chiropractic health

IV Fluids in Labor and Newborn Weight Loss

In my practice I see so many new parents struggle with breastfeeding. Newborn weight loss is a common issue that commonly leads to unwanted or unintended use of formula. Something that we view as simple and benign as IV fluids can actually lead inaccurate weight measurements which can lead down the path of formula supplementation. An IV hydrates the birthing person and also the baby. So when they are born they are full of excess fluid compared to if they had not had an IV.

It’s normal for newborns to lose up to 7% of their body weight as the mothers milk is coming in during those first few days. Up to 10% is acceptable by some pediatricians, however when more than 10% is lost parents are often told they need to supplement with formula or pumped milk. And ideally they will be back to their birth weight within two weeks. However if newborns are being tracked from birth with an artificially higher weight, they are more likely to lose that water weight and it will look as though they’ve lost more weight than they actually had.

Not only does an IV plump up the baby but it also plumps up breast tissue and that engorgement can make it harder for the baby to latch. Again leading to breastfeeding issues and a delay in milk coming in. Engorgement makes for tissue that is not as supple or malleable to fit into a newborns mouth and mold to their palate. It can often result in a more shallow latch which is not only painful but also can prevent the newborn from transferring as much milk as they could.

So if you do have an IV in labor, take the baby’s weight at 24 hours old and use that as your baseline so they have time to pee and release some of the excess fluid. This will give you a more accurate idea of how much weight they are actually losing, if any.

Use baby’s weight at 24 hours old as their baseline

Also the amount of fluid administered in labor has an effect on this. The more volume of fluid given the more likely you are to experience this artificial excess weight loss. Studies have found that mothers who receive 2,500 mLs or more are at higher risk for excess weight loss in their newborns. Evidence shows that hydration is essential in labor however drinking fluids is much more effective and doesn’t have the negative effect of newborn weight loss. Oral fluids have time to process through our digestive tract as opposed to an IV which goes right into the blood stream.

So what’s the big deal with formula anyway? After all, fed is best right? Formula fed babies are at higher risk of ear infections, asthma, diabetes, eczema, respiratory infections, digestion issues and SIDS. So how can you avoid formula? The more your baby is latching directly on you the more you are to increase your milk supply. Baby’s saliva is picked up by your nipple and your brain registers exactly what nutrients your baby needs in that very moment. It also increases oxytocin which is responsible for your let down. You can further increase oxytocin with skin to skin contact so if you need to be separated from your baby to pump try looking at photos or holding something like a hat or blanket that smells like them. If you are having trouble with latching, make sure to work with a lactation consultant and pediatric chiropractor. They can help you with positioning, oral, mechanical or neurological restrictions and troubleshooting many other issues. If your nipples are cracked or damaged you might need to consider pumping or hand expressing to allow yourself time to heal. Pumping with simultaneous hand expression can significantly increase supply.

Milk donations from other lactating women is also a great alternative to formula. It also increases the amount of antibodies to help fight potential infections because it exposes the infant to a whole new host of exposure from the milk donors environment. This is called informal milk donations. Milk banking is also another option. Milk from a milk bank has typically been screened for infections, however it also goes through processes that decrease nutrient value. Just remember any time you give a bottle make sure to replace that feeding with pumping to keep your supply up. The more you empty your breast the more milk you will make. It’s all about demand and supply.

Formula fed babies are at higher risk for ear infections, asthma, diabetes, eczema, respiratory infections, digestion issues and SIDS

If your health care providers are recommending formula, please take this information into account. Work with a lactation consultant, pediatric chiropractor, or any other provider that will support you. Breastfeeding is HARD WORK. It doesn’t always come naturally and it’s not always easy. But the support is there. Build your team before you give birth so you’re ready. You’ve got this mama. And we’ve got your back!


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check them out! and tell them we sent you!

Placenta Encapsulation/Acupuncture



Birth Prep Classes


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Naturopathic Doctors

  • Nourish Medical Center – children, mothers and adults Nourish


Love for the Unknown: A Miscarriage Story

Written by Dr. Stephanie Libs, DC

Published in Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine

After dating for eight years, followed by 14 months of planning, my husband and I finally tied the knot. Then, about six weeks before the wedding, we conceived. So, we thought, what better time than our wedding to announce our pregnancy? Everyone we loved and cared about would be there, and we could surprise them all at once. Upon completion of all the speeches and our thank-yous, Dean and I asked our parents to join us at the front of the room. We had them close their eyes and hold out their hands. When they opened their eyes they were holding onesies with the words “I love my grandma” and “I love my grandpa,” and we excitedly yelled out ,“We’re pregnant!” The room exploded with excitement, cheers, laughter, and tears. All four soon-to-be grandparents were overwhelmed with joy and couldn’t stop hugging us and each other. We were bombarded with love and support. It was a moment we will never forget.

