Posts in parenting
New worksheet available! Stress LESS.

Hi everybody!

I have been scribbling different versions of this worksheet for some time now, and I finally have a version that I’m excited to share. It is the first in a series of worksheets that I will be making available on the (heyyyyy) WORKSHEETS PAGE!

Me, being  not stressed  about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party.  Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

Me, being not stressed about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party. Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

This first worksheet is all about identifying your response to stressors. We all need LESS STRESS, and I am 100% sure you can shift your perception of your personal stressors (well, most of them anyway) to have less stress.

The basic idea is that you will identify your stressors. After you have identified your stressors, you can then have a real conversation with yourself about whether you choose to have a stress response to that or not. That’s right, you get to choose in more cases than not.

The example I always give in my clinic is when my son was about 2-3, he was obsessed with emptying all toothpaste, all dish soap, all shampoo, bubble bath, you name it..into the sink or the bath tub. We would be having a normal day, getting ready to leave the house and I’d realize that I sent him to get socks (or pants or whatever!), and he didn’t come back straight away. I would know that he was probably getting into something, and I’d feel this mild fury rise in me that he was wasting another tube of toothpaste. Even though the grownups had put it out of reach, my 5 year old probably hadn’t…..lo and behold a sink full of toothpaste AND toilet paper because he actually tried to clean it up. I was right, but I was in no place to acknowledge he was a little kid trying to learn. That moment sucked, and I wanted so much to have had a different response. It was predictable. He did it All. The. Time. He was an insatiable tiny mad scientist.

I had to learn to have a new response in that very moment. I had to decide that I would not allow myself to become stressed about wasted toothpaste. I had to decide that as I walked down the hall, rounding the corner to the bathroom, that I would take pause, assess the situation, and do my best to not allow this particular stressor become STRESS IN MY BODY. It was as simple as making a decision to respond differently. I use this example as a jumping off point. Other stressors may require more complex changes, but I’d highly recommend downloading the worksheet, and see just how many perceived stressors you can shift without embodying them anymore!

Radiation protection, re-visited

It's been just over a year since the Nuclear meltdown in Japan.  We had a lot of concerns about radiation for a month or two, and then things sort of simmered down. However, I recently had a patient ask me what she could do to protect her young children from the effects of increased radiation in our atmosphere.  There's a lot out there on the web.  Weeding through all of it to determine an effective set of guidelines for families with little ones (or pregnant ones!) has been my pet project for the past few weeks.

Without further ado, I present "Dr. Roe's Radiation Protection Plan"

1. An apple a day.  Pectins (found in apples) are probably the most well-studied food source for radiation protection, even after exposure has occurred.  People in the Chernobyl radiation zone have been advised for years and years now to consume apples on a regular basis to help the body absorb and eliminate excess radiation.

2. Eat iodine-containing foods, and keep a source of iodine on hand for your family in the medicine cabinet.  There is no need to supplement Iodine on a regular basis, and this can, in fact, put people over the age of 40 at risk for thyroid cancer.

3. Add Spirulina to Smoothies or, even better, applesauce a few times per week.  Spirulina also shows the ability to bind radioactive isotopes so that the body can more readily eliminate them.

4. Find a reputable source for Kombucha tea, and drink it 3-6 times per week (8oz serving).  Besides, the hot-link there, I was able to easily find lots of evidence to show the anti-oxidant, free radical scavenging, radiation-busting effects of this ancient beverage.

5. Most of all, be healthy.  Eat whole foods.  Drink water.  Take a daily multivitamin (a good one!!!!)  Avoid sugar and processed foods to keep all of your organ systems intact and functioning properly.  Your body's ability to combat radiation exposure is only as strong as it is healthy.

So there you have it, the naturopathic doctor-approved, weeded-out version of Radiation Protection, 101.

On being human.

This is an absolutely fabulous article written by a mama on self-forgiveness and being human.  I love it.  I think if we keep in mind what it means to be human, to replenish our stores of grace, and to forgive ourselves when we feel we haven't been our best selves or parents....we can have healthier happier dynamics at home and in the world. Give it a read!

Maternity leave for the midwife!

  Hi everyone!  Most of you know that we're expecting our second baby in September, but I wanted to get the word out at any rate.  Next week is my last week at the office before I go into major mama mode and bring our new little one into the world.  I will be out of the office from 9/5/11-10/11/11.  When I come back, I will be in the office on a very part-time basis for the month of October.  I will add more hours in November and December, and will be back to my full schedule in January. While I'm out, Dr. Jenny Maurer (at our clinic) will be covering my practice.  She will be available to see you at the clinic for any of the concerns you would normally see me for.  If you have well-baby, well-child, or adult wellness checkups that are due, she is happy to do those too.  I will be in the office this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday wrapping things up, so please give a ring if you have any questions!

We don't know if our baby is a boy or a girl (YET), but I will post here when the baby is safely born.  See you all this coming fall!!!

A handmade healing salve!

Today, I'm working in my kitchen, whipping up a treat for the folks who come to the Green Sprouts Festival this weekend.  I've been infusing fresh organic calendula flowers in olive oil for 2 weeks, and today I'm turning that oil into a salve. salve 1 |sav; säv| noun an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.

The first 75 visitors to our booth this year will get a free sample of the Family Tree Medicine Calendula Salve!  We use calendula salve for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other types of boo-boos.

You can also enter your name to win a brand new Moby Wrap.  Dr. Maurer and I both used this wrap for our little ones when they were babies. So, if you or someone you know is having a baby soon, stop on by, say hi, and try your luck at winning.

We look forward to seeing you there, rain or shine!

Oregon is Rocking the breast-feeding stats!

