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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

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How to Reduce Breastfeeding Inequality

Posted on August 28, 2018 at 12:13 PM Comments comments (5)
I'd like to introduce our readers to Neve Spicer, writer and founder of We The Parents. She is sharing some very important information about breastfeeding disparity. I thought it especially important to share this information during Black Breastfeeding Week, in the hopes that a change-maker sees today's post and can help take action on the steps that Neve outlined in THIS post.  You can scroll to the end of today's post to see those steps, although I encourage you to click on the link and read the whole article.

I'm Neve, a proud mother of two, breastfeeding advocate, and part-time blogger over at WeTheParents. I'm really happy to be contributing to Sweet Pea Births during this year's Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Now, when I say that I'm a breastfeeding advocate... I'm a pretty easy going one and not so much a die-hard lactivist. I breast fed both of my children and my experiences couldn't have been more different. My first experience was a nightmare; I don't think I did things right, and without a good support network I ended up with a very low milk supply. My daughter pretty much screamed constantly until I began to wean her early at 4-months. With my second, on the other hand, the experience was completely different. I was scared that I’d have the same problem, but actually things worked out beautifully and I breastfed until 18 months.

My breastfeeding experiences led me to want to support women and to let them know that, firstly, breastfeeding doesn’t always go according to plan, but also, secondly, it’s important to realize that our self-defeating beliefs, such as “I can’t produce enough milk” can also be wrong. I also realized that breastfeeding success depends so much on the knowledge and support we receive throughout our breastfeeding journey from pregnancy to weaning.

Now: I’m a bit of a research geek and while digging into some scientific journals on breastfeeding, I was shocked to learn just how drastically socio-economic forces affect breastfeeding rates.

Did you know that only 38% of mothers living below the poverty threshold (in the US) breastfeed at 6-months, while 68% of mothers in top-earning families do. That’s a huge difference, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I learned that that in academic and social policy circles people have known about these breastfeeding disparities for a long time. But why, then, was I not reading about it on the popular blogs I followed?

Too many heated words and firey tweets are being wasted on the breast vs bottle 'mommy war'. The big problem, however, is not whether a well-educated and well-off mother chooses to breastfeed. The real issue is breastfeeding inequality; too many mothers are NOT getting equal opportunity to breastfeed, even when they want to.

After discovering all of this, I wanted to shout about it. It’s time the blogosphere reframed the debate. I think we can all agree that if a mother, from any walk of life, wants to breastfeed, then she should be given the best chance possible. I passionately believe that mothers should unite behind this common goal.

Neve


FROM WeTheParents:

HOW TO REDUCE BREASTFEEDING INEQUALITY
Too few mothers follow the AAP’s optimal breastfeeding recommendations. Were this a result of well-educated, well-informed, and well-off women choosing alternative nutrition options, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, the truth is that many babies are formula fed because their mothers are not sufficiently aware of the health risks or they simply don’t have practical support (at work or home) to make it work.This is unfair and impacts on the health of thousands of US mothers and babies each year. It has been estimated that annual excess deaths attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding total 3,340, 78% (2605) maternal and 22% (735) infant. (Source)But how can we reduce the breastfeeding inequality?While there is no easy fix, there are several strategies that have been highlighted and could use public awareness and support. These are:

  • Maternity/lactation support – Improve hospital maternity care and lactation support practices. For example, increasing the number of Baby-Friendly Designated hospitals across the US, especially in states with more poverty;
  • Educate professionals – Continued education of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants, to improve their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors toward breastfeeding support;
  • Improve new mother access to professional lactation support – This can be done in different ways, such as in-person, online, telephone, or group. It can involve home-visits or breastfeeding clinics within the community;
  • Peer support programs – Peer support is a powerful mechanism for helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. Effective peer support typically requires leaders to be trained as facilitators. Mothers then share emotional support as well as guidance and problem-solving advice;
  • Boost breastfeeding support in the workplace – There are numerous ways in which employers can support mothers to continue breastfeeding. These include developing corporate policies, and providing adequate lactation spaces and equipment and giving women the flexibility to use them. Onsite child-care and allowing babies at the workplace also helps;
  • Support for breastfeeding in childcare and pre-kindergarten settings – Many mothers have older siblings attending early care education centers (eg, Head Start or pre-K). This solution involves improving the support that these centers give to breastfeeding mothers, eg, welcoming breastfeeding mothers to come into the center, or training staff to handle the storage and use of pumped breastmilk;
  • Improved access to breastfeeding education and information – While many mothers have heard the message that “breast is best”, many new mothers do not have direct experience of breastfeeding. It is vital that education and information get into all communities, especially minority groups that can be harder to reach;
  • Address the marketing of infant formula the associated conflict of interest in hospitals – There exist well-established links between commercial formula companies and hospitals. In return for free infant formula for babies that need it, many hospitals agree to give away free formula within their discharge bags. There is also a high incidence of hospital routinely supplementing breastfed infants with formula within the first 48-hours. Both of these practices lead to an increased uptake in formula use and a corresponding drop in breastfeeding rates. It is important that marketing practices that directly reduce breastfeeding rates are dismantled and replaced with others that do not involve a conflict of interest.

