The last few days of waiting for your little one to arrive can feel never ending. The due date is approaching and you are finally going to meet your baby but before that you are going to go through one of the most physical, intense events of your life. Your family and friends are calling or texting everyday waiting for an update. You are uncomfortable, anxiety levels are creeping up and you ready for all of this to be over. It is a time of in between and it deserves attention.
You took your childbirth ed class, found your doula, read the books, bought the stuff and now you are home, your little one is crying and you don't know what to do. Probably one of the most frustrating and overwhelming parts about being a parent is trying to address your baby's needs when you have no idea what they are asking for. The first few months are a guessing game but to make things a little bit easier, we always recommend watching this 45 min video on soothing techniques. Make it a movie night for the whole family!
The movies paint this picture of a beautiful mother calming feeding her baby while sitting in a rocking chair. What people don't see is all the hard work that it takes to get there. The first few weeks are usually a time of sore, cracked nipples, engorgement and often uncomfortable latches. The biggest culprit to these issues - a shallow latch! It turns out that often breastfeeding doesn't come as naturally as one thought. This video is a great example of how to assist your little one in getting that deep latch. With plenty of practice - a peaceful rocking chair breastfeeding session is likely to be in your future!
Prior to birth, a lot of our families never consider bringing baby into bed with them. Yet, 95% of people eventually bed-share at some point with their baby. And often it is done in unsafe circumstances because no one ever planned for it. Instead of pretending this doesn't happen, let's review best practices to keep it as safe as possible.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - there's a time a place for almost everything. And we are lucky to live in a world where those options exist. One of those such options is formula. And depending on what's going on, you might need to turn to it. Here are more of the common reasons why. And if you're goal is to get back to breastfeeding when possible - reach out for help! The earlier the better. Learn to protect your milk supply and how to supplement with care.
Most mother's come to us because they want to avoid unnecessary interventions. And often pitocin seems to be at the top of the list. However, as we've seen, there is a time and a place for nearly everything. Regardless, despite what I've heard some care providers say, it's not just another form of oxytocin. Learn the differences here.
I'm sure you've heard the stories: that mama "stalled" at 4cm for hours. And that mama "flew" from 6 to 10cm in 30 minutes. Yet there is no rhyme or reason why and it it turns out all to be normal. Studies have shown cervical progression in a normal human labor is unpredictable so forget the number and just breath.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Nothing can be better than having a considerate and loving partner cheering a mama on and taking care of her needs so that she can focus on feeding the baby. Breastfeeding can be tough but the right support can make it better. Check out these ideas here! I'd also add, the partner should get really good at soothing techniques so that in between feeds, the mama can be sent to get some rest while the baby is well taken care of.
It's unfortunate that our culture continues to be one of fear when it comes to birth but especially when it comes to working towards a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Yet, studies to continue to show that it is likely the best choice for a low risk mama and that even if it ends in a repeat cesarean, the process of birth is helpful to mama and baby. You're not crazy and here are the reasons why.
So you're done hearing about or doing kegels?! There are plenty of other options in terms of techniques to strengthen the body for labor. As with anything, there aren't any guarantees but you can't help and wonder what about our sedentary Western lifestyles might have to do with the length of our labors. Learn more here about some regular exercises you can add to the mix to focus on the pelvis.
Unfortunately, our country has yet to join almost the entire industrialized world in offering paid parental leave. Often mamas and their partners have to return back to work before they feel ready. And though it's unlikely you'll feel completely ready, read here on how to prepare. It will get easier with time and prepping for that day in advance will help.
Many experts speculate that a reason our country has such high cesarean rates are because of the high rates of unnecessary inductions. Find out here how to avoid a possible unnecessary induction that could derail the entire birth from the get go.
There's probably little more upsetting postpartum than experience breastfeeding issues or feeling like your newborn isn't gaining weight. Often that despair can turn into self doubt about the ability to produce the amount of milk needed for your baby. This is a great visual to give you a sense of what on average newborns need.
Birth in general can be daunting. Add the bright lights, the dozens of questions in triage, and a laboring mother in the height of her labor trying to navigate her hospital's policies and it can be overwhelming. Regardless, the mother and her partner are the one's in charge. And a lot of the guess work can be taken out of the big day by starting to communicate with your provider in advance. Come into these conversations as the decision maker and be aware of the type of language your care provider uses. Are they "not allowing" you to eat in labor in delivery? Start the conversations now to create an open dialogue. And ultimately, if you find a care provider that is not respecting your right to make decisions, there is always time to find someone else.
Read more here!
Despite most hospital's policies, studies have shown that most women don't have to fast during labor. These antiquated policies come from a time where aspiration was more common. And due to medical advancements, most women should be clear to eat. So pack well ladies and read more here!
