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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

UPCOMING EVENTS: January 27-31, 2014

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)


Happy New Year...and it's finally time to get our events calendar posted again!! Here are some events around the Phoenix area that support natural pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and attachment parenting.  We try to get out and about as much as we can - we look forward to seeing you and your Sweet Peas around town :)

 
MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014
Prenatal Yoga 
The Nest at Babymoon Inn @ 6:00 pm 
220 E Lexington Ave 
Phoenix AZ 85012  
602-314-7755 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2014
Tumbleweed Tots
This indoor play area is designed for children 5 years of age and under to play under parental/guardian supervision. This fun, safe and clean area will have plenty of toys, equipment and activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained. There is a maximum of four children per adult. Fee included in all TRC family passes.
Tumbleweed Rec Center @ 9am – 11am
745 E. Germann Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85286
480-782-2900 

Fish Feeding
Come see an 18,500 gallon freshwater aquarium that offers an up-close view of trophy-sized catfish, bass, striper and blue gill.  Feeding includes an informative presentation about the fish.  Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm and Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.  Also, every day kids can help us feed the trout in our Trout Stream at 1:30pm.
Bass Pro Shop Trout Stream @ 1:30 pm
Bass Pro Shop Aquarium @ 6:00 pm
1133 N Dobson Rd
Mesa 85201
602-606-5600

Prenatal Yoga + Fitness
This prenatal yoga + fitness class will have all the elements of a traditional vinyasa (flow) yoga, designed for your prenatal needs, with added options for any mommas seeking a little extra fitness to compliment and enhance pregnancy, as well as help you to prepare for you upcoming birth journey.  Any stage of pregnancy is welcome (including postpartum), as is any fitness level.  Classes are $10 drop in or $30 for 4 classes. 
Emerge Acupuncture & Community Center @ 5:30 – 6:30 pm
123 E. Baseline Road, Suite D102
Tempe, Arizona 85283
480-466-2004

BELLIES at Nurturing Hearts
As always, this is open to anyone and everyone!!
Topic: Breastfeeding - Getting Started
Preparing for breastfeeding and the first few weeks - things that can go wrong, things we can do to prevent problems, solutions to problems...ways to make it easier and a more enjoyable experience.
Nurturing Hearts Birth Services @ 7:00 pm
40 W Brown Rd, Suite 108
Mesa, Arizona 85201 
480-659-4162

Birth Circle - East Valley
A birth circle is a gathering of pregnant women, new moms and mamas a few miles into the journey. It's a chance to meet people, to share experiences and to ask questions about the journey to motherhood in a non-judgmental, supportive environment. It’s an opportunity to tell your birth story and be heard, to process you birth story in new ways, to listen to a range of experiences as you prepare to birth your baby, to ask questions about birth, babies, breastfeeding and parenting, to connect with other pregnant and new moms in the community, and maybe meet some birth professionals as well. 
Sozo Coffeehouse @ 7:15 pm
1982 N Alma School Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224 
Facilitator: Michelle
Topic: The Beauty of Pregnancy - Celebrating the Changes

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014
National Geographic Kids Club 
The Chandler Fashion Center Kids Club is a great opportunity for your child to learn in a fun, interactive setting.  Meet in the Gap wing near the Food Court now through mid-November! Note: There are 40+ participating shopping centers across the USA.  To see if there is a Nat Geo Kids Club near you, click HERE 
This week’s theme: Let's get ready, get set, it's time to talk about your pets.  Dogs, cats and parrots too, are a part of our families and really love you!
Chandler Fashion Center @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
3111 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ 85226
(480) 812-8488

Music Time
Enjoy singing, simple instruments and movements with your child.  For children ages 5 and under and their caregiver.
Bookmans Mesa @ 10:00 – 10:30 am
1056 S. Country Club Dr.
Mesa, AZ 85210
480-835-0505

Inn Mommies: Explorers Playgroup 
Rhyme Time with the Explorers: This is a wonderful group where you can come and meet other new moms and their babies. Bring your lunch if you like, the Babymoon Inn coffee and tea bar will be open! 
Join us as we sing a few songs and rhymes before we get out a variety of toys to play. Get ready to Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider. 
This playgroup is for moms and babies of all ages that are exploring their world. Pregnant moms are also welcome. It is open to women that have given birth in all settings: home, at Babymoon Inn, or in a hospital. Siblings are welcome in the Explorers group.
We meet at The Nest at Babymoon Inn which is across the street from the birth center.
The Nest at Babymoon Inn @ 10:00 am
220 E Lexington Ave 
Phoenix AZ 85012  
602-314-7755 

Blossoming Moms Breastfeeding and Postpartum Support
Pregnant moms are welcome too!  Facilitator: Michelle Hottya 818-606-5687
Blossom Birth and Wellness Center @ 11:00 am
2928 N 16th Place
Phoenix, AZ 85016 

