Tag Archives: babies

Preparing for Pregnancy, Part 1: Laying a Nutritional Foundation

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional Foundation

This material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

When I married in 2004, I was almost 26, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to wait long to have children. Although many women have children after thirty, we both wanted a large family and weren’t sure how long our child-bearing years would last. Even so, we were slightly surprised when just six weeks after the wedding we found ourselves expecting our first child! Excitement filled our house, and to add to our own joy, this would be the first grandchild for both his parents and mine.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional FoundationAt the time, I was a practicing registered nurse, and although I did not work in obstetrics, I’d always been fascinated with the subject. Despite the fact that I had scored a perfect 100 ranking among my peers that year in the OB/GYN national competency exams, I gradually found that I actually understood little about the importance of preparing my body to be a mother.

I knew I needed to take a prenatal vitamin once the pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. I knew the importance of Folate to prevent birth defects. I knew I needed to generally take care of myself. But I did nothing to really prepare my body for pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy diet consisted largely of fast food, meals from a box, and sodas. I had done nothing to eliminate my chronic gut problems, build nutritional storehouses, or make sure my body was in shape for this miraculous event.

Due to long work hours, my entire day’s nutrition consisted of an orange for breakfast, half a sub sandwich for lunch, and half for dinner (and when I say sub, I mean a foot-long white bread sandwich with nothing but processed cold cuts, American cheese and jalapeño peppers). I washed that all down with the largest cherry limeade I could buy, because it had to last my entire shift; it was a healthier choice, I figured, since it did not have caffeine. I often went an entire week without eating unprocessed meat, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.

My bouts with morning sickness (to the point of vomiting) lasted from early in the pregnancy until three days after my baby was born. With my second pregnancy came nine months of migraine headaches, followed by my newborn son’s chronic health issues. I finally decided there had to be a better way to do pregnancy! The challenges I faced have led me to some fascinating factors that make for a healthier momma and, therefore, a healthier baby.

The Two-Way Gift of Health

maryOur health is a gift, not just from the Creator, but also from our parents. The field of genetics is still full of mystery, but we do know that the health of our parents when they brought us into the world plays a large role in determining what our own level of health will be, and your health will play a major role in your children’s health.

People generally assume that most health issues depend simply on the genes we pass on, that they determine what makes us more or less vulnerable to various diseases and health conditions. Many of us don’t make the connection that we directly pass on to our children a reflection of our own state of health, apart from genetic factors.

As a result, our children often suffer from the same digestive, immune, and chronic health issues that we do, not just because of genes but also because of how we care for ourselves. If you’ve had problems with your digestion, it should not come as a surprise that your child is colicky. So before you think about having a baby, first consider how to rebuild and restore your own health. Not only will you be passing on to your future children a head start in health, but the habits you develop will benefit them throughout life.

Getting Your Gift in Shape

The place to start building your health is with your diet and your nutritional lifestyle. Nutrients are the building blocks of cells, and it is vital to take in nutrients that build healthy cells. Diets full of healthy fats, grass-fed and organic proteins, fermented foods, properly prepared grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. While there are several very good diet suggestions out there, I personally recommend Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers as a good starting place. It’s published by the Weston A. Price Foundation and offers great guidance for nourishing your body and preparing the inner stores of nutrients necessary for pregnancy.

Most people recognize the need for protein, iron, and vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, but it is only recently becoming known that healthy fats are needed as well. A British publication noted that for a healthy reproductive system, a woman needs 25 to 30 percent body fat, while the American recommendation for women of child-bearing years is 21 to 33 percent. Healthy fats include coconut oil, whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter and meats (with healthy portions of the fat included). A great primer in the study of fats is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Just as important as what you put in your body is what you don’t put in. Fats to avoid are shortening, margarine, vegetable oils like corn, soybean, and canola oil. Other no-no’s include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, white flour, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, caffeine, and soft drinks (even cherry limeades!). Not only are they empty calories, they are often toxic to the body.

Another crucial part of your lifestyle evaluation is your level of physical activity. At any time in life, exercise keeps the body feeling well, the joints moving, aches and pains dispelled, and increases overall vitality. To “get in shape” for pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate into daily life activities and exercises that increase stamina, flexibility, and cardio function. If you’re wary of exercise because of pain, I recommend you read Pain Free. I’ve followed its guidelines for almost a year now and have found incredible relief from aches and pains, while increasing my flexibility and balance.

When you exercise while pregnant, it’s important that you not burn too much fat. High impact aerobics and long distance running often burn more than the recommended amount of body fat for a healthy pregnancy. The key here is to research the regimen you will be participating in and maintain a level that’s right for you.

