Who looks out for Dads after labour?

In the history of birthing it’s the men who joined the party last.  Up until the 1970s their place was well away from the birth, possibly pacing up and down in the hallway listening for a cry?

It was the NCT who campaigned for the man to be in the room.  And these days, I find myself wondering whether this change in circumstance was actually a good thing or not.

Baby and DadI remember it being an assumption when it was my time, that the father of the baby would be the birth partner regardless of whether they were the best person for the job.  I watched useless men on “One Born Every Minute”  (it’s not birthing it’s entertainment, remember) and rolled my eyes.  Then suddenly it dawned on me: it takes a braver man to opt out of being in the room.

It’s seen as a sign of weakness, a sign that you’re not up for being a Dad.

How many women complain that their partners haven’t read a single thing going into labour?  Or drag them unwillingly to antenatal classes?  Antenatal classes do an excellent job in my experience of involving them and catering to what they might need, but you can bring a horse to water and all that.

Some men come out of labour in a complete shock.  And it’s not always from being unprepared.  Labour is a one way street with an inevitable outcome and sometimes things can go wrong along the way.  Intervention can be swift, emergency c sections are done under a general anesthetic and the birth partner left in the labour room with the hospital bag exploded all over the room, waiting for news of his wife and new baby.

There’s new research out from last year that suggests that many men are left bereft by birth. The expectations from them to step up and take care of the family are huge.  But they’ve probably spent a night in labour without the hormones to adjust to the sleeplessness.  Deep sleep helps our brains process trauma and, with a newborn in the house, this can be a bit lacking.  Before they know it, they have to return to work after the briefest of time adjusting to fatherhood.

One of the main themes of unease was men feeling ‘stripped of my role: powerless and helpless

I am absolutely not saying that a man’s role is greater than a woman’s in labour, but he does deserve some space to process it.  One of the main themes of unease was men feeling ‘stripped of my role: powerless and helpless’, which can resonate deeply, especially where there were already insecurities.

Getting men to visit my clinic is like pulling teeth. It does happen, although I won’t take bookings from wives!  They come and sit, arms folded.  If they do manage to get through the door, I gradually see an unfolding of the arms and a re-balancing of the emotions.  Details of how I work can be found here.

 

 

The study is here.  photo credit is here

Why I don’t prescribe at the school gates.

A few of the mums at the school gate know what I do, I even treat some of them discretely.  The ones who dabble in homeopathy often ask me questions about their ailments, or their children’s ailments.

In the early days of study, I loved it!  If I knew the answer I would proudly boast it and if I didn’t I would go away, add to my knowledge and return the next day with an answer.

I also felt compelled to help.  When the most sceptical of friends agreed to take some Pulsatilla for a cold that she had, her nose ran and ran and she thought I had broken her.  She never asked for anything else.  Another asked if I had anything for ring worm so I gave her a therepeutic combination and it didn’t work.  Serves me right, I didn’t take the case, so I was prescribing blind.

By cutting corners I am doing everyone a disservice.  Any ailment deserves to have the attention of a homeopath for enough time to establish the following:

  • Full catalogue of symptoms, across the whole body (there is always a connection!)
  • Why this ailment has come on? When?  Possible cause?
  • How does it hurt, where and when in the day?
  • What makes it better?

This is the full picture and this is how we prescribe.  Prescribing with the body means all the symptoms have to fit your individual case.  Working with the body cannot be successful with broad brush stroke prescribing, standing in the pharmacy being told that this cough mixture will probably help is not the same as matching symptoms to the right remedy.

I often get “have you got anything for PMT?”.   I do. Lots!  And highly effective it can be too.  It’s a hormone imbalance and your hormones are delicate things.  Not something to be discussed in a snatched conversation.  It takes time to unravel what has happened to your body.

But it’s really hard not to offer, especially if you can see the right remedy fit immediately, or they’re about to take an unnecessary round of antibiotics.  It’s also hard to say no.  So if you see me shifting uncomfortably then this explains why.  Feel free to use my acute service which is cost effective and free of my children swinging off my legs!