Dignity Healthcare Breastfeeding Support Group
With the exception of major holidays… For more information, please call the ResourceLink toll-free 1 (877) 728-5414, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm
Chandler Regional Medical Center @ 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
1955 W Frye Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224

What’s Your Favorite Animal? By Eric Carle
SPECIAL EVENT: Everybody has a favorite animal. Join us for a special Storytime and share why you love your animal. Tell a story, draw a picture and hear about them all.
Barnes & Noble @ 11:00 am
3111 W. Chandler Blvd #2054
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-792-1312

Pregnancy And Postpartum Depression Support Group
Free support group to help moms support each other through the adjustments of pregnancy and postpartum anxiety/depression.  Partners, Babies & Toddlers are Welcome.  No Registration Necessary.    Free parking available off of Frye Road. Meeting held in the Morrison Building (blue roofed building just east of Chandler Regional) – follow signs.  For Questions Call:  Resource Link 480.728.5414 or
480.728.5617 (Recorded line with more information)
Group Contact:  Missy Beauchamp  480-728-5620
Chandler Regional Medical Center @ 1:00 – 2:30 pm
1955 West Frye Road
Chandler, AZ 85224

Inn Mommies: Breastfeeding Support and Cuddlers Group 
Please join us Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m.! This is a group for expecting and new mommies with babies that are not yet crawling and is open to women giving birth at home, at Babymoon Inn, or in a hospital. This is a wonderful group where you can come and meet other new moms and their babies. We usually have a topic each week and also time to get to know each other.
Open to the community, for all mommies and their babies (expectant mommies too). Bring your lunch if you like, the Babymoon Inn coffee and tea bar will be open :-). Hope to see you there!
Please no older siblings in the Cuddlers group. Inn Mommies is facilitated by Michelle Clark. Amey Clark, RN, IBCLC is on hand for breastfeeding support and weight checks. 
We are now meeting at The Nest at Babymoon Inn. Located across the street from the Birth Center.
The Nest at Babymoon Inn @ 1:00 pm 
220 E Lexington Ave 
Phoenix AZ 85012  
602-314-7755  

Phoenix Art Museum
It’s never to early to start art appreciation with your Sweet Peas.  You can enjoy PhxArtKids, an interactive space for children, along with galleries of art showcasing American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design.  The Phoenix Art Museum offers free admission every Wednesday afternoon and on First Fridays.
Phoenix Art Museum @ 3:00 – 9:00 pm
1625 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-256-7539

Wildflower Kids
Every Wednesday, Wildflower kids enjoy a complimentary cookie, milk & activity.  Program offered at all locations.  Find your nearest store HERE http://www.wildflowerbread.com/locations/
Wildflower Bread Company @ 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Chandler Fashion Center
3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Suite 1100
Chandler, AZ, 85226
480-821-8200

Prenatal Yoga  
The Nest at Babymoon Inn @ 6:00 pm 
220 E Lexington Ave 
Phoenix AZ 85012  
602-314-7755 

Phoenix Public Market
“our Open-Air Market is a natural gathering place that celebrates neighborhoods and the neighbors. It offers an eclectic high-quality mix of: Fresh in-season fruits and vegetables, produce, flowers, jams, baked goods, dried beans, free-range eggs and honey, live plants and unique local arts and crafts, tasty hot foods, music, and more.
Open Air Market @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
721 N Central
Phoenix, AZ

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014
Tumbleweed Tots
This indoor play area is designed for children 5 years of age and under to play under parental/guardian supervision. This fun, safe and clean area will have plenty of toys, equipment and activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained. There is a maximum of four children per adult. Fee included in all TRC family passes.
Tumbleweed Rec Center @ 9am – 11am
745 E. Germann Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85286
480-782-2900 

Chandler Farmer’s Market
This Farmers Market hosts a variety of vendors including produce, baked goods, salsa, jams and honey, olive oil, seafood, granola, beauty products, and much more!  The Craft Market will be held once a month on the first Thursday of each month.  Come find hand made and hand crafted items from local artisans.
Dr. AJ Chandler Park @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
3 South Arizona Avenue
Chandler, AZ
480-855-3539

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Mesa Community Farmers Market
May include depending on season: fresh produce, baked goods, jams & jellies, salsas, spices, natural pork, beef and fish, hand-made craft products, lotions and soaps. Free admission, free parking. Accepts AZ Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers. Located near downtown Mesa and cafes, coffee shops, museums, and antique stores.
Rendezvous Green @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
263 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201 
602-290-5067

Dignity Healthcare Breastfeeding Support Group
With the exception of major holidays… For more information, please call the ResourceLink toll-free 1 (877) 728-5414, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center @ 10:00 am to 11:30 am
3555 S Val Vista Dr.
Gilbert, AZ 85297

