16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know About

16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know About

16 Herbs Every Breastfeeding Mom Should KnowIt’s frustrating to begin and continue breastfeeding for the suggested six months to a year.

  • Thrush
  • Cracked nipples
  • Too much milk
  • Too little milk

Wouldn’t it be great if breastfeeding was easier?

We know it is the best food for our child and the benefits extend to the momma as well, as noted by The American Academy Of Pediatrics and here.

But, here’s the thing.. it’s not always that blissful.

Trust me, I tried breastfeeding twins!

I lasted about three weeks and then rushed to Amazon to buy formula at 3:00 am one night.

Chances are you’ve tried breastfeeding and now struggling with one of the many challenges we face – along with sleep deprivation and the stress of raising a little one.

But don’t worry, botanicals can provide great support during this season of your life.

And don’t forget.. not all botanicals are safe while breastfeeding.

The greatest risk occurs 3-10 days postpartum as the child’s tight junctions of their gut may not be closed, and the newborn is the most vulnerable to chemicals ingested by the mother at this time.

It would be wise to wait to use medications, or even essential oils, before two weeks of age due to your child’s immature gut, liver, and kidney function. This kidney clearance capacity increases and becomes fully by 4-5 months of age, therefore as your child grows the concerns of safety and allergies decrease.

“1% of the maternal dose of any medication will enter the milk, and with some exceptions up to about 10%.”

So how can you make breastfeeding a little easier?

In this post, I’m going to share my favorite herbal remedies for moms who are breastfeeding.

2 Botanicals For Sore, Cracked Nipples

Some amount of discomfort will occur with breastfeeding, especially within the first week of latching. Nipples may become sore, cracked and may even bleed. Contact a lactation consultant or midwife if there is continued difficulty or infections due to latching.

#1 Calendula
Calendula is used topically for the treatment of minor inflammations of the skin. Typically used as an oil or salve. Apply to cracked, dry nipples to prevent infection and soothe inflammation. Caution: The oil or salve may stain clothing and although there are no known risks with minimal ingestion, wipe off your nipple before breastfeeding again.

#2 Chamomile
The German Commission E. approves chamomile for the use of skin inflammation and bacterial skin diseases. Chamomile Matricaria oil has demonstrated activity against Candida albicans at the concentration of .7%.¹

Taking preventative steps to support your immune system, rest and apply an herbal salve will prevent cracked nipples which increase your risk of mastitis.

Euphorical Herbals has amazing products for your times of breastfeeding. 

Additional tips to reduce cracked nipples

  • Ensure proper latching
  • If nipples are sore or cracked, gently rinse and pat dry after each feeding
  • Avoid the use of breast pads, when possible, and spend time without a bra
  • Wash nursing bras regularly to avoid infection
  • Treat oral thrush in the newborn with yogurt and probiotics to prevent the spread to the nipple
  • Apply an herbal salve several times a day after nursing and wipe off before nursing again
  • When there is an infection, use an antimicrobial – like Echinacea– to support the mother’s immune system

3 Herbs For Plugged Ducts & Mastitis

Milk ducts can become inflamed, tender and distended creating a ‘plugged duct’, In mastitis, the plugged duct is accompanied by infection.

#1 Phytolacca 30C 

Personally, I liked to take homeopathic medicine when I had mastitis.  Along with Echinecea, this helped resolve the inflammation within minutes.  If you are having these symptoms, consider Phytolacca as a remedy. Click here to purchase. 

Dosing: Take 2 tablets, wait 20 minutes, take another 2 and you should see improvement.

“For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.” ¹

#2 Echinacea Tincture

Boost your immunity with Echinacea tincture.  In Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years, Susan Weed recommends a dose of a 1/2 drop for every pound of body weight (so a 130 lb woman would take 65 drops). According to Kellymom.com, this dose can be taken up to 3-5 times per day. Susan Weed says even up to 12 times per day is fine and may be effective.

You can purchase the tincture here.

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

#3 Ashwagandha Tincture (Withania somnifera)

Known as a Category 1, safe adaptogen during breastfeeding, Ashwagandha can help reduce stress and ease the anxiety that may be causing the inflammation during breastfeeding. You can purchase a tincture here. 

