Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
How does that relate to parenting? In every way. God gave each of us our own personality, our own upbringing, our own path. When a man and woman come together to make a family, they have to learn that they are different. Yes, man and woman are instinctively different, but they are each their own. When a child comes in the picture, they each have their own ideas of how to parent, how to create a bond with that child, how to create an atmosphere, how to discipline, how to show love, etc. While the mother may have her own idea of how to handle situations, the father will also have his ideas. Coming together, with the differences of opinions may in fact help the situation or hinder it. Each of us can help strengthen the other or balance the other out. When one is tired and can't figure out how to handle the situation, the other parent may step in to help. When one parent is better at holding down the bedtime routine...let them. You may be stronger in another area, such as craft/creativity time, or one may be better at outdoor activities or making sure that their nutrition is kept in line. One parent may be lax in an area where the other wants to reinforce certain concepts. Look to each other and write out goals for your family dynamic. Write down the strengths of each parent and the weaknesses of each (we are all weak in areas...it is good to know your boundaries)."parentood is like learning to play a duet"My son recently started taking piano lessons. I was admiring his new-found talent and the excitement he had once a new tune was accomplished. His determination was spectacular...it was a great enjoyment to be able to make a tune. Then, there was the challenge. The challenge of playing his piece as his teacher played the accompaniment. OH MY! He had to keep his pace and not get ahead of her part. He had to focus on his goal, not hers. It took a few times before he could concentrate on his piece and play it simultaneously with hers. Together, when played correctly, it was beautiful! It sounded complete! There was a sense of accomplishment. Her piece, without his, was unfinished. His piece, without hers, was missing something, but together, it was pure harmony. It took effort on both people to come together, to master their piece, to get to the goal. The goal was not him trying to do her part, or her trying to help him do his, but each went in another direction, with the same ultimate goal-a finished piece.
As your children get older, create family meetings and find out goals that your family has. Create a bucket list for the year. This will help you to see what your child is all about and what is important to them. Let them also be a part of their discipline. Be consistent and make sure that your family routine is consistent. Children often work better if they also know the goal. What happens if you sway from the goal? Start over. Get back on track, focus, write ideas down. Remember that each will have their own input, and don't discredit that, but make it work for your family. Come together with your uniqueness and your family will gain momentum and sound beautiful when you all have the same goal in mind. It is never to late to learn from each other, build each other up, or to encourage each other to achieve goals.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Baby’s first 3 months
I have been asked for support many times, for: fussy baby, colic, pulling away from the breast, spitting up, slow weight gain, sore nipples, lack of sleep, etc. I feel that there are many issues that arise, because of lack of proper breastfeeding support and information. The first thing I tell moms is that breastfeeding is natural, but it may not come naturally. What I mean by that is, although we were meant to breastfeed our babies, it isn’t always easy to keep going amidst frustration and sleepless nights. Most moms probably experienced a few bumps in the road before they felt more confident. Breastfeeding can also become an emotional roller coaster ride, because of ridicule and harassment of others. Have you been there? You are not alone! Here is some information that may help calm those fears and help you step into breastfeeding with attitude, what I call mom-a-tude!
Admittedly, I experienced many of those bumps. I even gave up on breastfeeding my daughter, because I didn’t get the right information and support. My daughter was having extremely loose stools. My pediatrician told me that all breastfed babies have loose stools. Well, my daughter had explosions in her diaper, at least once per day, and she was very fussy at the breast. My pediatrician’s advice was to put her on formula. He said that we wouldn’t experience these issues on formula, that she just may be sensitive to breast milk- a common misconception. I was saddened, but wanted what was best for her and felt, once again, that the doctor knew more than me, and my gut was probably wrong.
I feel that something precious was taken from me, and I cried because of the loss of the experience for me and for her. Her issues cleared up a few days after the switch, but then, she began to have other issues, like diaper rash and constipation. I traded one set of issues for another. I stuck with formula because that is what I was told would be best. I knew in the back of my mind that it was misguided information, but I went with it to help her because I knew the label on the formula had what she needed-or so I thought.
