) will pass through you milk).A GREAT, food based source of vitamin D is Cod Liver Oil. You can purchase this at nearly any store. Fermented, high vitmain C.L.O. is much more potent but also more expensive and can only be purchased online.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Settled the Vaccine Question in Our Home

Vaccines. Nothing strikes debate among parents and health care professionals like vaccination. Like a lot of parents, we went back and forth about what to do. There was a lot of that influenced our decision but the charts on the following link is what truly solidified our decision.

I originally found these charts straight from the CDC themselves but of course I haven't been able to find it recently. These charts are 'zoomed out' disease mortality charts. The charts typically given by your pediatrician show disease death rates starting from around 1950 (or whenever a typical vaccine was introduced) until 1990. If you zoom out to around 1900 you will see that various diseases were already on their way out. WAY on their way out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bonus Post :-)

I found this birth plan! I love it! It's a bit more friendly than my original idea of having my birth plan simply say, "Hands Off, Please".

From what I understand birth plans are supposed to be friendly and very positive. The idea is that you want to come across as friendly so that your hospital birth team will be more willing to work with you. I'm struggling with that because in my mind, it's my birth and if I get transferred to the hospital I'm not there to make friends. This may just my chip on my shoulder. And it could very well be linked to ignorance. I plan on talking to a few doula friends and my midwife later and seeing what they say.

I'm also toying with the idea of having a C-Section plan. There are certain medicines that I want to avoid. And that's just the tip of the ice berg. But I'm also feeling like I don't even want to let my mind go there. Fear is NOT something you want to bring into your pregnancy and I have a feeling that the research involved would lead me to greater fear. Here is an article about an ideal C-Section:

In case anyone is curious, here is what my in-case-of-hospital-transfer birth plan said during my last pregnancy. As you can see it is very long. Now that I know more about birth, I have a bunch of things that I would add. I highly doubt that this would get read if it were any longer, though:

Jaden and Heather Songstad

Cascade Midwives and Birth Center

EDD: 6/17/2009

We would like to let you know that we have been taking the Bradley Method Childbirth classes in preparation for our son’s arrival. We strongly believe in the philosophy and methods used in having the most natural childbirth possible. We have been careful to eat well and stay fit, and have done everything we can to stay healthy and have an ucomplicated labor. However, we understand that complications do arise and can be unpredictable. You have our full cooperation in the best interest for our son’s health, yet we ask to please allow us to be involved in any decision making concerning the well being of our son if intervention is needed. Please understand we feel very strongly about being informed and aware of any dangerous medical conditions or emergency procedures before they are to be performed. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our needs and concerns! Our baby’s father, Jaden, will be the primary coach during labor and delivery

Our Environment preferences are:

*To be able to have music playing

*To maintain a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere w/quiet voices and dim lighting

*To have no extraneous hospital staff present, including residents or students

*To be able to adjust the room temperature to our preference if possible

*To have privacy when needed

*To be allowed to consume healthy beverages, ice chips, popsicles and small snacks for energy if labor is prolonged.

Our Labor preferences are:

* To have a natural, drug free labor with no stripping of the membranes or pitocin. Should augmentation become truly medically warranted, we prefer natural methods such as nipple stimulation or thumb sucking. We do not, under any circumstances want cytotec (Misoprostol).

*Vaginal exams only upon consent and as few and gentle as possible

*To have intermittent fetal monitoring

*If an IV is necessary, we would prefer to have only to have a hep-lock

*For pain control, massage, water therapy and relaxation are our preferred methods. We are aware of the many pain medications available. Please do not offer medication, we will ask if we need it

*To have the freedom to move, walk around, change positions and go into the bath or shower during the laboring process and practice what we’ve learned in our Bradley Method birthing classes

*For second stage labor, we would like to push using whichever position works best for us, including squatting

*To avoid tearing by taking the crowning stage slowly and controlled with the use of a warm compress, perinea massage, ky jelly or oils and stretching. Unless I start to tear upwards, we would much prefer a tear to an episiotomy

*During the pushing stage, we prefer to push spontaneously

*To have our newborn delivered into his mother’s arms to breastfeed immediately and left there undisturbed for as long as possible

*To have the umbilical cord clamped only after all pulsation in the cord has ceased. Jaden would like to cut the cord.

*Also, please do not administer routine drugs for the third stage of labor, we would prefer natural expulsion of the placenta by breastfeeding and massage first

Our Newborn preferences are:

*One of the most important issues for us regarding birth is to be able to spend quality time bonds immediately after birth prior to routine checkups.

*To allow our son to be accompanied by his father or family member at all times if needed to be taken out of the room

*We will give the baby his first bath at home

*To breast feed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after delivery. Please no bottles or pacifiers

*If our baby is to be circumcised in the hospital, we request he be given pain medication

*We wish to waive the administration of eye medications and opt to have only one PKU test at 10-14 days post-partum

*Do not administer the Hepatitis B Vaccination

In the event of a caesarean section, we prefer:

*It is critically important to us that Jaden, Heather, Susan and baby remain together at all times. Should the baby need to be taken to the nursery, Jaden will accompany baby while Susan stays to support Heather for the remainder of the surgery and recovery

*In the event a C-Section is necessary we request to please have one of the mother’s hands unrestrained and to be with the baby at all times

*We would prefer epidural anesthesia

Thank you again for your support!

