MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

Promoting gentle, empowering mother journies…

essential oils

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do any of you use essential oils? i’d love your favorite brands and applications for them if so. i’ve just gotten into them since last summer or so and i’m totally sold. i’ve used herbal remedies for most of my adult life but have never ventured into oils really. i totally remember the first time a friend (tara arcade) put peppermint oil and deep blue on my head and my headache vanished. so anywhere here is what i’ve been using lately:

individual oils
patchouli – perfect for stress management! i either put it on my wrists or diffuse it into the air when i’m feeling anxious. it makes me feel more grounded. it’s also good on wounds as a skin repairer but i haven’t used it for that yet.

lavender – a few drops on my pillow, back of the neck, or bottoms of my feet helps me sleep. i also use it when i’m tense or feeling anxious on my temples or wrists. if i’ve got a sore muscle i mix peppermint and lavender and apply it topically.

frankincense – i use frankincense for everything from immunity boosting to a skin treatment at night (i mix it with my night cream). it’s good for when i feel scattered and need to focus. i rarely use this aromatically but you can. it’s just so darn expensive ($70 for 1 oz) so i typically only put a drop at a time on my wrists. however when we are sick i mix this with oregano oil and on guard and slather it on our feet.

lemon – i don’t use this that often but i add a few drops to my cleaning solution whenever i make a batch. this is a big favorite to add to the little diffuser because it’s such a happy, uplifting scent. plus i swear it tricks the mind into thinking the house is cleaner than it is.

melaleuca – aka tea tree oil. if melaleuca and oregano oil can’t knock out an infection GET THEE TO A HOSPITAL. both taste pretty harsh so it’s easier for me to take internally by making up a tiny capsule with a drop of two in vs drinking it in a glass of juice or something. melaleuca is a wicked strong anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-microbial. i use this on zits or blackheads and POOF. heck i even use this on my dog when he has dry skin and stinks a little!

oregano – i’ve read that oregano oil has been shown to be just as effective as antibiotics in fighting infections. that has certainly been my feelings about it. i’ve kind of switched from using ecchinacea to regular doses or slatherings of oregano oil on the bottoms of our feet when we’re in a sick season. this is a serious-business immune system supporter. if ever we have something throat-y going on, gargling with a few drops of this will burn out anything going on. emphasis on BURN but it works wonders. diffuse this and it will kill germs in the air.

peppermint – headache relief! slap some of this on your temples and feel any tension in your head just melt away. it has a very sweet smell and when applied topically it has a cooling effect. i diffuse it or put it on my wrists or neck when i’m tired and need a pick me up. you can also put a drop in your mouth for not only fresh breath but to clear our your sinuses.

oil blends (all from DoTerra)
balance – which has spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy with fractionated coconut oil. this is for anxiety or feelings of disconnectedness.

breathe – which has laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and ravensara. whenever anyone in the house has a cough we use this much like vicks vaporub. it smells intoxicating!

deep blue – which has wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, blue chamomile, helichrysum and osmanthus. whenever i’ve got sore muscles or when i’m starting to feel sick and am achy i put this on. it has a slightly analgesic effect. i give the kids a massage with this when they are acting out of control or are sick and need to go to sleep.

digestzen – ginger, peppermint, tarragon, fennel, caraway, coriander and anise. we used this on the cruise when we had motion sickness. you can use it for anything stomach related. also this smells unreal good! i think it’s the fennel.

on guard – which has wild orange essential oil, combined with clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. this is the oil we use the most in our house. it smells wonderful but it’s fantastic as an immunity booster and protector from germs. when the kids come home from school lately (there’s been a big pinkeye outbreak at augustine’s school) i like them to wash their hands and rub a drop into the hands after drying. i mostly put this on the back of our necks but you can add it to your cleaning mix to kill germs and such around the house. diffused this will kill airborne pathogens.

past tense – i’ve only use this starting this past weekend (from a friend) but i’ve already put an order in for it. it has wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil, and rosemary. HOLY CRAP GUYS CILANTRO. this is for calming, focusing, and the relief of tension.

i use DoTerra oils almost exclusively but am starting to branch out to other companies as long as they are still 100% essential oils. that is the biggest thing, that they are 100% pure and not diluted with anything synthetic or cut with another oil. DoTerra only uses 100% pure stuff. however i find them pretty expensive so i’ve been finding some of my lesser used stuff from NOW or aura cacia which is available at my neighborhood co-op. they don’t have any of the blends though so i think ill always be a DoTerra customer.