Groovy Kids Music
Groovy Kids Music is for babies and kids of all ages. Class participants can expect music and movement, singing, rhythm, instruments, and fun!! This class is for children of all ages. The cost is $10 for one child, and $5 for each sibling. RSVP if possible, but drop-ins are welcome! As always, the Babymoon Inn snack and drink bar will be open. We hope to see you there!
The Nest at Babymoon Inn @ 10:00 am & 11:00 am – two sessions!
220 E Lexington Ave 
Phoenix AZ 85012  
602-314-7755 

Storytime at Barnes & Noble
King of the Zoo: When it came to being king of the zoo, there was no one cooler or cleverer or charming-er than Carlos the chameleon. Until one day... when everything changed.
More events HERE 
Barnes & Noble @ 10:30 am
3111 W. Chandler Blvd #2054
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-792-1312

Fun Fridays
Children 1 to 4 and their caregivers can enjoy themed events, including hand motion songs, sing-alongs, dancing, stories and games. Activities are designed to enhance musical, social, physical and memory skills. Caregivers must remain in the store.
Microsoft Store @ 10:30 am to 11:15 am
Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014 E. Camelback Road, Suite 1288
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
480-308-0800 

Food Truck Friday
Phoenix Public Market @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
721 N Central
Phoenix, AZ

Enchanted Island Family Night
There’s never a charge to enter Enchanted Island. You simply pay for the rides you want to ride on, the games you want to play, and the food you want to eat.  Friday nights, enjoy special pricing for unlimited rides: $6.50 for Children or Adults Wristbands 
Enchanted Island Amusement Park @ 5:00 – 9:30 pm
1202 W. Encanto Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602-254-1200

Free Outdoor Concert – Tempe
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment.  For more information click HERE
Tempe Marketplace @ 7:00 pm
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe 85281
480-966-9338

Free Outdoor Concert – N. Phoenix/Scottsdale
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment.  For more information click HERE 
Desert Ridge Marketplace @ 7:00 – 9:00 pm
21001 N Tatum Blvd
Phoenix 85050
480-513-7586


LIBRARIES:
Chandler, AZ http://www.chandlerlibrary.org/
Glendale, AZ http://www.glendaleaz.com/Library/index.cfm
Mesa, AZ http://www.mesalibrary.org/
Payson, AZ http://www.paysonlibrary.com/
Phoenix, AZ http://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/default.jsp
Peoria, AZ http://library.peoriaaz.gov/polaris/default.aspx
Scottsdale, AZ  http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/
Tempe, AZ  http://www.tempe.gov/index.aspx?page=1588

Monterey, CA http://www.monterey.org/library/Home.aspx

To submit your event:
Please follow this format (same as above).  Anything that is not "copy-paste" ready may not be posted - it will depend on how much time I have between homeschooling and loving on four littles.
Event Name
Description & Cost
Location Name & Time
Address
Contact Phone Number
Send your event information to [email protected]

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, Payson

Babymoon: Just Say Yes!

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (29)
Our Fall class is winding up...and we have already said, "Welcome, earthside!" to the first baby from that class.  Fun times!

I thought today would be a great time to write about an idea that is gaining traction here in the West: The Babymoon.

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®.  


Rally to Improve Birth 2013

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM Comments comments (0)
Did you know that there is a national organization advocating evidence-based care and humanity in childbirth? 

I first became aware of ImprovingBirth.org when they held their first rally last year.  In order to bring awareness to the maternity health care crisis in our country, the organizers chose the date of Labor Day for the national event.  This year, they are truly nation-wide – there is at least one rally planned in all 50 states, and as of today, it looks like they are up to eight international locations.

What maternity health care crisis in the United States, you ask?  Here is a look at the numbers.  In the world:
  • We are 34th in maternal mortality rates:  33 countries have lower maternal mortality than we do.
  • We are 38th in neonatal mortality rates: 37 countries have lower neonatal mortality rates than we do.
  • We are 41st in infant mortality rates: 40 countries do a better job at keeping newborns alive than we do.
  • We are 66th in birth weight: 65 countries do better than us when it comes to birthing babies at healthy birth weights.
  • We are 33rd in the breastfeeding: 32 countries had higher rates of exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

So do you know why I find this so infuriating?
“ Despite the poor international ranking, the International Federation of Health Plans recently reported that average U.S. payments for vaginal birth were far higher than all other countries reported, including Canada, France, and Australia (7).”


















Are you motivated to stand with women, children and coaches to rally for change? 
On September 2, 2013, from 10 a.m. – 12 noon local time, cities across the states are going to host a Rally to Improve Birth.  The rally is not to promote one kind of birth over other kinds of births.  It is not about bashing care providers and birthing facilities.