Thank you, Neve, for taking the time to research this topic and outlining specific action steps we can take to support our breastfeeding sisters.


Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Postpartum Wellness Series: Nutrition

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 10:23 AM Comments comments (0)
Postpartum Wellness Series – Nutrition
 
Welcome to our Postpartum Wellness Series.  Each week we will look at one area you can influence to help the days and weeks after you bring your baby home be just a little bit smoother. 
 
These early days with your sweet pea are the most precious – they will never be this small again. It is a good and worthy endeavor to make these first memories as well as they can be made for your family. My goal with this 8-week series is to offer some practical tips that you can employ without any extra purchases outside of your normal postpartum needs. Hopefully all that these tips will require is a little attention and a slight shift in perspective. It is my intention that you can find at least one small thing each week that will improve your postpartum experience.
 

 
Postpartum nutrition is just as important as prenatal nutrition. We encourage our students to continue following “The Brewer Diet”. This “diet” was designed by Dr. Tom Brewer to teach his patients to eat healthy, whole food long before it was the “it” thing to do.  You can find a link to The Brewer Diet website HERE
 
The holistic approach to postpartum invites the woman and her family to treat this time as a recovery period from pregnancy and childbirth.  The following five ideas will help you treat your body gently and ease back into the non-pregnant state.
 
Avoid Sugars and Caffeine
Take heart, mamas...not forever...just “for now”!  I am raising my hand over here – I do enjoy the occasional caramel and mocha coffee. 
 
The issue with sugars and caffeine in the immediate postpartum is the way they affect normal body functioning.  Sugar can contribute to mood swings at a time when you are already adjusting to a new normal after pregnancy. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that keeps you awake, the opposite of what needs to happen in the immediate postpartum.  Your body does a lot of work to repair itself while you are sleeping, so find a non-caffeinated beverage to enjoy for at least six weeks after your sweet pea arrives. THIS article outlines some of the amazing things that happen within your body when you are not awake.
 
Avoiding sugars and caffeine keeps you on a fair playing field as you adjust to life with a newborn. And if it makes it easier, circle a date six weeks out from the birth-day on the calendar when you can go get your favorite sugary and caffeine-rich treat!!  
 
Eat Real Food
Circling back to The Brewer Diet…the foundation of postpartum nutrition is a diet rich in protein, fluids, fruits and vegetables. You can also continue taking your prenatal vitamin. Believe it or not, if you are going to breastfeed, you need 500+ calories a day than you needed when you were pregnant.
 
Protein: for cell growth and repair…all the organs that have been squished in the last months of pregnancy, the uterus that has to heal, the vagina and/or cesarean birth scar that have to heal from their part in the birth journey…all these body parts need protein so that your cells can do their work to rebuild all that has been bruised and stretched through the course of pregnancy and birth.
 
Fluids: it never ceases to amaze me that the human body is about 60% water! So keep that water bottle handy and refill it often. In addition, breastmilk is a live fluid that is created out of your bloodstream for your sweet pea. Breastmilk is 88% water (https://kellymom.com/nutrition/starting-solids/baby-water/), so this is another reason why you may feel thirsty all the time if you are not paying attention to your water intake. Ample hydration is one of the ways to ensure you are making enough milk for your sweet pea – give your body what it needs to make that breastmilk.

Fruits and Vegetables: these are the most bioavailable vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants designed by Mother Nature just for you. Not everyone can afford to eat all organic all the time, so we offer the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" lists from the Environmental Working Group as a resource. It may help you decide how to spend your grocery budget - spend a little more to eat organic and save where you can buying conventional growth foods. They now have easy smart phone apps that you can download and access as you shop.
 
Keep One-handed Snacks Handy
However you feed your baby – hands are going to be occupied. In the early days, both hands. As you get more comfortable, you will find yourself becoming an expert at one-handed eating (and finding things on menus that can be eaten with one hand!).
 
My postpartum shopping list included of apples, carrots, celery, crackers, nut butter, hummus, and hard cheese (sharp cheddar is my favorite!).
 
