Ode to My Placenta

Background art by Mamapaints on Etsy

Ode to My Placenta

How do I love? Let me count the ways.

First, I love your beauty, so rich and warm and red
Placenta you’re my pillow in my coziest womb-bed.

Second, you bring nourishment and liquid from my mom
When she eats well, then I eat well, that’s good because I’m young.

Third, you take away my waste and metabolize the rest
It goes out through Mom’s kidneys, no work, no fuss, no mess.

Fourth, you’re a barrier to keep our bloods apart
For mom and I are separate beings, though connected at the start.

Fifth, you’re my advocate - you tell my mom what to do
Your hormones keep me growing and that makes mom healthy too.

Sixth, you bring oxygen each time mom takes a breath
I need a lot of clean, fresh air because my lungs don’t work quite yet.

Seven, you’re my thermostat - you keep my womb just right
Mom sweats for me in the daytime, and warms me up at night.

Lastly, you’re my treasure chest of blood for when I’m born
The extra meal that fills me up to birth me in top form.

So, please don’t cut my cord too soon, and don’t pull on it too
I’ll call for my placenta when I am safely through.

And when you see this wondrous thing that grew me up so well
Say thank you to the God who made us from one cell.

-Sarah Buckley, M.D.
author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices

Placenta Art by Mom Tribe Ceramics
Photography for Etsy Businesses by Soleil Life

Are you or your child on a (touch) starvation diet?

By Dr. Darcia Narvaez

We have come to think of ourselves and our children more like machines than living creatures—keep the tank full, keep the body clean and shiny, rest it overnight, get it back to work in the morning. Is this a good life?

Are you or your child on a (touch) starvation diet?

As mammals, our heritage is to thrive in social situations. But today in the USA we spend more time alone or with the empty social calories of television and iPod videos than enjoying one another face to face, like our ancestors did. Why?

Here is a hypothesis: many adults spend time the way they did as children. As children many of us spent a great deal of time in carriers or strollers or carseats (rather than being held or carried). So we don't mind long commutes sitting alone in similar circumstances. We were put in front of the television as a babysitter (rather than passed around and cherished by an extended family). So we don't mind long hours in front of the computer. In fact, we've lost some of our ability to get along with people and have an easier time getting along with machines—at least they tend to respond instantaneously to our needs without much coaxing or interaction. (Hmm, people in service jobs do the same thing. They take our orders and money and hand over the goods. Human becomes machine.)

So what, you say? As long as I have a job, get my work done, get the paycheck and can relax a bit in front of the TV, what more can I ask for?

How about some joy? Real, natural joy. Where does it come from?

Here is one source: affectionate touch. 

There was a study some years ago that looked at couples for an hour in cafes in four places: England, France, USA and Puerto Rico. Researchers counted how many times (every 20 seconds) the couple touched each other. As I recall, the British touched not at all, the Americans touched a handful of times, the French about 50 times and the Puerto Ricans about 180 times. This made perfect sense to me, being Puerto Rican. When my husband and I go out to a restaurant, I have to be seated close enough to be able to touch him frequently if not constantly. Latin Americans touch a lot and some reports indicate that Caribbean Latin Americans are among the happiest people in the world.

Human ancestors, like most other social mammals, spent a great deal of time in close proximity. Lots of cuddling, sleeping in the same space touching. Lots of socializing, including singing and laughing (just check out the deep descriptive reports put out by anthropologists who have lived with foraging hunter gatherers).

positive affection between parents and children

What are the positives of affectionate touch? Here are a few:

  • Touch boosts immunity, whether young or old.
  • Young children's emotions and physiological systems are regulated and set up by caregiver touch.
  • People who get massages have more a greater amount of "well-being" chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin in their bodies.
  • Affectionate touch is calming.