“It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.  It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion.”
-Rally To Improve Birth

What is the message that Improving Birth is striving for?  Here are some of the messages they hope to get across that day (hint...ideas for rally signs):
  • Lower the C-Section Rate
  • Respectful Maternity Care 
  • Question Your Induction
  • Informed Consent is My Right 
  • Evidence-Based Birth

You can click HERE to find your local rally (readers in the Phoenix, AZ area - local info at the bottom of this post):
http://rallytoimprovebirth.com/find-a-rally-near-you/

If you can’t stand side-by-side with the families attending the rally, you can still participate.  All the rallies are 100% volunteer organized – even a donation of $10.00 can help buy water to hydrate all the mamas, babies, coaches and care providers standing under the hot sun on Labor Day to bring awareness and change to the maternal healthcare system.
Donate HERE to the national organization:

Donate HERE to the local Phoenix Rally:
http://rallytoimprovebirth.causevox.com/phoenix

HERE is a story from an "eye-roller" at last year’s rally, to a supporter at this year’s rally.  I would like to think that these stories are few and far between.  Unfortunately, I know they are not.  Due to my involvement in the birth community at large, I have personally heard stories from several women who felt completely violated by their care providers and the current standard of care.  We can make a difference.  We can stand together and insist that it is time to humanize birth again, to use evidence-based care, and to involve the birthing family as partners in their birth story. For more information, please visit their main website:

Readers in the Phoenix, AZ area
Here is the info on our local event:
September 2, 2013
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tempe Beach Park
54 West Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, Arizona 85281

To stay up-to-date on the local event, visit the Facebook Page.



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®.


An Inside Look: Total Momma + Family Care

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 7:48 AM Comments comments (0)
Welcome to today's guest blogger, Koren Michelle.  She is the founder of Total Momma + Family Care, providing postpartum care, family fitness and nutrition classes, and support for mamas at all stages of their parenting journey.

When I had my son in 2010, I didn’t know anyone with kids.  All of our family is back in Ohio.  I was on my own.  However, I knew I wanted a homebirth.  I was determined to succeed with breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and babywearing.  While I did succeed with all of these things, that first year was TOUGH. I have since made friends with lots of parents, and learned so much!

In my heart of hearts I believe that women are not meant to parent alone.  We are not designed to live in isolation.  Especially when you have this tiny little creature that you love so dearly and yet requires so much of your body, time and patience you occasionally find yourself feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  Understandably so.  We all need help, hugs, a soft place to land when we hit the floor.  Someone to hold the baby so we can shower in peace…

So I have been inspired… to provide a support system for all those moms in the valley that need it.  I created Total Momma + Family Care.  My service is mobile and I specialize in Postpartum/Momma Care, Placenta Crafting, Family Fitness & Nutrition.  I’m a yoga professional trained in the art of placenta crafting, obsessed with healthy cooking and homesteading ventures.  I know from experience and association what mommas struggle with, postpartum and beyond.  I take care of moms, kids, families.  I am here to motivate, educate, mentor, conversate.

Postpartum/Momma care is the core of my business.  This is what I’m passionate about. I come to the home at any time of need.  This can be immediately postpartum or months later.  It all depends on the mom and the situation.  I take an assessment of mom:  How is mom feeling?  What does mom need help with today?  I base my work around each mother’s individual needs.  I provide meals, clean house, do laundry, attend to children so mom can rest or address other needs, run errands, provide groceries… Sometimes moms just need company.  In short, moms do A LOT, and I come in to assist and cover for her so she can recharge and keep going.  This makes for a happier, more confident mom and thus, a happier family.

I was trained by Lindsay Williams of Sonoran Desert Placenta Encapsulation Services to prepare and encapsulate placentas for consumption.  I pick up your placenta, handle it safely and with reverence as I prepare, cook, and dehydrate it, then I deliver it back to you in whatever form you request.  With all placenta services I include 2 hours of postpartum care.

The last piece of taking care of mommas is making sure mommas have the knowledge, resources, and motivation to get back on track.  We all want to look good to feel good.  Juggling your needs with the needs of the family can make this goal seem impossible at times.  I can assist you with your goals by coming to you and designing a customized, comprehensive fitness plan OR you may opt to join in on some of the classes I regularly host from my home studio in South Tempe.  

Classes I currently offer are: 

  • Mom & Tot Movement - yoga-based play
  • Babywearing Body Sculpt - wear your baby and get buff!
  • Total Body Yoga Fusion - a rigorous adult class that incorporates weights, plyometric dynamic movements and yoga


My home is set up as a sanctuary for moms.  I want all moms to have a place they enjoy coming to, where kids can play and interact together safely and naturally.

You may follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TotalMomma
You may reach me at [email protected] or call 480.466.2004

Here is a link to Koren's class schedule for July 2013:

July Schedule.pdf (PDF — 82 KB)
 



Please leave us a comment - although it doesn't show up immediately, 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.
 

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 (0)
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?
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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®.

