By Mary, CN Body Care Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor
We’ve been marching our way into wellness all month long, and encouraging you, our wonderful readers and customers, to do the same. As important as it is to nurture health throughout our entire lifetime, there’s no more important time than when we first arrive here. We at Cambridge Naturals are not doctors or pharmacists, and although we all carry a wealth of knowledge on our products, most of us don’t have the kind of experience and education needed to help ensure the best care for those precious days of pre and post-natal care.
Eva Zasloff, M.D. is a Cambridge based doctor offering in-home medical care for newborns and new mothers and has helped so many get the support and healthcare they need during this time. The term “fourth trimester” was not a term I was familiar with prior to speaking with Dr. Zasloff and I don’t think I’m alone. It refers to the moment of birth to three months after, and is a time of great change and adjustment for both the baby and parents.
At a time when the percentage of postpartum depression is up to 75% in the US, Eva’s model of care is an important one to know about. She offers pediatric check-ins as well as support for mothers for anything from lactation support to navigating postpartum blues. Her practice focuses on in-home visits allowing patients to be treated in the environment they’re most comfortable in. Read on to learn more about Eva and her work, including her top recommendations for new moms!
What is your favorite place or thing to do in the Boston area?
I love the pick-your-own-flowers CSA at Lex Farm. It is a local community-run farm located next to the Arlington reservoir. Every week in the summertime, I head to the farm to hand pick flowers from the fields for my home. I look forward to it every year.
Do you have a life changing book you’ve read that you can recommend?
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. I have been interested in the microbiome and probiotics for a long time, but about 5 years ago I discovered this book. I love Katz's style and approach to fermenting foods- super informative but also laid back. This is my go-to book for homemade sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt recipes. My three boys have grown accustomed to many glass jars with strange foods fermenting on our kitchen counter or patio...
What initially drew you to working with postpartum moms and babies when you entered the medical field?
I have always been struck by the beauty, power, and vulnerability during this time for both the newborn and the family. The physiology of the mother and baby is so fascinating. Newborns have to figure out how to exist breathing and living outside of womb which was filled with amniotic fluid - like figuring about how to transform from being an amphibian into a mammal! The postpartum mother is healing from the birth experience and having dramatic shifts in hormonal and regulatory mechanisms in order for lactation to be established. Another amazing aspect is how connected the mother-baby unit is, both emotionally and physically. How the baby is feeding, how the mother is feeling, these things affect one another. Also, so much attention is put into the pregnancy and birth experience- which is great- but so often, the baby is born and the support falls. As a practicing family doctor, I over and over again had felt like I could be caring for this population in a better way.
What have some of the highlights been since you founded your own practice, Tova Health?
So many! First, it is an honor to be a part of this transformative time for a family and to be welcomed into their home. It is also so energizing to have a vision of something good and important, and then to actually make it happen. It really is a creative process for me. Doctors and midwives from all over the country are reaching out and excited about this new model of care. So thrilling to watch this grow.
I also love the multicultural richness of the postpartum time - there are many ancient traditions and rituals surrounding this time. After one my newborn home visits, the grandmother brought me to the kitchen to teach me how to make a traditional Indian postpartum drink. It is delicious and made with dill seed and ghee. Now I bring the ingredients and recipe of this tea as a welcome gift to new families.
Home births and in-home care for mothers and newborns is still a foreign concept for some in this country. Your patients have found the care you offer invaluable. In what ways is your service different?
For the first 3 months of life, I visit the family in their home, caring for the mother and baby in an integrative way. I provide comprehensive newborn care for the baby. The family can rest and heal. I walk through this time with them and meet them where they are. I listen to their birth stories- the beautiful parts and the hard parts. Sometimes there are tears. We talk about postpartum blues, breastfeeding concerns, diaper rash, all of it! It is remarkable how much recovery, learning, and grown can happen when supported.
Lastly, what are your top 3 Cambridge Naturals product recommendations you can make for new mothers?
Organic Fenugreek seeds in the bulk section. Fenugreek is thought to promote milk supply. swallow 1/2 teaspoon of seeds each day postpartum if milk supply is low or needs a boost.
Silverette Nipple Caps. These are a great gift! They can be really helpful and soothing during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.
The First Forty Days. Such a beautiful book- full of postpartum wisdoms, cultural traditions and recipes. great to read during the end of pregnancy or during those long postpartum nights.
Eva Zasloff MD is a board certified family doctor with a focus on pediatric & women’s health. She has created a new model of care called Tova Health: Integrative Newborn & Maternal Care at Home serving the greater Cambridge area. firstname.lastname@example.org / www.tovahealth.com