Here is a quick list of snacks you can stock or have someone prepare for you with these seven ingredients:
  • Sliced apples spread with nut butter
  • Sliced apples stacked with sliced hard cheese
  • Sliced or “baby” carrots spread with hummus
  • Crackers with nut butter
  • Crackers with hummus
  • Crackers with sliced cheese
  • Celery spread with nut butter
  • Celery spread with hummus
 
I specifically avoided ranch dressing and soft cheeses. Some newborns are sensitive to the large milk protein found in cows’ milk.  The hard cheeses are easier to digest since the protein is broken-down differently in the preparation process. And some newborns will not tolerate any dairy…unfortunately, the only way to find out is through trial and error.
 
We also had lots of yogurt and flax seed, plus sandwich fixings in the refrigerator. Yogurt is an easy snack to sprinkle with ground flax seed for a protein and good-fat boost between feedings. Someone can also make-ahead sandwiches or tortilla wraps for the times you are ravenous and don’t have time to make a full meal.  My favorite sandwich was hummus and avocado with lettuce between two slices of whole grain bread. That combination worked equally well as a wrap. Yum!!
 
My last suggestion is to try out all the “Just A Handful” snack bags that can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. They have several different varieties that include dried fruits and nuts in a snack pouch. Not so great for the environment…so after postpartum you can buy the bigger bag and serve yourself. In the short term, please do the little things that make life easier and buy these handy packs!!
 
Funny side note: I always kept several snack size pouches in my diaper bag or my purse…our older kids always knew where to go to find snacks when we were out and about. They bemoaned the day when I was no longer breastfeeding around the clock and stopped stocking them, “You never have good snacks anymore!”
 
Probiotics and fish oils
We are learning about the benefits of probiotics and fish oil as more research is done into postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Here is some information from THIS study from the University of Auckland:
 
Probiotics are live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate amounts provide health benefits to the host. They are typically found in some yoghurts and other fermented foods.
“Depression and anxiety in pregnancy and after birth affects 10-15 per cent of women, although many are not recognised or treated,” Professor Mitchell says.
“There is mounting evidence from animal studies that the microbiome-gut-brain axis - the biochemical signalling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system - may be important for mental health.”
Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression
www.auckland.ac.nz
 
A small study that was presented in 2011 found that:
 
“Eating fatty fish or other foods rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may help lower your risk of developing symptoms commonly seen in postpartum depression…”
WebMD, “Omega-3s May Cut Risk of Postpartum Depression”
https://goo.gl/jHCkdT
 
So while you are no longer pregnant in the postpartum period, the benefit of the omega-3s found in walnuts, flax seed, fatty fish, and fish oils can still be an advantage.
 
“Essential fatty acids including those found in fish may help some women who are at-risk for postpartum depression by bolstering the vesicles that carry mood chemicals such as serotonin in the brain,” 
WebMD, “Omega-3s May Cut Risk of Postpartum Depression”
https://goo.gl/xdHFU9
 
THIS article makes sense of the alphabet soup and may help you decide what you want to eat or how to supplement going forward.
 
Placenta encapsulation
I included placenta encapsulation in the nutrition portion of this series because however you may consume it, the placenta is being processed by the digestive tract. Observation of other mammals indicates that placenta consumption is common and “natural” in the animal kingdom. 

Anecdotal information from a placenta encapsulation website:

Your baby’s placenta...in capsule form, is believed to:
contain your own natural hormones
be perfectly made for you
balance your system
replenish depleted iron (my note: see UNLV study)
give you more energy
lessen bleeding postnatally
been shown to increase milk production
help you have a happier postpartum period
hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state
Placenta Benefits Info/Articles
 
 
HERE and HERE are the two reports that have come out of UNLV regarding placentophagy.
 
HERE and HERE are some blog posts I have done on placenta encapsulation if you want to learn more about our experience and the different methods of preparing the placenta for consumption.
 
That Basket Again…
As I mentioned in the first post, the “breastfeeding basket” was a time and sanity saver in the postpartum period. I would keep some “just a handful” treats from Trader Joe’s in it at all times. 
 
If you missed the sleep installment, here is “the basket”: Gather the most-used items that you need when you sit down to feed your baby so that you don’t have to get up and find them, or have someone bring them to you.  This is what I kept in my basket: water, one-hand snacks that do not need to be refrigerated (bars, nut packs, fruit leather, etc.), diapers, wipes, change of clothes for the baby, burp cloths, bottom cream and nipple cream. 

 
I hope that out of these 5+1 tips, there is at least one that you can embrace whole-heartedly.  I invite you to jot down or type yourself a note of one small thing you can do to make that tip happen for you this postpartum. Try to start one journal page or virtual note that you can add to as we progress through this 8-week series for a better postpartum experience.
 