Albuterol is not a Steriod; it is not an antibiotic.

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Wheezing and chest congestion is one of the most common illness that I see in babies. If your breastfed baby is wheezing, IT IS NOT A SIGN OF ASTHMA. It is a virus. Likely RSV. Adults get a cold. Babies manifest the same virus in their airways.  Babies who get bronchiolitis (wheezing) are not necessarily prone to asthma, at least I don’t see it that way. I don’t diagnose asthma based on one episode. Continue breastfeeding. Usually it is worse at night. In my experience, breastfed babies run the course without complication. That said, Albuterol via nebulizer is my preferred medical treatment for wheezing and cough due to inflammation in the airways.

Albuterol is NOT a steroid.

Albuterol is NOT an antibiotic.

Albuterol via nebulizer reduces airway inflammation immediately by acting on airway receptors, and REDUCES the need for antibiotics, steroids and hospitalization. It tends to be much quicker acting then inhalers or the pill or syrup. Proventil 2/5 liquid is another option, but it is more systemic (you are swallowing it rather than breathing it).If your household members are prone to wheezing, it’s worth keeping a nebulizer handy in the house. I say if you suspect wheezing, use the nebulizer early on and follow up with the doctor. There really isn’t a reason to hold off on treatment until seen.

I also get questions, “If my baby is coughing, and I don’t want antibiotics, is there any reason to bring baby in.” Yes, I would like to know if they are wheezing.

Other names for Albuterol are Ventolin and Proventil. Xopenex is similar. (I don’t buy into the fact that it has less side-effects. it just has a stronger sales pitch as it is a newer medication.)

How often should you use the nebulizer? Initially you may need back-to-back treatments or more frequent. Maybe one treatment is enough to get you over the hump. As the symptoms reduce, you can back off on frequency. With a baby they can breastfeed and you can hold the mask or tubing close to their nose and mouth. (I don’t like the pacifier version of delivery, especially in a baby that doesn’t use the pacifier). If you need an initial treatment, you can expect that the coughing to run a course of up to 3 weeks. Thus you may need a nightly treatment for a few weeks.

I learned to use the nebulizer when I worked in urgent care. It brought immediate results most of the time. Of course if it doesn’t you may need further evaluation. This post refers mostly to the exclusively breastfed baby.

I know many pediatricians reach for antibiotics and steroids in the same situation along with or in place of albuterol. Perhaps that has to do with many of their patients being formula fed and different lifestyle factors, running a more complicated course than what I see. If you have a baby prone to wheezing, you may want to consider allowing no one to smoke around your baby. If you’re in a daycare setting, reconsider that situation. Probiotics is beneficial to immunity. If your baby is taking solids, you may want to make sure that the food does not contain dyes and processed ingredients. Chronic wheezing, asthma can be modified. That means you do have some influence.

On a slightly different note, but related observations about ill EBF babies, you do not have to give a sick baby Pedialyte. Breastmilk has everything they need. But if for some reason you need to supplement a sick baby over 6 months (even a formula dependent baby), coconut water is a great choice for hydration. Fever-all is a dye-free acetominophen supp used for fever and crankiness. Even in the breastfed, unvaccinated population, I do see wheezing. But mild usually.  Vaccine status (lack-of) did not cause this illness.

When you use the nebulized version don’t take deep breaths and you may not have to use a long treatment. You only need a treatment to last as long as it takes to get relief.

For whatever reason, wheezing in babies is common. Breastfeeding is the best way to prevent or reduce the frequency.

I am not a rep for the medication or the machinery.

Permission to Mother now available on Kindle!


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A birthing center super speedy delivery.


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A birthing center super speedy delivery.


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An (planned) amazing husband delivered natural home birth.