Join us tomorrow for Part 2 when we discuss choosing supplements and avoiding morning sickness. 

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

Chamomile: An Essential for Everyone (Even Babies!)

chamomile essential oil from Beeyoutifull.com

“Being a new mom was amazing but Baby and I often had a few hard nights peppered in there. When our second son was born, he had colic very badly (I later realized it was due to foods I was eating while nursing). One of my favorite momma tools was a drop of Chamomile Essential Oil in his baby lotion. Massaging him with this lotion blend often soothed us both and helped us get some much needed rest!” ~Mary

Chamomile is a fragrant, beautiful, safe, and easy to use herb. It has an aroma reminiscent of ripe apples along with many desirable qualities. It’s known for its relaxing and calming effects on both the body and mind, and it’s widely considered to be gentle and safe for use on all ages, even newborn babies. It’s gentle on the skin and won’t affect any animals in the home.

chamomile essential oil from Beeyoutifull.com  It’s an investment in your family’s health. 

Harnessing the essential oil of this wonderful herb makes it even better! Extracting the oil concentrates the health-supporting power of acres of plants into a small bottle.

Most essential oils require a large quantity of raw material to produce a small amount of pure oil. For example, it takes 66 pounds of fresh rosemary to extract just one pound of oil. With Chamomile, that ratio is dramatically higher: it takes a thousand pounds of the tiny white flowers to produce a single pound of essential oil. (That’s one significant reason why Chamomile Essential Oil is expensive and considered an “investment oil”!)

Safe for all ages.

Chamomile’s chemical makeup has active components that are milder and less overwhelming for children. Many oils contain naturally occurring menthol, which can be problematic for children as it’s hard for their tiny bodies to process. Chamomile contains no menthol.

While many essential oils are completely off limits or should be used on children only with caution, in general, thoroughly diluted Chamomile Essential Oil is considered safe for external use on children. Even though Chamomile has a very low reaction rate, as with any essential oil, always test for sensitivity first.

Pregnancy and Nursing

Pregnancy, for all its beauty and glory, can be a complicated kind of tiring. Backache, insomnia, nausea, heartburn, aches, pains, and more can combine to make it a stressful experience.

relaxing pregnancy massage blend from Beeyoutiful.comA massage with special floral oils is a comforting treatment during this special time. A spouse or another loving family member or friend can do the honors. Studies have shown that both mothers and babies benefit from regular massage during pregnancy, and massage by the baby’s father contributes substantially to his bonding with mother and baby.

The aromas in this recipe are relaxing, and the composition of the oils brings physical relief.

Pregnancy Massage Blend

10 drops Chamomile

10 drops Geranium

10 drops Lavender
2 tablespoons of a favorite carrier oil (like coconut, almond, or jojoba oil)

For Fussy Babiescalming baby massage blend from Beeyoutiful.com

Use Chamomile in a massage oil to calm your baby, or add a drop to warm bath water or your favorite natural lotion.

Baby’s Massage Oil

1 drop Chamomile
1 drop Lavender
1 drop Geranium

2 tablespoons of a favorite carrier oil (like coconut, almond, or jojoba oil)

Chamomile for The Entire Family

ear ache remedy from Beeyoutiful.comEar Ache Remedy

3 drops Chamomile

3 drops Lavender

1 tsp olive oil

Moisten a cotton ball with the oil mixture and rest lightly in the ear opening, allowing the oil vapors to enter the ear. Leave in place for up to 6 hours. (A persistent ear ache may be a sign of infection and should be investigated by a doctor.)

Hay Fever Blend for DiffusingHay Fever Blend for Diffusing

3 parts Chamomile

3 parts Lemon

2 parts Lavender

Use in a diffuser or pot of steaming water and inhale the oil vapors. You can also put one drop of each oil on a tissue and sniff it throughout the day.

Eye Renewal Treatment

5 drops Chamomile

1 oz Jojoba Oil

Store in a dark glass container. After cleansing face at night, gently pat mixture around eye area, especially the areas prone to fine lines and wrinkles. (Avoid getting too close to the eye or oil will seep into the eye itself, ouch!)

Is Beeyoutiful’s oil from Roman Chamomile or German Chamomile?

We use Chamaemelum nobile, commonly known as Roman Chamomile. We chose to carry this variety for several reasons.

  • Roman Chamomile tends to be somewhat lower in the active components than the German kind, making it that much safer for use with young children.
  • While German Chamomile is reputed to have stronger effects on inflammation, Roman is considered better for calming (a major reason many choose to use it with restless children).
  • Even though it’s still a pricey oil, Roman is less expensive than German.

Chamomile has become a staple in our essential oil kits and we turn to it frequently. How do you use it in your home?