Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Review of Benkung Belly Binding

Benkung Belly Binding is a Malaysian practice of taking a long strip of cloth and wrapping it tightly around your torso to aid in recovery post baby. The list of benefits include
  • Pulling diastasis recti (separated abdominal wall) back together 
  • Quicker elimination of waste blood in a natural way
  • Aids in shrinking your waistline, hips and rib cage back to pre-pregnacy size
  • Helps with posture, preventing your back from caving forward while nursing, minimizing back pain
  • Helps your uterus and internal organs return to their rightful place 
The reasoning is that when you are pregnant, your body cells expand storing up extra fluids, fat and air to cushion and nourish your baby during that last trimester. However, when you have your baby, your body no longer needs to store water for amniotic sack and air to cushion the baby so your cells will release the excess and return back to normal size. The wrap is there to speed up this process.

I was really intrigued by the claims on this style of wrap as others I tried previously don't really work on shrinking your rib cage or hips. I have noticed in my last two pregnancies the hips and ribs just haven't gone back to their normal size. I am also worried about diastasis recti this time as this was my fourth pregnancy in 3 years, and while I work out there is only so much that can do to pull things back together, and I wanted a head start. The other thing is that it just looks really pretty. So I bought one from etsy and started wrapping the day after giving birth.

Here I am the day after

One week later

Two weeks later

I have to say that so far I am very impressed with my wrap, and here is why. At a follow up visit with my midwife and a gynecologist last week, they were so shocked and pleased to see that my uterus was already 4 inches below my belly button. This was only 5 days after giving birth.

Another thing is that while I still occasionally bleed it is not even every day and I am only about 2 weeks out from my birth.

I am also enjoying wearing a good portion of my regular clothes already which I have never done this soon.

We will have to see how it works with pulling my abs back together, but as everything else has been pretty accurate so far I am hopeful that it will do well in that area too.

Things I was not expecting:
That it is more comfortable than I thought it would be. It is like an all day hug and feels really good, especially in the tummy and pelvic region.

I get a bunch of compliments on how pretty it is, and I love wearing it.

It is easier to put on than it looks. It is kinda intimidating working with a 10 yard strip of fabric for the first couple times but I can wrap myself now in a couple of minuets.

The only down side for me so far is that I can't sleep or nap in it. Some people do and have no problems, but it makes me feel like I breath too shallow laying down and wakes me up.

In all I am really enjoying my benkung wrap. I wear mine for the recommended 8 hours a day and plan on continuing for the 6-8 weeks postpartum, which is when you are going to get the best results from using the wrap. I am really glad I decided to try it, for something so simple it is very effective.

                                                             Loving this little girl

                                                             The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Eliora's Birth Story!

I have been waiting so long to write this post it almost feels surreal doing it now.  It was starting to think that our baby was never going to come. I was feeling so heavy, depleted on energy, stressed and bombarded by an onslaught of other people's opinions/comments it really had me down. So I decided to put my children to bed early last Tuesday and just do some relaxing things to help my body unwind. I also felt keenly aware of people praying for me that night, as I was told by a handful of my friends/family they were lifting me up in prayer. So after some baking, facebooking, watching some baby related youtube videos, getting a shower and reading my book I settled in for the evening feeling a lot better and maybe even hopeful that I could meet my baby soon. 

Then it happened. I woke up at 1:45 Wednesday morning with strong contractions. I could have just danced, except I was in pain, so I was all smiles as I turned over to tell my dear husband today was the day and that I was going downstairs to walk around and just be 100% sure that this was it. It didn't take me long to figure out this was the day, so I called my mom to tell her to get ready and went back up to see what my husband was doing. Still sleeping, he said he never heard me the first time, but I told him it was time for him to get up and for us to call for a sitter for the kids and time the contractions. It soon became very apparent that we needed to get moving out the door, as my last baby was delivered in 3 3/4 hours and these contractions were getting intense. So Josh's aunt came right over and watched our other 2 while we jumped into our already packed car (I had my birth bag in there for 3 weeks now) said a prayer and sped down the road on that wet, rainy morning.