Posterior Tongue Ties

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Our community is getting better and better at recognizing “anterior” tongue ties. Now that more and more mothers are standing up for their right to breastfeed, I run into a wider variety of issues. I am suspecting that we are discovering more posterior tongue ties that are not as easy to recognize as the obvious anterior tie.  Posterior-ties cause lengthy feeds, tight, clenching latches, sore nipples, and poor transfer of milk, shield use. If you are having latch problems or help mothers who have latch problems here is a quick video to help you learn more about this.

I want to stress that I don’t diagnose tongue-tie based on what it looks like. Well, I do, but the most important criteria for diagnosing tongue-tie is the description the mother gives:

Sore nipples
open wounds
better with a shield

reflux, food/stomach sensitivity
poor weight gain
lengthy feeds
intense baby
clenching down

It is still common for your health care professionals to not recognize anterior or posterior tongue-tie. It is up to YOU to take responsibility. In most cases your pediatrician is not going to take the lead with this. If everything else your Leader or LC has suggested has not helped your situation, consider tongue-tie. It is not always an easy diagnosis. Learn about tongue-tie and pursue treatment if you still feel, it may be what is going on. The sooner you get treatment and prevent further deterioration of breastfeeding (bad suck habits, low milk), the better off you will be able to provide breastmilk to your baby. Will babies out grow it? Some will. Only if the symptoms are mild…maybe will babyout grow it.

Posterior tongue-tie is easily treated in the office within minutes.

Most of the time no further treatment in the office is necessary.

Here is a link to learn more

Recent Feedback:

“My son was born tongue-tied on January 6th. The LC at the hospital was the only professional willing to “diagnose” him and explain our options. I wanted to breastfeed, and every session took approximately 90 minutes to drain both sides. With an 18 month old daughter too, I was beyond frustrated. I was guided towards an ENT specialist who wanted to put him under with full anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. I followed my mommy instincts and went to Dr Punger. She clipped him so simply and he latched on instantly. I cannot express how grateful I am for her care.”

“When I went to see Dr. Punger, I was really not thinking tongue tie, but reflux for my 6 week old baby. I was very sore from the baby clamping down so hard on me. She had to suck very hard to compensate for the difficulty in swallowing that the very subtle posterior tongue tie caused. This caused gulping, gas, reflux, and her never seeming to get enough though I could see the milk dripping from me. Her strong, tense suck also created over active let down and foremilk/hindmilk imbalance=green, explosive diapers. Since the tongue clipping, baby is nursing so much better, finally gaining weight, and is smiling and cooing! Dr. Punger sent me home with some websites, my dh and I did the research and recognized that this was the issue. We acted pretty quickly because of the pain I was in. Dr. Punger clipped her tongue just before her growth spurt where she nursed every 1.5-2 hours and I’m so grateful! She put on nearly a pound within 10 days.”

Permission to Mother now available on Kindle!

Herbs for Low Milk Supply

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Without touch, skin-to-skin, which includes dad’s touch, babywearing, co-sleeping, and co-bathing, nothing else will work.

You heard me say co-sleeping, right? This is so important. At least be open to the idea.

I am very familiar with Motherlove More Milk Plus with or without Goats Rue.

1)Goats Rue is actually beneficial in the last month of pregnancy if you have a good reason to suspect you will have a low milk supply. I have kept Motherlove  products at the office. It’s all organic. Goat’s Rue builds up glandular tissue. Motherlove herbs are in-stock.

2)Go-lacta. If you go to website there is a link to a study. In The Phillippine Journal of Pediatrics, done in 2000, N=68 pumping NICU moms. You can also take this the last month of pregnancy. Go-lacta is malungayy leaf, a herb. It is high in nutrients. You can use it alone or to compliment Gaia or Motherlove. I am beyond lactation. I am adding it to my green supplememnts I take because of it’s nutrient profile as one of my vitamins. I am getting good feedback on this herb.

I have it in-stock at the office.

3)Fenugreek/Blessed thistle.  I am not stocking  Gaia Lactation Support yet, because I have in-stock Motherlove products with fenugreek in them. I was always told that tinctures were the best way to take these herbs.  You would only take one or the other. You can combine one of these with the other herbal and medicinal options. I get good feedback on Gaia and Gaia/Go-lacta combo. I plan on stocking this soon.

4) I am still learning about Leptagen, let me put it out there for you.

I would love your feedback if you use any of these herbs so I can continue to learn and recommend the best products to moms.