   

Postpartum Period: 0-6 weeks

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)
On Tuesday I shared the things we have in our “Postpartum Kit”.  Last night’s birth circle topic was about the postpartum period…specifically the six weeks after baby was born.  Here are some gems from last night to share with you: 

Breastfeeding:  Some moms set up a “nursing station” in the nursery.  They stock it with water, snacks, books or magazines to read while nursing, nursing pads and nipple cream.  One of the mom/Bradley™ teacher/doula suggested to set up more than one station because in her experience mom’s get tired of nursing in the same spot.  She said other common rooms where a mom would spend a lot of time; maybe the family room or kitchen would be other possible locations to have supplies. 

The other idea was to make a portable nursing station.  Fill a basket or tote with all of the same supplies, and even keep diapers, wipes and an extra change of clothes in there so that you don’t have to get up and move baby when they are settled if they need a change before or after nursing.                                                      

The third idea shared in relation to breastfeeding was to take a class before baby arrives.  It helps to know what you can expect.  In our Bradley Method® classes, we also suggest our students attend two La Leche League meetings before baby arrives. If you can’t make it to a class, at least you hear some information that pertains to breastfeeding.  LLL runs meetings based on a 4-series cycle that they have identified as the four over-arching topics that pertain to breastfeeding.It helps to meet the local leaders for postpartum breastfeeding help.  Leaders are available 24/7 by phone, and some will do home visits.  Sometimes it makes it easier to make that late-night or early-morning call if you know there is a friendly face you have already met on the other side of the phone line. 

Meals:  Organizing meals has gotten a huge boost thanks to social networking.  The site mentioned specifically was takethemameal.com.  You can specify food preferences, set dates for delivery, and then post it on social networking sites or email a link to your friends and family so they can sign up.  The site sends out a reminder email the day before someone is scheduled to remind them of their commitment and send them your address/contact info so it’s handy for the next day. 
One of our friends was kind enough to organize this for us after Angelika was born – it was a God-send.  We got to eat foods we don’t usually prepare and got a couple of new favorites.  And, it made our babymoon sweeter since we didn’t have to worry about making food to feed the family for a few weeks. 

Meconium:  Baby’s first few bowel movements are a thick, tarry stool called meconium.  It is the result of the amniotic fluid they ingested inutero.  A tip we learned from our midwife, and also shared by the midwife in attendance last night, was to put olive oil on the baby’s bottom before putting on the first diaper.  This keeps the meconium from sticking to baby’s bottom and makes it much easier to clean.  Keep using olive oil on the diaper area until baby’s stools change to the yellow, runnier stools. 

Partners:  Mom’s husband-boyfriend-partner are a huge part of the team that can make or break the postpartum period.  I have been blessed with a great Husband-Coach who makes every effort to make our postpartum period as smooth as possible.  One mom shared that their uncomfortable and overwhelming postpartum period led her and her fiancé to split after the birth of their son.  

Partners can also influence the breastfeeding relationship.  Thanking your child’s mom for persisting through the learning curve, keeping her fed and hydrated, supporting her and helping her manage the first times nursing in public – all these things encourage us to persist through the learning curve.  If you notice that mom is struggling, make the phone call to schedule a meeting with a LLL leader or a professional IBCLC lactation consultant.  Go with her to a lactation consultation or to a support group meeting.  Four ears are better than two for remembering the information that is shared.  You will both be happy for the help that you receive, and these gals have years of experience to draw from to help you have the best breastfeeding relationship possible. 

Postpartum Helpers:  Some families have help that comes in after baby is born.  Mothers, mothers-in-law, siblings...you can make the best of this help by being clear about what you need.  Are there meals to be made?  Other children to tend to?  Housework that needs to be done?  Housework done a certain way?  Make a list - this even helps with visitors who offer to help.  It's easier to ask them to pick a chore off of the list than to come up with something on the spot when you are tired.

Sometimes we are blessed with a helper that seems to read our mind and things are done before we even think of them.  My mom was great about making me high protein, nutritious snacks - what a blessing that was!  And if they can't read your mind, then be clear and be kind - no one wants to make you upset on purpose. (I learned this one the hard way - trust me, it's easier to take the time to make a list!)

And sometimes these helpers have different ideas than you and your partner do about how to care for baby.  1.)  Get really good at saying, "This works for our family," or "We are going to try it our way first."  2.) Hire a postpartum doula - an "expert" to remind your helpers of all the way things have changed and the "new" information about babies that you are trying to implement.  (See link below for one of our faves!)

A postpartum doula is also a great option if family or friends are not available to help you in the postpartum period.  The best thing both parents can do is be well-rested for baby.

