Posted on February 18 2016
When you’re pregnant it seems you can’t turn your head without being met with a barrage of advice and information. We live in an age of such enhanced connectivity that most new parents feel comfortably prepared for the process of welcoming a new baby into the world. But the information tends to dry up (uncomfortably!) after baby is born. Love and intimacy brought baby here … annnd now what?!
For this month’s Facebook chat we welcomed Tami Lynn Kent, Holistic Pelvic Care expert and author of Wild Feminine, Mothering From Your Center, and more. Tami was kind enough to make herself available to the MOBY community to chat about postpartum love, intimacy and health. See here for the full chat. Or pick up a copy of Tami’s book, Mothering From Your Center, which may just answer every single one of your postpartum questions.
T = Tami Kent C = Community
C: I'm reading where women are asking about getting their pelvic region back to normal ...what exactly does that mean?
T: That means feeling strong in your pelvic floor, not having pain and good control and somewhat normal sexuality. Birthing can alter some or all of these things and pelvic floor work done by a physical therapist can assist the natural healing.
C: I'm a mom of 3 under 4. My sex drive is completely non existent. Is this just something I have to suffer through until the kids are grown? I've nursed all 3 and I realize that makes a difference, but still. Is there anything I can do?
T: Yes--there is much you can do. First make sure you are really nourishing yourself with high quality protein and whole foods/lots of veggies. I steam a whole bowl every morning for myself. Nursing takes so much out of you that you become depleted and this runs down any energy you'd have to even make sex hormones or have a libido. You must replenish all that you've given.Then have a women's health PT who does internal work do the massage that can help restore the blood & cellular flow in the pelvis, as flat libido is a sign that it's off.
C: What kinds of natural things I can do to get myself ready for birth and what I can do after to have a better recovery in my pelvic area? I'm currently struggling with third trimester pelvic woes. It's getting uncomfortable over here. Sucky bladder control, pressure on all my innards in that area, etc.
T: The best thing to do is to walk every day if possible, and take good care of yourself like you are training for a marathon. Also avoid positions like leaning back on the couch-- either upright or sidling so that you keep baby in an optimal birthing position. Baby is pressing on bladder so it's no indication of future problems. After birthing, find a women's health PT in your area to do internal work. With poor bladder control postpartum make sure you are resting enough and getting good protein in as you may be very depleted. Then find a women's health PT to do internal work to realign the pelvic fascia/muscles so they better support the bladder and muscle function.
C: I feel the worst part of having a baby is not the actual birth but the postpartum time. So not looking forward to all the blood and pain while going the bathroom. It takes a while to feel like yourself again.
T: Absolutely. Resting is really the key in those first 1-2 months. Staying close to the bed and getting help.
C: This is my first baby and I am 6 weeks postpartum. I am exclusively breastfeeding and I believe I got my period. Will this effect breastfeeding and my baby's mood at all?
T: That should not affect these things except it may deplete you more so increase rest, fluids, high quality protein and whole foods.
C: I have been working lately to try to get my pelvic area back to "normal" post birth.
T: Yes it's sometimes a bit of work to restore "normal." Depending on what is happening for you it can be helpful to have the internal massage by a women's health PT. In my book that work should be routine postpartum care and my own post-pelvic experience with my own son's birth 16 years ago is what motivated me to more directly offer my services to women as part of postpartum care and also to write my book Mothering from Your Center. Mothers deserve to feel good!
C: My son is 8 months old with 5 teeth and im still breastfeeding. I breastfeed him to sleep (thats the only way he'll sleep for a long time period) but as he is still eating he is also falling asleep & he bites down with his teeth and will not let go. I want to keep bf him but the pain is just so unbearable. It makes me sad. What do I do?
T: Oh those little ones want to hold on to their mamas even in their sleep. At his age I would try to change the pattern. Like maybe pull your nipple out when he is just barely asleep. I always talked to my boys about things (like not biting the nipple). And just know that for a breast-feeding relationship to work you might need to manage it. Like at about that age for my boys I stopped night-nursing. Each one would wake and cry for a little, wanting to nurse, and I'd explain that we were going to sleep and not eat until morning. They moved thru their sadness with me loving them and they adjusted. It helps children to know that they can be flexible and make transitions so you can change what you are doing together to make it work. And that practice is life-long.
C: I am worried I'm going to be so stressed postpartum caring for my toddler and a newborn at the same time. It was so tough the first time around and I don't know how am going to keep my sanity after this one. I felt so sore!
T: I hear you. I have 3 boys and I nursed or was pregnant for 10 years so I totally understand. There is no perfect--it is stressful and women have a lot on their loads. But my secret is to take care of myself every single day. Make sure you are getting adequate rest and nutrition--high quality protein and whole foods. Every day. And then every day I would make a cup of tea for myself and sit and drink it quietly with no interruption. It was a small thing but doable. I made sure to drink it while it was hot--no interruptions. And during this time I just feel the peace and beauty of life. Little bits of self-care every single day do add up--and then larger bits of self-care here and there. Get pelvic work if you feel sore as this can help.
C: I'm back to work and pumping and because the pump isn't as efficient as my baby, my milk supply is dropping. Any tips on increasing supply?
T: Sometimes that's the body's protest to being away from your baby too. Try to see if you can get any more work flex--like half day once per week or anything creative. Then when pumping talk to your body and send breath to your ovaries to help--remind your breasts that this will go to your baby.
C: I feel like my breasts are a lot smaller than before I had baby. Also one is larger. What can I do to get my size back and both cups same size? Its been hard during intimacy.
T: I wish I had an answer for this one. Giving birth and nursing is a wild ride for the female body. Breasts change a lot and not always back to the way they were before. The best thing is to make sure you are getting good nourishment and then go shopping for some new things that help you feel sexy in your new shape. Maybe find my book Wild Feminine too so that you can expand your connection to the true feminine power and beauty of your body
C: I just had my second child 2 weeks ago via repeat c section. I had a lot of adhesions that had to be removed. I feel like I am starting to develop them again. Is there a way to help prevent adhesions as you heal?
T: The best thing to do is rest and make sure you are letting yourself heal gently without strain. Then castor oil rubbed on the belly at night can help as well as sending loving energy to the area. Also getting massage and pelvic work will continue to smooth any adhesions as it's often in the fascia.
C: Is it normal for sex drive to change after each kid? After I had my son in 2013 it was almost non existent but after my daughter was born last June it's been better. I'm almost afraid to have another kid for fear of it disappearing altogether
T: It can change depending on rest, replenishment, hormones, pelvic fascia. Another child won't necessarily affect it negatively but the more depleted you are the less libido you have so keep replenishing.
C: Can you recommend any natural treatments for pp acne? Any foods that could be added/removed from the diet and possibly help?
T: I'd recommend a naturopath to look at food allergies and definitely diet as birthing changes us. Best to avoid breads and sugars and dairy --but eat veggies and whole foods and high quality protein.
C: What are some good ways to get your stomach back after a c-section?
T: Getting your stomach back is first to rest and replenish. Then look up the Tuppler technique.
Thank you again to Tami for joining our chat! What an invigorating chat it was! Join us next month. We're going to talk about period health and the return (yes return! they're not new!) of cloth pads. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, March 16th, 5pm PST as we chat with Tracy Puhl, CEO of GladRags.