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We’ve all heard the phrase "breast is best". We know that breastfeeding has benefits to both baby and mom. Breastmilk is living food that cannot be duplicated. It’s natural and normal and all of that. At this time in our culture, most women are planning on breastfeeding at least some. Sometimes it’s really easy. But sometimes its not. At least at first. Here are some ways to set yourself up for better success.
1). Gain family support. One of the biggest factors in successful breastfeeding is support for you, the mother. Those early days at home can be hard and emotional. You’re adjusting to so many things, recovering from a major physical event, and often not getting much sleep. Without support and middle of the night encouragement, this is the time many moms give up.
(By the way, not breastfeeding at all or choosing to stop is okay if that’s your choice and what you think will be best for you and your family situation. I don’t know your history or your medical needs and neither does anyone else on the street. My breastfeeding goal for you is just like my goal for your birth. I want you to make decisions based on information, knowing that you have choices and to not look back on it with regret.)
Anyway, many in our parents generation did not breastfeed their babies and if they did, may still have outdated ideas about what works. Talk to your husband or partner about breastfeeding. Talk to the other people who will be helping you after baby is born. Talk to them about the research showing why this is an important part of having a baby. Explain that their support in this could make the difference in your breastfeeding relationship.
2). Read a book. Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Nancy Mohrbacher or La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger and Diana West are both excellent choices.
3). Join a support group. Fortunately here in the Indy area we really have a variety of excellent options. Area hospitals with maternity units also have breastfeeding support groups run by their IBCLCs. Breastfeeding USA and La Leche League both have groups that meet all over the city. On-line there is the Indy Breastfeeding Moms support group on Facebook that provides moms with informed advice 24 hours a day.
4). Take a class. Ask at your chosen birth location about breastfeeding classes. Many hospitals offer them and they can be an excellent source of information. There are also online breastfeeding courses like this one that you can take in your pajamas.
5). Know who to call. Knowing who to call ahead of time if you need help, extra support, or suspect a tongue tie is a good idea. You may never need it but in the midst of that newborn haze, not having to research is golden. Find the name of a local private IBCLC or the number for your hospital’s lactation department. Your birth doula or postpartum doula should be a good resource for this as well.
Breastfeeding is amazing! It’s incredible that your body can grow, birth, and then feed a human! But it’s not always easy at first and sometimes interventions are needed to make it more sustainable. You can breastfeed your baby and you can meet your breastfeeding goals no matter what those are. Information is power!
I am so excited to announce GentleBirth: Confident VBAC! As any of you who have read my blog in the past know, VBAC is near and dear to my heart. Women consider or pursue VBAC from a variety of past birth experiences and for a variety of reasons. They make different choices too, and should all be encouraged to make the right choices for their unique situation from a place of information.
There are so many misconceptions out there about vaginal birth after a cesarean, some even perpetuated (either intentionally or unintentionally) by care providers. 70-80% of women who pursue VBAC, will be successful and 99% of moms will have no issue with their scar in labor. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s, more commonly known as ACOG, guidelines say that VBAC is a reasonable option for most women with one scar and even for many women who have had two cesareans but fears, misinformation, and barriers persist.
If you are considering a VBAC, this 4-hour course is for you! It covers recent research, risks/benefits, questions for your care provider, barriers, and how to increase you odds as well as a review of labor and comfort measures and finally, a hypnosis session at the end. But maybe more importantly, it also covers some of the emotional work that needs to happen as women face birth again. A one month subscription to the GentleBirth app to add to your birth toolbox, whether your ultimate decision is VBAC or not, as you prepare is also part of the registration fee.
The first class will be offered on July 8th, 1-5pm in Fishers. Subsequent classes dates will be found on Fireweed Doula's class page and on my GentleBirth page where registration is handled. Please, if you or someone you know is considering a VBAC, this is a class not to miss!
Next class will be February 3rd, 2018!!