Previous Installments:
Sleep
 
Coming up next week:
Exercise
 
And check back for the rest of the series:
Physical recovery
Social Support
Practical Support
Emotional Support
Medical Intervention
 
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
References:
 
Probiotics and Postpartum Depression Study from The University of Auckland New Zealand
https://goo.gl/dYQKgo
 
Time Health: “Study: Fish Oil May Prevent Symptoms of Postpartum Depression”
http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/12/study-fish-oil-may-prevent-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression/
 
WebMD: “Omega-3s May Cut Risk of Postpartum Depression”
https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20110412/omega-3s-may-cut-risk-of-postpartum-depression#1
 
Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/
 
Placenta Benefits Info:
http://placentabenefits.info/articles/
 
Steamed, Dehydrated or Raw: Placentas May Help Moms’ Post-Partum Health
https://www.unlv.edu/news/article/steamed-dehydrated-or-raw-placentas-may-help-moms%E2%80%99-post-partum-health
 
UNLV Study Finds No Iron Benefit from Eating Placenta
https://www.unlv.edu/news/article/unlv-study-finds-no-iron-benefit-eating-placenta

 

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.

It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

World Kindness Day 2017

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 1:58 PM Comments comments (0)
Thank you to FTD Florist for providing today's guest blog post - wishing you a joyful day today as you spread kindness in your corner of the world. ~Krystyna

There is a lot to be thankful for this year. Friends, family and the memorable times that you spend together are just a few. This World Kindness Day (November 13th) show those you love just how much you appreciate them. To help you get in the mood and brainstorm ideas on ways you can be kind this World Kindness Day, FTD has rounded up 30 of the best kindness quotes around to help inspire you. 

From waving to a stranger on the street, to sending an old friend an email, we hope these kindness quotes help inspire you to spread a little love. They even included a free printable card that you can write your own message on. Enjoy! 




Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
  

 Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Postpartum Wellness Series: SLEEP

Posted on November 5, 2017 at 9:17 PM Comments comments (0)
Postpartum Wellness Series
 
Welcome to our Postpartum Wellness Series.  Each week we will look at one area you can influence to help the days and weeks after you bring your baby home be just a little bit smoother. 
 
These early days with your sweet pea are the most precious – they will never be this small again. It is a good and worthy endeavor to make these first memories as well as they can be made for your family. My goal with this 8-week series is to offer some practical tips that you can employ without any extra purchases outside of your normal postpartum needs. Hopefully all that these tips will require is a little attention and a slight shift in perspective. It is my intention that you can find at least one small thing each week that will improve your postpartum experience.
 

 
Week 1: Sleep
 
The ever-elusive sleep.  The “good” baby that sleeps. What if we shift that focus? How about this:  Good healthy babies wake up several times throughout the day and night to ensure their big people know they are there.  Good healthy babies demand attention to ensure they stay alive when they are the most vulnerable.  Waking is protective and desirable, so if your baby is not sleeping, then they are a GOOD baby!!
 
The favorite resource we share with our students is a series by Psychology Today that share the evidence about infants and what “normal” is for infants.  HERE (https://goo.gl/kzl64G) is a summary in case you don’t want to click on the link:
 
“Infants whose primary source of energy is breastmilk will often wake frequently to nurse, something that is essential for the breastfeeding relationship to continue (Ball, 2009). However, regardless of feeding status, many infants wake regularly during the night (Weinraub, Bender, Friedman, Susman, Knoke, Bradley, et al., 2012).  Waking through the night is normal and biologically adaptive.  In fact, though it is often reported that sleep patterns consolidate in the second year, the pattern differs in breastfed children.  
 
Breastfeeding moms may wake more often, but report greater total sleep.  For example, in a study following breastfed children for 2 years, it was found that these children continued to wake frequently throughout the second year of life, a pattern more in line with cultures in which co-sleeping and full-term (aka “extended”) breastfeeding are more common (Elias, Nicolson, Bora, & Johnston, 1986). “

Normal, Human Infant Sleep: Feeding Method and Development, Psychology Today, Feb 2013
 
Speaking of breastfed babies, their sleep patterns differ from formula-fed babies. If your friends are formula-feeding, you will be having different sleep experiences.
 
What are some practical tips to help you sleep when your baby is sleeping?

Here are some ideas for you to consider...
 