Homeopathy for travel sickness

One of the annoyances of travel is motion sickness, which is a common disturbance of the inner ear. This is the area of the body that affects your sense of balance and equilibrium. Motion sickness happens when your brain receives conflicting messages about motion and your body’s position in space: what you see does not match wht you feel.  Motion sickness can occur with any mode of travel: on a ship, plane, train, bus, or car.

Symptoms of motion sickness include dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and a general feeling of discomfort. Motion sickness is more common in woman and in children. Individuals who suffer from migraine headaches are also more prone to motion sickness.

There are a few remedies worth packing:

Cocculus Nausea with difficulty speaking, reading or thinking.  Worse from smell of food.
Tabacum Extreme dizziness, sweating, better eyes closed.  Headache.
Petroleum Most likely on a ship or where swinging motion is causing nausea.  Worse on rising, worse in the back of your head.  Stomach feels empty.
Nux vomica Weight in stomach.  Sour taste in mouth.  Worse for alcohol.  Would feel better for vomiting but can’t. Worse from light or noise.  Craves fat and spices which may irritate.
Scleranthus Swinging feeling.   Disturbed equilibrium.  Indecisiveness.  Emotional.
 
Kali Mur Not for sickness but good for ear pain while flying.

 

There are lots of other preventative measures you can take.  Here are some:

  • Watch out for dehydration – plane travel especially can dehydrate you, as can alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Generally avoid alcohol and caffeine, both are acidic and slow digestion which is unhelpful. They are both dehydrating (see above)
  • Eat moderately. Not too much or too little. Avoid overly fatty foods.  Eat fruits high in water content.
  • Lying down or fixing your eyes on a spot in the distance can be helpful. This is not for everyone so you have to experiment.
  • Different places on different methods of transport can help: sea level cabins (ships); centre seats (aeroplanes); forward facing seats (planes); front seats (cars) can all minimise nausea.
  • Avoid others talking about motion sickness. Sometimes this can make it worse!

Over the counter medication is usually in the form of an antihistamine.  By rewriting your inflammatory response (suppressing histamine levels) you are sending your body into imbalance.  Overuse of antihistamines can result in your body being unable to produce this result by itself.  This slows down the healing process and can cause the body to misread certain foods and cause allergies.  Homeopathy works with the body’s natural defenses making them stronger rather than impairing them.

If you are travelling through time zones, it’s possible that your body clock may be affected.  Consider these remedies for jet lag.

Arnica Severe fatigue, restlessness and sleeplessness
Coca Nervousness.  Can’t rest.  You may be able to sleep but not rest.
Cocculus Insomnia from physical exhaustion

 

I make an individual combination which includes remedies to stimulate the pineal gland and melatonin production.  Ask me for this during your consultation.

Other natural ways to counteract it are to adjust asap to the time difference.   This should inform your decision about whether, or when to sleep on the plane.  (To New York: no.  Back to Uk: yes!)

Vitamin D, absorbed through our skin from sunshine is an excellent vitamin.  But if you get outside in the sun at your destination, it can help you adjust to the new time zone.

Travel further afield might involve considering whether to have travel vaccines.  As with all procedures there is a choice here.  Feel free to discuss your options with me before making an informed decision.

If you would like to take a small selection of remedies away with you these might be ones that you might need:

Aconite (Sudden onset of illness), Arnica (bruises, jet lag), Belladonna (sunstroke, fever), Ledum (puncture wounds), Hypericum (nerve damage),  Calendula (combine this with  Ledum and Staphysagria if you are prone to being bitten), Arsenicum (for any stomach bugs).  If you’re travelling with children add Pulsatilla and Chamomilla.

Mastitis or plugged duct?

If you feel like your boobs aren’t quite working as they should, and they are tender or sore, you could have one of these issues.  There are lots of natural techniques to help you overcome these obstacles.  To some extent it depends which one you have and to another it really doesn’t so here are the commonalities:

Rest! Your body needs the resources to be able to fight any boob malfunction.  This should be your first focus.  Send your guests away and focus all your attention here.

