Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Postpartum Wellness Series: Nutrition

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 10:23 AM Comments comments ()
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

Meet the Doula: Kelly Sunshine

Posted on August 8, 2016 at 5:49 PM Comments comments ()
This month's featured doula is Kelly Sunshine, of Sunshine Doula Services.  We have had the pleasure of being vendors together at several different local birth events. It is our pleasure to introduce you to her this month in our Meet The Doula feature.

 
When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
I don’t remember the first time I actually heard the word, however, as my sister-in-laws and friends were having kids I would always go be with them while they were in labor and help them. I had already had a few of my kids so they thought I would be helpful. I was essentially being a doula without realizing it. Then one day a little over 5 years ago, I meet a gal who was a doula and the dots all connected for me. I remember thinking how I wish I would have had a doula with me at my 4 births.
 
How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
I’ve had a passion for labor and delivery for years. I contemplated getting my nursing degree at one point. But the more I thought about it I realized I really enjoy helping moms through the entire birth process and building relationships. I had heard about doulaing before. Then about 5 years ago I met a gal who had been a doula for a few years and I learned a lot more about the profession. At that moment I knew that was exactly what my heart had been wanting to do. My husband, who saw my enthusiasm, strongly encouraged me to “do it”. Before I even had a chance to make a decision, he had already enrolled me in a doula certification training that was happening in Phoenix 2 weeks later. I’ve never looked back since then.
 
Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
Birth.
 
How long have you been a doula?
I have been a doula for almost 5 years. I am DONA Certified. I have been fortunate to have a very active career and have been blessed to work with over 350 families since I started.
 
What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
So many moms have a vision of what an ideal birth would be like. I like to help them develop the confidence to trust in their bodies and themselves. There is nothing more rewarding than to support a mama and for her to realize how strong and awesome she really is. I also truly love the relationships I form with the couples.
 
What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
Empowering moms with the philosophy of, “its their agenda not mine”; and using my skills to create an optimalenvironment that they envisioned. Also helping them stay on course with their plan even when they don’t think they can do it anymore.
 
How do you work with and involve the birth partner?
This is very important to me. I am not there to take their place but to work together to help support the mom.  I adjust my involvement based on how comfortable their coach is and how involved the coach wants to be. If I see they are feeling uncomfortable or nervous I show them things they can do to support the mom. Once they get a little confidence then they step up and want to do more. It really cool to watch.
 
What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
Believe it or not the mamas are pretty easy to deal with. By the time we get to a birth we’ve made a pretty strong connection and I generally know what they need. As soon as you bring the extended families in, not the daddy’s or partners, it can sometimes get challenging. My most notable situation was with very vocal and disruptive family members in the room. They were creating a lot of tension and drama and I could see it was upsetting the mom. In fact, despite her requesting them to leave the room they simply weren’t respecting her.
 
I stepped in and with kind firmness asked them to step outside into the waiting area. I explained that I wanted to take some time to help the her get more comfortable and focused. They understood and spent the rest of the birth in the waiting area. 
 
What keeps you working as a doula?
I suppose the best way I can describe it is that being a doula is in my blood. I just love it. It’s challenging work. It keeps me on my toes. Every birth has its own unique dynamic. And I guess I am pretty good at it. Perhaps it’s my gifting and a way of serving the world.
 
What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
My fee covers a prenatal visit which generally last an hour to 90 minutes. It also includes unlimited pre-birth support by phone, email and text leading up to labor. Obviously I am with the family from the beginning of active labor through approximately a couple hours after birth to help the mom and baby get comfortable, and establish nursing if that is their desire.
 
I also take photos of the entire labor, birth and after.  I provide the family with the edited digital copies, as well as a printed 4x6 set. I also write the family a birth story and then meet them for a postpartum visit as well. My fee is the same regardless of the length of the labor.
 
Do you offer any other services to your clients?
Yes. I do placenta encapsulation and have processed over 650 placentas. I also have some other pre- and post-birth products that are designed to help moms prepare for labor and heal following the birth.
 
Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
Well being a doula occupies a good portion of my life. When I am not doulaing, I love to travel with my husband and do family vacations with our four kids. We entertain at our home frequently with family and friends, which I love to do!


 
Would you like to Connect with our featured doula?  Here is her contact information:
Kelly Sunshine
602-410-5968
 
Find Kelly on social media HERE and on Instagram HERE


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


 

 

Update: Placenta Pills

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 3:31 PM Comments comments ()
Consuming the placenta has been found to be beneficial in the postpartum period to help alleviate postpartum hormone fluctuations (aka "baby blues"), increase milk supply, and reduce postpartum bleeding.  More and more women are choosing to ingest their placentas to take advantage of these benefits, and you can read about other benefits of "placentophagy" HERE.

Did You Just Insinuate, “Placenta” and, “Eat” in the Same Sentence?
 
Why, yes. Yes, I did.  When we first heard about it, both Bruss and I were completely grossed out and questioning if the natural birth community had finally gone off the deep end.  After doing more research and deciding we wanted to give it a try with our fourth placenta, we both came to the same conclusion: we had wasted three perfectly good placentas.  We encourage our students to do their reading and decide if it would work for them (see the end of this post for my resource list).
 
I have written about placenta encapsulation before HERE and HERE.  Since I wrote those posts, I have gotten questions via email and from our students. 
 
How is the placenta prepared for consumption?
There are two ways to prepare a placenta for consumption, raw and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  For a good outline of the differences and similarities, read THIS post written by Jules Moon.  Here is a quick summary:

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson 
What is a placenta tincture?
Info from IPEN
Placenta Tincture is made from a piece of the mother’s own raw placenta after birth, steeping in alcohol making a strong remedy over 6 weeks.  It is said that placenta tincture is used for emotional, mental and psychological instability and may also be very beneficial for treating PMS and menopause.
Read more HERE 

Can I take my placenta pills with subsequent pregnancies to help with morning sickness?
Answered with the help of Amanda Jaramillo and Amanda Santana:
The answer is, “No”.  There are a couple of concerns.  One is that it could disrupt normal pregnancy hormones by adding additional hormones from the placenta. The other is that placenta pills aid in contracting the uterus for. 

Neither of these possibilities is desirable during pregnancy. Consuming your placenta during the postpartum period aids in body processes that could lead to pregnancy loss if taken while pregnant.