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

Read more about natural treatment for breastfeeding moms @ Kelly Mom

5 Signs of Mastitis

  • fever as high as 104
  • local redness, hard tender inflamed area
  • chills
  • achiness
  • exhaustion

Diabetes, steroid use, and oral contraceptives may also increase the risk of candida mastitis.

Herbal Treatment For Mastitis

If you are experiencing recurrent breast infections, you may want to be evaluated for adequate nutritional intake.
Particularly see if you are low in:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Vitamin c

Along with good nutrition, consider adding an adaptogen to support your immune system during this stressful time.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) Tincture are considered safe adaptogens during breastfeeding.

Along with supporting your immune system with adaptogens, consider these tips to avoid mastitis.

  • Use compresses of hot water, ginger root or chamomile infusion.
  • Apply a poultice of freshly grated raw potato 2-3x day.
  • Take 1/2-1 tsp. of Echinacea tincture every 2-4 hours.
  • For high fever, drink teas of elderflower and spearmint.
  • To reduce muscle tension drink teas of lemon balm, chamomile, and catnip.
  • To relieve pain tinctures of crampbark, passion flower and hops tinctures can promote sleep and relieve pain.

Increase milk supply

Galactagogues are the main category of herbs that enhance milk production, but you’ll also want to address your stress with botanicals that soothe your anxiety in order to increase milk supply.

12 Herbs To Increase Your Milk Supply

  1. Marshmallow Root  (Althea Officinalis)
  2. Dill  (Anethum graveolum)
  3. Oats (Avena sativa) A cup of oatmeal every morning may help soothe digestion and increase milk supply!
  4. Caraway  (Carum carvi)
  5. Blessed thistle  (Cnicus benefictus)
  6. Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
  7. Goat’s rue (Galega officinalis)
  8. Barley (Hordeum vlugare)
  9. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  10. Anise seed (not Star anise) Pimpinella anisum
  11. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  12. Chaste berry (Vitex angus castus)

 

How can you increase your milk supply?

Mother's Milk Tea Blend

Ingredients

  • ea Recipe
  • MOTHER’S MILK TEA BLEND
  • • Chamomile Flowers 1 ounce
  • • Dried Catnip 1 ounce
  • • Fennel seeds 1/4 ounce
  • • Dried lavender flowers 1/8 ounce

Instructions

  1. Combine all the herbs.
  2. Put 1 tbs. of the mix in a cup and fill with boiling water.
  3. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain and drink plain or slightly sweetened. Dose; 1-3 cups/day.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
https://taragregorio.com/16-herbs-every-breastfeeding-mom-should-know-about/

Too much milk? Try these herbs to decrease your milk supply.

Conclusion

Botanicals can provide great support during this season of your life.  Particularly if you are getting recurring infections, antimicrobial can support your immune system and decrease your risk of infections.  To increase your supply, adding botanicals can help and then don’t forget to address your stress.

What botanicals do you use to support breastfeeding?

Leave a comment below.


References:

  • ¹https://www.homeopathycenter.org/breastfeeding
  • https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding.aspx
  • https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/2/496.full
  • https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/herbs/fenugreek/
  • https://lllusa.org/
  • ¹Romm, Aviva, Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health

 

10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

I cried when we left the hospital.

I was so afraid to go home with two babies and get back to real life where I had to cook, clean and care for two little ones. I was right to be afraid.

Our postpartum time was filled with so much chaos, crying and sleep deprivation.

We opened two businesses and had twins in the same year. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.

Five years later, we survived the fevers, the crying, the sleep training, the potty training and feeding them with only one experience of Mario choking on ice.

So, I’d love to share with you what I would do differently if I were to raise twins all over again.

#1 Ask for Help

I found it very hard to ask for help. I was a strong, independent woman and didn’t realize it’s ok to ask for help. Although friends and family are very busy, they want to help. I’m forever grateful to those who made us meals, held a baby for just a moment and ran after baby a, while I ran in the other direction for baby b. Thank you.