After studying about the correct techniques and anatomy during my training to become a breastfeeding counselor, almost 2 years later, I realized that all of my daughter’s issues were because of improper latch and the way that I was feeding her. I learned the significance of foremilk and hindmilk, which I now know are vital to the digestion and weight gain in a baby. I learned the difference between a poor latch and a good latch. I learned that switching breasts during a feeding could have caused most of her problems. I should have finished a full breast, so that she had the thickness of the hindmilk to help with diarrhea and tummy troubles. I also learned that the pressure from my doctor and others led me to take a detour that I didn’t want to take. I learned about the signs, the proper techniques, and the easy fixes for most situations. I learned that breast milk has NO substitutions, only copycats who often lead moms astray.
Foremilk is the milk that the baby receives first, at the beginning of each feed. This milk is low in fat and high in lactose. Hindmilk is the fat-filled milk that produces the increased calorie content. Together, these work to help baby grow and develop. If the baby gets too much foremilk, they will have problems with digestion, creating everything from spit up or vomiting, colic, diarrhea, loose stools, and poor weight gain, and more. This imbalance may also be caused by oversupply, which happens when mom doesn’t empty one breast before going to the next, or is feeding infrequently, causing her breasts to engorge. This can also be caused by improper latch or positioning.
Where and when did it go wrong?Moms often tell me that it started out okay, but got harder and more challenging, or it never started out at all well. Moms often mistake a proper latch, until it is too late and they begin to get cracked or bleeding nipples or engorgement. This often happens 2 weeks in. By this time, baby has also been to the pediatrician and may notice a slow growth pattern. At this point, moms panic and end up gathering advice from the wrong resources. They are also tormented by others who just say “give them a bottle” or “mix breast milk with rice cereal”, or even “formula might be the better option”. Peer pressure is defined well for school-age children, but what about nursing moms? It starts with free samples of formula or commercials that state formula is created to be just like the real thing. Well, if it is ‘like’ the real thing, isn’t it better to use the pure stuff? I believe so. No one likes to experience the issues above and hear their baby cry and experience those tummy troubles, but if correct information is given in the first place, moms may not have to see any of these situations.
My goal, as a breastfeeding counselor and advocate, is to support moms by educating them before they give birth, and also help with those concerns from the first day and throughout the first 3 months. The first three months is what my husband calls the “adjustment period”. These three months are critical to the internal development of baby’s tummy and digestion. Colic often disappears after 3 months, almost by magic! Why is that? Because, I believe it is the time it takes for mom and baby to often get to the “aha” moment, if they haven’t done so already. The moment when it all clicks and the kinks have been worked out. Mom’s milk supply has evened out and baby has figured out the latch and how to get the most out of each feeding. Babies often sleep longer during the night, so mom and baby are better rested and less agitated. I do feel that breastfeeding courses are super imperative for moms who want those critical first three months to start out on the right track and to possibly treat the problems up front, rather than suffering from heartache and detours caused by the naysayers. Moms may not know how to handle the peer pressure, if they aren’t equipped up front with the ups and downs that they may experience. Don’t give up on breastfeeding. There are great resources, but I encourage moms to find it before baby comes. If it is after, please visit with a breastfeeding counselor or group who can support you thru the tough time physically and emotionally.
Overall moms, I want you to listen to your gut. Just because someone else did that technique or took that path with their own baby, doesn’t mean you have to. Take control and stand firm. Show your mom-a-tude, with pride. Don’t be ashamed of breastfeeding or listen to the ridicule when it comes down your path. I understand it is hard, but just stand firm and they will eventually take the hint that you aren’t backing down. Education is the best medicine. Some people aren’t too keen on breastfeeding in public or at all. Make it known to them that you aren’t keen to imposters in formula and you want your baby to have the best. Surround yourself with moms and advocates who feel the same way. Let’s build a better breastfeeding and healthy community!
In conclusion, here is a story from one mom who knew the importance of the great nutrition that was produced in her body and how she clung to that, even under pressure.
