Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Week of Links: Personal Experience

Rixa, at Stand and Deliver, recently asked women to share their epidural stories. She wrote, "When I was a PhD student, I was chatting with an acquaintance about pregnancy and birth. She had four children. She said something that was really hard for me to wrap my mind around. 'I just love it when I go into labor and get an epidural,' she said. 'I feel so empowered!'" Rixa goes on to wonder why "women have such different reactions to certain choices or life experiences", noting how potentially divisive women's reactions to others' choices can be.

At last count, there were 45 comments, with women discussing their personal experiences with epidurals. I found it very, very interesting.

Also interesting is the At Your Cervix post, "Some self loathing, some guilt, and a whole lot of venting". Here's an intro:
"Yes, hospitals, medicine and nursing care can save lives. However, ever notice the trickle down effect of us *causing* some of the problems in the first place?

I have been guilty of thinking far too medically as a nurse on L&D. I feel guilt for being that medicalized thinking nurse. I'm not talking about truly sick people, I'm talking about normal labor and births."
More post, coming up. Have you read anything interesting online that's been birth/pregnancy-related? Please share in the comments!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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Monday, February 22, 2010

A Week of Links: News

I've read some great posts lately, and I want to share several of them with you. First, the news items:

From the Motherwear blog, Study: Common antidepressants can delay milk coming in. According to the study, women who were taking an SSRI drug like Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil had a median onset of lactation difference of about 17 hours - 69.1 vs. 85.8. This is especially important given that milk is termed "officially" delayed if it takes more than 72 hours to come in.

Of course all this is not to say that mothers taking an SSRI drug should not breastfeed! Just that they should be aware that it may take a bit longer for their milk to come in, and that this longer length of time is normal for women taking an SSRI drug. Ideally, they would also be aware of the problematic sequence of events mentioned in the post, and take steps to prevent longer-term challenges:
"delayed milk "coming in" can have some serious consequences, especially if it isn't managed well. The drill goes something like this: delayed onset of mature milk leads to higher than normal weight loss in the baby, which leads to supplementation, which can lead to compromising of the milk supply and/or nipple preferencing if the supplementation isn't done carefully. It can also increase the risk of jaundice.
Talking to a local lactation consultant, a La Leche League leader, and/or doing some reading ahead of time are all suggestions I would make to moms who want to prepare for this potential challenge.

And, from a link from Woman to Woman Childbirth Education blog, a blog post from the San Diego Birth Network on Cervical Scar Tissue – A Big Issue That No One Is Talking About. This is an incredibly valuable post for professionals who work with women during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as for women themselves who may have scar tissue on their cervix, from cryo surgery or other surgeries.
The midwife proceeds to explain to my sister that she is going to try and massage the cervix and break the scar up. With some discomfort for my sister, she went from a finger tip dilated to 3 cms in a matter of minutes. An hour later she was 4 cms and an hour after that my nephew was born. Once the scar tissue had completely released, she flew to 10 cms.

As you can imagine, I asked that Midwife a ton of questions. I wanted to know all I could about this scar tissue stuff. Besides “massaging”, what can you do before hand? She shared her knowledge with me. Told me that HPV is so very common and more and more women are having these standard procedures done, but are never informed that it most likely will leave scar tissue. Although less common, this includes women who have ever had a D & C after a miscarriage or abortion.

Once I was armed with the knowledge, my successful VBAC rate shot up as did my vaginal birth rate in general. I would ask the question and if the answer was yes, I would tell them what I knew."
There is more useful information on the blog post, so I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading the whole post!

More links tomorrow!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Give Aways!

The Motherwear Blog just had an incredible give-away week. It's not too late to add your comment and be entered into the contests. Wonderful books and cds, gift certificates and more!

Also, if you're looking for nursing clothes, I highly suggest you check out their clearance sale. I can't tell you how many wonderful items I've gotten from these sales for incredible prices. Some, I still wear now - a long black skirt, and pj shorts, for example.

And, from Progressive Pioneer, a blog I recently discovered: Giveaway: The Sitting Tree. Beautiful, beautiful!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mamas & Muffins: Baby Food

Last Monday was the Mamas & Muffins group, so I got to snuggle some sweet little babies and we all talked about baby food. If you couldn't make it, here's some of the information we discussed:

… there’s no rush …

Frank Greer, M.D., FAAP, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Committee on Nutrition, says breastmilk is the optimal choice of nutrition for your baby for the first 12 months.

“The AAP Section on Breastfeeding, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, WHO, United Nations Children's Fund, and many other health organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.”


