Friday, December 23, 2011

Does Your Breastmilk Look Different Today?

Believe it or not, you will notice changes in the consistancy and even color of your breastmilk. A mom recently asked me if it was normal to have watery milk in the morning and thicker milk later in the day. This is absolutely normal. Why does it do this? Long explination short, your milk consistancy, smell, color, and amount vary throughout your breastfeeding experience from day one to the last day.
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

Who Can Eat During Labor?

You have probably heard that eating during labor is not allowed, nor advised. Did your mom get ice chips only during labor? Times have changed and the voices are speaking out about choices in childbirth.
Originally, in the 1940's doctors prohibited eating and drinking during labor amidst some concerns about aspirating during emergency anesthesia. They found that aspirating stomach contents would cause severe health concerns, such as pneumonia or even death.
Research has shown that these results are very minute and there are fewer women having anesthesia.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines, it is okay for moms-to-be to drink clear liquids if they're having uncomplicated labors. But physicians may still draw the line at solid foods (like toast).
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.
I encourage mom to drink a bit of water after every 2-3 contractions, to avoid dehydration and IV fluids.
What happens if you don't eat? Restricting food in labor can cause problems of its own. Besides the stress factors, restricting intake during labor can cause dehydration and ketosis.

What other items do I recommend during labor?


Fruit juice, and


(All of which more and more hospitals already have on hand for birthing mamas).
For Dads:
Dads, although I recommend that you also eat during labor, please be considerate and eat outside the birthing suite or bring items that do not have a strong smell. Mom may become sick because of what you are eating. It may also make her feel a bit jealous.
What happens if mom has nausea?
I love Preggie-Pops!
Slow way down on liquids-mom is most-likely in transition and will be pushing soon!

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.
For more questions, please ask me.
Practice Guidelines for Obstetric Anesthesia: An Updated Report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Obstetric Anesthesia, Anesthesiology:Volume 106(4)April 2007pp 843-863.Providing Oral Nutrition to Women in Labor, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health - May 2008 (Vol. 53, Issue 3, Pages 276-283, DOI: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.03.006)Restricting oral fluid and food intake during labour. Singata M, Tranmer J, Gyte GML. January 2010 Cochrane Review Additional Resources: References
1. Swift, L., 1991, ‘Labor and fasting’, Nursing Times, vol 87, no 48, pp. 64-65. ACOG.ORG 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

Brenda's Birth Story

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.
My body had been laboring for over 24 hours and was finally done. They put sweet Griffin to my chest and he was so beautiful and alert…He nursed right away and it was so amazing to have my
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

Free Breastfeeding Support Group!

New breastfeeding group starting up in November! It will be every other Monday, from 7pm-8pm. Please let me know if you and/or your friends might be interested. Free group, sponsored by Blessings of Birth. More details to come. Become a Facebook fan, make a comment about why you chose to breastfeed, and you will be entered to win a free 1 hour massage!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Go 4th!

Thanks for all your support in the annual Longview Go 4th Parade.

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: for more information.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Recommended Resources for Giving Birth in America

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

Support BABIES with me!

Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. I'm walking in March for Babies because I want to do something about this. And I need your help. Please support my walk. Making a secure donation is easy: just click the 'donate now' button on this page. Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start! The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Your gift will support March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care. Visit my link to help support BABIES!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Labor at Home for Early Labor

  • 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.

Comfort Measures
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
~Drinking liquids
~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.