This is a picture (seen above) of the moment after my third child was born on October 6th. After nursing the first my first two it was only natural to put him straight to my breast, he latched ravenously and did not let go. He just glared at everyone. He was less than a minute old, still had his umbilical attached. I was discouraged from nursing right away; he nursed and peed on me, lol. I was told he wouldn’t want to nurse, I just shooed them all away. I knew they just wanted to hold him but he was all mine for those first hours. He was a surprise baby. Found out my birth control was recalled and my Dr. I’m pretty sure that’s how we ended up with our blessing. I am the first in my family to nurse a baby, since formula was invented. I have faced criticism from my whole family. Of how it’s bad for baby, to how ugly and saggy my breasts will be (thanks mom) or just how inappropriate it is. I sent this picture without thinking to my family out of excitement after I took it for a first glimpse. I was asked for a different one without my minimal showing breast in it. One they could actually show people is how they put it. I have been banished to the backroom at all family functions and even been brought a blanket to put over my baby’s head on an airplane (I was wearing a nursing top and was at the back alone). With my first baby, she was the hardest. My nipples cracked and bled, I felt like I was nursing a tiny shark. I cried out, I used lanolin; I used cold packs, and nipple shields. I just had to wait for them to toughen up. She had a stuck tongue and narrow palate. I stared at that free can of formula and tried to block out my mother’s offers to fix a bottle for her. I couldn’t do it, open that stupid can, and am glad I’m so stubborn because it’s something I have become awfully proud of. I had no idea what I was doing and the nurse I had was very short with me, I felt manhandled. My second was a breeze, and so is this baby. He’s nine months old now (Vernon Jr.), and his teeth are awfully sharp, but I wouldn’t trade those milky grins for anything.
~ Thank you for sharing Amy!
Saturday, March 31, 2012
help get your needs met. You could hire a housekeeper or postpartum doula to come over and help with other chores.
2) HELP!: If anyone asks how they can help, don't hesitate to ask! Can they cook for you, run errands, or watch your older children for a while? Let them help. I recommend a great website www.takethemameal.com. It is a great way for friends and family to join in by bringing in meals. Remember, you will be so busy tending to the needs of your baby, that you may not have time to prepare meals for you or your family.
3) Visitors: Limit visitors. Everyone will want to come and spend time with you afterwards. This may seem like a wonderful idea, but it can be very stressful for the family to create a bonding time and a routine with baby. Ask everyone to call before arriving. They cannot come empty handed
and expect you to host them. Ask them to limit to 1 hour on the first week and maybe longer the second or third
week. You will need your sleep-I promise. If they have been ill in the last 24 hours, have them wait. Skype them and visit, rather than introducing them in person. Have all wash their hands as soon as they enter the home.
'Your family may not be the best resources for specific concerns such as breastfeeding.'
4) Breastfeeding: Contact a breastfeeding counselor or lactation consultant before you need them. Keep their number on your refrigerator. Ask them if they do house calls or if they are available 24 hours for phone call support.
Find out their office hours. Ask if there is a separate entrance for well babies than sick entrances, if they are located at a medical office or hospital. Chances are, you will most-likely talk to them several times after giving birth. Create a relationship first and get a feel for what support they offer. Often times, doctors are not the best resource for breastfeeding; they will often refer you to a lactation specialist for more one-on-one support. Although they intend
well also, your family may not be the best resources for specific concerns such as breastfeeding.
5) Time Out: Yes, it is okay to get a sitter in the first 6 weeks postpartum.
Just one hour away will help. Go for a walk, go for lunch with a friend, go on a quick date with your spouse, get a pedicure, or just get an errand done. You are not a bad mom if you need a break. The first 6 weeks are the hardest. It is common for moms to get the baby blues or have some form of postpartum depression. Taking a breather will help ease the pressure for both mom, dad, and siblings. Sometimes siblings have a hard time adjusting as well. They may feel left out or stressed also. Arrange a play date for them or send them with a friend or family member, where they can be the center of attention for a while. I have often recommended a date night at least 1 time per month for couples. Whether it is for 1 hour or 3-4 hours, it will help secure the relationship and keep burdens lighter.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
You’re going to cut my wife where? Let’s take the episiotomy one step at a time,
in a simple, less perplexing way. No pictures…I Promise!