I am passionate about positive birth experiences and helping women achieve them in my work as a doula. A positive birth can look so different than you expect it to too! Birth is often normal and straight forward but it can be unpredictable. That doesn’t need to mean negative. GentleBirth is the childbirth education course that I am privileged to be bringing to Indianapolis this spring and it’s all about planning — and having — a positive birth no matter what. Here are 6 reasons to plan a GentleBirth:
1) It has a proven hypnosis component. As we’ve seen for years now with other childbirth preparation programs, and even some surgical procedures, hypnosis works. GentleBirth is at it’s most basic, a hypnosis based program.
2) It’s based on brain science. GentleBirth, if you do the daily work, helps you literally rewire your brain. Our thoughts are pattern based and those patterns are ingrained. It is easier for our brains to think along our normal thought patterns. It takes effort and practice to break our brains out of those ruts. GentleBirth gives you the tools to do that.
3) It helps eliminate fear. The messages we get from our culture reinforce the idea that childbirth is hard and painful. That’s it’s something to be feared and avoided. Those are messages you need to counteract! Birth is normal and something our bodies are built for but sometimes our brains need a little encouragement to remember that. GentleBirth provides that encouragement.
4) It fills your toolbox! I am so excited to be part of sharing a program that promotes doulas, teaches hypnosis, mindfulness, and CBT as well as hands on tools like acupressure and TENS machines as well as all the more common positioning, massage, and ball use.
5) The App. The app has everything you need. The daily brain training, the guidebook, the workshop schedules, everything you need. There’s no more putting it off because you can’t find what you need right then. It’s in your phone.
6) Finally, it’s modern and understands your busy life. The GentleBirth classes are a one weekend commitment. That’s it. It was developed that way on purpose. We know you and your partner are both running all which way with the demands of your lives and finding time that matches up over several weeks is hard. This is a one weekend commitment. Everything else is on your app. Your practice is all laid out for you and parts can be done in as little as 5 minutes at a time.
GentleBirth gives you the tools you need for a natural, normal birth AND the tools to transition from that, if necessary, and still have a positive birth. You and your baby are worth it! If you are interested in finding out more, come by one of our meet ups or contact me through Facebook or the contact page. See you soon!
Looking for a comprehensive childbirth class? Thinking about a VBAC?
On March 25th, I'm hosting my first GentleBirth Meetup! We'll talk about positive birth and all things baby and parenting related. I'll be demoing the GentleBirth app as well. This program has the potential to really change birth for women and make it something they are anticipating. So excited to share this unique program! You can RSVP via the Facebook event here.
I'd love to see lots of people there! If you are a birth worker a more specific birth worker information session will be happening soon!
It’s been a bit quiet around here in my electronic world the last few weeks. I’ve been busy. There have been babies born, vacations taken, and life lived! And one big project that’s finally ready to be announced! You may have already seen the event on Facebook and it’s already for sign ups here. I am so excited to be offering Your Postpartum Plan on October 29th at 10am. This will be offered quarterly, so if you aren’t quite there yet, look for it again in January. I’ve been working on this for awhile, pulling from here and there. I’m delighted with what I have and know that it will benefit you as you welcome your new baby into your family
We all know birth is a big deal and something that doesn’t happen to us every day. We expect that and prepare for that through classes, planning, and hiring support in the form of care providers and doulas. It’s unknown to us. Bringing the baby home doesn’t seem as unknown. We see babies out all the time. Everyone does it. We figure that it can’t be that hard and we’ll figure it out. And yes, you do figure it out.
But just like birth and breastfeeding, a little bit of information and some preplanning can make a huge difference in how you adjust. And bringing a new baby home, especially your first baby, is a huge adjustment. You know about all the stuff they “need” and your home is prepared but our hearts and attitudes take adjusting too.
Postpartum mood disorders are higher in the US than many other industrialized countries and a new baby puts incredible pressure on our marriages and other relationships. The Gottman Institute “discovered that 67% of couples experienced a precipitous decline in relationship satisfaction in the first 3 years of the baby’s life.” That HUGE! Children are AMAZING and parenting is HARD. There is no way around that. But we can teach and learn ways to help mitigate some of the impact on our relationships.
I am so excited to walk through that time with you and help you communicate and find ways to plan ahead so it can be just a little easier!
You can read about my own postpartum experience here.
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin