POSTNATAL COMMUNICATION Elimination Communication, Baby Sign Language, etc.
Elimination Communication ("EC") -- can be started as early as the first few days after birth, or whenever is best for the family EC "is a gentle, natural, non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy [although, no pressure! -- this can be started later], learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs. This practice makes conventional potty training unnecessary." (From DiaperFreeBaby.org) Babies "know when they need to eliminate. Most of us know that baby birds, puppies, & kittens quickly learn not to "soil the nest" but we doubt that human babies are able to learn the same lesson -- but they CAN. Babies are born with an awareness of elimination & many instinctively protest "soiling the nest." Using elimination communication keeps your baby aware of these signals." (From NaturalBirthAndBabyCare.com) Following is some additional info.:
Benefits People Report from EC:
Minimize/Eliminate the newborn's / baby's discomfort / displeasure of sitting in its own waste.
Reduced fussiness. (There is a PubMed article, Elimination communication as colic therapy, by GJ Gordan hypothesizing that EC may benefit "colicky babies": EC "cues can include types of crying, squirming, straining, wriggling, grimacing, fussing, vocalizing, intent look at caregiver, red face, passing gas and grunting, many of which are the same initial symptoms related to the onset of colicky infant states... It is hypothesized that effective and timely elimination will cause increased physical comfort for the infant; colic symptoms will concomitantly decrease.")
Deepen connection and trust between child and parent/caregiver afforded by learning to understand its elimination cues and responding accordingly.
Save money, reduce environmental impact, and/or laundry time/expense by minimizing (and hopefully eliminating at an earlier age) the number of diapers used.
Easier & quicker clean-up.
Reduce/eliminate diaper rash & yeast.
Can help breastfeeding (DiaperFreeBaby.org shares on it's EC & Breastfeeding page that "Breast refusal is a common sign of needing to eliminate but it is often confused with breastfeeding problems such as overactive letdown, over-supply and low milk supply. Think about how difficult it would be to eat and drink if you needed to go to the bathroom: it is the same with your baby.")
Seat warmers for the potty (especially during cold weather and/or used in cold rooms) -- babies can be averse to using the potty if the seat is cold
Leg warmers -- you can buy or make leg warmers so that, in cold weather/rooms, your baby's legs don't get as cold when you raise onesies or remove bottoms for elimination time. (An easy DIY idea is to cut the feet off of your child's long socks (especially if the socks are cheaper than pre-made leg warmers and/or if they have outgrown the sock feet, but can still fit in the leg part of the socks). You can upcycle the socks for arm warmers, too.)
Multiple portable potties -- one for (or more, esp. for a large or multi-storied) home, one for the car (or other "on the go" use), &/or one to keep at another location in which your baby spends lots of time (family member's home, day care, etc.). (Some people start their infants off with EC by holding them over a mixing bowl stationed on their lap. (If you anticipate holding them over a mixing bowl, consider ones with rubber grip bottoms, to keep the bowl more secured on smooth surfaces.))
Include the American Sign Language ("ASL") signs for pee & poop during EC. Eventually, babies should be able to make these appropriate signs when alerting their caregivers of their need to eliminate. (See below for more about Baby Sign Language & the benefits of using ASL with pre-verbal babies.)
DiaperFreeBaby.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families that are interested in and practice EC
Supriya Kelkar's how to guide, based on her experience ECing 2 of her babies.
EC guide by NaturalBirthAndBabyCare.com, including information about common signs & timing patterns to pay attention to, along with support & benefits re: part-time EC (for parents/caregivers who are unable to commit as much time/energy to full-time EC).
Baby Sign-Language -- can be started as young as @ 6 months old! Babies typically develop sufficient motor skills to communicate effectively with their hands much younger than they develop the skills to effectively communicate vocally.
Benefits People Report from Baby Sign Language:
Reduced frustration and crying of the baby
Reduced frustration and worry of the parents/caregivers
Deeper bonding between baby and parents/caregivers
Learning more about the baby and it's interests, etc. at an earlier ag
Make sure the baby is focusing on you while you sign.
Start signing to and in front of the baby as young as 6 months old (and some suggest even as early as 4 months).
In the beginning, focus on a small number of words -- words that are most relevant to its needs/interests/joys (such as re: food, drink, elimination (see Elimination Communication discussion, above), etc.).
Sign every time you speak the word, and speak the word every time you sign.