Two days later I started to experience mild cramping and light spotting. I was uncomfortable but thought nothing of it. … [Read more]


Organic Gardening

We are in the season of spring and it’s a perfect time to pick up gardening as a new hobby, especially with everyone at home practicing social distancing.

full disclosure: i know next to nothing about gardening. but, my hubby, dean knows almost everything! so i’ve picked his brain to bring you some easy, applicable tips.

Organic soil

First things first. SOIL. Let’s talk about how to get healthy soil, because healthy crops grow in fertile soils. Kinda like humans, amiright? You can find organic soil at your local nursery or online like this smaller bag from Dr. Earth or this larger 12 quart bag from Fox Farm.

Raised bed dimensions

If you’re just starting a garden for the first time my hubby recommends starting small! A small garden box will be easier to manage so you’re less likely to get overwhelmed and give up, and there is less chance of injuring yourself by leaning over a huge box! A garden box that is somewhere around two feet by four feet and about a foot high is a great starting point; it seems small but it can still be a lot to manage. You can even start in garden pots if you have a small yard. I’m obsessed with these super cute geometric ceramic pots.

What are the best veggies to grow?

Grow things that you eat often so you’re motivated to get out their and enjoy the fruit of your labor! Right now (springtime) is a great time to grow things that “fruit” like peppers, egg plant tomato, zucchini! Your local garden shop or nursery will have organic seeds that are in season.

How to improve garden soil quality

Ok back to soil, it’s a good idea to give your soil some shelter with mulch. We often use leaves, sticks, grass clippings, and any green “waste” that might otherwise go in the trash to gently spread over the top layer of our soil. It gives the soil some nice cover while still allowing for air to flow through under it. Make sure you use things that won’t take root and become weeds that can compete with your fruit or veg. Having a mulch cover is important so the soil doesn’t dry out and kill the good bacteria that’s needed for soil health.

Don’t disturb your soil by churning it up too much. It’s ok to aerate it a bit on top but digging it up too much can dry out the lower layer that might be nutrient dense, it can stir up dormant weed seeds and kill off worms and other bugs that are contributing to the soil health.

If you really want to work long-term, legume crops like fava beans, red clover and field peas will give back by providing the soil with a ton of nitrogen that’s essential for plant growth via photosynthesis. These are best planted in the spring so if you’re starting a garden now you can start with these then rotate crops this fall to give back to your soil. They are also really effective at keeping weeds at bay. One year we planted a ton of fava beans, and while they are a little labor intensive to cook them they made some killer hummus!

Avoid chemicals

Most importantly, avoid chemicals. Even if you spray your grass lawn with herbicides or pesticides it can mix with your garden when you water or when it rains so avoid using them if you can. If you can’t avoid it (perhaps you live in a communal area with shared outdoor space like a condo or apartment and you are not able to change those factors) then try to plant your garden in an area with the most distance from the where the chemicals are sprayed.

Happy gardening! For more gardening instatips and tricks follow us on Instagram @thechiropractress

chiropractic pregnancy&Birth

Dr. Steph’s Favorite Books

I love books! Even more if they are about birth, parenting, natural health, breastfeeding, communication and personal growth. So as a book junkie Here are some of my top favorites and links to each!


Attachment Parenting – I love this book because it covers the top 7 topics in attachment parenting (birth bonding, breastfeeding, baby wearing, bedding close to baby, belief in baby’s cry and sounds, beware of baby trainers and balance) and gives a great overview on the benefits of each.

Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – This is such a great book, not only does it help prepare for for breastfeeding but there is an overarching theme throughout the entire book about birth and parenting. The authors maintain a philosophy that honors and celebrates the natural processes of the body.

Fifth Vital Sign – OK. I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. This has become one of my all time favorites. It’s an easy read, yet it takes a deep dive into the female menstrual cycle. By reading this you will earn your body so well, know what to do to fix your cycle and empower your divine feminine self along the way.

The Big Letdown – I’m so impressed with this author and her ability to gather so much historical data about how medicine, big government, and even the feminists movement have undermined breastfeeding and how these interests have a broader connection to an industrialized food system.

No Drama Discipline – This book provides so many tools that are easy to put to use right away. It’s full of examples, graphics and illustrations of how to turn discipline into learning opportunities with a gentle, brain-focused compassionate connection.

The Conscious Parent – Anything written by Dr. Shefali Tsabary is worth reading! She’s brilliant and a beautiful author. This books brings to light a conscious approach to parenting and helps to heal us, the parent, since children are mirrors of our ego.