Of course, if you grew up with little affectionate touch, it may be hard to want it or accept it now. When I was a child, my family and I would regularly spend a year in a Latin country, returning to Minnesota in between as home base.  I remember coming back from a year in Pamplona, Spain, for ninth grade. On the first day of school at the end of lunch, I remember grabbing my (Scandinavian-heritaged) friend's arm to go back to class. I still remember the look on her face as she squirmed away and demanded to know what I was doing. Woops, I forgot to code switch for the cooler, less affectionate context.

Mariana Caplan, in her book, Untouched, describes how she found it more pleasant to live outside the USA in places where people were more affectionate and trusting. She says:

"The seeming inconveniences of seven people living in one room, or sleeping in a hammock and taking cold showers out of a bucket, were negligible compared to what it felt like to live in an environment of intimacy, communion, love, and an overall sense of well being" (p. xx).

I agree with her that there is a very different feeling in more collectivist cultures, such as those in Latin America. Social life feels more like the interaction of marshmallows—soft, full, sweet, and sticky, in contrast to being in mainstream US culture which feels more like the interaction of ping pong balls—every one is going about their own business in a slick, quick and flat sort of way, with little sense of connection to others.

What's wrong with having an untouching, unaffectionate culture? Starvation. Some decades ago, James Prescott of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development postulated that as a result of little touch many Americans suffer from Somatosensory Affectional Deprivation. Brain systems (e.g., cerebellum) important for social pleasures were insufficiently developed during early childhood due to a lack of touch, making it hard to enjoy positive touch as an adult. The way children are raised is who they become.

What do people do when they are starving for pleasure? Take nourishment from whatever they can find—alcohol, drugs, junk food, electronic media—all of which when misused can be harmful to self and/or others. But humans need pleasure in some fashion—our brains are pleasure-driven.

Okay, so what are some good ways to get affectionate touch?


  • Make sure your children get a lot of positive touch. Hugs, cuddles, gentle strokes.
  • Avoid negative touch (pinch, slap, hit) because it harms the child (and you) in so many ways, including brain development, moral development and trust in you.
  • Don't isolate babies. Keep them on your body as much as possible. There are good, safe ways to sleep with babies in this era of soft mattresses and bed covers.
  • Let your child sit on your lap when they want to, no matter what the age. Oxytocin, the calming "cuddle drug," rises after a half hour or so.
  • Gentle, firm-touch massage for babies and all ages.


  • Learn to sit close with loved ones for relaxation.
  • One of the best times of the day for me is when my husband and I sit close together on a couch to "huggle" (cuddle and snuggle).
  • Several times a day, my husband and I put our foreheads together, noses touching. Forehead to forehead with deep breathing for several minutes—very relaxing! We found out recently that New Zealand Maori use this as a greeting (called hongi).
  • Get a dog and be affectionate.
  • Give and get massages (e.g., shoulders, back, feet, face). Massage decreases the stress hormone, cortisol, and boosts immunity.

For more scholarly information about the effects of touch, see the research of the researchers presenting at the symposium, Human Nature and Early Experience whose website will include videos after the event. Also see James Prescott's work online.

Related Reading by Dr. Narvaez at Peaceful Parenting: 

An 'On Demand' Life and the Basic Needs of Babies

Where Are All the Happy Babies?

The Dangers of Crying It Out

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

5 Things NOT to Do to Babies

12 Ways to Nurture Babies at Conception, Birth, and Beyond

Are you treating your child like a prisoner?

Are you or your child on a touch starvation diet?

Conspiracy Thinking: Understanding Attachment and Its Consequences

Psychology Today: Circumcision Series

Learn More from Narvaez:

The Evolved Nest Institute

Kindred Media

Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom

💜 Peaceful Parenting Community

💙 Peaceful Parenting on Facebook

💗 Peaceful Parenting on Telegram

Babies Sleep Best Near a Loved One's Chest -Danelle Day


Yeast Q&A

QUESTION: Can yeast be passed back and forth between adults, and cause a problem for an intact man? 


Yes -- anything flora/microorganism related easily goes back and forth from one partner to another. However, this is not limited to intact adults. There are many 'yeasty' non-intact men who also pass yeast 'infections' back and forth between themselves and their partner. 