Set clear boundaries
Ideally, the MotherBaby should spend the first 1000 minutes together so that they can get to know each other and get breastfeeding established. Yes, really! Click HERE (http://ninobirth.org/nino-overview/) for the evidence.  Have you done the math yet? That’s 16 hours and 40 minutes.  What do we do in our culture? As soon as the baby is born, people feel like it’s time to come over and hold the baby.  Just say WAIT. It’s not NO forever, it’s just wait for now.

That continues to the time you have at home.  Visitors should be kept to a minimum. The more the mother is apart from her baby, the harder it is for both to get organized and do the work of adjusting to postpartum. If people come over, they come over with a purpose – to bring food or other supplies that you need, and then go home so that everyone with the new baby can rest and recover and find the new normal.
 
Wear a bathrobe
…Or go topless the first few days. The point is, you are recovering from birth.  This is not the time to learn how to entertain with a newborn.  If the people in your life haven’t gotten the hint when you asked nicely for them to wait to visit, then the bathrobe (or your bare chest) sends a clear visual message that you are all about resting right now.
 
Avoid caffeine
This is a no-brainer…if you want to sleep, avoid stimulants. So where are the hidden places you might be getting caffeine without realizing it?  Not all teas are caffeine-free – be sure to read the labels. HERE (https://goo.gl/mCki2N) are some other foods to consider: decaf coffee, chocolate, ice cream and yogurt that have coffee or chocolate in them, protein bars, non-soda colas, candy bars and so called “fancy water”.
 
Turn off the screens
Turn off your screens at least one hour before bed, and even two hours before you are planning to go to bed. Did you know that the light from the screens changes your brain chemistry and actually makes it harder to sleep?
 
“The consensus is that the blue light that LED screens give off can slow or halt the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals our brain that it's time for bed.”

CNET, March 2016
https://goo.gl/cZjCkR
 
Turn down the lights
Electricity is one of the worst things that happened to our sleep patterns. Change that by trying to mimic the light of sun rising and setting. Open your shades and curtains in the morning when the sun comes up, and start turning off lights around the house when the sun sets. This will help teach your baby their circadian rhythm.
 
Establish routines
The evidence shows that babies who are “sleep-trained” and babies whose parents do nothing in the sleep department are all sleeping the same way at six months.

The Wait-It-Out (WIO) Method
› WIO means not implementing any sleep training. At 6-month follow up, there were no significant differences in babies’ sleep improvement between CIO group and WIO group. (Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab)
 
So instead of fretting over a baby who is or isn’t sleeping, think about what will work for your family in the long run.  What is something that you can do with this child, and with future children to let them know it’s time for bed? 

Common elements of a bedtime routine are things story time, a rhyme like Teddy Bear (https://goo.gl/EMh1uR), bath time, infant massage, bedtime songs. You can add in lavender at any point along the way…lavender soap for the bath, lavender massage oil or lotion after the bath, a lavender pillow or toy for bedtime, or lavender essential oil in a diffuser if you use one in your home.
 
Ask for help
Identify the people in your life who can respect your boundaries, and know how to make a good quick visit.  Some things that you might want to ask for help with in the immediate postpartum: housework, homemade meals, adult conversation when your partner goes back to work, someone to hold the baby so you can sleep for an hour, help with driving and/or running errands. Now with many grocery chains offering order pick-up, you can make your list, order and pay, and then arrange for someone to pick it up for you. 
 
If you have older children at home, maybe arrange for someone to run any errands with them so they get some special big kid attention, and maybe also someone who will keep them on their “regular” schedule so that their routine isn’t thrown off. Also think about people who can respect your space and your needs and who would be happy to visit and entertain the older children so that you and baby can get special bonding time and your older children get to feel like the center of attention. Or maybe switch roles – someone to come hold the baby so that you can be the one giving the big kids dedicated time and attention.
 
We are in an era where many families are spread apart and a grandparent or aunt or uncle isn’t available to help with any of this list.  Consider asking your friends.  Or is there someone in your faith community who is also in their childbearing years who you can connect with? When you identify that person or two who you would be comfortable inviting into your postpartum space, ask to trade help. They would help you during your postpartum, and you will return the help when they welcome their next Sweet Pea.
 
Baskets for the win
This tip is especially helpful if you have a two-story house – we had an upstairs basket and a downstairs basket that we reloaded every morning before Coach Bruss went to work.  Gather the most-used items that you need when you sit down to feed your baby so that you don’t have to get up and find them, or have someone bring them to you.  This is what I kept in my basket: water, one-hand snacks that do not need to be refrigerated (bars, nut packs, fruit leather, etc.), diapers, wipes, change of clothes for the baby, burp cloths, bottom cream and nipple cream. 
 