#2 Take supplements

I was so against supplements before giving birth. I wanted everything natural and thought I could get my vitamins and minerals from my food. I suffered from digestion problems, so taking anything scared me as I didn’t know enough. I feared taking anything at all that it may disrupt my digestion more. What I know now, is I lost a lot of blood giving birth, and it’s a traumatic, stressful event, the body needs more support. Postpartum women need iron, vitamins, digestive enzymes, EFA’s and probiotics to restore their gastrointestinal flora. Next time I would take supplements, especially magnesium to release the stress and tension!

Essential fatty acid supplementation (1-3 g/day combined EPA and DHA) and adequate cold water fish consumption during pregnancy and during the postpartum period may prevent or alleviate postpartum depression. ¹

#3 Improve my diet

The first six weeks were all about survival. Whatever you made me, I ate it. I woke up to coffee and had wine to wind down at night. The excessive caffeine contributed to my insomnia and created a terrible daily routine of anxiety. Next time, I would wake up with hot water and lemon and eat oatmeal to aid my digestion. I’d skip the caffeine, chocolate, and coffee.

#4 Skip the wine & beer

I found myself drinking Guinness as it was supposed to increase my milk supply. I would have a glass of wine or a drink to take the pain away in the evening. My body ached from sleeping just two hours most nights, and I was numbing the pain with alcohol. It didn’t help. It created anxiety and insomnia that lasted months. I’d skip the alcohol and drink herbal teas of chamomile, lavender, and stinging nettles.

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#5 Take adaptogens sooner

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help you adapt to stress. At the time of my children’s birth in 2013, I studied herbs for over six years but what I was not taking was adaptogens; like Ashwagandha or Reishi mushrooms. These herbs help the body modulate stress, reduce anxiety and ease insomnia. Ashwagandha, motherwort, and nettles are considered a L1 in the risk category for lactation risk.² For a list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding see Kelly Mom’s website. 

#6 Meet with a pelvic floor physical therapist

My six-week postpartum visit to the doctor was a disappointment. I asked her if I had a diastasis recti or a prolapse. She insisted everything was “fine.” I didn’t feel fine. It turns out I did have both. Meeting with a pelvic floor physiotherapist would have confirmed my biggest worries and eased some anxiety about my body. Locally, we love Dr. Ashely Hocutt. See her website here.

#7 Had my thyroid checked

Your thyroid can become hyperthyroid two to four months after birth and then hypothyroid for two to eight weeks. I treated my self for hyperthyroid with botanicals, but I would have loved to have a proper diagnosis. Dr. Aviva Romm discusses your postpartum thyroid here. 

#8 Waited to go back to work

In most cultures, the new mom is encouraged to rest for forty days. The family helps with food and caring for the newborn. The mom is invited to sleep and relax. Again, this was not my experience. The worries of the new business, the stress of not sleeping and the never-ending crying of babies were exhausting. If I were to do it again, I would have planned better to be able to step away from my business and ask for help.

#9 Moved in with my parents

I joke about this, but it’s the truth. Raising twins is hard. Very hard. Living with my family would have helped immensely. End of story.

#10 Hire a postpartum doula

Postpartum doulas are known as the “must have” accessory for new moms. They help new moms with the caring of the child so that would we can trust our inner momma instincts. They also may help with light housekeeping and meal preparation. I breastfed both of my kids for three weeks, and then I looked in the mirror and thought, I am never going to get out of the house if this doesn’t change. That night at 3:00 am I ordered formula and The Baby Whisperer on my phone. The next day Mario ate 5oz. of formula and slept seven hours! I would have loved for someone to tell me it’s ok to give your kids formula! Katherine Whiteside runs a free infant support group at the local libraries.  Sign up for Linda’s Ladies breastfeeding support group for postpartum questions and support.

If you are in the “thick of it” and your babies are young.  Don’t worry, it will get easier.

I hope some of these tips help you survive the chaos of raising little ones.

Warmly~

Tara

If you’re curious about integrating botanicals into your diet during the postpartum period, book a health consultation to get started. Book now. 


References:

¹Romm, Aiva; Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health

²Hale, Thomas; Medications and mothers milk 2017
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6 Ways To Fix Diastasis Recti

6 Ways To Fix Diastasis Recti

I pulled up my shirt and peeked in the mirror.

Twelve months after birthing twins, I still looked three months pregnant.

My six-week postpartum visit with the doctor had not been reassuring. I came in worried about the pressure in my pelvic floor and expanding belly, but she just said, “Everything looks fine.”

I thought I’d feel normal again before too long, but here we were a year later. I was still struggling with toning my core, pelvic pressure, insomnia, and anxiety. I did not feel like myself.

And the worst part was, I felt like I ought to know better. I had been teaching Pilates and fitness classes for thirteen years, and training other instructors in how to teach postnatal clients for almost as long.

I knew the mechanics of the pelvic floor and abdominals, but I still had no clue how to heal my postpartum body.

I knew I needed more than Pilates, yoga and strength training, suggested by a friend; I reached out to a physiotherapist Jessie Mundell, creator of Core & Floor Restore.

I also signed up for The Prenatal Client with Debbie Goodman, MSPT. They both opened my eyes to postpartum physical therapy.

When I finally became brave enough to touch my stomach, I realized I had a gaping two fingers-width separation. The tissue was soft, and sit-ups and my poor diet made my stomach stick out more. Honestly, I was disgusted and determined to fix it.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti: A musculoskeletal injury, where the rectus abdominis stretches at the connective tissue, {the linea alba – a collagen cord that runs from the bottom of your sternum to the front of your pelvis} leaving a weakness in your core.

This superficial stomach muscle {rectus abdominis} has always been separated into right and left halves, but with a diastasis recti diagnosis, it is based on a 2.7 cm distance between the rectus abdmonis halves.

If your space is less than this and still feels unnatural to you, no worries, you can still benefit and decrease the area with my suggestions below.

Diastasis recti occur because of undo pressure and poor body alignment.

It wasn’t just about what I saw in the mirror. Repairing my diastasis recti, I knew, would help me stand stronger, tone my core and reduce my bloating. Here’s how I did it — and how you can too.

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Diastasis Recti Exercises

 

1. Support Your Core

I began wearing a diastasis rehab splint, which is like a big Ace bandage for your tummy. (Here’s the one I used, from the Tupler Technique.) A friend suggested it to me, and although it can be uncomfortable, it supported my core and reminded me to draw in my abdominals when I was caring for the twins and jumping out of bed when they cried in the middle of the night. I wore it day and night for six weeks. Keep in mind>>> The splint does not replace the necessary exercises you need to do to heal your connective tissue, but it helps bring support when you are caring for your family. 

2. Roll Over.

The brace helps to close the gap between your abdominal muscles, but it also made me more mindful of how I moved — especially how I got out of bed. For most of that first year, the cries of my babies startled me so much that I jack-knifed myself up and out of bed when they needed me. But that movement pushes your core out, which can weaken your pelvic floor and make diastasis rectus worse. With the brace on, I began rolling to one side and gently pushing myself up. This movement protects your core because you are not putting undue pressure on your rectus abdominus, which is already weakened due to the separation. This rolling to the side is how I recommend all moms get out of bed and off the floor. Forever.

3. Alignment- Untuck Your Tush

I first noticed I was gripping my tush when I was doing dishes for hours on end. The pain was excruciating; I now know the piriformis tightens to support a weakened pelvic floor. By rolling the piriformis with the Franklin Massage balls, I was able to release the hip tension I was experiencing and reduce my pain. Lots of moms tuck or squeeze their glute muscles when they hold their kids; you might not even realize you do it but pay attention the next time you pick up a little one. Tucking the glutes brings your pelvis into a posterior tilt, which tightens your hip muscles and weakens your pelvic floor. This posture is very common with diastasis recti. Try to release your tush muscles and draw your ribs over your hips when standing. Use a massage ball to loosen the piriformis, so the pelvic floor muscles can do their job of supporting your core and pelvic floor. This rolling is a great thing to do when you’re watching TV in the evening — you’ll release all the tension that builds up in those muscles when you’re chasing after kids all day long. See how here. 

4. Engage Your Pelvic Floor

I’ve taught pelvic floor engagement for over thirteen years, but what I didn’t realize is how vital the pelvic area is and how important it is to lengthen and strengthen your pelvic floor with many different types of contractions. Your pelvic floor, an intricate web of over twenty-two muscles supporting your internal organs and your low back and is the foundation of a healthy core. It’s important to strengthen it when healing Diastasis recti because the pelvic floor brings your pelvis into better pelvic alignment, reducing the tension placed on the linea alba. How do you engage your pelvic floor? {Listen to this audio} A student once said; “It’s like closing both exits.” Lift and squeeze the pelvic muscles surrounding the vaginal and anal opening; It’s a figure 8 shape, and you should feel a tightening from front to back. Contract the pelvic floor 10x quick {known as quick flicks} and then lift and hold the pelvic floor for a count of 10. Repeat daily.

5. Skip the Sit-Ups

Whenever I did crunches in the first year after my twins were born, I noticed my ab muscles bulging out instead of curling in — the exact opposite of what I wanted them to do! Crunches and sit-ups place too much pressure on your core and pelvic floor muscles when they are weak. This undo stress, causes poor posture when your standing and sitting for long periods of time. This poor alignment is the reason diastasis recti occurred in the first place. Each pregnancy is different and your recovery can be different from everyone else.  When you can engage your pelvic floor and transversus, you may be able to do crunches and planks again!

6. Diet and diastasis recti

Barely sleeping for two years and living on Guinness for dinner was not one of my best moments in life. The sleep deprivation led to a poor diet and had me reaching for coffee and sweets throughout the day for energy. I was practicing the right exercises, but my stomach was still bloated, and digestion was slow. A healthy gut and easy digestion are imperative to healing the linea alba, and constipation creates increased pressure in the abdomen, weakening this area causing a “pooching” of the core. Eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten, alcohol, and dairy can help to speed the recovery by reducing inflammation and easing digestion. Whool-foods, healthy proteins and lots of water, along with a daily multi-vitamin and a probiotic can help repair digestive dysfunction from childbirth.

“The diastasis recti is just a symptom- a sign of poor mechanical nutrition.” -Katy Bowen

My twins are five years old now, and while I still have a slight separation of my abdominal muscles, the connective tissue is healthy, and I no longer have pressure in my pelvic floor or core.

Conclusion

These six steps; supporting your core, rolling over, untuck your tush, engage your pelvic floor, skip sit-ups and diet can help close the gap and help you gain valuable inner strength to last a lifetime! Have questions? Comment below. Warmly, Tara Click here to subscribe

How The 4R Approach Helped Me Heal & Allowed Me To Eat Gluten Again

How The 4R Approach Helped Me Heal & Allowed Me To Eat Gluten Again

As I sat down for lunch with my very hungry five-year-old twins, I noticed they accidentally put mayo on my son’s turkey sandwich.  I thought, “he is not going to eat this.” I kindly asked them to make another sandwich and I enjoyed the turkey sandwich with mayo on white bread.

I would have never imagined this would be me six years ago. 

I’ve struggled with diet my whole entire life.  When I was young, I would break out with acne on the back of my arms.  My stomach would bloat out and my digestion was terrible.

In college, I would turn bright red after a few drinks and would never know what foods would upset my stomach.

As I got older, I began avoiding foods.  I avoided meat, dairy, and then eventually discovered the gluten-free diet worked for me.

My stomach felt better, but I still never felt “right”, I was always confused with what are the best foods for me.

In 2009, I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel.  I met an Ayurvedic doctor who helped guide me toward an Ayurvedic Vata diet which consisted of eating warm, cooked foods, along with teas to aid digestion and soothe anxiety.

During my pregnancy, I was able to eat anything I wanted.  I happily added gluten and dairy back into my life.  I fondly remember sitting down to eat two pieces of pizza-alone-when I was seven months pregnant.  I practically cried at how wonderful it tasted.

As the years passed and I was able to take care of my health again, I noticed I had to return to the gluten-free lifestyle I had before having children, but this time it was much harder to accommodate as I now had an instant family of four to feed.

When I began searching for courses to help me heal my postpartum depression, I found Dr. Aviva Romm’s Women’s Herbal Educator certification.  With shaking hands, I enrolled in her online course hoping she could guide me out of this fog I entered after having twins.

What I received was so much more than I ever imagined.

Dr. Aviva Romm taught me why I was experiencing so much pain and anxiety.  Too many doses of antibiotics as a child and young adult, along with my monthly Advil was taking a toll on my gut health and, in turn, my anxiety.

Antibiotics and medications change our gut microbiome, making it difficult to digest certain foods like dairy and gluten. When you heal your gut and reduce medications, you may be able to add gluten back into your life again.  Or you may choose to never eat it again.

Are you struggling with what foods to eat as well?

The root of your problem may not be the environment, your genetics or all in your head, it may, in fact, be in your gut.

If that rings true to you.  Read on.  

Our “second brain, the gut, contains some 100 million neurons; when this system is compromised or “inflamed” disease sets in. As a women’s herbal educator, I always ask you to send me your diet first.  What you are eating (or avoiding), can be an indication of what supplements you may need to heal your gut. 

10 Signs You May Have “Leaky Gut Syndrome”

  1. Digestion problems-bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea
  2. Food intolerance-avoid meat, dairy, and/or gluten
  3. Seasonal allergies
  4. Skin complaints; acne, skin rash etc.- your back, your tush, and the back of your arms included
  5. Autoimmune disorder
  6. Tired/ poor concentration
  7. Anxiety & depression
  8. Candida overgrowth
  9. Cannot lose weight
  10. Your joints ache

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What is the 4R approach?

This method addresses the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restores harmony, helping to alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease.

The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce

healing stomach lining

How do you heal your gut?

  • Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy.
  • Get off medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace with natural remedies ).
  • Reduce your stress with meditation, exercise, and botanicals.
  • Heal your gut lining with the 4R approach below.

1. Remove

Take out what ails you.  The top allergens are wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and soybeans. Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. Remove all allergens for 4-6 weeks or it may take up to a year to heal your gut with an auto-immune disease.

Encourage whole, organic foods if able and consider shopping the perimeter of the grocery store.

2. Replace

After 2-4 weeks on the Elimination diet, Introduce a good quality digestive enzyme containing protease, lipase, amylase, and pepsin.  This is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, too. I like Enzymedica, you can buy it here. 

Adding bitters, like  Urban Moonshine Bitters will trigger the digestive system to produce digestive enzymes, secrete bile and balance HCI levels in the stomach.  Take bitters 10-15 minutes before your meal.
If you have a lot of nausea with meals or when you take supplements, you might also need some additional stomach acid in the form of a supplement called Betaine HCl, or try 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar in water with your meals. 
{click on links above to see the companies I love}

3.  Reinoculate

Wait 2 weeks for the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks.  Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first.

Add a good quality probiotic to restore your gut flora.  I like Klair probiotics.

You want it to have a minimum of 5 billion CFU in each dose, and a good range of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter species.
Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee can also be a helpful advantage to your gut, add it into your diet 3-4x week. Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using sparingly. 

4. Repair

Include the following supplement for 6-weeks or more to repair your gut. The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Tumeric- I personally like to take turmeric in a blended tincture like Adrena nourish
  • Aloe vera
  • Marshmallow root powder
  • DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    • They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though turmeric can also be added to foods.

Do you get heartburn?

  • DGL or diglyceride licorice is a great alternative to tums and does not raise your blood pressure. DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges and thus may be the simplest one to give to kids. Klair labs has one here or Pure encapsulation combines aloe, slippery elm, and marshmallow root together!

Zinc.

  • 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults.

An antioxidant supplement

  • Look for one containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. 
  • These are often found in a multivitamin.
  • Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.

Fish oil:
I prefer Carlson’s Lemon fish oil.  

  • My kids like the Nordic Natural berries for kids.
    • Fish oil is important for general health in pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
  • L-Glutamine Powder
    5-10 gm of powder twice daily for one month. (Much less for kids but talk with your child’s doctor before using and don’t supplement in pregnancy).