Keep it fun & light.
Use signs from American Sign Language ("ASL") to support the child's ability to communicate with hearing-impaired children and adults, even after the child has begun to communicate vocally. (You can, however, of course, make up your own sign for words.)
GENERAL WELLNESS Oil Pulling, Tongue Scraping, etc.
Magnesium Following are some interesting things I've read about magnesium:
"Magnesium is Indispensable. Magnesium is essential for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes in the body, particularly those that produce, transport, store, and utilize energy. This includes:
Protein synthesis. DNA and RNA in our cells require magnesium for cell growth and development.
Sparking of the electrical signals that must travel throughout the miles of nerves in our bodies, including our brain, heart, and other organs.
Normal blood pressure, vascular tone, transmission of nerve cell signals, and blood flow.
"An abundant element on our planet, magnesium is also present in every organ in the human body. In fact, it’s considered a vital mineral for over 300 biochemical reactions that regulate our health and wellness... Magnesium is a helper in so many different bodily processes, sometimes it is the key to unlocking the benefits in therapies and remedies that don’t seem to be working. Magnesium has a role in the synthesis of essential molecules like DNA, RNA and proteins. In bones, cell membranes and chromosomes, magnesium makes up a large portion of the structural base. Magnesium also plays a large part in nutrient reactions and interactions, helping achieve absorption and balance in the body... It has been found that magnesium, despite being available in many dietary sources, is not best absorbed orally... the best way to regularly increase levels is using magnesium in a transdermal fashion." From Dr. Josh Axe's article (which I recommend reading in it's entirety) Magnesium Oil Benefits — from Sports Performance to Migraine Relief
"The importance of magnesium ions for all life itself, as well as for overall vibrant health, is hard to overstate. Magnesium is required to give the “spark of life” to metabolic functions involving the creation of energy and its transport (ATP, the body’s fundamental energy currency), and the creation of proteins—the nucleic acid chemistry of life—RNA and DNA, in all known living organisms. In plants, a magnesium ion is found at the center of every chlorophyll molecule, vital for the creation of energy from sunlight. Magnesium is an essential element for both animals and plants, involved in literally hundreds of enzymatic reactions affecting virtually all aspects of life. Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish... Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency... Magnesium operates as a natural calcium channel blocker and is responsible for relaxation—counter to calcium’s contraction. Thus magnesium is pivotally important to the healthy functioning of our parasympathetic nervous system. It may be hard to believe, but our bodies were actually designed to operate for the most part in a calm, relaxed parasympathetic state, rather than in the heart-pounding, stress- and adrenaline-driven mode of sympathetic nervous system dominance that is nearly constant for many of us today, and which uses up great quantities of magnesium." From The Weston A. Price Foundation article (another which I recommend reading in it's entirety) The Neglected Mineral We Cannot Life Without.
"The combination of increased intake of magnesium and potassium coupled with reduced sodium intake is more effective in reducing BP [blood pressure] than single mineral intake and is often as effective as one antihypertensive drug in treating hypertension... Magnesium also increases the effectiveness of all antihypertensive drug classes... Preliminary evidence suggests that insulin sensitivity, hyperglycemia, diabetes mellitus, left ventricular hypertrophy, and dyslipidemia may be improved with increased magnesium intake." From PubMed article by Houston,M entitled The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
"Adding magnesium to the bath (bicarbonate included) will benefit both mother and fetus in very important ways. Pregnancy cannot be normal unless magnesium levels are adequate. The concentration of magnesium in the placental and fetal tissues increases during pregnancy. The requirements for this element in a pregnant woman’s organism generally exceed its supply; hence, pregnancy should be considered a condition of ‘physiological hypomagnesemia’." From Dr. Mark Sircus' article Magnesium Baths for Safer Pregnancy and Birth [Same benefits can be implied for other topical/transdermal applications of magnesium.]
"At least 10 independent clinical studies show that patients with hypertension exhibit serum and/or tissue hypomagnesemia... Pregnant women with labor-induced hypertension have decreased blood levels of magnesium." From Dr. Tori Hudson's article High Blood Pressure -- Lifestyle Considerations.
"Without adequate magnesium, blood vessels constrict and blood pressure increases... Magnesium can prevent premature labor (because it calms contractions) as well as eclampsia." From Dr. Christiane Northrup's article Magnificent Benefits of Magnesium.