Feed! Your baby is cleverly designed to help you through this by feeding and keeping the flow going.  By creating gaps in the feeding it will be harder to re regulate supply.

Resource up! You’ve just had a tiny human deplete you of all your resources.  Feeding can be draining too, especially if you are trying to carry on your life as normal.  Water and minerals are really important as well as good nutrition.  (coconut water, green veg, fruit).  Drinking herbal teas or bone broth can be really beneficial.

So what’s the difference?

A blocked duct is where one of the ducts which feed milk to the nipple gets blocked and you get a backup of milk.  One of the reasons for this can be that the flow of milk has been impaired somehow (latching problems, fast or slow feeding, feeding multiple babies, nipple shields, blocked pores),  or irregular feeding (substituting with a bottle, skipping feeds), tight/ constricting clothing and injury to the breast can also be contributing factors.

A blocked duct can cause milk stagnation, which can cause inflammation and lead to mastitis.  Inflammation can also be caused through a cracked nipple or through bacteria like any other infection.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue and can make the breast feel swollen or sore.  One will look redder that the other one.  This can be true of a blocked duct as well but mastitis often comes with flu like symptoms or a fever.

Natural therapies look at the body as a whole, but both conditions can be caused as a result of general ill health: poor immunity; stress; anaemia or still recovering from birth.  A consultation would aim to address these issues at a deeper level that you can manage acutely.

The most important word is FLOW!

In a blocked duct, the best way to unblock it is to feed through it and keep the flow going.

In mastitis, milk that hangs around in inflamed ducts will make the problem worse so try and move it through as best you can. This is ideally through feeding, and completely emptying the breast.   Sometimes this is not possible, in which case, feed as much as you can and then express as much as you can.  Don’t ignore the other breast, this needs using too!

While your body tried to naturally heal, your milk can take on a slightly different taste with increased sodium.  This is completely normal and completely safe for the baby, but they might be a little put off by the taste and require some coaxing – persevere!  Good hydration will help water imbalances here.

What to do if feeding alone doesn’t clear it.

Heat stimulates milk production flow, so use warmth (shower, hot flannel, heat pack) to get the flow going again.  While the breast is nice and warm, take a lubricant (coconut oil, soap or conditioner in the shower) and massage the breast towards the nipple.  Try to hand express some milk to get the flow going even more.  As you recover, do this every morning in the shower to help the process.

Go without a bra.  Any kind of constriction can impair flow.

Feed creatively!  Get the baby in to different positions to bed access the blocked duct.  See this post on Kelly Mom (excellent feeding support) on Dangle Feeding.

Here are some remedies which may help:

Belladonna Comes on quickly.  Hard swollen breast.  Throbbing pain.  Red streaks from nipple.  You feel worse from light, noise or touch.
Bryonia Hot hard, painful.  Worse from movement.  You want to lie still.  Thirsty.
Cimicifuga Left breast especially.  Worse when cold.  Worse in the morning.  Often associated with low feelings.
Merc Sol Sweating.  Bad breath.  Lots of salivation.  Thirsty.
Phytolacca Heavy, stony hard breasts.  Tender with radiating pain.  Better for heat.
Silica Lots of discharge.  Feelings of weakness or felling chilly.  Worse for cold or draughts, damp, noise, light or being  jarred.

 

You will never use too much milk.  Milk supplies are never depleted by overuse.  The opposite in fact so keep feeding!

Although antibiotics are not always prescribed, they can be suggested by a GP where symptoms do not improve within a day.  The pathogens can be resistant to the antibiotics, so care is taken in selection.  This can also mean that they don’t help, while killing off your beneficial bacteria at the same time.  No bacteria at all decreases your chance of fighting off disease.  Antibiotics also suppress the inflammation but do nothing to address the flow issues and their potential causes.  So it is far better to use the techniques above and nip it in the bud.

In the event of your taking antibiotics, take a decent probiotic alongside it like Optibac.