Sleep:  I don’t think it can be said enough – sleep when the baby sleeps!  Even if you feel like you are doing well after an uncomplicated birth, take it easy!  There are internal wounds that are healing, and the body is healing from the stressors of pregnancy and labor.  A couple of moms shared stories of over-doing it that landed them in bed for much longer than if they had rested and healed.  It’s not forever…maybe the first week after the birth.  Stay in bed, skin-to-skin with your baby to promote bonding and breastfeeding, and get out to get some indirect sunlight on a daily basis to help with postpartum issues….and then go back to resting. 

After the first week, you can start with little walks if you are ready to exercise.  The prevailing word to keep in mind: EASY. Take it easy with exercise, easy on housework, easy on yourself.  Your body just did a wonderful thing – it made and birthed a baby!  Give it time to heal so that you can recover and hit your stride again once you are physically ready (generally after your care provider clears you around 6-weeks postpartum). 

Visitors:  Be honest!  Be brave!  When someone calls to see if you need anything, don’t be the hero and answer with “That’s okay – we’re fine.”  Learn to say, “Yes, I would be grateful if you could (insert chore here).”  If people ask if they can come over and you are too tired or you are overwhelmed with the visitors that have already been over that day, be okay with saying, “We would love to see you.  Today has been full and we need our rest.  How about (date/time suggestion)?”  Most people coming over are already parents, and they will understand where you are coming from – you probably don’t have to worry about offending them.  And if they are offended…well, there are lots of sayings that cover that issue. 

This is another area where partners can take the lead.  Once people are at your home and you see mom getting sleepy, step up and say, “It looks like you are ready for bed – what can I do to help you get ready?”  Maybe your visitor gets the hint and will volunteer to leave – make sure they do – soon!  By attending immediately to mom, they will get the hint.  And if not, then at least mom is in bed resting with baby and Coach can visit a little longer with your company. 

Other ideas:  Other topics that came up were placenta encapsulation and the benefits of wearing amber jewelry.  Some moms also asked about cloth diapers versus disposables. I included links to previous posts for placenta encapsulation; and here are a couple of links to read more about amber jewelry and some local cloth diaper stores that run workshops, and a postpartum doula: 






What is a postpartum tip you would share with a new mom? 

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

Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:43 AM Comments comments (1)
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®. 

Postpartum Ideas

Posted on March 17, 2012 at 11:22 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleIt breaks my heart to hear desperation in a new mama’s voice, or to read that they are struggling with breastfeeding, or to know that they are not getting enough sleep.  It’s a harsh reality check after the first few hours of euphoria after the baby is born.
 
After a baby is born and the female body is flooded with endorphins, a mama who has had minimal interference with the natural process will be completely alert, awake and responsive to the needs of her newborn child.  Hopefully she gets some sleep after the endorphins wear off.  Next starts the babymoon and the parade of people – family and friends coming by to help the new family, well-wishers bringing gifts of food.  Mama is supported and loved and maybe she gets some sleep as others ease her burden.  Then life happens…and mama and baby are left to fend for themselves while everyone who was supporting the motherbaby gets on with their life:  Coach goes back to work, friends stop bringing food, or maybe after a visit the clean-up duties are left to the mama. 
 
The stress in this situation can be compounded by other dynamics.  When a mama has not had a natural-ish birth she wanted, or maybe she is healing from the physical and/or emotional experience of a cesarean birth, she might be stressed.  Maybe there are feeding issues due to the learning curve or a physical limitation to the nursing relationship.  Maybe there are siblings in the family who are also adjusting to the new family member.  Maybe there are pets acting out as they try to figure out the new family dynamic.  All these stressors start to affect a mama’s well-being.
 
As a mama starts to lose sleep and add stress, the concern I have is two-fold:  First of all, she may affect her milk supply.  The second concern is that she will experience more than just the baby blues as her body re-adjusts hormone levels after pregnancy.  Without adequate sleep, she could easily escalate to post-partum depression.  The condition has many symptoms; the one that concerns me the most is when women think about or actually do bodily harm to themselves and/or their children.
 
Sleep:  Find help after the babymoon is over.   Will your life-house-sibling parenting be perfect right after baby arrives?  No way, no how.  The important thing is to be aware that the situation is temporary.  If you allow yourself some breathing room, you can recover from birth and get back into your “normal” sooner than later.
 
Coach has to go back to work?  Beg, borrow or steal time when you can.  Be okay with letting things go around the house.  Pick one room to keep clean if that is important to you, maybe the one where you spend the most time.  The rest can wait until you have recovered from your birth.  Coach gets home from work – pass him the baby and go take a nap. 
 
Have other kiddos?  Set up a “meal train” and let other people help with feeding your family.  Let them know about your food restrictions.  Our friends introduced us to some new gluten-free foods after Angelika was born – it was awesome.
 
No support from family or friends?  Hire a postpartum doula to help care for baby or your housework so you can sleep.  Many of these women are willing to barter if needed – most of us in the birth business are more concerned about the mother/baby than we are about getting paid in money. 
 