… it’s a go …

Signs baby may be ready for solid food include:

  • baby sits upright
  • baby has lost tongue-thrust reflex
  • baby watches people eating & imitates
  • baby can pinch-grasp smaller objects
  • baby may have doubled(ish) birth weight
  • baby may be teething

    There is no definitive sign, I don't think. I used the examples of my children. I started them both with solid food at about 5.5 months, when they could both sit up, they seemed interested, and could swallow tiny spoonfuls of food. Madelyn was still a few pounds off from doubling her birth weight, but she was teething. Owen was still months from getting teeth, but had long since doubled his birth weight.

    In my opinion, the best way is to be guided by baby. If baby likes the food you offer, has no trouble swallowing it, and is happy at mealtimes, than it sounds like she's ready!


    … first foods …

    first: bananas, pears, unsweetened applesauce, avocado, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, peaches

    and then: yogurt, egg yolk, oatmeal, finely chopped chicken, beans, cheese, cheerios, baby biscuits

    I love the list of food suggestions in the Sears' Baby Book

    I also mentioned to the Mamas about the BRAT & anti-BRAT foods, because I learned this the hard way. Madelyn wouldn't take rice cereal, so this wasn't a problem for her, but after I'd been feeding Owen solids for a month or so (applesauce, bananas, a bit of rice cereal), he became wicked constipated. Poor bubby. I hadn't heard of the BRAT diet, that people sometimes eat if they're recovering from a stomach bug or something else that may have caused diarrhea. Basically, it's Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast - which all have binding-up properties. Turns out I was feeding a lot of those foods to Owen. Then someone (thankfully!) told me that P fruits tend to have the opposite effect, loosening things up: pears, peaches, plums, prunes. All of these are good first foods for babies too, so it became a matter of simply adjusting amounts depending on the desired effect. I'd mix pears and applesauce, or peaches and banana, for example.


    ... make your own…

    Making your own baby food can be easy. Roast vegetables like sweet potatoes or winter squash. Peel and use fruits like bananas, pears, and avocados. Mash with a fork, or food process. Scrape into ice cube trays; freeze; remove from the trays and store in freezer bags. Thaw the cubes in the refrigerator, or warm in the microwave. Check temperature and texture and feed to baby. Or if you want some real excitement, hand baby the spoon!

    It really is that simple.

    Once the baby was just a bit bigger, I'd spend an hour every few weeks - roast a few sweet potatoes; poach some skinless chicken breast; briefly cook a few peaches in a pot of boiling water (X the skin before you put them on so it slips off easily) and then puree it to the texture I wanted in the food processor. Put in the ice cube trays and I had baby meals for several weeks. Add to that the things I fork-mashed (banana, pear, avocado) or made to order (egg yolk) and some plain yogurt, and we were pretty much all set.

    One of the other nice things about making your own baby food (beyond knowing exactly what's in it!) is that you can feed your baby more local foods, and foods that are in season. When Owen was a baby I got a huge box of peaches, in season, and pureed/froze them until he was ready for them. When we picked apples, I froze plain applesauce for him. I know that isn't a huge motivator for some people (and he had plenty of non-local bananas and avocados!), but it was something I felt good about.


    … resources …

    The Z Recs Guide publishes information about harmful chemicals in common baby products.

    Also, a post I wrote about toxins in children's toys and products.

    All about Baby-Led Solids

    Foods to avoid, and why

    KidSafe Seafood

    Baby Safe feeder

    The Baby Book by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN

    Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

    Feel free to leave any of your favorite baby feeding tips, recipes, links, cookbooks etc. in the comments!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Date Night

    At Your Cervix is one of my favorite birth blogs. It's written by a registered nurse who currently works on a L&D unit at a large teaching hospital. She's also in-training to become a midwife. Very interesting stuff, from a perspective that I won't have from personal experience.

    She was recently invited to guest blog on another blog, and wrote "How to Take Charge of Your Labor and Delivery". Two things that she wrote in this post really stand out for me:
    "Dads: what can you do to help Mom? Go to childbirth classes together. Consider it a date night before the baby arrives."
    What a lovely idea! If a couple decides to do four classes with me, that's four date nights. Maybe they'll go out to eat afterwards, depending on time and finances. Or maybe they'll go for a nice long walk and talk. All of a sudden, what may have seemed a bit like a chore-commitment is a springboard for a really nice day together!

    Also:

    Why do people date? To get to know each other! And getting to know each other's ideas and preferences and fears around labor and birth is such an important part of the process.