 
I hope that out of these 8 tips, there is at least one that you can embrace whole-heartedly.  I invite you to jot down or type yourself a note of one small thing you can do to make that tip happen for you this postpartum. Try to start one journal page or virtual note that you can add to as we progress through this 8-week series for a better postpartum experience.
 
 
Coming up next week:
Nutrition
 
And check back for the rest of the series:
Exercise
Physical recovery
Social Support
Practical Support
Emotional Support
Medical Intervention
 
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

 

In Their Own Words: Erica ~ Part 2

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 9:53 PM Comments comments (0)
For Part I of Erica and Scarlett's breastfeeding journey, click HERE

PART II: Making Breastfeeding Work at Work, and Beyond

I went back to work when Scarlett was 4 months old. I was a teacher, and needed to pump twice a day, every day. That meant during my prep period, I pumped, and during lunch, I pumped. It was hard, but I wasn’t about to be gone from my baby AND take away her food. She started reverse cycling to where she would barely eat at daycare, and wanted to nurse as soon as I came home, and all night long, to make up for lost time. 

We had opted to co-sleep/bed-share from the beginning for a variety of reasons (I couldn’t stand the thought of her crying and needing me, I didn’t want to- and couldn’t at the beginning- get out of bed and walk down the hall to her room, I had spent her first 5 days without her there and I would never do that again…). Co-sleeping kept us close, and gave her the freedom to nurse when she needed to. However, the regular pumping and all-night nursing were causing me to produce a ton of milk, and she wasn’t using it all at daycare. I couldn’t miss a single pumping session at school because I was so engorged. But I was also paranoid of cutting back my pumping, losing my supply and not being able to do the one thing that I ‘got’ after my birth.
 
After a couple of months of that, I was losing my mind. Not from breastfeeding; it was a compilation of everything else. I could barely function from exhaustion, postpartum depression and anxiety, birth trauma resurfacing, not having enough prep time at work (because of pumping) and feeling like I couldn’t do my job well enough. The only times I felt calm and happy were when I would pick her up from daycare and go home and sit on the couch and nurse. Nursing my baby kept my sanity, and allowed us to check-in with each other. It helped bring me the clarity to realize I needed to make a career transition so I could be the mom I wanted to be. I found a job where I could work from home, got a long-term sub, and didn’t go back to work after spring break. It was the best decision I ever made.
 
While I was dealing with the career transition, Scarlett turned 6 months old, that “magic” starting-solids age, per many different “experts”. I dipped my toes in those waters, but I didn’t want to. I was scared it would affect our breastfeeding relationship and it seemed like we’d just gotten good at it. I didn’t want it to change. So, I didn’t really take “solids” seriously until she was a little over 7 months old. By then I had an end-date with my job and I knew I would be home soon. Also, she started giving me all the signs of being ready. She could sit, she reached for my food, she didn’t do that tongue-sticking-out thing, she could grab with her fingers (including other kids’ food at daycare). By the time I was home and she was 8 months, she was eating a little food whenever we did put some in front of her. It turned out I was worried for nothing. She loved food, but still loved to nurse as well. Also, she didn’t nurse 3 times a night anymore; it was only 2—yay for more sleep!
 
Being home with her allowed me to go back to nursing on demand, which felt so much more natural! It also gave me the opportunity to donate the thousands of ounces of milk that I had stockpiled in my deep freezer. I had always wanted to donate since she had received donor milk in the NICU, but I was apprehensive about letting any go before then because of the anxiety about losing my supply and her needing it. Scarlett wasn’t using my frozen milk nearly as fast as I had been producing it, so we could help three other babies around that time, and we continue to regularly donate to her friend who is a few months younger than her.
 
Now that she’s eating more at each meal, we have started nursing a little less. We nurse when we wake up, after breakfast/before morning nap, after lunch/before afternoon nap, at bedtime, and whenever else she may need a pick-me-up. Occasionally she will still wake up once (or more) during the night if she needs me, and I’m there for her when she does. I don’t pump regularly anymore, which is a great relief! I still have quite a stockpile that we are donating and it feels nice to be able to help others.
 
A few people have asked me if I’m going to keep nursing Scarlett now that she’s 1 (that “magic” number again). I tell them that I’ll nurse her until she doesn’t need it. I also tell them that I won’t have any more kids, in large part because of how everything happened last year. So, since she is my only baby and nursing is our special thing that we got after we missed out on so much and endured so much trauma, we will ride it out until it doesn’t feel right. Maybe another year? Maybe another 2 years? I’m very okay with not knowing when the journey will end. This has been the greatest gift of our birth experience, and I’m happy seeing and feeling the continued joy it brings us. For others who want to breastfeed longer than is typical, I say to go for it! You will never regret being the one who can be your baby’s everything.