The “safest” option for easing the symptoms of morning sickness seems to be herbal teas.  A good choice might be finding an herbalist that is knowledgeable about pregnancy.  Sometimes they can do more personalization than an over-the-counter product.  If not, most people find that the Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Tea is a pretty green & clean option.
 
What are your thoughts on Placentophagy?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

Local Resources in Arizona:

Placenta Encapsulators I know personally:
RAW placenta preparation: Amanda Jaramillo – Heaven Sent PES http://www.placentaencapsulationaz.com/Home_Page.html
 
TCM placenta preparation: Trent Newell – Placenta Benefits.info http://placentabenefits.info/TrentNewell.asp
 
Herbalists for Pregnancy and Postpartum:
Diane Bajus
Healing Earth Botanicals offers teas for pregnancy, birth, postpartum & beyond, salves, bath blends, compresses, hydrosols, Super Green & more, along with custom blends.
Contact: authenticmidwife{at}q{dot}com
 
 


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

 

Postpartum: Unplugged

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 9:28 AM Comments comments ()
We see the beautiful newborn pictures taken by professional photographers of sweet sleeping babies.  We ooh and ahh and maybe wish we had found someone to capture these days with our children.


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Here is what you do not see:  the tired mama, and probably papa, standing behind the photographer.  They are not getting sleep between adjusting to life with baby, learning how to breastfeed, and trying to figure out just how often they are supposed to feed the baby.  How do you sleep when the baby sleeps?  The housework is piling up.  People want to come by and see the bundle of joy that has finally arrived.  Mom and Coach are happy baby is here, but, "joyful"? Maybe not for the new parents.  Yet.




The best news about the postpartum period is that, “It Is Temporary”.   HERE are some immediate comfort measures you can stock up on for a postpartum care kit.  Please read the note that I have written for you if you are the mama or the coach.

A note to the Mamas:
The postpartum period is very leaky.  There are tears of joy at the miracle of life that you are cradling in your arms, and then you may cry at the enormity of it all.  You are leaking from your breasts and your yoni.  Consider placenta encapsulation to help with that.  

Please hang up your cape and allow other people to help you.  Be specific with your partner – (s)he is not a mind reader.  Tell them exactly how they can help you and what you need from them.

Feeling lonely and overwhelmed when all the help goes home, or even before then? Call, text or email your Bradley™ teacher.  Call a La Leche League leader or an IBCLC when you have questions about breastfeeding.  If you had a cesarean, please get to an ICAN meeting.  Reach out to your classmates.  

Are you feeling blue? Possibly depressed?  Reach out to your partner, your Bradley™ teacher, or find a support group – you are not a bad mother.  Life is a journey and PPD is a bumpy road that can be a lot less bumpy if you ask for help and share the burden.

Breastfeeding – the emotional rollercoaster – sleep deprivation.  This is all new!  It is inhumane to expect a smooth transition to motherhood.  You do not have to be alone in *any* part of your journey as a mother.  The best words of advice I have ever heard: this is just “for now”.  This phase shall pass, and you will be an expert about your baby before you know it.

Your breasts will not be engorged forever.  Your body and your baby figure out supply and demand.  The bleeding slows down to a trickle and then stops.  Your vagina stops hurting and starts to feel normal again.  You learn to nurse, and then you figure out how to nurse discreetly in public.  Your baby finds a sleep pattern.  The pattern may change – usually for the better.  Baby will start sleeping in longer stretches.  Yeah!  Your baby will get more independent and you will be back to being the partner you want to be for your Coach.  

A note to the Coaches:
Your partner just did an amazing thing: she just had a vaginal birth, or she had a major abdominal surgery.  Both birth outcomes require time to heal from physically, and sometime mentally and emotionally if you made choices that deviated from your birth plan.  

Once you are home, get the details.  Drill down and find out exactly what she expects from you “for now”.  Help with housework? Shopping? Meals? In addition, you are in charge of making sure that she has plenty of water and sleep.  Good milk production is tied to hydration and sleep. 

In addition to staying hydrated and getting sleep, making milk requires input to create output for your little miracle: she will probably be ravenous.  Have easy, comforting and nourishing finger snacks available.  She is trying to learn how to breastfeed and using two hands to eat is not always an option.  Hold the baby so she can have a hot meal every once in a while. 

Find your “sensitive” button – she may be overwhelmed with the responsibility of feeding your baby, and the realization that you, and any additional help that has come into town, is going to leave and she will be alone with the baby.  Check in with her: is she okay?  Is she getting enough sleep?  Do you need to go with her or make phone calls to connect her with the support people she may need?  This is your opportunity to rise to the occasion and be the amazing partner that she knows you are. 

Your wife still loves you.  Do not take the fact that an infant is now the center of mama’s attention personally.  Figure out your new role in the family.  Are you going to be the amazing partner that makes her life easier?  Are you going to be the one that she says she couldn’t have done it all without your love and support?  All coaches wonder, what about intimacy?  Believe me, you will find time and ways.  We are four kids into the journey.  It has not been a problem.

Parents:
Best wishes to you as you join us on the journey of parenthood!  
It is an amazing experience, and we are here for you.

What do you wish someone had told you about the postpartum period?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.  

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®.

   

Meet The Doula: Crystal

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 5:28 AM Comments comments ()
This monthly series is an introduction to doulas that serve the Phoenix area.  Read more about the benefits of doula care HERE.  Read more about how to choose a doula HERE.

Crystal Magnuson, AAHCC: Crystal and Paul, and their nine children, ages 3 months to 16 years old, live in Phoenix, AZ. Crystal is an Aspiring Midwife; Paul is a Licensed Massage Therapist. They enjoy being outdoors with their kids and helping other birthing families.


When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?  
 The first time that I heard the word Doula was when we took The Bradley Method® Classes when we were pregnant with our sixth child.   

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?  
 After becoming a certified Bradley™ teacher in 2003 and helping families, my passion of becoming a midwife became stronger and stronger. The next step on my journey for me was to help couples even more.  I could do that by becoming a birth doula.    

Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?  
 I'm a birth Doula    

How long have you been a doula?  
 I attended my first birth as a doula in 2004 and knew, right then, that I was in the right path for me.  I am certified through Bradley™ to not only teach couples but to also support them in labor and birth. I have gone through a DONA Doula training class and I am in the process of becoming a Midwife. I'm also certified to do placenta encapsulation.    