Another obvious yet harder-to-do as we are more technology dependent, is to turn off the gadgets.  Put away your phone; turn off your computer.  The world revolved long before there was app for it.  If you are tired, don’t allow yourself the distraction.  It’s amazingly freeing to go a few “wireless” days.  Trust me when I tell you that you can always catch up later.  There is no one more important than you and baby in the first days of recovery, or if your baby blues are getting worse instead of better.
 
Birth experience:  There are many support groups to help a mama process her birth, as will as books and classes.  In the Phoenix area, birth mentor Alejandrina Vostreja has a class for moms/coaches who want to process their birth experience. You can talk to your doula or assistant coaches to put together any missing pieces you and your coach don’t remember or didn’t notice due to being in the moment.  You can attend a birth circle (click here and scroll down for AZ groups) to share your story in a non-judgmental and supportive setting.  If you had a cesarean, you can attend an ICAN meeting, another non-judgmental and supportive setting.
 
Feeding Issues:  After being around the birth world for a few years, I would definitely recommend finding the help that is appropriate for the situation.  Peer-to-peer help, i.e., La Leche League, is good for a painful latch or general adjusting to motherhood.  A certified breastfeeding counselor (they have completed a course to help mothers) is the next step if peer counseling doesn’t answer your concerns.  If you have issues such as a baby who is losing weight or continued fussiness at the breast, then go straight to finding and making arrangements to meet with an IBCLC.  They have completed a rigorous training program and they are internationally certified to be the gold-standard – they are the real deal when it comes to calling themselves a Lactation Consultant.
 
Feeding issues can be heart-breaking if you are committed to breastfeeding.  It helps to keep the big picture in mind…this is a bump in the road.  Learning to breastfeed takes at least four to six weeks, especially if this is your first time breastfeeding, if your baby is  a preemie, or if your baby has “technical” issues like a tongue-tie  that need to be addressed, and baby essentially has to gain strength or re-learn how to suckle at the breast.
 
My friend Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC, RLC, taught me that the most important to-do is to feed the baby.  Pick the one thing that you are willing to do this time – and just deal with one feeding at a time.  As in labor, it’s hard to deal with the emotions and discomfort if you think about how long it’s going to go on… by addressing the feeding right now, and only the one right now, you can ease the stress that will affect your milk supply if it rises unchecked.
 
It is also important to remember that breastfeeding is much more than breastmilk.  By putting your baby to the breast, even if it’s just suckling, that’s a start.  You are bonding skin-to-skin, you are letting your baby “talk” to your body, it is giving your body the message to keep making milk because there is a human baby to feed.  It is your baby transferring it’s needs to your body so your body can make the quality of milk your baby needs for that time window (antibodies, vitamins, minerals, lactose*, protein, fat).   Hopefully your unique “formula” is already made and transferred into the storage containers you are using.
 
Siblings: Ask a babysitter to come play with the older children while you and baby nap.  Plan unique activities for them to do with the kiddos.  Another option is to bring out special toys that only come out when a new baby is born so that they look forward to the arrival of the new sibling.
 
You can also make a twist in the “family bed” concept. Have your child(ren) bring you books or toy sets to play with on the bed so that you can be comfortable, be skin-to-skin with baby and still pay attention to older siblings.  It’s great for baby to hear language, whether it’s reading aloud or playing with the other children.  It’s great for the other children to share time with baby and still get your attention.
 
If family is in town after baby arrives to help, be clear about who needs help and what you want done.  As much as they may want to hold the new baby, the baby is your responsibility.  Utilize their time to do special activities with the older siblings – they can hold the baby when you siblings are napping or in school.  It’s nice for the kiddos to have someone they feel is dedicated to them while mom takes care of baby.
 
Pets:  The best first job we ever provided a neighbor was after we had Ysabella.  Our dogs had been used to walking twice a day – and that just wasn’t possible as I was healing from my episiotomy.  We hired a neighborhood kiddo to come by after school to walk our dogs – they were happy and I healed.  After everything was better, I started walking them in the mornings again, and our neighbor kept up the afternoon walks.  I had time with baby, the dogs got their walks – life was good!  I can’t speak for cats – maybe someone else can do that in the comments.
 
We have also had students give away pets to a loving home before baby arrives.  Recently, some students found a home for their pets in their neighborhood.  They will still get to see their pets on occasion.  They also offered to pet-sit when their new owners go out of town.  It is one of the best solutions we have heard of through our time teaching Bradley Method® classes.
 
If you are going to change any rules, it’s a good idea to do that before baby comes, so that pets don’t necessarily associate a change they don’t like with the new family member.  Another great tool we used to acclimate our pets was the Preparing Fido CD.  I imagine it could work to acclimate a variety of animals to baby sounds – again, trying to ease the transition before baby arrives.
 