Just read an interesting article about how the U.S. is really making the effort to ensure that babies are not only breastfed, but that they breastfeed for longer.  The recommended length of breastfeeding is 12 months for each baby. Last year, 75% of all newborns started life at the breast.  By 6 months, only 43% still nursed, and by 12 months, only 22%.  In Oregon, 40% of babies still nurse at their first birthday.  We know that breastfeeding is important in the prevention of asthma, diabetes, and childhood leukemia.  If you want to read the full article click here.

Green Baby Showers!

I love this article on how to love up a new mama, sustainably.  Babies are the biggest consumer population in the U.S. and there's so much available that's been gently used, or hardly used at all! Dr. Jenny and I will be at the Green Sprouts Portland festival again next month (Sunday, Sept. 26th), so mark your calendars!  We'll be doing a fabulous prize drawing and giving tips for Green Baby Showers & other health care pearls.  Best of all, it's FUN and FREE!  Lots of interesting talks and information---see you there.

Naturopathic care for Postpartum Mood Issues

Naturopathic doctors are trained to look for the root problem causing someone's symptoms, rather than just making the symptoms go away.  If we address the underlying cause, we can allow the symptoms to recede for good.  This is no different for postpartum women, and there are a number of reasons WHY women develop postpartum mood disorders.  Naturopathic doctors, especially those trained in the art of midwifery or who have had special training in pregnancy and birth, are very well-equipped to figure out how to best help each woman on an individual basis. Dr. Adriana Azacarate-Ferbel is a Portland area Naturopath who has studied Postpartum depression extensively.  I met with her last fall when I began researching this topic more myself.   She outlined the most common underlying reasons for development of Postpartum depression:

  • Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidsim
  • Immune system dysregulation
  • Pain
  • Low Cholesterol levels
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Insulin resistance

Sometimes, it may be a combination of one or more of these that can cause postpartum mood disorders to develop.  Because this is true for many women, the Naturopathic approach is multifactorial as well.  The earlier we can recognize the symptoms and determine what's actually going on, the better.  In my office, a primary work-up to determine the underlying cause may include:

  • Thyroid testing, followed by nutritional supplementation and/or medicine to balance the thyroid gland (if needed)
  • Combination Hormone and Adrenal Saliva testing, followed by treatment with herbs and nutrients known to balance female hormones, DHEA, and/or cortisol (and are safe for breastfeeding).
  • Lipid panel, to look at cholesterol levels, followed by nutritional counseling to ensure adequate levels.
  • Comp. metabolic screen, Iron panel, and Complete blood count, to assess for blood sugar issues, anemia, and immune system problems
  • Musculoskeletal assessment to determine sources of pain that may be adding to increased stress and fatigue, followed by massage, acupuncture, or other forms of physiotherapy
  • In some cases, neurotransmitter testing will be done first.  This is especially true if someone has a marked history of depression, anxiety, or psychosis.

I could write pages and pages on this topic.  This is just a jumping-off point.  There is still a lot to learn about this realm of women's health, but we have a very good grasp on how to make the transition to motherhood a happy and healthy time.

Be strong.  Live healthy!images

Postpartum Nutrition

Good Morning!  It looks to be another beautifully sunny morning here in Portland, Oregon.  Wow, we have really been blessed with some fantastic weather the past few weeks.  Our clinic garden is looking great as well as the garden my family and I are growing at home.  I'll be taking some photos to show you all just what I mean! imagesToday I'd like to round out this series on Nutrition during pregnancy by providing some guidelines about postpartum dietary needs.  The postpartum period is defined as the time from the birth of the baby and placenta to 6 weeks afterwards.  I personally believe that this extends to 3 months after the birth at minimum, with the first 6 weeks being the time when the body makes most of it's transition back to "normal".

I put normal in quotations because it is very common for women to feel like they have a totally new body after having a baby.  images-1To a certain extent, it's true.  It's not the same body.  It looks, acts, and feels different than before pregnancy.  Therefore, it has different needs.  This is especially the case if the new baby is breastfeeding. Let's have a look at some guidelines for women in the postpartum period:

  • During pregnancy, women need 200-300 extra calories per day to grow a baby.  During breastfeeding, women may need up to 500 extra calories per day to make enough milk to feed their new baby.
  • Also needed for milk-making is WATER.  Most women will need between 2-3 LITERS of water a day to keep up with the demands of making milk.  I like to get the whole family involved in the process, stashing bottles full of water wherever mom might end up nursing the new baby.  Intense thirst universally follows feeding the new baby, and moms everywhere love having a big glass of water while they nurse.
  • Many women need extra iron after having a baby.  Moms who had a lot of bleeding with childbirth are in a higher risk category for developing postpartum anemia.  To prevent severe anemia (which can lead to excessive fatigue and lowered mood):
  1. Increase iron in the diet: red meat, eggs, enriched cereals, and blackstrap molasses are good ways to get iron.
  2. Increase Vitamin C intake: Vitamin C helps you absorb more iron from your food.  Take with meals.  Do not exceed 3000mg/day unless being supervised by a health care practitioner.
  3. No black tea: Tannins in the tea decrease iron absorption.
  4. Cook with cast-iron pots and pans.  Believe it or not, you will get good doses of iron from doing so.
  • Continue to take your prenatal vitamins through the end of breastfeeding.  You still need the nutrients.  Plus, the extra B vitamins will give you much-needed mental and physical stamina.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids with a higher DHA:EPA ratio.  Studies show that infants benefit (neurodevelopmentally) from DHA supplementation in pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Moms also need these healthy fats to help heal and replenish the reproductive and nervous system.  DHA can be found in coldwater fish and algae most readily.  Taking an encapsulated form of DHA is a sure-fire way of getting enough.

Next week I'm going to address Postpartum depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.  It's more common than you think, and there's more that can be done to help prevent it from affecting you and the ones you love.  images-2