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?  
 I enjoy helping couples achieve the birth that they are hoping for. Seeing a family grow is a blessing, and to be a part of that is a privilege.    

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?  
 To be there when I'm needed and to help a couple achieve their dream birth; or when things are not going down that path, to help them understand what is going on so that can make the hard choices that are needed. I want to make sure that the couple knows that they did everything that they could have and that their birth path was what their baby needed.    

How do you work with and involve the Coach?  
 I assist the coach, support them, go run errands, encourage, answer questions and really anything that may come up. I don't take over the birth – the birth is for the family.    

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?  
 One that comes to mind is when one of my couples walked out of the hospital in labor. I talked them through all of their options and supported them with each decision that they made.      

What keeps you working as a doula?  
 Knowing that I can help a family grow, seeing the love between the couple and their new little one/s...the beauty of watching a family grow and empowering the mother with the miracle of birth...seeing a family trust in themselves and their baby/ies.    

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor? 
 I have one flat free.  The only thing that is not included is miles. My fees includes: monthly or weekly visits (all depends on what the couple needs and how much time we have), at least one doctor/midwife appointment with the couple, and as much labor/birth support that the couple may need. I stay a minimum of  2 hours after the birth. My fee also includes one free massage for mom, dad or baby.    

Do you offer any other services to your clients?  
Bradley™ childbirth classes, Pregnancy Massage, Birth Doula, Breastfeeding support, Placenta Encapsulation, Pediatric Massage & Cranial sacral Work.  Couples can get a package deal.    
 
Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?  
 I'm a wife, mother of 9 and a student midwife. When I'm not with my kids I'm with other birthing families or in classes.  

 

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

Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:43 AM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale In the grand scheme of planning our homebirth, there was one thing that Bruss was unsure about: placenta encapsulation.  The idea of consuming a placenta after childbirth was absolutely an eyebrow raiser for me, too, the first time I heard about it. 

After going to birth circle and researching some more, I came around to the idea.  Lots of moms testified that there was a positive effect on their postpartum period, going so far as to call them their “happy pills”.  I had postpartum blues with both Ysabella and Bryan (incidentally, both of their labors were augmented with Pitocin) and if there was a way to avoid that emotional roller coaster, I was willing to try it.  Wendy Diaz, Pbi certified placenta encapsulationist, also carries a food handlers card for Maricopa County, so I felt assured that the pills she would be preparing for me were safe for consumption, even if the contents were going to be outside of my “norm”.

It was my best postpartum EVER.  Bruss now confidently tells our students that it wasn’t so bad after all.  He says, “That was the weirdest thing in our birth plan.  It was worth it – the difference in the postpartum period was night and day.” 

I also want to mention that placenta encapsulation is not exclusive to home birth.  You can request and take your placenta home after you birth in a hospital or birth center.  You want to take care to refrigerate it within four hours after the birth (bring a take-home container to the hospital).  If it will be several days until someone will be preparing your placenta, you can freeze it to preserve the integrity and safety for consumption.

So, how do those little capsules do their job?  Wendy shares her knowledge for today’s blog post:

SPB:  What are the benefits of placenta capsules?
Wendy:  There are many ways to prepare your placenta for ingestion.  Some women feel comfortable putting their placenta in a smoothie, or creating a special recipe for it.  Some women even consume it raw.  Those methods will work, however, they limit the length of time you are able to utilize the benefits of the placenta to matter of days.

When I process a placenta, it is dried, ground and encapsulated.  By encapsulating the placenta, you can take them daily for a number of weeks.  You can reap all the healthful benefits of your placenta quickly, easily and discreetly, and when stored properly, they can last for years.  When you have recovered from childbirth, you can freeze the capsules and save them for menopause.

SPB:  You mentioned that there are benefits of the placenta: why would someone want to consider ingesting their placenta? 
Wendy:  Placenta capsules are beneficial in the postpartum period, and at other times in a woman’s life: 

  • Balance your hormones 
  • Increase milk supply 
  • Recover more quickly from childbirth 
  • Replenish what was lost during childbirth (restores what the Chinese call “Qi”) 
  • Brings the body back into balance 
  • Prevent and treat the “baby blues” 
  • Shorten postnatal bleeding time (lochia) 
  • Increase postnatal iron level 
  • Combat fatigue Increase your energy


SPB: How do the placenta capsules help with those things?
Wendy:  There are several scientifically known hormones produced by the placenta.
  • Progesterone: Serves to suppress ovulation, however, do not count on it as a method of birth control! 
  • Estrogen: Stimulates mammary gland development.* 
  • Prolactin: Promotes lactation
  • Oxytocin: Inhibits pain and promotes bonding.  It is also known as the “love” hormone. 
  • Interferon: Stimulates the immune system to protect against infection
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Boosts energy and helps the body to recover from stressful events. 
  • Cortisone:  Combats stress and unlocks energy stores
  • Hemoglobin:  Replenishes iron deficiency, thereby curbing anemia. 
  • Gammaglobulin: Immune booster that helps to protect against postpartum infections. 
  • Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII: Stops bleeding and enhances wound healing. 

SPB:  How would someone know if the placenta capsules are working for them? 
Wendy:  If the placenta capsules are working as expected, Mom should be experiencing at least some, it not all, of the expected benefits.  It is best to stop taking them if you should develop a cold; for some reason, taking your placenta capsules when you are sick seems to drive the cold in deeper.  In addition, if you experience headaches, there is probably too high a concentration of hormones in your capsules.  You can cut your dose in half; and I have also been known to re-make the capsules to include a ”filler” and thereby reduce the concentration in the capsules. 

As Wendy says, “Placentas are rare and powerful – make the best of the ONE available to you after childbirth.”  If the thought of preparing and encapsulating your own placenta is a bit overwhelming, you can contact Wendy about her Placenta Encapsulation Services.  

For more information, visit www.NoBabyBlues.com, or you call her at 480-228-3716. 

* Krystyna’s side note:  Estrogens are one in an array of hormones necessary for both ductal and alveolar growth in the mammary gland.  See this post for more information about galactagogues.

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®. 