Yeast lives naturally on all humans, on all mammals, and everywhere in nature. It is normal (and even healthy) to have some. The problems becomes when yeast spores overgrow. This is easier done on some people than others, depending on a variety of factors (diet being one, and how someone baths/showers/or cares for their body is another). 

Many people are under the mistaken belief that they should use soap on the genitals to decrease yeast - this is counter productive and tends to disrupt flora. Or, it could be that things were disrupted from a young age when parents used soap on a child, or a child eats a hearty amount of processed (and sugary) non-foods. A child may grow up thinking they "smell" if they don't use soap -- but this is solely because the flora of the genitals became disrupted in the first place. In their healthy, natural, clean state (i.e. washed regularly with simply warm water), the human genitals are able to maintain their own balance. 

Babies who are in diapers also have the perfect environment for yeast to flourish -- warm, moist, with a sugar-rich diet (human milk or a substitute - necessary and very important for human infant brain and body growth, but with the potential to nourish yeast as well). A youngster can get into a cycle of feeding yeast (processed, sugary foods and drinks), supporting the habitat in which it grows, and then well-meaning parents do things to try and over clean (soaps, scrubs), or apply things to the diaper area that they hear of in parenting threads (cornstarch, powders, flour, lotion, essential oils, human milk, etc.), and make the situation worse. Thankfully, these cycles are easy to break free from, but it takes the willingness to step back and be more hands-off while the body rebalances. 

Some simple ways to make the body less likely to experience yeast overgrowth: 

1) Showers under warm water only (no soap, not even 'natural' soap on the genitals).

2) Warm baths in epsom salt (and a little boron salt if desired - another anti-fungal natural mineral) -- 2 cups plain epsom salt (no perfumes or oils added), 2 Tablespoons boron (Borax is the most commonly sold refined brand of natural boron).

3) Air dry - go underwear free at home when it is practical to do so (if you live in a private place, even being in the sunshine nude is healing for the body, and sunlight plus fresh air aids the skin and genitals in rebalancing microflora).

4) Use only 100% cotton underwear of your chosen type - not too tight against the skin; not those with lining that is non-breathable.

5) Increase whole food plants in the diet (and items like garlic, lemons, onions, ginger root, turmeric root, black seed oil, d-mannose powder, apple cider vinegar, also help to re-balance gut and genital flora). Smoothies or juicing vegetables and fruits makes this easy.

6) Decrease processed non-food items and sugary items as much as possible. Dairy is also another culprit for many who have gut (intestinal) and yeast disturbances - switching to a nut-milk is one alternative, for example.

7) Clotrimazole on the outside of the genitals when there is external yeast overgrowth. If internal in the vagina, use treatment options that are 7 days in length vs. the 1-3 day treatment options that tend to leave behind some of the stronger yeast spores to regrow. Clotrimazole will be cheapest at your local store pharmacy aisle in any generic version they stock.

8) Calmoseptine on the outside when yeast causes raw skin, redness, rash, chaffing, irritation -- this is also antifungal and healing for the skin. It can also be used preventatively (say when traveling, or when swimming in a chlorine pool or bacteria filled lake). Using Calmoseptine FIRST, before clotrimazole is applied for the first time, is the best course of action to most rapidly heal a yeast related rash on babies, children, or adults. The skin needs to be on its way to healing first, preventing further issues, before 'treatment' starts with clotrimazole for the fastest, most effective remedy. Apply Calmoseptine first, ideally after an epsom salt bath. Wait 4-6 hours, and then continue with the course of suggestions above and clotrimazole. Doing so allows exterior yeast issues to be remedied within 24-48 hours. Internal yeast overgrowth, or that which recurs often, is more complex and requires more of the above changes and/or treatments to remedy. Calmoseptine can be found behind the counter at most pharmacies (call to ask which pharmacy has a tube in stock near you), or on Amazon. No prescription is needed. 

further resources on caring for your intact child

an intact living community

an advocacy group

a gentle parenting group

a mainstream group for those raising boys today


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