    Do dates cost money, at least some of the time? Yes. And so do birth classes. But for the cost of a night on the town, with a nice dinner and movie, a couple could attend birth classes that teach them life-long skills... classes that help them during an exciting and sometimes challenging time of life as individuals and as a couple... they get to explore, with each other, their ideas and dreams around meeting the life they created.

    Dates sometimes take some planning, and some setting-aside-of-time during hectic daily life. So do birth classes. But is a date worth it? Yes. And so are birth classes!

    Why?

    Well, that's the other thing about At Your Cervix's guest post. She wrote, "Planning ahead and knowing what you might expect are important to your labor and delivery experience" followed by questions about the routine management of labor in most hospitals: fetal monitoring for how long? getting out of bed? IVs? Etc.

    Of course it's important for moms & partners to know what the routine is at the birth place they chose. It's not good to think your date is to an elegant restaurant and then the car stops at McDonalds! But before women can choose where they want to give birth, they need to know their options! In order to know what we want, we need information.

    Which takes me back to childbirth classes... independent childbirth classes to be specific.

    If you're in the Central Maine area, and are having a baby - let's set up some date nights! They may be the most life-changing, important dates you ever go on.

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Spring 2010 Diddos for Kiddos

    I don't have the flyer yet, but the spring dates for Diddos for Kiddos are Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18th. I'll have all the details in the next month and will be sure to post the flyer as soon as I have it!

    For anyone wondering what this is all about, Diddos for Kiddos is a consignment sale held twice a year (fall and spring). People who consign clothes get two tickets to attend the consignor pre-sale on Friday. The Saturday sale is open to everyone, and the Sunday sale is half-price on all items.

    On a personal note, I've been consigning at this sale for years. Not to make money, because most of my kids' stuff is handed down to my sister & her children. I consign just to get to the presale! And it is so worth it. I never come home with the same ratio clothes/toys - sometimes one kid gets way more than the other. But it works out perfectly for me to get some of their fall/winter clothes and Christmas presents at the Fall sale, and to get summer/birthday clothes and toys at the spring sale.

    I also make it a "girls night out" and go with a friend - each consignor gets an extra ticket to the sale - so we go to the sale and then out to dinner.

    Stay tuned for more information!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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    Free Photography Sessions

    I received an inquiry from a young woman who is a photography student at USM. She is interested in doing a photographic study on birth and is looking for a woman (or more than one) to photograph before, during, and after giving birth.

    She writes:
    "In return for the photography I will supply the mother with all of the photographs on a CD and at least ten 8x10 prints of favorite images. I would like to do at least one pregnancy session, one infant (or infant and mother) session, and a session during the actual delivery and birth. I am interested in starting as soon as possible with someone due as soon as this month, but I do believe (if I can find the right people) that this could be a long term project so I am open to any woman at any point in their pregnancy."
    If you, or someone you know, may be interested, get in touch with her via email.

    One reason I'm passing this information along is that I really wish I had more photos of myself during my pregnancies and of me and the new baby shortly after birth. And having someone along to photography frees up dad/partner to support the mama instead of snapping pictures!

    Here's a bit more information about the project:
    "At the moment this is just a class project that will only be shared with related people. But I am hoping that this could turn into a larger, more long-term project that may have a wider audience. At that point I would consult with the mothers and get their permission before showing any work in a public or online setting. My aim is to photograph the birth in a unobtrusive but realistic manner. Meaning that I would like to capture everything that comes with the birthing process but will not knock over your significant other to get a shot. I am very laid back and open to many options and am looking to work with woman and families who feel the same."
    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Make Your Own Baby Sling

    For those of you interested in making your own baby slings, I have two links to free patterns!

    Here's a tutorial offering step-by-step directions and pictures on how to make a ring sling, like the Maya Wrap.

    And here's how to make a pouch, kind of like a Kangeroo Kozy Pouch. I found this link through Progressive Pioneer's post on making a pouch for her new baby.

    Happy Sewing!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Mamas & Muffins: Babywearing

    We had fun today playing with slings and other ways to "wear" babies. In case you wanted to come but couldn't: here's the handout with resources that I gave out, complete with pictures of Owen in the sling during his first year, from two days old to 13 months old. I have my ring sling (Maya Wrap) always available for demos, and I'll continue to have my sister's Kangeroo Kozy Pouch and Moby Wrap on loan for a few more months (she has a new baby due this summer!), so stop by another time if you want to check them out.

    And, because chocolate and pumpkin are so yummy together, and these are my favorite pumpkin muffins ever, here's the link to the muffins I made for the group.

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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