Yes I ate my placenta, not like a goat just eating my after birth off the floor (which ironically was the exact image hubby showed me when I was pregnant first time round, at the time I wasn’t aware of encapsulation as an option and was less keen on placenta pasta sauce as he was suggesting!). With my eldest son, we took our placenta home and planted it under a tree.
And you know what, I kick myself for it! That thing was huge! I had placental adbruption earlier in my pregnancy and my placenta grew massively to reattach to the lining, it weighed nearly as much as my eight pound son! Imagine how many magic pills I would have got out of that!
So, in saying all that, I can understand when people are grossed out about it, because a few years ago I was too, but it’s another one of those silly cultural things about Western society which has for decades tried and idolised the concept of being “civilised”, whatever that means! In reality, all mammals, except a large proportion of us humans, consume their after birth and there is reason for it.
If you’re still grossed out about the whole concept, probably just move along now. But, for those of you who have asked me questions or for who it maybe of interest to, this is just my take on it.
This is a print taken as an impression of my placenta using natural plant based dyes which are then washed off and the placenta is dried. The image looks so much like a tree its very surreal. You can also get chord stump art made if you wanted, which we didn’t actually do.
After the placenta is dried it is blitzed up into a powder and gel capsules are filled with it. It depends a lot on the size of your placenta on how many you will receive, in this case I got 224 pills. In the first few days post birth I had heaps of them, 2 of them three times a day. And no, they don’t taste like anything really, it’s inside gel caps, it’s just like having a multivitamin.
They helped my milk come in and my post partum bleeding stop really quickly compared to last time (which is probably an unfair comparison as I hemoraged post birth last time and I’m not sure what role that plays, but still 8 weeks of bleeding compared to 2 weeks, with only a few days of having to use those horrid surfboard pads, is what it is!).
Last time around it took so long for my milk to come in that I felt pressured into giving my eldest formula to supplement feeding in those first few days. So worried about this happening again, I expressed colostrum in those last few weeks (be careful doing this as it can bring on preterm labour, if you’re “overdue” though, go for your life! That stuff is liquid gold!) preparing & storing it incase we needed it, I had heaps of it stocked up in our deep freezer, we didn’t need any of it, day two I woke up with the boob job engorgement of someone who’s milk had come in!
I’m still thankful we did though, that liquid gold went to another bubba who needed it much more than mine, that was in and out of the hospital suffering kidney failure and who had a mum who was also a nurse and recognised how significantly it could help her baby. And you don’t have to donate it either, its chocked full of amazing antibodies which newborns need obviously, but we also need those when we are sick. If you express some colostrum, store it in a fresh clean syringe, put something over the end to seal it (some of the small syringes we had came with covers, others we just used tinfoil to seal) put it in some kind of container and put it really deep in your freezer (if you have a deep freezer or separate chest freezer use that it will keep longer) and if you don’t need it post birth then save it for when your baby gets sick the first time, cause they will and it’s horrible to watch tiny babies sick and feel powerless to do anything, and then, dig out your little stash of liquid gold! There is no age limit for when antibodies are good for, you could give it to sick big kids or even take it yourself if you wanted!
To use it after you have frozen it, get a glass of room temp water, stand your syringe in it upside down without submerging it in the water. You don’t want to heat it, that will kill off some of the antibodies, it will defrost very quickly in small syringes. We used a mixture of 1, 3 and 5ml syringes (maybe a few ten mls by the end there..), start small, and don’t express for long. You don’t want to over stimulate your nipples and force labour (let baby decide when they are ready) but if you are anything like me, I was leaking colostrum in both my pregnancies before the third trimester so after 37 weeks I started collecting it. Again the first time round I didn’t really realise how valuable it was and didn’t store more than a few mls properly.
DIY breastmilk keepsake kit from Baby Bee Hummingbird. We used the kit with the tree of life mould, using some preserved breastmilk & placenta pill in resin and it wasn’t until afterwards that we noticed the comparison and similarity to the placenta print itself!
Anyway, enough about liquid gold.. Seriously though our bodies and our boobs are amazing! Back to Placenta encapsulation, those little magic pills really, really helped with mood stabilisation. There were two occasions I can think of that I was just sitting in a rocking chair breastfeeding and crying about nothing, like literally nothing, post birth hormones are a bitch! My husband walked out and saw me and was like, “have you had your pills this morning?” which I totally hadn’t! I didn’t forget them much more than those two times but there were plenty of occasions I started to feel moody, unstable or just fatigued and I would have one or two of my pills and feel heaps better for it half am hour later.
I could probably rave on and on endlessly about the good factors or benefits of it, but being I am writing just personally about my own experience, these are the main ones I really noticed that were directly attributed to the placenta pills! The most common question I do get asked, ‘did it make a notable difference?’ If thats not clear by now, I would just again emphasis, yes. My birth experiences with both my kids have been incredibly different and obviously I can’t rule out the impact of that on my experiences post birth, but yes, I largely credit hypnobirthing and placenta encapsulation for a heaps smoother and more comfortable recovery and newborn period.
I continued taking my pills in lower and lower doses, saving the last 30 or so for those mornings which follow really hard nights, it was like a tailor made by me, for me, natural berocca pill.. I still have five left… Everytime I do now take one, I have a bit of mad panic to hubby, “eek there is only x number left!”
“Maybe you need to make another one?” often comes the reply.. I probably don’t need to go into details about how much of an aphrodisiac they are, especially the further since birth that I take them haha ? packed full of hormones and good shit that grew your baby, it’s no wonder you feel a bit better when you take a little pill of it to top up your own levels, particularly if like me, you continue to have a baby sucking the life & good shit out of you, just now from your boobs instead!
If you are in New Zealand, check out Placenta Pills – https://facebook.com/PlacentaPills/ if you are in Auckland, Liss can pick up your placenta from you while you are still at the hospital if you want! We didn’t stay long enough so she came and grabbed it the same day Jai was born from our house (just tell the midwife or charge nurse you want to keep it and they will bag it up for you, remember to keep it in the fridge or freezer if you are taking it home) and dropped back a whole stack of beautiful prints and a bag of placenta pills and instructions for me the next day! She was great and I highly recommend her service, thanks Liss! 😉