Here are examples of other practitioners using the 4R approach for healing

Conclusion

If your struggling with digestive concerns and find you’re avoiding foods, there is hope.  The 4R approach is more than an elimination diet.  It can heal your digestive tract and reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation for years to come.

Warmly~

Tara

{Keep in mind, I am not a doctor.  Please consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.}


References:

{1} https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/digestive-diseases-statistics-for-the-united-states.aspx

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10 Natural Remedies To Reduce Constipation

10 Natural Remedies To Reduce Constipation

Have you ever wondered how constipation affects your pelvic floor?

Check out this image on the right.  The more pressure you have pushing downward increases the pressure on the muscles below which are your pelvic floor!

Furthermore, if you’ve had surgery, like a C-section, hysterectomy, or even episiotomy from pregnancy, the weaker the whole structure will be due to scar tissue. Then constipation exacerbates the weakness and may cause leaking and pain down below.

Are you experiencing pain with digestion or leaking? It could be due to constipation.

10 Tips To Reduce Constipation Naturally:

#1 Go Gluten and Dairy Free

Yes, it is difficult! Is it worth it? Yes!
Gluten-containing foods and dairy products can cause constipation due to their inflammatory effects.

Try an elimination diet for three weeks and notice if you feel better.

If so, eliminate these foods from your diet. Keep in mind; Gluten-free doesn’t mean buying more boxed foods! Whole grains like quinoa or rice may ease your digestion.

#2 Eat warm, cooked, foods

Ayurvedic medicine believes, as we get older we need to add warm, cooked foods to our diet because our body becomes dryer.  Consider drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and adding soups to your diet.

#3 Drink 8-9 cups of water a day.

When constipated, drink 2-3 cups of water immediately.  Go for a walk, stretch and wait. Notice what you are drinking during the day, can you add plain, filtered water to your diet.

#4 Try a daily probiotic

Choose a probiotic with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species and take it daily for 1-3 months.

With sever constipation, you can also add a powdered form of probiotic to 1/4 cup of water and have at each meal.

#5 Add supplements.

Magnesium Citrate assists with constipation aids relaxation and supports sugar cravings.  Start with 200mg at bedtime.  Reduce amount if you have diarrhea.

Natural Calm- Filled with magnesium citrate, it works similar to Miralax by pulling water into the intestines. Take before bed to induce relaxation and will lead to a soft BM in the morning.

#6 Take a digestive enzyme

Enzymes assist the chemical breakdown of food into smaller absorbable components. Enzymes called amylases break down starches into sugar molecules; proteases break down proteins into amino acids, and lipases break down fat into its parts. I love Enzymedica!

#7 Take Betaine HCL

Stomach acid is essential for digestion and nutrient assimilation. Having too little stomach acid can cause just as many problems (if not more) than having too much.  Read this article on how to supplement with Betaine HCL and consult your doctor if you have acid reflux or ulcers.

#8 Reduce stress

Often we are eating while we are working or driving or doing something.  Pause, and take a deep breath before each meal to enhance the digestive enzymes in your body.

End your meal with chamomile or peppermint tea to aid the digestive process.

#9 Add Flaxseeds

One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of dietary fiber. You can grind 1 cup for the week and store in the refrigerator.

Take 1-2 Tbs. of ground flaxseed per day to keep bowels regular. Stir the ground flaxseed it into oatmeal, soup, coconut yogurt, smoothies, or any food that you enjoy.

#10 Add Triphala

Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation made from  Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Taken at night, Triphala is a gentle supports regular bowel movements and relaxes the nervous system.

Conclusion

When you reduce constipation, you can reduce leaking and heal your abdominal separation.

Do you have pain with digestion? Send me your 3-day diet to receive feedback and suggestions.

xoxoxo
Tara

How I Healed My Abdominal Separation {a.k.a. diastasis recti}

How I Healed My Abdominal Separation {a.k.a. diastasis recti}

It’s frustrating to still look pregnant after having kids, isn’t it?

What if you could be stronger AFTER having children?

Picture this.. little to no back pain, your stomach doesn’t stick out and you don’t have any bloating.

That’s a crazy thought, isn’t it?

The point is, your body can heal after having children.  With the correct rehabilitative exercises, diet, and addressing your stress.