Unfortunately, our country is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't provide paid parental leave to its people leaving many families scrambling to get back to work. This can be a challenging transition for any family. There are few things that can be done in advance:
Going Back To Work After Baby – 5 Tips For A Smooth Transition
#1: Ease Into Childcare Before You Need It
Adjusting to new carers, new routines and new feeding methods (if you are introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby) all take a bit of getting used to before they feel normal. By starting childcare a few weeks before your return date, you can make these adjustments with flexibility. You can pop in for a breastfeed if your baby refuses the bottle, and work out what time you need to start your day — in order to get everyone out the door and where they need to be on time! You can also fine-tune everything from how much milk you need to leave for your baby, to which settling techniques work best. Once “D Day” arrives, you can relax a little more and focus on the work side of the equation.
#2: Negotiate Family-Friendly Practices Before Your First Day Back
Arriving on your first day back armed with your breast pump, only to find there is no place to express privately (and no time allowed for you to do so), will add stress you just don’t need. Discuss working and breastfeeding with your employer, manager or Human Resources department before you go on leave, or at the very least, before you return. Integrating breastfeeding support into workplace culture makes good business sense. Benefits for your employer include increasing retention rates, lowering absenteeism, reducing recruitment costs, and retaining valuable corporate knowledge. Find out more about working and breastfeeding from the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Even if you are no longer breastfeeding, it’s important to discuss other needs with your employer. Can you negotiate to arrive later and/or leave earlier occasionally, if needed? Is working at home a possibility if your child or carer is sick (or is it even an option full time)? Is job-sharing possible, to allow flexibility around family responsibilities? Even if you can’t imagine needing any of these options, knowing they are supported is reassuring if the unexpected happens.
#3: Acknowledge Your Feelings
Guilt, disappointment, anger and frustration are all common emotions felt by women about returning to work. Circumstances change, opportunities arise and expectations are not always met. This means you might need to go back sooner than planned, take the job offer that comes at just the wrong time or you may find what you were promised before taking leave has suddenly vanished by the time you return. Some mothers regret having to put aside a fulfilling experience of being with their children, enjoying social interaction with other mothers and the freedom of unscheduled time, to return to a job they no longer have a passion for. Motherhood often sparks interest in other careers, further study or lifestyle changes – which need to wait until another time to explore. If you’re trading places with your partner, you might resent having done the “hard work” of the early months and handing over an easier, fun-loving baby just as life gets easier. You might envy the relationship your child builds with her other parent, grandparents or other carers, and feel they have all the fun while you do all the work. Or perhaps you feel elated to be back to a job you love! This can be combined with guilt about not enjoying being an at-home mother. Rest assured, many mothers feel that returning to work is a relief, ending boredom, loneliness or financial worries. All are valid feelings. Some you might be able to talk about, work through or change; others you need to acknowledge and accept for now. Talking about how you feel is important. Finding someone you are confident to share your feelings with can help.
#4: You Will Never be Organized Enough
Getting everyone out of the house, with everything they need, to the place they need to be, when they need to be there, can be overwhelming at first. It will continue to a challenge too. Everything you can do the night before will make mornings easier. But the reality for most working families is that evenings are just as rushed, as a day’s household tasks and preparations need to be concentrated into a few precious hours before bed. Check-lists, regular routines and sharing the load will all help. There will be days when it all runs like a well-oiled machine – and days when the wheels fall off. Bags will be left at home, time will run out before everyone is dressed, and washing and dishes will pile up awaiting a window in time that never occurs. If you have in-home childcare – your partner, family or paid carer coming to your child – you will gain a little in not having to get your child off to day care, but you might lose a little if household chores are not part of the deal. Coming home at the end of a long day, missing bedtime because your train was cancelled, and finding every toy you own scattered across the floor might make you feel that everyone is having fun except you. In the workplace, you might worry you aren’t being productive enough due to lack of sleep, time taken to pump your milk, meetings not attended or networking opportunities missed. If your workplace culture isn’t family-friendly, you might feel resentment from co-workers who see your lactation breaks as a perk, your missed deadlines due to a teething baby frustrating, and your lessened interest in workplace politics a sign you have lost your edge. When things aren’t going as smoothly as you had hoped, remember it isn’t just you – most working families have times they struggle to keep on top of everything. Seek help if you need it, take care of yourself as a priority and know when to let go of some things to keep on top of others. Katrina Springer, aka, The Organised Housewife offers these tips: Always keep your nappy bag packed, so if you need to rush out the door it’s ready to go. Sort your dirty laundry to make it easier to know what to wash. If you have time make up some meals to put in the freezer for those nights you don’t have time or the desire to cook. Wash the dishes every night so you wake up to a clean kitchen, this will make a positive start to the day.
#5: Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
During those safety talks when you fly, the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. Why? Because you can’t help anyone else survive if you run out of oxygen. The same rule applies to motherhood: by putting your own needs last, you risk not being able to take care of anyone of anything. Never is this more so than when you are balancing the demands of work and family. Looking after your physical, mental and emotional well-being is important. Make time in your busy routine to eat well, exercise, stay connected with friends and look after your health needs. … Getting your work/life balance right will never be as valuable as it is once you have a child. It will take time and some adjustment but returning to work after having a baby brings a new perspective on what is important in both halves of your world. Some parents say that going back to work is a breeze compared to being at home.