My friend, Kate Varsava, Halifax Birthworker, Wombyn’s Summit Leader and Musician prepares for her own birth in the company of her beloved friends, yogis and fellow birthworkers. I was so inspired by her tale of being honoured with care, love and beauty that I asked to share her Instagram post with you.
“Yesterday my house filled up. Yesterday I was filled up.
From my bath, filled with warm water, rose petals, and lavender oil, where I was receiving a massage from the loving maiden hands of my sweet friend‘s daughter, I could hear the joyful chatter of wimyn gathering and organizing themselves. I was adorned with a gorgeous fresh flower crown made by my sister, had my hair fixed up, put on my precious jewels…when I emerged from my room, drawn by singing voices, I found my kitchen full of food, my living room full of flowers and ladies (and baby daddy), and my whole house full of beautiful, buzzing, nurturing energy, beaming faces, radiant beings.
I was passed a cup of Guatemalan cacao, sat on a thrown, and treated like a queen. Tender recollections of how we each met, supportive expressions of a belief in me to enter the role of mother, a showering of love to wash me in confidence and fill my heart beyond measure. A feast of the most nourishing foods, a dance party, gifts of herbs and plants and salves, potions, candles, and sacred objects…it was the most dreamy day I could have imagined.
I feel like the luckiest womyn in the world to have community to hold me so, to have a coven sister to organize everyone (I love you so much marapanacci), to now have a freezer full of meals for my postpartum, fresh flowers in every room, art to decorate my birth room, and a heart so full full full ?? Thank you, thank you, thank you to all you gorgeous wimyn and all you ladies sans IG ??
I truly believe that if all wimyn were treated this way by loving community: held up, made to feel strong, cared for, and trusted through their pregnancies and motherhood (our whole lives actually), the world would change, humanity would change, we would all be better off, healthier, and happier.”
Our baby, Seamus is our “opps baby”. The pregnancy was a bit of a surprise since we weren’t trying and both of us are 44. We both have been in treatment with our Heikunstler (and I am a Heilkunstler in training) for over 15 years, eat organic and try to live a healthy lifestyle so getting pregnant easily should have been no surprise since fertility and health go hand in hand.
My pregnancy was routine and uneventful and I did remain active throughout it – down hilled skied until I was 20 weeks, biked until 30 weeks and hiked until 35 weeks, this was on top of taking care of my two other boys (13 and 8 yr olds) and a female Newfoundland puppy. My last baby was born at home, and I planned a home birth for Seamus as well.
I went overdue, a new experience for me as both of my other boys were born at 39 weeks. As I approached 41 weeks with an OP position (posterior) I started taking homeopathic remedies to help turn my baby, along with seeing my acupuncturist and chiropractor. My labour started (literally) with a splash when my water broke all over our family room floor at 10:30 pm on a warm summer night. I called out to Doug but he was putting our youngest to bed and didn’t hear me, so my oldest son, told him my water had broke and I needed some towels. He ran downstairs with our “good” towels which I refused to use and frustrated him since he wasn’t concerned about what towels we used – he did go up and get different towels. He seemed more panicked than I expected and when I asked him what was going on, he replied that the last time my water broke, I had delivered within 15 minutes. Once I explained to him that I had been in active labour for a few hours then, and that this was the start of this labour, he settled down and we both laughed about the misunderstanding.
We put our boys to bed, who wondered if the baby was coming soon and we told them that it could be hours yet. At 11:00pm, I called my midwife and as there was no active labour pattern, she told me to try and get some rest and call her when labour had established itself. Doug and I chilled out in our bedroom – it was a wonderful restful, intimate time as we chatted and relaxed. Contractions started at 11:30pm (it should be noted that we were so relaxed that Doug dozed off while timing the first few contractions. LOL) and by12:30am they were becoming uncomfortable, so I asked my midwife to come and got into my tub to get some relief.
Our midwife and doula arrived at 12:45pm and my contractions were 3 minutes apart and were lasting 1 minute. At this point things went fast, and got blurry as I quickly dilated (my midwife did not do any internal exams – she usually doesn’t do them as she can usually tell how quickly a woman is dilating by observing her). I can remember feeling some fear as my contractions got more intense and asked Doug to write out a paper remedy for aconite which took care of it instantly. My doula and midwife were amazing using comfort methods between contractions such as ice cold cloths on my shoulders, giving me ice and water (at this point I wanted nothing to eat) and lots of encouragement, especially when I hit transition and decided that I didn’t want to have a baby after all. LOL. Doug was a rock star went things got tough for me, helping me in and out of the tub, keeping me reassured when I felt I couldn’t do one more contraction, and letting me squeeze whatever parts of him I had a hold of during contractions. I had assumed a half squat in my tub and it was suggested that I move around more but after changing positions, I quickly realized that I had naturally assumed the best position for me and quickly went back to it and stayed in that position until I was fully dilated – a great example of my body knowing what is right for it when left alone to follow its own guidance.