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® Fall 2011 Series Chandler, AZBradley Method® Fall 2011 Series Chandler, AZ





I finally got approval from all the families to post the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby pictures.  Here is a brief synopsis of their outcomes along with a birth story from one of the moms.
 
All of these are babies from our Fall 2011 Bradley Method® series.  Angelika got to be one of these babies, too!  The families enrolled in our classes with the intention of having natural births.  However, all of them took to heart our entreaty to evaluate all their decision points with the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby filter.  Most of them deviated from their birth plan, and definitely from what their expectation were…each birth is unique.  The beautiful element of these photographs is that these babies are all healthy, and so are their mammas.
 
I am going to number the babies from left to right.  Baby 1 is our longest labor (so far) for this class.  This family labored for 51 hours!  Mom and Dad labored at home, they went to the hospital and found out they were only 3 centimeters so they followed Berman’s law (go home if your are less than 5 cm dilated and not showing any physical or emotional signs of late labor) and went home.  Mom rested, ate, labored and the couple had the support of a wonderful doula.  They rested that night and labored at home most of the day.  When they went back to the hospital on day 2, mom had not progressed as much as they had hoped but they were past a five so they stayed in the hospital.  When they had marked the 48 hour of labor, they opted to have the bag of waters broken to see if that would speed labor.  Guess what – the on-call doctor did not want to come in to the hospital so he told the nurse to start a Pitocin drip instead.  Mom and Dad evaluated their choices and their wise doula gave them invaluable advice, “Let’s redefine our birth plan and make the adjustment we need to keep the vaginal birth.”  Knowing that mom was exhausted physically, and that she had been dilated to 8 cm with no progress for several hours, the parents evaluated their situation and opted for an epidural so that the strong Pitocin-induced contractions wouldn’t sap what was left of mom’s energy.  Three hours later they welcomed their son via vaginal birth.  He was ready to nurse – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.
 
Baby 2 is our Angélika.  Most of the hospital to homebirth stories we heard from families testified to the fact that their home births were significantly faster than their hospital births.  No transfer, no poking, no prodding, no weird or distracting noises.  So here we are, going into our home birth so excited that we are not going to have to move to the hospital since that had always stalled our labor in the past.  Labor starts and it is a completely different pattern than we have ever had before…the water broke at the midway point instead of at the beginning, walking slowed or stopped labor and laying on my side made things move along.  By the middle of day 2, I gave up on having the faster homebirth and resigned myself to be the mom that went to sleep and woke up ready to push.  You can read the long version here, suffice it to say Angélika was born about five hours after I surrendered and went to bed!
 
Baby number 3 was born to an experienced birth mom.  She has two older boys and this was her third child, dad’s first.  She made the decision to switch care providers at 39 weeks!  Although she had been with her OB for several years and had even followed her when she went into independent practice, she started to get red flags in her third trimester.  They couldn’t agree on her birth plan; and then the doctor wanted to strip her membranes a week before her estimated due date.  Mom made the decision to switch providers and moved to an OB recommended by another classmate that still allowed them to deliver at the same hospital.  Guess what?  This baby was ten days past his due date!  Had mom stayed with her first OB, who knows when he would have been born?  By changing providers, baby was allowed the time he needed to start labor.  This couple opted for a cesarean section to ensure a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Two factors led to their decision: three hours of pushing with no change in station, plus amniotic fluid that was stained with meconium. “Trust birth” as the saying goes…this young man was born with his cord wrapped not once or twice, but several times around his neck.
 
Baby 4 was an average length labor with a painful complication.  As labor progressed, she had a ring of pain that radiated from her uterus down to her upper thighs.  The lower baby dropped and engaged in the pelvis, the more sensation mom lost in her legs!  This mom and dad endured 18 hours of posterior labor – I award them the title of “Rock Stars” for staying drug-free for so long. It is truly a testament to her commitment and his coaching.  Her midwives recommended an epidural since she was not dilating past an eight.  Their baby was born an hour later!
 
Baby 5 was born to another multipara.  This mom was induced with her first baby…and she wrote her story out to share with you:
 
"Our birth choices were all made with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome in mind.  Our first big decision was choosing a care provider we were comfortable with.  We ended up with a wonderful group of midwives who totally supported our birth preferences and were obviously in favor of our choice to have a natural birth.  We had started with a group of midwives in Brooklyn, then went to an OB in Phoenix for a couple of months while we waited for our AZ insurance to kick in.  This OB was definitely NOT on the same page as we were (he wanted to induce before the new year so we could get a tax break...) so we switched as soon as possible.
 
When it came to our labor, we chose to hire a doula and labor at home as long as we could so we could avoid any potential pressure from the hospital for interventions.  As it turned out, my labor was so short that was pretty easy to do!  When we got to the hospital I was already 9 cm, so it was a matter of a little time, then onto pushing, and within the hour Amelia was born.  We chose to skip the Hep B vaccine in the hospital, and waived the vitamin K and eye ointment.  We know my STD status, so we knew she was at no risk, and we wanted her to be able to see the world as best she could with her newborn eyes!  As far as the Vitamin K shot was concerned, we did some research and decided it wasn’t necessary unless she experienced trauma at birth, which she didn’t.  We also chose not to bathe her so the vernix could do its job and she wouldn’t experience crazy changes in her body temperature.  We have yet to bathe her, and won’t for a while longer.  
 
We also decided to encapsulate my placenta this time around.  It was an option presented by our Bradley® instructors, and we were encouraged to do so by our midwife and our doula.  We went home from the hospital the day after our birth because Amelia and I were both doing well.  I wanted to see my 3 year old, and felt like I would be happier resting and enjoying my family in our own home.  
 
It was a different experience from our first birth.  I felt like we were much more informed and able to make more decisions that were Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome-minded.  That said, I was induced with my first because of high blood pressure, and while it wasn’t my ideal birth plan, it was a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby based decision.  I also got an epidural after nearly 12 hours of a Pitocin induced labor, and I was able to progress quickly after that and go on to have a vaginal delivery.  I truly believe that I would have been too exhausted to push had I not gotten the epidural, so again, I don’t regret that decision.  An epidural was much more favorable to me than a C section!  We did have a doula with our first as well, and she was instrumental in keeping us calm and grounded through uncharted territories!  
 
