written by Stephanie Sanchez, BSN, RN, IBCLC: Birth Assistant & International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
Well hello there SEPTEMBER!!! By this point, bet it’s safe to say that we’re all pretty burnt out and *done* with all of the summer craziness (much more accurate than the term: “summer vacation”, don’tcha think?). The summer days have been LONG and activity-PACKED. No doubt many of you ran wild to and from summer camps, play dates, vacation travel, work, home projects, all the while keeping your house from falling down and your loved ones (humans and fur babes alike) alive and happy. And then BOOM! August hits and it’s a mad dash to get prepped for the new school year.
Hopefully the routine that inevitably comes with being back in school is starting to settle in, and now we can turn our focus to the changing season…….ahhhhhlovely FALL! September and October are my FAVE months in NM for so many reasons: the pretty darn perfect weather (ummm 97 degree days—consider this your cue to go away now!)……the gorgeous changing colors along the Bosque…….the abundant harvests from our amazing local farmers……….the many fairs and festivals highlighting NM’s amazing art, music, food, wine, and beer……….the rainbow of hot air balloons that fills the skies………and of course, there’s that mouth-watering aroma of freshly roasted green chile everywhere you turn!
Now that you’re all floating through a magical fall wonderland in your endorphin-filled bubble, I’m here to prepare you for what is probably furthest from your mind right now: the dreaded upcoming COLD & FLU SEASON that’s getting ready to rear its ugly head and burst your bubble! (I know I know, way to be the party pooper…sorry!) Before we go further, it may help to understand why cold & flu “season” is even a thing — why do these viral illnesses become more prevalent and widespread in the fall and winter? Well among other factors, the decreased temps outside = more time indoors = more people in close proximity to each other for longer periods of time = easier and more frequent germ spread from person to person. In addition, with winter comes the decreased air humidity = drier nasal passages = decreased first line of defense (nose/throat) against germ entry. New Mexico is almost always labeled as a state with “widespread flu activity” every year.
Not to worry—there are steps you can take NOW to boost your immunity and decrease your chances of spending the next few months in the miserable trenches with sickies:
1) Try your best to get good SLEEP! We know that lack of sleep contributes to all kinds of health issues, but is especially detrimental if your body is trying to fight off an infection. Studies are showing that quality sleep bolsters our T-cells, the warrior cells that fight off infection. Adults need a minimum of 7-8hrs nightly, recommendations for kids varies depending on age, with infants and toddlers needing 12-15hrs, and school age kids needing 9-11hrs minimum.
2) Regular, moderate intensity EXERCISE promotes good circulation (beneficial for all body functions but especially our immune system), increases WBC’s, decreases stress, along with numerous other health benefits we already know (lower BMI, lower BP, lower diabetes, etc.)
3) Drinking plenty of WATER — staying hydrated helps all of the body’s defense systems work properly. Aim for 2.5-3L of water per day. Get an extra immune boost by adding lemon or drinking antioxidant-packed teas. Also when it comes to hydration—remember to also hydrate your air by adding a humidifier in your bedroom at night during super dry months, following your humidifier’s instructions carefully (and remember to clean every 3 days!)
4) When it comes to caring for our bodies, FOOD = POWER! Aim for a balanced diet high in vitamin-packed vegetables. This can be harder said than done the busier we get, so make sure you’re covered by taking a multivitamin daily that contains the recommended daily doses of vitamins A, C, D, E, and iron. Also try adding foods high in antioxidants (like berries and dark leafy greens), probiotics (e.g. yogurt, anything pickled, kombucha), and anti-inflammatory foods (think mediterranean diet- tomatoes, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish).
5) Other additions I’ve found super helpful for an extra boost of germ-fighting power when needed include LOTS of garlic (we have no prob adding more of this to nearly every meal!) and elderberry syrup at the first sign of illness or if we’ve been in contact with others that may have been sick.
6) Then of course there’s the no -brainer that has to be mentioned here because it’s so so important and is one of the best ways to prevent infection: good and frequent HAND WASHING. Remember, at least 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water, especially before meals and before touching your nose or mouth. Keep hand sanitizer handy in places where a sink might not be readily available, e.g. purse, diaper bag, car. I keep one in my car door and now it has become habit for my kids to jump in the car (after being at school, a store, a park, anywhere really) and immediately hold out their hands palm’s facing up waiting for their “squirt” before they can get buckled in.
7) Last but certainly not least, is getting your SEASONAL FLU VACCINE, ideally by the end of October, before flu season hits hard. Remember it takes about 2 weeks for the antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body after receiving the vaccination. The flu can affect people differently, but can be potentially serious for pregnant women who are particularly susceptible due to their compromised immune state during pregnancy. Children younger than 5 are also at higher risk for serious flu-related complications. Talk to your health care provider about the possibility and availability of the flu vaccine for you.
The following links from the CDC contain more helpful information about the flu vaccine:
Learn what happens when birth doesn’t go as expected. Hear from midwives, doulas, counselors, and a past family who transferred. Free dinner! YOU MUST register for this class. Click HERE to register.
Wednesday, Sept 25 5:15 to 8:00 p.m.
Doula Teas with the New Life Doula Collective Come & join us for some tea, and meet our doulas. We’ll help you learn more about doula care, so you can explore your options. RSVP for tea HERE to let us know you’re coming (drop-ins OK too) or to learn more about doulas visit Doula page on our website HERE
Saturday, Sept 14 noon
Monday, Sept 23 5:30 p.m.
Breastfeeding and New Moms
Facilitated by our Lactation Consultant Robin Hayter with support from the nurses and midwives.
Wednesday mornings, 10:00 to noon
Mindful Partnering, Mindful Parenting Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone. Please come explore and experience gentle guided meditation and mindfulness practices that will leave you feeling calm, witnessed and supported.
Thursday, September 12th 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Postpartum Mom Group Our staff counselor Kimberlee Maresma, LPCC will hold a therapeutic group that supports the new mother for the first year. Email Kimberlee HERE with any questions.
…and counting! That’s over 2850 gallons! Go, Mamas, Go!
Bonus classes Disclaimer: Most of the special events below are set up and led by community members — not Dar a Luz staff members — and as such, they don’t necessarily reflect our beliefs as an organization. Dar a Luz is not responsible for their content, and does not necessarily endorse every aspect presented. _______________________________ Postpartum Partner Workshop
Thursday, October 24th at 6 p.m. Please join Jose Maresma for an evening of an emotionally safe exploration of the differences our partners face after the birth of a new baby. This Workshop is FOR PARTNERS ONLY. Suggested donation: $10-20 _____________________________ Classports are HERE!
Talk with your midwife, educators, or Tracy about our new education tracking system! _______________________________
One of our philosophies at Dar a Luz is to strive to be an environmentally conscientious organization, minimizing our environmental impact and encouraging others to do the same. You support this mission by completing online intake forms, bringing a refillable water bottle with you to your visits, and utilizing our recycling bin. We have a recycling bin in our kitchen space. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with what is recyclable. Thank you for helping support our efforts!
Name: Micah (baby #777!) Birthdate: 9-19-18 Fun Fact: Micah was born en caul and has proven what a mer-man he is by how much he’s loved swimming during his first summer! You can have your baby featured by emailing usHERE a picture of your cutie and we’ll put them in a newsletter! Please include permission to use the image, your little one’s first name, date of birth, and a fun fact.