I labored with Boaz in the car too but this time I was trying to do more of the breathing exercises which helped quite a bit. Drinking water in between contractions helped too because last time I was hoarse and couldn't barely talk from all the yelling, progress. However we were still 15 min away and it felt like I needed to push, so for the lat 15 minuets holding a baby back was really awful, possibly the worst part of the whole birth.

We got to the midwife's home in record time :) Thank the Lord Josh just had new tires put on the car!

He and my midwife helped me up the stairs to the birth room where I was checked and yep, it was time to push! So after pushing for a few min my water broke, a little unusual for me as they had to break my bag for the last two. After pushing my baby's head out I am used to being pretty much done as the rest of the body tends to slide out but this was a different baby and I needed to push hard to get the broad shoulders and the rest of the body out. It was 3:45, two hours after I had been woke up from sleep by contractions, and now I was holding my baby girl! Praise God!

Eliora was just jabbering and talking the moment she came into the world! It was so sweet to hear her precious little voice! I had the shakes for a little afterward, probably from having a 2 hour labor, and after-pains but knowing that God brought us there safely and gave me an uncomplicated birth we were overwhelmed with joy! I love those sacred moments where you first get to meet and bond with your baby. Seeing what they are like and who they resemble and just soaking up the whole essence of this new little person who you have been carrying for all this time. We all were rather tired and I was ravenous so after I had a granola bar and nursed Eliora while we all took a little rest.

Eliora wanted to nurse again an hour later, and we had breakfast. After that Josh got to clamp and cut the cord and the midwife got down to business measuring and weighing our baby girl. Josh was guessing she weighed about a gallon of milk, 8.6 lbs and my midwife was thinking 8lbs 12oz. They were both wrong she was a soft, pleasantly plushy 10 pounds on the dot! No wonder I felt so much heavier this time! In all honesty there was very little difference in delivering my 6 pound girl and her sweet 10 pound little self. Maybe if I knew ahead of time it would have stressed me out and caused problems but as it was she was just a healthy, happy, hungry girl!

Phoebe and Boaz love their new little sister, Boaz just showers her with kisses and Phoebe makes sure she has everything she needs from blankets to stories. This little girl is cared for and well loved.

  Our little family feels so complete with our little Eliora, which means the Lord is my guiding light. I hope the Lord fulfills her name and guides her thorough her life continually!

                                                                 Enjoying this season of blessing
                                                                       The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Busy Weekend and Birthday Detox Waffles!

We celebrated my daughter's 3rd birthday last Tuesday, and with coming off of all the festivities and picnics of the fourth of July weekend I know I was really wanting to simplify our diet and get back into the regular swing of things. However it is a birthday, and if anyone knows me well they know that I just love to celebrate birthdays and have a fun party and make cute food. Now we really didn't have her "party" then because I keep telling her we are waiting for her brother or sister to come so they can be there too, so far this is working :) She is very easy to make happy; that is such a grace for me right now, as it is harder for me to deal with a belated party than her. In hind sight I should have done it back in June but can't change things now so I will just have to go with the flow!

Anyway still wanting to make it a special day for her I asked her what she wanted to eat for her birthday breakfast. She asked for cereal, which is very easy and part of me wanted to take her up on it but the other louder half of me kept thinking of all the processed food/sweet things she had the weekend before, and that and while cereal may be a special thing for her, waffles are too so I suggested them instead.

Now I also realize that most people would not consider waffles a health food, and really traditional ones are not, but like most things there is a way to make it healthy and that is what we did here. For my conscience sake I like to think of these as detox waffles. I like to have these when I want something naughty for breakfast but know deep down I really should be having something healthy.

I usually like to have low gluten or gluten free breads and baked goods and these just happen to be gluten free/dairy free/refined sugar free and can be made vegan as well! However since we are getting a stock pile of eggs from our chickens right now I added a few eggs to the mix too but this is a very adaptable recipe. It also happens to very simple and inexpensive too and who doesn't like that?