**But hang on… it’s not about closing the gap when you have abdominal separation, also known as diastasis recti.**

It’s about tightening the connective tissue BETWEEN your abdominal muscles and improving your breathing so that you have less back pain and greater strength for years to come.

How? Let me explain.

Here are a series of steps you can try to tighten your separation and reduce the pregnancy look.

Here’s what I want you to focus on:

#1 Your Breathing

A deep diaphragmatic breath can help modulate the amount of pressure INSIDE of your body.  Reducing your chances of hernia’s, bulging discs and pelvic floor dysfunction.

#2 Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor helps you activate your deep core muscles and supports your low back to reduce pain.  Your pelvic floor muscles are the secret connection to your core healing.

You see, the pelvic floor {those muscles below the belt} can help restore your core.  You may be holding tension in the muscles from a c-section or a perineal tear, and this tension needs to be released.

You also may be weak in your pelvic floor if you had a vaginal birth.

So, How do you know if you need pelvic floor exercises for your separation?

  • Your back goes out occasionally
  • You feel like you have doming in your abs with sit-ups
  • You have leaking once and a while:)
  • You squeeze your buttocks most of the day
  • You can’t connect to your center at all

#3 Your Digestion

It’s very common for women with diastasis recti to have a gut imbalance or discomfort with digestion.  You may find avoiding gluten and dairy helps, but this is not the answer!

Healing your gut with the 4R approach will help soothe digestion and eliminate excess hormones in your body – causing your belly to appear bloated.  This can change!

#4 Your Stress & Sleep deprivation

Hello, sleep deprivation! Raising twins, I am no stranger to insomnia.  This exhaustion raises our cortisol levels and has us reaching for coffee and sugar in the morning and wine to wind down at night.  This sick cycle keeps us holding onto weight around our center for years.

Break the cycle. Address your stress by integrating adaptogens into your life. Read this: 7 Natural Remedies For Everyday Stress. 

 

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5 Ways I Healed My Diastasis Recti

#1 Abdominal Pumps For Abdominal Separations

  • #1 Similar to “fire breath” in yoga.  You inhale release your abdominals and then exhale, pull in your core as if snapping it to your back.  Practice this 10-100x daily.
  • #2 Hold your abdominals in and count to three.  Rest and repeat.

#2 Pelvic Floor Exercises

The pelvic floor muscles are BELOW your core.  So, it only makes sense that they are affected when your core is not functioning correctly.  If your pelvis is tilted forward OR back, your pelvic floor has changed.  A diaphragmatic breath will release any tension in your pelvic floor and re-teach your core to let-go of undue stress.

#3 Addressing Gut Imbalances

Due to antibiotic use and the hormones from your baby {or two in my case!}, you may need to address gut healing to shed the pregnancy look.  It’s common to have leaky gut syndrome after birth.  Read this post on how I did it. 

Therefore, you may need to remove gluten and dairy for 4-6 weeks and add in some good supplements to repair your gut digestion.  It’s called the 4R approach, as a women’s herbal educator I can walk you through the steps or reach out to a functional medicine doctor for a firm diagnosis.

#4 Watching Alignment

Your rib to hip alignment is extremely important in healing your abdominal separation. Think of sticking your tush out {not squeezing your buttocks} and drawing your ribs over your hips.  This will engage your core and help with a better alignment throughout the day.

#5 Is It Safe To Do Sit-ups With A Separation?

This is a big question! One I suffered with for over three years.

IF you can engage your pelvic floor and transversus {a muscle that flattens your core in the front}, then you can do sit-ups.  Diane Lee has some amazing FREE content for instructors and clients to view.  Check them out here. 

“Training comes before strengthening.”- Diane Lee

It’s easier than you think.

It’s not important that you close the gap, but that you address the underlying reasons of why this is happening.

Conclusion

It’s not about closing the gap.  When you have an abdominal separation you want to learn how to engage your pelvic floor and your core again, address your postural alignment, investigate your digestion and stress levels. You may be able to do crunches and cross-fit again when you are stronger from within.

Do you have a separation? Comment below and tell me what you have tried so far.

 

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