I would love to use prescriptions as galactogogues only as the very last resort.

On a forum I read:
“I would really be interested in seeing the iodine levels in women who have IGT, as “Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid functioning and formation of all glandular tissue, including the breasts, ovaries, prostate, and uterus, he explains. ” (”~ Jennifer Tow IBCLC

If you have low milk supply, and I have a reason to check your blood, for now on I will be consider checking Iodine Levels.

Permission to Mother now available on Kindle!


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blessed lent to everyone!

last year i gave up facebook for lent and besides the obvious benefits of more purposeful time it had a lot of surprising (to me) spiritual effects too. the quick summary of the process of a 40 day deprivation of social media was that my internal chatter was significantly reduced, improved mental clarity and organization, and what time i was going to spend farting around online was instead spent in quiet meditation, prayer, and/or spiritual study. the main focus of my meditation seemed to revolve around why i felt the need to engage in such obsessive internet connection/hyper connectivity. oh boy you can get deep inside your own psyche when youre trying to dig up that kind of stuff.

so this year i’m doing the same but including twitter in with facebook. it’s day 2 of lent and i wonder if i should up my game. i am not struggling at all with temptation to sign on. last year that was a big part of the beginning of the 40 days, the exertion of willpower, etc. right off the bat i notice how my internal monolog is constantly streaming in 140 characters and my mind keeps thinking of clever or interesting things that i would otherwise take and put on twitter or facebook. that makes me feel very sad actually. like, i am seeing how my mind revolves and craves the interaction and input of others. YIKES. that’s a scary mirror to gaze into! what lent is to me is channeling a distraction or something else “taking up space in my life” into something spiritual and focusing on God. when i start thinking of [insert distraction/thing you are abstaining from] it reminds me to pray or i take a moment and invite God into that space of discomfort.

one of my favorite podcasts is called “pray as you go” which is a daily bible study. bonus: the folks who do it are british jesuits so they sound super cool and cultured talking about God. i listened to one recently, the one for friday the 24th, and it made me hone my goals/theme for this lent. the podcast, which you should seriously listen to! it’s only 12 minutes! gave great insight into the fact that the life of a Christian should be marked by bringing life, unyolking the burdened, justice-loving, etc. it certainly, oddly, reminded me of the 90s films trainspotting with it’s “choose life” rhetoric. LOL at that juxtaposition! however it has made me focus more and want more of my being to be marked by life giving, helping, nurturing, serving, loving, community, sharing, etc. so that is my daily prayer now. every day our church circulates a reading and reflection and today someone posted a simple prayer that i am planning to keep with me for the next 40 days. it says:

“God, remove from me every defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and others.”

amen amen amen

so the next 40 days will be spent in hourly contemplation of how i might be more life giving to those around me. another good insight that i read is to not focus on the “can’t have” of the season of Lent, because really it isn’t about denial at all. it’s about making room to indulge on more of God by making room in ones life by putting something aside. i admit that until now in my life i have only really associated Lent with self denial. what a bad attitude. but hey i’m working on that.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

olive’s new drawing

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Mommy, I drew you a Tardis
mommy, i drew you a tardis. my kids knows me so well.

school for olive (augustine)

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somehow the time to choose a kindergarten for olive is upon us. i thought i had until the summer but apparently if we are choosing to lottery her into any school besides where our district assigns her our forms have to be in by next week. the choice is really only between two schools: clinton and indianola.

pros: top rated elementary school in the city (highly ranked in the whole state!), augustine already goes there so i’m already familiar with the teachers and classmates.

cons: the school is only k-5 which means we’d either have to lottery her (them) for middle school or be content with their district assigned middle school which is kind of meh. the school is about a 1 1/2 miles away.

pros: the school is right down the street, it’s k-8, it’s a good school, it’s an “informal teaching style”.

cons: moving augustine schools, getting acclimated to a new school/teachers, it’s not as good as clinton.

first world problems here folks! both schools are great. we don’t have anything bad to say about clinton, far from it! but the middle school issue is a big one. i don’t know a ton about our middle school but what i do know is that it’s pretty typical public city school. the quality of education would be consistent throughout at indianola. so big picture “good” school vs. incredible elementary and “par” middle school is the conundrum basically.

advice would be fantastico.