Oatmeal (or Detox) Waffles

Makes about 6 Belgian waffles or 9 regular waffles
  • 4 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 Cups water
  • 2 Ripe/spotted bananas 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 Cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 1-2 eggs (optional)
Preheat your waffle iron

Throw all ingredients into the blender and blend till smooth batter

Use spray oil to grease the waffle iron and pour in the batter. It doesn't rise/expand like regular waffles so basically almost fill the iron for each one.

For a belgan waffle maker it takes about 10 min, for a regular it may be closer to 5, and if you have a mini waffle maker those take about 2 min till browned and slightly crispy on the outside.

We like to serve these up with some fresh fruit, jam or maple syrup. Most of the time though my kids are so anxious to eat them they just get eaten plain! They are good just about any way :)

I don't feel bad at all giving these to my kids as it is basically like a bowl of oatmeal in waffle form!
Feel free to indulge :)

                                                                  The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Baby Stuff on my Mind

The days are ticking down to my original due date and still no baby. We have tried so many different things to bring on labor naturally and I am just starting to think that sometimes you just can't rush some people, and this little person happens to be one of them. In fact I am pretty much resigned to the fact I may remain pregnant forever :) Really though, I am glad the baby is doing well and that we are ready for "blueberry" to come at any day now.

On our last visit to the midwife we tried stripping the membranes to see if that would bring on labor. To stay close by we went on a nice last date, just Josh and I, out for lunch and shopping spree to a tractor supply store for him and discount grocery for me. On our shopping spree to the discount grocery I started to realize about halfway though this big store that we didn't have much in our cart; and when we went down the personal care isle, that we make all of our own products so that we really don't use anything there either. This epiphany made my day! I really enjoy making things at home that save us money and reduce our chemical exposure, I just didn't realize the extent of it till our little date.

Baby care stuff is one of those things that are so easy to mix up and they are wonderful to use; especially if you cloth diaper, as quite a bit of mainstream creams and lotions do not work with cloth and leave buildup or residue. Two of my favorites are homemade baby powder and essential oils spray. You can pretty much take care of anything with these two and they never leave buildup.

My little boy has a problem with yeast and so I have to be very vigilant in keeping him dry and off sugars. I also find that it really helps him if he takes a pro biotic L. reuteri 3 times a week. Not only does it seem to help with the yeast but studies have shown that if you have a colicky child it will decrease the amount of time crying by as much as 50% over a period of several weeks! It boosts dental health and the immune system too. While researching what else to do and not do for the yeast I discovered that cornstarch based baby powder actually feeds that yeast and can make the problem worse. The talc based powder is really bad if you breath it in as the little particles get clogged up in your lungs and air passages. It even states on the bottle to keep away from a child's face to avoid inhalation, which can cause breathing problems. I don't know about you but I don't want to deal with that, my son is always grabbing stuff while I change him so it's an accident waiting to happen.

Well what solution is left? Arrowroot powder, it doesn't feed the yeast and if your baby accidentally opens it you don't have to worry about breathing problems. It works just the same as a store brand and you only need two ingredients.

Baby Powder
  • 1/2 cup Arrowroot powder
  • 10 drops of Lavender essential oil
Mix together with your hands and put in a shaker bottle. Use as you would any other baby powder.

The essential oils spray is really easy too and when I spray it on my son's tush he instantly calms down and relaxes. It is very soothing and healing to an inflamed or sore bottom.

Essential Oil Spray
  • 2oz Fractionated coconut oil
  • 4 drops each of Melaleuca, Lavender, Roman Camomile
Mix it all in a little spray bottle and use as needed.

Trying to enjoy the last few days or weeks till this baby comes, maybe it is time for another date or maybe a pedicure as it has been so long since I have seen my toes :)

                                                                 The Farmer in the Dell