The Awakened Family – Again Dr. Shefali Tsabary writes a beautiful book for the whole family to become more present and connected. Her conscious approach to parenting in this book is enriched by personal stories of her own journey through parenthood and her clinical psychology practice.

You Are a Badass – I love this book for a good laugh while also empowering myself as a business owner and a mama. While it’s not parenting specific, the concepts in it are great for boosting confidence, and can’t we all use a little bit of that? The author is really funny, I even found myself busting out LOLing a ton!

Hypnobirthing – This book is essential to all birthing couples. I love that it changes the philosophy and language surrounding pregnancy and birth to a set of terms that is more loving, honoring and empowering to both parents and baby. Again it’s an easy read and it’s so good! I also highly recommend the class, if you’re in San Diego check out a list of available dates through San Diego Hypnobirthing.

The Fourth Trimester – Kimberly Ann Johnson wrote this one and I love it because she offers a really thorough holistic guide to the delicate period after having a baby. With all the attention and appointments we receive during the prenatal period, there can be a lack of support during the post partum period. This is a really well-rounded guide to healing on all levels, physical, spiritual, emotional, relational.

Woman Code – All ladies need to read this book. Especially if your cycle is anywhere near abnormal or if you have PCOS. It’ easily explains our physiology and is full of everything you need to know to optimize your cycle, (wether you’re trying to get pregnant, or trying to avoid getting pregnant) how to super charge your sex drive and become a power source.

Well Adjusted Babies – This is the ultimate holistic guide for pregnant and new parents. It reads like a textbook so you don’t have to read it cover to cover, you can flip to a section and read up on a specific topic as needed. The author is a chiropractor and also a mother to four children and one angel baby. She’s a brilliant author and speaker. This book is a bit pricey but it’s worth every penny. I still read it and reference it often.

It Starts With the Egg – Another excellent book for optimizing your cycle and fertility! It’s all about the science and the practical tips to improve egg quality to get pregnant naturally, prevent miscarriage and improve your odds with IFV. I learned so so much science in this book that has helped me take care of more families.

Spiritual Midwifery – I love anything written by Ina May Gaskin, in my opinion she is the mother of midwifery as we know it. I love this book because the first two-thirds or so are all 1-3 page positive birth stories that are really beautiful. It’s very uplifting and was so lovely to read so much positivity during my pregnancies.

Our Babies Ourselves – This book is amazing if you’re really into the anthropology, culture and biology and how it shapes our parenting. It explores options to reconsider the traditional styles of parenting based on science and common sense.

Sacred Pregnancy – This book is really more of a guided journal for pregnancy and is full of prompts to emotionally and physically prepare for the transition to motherhood. It’s full of beautiful photos and is separated into 40 bite-sizes chapters to mirror your 40 week journey. It’s an easy read and really inspiring!

How to End the Autism Epidemic

Baby Led Weaning – This my favorite method for feeding littles! I followed this feeding style and my kiddos are very adventurous and healthy eaters even now as toddlers. It allows babies to feed themselves, skipping the labor-intensive, puree-spoon-feeding mush, and dives right into exploring textures, flavors, and hand-eye abilities all while being autonomous and developmentally appropriate.

Transformed by Birth

Wild Feminine

Spirit babies

Labor Like A Goddess

chiropractic Vaccines

Dr. Steph’s Adventures in Tandem Breastfeeding

Dr. Steph recently wrote an article for Pathways to Family Wellness magazine all about her journey through tandem breastfeeding both of her children.

By the time I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had read all the books, websites, and Pathways articles I could, and became extremely interested in the benefits of breast milk. All of my reading led me to decide that I wanted to breastfeed for two years. That was my goal. If I made it 6 months at least, it would be okay. If I made it a year, fine. But if I made it two years, I’d feel accomplished. I’d feel like Super Mom.

My first child, Aubree, was born in a hospital after three long days of laboring at home. Thank goodness for the skilled midwives, who came with us to the hospital and helped us advocate to avoid a cesarean birth and create as gentle an experience as possible. A pain-medicated birth wasn’t what I wanted, but at the time it was what I needed. The epidural allowed me to get some rest and regain the energy to start again. I remember my husband, Dean, asking the doctor if he could catch the baby, something we had planned at home; the doctor looked at him like he had two heads. I struggled with my birth experience for a long time, but my midwife told me later how incredible it was that, even though we were at a high-risk hospital with doctors and nurses who had never met us, I was still able to position myself to my hands and knees after getting my epidural, and have a vaginal birth. It’s rare for doctors to allow a mother to move into any position other than on her back after an epidural.