Jaden, Heather and baby Songstad

10 Weeks!

Nothin' yet!!

Ten weeks has been a busy week in my uterus! We had our first (and probably only) ultrasound on Sunday. Our little babes measured almost exactly where I calculated and was moving around a ton! Last week I started having Braxton Hicks contractions (CRAZY, right?!) but it's only when I'm dehydrated. At first I thought I was getting crampy but then I noticed the cramps were coming and going. I've been able to externally feel my uterus for the last week or so and I could feel that it was super tight. It happened all day Saturday and a bit on Sunday. It stopped after I chugged a TON of water. Oh, and hello toilet! I'm running to the bathroom CONSTANTLY! I've also started getting round ligament pains when I stand up too quickly. My nausea and exhaustion are subsiding! I'm not sure if it's because I've been semi-careful to eat more regularly or if it's just the timing.

I'm definitely pregnant :-)

OK. Believe me or don't. Just keep in mind that I know my body and am very in tuned. OK. I felt my first flutter of movement just over a week ago. It was the day I turned 9 weeks. I was driving to get coffee and as I turned a corner I felt a goldfish go "Floooop!" in my uterus. I KNOW it wasn't gas or intestinal churning because I've never felt anything like this before. It was definitely in my uterus. Even when I first felt Jericho, it never felt like a goldfish. More like someone flicking my from the inside. I haven't felt it since but I can't wait for more movement!!

I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what sort of water birth I want if we do end up birthing at home. I've come to the conclusion that I'll probably decide in the late weeks of pregnancy if I'll be birthing at home or at the birth center. If I birth at home, I want an AWESOME, creative spot to birth. So far ideas I've had or got from friend are:

Birth outside in a clawfoot tub heated by a camping stovetop (I have official directions for how to do this- please overlook the 'shadiness' of my description :-)

For an outside birth- hang up curtains from clothlines as well as twinkle lights and lanterns. Have a table nearby for candles and aromatherapy

Birth inside (in my kitchen) in said clawfoot tub, a farm feeding trough (check this out:, a rented birth tub (I have a bad feeling about rented birth tubs- I'm not clear why, I just do. I'm feeling like I need a HARD tub) or really big jetted tub that we'd rig up in the kitchen. Possible? I dunno.

Birth inside or outside in an unhooked up hot tub filled with water from a hose from our sink (I have a feeling I'd have issues with keeping the water the right temp- I'm picky enough as is let alone in labor).

Convince Jaden to take on a bathroom renovation with the $1500 we save by birthing at home ;-)

Convince Jaden to buy one of those cool but overly priced portable hot tubs they sell at the fair. Oh, my gosh. We could keep that in our bedroom!! That would be awesome.

I'm really drawn to the ideas that will help my postpartum and beyond, also. How fun would it be to have a nice soak in an outside tub? How much more fun would it be to give two kiddos their baths outside in the clawfoot?

I'm already making lists of stuff we need for another baby. If it's a boy, the list is pretty simple. More cloth diapers. Wool everything. A woven wrap. For a girl? I didn't even bother listing things. I just wrote: "girl EVERYTHING!!".

I'm also compiling stuff for my postpartum period. I'll try to devote a blog post just for this. I've learned a thing or two in my postpartum doula experience and well as "I've already been there" experience that I will list for you. Basically, I'm taking the tribal woman route. I had a really, REALLY hard time last time during my first postpartum and I will go to almost any measure to have an enjoyable postpartum. Oh, how wonderful would it be to spend new mama-hood basking in the delicious enjoyment of a newborn instead of the being lost in "blues" (or "blacks", haha. "Fiery reds?" "Blues" sound so benign and innocent).

Hmmm... I do believe that is all! Do mean a favor! If you happen to stumble upon a GRAND idea for a creative home waterbirth, let me know!! :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mysterious Pregnancy Purple Toilet

I first noticed it when I was around 5 or 6 months pregnant with Jericho. My toilet seat had a strange purple hue in the shape of my batootie! It was so random and so bizarre that I posted about it on a forum I was apart of. Turns out I wasn't the only one with a purple butt-print on my toilet!

If you google "Purple butt-print toilet seat" you will certainly see that I'm not the only one. Some woman say pregnancy has turned their toilet blue or pink. And plastic toilet seats don't seem to take on the hue. Porcelain only. Most women say that the only way to finally get rid of the butt print was to buy a new toilet seat after pregnancy. Thank goodness we didn't have to do that!

But what causes it? The most widely spread theory is the differing pH balance in a pregnant woman's body reacting with the porcelain. I've also heard that it could be the iron in prenatal vitamins seeping through the woman's pores. But I have my own theory.

What's the most horrifying thought for many women during pregnancy? Is it childbirth? Water breaking in public? Maybe. In my case it was STRETCH MARKS. I slathered lotion obsessively on every inch of my body when I was pregnant. Yes, this included my butt. Also during pregnancy, a woman's body shape changes rapidly and she may find herself buying larger maternity jeans a few times before she pops. I think that my lotion-y butt took on the dye from my new jeans and then deposited that dye on my toilet. Yep, my hiney was basically a giant rubber stamp.

In case you're wondering, I haven't yet had the tell-tale marks on my toilet yet this pregnancy. If it happens this time I'm going to try to pinpoint exactly when it happens to see if it correlates with my moving into new jeans thus proving my theory :-)