With our firstborn Max, though, we hadn’t researched the vitamin K shot or the eye ointment, so we did both of those.  We also were not informed about the benefits of placenta encapsulation, so it wasn’t even on our radar the first time around.  I stayed in the hospital with Max for two nights, and felt like I needed that amount of time!
 
I definitely liked working with midwives the second time around rather than an OBGYN like we did with Max.  I liked my OB with Max, but I was definitely more comfortable with the midwives and felt like we saw eye to eye on our birth choices.  If we do have another, we will probably consider a home birth since Amelia’s birth was so fast and relatively easy.  That will be a whole new territory to explore, but we’re definitely interested!"
 
I hope these stories demonstrate the importance of a care provider you trust and have a rapport with, as well as the importance of making the choices to have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Happy New Year to all these babies and their families – ours has been wonderful so far.  Angélika started laughing today – pure joy!
 
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. 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®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]
 

Some Postpartum Strategies

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM Comments comments ()
On Tuesday I posted some ideas to avoid birth trauma, mental anguish and physical distress during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  It is by no means a complete list, however it’s a good starting point for thought and action. 
 
As a general rule, the fewer interventions you have during your birth, the easier your breastfeeding relationship will be to establish.  This leads to a mom who recovers from her birth experience feeling competent in her abilities to nourish her child.  If mom is physically well and mentally well after her birth experience, she is less likely to have postpartum depression, which has been known for years as the “baby blues”. 
 
So what do you do after baby arrives and you are adjusting to life with a newborn? 

The best way to figure out what works for you is to embrace two ideas:
1.  Baby has three needs that need to be met: (s)he wants to be fed, clean & dry and loved.
2.  Mom has three needs, too: she needs to be rested, fed and loved.
 
Ask yourself what has to happen so your needs can be met, and make you fully available to meet the needs of your baby.  As adults, we all have different ideas of what being loved means.  Can you write a postpartum plan that makes you feel loved and nurtured?
 
Here are some ideas that I have learned, heard shared at Birth Circle and from moms in our classes. 
 
Encapsulate your placenta
This is at the top of my list because we just had the easiest postpartum ever.  If you are feeling well emotionally, everything else that comes with the postpartum period is so much easier to handle.
 
We had our placenta encapsulated using the traditional Chinese method.  The theory is that the body is in a warm state when a woman is pregnant, and cold when she is not.  By taking the placenta pills on a daily basis and weaning yourself down over the weeks following the baby’s birth-day, the body gently transitions back to a cold state. 
 
I will write more about our experience is another post.  For your info today, here are the benefits listed on our encapsulator’s website: increase a mother’s energy levels postpartum, help to regulate hormones (especially thyroid), increase milk supply, reduce pain and expedite healing.  Who wouldn’t want these benefits?  My only regret is that we don’t have more of these “happy pills”.  I wish we had done this with our other births.
 
Ask for help
This is a hard one for many of us.  We take pride in being self-sufficient and getting things done, so “admitting” that we can’t do it all is a big step on our journey.  How big is your list of things you get done every day and/or week?  Evaluate it with the “Drop-Delegate-Do” approach.  What are the things that you can let go for a few weeks?  What are things that you can delegate?  What is left that you need to do?
 
Once you have that list pared down to what you need to do, look at it again.  Who can do that list for you for at least the first week, if not two, after your baby is born?  As I mentioned earlier, sleep and rest are the two biggest gifts you can give yourself after your baby is born.  Your body heals when you are sleeping.  Your mind resets when you are sleeping.  All your systems function better when you allow yourself to recover, and birth is an athletic event – for some of us, the most demanding event in which we will ever participate.
 
This idea is much harder to grasp with your first child.  It’s hard to believe that having a baby is going to have as big an impact on our bodies and our lives as we hear it will.  There is so much unknown: what will I feel, how tired can I really be, will I be in pain, will I be a good mother? These anxieties, on top of feeling immensely uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy, may lead to sleepless nights even before baby arrives.  As I hope you can see, making sleep a priority after baby arrives is a key to setting yourself up for a better postpartum period.
 
Here is the advice I share with our students who are neat-freaks like me.  I suggest that they figure out which one room their well-being rests with – which dirty room sends you “over the edge”?  Make keeping that room clean the priority.  My husband and my mom were great at keeping our kitchen clean, and that made it easier for me to let go of the mess in the rest of the house.  After a couple of weeks, you can start keeping your house again with some of your pre-pregnancy vigor without sacrificing sleep and your sanity.

Another area in which you should ask for help is with any breastfeeding concerns or challenges.  Unless you saw someone breastfeeding on a regular basis and learned how they did it, there is a low probability that a breastfeeding class here or there, or reading online or a book will give you the answers you need.  Peer-to-peer help or paid help are both available.  Get help!  Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC, RLC has some very informative posts on our blog - but your best bet is to see her or another warm, informed body in person!!
 
A postpartum doula is a great option if you don’t have family or friends available to help you rest and recover after the baby arrives.  The ideal situation would allow both mom and dad time to sleep and enjoy their new baby while other people take care of them.  Your baby is only a newborn once!
 
Food glorious food
Food is paramount on the list of things that make postpartum easier.  Mom needs to eat to recover and to nourish baby, Dad needs to eat to stay happy and have the energy to take care of mom and baby, and if there are other children in the family, they need to be fed, too.
 
Meals:
(1) Consider making double portions of your meals when you are two weeks out from your estimated due date.  Freeze the extras – make sure you date and label the food because it looks different when it’s frozen!  You can also have a cooking day and make big batches of one-dish meals to be frozen.  It is easier to defrost if you freeze it in portion size and/or prepare it in containers that can go from freezer to oven (conventional or microwave might make a difference as you do you planning).

(2)  Meals make great baby gifts!  You can have a sign up sheet at your baby shower, or maybe your church or a dear friend will organize meals after the baby arrives.  The folks who sign up can be organized via on-line methods these days.  This was one of the most cherished gifts we received as we adjusted to being and feeding a family of six.

(3)  Prepare a list of your favorite take out places and make sure you have extra copies.  One of our moms shared this idea in class – she gave a copy to her husband and he would call orders in for dinner on the way home from work.  If you don’t think your partner knows what you would like, also include your order next to the name, address and phone number for your favorite take-out restaurants.  Some of them even deliver – score!
 