For Part I of Erica and Scarlett's breastfeeding journey, click HERE
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included in this video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on our blog and videos do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

In Their Own Words: Erica ~ Part 1

Posted on August 25, 2017 at 11:54 AM Comments comments (1)
PART 1: My Breastfeeding Journey: The Greatest Gift of My Birth Experience

I’ve been breastfeeding my daughter, Scarlett, for a little over a year now, and it continues to be a very important part of our lives. I know many women in the United States choose to discontinue breastfeeding at a year, or sooner, for a variety of reasons. I have no judgment towards them. I can say I know that I won’t be one of them. I’m not sure how long we will continue to nurse, but I don’t see us stopping any time soon. 

I didn’t go into motherhood thinking I would be an “extended breastfeeder.” For those of you who have seen the HBO show Game of Thrones and saw the scene of Robin Arryn nursing well into childhood… that’s kind of what I thought of as “extended breastfeeding.”  I initially figured I’d give it a year and see how and where it went. Now that we’ve made it to 13 months and it’s going so well, it seems silly to even consider stopping. It is still a large part of her nourishment, an effective way to soothe and comfort her, and our special bonding time, among many other benefits. Also, there is this huge emotional component for me: I think of our breastfeeding relationship as the greatest gift of my birth experience.
 
I had a traumatic birth in July 2016. I planned a homebirth and ended up transferring to a hospital for an excruciating 52-hour induction that ended in a Cesarean birth. My daughter was 10 days past her anticipated due date and didn’t move enough on an ultrasound, which is what caused us to need the induction. After 2 more days of every horrible step of the induction process, and trying to hold out for an un-medicated birth, I became a statistic in the chain of interventions and one of the 1 in 3 American women whose babies are surgically delivered.  To make matters worse, Scarlett aspirated meconium at some point in our labor, and was whisked away to the NICU as soon as she was out. I didn’t get to hold her for 18 hours. I didn’t get to attempt to breastfeed until her third day of life.
 
After having everything on my birth plan derail to the horrific experience I endured, I was determined to feed my child the way that I had planned to; determined not to have breastfeeding taken from me as well. I couldn’t see her during those first 18 hours, but I pumped every 2 hours like a fiend. I was told not to try to get her to latch initially because of her difficulties breathing, but I brought her all of my colostrum, requested donor milk instead of formula until my milk came in, and continued to pump and pump and pump. Finally, on the third day of her life, I made milk, and her breathing improved, and I got to learn how to nurse my baby.
           
We needed help at first. We met with a lactation consultant, we used a nipple shield, and we used the football hold… I drank my weight in water and ate everything in sight for a while. On day 3 when I finally got to start nursing, the hospital had rules for me: I could only nurse her for 15 minutes, then I had to go and pump and she was given a bottle of expressed milk to finish her feed so they could determine exactly how much she ate. They had their reasons I’m sure, but the effect to me was oversupply. I was nursing a hungry baby, and then pumping directly after. When we were finally released on day 5, I was sent home with about 7 bottles of extra milk I had made. I didn’t know then that wasn’t typical.
 
When we got home, my husband soon grew tired of hearing, “Babe, I need my water bottle!” However, he and Scarlett were troopers. He kept me fed and hydrated, propped up, etc. She had a good latch and was always hungry. Within a few days we stopped using the nipple shield. Within a few weeks I could move a little better after the surgery and stopped doing the football hold. Things were going more smoothly, until I began to put together the effects my oversupply was having on Scarlett. My milk came spraying out with such force that she would sometimes gag and sputter. She would occasionally throw up all over us during or directly after eating. It was frustrating to feed her when she seemed overwhelmed by my milk. It was not fun to get vomited on. Repeatedly. And feel like I was smothering my baby with my giant, milk-tastic boobs.
 
I asked the doctor about it. He said spit up is normal. I said it’s a lot more than spit up… he said all kids throw up and not to worry about it. He was useless. I asked my Bradley teacher and La Leche League ladies and they gave me actual things to try: laid-back nursing, let gravity work for you, put baby on top of you, side-lying nursing, block nursing, burp her more frequently, stop pumping so much… all of which helped immensely. 

After a few months we finally got the hang of it. I’m glad I was able to make some adaptations to help us, and had the willpower and resources not to give up when it was hard. I honestly think my awful birth was instrumental in my steadfastness when it came to breastfeeding.
 