Breastfeeding Aubree was great…at first. While I was reclined, Aubree scooted, pushed, and bobbed her head— and with little guidance, she latched beautifully. This is called a “breast crawl.” I was elated. What a relief! She’s going to be a champ! Things slowly got more challenging. Then it started to hurt. Really hurt. I knew this wasn’t right, and that I needed to seek out a solution.

My midwives helped with positioning tips to make everything more comfortable. Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy were essential. After each visit, things got easier and easier. I went to breastfeeding support groups led by certified lactation consultants, and it felt so good to be together in a room with other mothers; we all gathered and bonded over our dedication to breastfeeding our babies. With all the support, we eventually found our rhythm.

A slow transition back to work allowed me time to adapt to breastfeeding and pumping. When Aubree was 14 or 15 months, Dean and I got pregnant again. I still had a goal of breastfeeding until Aubree was at least 2 years old, but I knew that being pregnant might make that impossible. I had heard other mothers say that their older child didn’t like the milk when they got pregnant, or their milk dried up, or they just didn’t like the feeling of breastfeeding while pregnant. I was ready for the challenge, but also didn’t want to push it if one of us wasn’t happy.

Luckily, Aubree showed no signs of wanting to stop. I was happy to continue, so we did. About 30 weeks or so into the pregnancy, I felt like I’d “dried up,” and the milk was sparse. At that point I felt like I had made it that far, so why not just keep going? More milk would come soon. And at around 36 weeks, more milk started coming. By that time, we were really only nursing in the mornings, and maybe a few times during the day. But the look on Aubree’s face when the milk started flowing again was like blissful shock. It was so cute to see her slightly confused, pointing to my breast as if to show me that things had changed. She was almost 2, and my belly was huge.

Dean and I planned another home birth. Labor began in the morning with mild contractions, I breastfed Aubree, which helped to stimulate contractions. She stayed with us for several hours. Labor picked up quickly, and after a few more hours we had a beautiful home birth. Dean caught our son alongside our midwives, and we were snuggling in our bed within five minutes. I had another opportunity to watch my newborn do the breast crawl, and he latched beautifully. When Aubree saw him get “milkies,” she wanted some too. It was an adorable bonding moment that she could be soothed and nourished alongside her new baby brother. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Continuing to breastfeed both Aubree and Roland proved to be beneficial in so many ways. If I was engorged, Aubree took care of it. If my let-down was too fast, she latched first. If she was having a tough toddler moment, milkies saved the day. I’m not sure if it was just the fact that Roland was a second baby, or that I was still breastfeeding Aubree, or having a successful home birth, or all of it combined, but feeding Roland was so much easier. In any case, I didn’t have any pain with his latch, my supply regulated much faster, and everything was just much more comfortable. It’s pretty convenient that nature gave us two breasts.

We continued to tandem for another year. During that time, I decided to put a few boundaries up for nursing Aubree. We had a rocking chair in the living room, and we decided that would be our milkies chair when we were home. It allowed me to feed Roland when needed without jealousy or meltdowns. Boundaries allowed me to maintain my modesty and avoid being fully exposed in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breastfeeding in public, and I’d still nurse each one in public— just not at the same time. I think it’s important, but I didn’t feel totally comfortable being completely topless. I just felt too exposed.

With Aubree’s third birthday approaching I started to feel increasingly ready to wean her. We would go days sometimes without nursing, and she wouldn’t even ask. I felt ready, and I felt that she was ready too. We would talk about her not having any more milkies once she turned three. She seemed to understand. The day before her birthday I said, “Okay, Aubree, your birthday is tomorrow. You’re going to be three. Would you like milkies today for the last time ever?” She said yes, so we nursed. I let her feed for as long as she wanted. I offered the other side. And when she was done she popped off and said, “All done.” Prior to that, ending a nursing session was often met with upset, but this time was different. She finished when she was ready.

The next day she was 3. She told everyone, “I’m three and when I’m three I don’t get any more milkies.” Since that day, she has only asked once. When I gently said, “No, sweetie, we stopped doing milkies when you turned three,” she adorably responded, “I’m not three, I’m a baby.” It’s funny how smart they are. We giggled, and I again explained how we were all done with milkies for her. That was the last time she asked. I still cherish our three years nursing together. It was such a beautiful challenge.

I’m so grateful that both my babies allowed me to nourish them for so long. It fostered such a profound connection, deeper than I ever imagined. I know not everyone is so lucky. So many families struggle much more than we did. But if breastfeeding is important to you, please, find your tribe who will support you, whether in person, or online. Support is vital to your journey. It definitely was important to mine.