Breastfeeding:
Bradley Method® students who keep up with their nutrition tracking are very aware of what they eat on a daily basis.  We suggest that our students keep on tracking, or at least stay aware of their intake for a minimum of four weeks after baby arrives.  If the baby is going to have any reaction to what you eat, it’s easier to figure out what to take out if you are keeping track.  One of our moms offered this information:  If it’s an allergy, it takes time for the body to show signs since it’s an immune response.  It it’s a reaction, its usually immediate and you’ll know within 24 hours if your baby’s gut didn’t like what you ate. 
 
An allergy to a food is something you would have to cut out of your diet long-term – baby’s skin can be an indicator if there is a rash or irritation that doesn’t go away, another sign I have heard anecdotally is blood and/or mucus in the stool.  A reaction indicates food you need to take out for a little while and try again later when you are willing to risk the side effects: vomiting, fussiness, more gas than normal are signs that your baby wasn’t ready for what you ate and you can try again later.
 
Another breastfeeding or feeding older sibling tip is to have snack food readily available and packed in serving sizes.  Carrot sticks, cheese sticks, nuts, granola, protein snack bars are all good ideas for food that will nourish without sending your sugar (or your children’s) spiking before a crash.  For a more complete list, check out my post on labor food ideas – the same foods will work postpartum.
 
My crunchy friends are really good about packing these snacks in reusable containers.  Personally, I sacrifice a little environment during the postpartum period to save time and water doing dishes, and we pack food in snack size bags so that the kids can throw the bag out when they are done.  Dad can spend about an hour once a week stocking the snack shelf and once you are feeling up to it, you can take over and do it as long as you feel a need for nursing snacks.
 
The underlying idea is to make them grab-and-go so that you can eat a little something every time you nurse to keep your nutrition where it needs to be to nourish your growing child.  Nursing is a great appetite builder, as hunger is a great mood downer – so do what you can to stay fed between meals.
 
I am going to have to wrap up here today.  Part of my postpartum plan is to sleep at night so that I am “Happy Mommy” during the day – none of us like seeing “Cranky Mommy” – she is no fun!!  Which means that I am no longer carving writing time out of my sleeping hours and I have four kiddos clamoring for attention at lunchtime.  I have left lots of idea room for our readers – please fill in the rest of this list:
 
If you are a new mommy, what are the questions you have that I didn’t address in todays or Tuesdays post?
 
If you are already a mommy, what are postpartum tips do you have to share?

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. 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®.

Planning for Baby - Part 1

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:00 AM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® instructor Krystyna Bowman, AAHCC writes about planning for babyWe just had the privilege of attending our first “First Birthday Party” for one of the babies that was born to students from our first Bradley Method® class series.  She was also the first baby born in our career as Bradley Method® instructors - it was so fun to be part of the festivities!

While we were there, one of the other moms from their class mentioned that they were already trying for baby number two.  Which prompted Bruss to suggest that I write a post about things to consider when you are adding to your family.  I would add that this list is probably applicable whether you are thinking about or planning for your first child or additional children.  Thank you to my fellow Bradley® instructors Victoria Calleja, Lisa Pearson and Rachel Davis for helping me round out my list for today!

Money, money, money.
The first and most crucial question is can you afford to have a child, or an additional child, right now given your current financial situation?  I’m not talking about are you and your partner living your dream life yet, or close to what you imagine is perfect.  Sometimes people do that and wait so long that they are unable to have the family they want, even with the myriad of fertility treatments that are available.  I am talking about, can you comfortably support a growing family without having to add an extra job or extra shifts to your current work situation?  A baby is not a short term commitment - they belong to you for a lifetime, and yours will be the exclusive bank account that bankrolls their expenses for at least the first 18-22 years of their life.  Here are some of the costs associated with starting or growing, a family...

Medical Costs of Pregnancy Care:
Most care providers work under a “universal” plan, which means that you pay one fee that includes all your pre-natal care after the pregnancy confirmation visit until the time your baby is delivered.  If your care provider is a traditional OB/GYN, your insurance company will probably cover the fee, no questions asked.  You will probably pay a co-pay for a percentage of that total cost.  The percentage of that cost you will bear depends on the type of insurance coverage you or your partner has.  

If you choose a home birth or birth center birth, you may be paying more out of pocket, although the cost of care is less.  Expenses in this case include midwifery care and/or the care providers at the birth center and delivery. Our midwives also include four postpartum visits in their fee.  Again, depending on which insurance carrier you have and their contract with you or your employer, the cost of non-traditional care may or may not be covered.  In addition, there are co-pays if you opt for or are “supposed to have” blood tests, pregnancy screenings and genetic screening or genetic testing.  You may have costs involved for any ultrasounds - “it depends on your insurance plan”.  

A couple of other “medical” costs to factor in are the cost of pre-natal supplements and doula care.  Pre-natals vary in cost depending on whether you buy name brand, generic or prescription supplements.  There are also a variety of herbal supplements and teas that you may want to consider for use through pregnancy and labor.

We encourage students to budget for a doula based on our great experience with doula care.  Continuous doula care has been shown to have the following potential benefits according to research studies:  reduced stress and anxiety in mother/partner, shorter labor with fewer complications, reduced need for interventions (epidural, vacuum extraction, forceps), reduced C-section rate, increased positive feelings about your birth experience, decreased incidence of postpartum depression, better success with breastfeeding the newborn and a stronger relationship with her partner.  Our experience has been that is well worth the investment, especially if you are planning a hospital birth.

Non-Medical Pregnancy Costs:
How about non-medical costs you might incur before your baby arrives?  You will have to invest in maternity clothes at some point - you can always save money by shopping re-sale stores or doing an exchange with a friend who isn’t pregnant at the moment.

Keeping in mind that mom is growing a whole new person - it is worth evaluating your grocery habits.  Nutritious and whole food for mom, organic when possible, are the best way you can lower the risk of complications with pregnancy and labor and have a healthy outcome for mom and baby.  Nutrition is the one thing we can completely control and have a positive impact on our pregnancy and our child’s physical profile for the rest of their lives. (read more)

When it comes to getting ready for baby, there is a lot of “gear”.  Thankfully, these costs are usually defrayed by the wonderful tradition of showering the new family with gifts before the blessed occasion.  At a minimum you will want to consider a good, safe car seat, a pack-n-play, a stroller, a diaper bag, baby layette (0-6 mo clothing, receiving blankets, burp cloths), some kind of baby carrier, a pediatric first-aid kit, a baby-safe bathtub.  Have you thought about doing disposable or cloth diapers?  If you know what you are going to do before your baby shower, you can include the necessary supplies on your registry.  