We all know that a baby has to wiggle out of a small space during birth. This space grows
larger with each dilation of the cervix. Dilation is measured by finger-span. One centimeter dilation allows the doctor to measure with one fingertip. Two centimeters, the doctor can measure with two fingers, etc. At ten centimeters, the cervix is about the size of a grapefruit. Wow- crazy, I know. This process of dilation takes time, by once mom is at 10 centimeters,
she is complete and is ready to push.
What’s a doc to do? Well, that is up to mom. Mom may choose to try the methods above, but she could be open for a little assistance. Doctors can control a tear by cutting. This is called an episiotomy. Unlike a tear, this is a more directed cut that helps to alleviate or prevent a severe tear. You can ask your doctor to cut a little at a time, as needed. The healing of a tear can be easier than an episiotomy; however, both tears and cuts will need to be cared for and given time to mend. Please note that it is possible to get an episiotomy, but continue to tear.
Types of tears:
· Superficial-tears at the outermost layer of the vaginal tissue (no stitches required).
· 2nd Degree-deeper tears into the muscles (stitches required).
· 3rd Degree-vaginal tissue tears, perennial skin and perennial muscle tear
· 4th Degree- tears around anal area and sometimes through the anal area
How do you help your wife try to prevent tearing or the need for episiotomies? Remind
her remember to do her “Kegal” exercises. Kegal exercises decreases risk of developing hemorrhoids and leaking urine in late pregnancy. It also prepares the pelvic floor for childbirth, improves healing of the perineum from episiotomy, and can increase sexual pleasure for you and her. How does she do this? First, identify your pelvic floor muscle. One way to do this for women and men is to contract the muscle that stops the flow of urine. (Avoid doing Kegels while urinating; this can actually weaken the muscle. Only do Kegel exercises with an empty bladder). Contract the muscle and hold for 2-5 seconds, then release it, being careful not to contract the muscles in your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks). She should repeat this 10 times in a row, three times a day.
Friday, December 23, 2011
For this mom, she had just mentioned that her baby was sleeping longer hours thru the night and during this last week, she noticed that the consistancy was changing. Why was it thinner in the morning? There are two levels of milk that you provide to your baby. The first 2-5 minutes will be "foremilk" or front milk. The consistancy is thinner and has few calories. Your "hindmilk" or the milk behind the foremilk is thicker and packs a lot of fat and calories. If your baby is sleeping in longer, your breast fills up with excess milk, thus at first causing you to overfill. At first, you may notice that your breasts are swollen and full, until they adjust to your baby's new schedule.
You may nurse or pump and notice that you have a lot more of the foremilk than usual, again, the thinner-watery consistancy. This is great for building up your stock of breast milk, but this can cause your baby to have looser stools because their bodies excrete foremilk at a faster rate. If your baby misses a feeding, it is okay to do self-expressions or pump a bit before breastfeeding, 1-3 minutes. Or, if you are pumping and noticing that baby is having very loose stools, you may want to discard your first 1-3 minutes of pumped milk.
Color and smell of breastmilk is also affected by changes in your diet. If you eat a lot of green vegitables, you may notice a green tint to your milk. If you eat a lot of garlic, your milk may smell a bit like garlic. Remember that what you take in may affect what comes out of your breastmilk. This includes alcohol and medication. If you have any concerns about what is being passed to baby, please ask a breastfeeding counselor or your physician.
The amount of milk pumped will also fluctuate, based on the needs of your baby. When your baby goes thru growth spurts, your baby will nurse often. When your baby nurses often, your milk production will increase. Remember supply and demand? Well, this is the best description to give when talking about the amount you see pumped. Moms are often concerned about if their baby is getting enough. In the majority of cases, they are, but if you notice any issues or have concerns, please seek help. If you slow down on the amount of times you breastfeed, your milk production will slow down. Keep this in mind when you notice any changes. A breastfeeding counselor does have ideas on how to naturally increase or decrease milk supply. Often times, issues can be resolved rather quickly with just some helpful hints or reminders.