Click HERE for PART II of Erica and Scarlett’s story: Making It Work
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included in this video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on our blog and videos do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 

Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

In Their Own Words: Katie

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 3:57 PM Comments comments (0)
If you haven't read my previous posts, you're missing stories of my struggles with breastfeeding, but that's okay. For purposes of this update, you only really need what I wrote last year about tandem breastfeeding. You can find that HERE (2016) and one of my newborn stories is HERE (2012).

Nothing much has changed in the last year. My nurslings are now 2 years old and 5.5 years old. The 2-year-old no longer trolls his big sister. Instead he beats on her if he's feeling feisty. It's fun.

But seriously, I still love it. Even though I tend to insist they only nurse one at a time in the evening because I'm so tired and touched out (and they fight), it's still nice to be able to easily comfort two children to sleep.

Son's arm resting on big sister's arm <3

My 5-year-old goes back and forth between being okay with waiting and very much *not* being okay with waiting. It's exhausting. The 2-year-old can be perfectly content doing anything but nursing until the 5-year-old gets anywhere near me. Then he has to nurse and tries to find out how to use both sides at the same time so he doesn't have to share the thing he was perfectly content not having a few minutes ago.

My 5-year-old has a weird sense of awareness in the middle of the night. She knows the moment I've gotten her brother to sleep and comes into our room asking to nurse. I used to direct her to my bed, but she's gotten insistent that she nurse first. Thankfully, she came up with the "just one minute" compromise, so I let her nurse for a few minutes and then tell her her minute is up, and she gets up willingly. Likewise, in bed, she wakes up in the moment he stops nursing and asks to nurse. I don't know what sorcery this is.

But there are times they nurse side-by-side and stroke each other's hair or hold each other's hands. There are times they both run up to me, excitedly divvying up right side and left. There are times they are both finished nursing and they just sleep on me or next to me, and I feel their warmth and their 
breathing.






Disclaimer: 
The material included in this video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and video contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Monday Mantra: Wonder Woman SuperPower

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 1:27 PM Comments comments (0)
Today's #MondayMantra is a fun affirmation that there is something quite wonderful and unique about making milk for your Sweet Pea.  

If you have chosen to breastfeed and you are making milk...own it!! You are a true Wonder Woman.

In Their Own Words: Amy

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 8:27 PM Comments comments (0)
Amy & Ollie 2016

I never thought I'd be breastfeeding my toddler. I certainly never thought I would be doing so while pregnant! Here I am, 30 weeks pregnant, writing this while my toddler who just nursed down for a nap, is sleeping.

When Ollie was a baby he nursed on demand; now he nurses before nap time, if we're together, and at bedtime, if mommy is home. Ollie's first Birthday came and went, and we were still nursing. When I got pregnant, Ollie was about 18-months, we contemplated weaning. My nipples were sensitive and, as much as I don't like to admit, I felt frustrated sometimes, when he nursed. We could tell Ollie was not ready. Deep down, I didn't really feel ready either. So we decided to try to cut back the nursing sessions. Over the course of a few weeks, I eliminated some of our typical nursing times. For example, we used to come home after work/daycare and sit together, cuddle, nurse and talk about our day. This was a difficult one for me to give up, because I LOVED this time with him. So we found something else that we both loved. We bought a porch swing and instead, we'd get a quick snack and go out front on the porch swing. The weather was just right, thank goodness, and he loved being outside. We'd listen to and talk about the sounds, play with rocks, and have our snack. This quickly became a special treasured time, as well.

It hasn't all been easy. We've had our share of challenges. Just like any family, we had to find what works for us. Right now, this works for us.

With the summer ending, I'll be going back to the classroom to teach, and Ollie will go off to our wonderful in-home-daycare provider. The days when we're not together, Ollie nurses at bedtime only. I don't know what the future holds for our breastfeeding relationship, and I'm not worried about it.  I'll forever be grateful for this special time I've had with Ollie, the support of my loving husband (despite the uncertainties and naysayers), and for the breastfeeding community.

Amy's Story about breastfeeding Ollie as a newborn HERE

Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, 

Monday Mantra - Letting Go

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 1:11 PM Comments comments (0)
There is no time like the present to let go of the situations and the people that are not serving a positive purpose in our lives, or from which (or whom) we have finished learning the lessons they were meant to teach us.

Pregnancy and postpartum are time of threshold and initiation. They are times when things are new, when things are in transition, and when quite frankly, they are sometimes completely turned around and upside down.  

In times like this, the extra stress of situations that bring negativity are the things that keep us from being present for ourselves and for our baby. If you sit quietly, I am guessing you can name at least one thing, situation or relationship that it is best parted with for the time being.

What's one small thing you could do today to move away from that thing, situation or relationship so that you can be free to make your whole self available and present for this pregnancy - labor - birth - postpartum?

Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

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