Obviously keep an eye on your symptoms. The body can throw off low level inflammations with a bit of effort but trust your instincts.  If you experience increasing levels of weakness, pus or bloody discharge, you have a sudden spike in temperature or you have only recently been in hospital, then contact your chosen health professional.

Looking after your teeth and gums.

Sore teeth are no fun.  Young or old, it will make you miserable.  Dentists will lead you to believe that acid producing food (sugar being the worst) destroy tooth enamel which leads to tooth decay.  Whilst this is fact, in true holistic nature, it’s part of a much bigger picture.

It’s all about minerals.  Without the right mineral make up in your body, your teeth don’t have the resources they need to draw on for good health.  When a baby is teething, all the minerals draw into the mouth as a priority which can cause an imbalance.  And if you’re wondering what minerals you need, there are quite a few:

Calcium Teeth and jaws are mostly made of calcium.  Calcium prevents decay.
CoQ10 Decreases bleeding and inflammation.
Iron Prevents inflamed tongue and mouth sores.
Magnesium Creates hard tooth enamel.  Supports the calcium.
Vitamin A Helps saliva production.  Helps gum healing.
Vitamin B12 and B2 Prevents mouth sores
Vitamin B3 Bad breath and canker sores
Vitamin C Prevents bleeding gums, keeps teeth firmly embedded.  Helps build and repair connective tissue.
Vitamin D Helps absorb calcium

So treatment for tooth decay works on two levels: acute and chronic.  Below are the acute remedies which you can give yourself for acute pain.  Anything that goes on too long, or keeps coming up is probably an underlying issue requiring a homeopathic consultation.  You may also benefit from Iridology analysis to assess mineral deficiencies.

Belladonna Throbbing (teeth or head), intolerable pain.  Better for biting. Hot face.  Teeth feel long.  Including Earache.  Grinds teeth.  Bleeding gums.
Chamomilla Standard children’s remedy but still good pain relief for adults.  Drinking makes it worse, especially coffee. Worse for pressure, touch or warmth.
Hepar Sulph Good for abscesses and caries.
Hypericum Nerve pain (esp. after dental work). Wants to lie on sore side and be quiet.
Phosphorus Teeth feel numb.  Decay has become rapid.  Shooting pains.  Bleeding will not stop after tooth extraction.  Sore, inflamed, bleeding gums.  Suits those whose lower jaw is irregularly formed.
Phytolacca Wants to bite teeth together.  Good for draining.
Pulsatilla Feels like teeth are being forced out.  Shooting pain. Better for holding cold water in mouth.  Better outside.  Gets worse as you come indoors.
Silica Teeth feel too large and long.  Worse at night, preventing sleep.  Enamel loss.  Rough feeling.   Abscesses.  Boils on gums.  Sensitive to cold water. Delayed teething in children.

For maintaining or more likely offsetting oral health, Tissue Salts are really helpful.

Tissue Salts are somewhere between a homeopathic remedy and a supplement.  They are biochemical.  That is, material doses of 12 minerals which were put together by Schussler and are the micro doses of the 12 minerals that your body needs.  Of these, several are minerals which you need for good oral health.  It would be lovely to get these from our food, as our ancestors did, but sadly our food is decreasing in nutrition.

“In the past 50 years vegetables on sale in the UK have lost 24% of their magnesium, 27% of their iron and 46% of their calcium” http://www.wewantrealfood.co.uk/

So tissue salts are a really useful addition to balance modern mineral deficiencies.

Best tissue salts for teeth: Calc Fluor (tooth enamel), Calc Phos (tooth tissue), Ferr Phos (blood health, helps absorb iron), Mag Phos (teeth components), Silcea (Gum abcesses and tooth weakness).  You can get all these in Combination R if you can find it.

In addition to this, there is a correlation between gut health and gum health.  When the gut flora is damaged, this can be reflected in the gums.  For optimum gut health read here.

The lady talks a lot of sense generally, but here she is on healthy teeth if you would like some more in depth information.