This was one of my great questions of the week. Send me your questions and I will help! I guarantee that you are not the only mom with your question.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Most moms often loose their appetite during labor and choose not to eat. Small doses of water and other clear liquids are great during this time. I usually recommend eating small snack foods in early labor. This will help increase your energy and it helps keep the momentum throughout labor. As a doula, I let families know that it might be a great idea to find your favorite popsicles or protein bars that they will use at home or during the first 2-4 hours of labor. I do not suggest eating full meals once you know that you are in labor. This is strongly discouraged, because it can make you feel awful when your contractions start becoming stronger; it often leads to increased nausea.
What other items do I recommend during labor?
Fruit juice, and
NOTE: Ask your doctor/midwife about their policies about food and drink during
labor. If they do not reflect the current medical studies you may share the
information with them and see if they will go along with your plan. Many
hospitals and birth centers have special labor diets now and the women report
being very satisfied with the outcomes.
1. Swift, L., 1991, ‘Labor and fasting’, Nursing Times, vol 87, no 48, pp. 64-65. ACOG.ORG
http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Obstetric_Practice/Oral_Intake_During_Labor.aspx2. Roberts, C.C. & Ludka, L.M., 1993, ‘Eating and drinking in labor: A literature review’,
Midwives: hear the heartbeat of the future, proceedings of the International
Confederation of Midwives 23rd International Congress, May 9-14 1993, Vancouver,
Canada, pp. 1559-1572.
3. Enkin, M., Keirse, Marc J.N.C., Neilson, J., Crowther, C., Duley, L., Hodnett, E., &
Hofmeyer, J., 2000, A guide to effective care in pregnancy and childbirth, Oxford
University Press, New York.
4. Sleutel, M. & Golden, S.S. 1999, ‘Fasting in labor: relic or requirement’, Journal of
Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, vol 28, no 5, pp. 507-512.
5. Hazle, N.R., 1986, ‘Hydration in labor: is routine intravenous hydration necessary?’,
Journal of Nurse Midwifery, vol 31, no 4, pp. 171-176.
6. Carp, H., Jayaram, A., & Stoll, M., 1992, ‘Ultrasound examination of the stomach
contents of parturients’, Anesthesia and Analgesia’, vol 74, no 5, pp. 683-687.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Here is the birth story of our sweet baby boy…
We had a traumatic emergency c-section with our 2nd baby, so when we found out we were expecting again I knew I wanted to use a doula this time around to increase my chances of a VBAC. I met Tina at a Doula Network meeting and asked her to be our Doula shortly after finding out I was pregnant.
On August 17th I woke up with contractions that seemed stronger than the Braxton hicks I had been having. I had some bloody show and the contractions continued about 5-10 minutes apart the whole day…they slowly got stronger. Around 10:30 p.m. We decided to call Tina. When she arrived the contractions slowed way down. We thought it would be good to try and rest so she went home and I went to bed around midnight. At 2am I woke up with a decent
contraction. I stayed in bed till 5:30am. I was able to rest in between the contractions but needed Clint to rub my back each time I had one. They were getting stronger but still staying about 5 minutes apart and staying about 60 seconds in duration.
We called Tina and she came over around 8am. We walked a couple of blocks around the
neighborhood…stopping with each contraction. They were getting more intense and I was starting to feel really exhausted and somewhat nauseated. I continued to labor at home…pretty much just wondering around…and eventually feeling most comfortable in my bedroom. I decided I wanted to take a shower to help relax…right before I got in I started throwing up. I felt much better after that and was able to be in the shower alone. Clint stayed in the bathroom in case I needed anything but the hot water really helped me relax. Around 11:30 or 12pm Clint and I decided we wanted to go to the hospital.
We got our things together and headed over…Tina would meet us there. Things seemed to calm down on the ride over. I still contracted about 5 minutes apart, but they seemed much more manageable. We parked and walked up to labor and delivery. After we got up and into Triage, Clint had to go back down to admitting. Tina was there so she stayed with me while the nurse got me on the monitors to watch the contractions/baby’s heart rate. After Clint came back up and the nurse got all the info she needed, she checked my cervix. I as an 8! I started crying out
of relief! Relief that it was close to the end and relief that we had stayed home long enough...I was so worried I would get there and only be 3cm!