Here’s a short list of add-ons: a baby monitor, nursing supplies (nursing covers, breast pads and breast cream), a nursing pillow, a nursing stool, breast pump, milk storage bags, bottles, bottle warmer, wipe warmer, pacifiers, baby clothes hamper, swaddle blankets, organizers, activity centers, activity chairs, a swing, nursery decor, a crib, a crib mattress, baby bedding, crib mobile, changing station, an armoire or dresser chest of drawers, a rocker/glider and a high chair.  

Depending on the depth of the circle of your family and friends, you may or may not complete your registry.  Bear the costs of completing your registry in mind as you budget for baby.  What do you think you really need, versus the things that you want but are not really necessary?  Are you willing to shop yard sales, resale or consignment to save money?

Another consideration is the expense of child-proofing your home.  At a minimum there are outlet covers to buy.  Depending on your space, you may need baby gates, bumper pads, rubber edge guards for hard corners.  Do you want to install toilet clamps to keep little hands out of the toilet?  The good news about child-proofing is that it can be done in stages.  You could add all the items to your registry and hope for the best with the knowledge that you can always budget for and build on child-proofing later as baby gets older and more mobile.

I almost forgot! Budget in tuition for an informative and comprehensive childbirth class!  The Bradley Method® covers many different topics about pregnancy, labor, childbirth and breastfeeding.  We strive to prepare moms and their coaches for the healthiest possible pregnancy and the foundation they need to make informed choices about their labor, birth and parenting.

Along with childbirth preparation classes, there are also other classes and services that are available to help you have an easier, more comfortable pregnancy: chiropractic care, prenatal massage, yoga classes, prenatal exercise programs or water aerobics classes.  Some you will need or want a professional for, others you can do through self-study to save money - just check in with your care provider before taking advantage of these classes or services.

Lastly, have you considered documenting your pregnancy?  Pregnancy photographers vary in price range.  I have also had students use high-quality cameras and have very nice pictures turn out - how much you spend depends on what exactly you want to capture and the quality of the prints you want.  There is also belly-casting, when someone makes a plaster-of-Paris cast of your pregnant torso.  You can read up and do this on your own, or you can pay an experienced belly caster with an artistic eye to create a piece of art you can proudly display on a wall.

Here is a list of costs to consider after your baby is born:
Placenta Encapsulation
- Benefits as per PBi (see link below): pills contains your own natural hormones, it is perfectly made for you, it balances your system, replenishes depleted iron, gives you more energy, lessens postnatal bleeding, has been shown to increase milk production, helps you have a happier postpartum period, hastens return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state, shown to be helpful during menopause.

Cord-blood Banking
From the National Cord Blood Banking site: "Cord blood offers a number of advantages to donors and transplant recipients. It is easy to collect, often more likely to provide a suitable match and is stored frozen, ready to use."  There are fee-for-service companies, as well as companies that store blood on a donation basis at no charge to you.  The trade-off there is that you have no guarantee that your baby's blood will be available should the need arise. (see links below)

Lactation Consultant
- A lactation consultant is a professional who can answer your questions about breastfeeding and help you overcome breastfeeding challenges. Prices vary based on their training, experience, and certification levels.  If you are serious about sticking with breastfeeding, hiring one to help you overcome any hurdles is a must.  On a budget?  Attend free La Leche League meetings.  You will receive reputable peer-to-peer help from trained La Leche League Leaders.  They are a group of volunteers who hold monthly meetings and also have a 24-hour helpline.  Know that if they feel something is out of their realm, they will refer you back to a professional lactation consultant.

Continued great nutrition for mom
- Especially if mom is going to be breastfeeding her/your newborn baby.  The better the mom’s diet, the better nutrition she will supply for the baby that is going to double in size the first year alone, and continue to develop it’s mental capabilities throughout the first year.  Mom will also want to continue with prenatal pills or some kind of vitamin and/or herbal program...all it takes is money!  Which brings me to... 

Take-home Pay
- If you are both working, do you need both your incomes to keep paying your bills?  If one parent wants to stay home to raise the child, do you have a good plan to make that possible?  Have you tried to live within your new, pared-down budget before you conceive?  How realistic did you and your partner find this budget?  If you can’t make it work on a double-income or single-income, and you still feel like now is the “right time” to have a baby, is one of you willing to add the extra job or extra shift while the other one essentially becomes a single parent?  I have great respect for couples who make this decision and make it work - they are my heroes.  Every baby is a blessing and I take my hat off to parents who take this responsibility seriously.

Childcare
- if both parents continue to work, there has to be a provision for childcare in your budget.  You can plan on spending a minimum of $200/week in most areas here in Arizona.  It is best to find a reputable provider with whom you feel 1000% comfortable.  You will be leaving the care and nurturing of your most precious gift in their hands for the extent of time you drop them off, commute to work, complete your work day, and commute back to pick them up.

Clothing
- Your baby will be outgrowing their layette before you know it - some parents find themselves buying 18 mo. or 24 mo. clothing before Baby reaches their first birthday.  How about mom - will mom need a post-pregnancy size of “bottoms” clothing?  Then their are nursing bras and nursing “tops” if mom plans to breastfeed.  Again, you can save money by participating in a clothing swap group, or buying consignment or resale.

Medical Care
- If you are going to a traditional pediatrician, there is usually a "universal" coverage for the first year of visits and vaccines.  If you want to look for “green” care, there are  pediatric naturopaths.  We also start chiropractic care in infancy.  You can ask an alternative care provider if they offer "family plans" that would make regular visits affordable if they don’t take insurance coverage.

Entertainment
- Museums, zoo, and field trips usually cost money.  Some establishments offer a Free Day every month, or maybe it’s a “free” period of time during the day.  Looking for more "free"?  Libraries and hospitals are also a great source for free educational programs.  I also found a great resource here in the Phoenix area that helps me find free or low-cost activities to enrich our children's world!  Check out Active Moms Magazine (see link below) - they have both a print and digital version that is published on a monthly basis.  They provide listings for family-friendly things to do on every day of the month.