I started pushing at ~2:35am and started to lose control for a moment with the tremendous forces urging this baby down. My midwife quickly reminded me that this was a big baby and if I didn’t go slow, I could tear. I listened to her and put every effort into relaxing and letting my body move the baby on its own. At this point I was lying back in the tub and Doug was supporting my upper body. As Seamus was moving down, I could feel my hips shift slightly to accommodate him and within 10 minutes he was crowning. He had turned during labour from OP to OA (I had been doing paper remedies of Kali-carb throughout labour to help him turn) and once his head was out, I took a two-minute break while waiting for the next contraction – my midwife said he was rotating his shoulders underneath the public bone during this time. This seemed like a long time for Doug who initially worried about our baby’s head being out under water for such a period of time, but my midwife assured him, that baby was fine and was being given oxygen through his cord. I didn’t want to push anymore at this point (not that I had done a lot, as my body had done most of it without any effort on my part), but my last contraction took over and with one push, Seamus was born at2:50am.
He gave a little cry and quickly settled on my chest. Heated towels were put around him while we relaxed in the tub waiting for the placenta to detach. The cord stopped pulsating after 15 minutes so Doug cut it and my placenta was delivered 15 minutes later (actually I stood up and after the smallest of pushes it fell out). I had no tears from the delivery which was great seeing that he was our biggest baby weighing 8pds, 7 ounces. Seamus was peaceful and alert after the delivery and Doug and I spent the rest of the night/morning relaxing in bed with our new baby (I did a paper remedy of arnica to help me with my recovery).
My recovery was very short as all soreness had left within 24 hours of the birth (I also took birth remedies after the delivery), and all bleeding at stopped 4 days after delivery. I had my placenta encapsulated and started taking the capsules 5 days after birth. Breastfeeding is going well, and I’m feeling great. ~ By Lisa Power
Lisa asked me to point out to you the paper rx written on paper and laying on her chest in the photo above for those of you in the know. <wink>
There can be a variety of reasons that a mom will orchestrate the timing of stopping breastfeeding. In some cases, she will feel that it is “just time,” or that she needs to reduce feedings in order to head back to work, or the babe is now deriving more and more nourishment from sippy cup and solids. In the best case scenario, baby initiates the cessation process. My own time to wean came when my daughter could systematically undo my blouse buttons and I just intuitively felt that she had everything she’d needed from me in the way of physical and emotional nurturing. It was instinctual. It was time to let go.
Sometimes the transition to stopping breastfeeding can occur earlier under less desirable circumstances such as chronic mastitis (although we have remedies for this!) or because not enough milk is being produced (we have remedies for this too!) and mom has to supplement baby’s feeding from other sources like raw goat’s milk (goat’s milk has a smaller molecular structure than cow’s milk and can be easier to digest for baby) from a reliable source or implement Weston Price formula. Trying to get pregnant may be another reason that a mom will commit to the process of stopping breastfeeding.
Rudolf Steiner modelled Waldorf education after an organic unfolding of the human spirit illustrated by his pedagogy that allows for the teaching of human history at the time our human physiology is ready for it. For example, before a child’s milk teeth fall out, their abilities to conceptualize can be harmed with forced reading, math or science. Also, children at the age of ten are ready to unfold the Greek epoch in their microcosmic cellular memory of our human consciousness. He also suggests that babes who are breast-fed beyond fifteen months also start to pick up on the mother’s karma and disease heritage to a degree that may limit their capacity for full autonomy, freedom and sovereignty later on. This is derived from his extensive medical lectures for young Doctors.
All that being said, when your baby is ready to wean, stopping breastfeeding, is really an intimate decision taken between mom and babe. As your beloved child starts to sit up on his own he may develop an interest in other people’s solid food as early as six – eight months or not until closer to a year or even more. Slowly introducing cooked egg yolk, liver, avocados, puréed fruits and vegetables and salmon and a sippy cup with healthy raw goat’s milk (pasteurized milk has been linked to allergies and can contain unwanted pathogens and antibiotics) can be a good way to start transitioning your babe off the breast and gradually stopping breastfeeding.
Ideally, with ample time and support from our partners, you can slowly scale down feeding slowly by 1-2 per week depending on your baby’s individual needs. At 14 months, I was still able to lovingly provide my babe’s nursings first thing in the morning upon waking, evening when I got home and dropped the groceries on the kitchen floor while Dad prepared supper and then again at night-time before bed. Cold turkey weaning is never recommended due to the emotional and physical shock for both mom and babe. It takes time for your milk supply to abate and for baby to adjust to solid foods without promoting digestive colic, constipation or emotional distress.
Also, moms have found it best to provide that new sippy cup in a new location like a high chair or on demand from the floor, or a low-level coffee table, so that babe doesn’t confuse the usual rocking chair, where the nursing position would have been assumed for nursing, with the new regime of stopping breastfeeding. If you need a leg up, we have homeopathic remedies that can help with weaning naturally.
Usual reasons for transitioning:
Mom going back to wor
“It’s time”, in terms of maximum benefit being achieved
Sometimes the transition is forced before desired, due to reasons of employment, or sometimes other reasons the mother is having a hard time breastfeeding (chronic mastitis, for example)
Trying to get pregnant – There is evidence that breastfeeding does decrease a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant
Signs the baby maybe ready for transitioning
can sit up on their own
a growing interest or curiosity in other people’s food
satisfied and not asking to nurse
Gradual elimination of number of feedings per day, without reducing the amount of cuddling/emotional connection
Don’t give the new sippy cup (or whatever) in the same location that the breastfeeding was normally done