We got into our room and got settled. My Dr. was out of town so the on-call Dr. came in to see how I was doing. I was very thankful to see that it was the same Dr. we saw for our OB care with our first son. He offered to break my water and we decided we would since I was progressed so far.
Immediately after he broke my water, the contractions got INTENSE. I did need to be on the monitors but was able to labor out of bed. I would squat or lean my elbows on the side of the bed
with each contraction. Shortly after my water breaking I felt pressure, the nurse checked and I was still an 8. I remember thinking…”I can’t do this much longer!” I had a few more contractions and this time I felt PRESSURE! I think I even was pushing a little because I just “needed” to. This time I was at 10cm and ready to push. They called the Dr. and I ended up having to wait a little bit before he got there. That was really hard! The nurse and Tina were really helpful in helping me breath through the contractions…In retrospect I think I would have just started pushing. Finally, the Dr arrived and I started to push. I needed help with my breathing
and had some oxygen…It was so intense and I was ready for it to be over! It felt like I was pushing for a really long time but I guess it was less than 5 pushes and our baby boy was here! I looked down and saw his sweet face…The feeling of seeing him and the relief of delivery being over was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
baby with me and not taken away. I had no tearing and really no trauma anywhere…my recovery was amazing. My back muscles were a tad sore but other than that I felt great.
Overall my birth experience was an amazing experience. Was everything we had wanted and more. God blessed me beyond words and I am so thankful for our beautiful baby
boy and such an incredible birth. I got to experience birth how God created it to be.
My body did what it was supposed to do and I was able to enjoy the experience vs. fear it. Having Tina serve as my Doula was so beneficial and I couldn’t have done it without her. She was such a blessing to us during this time and we will always hold a special place for her in our hearts!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
We are excited for what this year will bring.
Be sure to let those who are expecting, thinking about becoming pregnant, and even new moms, know that I am here.
Visit: http://www.blessingsofbirth.net for more information.
Monday, July 4, 2011
I am a birth advocate. What does that mean to me? It means that not only am I pro-life, I am pro-birthing experience. I believe that women have the right to birth in the way they desire. I also believe that many women do not know that there are choices in childbirth and for that very reason, end up with a birth experience that they did not expect.
A midwife recently sent me to this documentary and I am so glad she did. I want to share this with you and hope that this makes you more of a birth advocate.
Watch the video (available instantly on Netflix). This trailer will give you a glimpse.
-Also, watch The Business of Being Born. These two go hand in hand.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
- During this phase you should just relax. It is not necessary for you to rush to the hospital or birth center. It will be more comfortable for you to spend this time at home, in familiar territory. If early labor is during the day you should do simple routines around the house. Keep yourself occupied but still conserve some of your energy. Drink plenty of water and eat small snacks. Keep track of the time of your contractions.If early labor begins during the night it is a good idea to try and get some sleep. If you can’t fall asleep, do things that will distract you like cleaning out your closet, packing your bag, or making sack lunches for the next day.
The Benefits of Laboring at Home
*You may be more at ease in the comfort of your own home.
*You can move around freely without the monitoring required by hospital staff and procedures.
*Labor sometimes improves at home.
*Family and friends can support you at home.
If you labor at home, these things might make you more comfortable:
~Taking a warm bath
~Resting in a bed
~Rocking in a rocking chair
~Listening to music
~Having a massage
~Fold Baby Clothes
~Doing last minute things for the baby or for your other children
~Finish packing your bag/and partner's bag
~Don't wear yourself out with too much activity! This is a time to rest, relax and prepare yourself for the birth of your baby.
~Bake-Don't laugh, baking is a great way to spend early labor. This is a fun labor project that can help you relax and go about normal activities. I'd suggest baking some cookies or brownies to take with you to the hospital. Can you imagine how happy the nurses will be to see you with a plate of goodies? Some couples also choose to make a birth day cake to eat after the baby is born.
Also-Please contact your doctor/midwife and doula. Let them know what is going on. Watch for warning signs: bleeding, dizzyness, nausea, sharp cramping, water breaking.