Transportation
- Will you be needing a larger car?  If yes, how will you pay for it?  Can you pay cash or will you have to finance it and add another bill to your list of monthly outlays?

As your children grow, they will continue to factor into your family budget for things like:
Extended Travel, College fund, Furniture for their big-kid rooms, Groceries for growing children (teenage boys!!), Utilities for kiddos that are bathing and using household electricity everyday, Schooling expenses, Hobby, Sport and Team expenses...maybe you will eventually want a larger home or yard for your children to be able to spread out...

Since this post is already full of food-for-thought, I will wait for Friday to discuss considerations such as Child Spacing, Nursing Relationship, and Sibling Preparation as you add to your loving family.  Until then, break out your calculators and let me know how your baby prep is adding up!

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. 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®.

References and Resources:
Doula Care


Placenta Encapsulation

Cord-blood Banking


Lactation Consultant

Active Moms Magazine

Cost Calculator for Raising a Child

Preparing for Variations and Complications

Posted on April 26, 2011 at 7:23 AM Comments comments ()
Last evening’s class was the topic of “Variations and Complications” during Pregnancy and Labor.  As much as we all hope and pray for an easy pregnancy and labor, for some of us, there are some bumps in the road.
 
The Bradley Method® includes a class on how to handle those “bumps” so that parents are at least aware of what the variations and complications are, what the possible reasons are for them, and the options available to them should they encounter these situations. We also encourage our students to do additional reading on these situations – it is never good enough to take an instructors word on these, especially for the decisions that impact their child.  It is important for students to decide how they would probably want to handle these possible variations and complications while there is time to consider all the options and make a thoughtful choice that they can fall back on in case a moment of decision and/or urgency does arise.
 
In addition, we encourage our couples to discuss their options with their care team.  Each provider has a their own set of policies and protocols based on their experience as practitioners.  It is important that your preferences match with the practice your care team employs so that you are able to work with them and have their support for your choices.
 
Our goal is to inform the parents, give them a basis for a conversation, encourage them to either write down their decisions or make a mental note, then file that information away and turn the focus back to having a normal, uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancy and labor.
 
Here is a great resource to help a couple do some emotional preparation for labor ~ http://www.birthingnaturally.net/encourage/encourage.html
There are several questions and thoughts to consider as you prepare for different aspects of pregnancy and labor.  Again, the goal is to help you come to some conclusions, and then set forth an action plan if through the exercises you realize that there are any unresolved issues or aspects of your pregnancy and labor that you want to discuss with your care team.  Once you face the different possibilities or the fears you might have and make a plan, the idea is to file away the information and focus on having the pregnancy and birth that you want for your family.
 
The one topic that is so hard to talk about and the situation that none of us want to face is pregnancy loss.  There is an outside possibility that this joyous time of preparation and anticipation sometimes ends with a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of a healthy child due to unforeseen circumstances or events.
 
It is hard for me to get through this part of class without getting emotional.  It is one of the fears I have and that I try to turn over in prayer during our pregnancies.  If it is hard for me as the instructor, I can only imagine it is something hard for our students to face and talk about, too.
 
I provide this resource list today with the prayer that you (or anyone close to you) will never have to use it.  On what I hope and pray is a very outside chance that something unthinkable happens, here are several organizations and providers that offer counseling, comfort and free services to support the grieving family.
 
Arizona Perinatal Loss Bereavement Resource
Banner Desert Medical Center
1400 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, 85202
480-512-3595
Provides a network of support for those experiencing a pregnancy or infant loss. This resource gives parents a statewide network of support, current bereavement literature on a variety of topics, educational opportunities and resources in the community, state and national level.
 
The Compassionate Friends
http://www.compassionatefriends.org
The Compassionate Friends assists families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child at any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.   They offer a safe place for bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings to meet and talk freely about your child and your grief issues.
 
M.I.S.S. Foundation
www.missfoundation.org
The M.I.S.S. Foundation provides immediate and ongoing support to grieving families through community volunteerism opportunities, public policy and legislative education and programs to reduce infant and toddler death through research and education. 
 
M.E.N.D. Mother's Enduring Neonatal Death
http://www.mend.org
M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) is a Christian, non-profit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.
 
HAND Helping After Neonatal Death
http://www.handonline.org
HAND is a resource network of parents, professionals, and supportive volunteers that offers a variety of services throughout Northern California and the Central Valley.
 
SHARE Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc
http://www.nationalshare.org
The mission of Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc. is to serve those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life.
 
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org
They offer the free gift of professional portraiture and remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby.  “The NILMDTS Foundation is there for parents and families to help aid them in their Healing, bring Hope to their future, and Honor their child.  It is through Remembrance that a family can truly begin to heal.”  They feel that these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring their child’s legacy.
 
Placenta Encapsulation – Wendy Diaz, PBi™ PES
http://naturallybirthing.webs.com
Her encapsulation services are free for bereaving mothers.  Wendy will also add herbs to the capsules that help dry up the milk supply. 
 
Recommended Reading:
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D.
Product Description from Amazon.com:
The heartache of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death affects thousands of U.S. families every year. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart offers reassurance to parents who struggle with anger, guilt, and despair after such tragedy. Deborah Davis encourages grieving and makes suggestions for coping. This book strives to cover many different kinds of loss, including information on issues such as the death of one or more babies from a multiple birth, pregnancy interruption, and the questioning of aggressive medical intervention. There is also a special chapter for fathers as well as a chapter on "protective parenting" to help anxious parents enjoy their precious living children. Doctors, nurses, relatives, friends, and other support persons can gain special insight. Most importantly, parents facing the death of a baby will find necessary support in this gentle guide. If reading this book moves you to cry, try to accept this reaction. Your tears merge with those of other grieving parents.
 
A purpose of this book is to let bereaved parents know that they are not alone in their grief. With factual information and the words and insights of other bereaved parents, you can establish realistic expectations for your grief. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart is meant to help you through these difficult experiences by giving you things to think about, providing suggestions for coping and encouraging you to do what you need to survive your baby's death. Whether your baby died recently or long ago, this information can be useful to you.
 

Disclaimer:  The material included on this blog and 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. This blog and this site 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 this blog and this site do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 

0