This is just a short list of possible fixes to help alleviate postpartum stress.  The most important thing to remember as you make and execute your postpartum plan is to take care of mom and baby first.  Everything else is secondary.
 
I will close by saying that encapsulating our placenta made the biggest difference in our postpartum experience for our last baby.  I did not experience postpartum depression this time; my milk supply was and remains awesome; it was our best postpartum ever.  Here is some basic information on it – I will be writing up more detail about our experience in a future post.  I encourage you to look into it and ask more questions to see if it might be right for you.
 
*A lactose-intolerant baby is not allergic to your milk.  The intolerance is for the dairy products made by a cow for their baby. Click here to read more about one mom’s journey through lactose-intolerance.
 
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®.
 
More on Postpartum Plans:

Links list:
Post partum depression
 
Birthin’ Again Mentor
 
International Cesarean Awareness Network

Tongue Tie
 
Preparing Fido
 
 

Some Postpartum Strategies

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM Comments comments (28)
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®.

Preparation for a Positive Postpartum

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM Comments comments (0)
Baby arrives - now what?  We all spend time planning and preparing the nursery and for the birth-day - and we may forget that there life after the big day, and that your new normal is going to include caring for a newborn child.
 
What can you do to prepare for the best postpartum possible?  The mom who can rest and feels capable in feeding and caring for her baby is less likely to experience postpartum depression.  Avoiding birth trauma, mental anguish and physical distress are factors that lead to a more positive postpartum experience. 
 
Today’s post will talk about the things you can do during labor, birth and breastfeeding to set yourself up for a positive mental and physical experience.  On Friday I will share some practical tips for making the transition to life after baby a little smoother.
 
1.  Have a birth experience that you are happy with.
     The start to a healthy postpartum period is to have a birth experience you feel good about.  Positive mental health is always a plus!  Begin by choosing a care provider and a birth setting that support the birth you and your coach want for your baby.  If you cannot physically, mentally and/or emotionally relax in your birthplace, you will end up with more interventions and a less than optimal birth experience.     
     You may also need to be flexible.  In each of our three hospital births, we prepared for natural, intervention-free births.  Each birth, we reached times when we had to deviate from our birth plan.  Although our births weren’t “perfect”, we felt proud of our births because we made choices together, and we felt confident about the decisions we made along the path of labor.  The teamwork we learned and the information we gained as students of The Bradley Method® helped us to achieve what we wanted: epidural-free births for our children.
 
2.  Do your best to avoid pain medication during labor.
     Did you know that a laboring woman produces 40 times the endorphins found in a non-laboring person, and that these endorphins help you cope with the sensations of labor?  The surge of endorphins makes the sensations of labor manageable with the support of a loving coach.  They also help you fall in love and bond with your baby (and your Coach) when the work of labor is over.  It is a bona-fide love fest!     
     Further, did you know that those endorphins are not produced when pain medication inhibits the pain-response cycle?  This can cause a harder recovery if or when the epidural wears off: the discomfort would seem much more intense without the endorphins to help you enjoy your accomplishment.
      Avoiding pain medication also ensures that the natural processes remain as intact as possible: you and your baby work together during and after labor.  Your pain-medication free baby is a more responsive baby.  You can tune-in to your baby and your body and use this knowledge for adjusting labor positions.  Effective use of labor positions might speed up your labor.  At the very least, you can ensure that you are doing what your baby needs you to do so that they arrive safely into the world. 
     The biofeedback mechanism built into immediate nursing can also help you avoid the Pitocin (a labor augmentation drug) that is standard procedure after labor to shrink the uterus.  A pain-medication free baby will nurse readily, helping your body to expel the placenta by continuing to stimulate the production of oxytocin to contract and shrink the uterus.  We were always able to negotiate to “wait and see” if the Pitocin bolus needed to be administered after the baby was born.  Since all of our babies nursed readily, it was never necessary – one more area in which we were able to safely say “no thanks”.
     Speaking of Pitocin…this is purely anecdotal:  we had two labors augmented by Pitocin when we “failed to progress”, and two labors without it.  The postpartum emotional rollercoaster was much more pronounced when Pitocin was used during labor – more tears, depression and moments of anger.  We had much calmer and happier postpartum periods when Pitocin didn’t mix into our birth story. 
 
3.  Prepare ahead of time to avoid an episiotomy or tearing.
     All pregnant moms reach the point when it hits you – this baby is coming out, one way or another.  Even with our fourth baby, I had this “oh my…” moment.  The good news is that babies know where they need to get out – and the majority of them don’t grow larger than the vessel they grow in can handle.
     Good nutrition with plenty of Vitamin C and healthy fats and oils will help your muscles to stay healthy and flexible.  Your perineum is a muscle – and it follows that a healthy and flexible perineum can stretch around the head that has to pass through it. 
     You can also practice perineal massage – ask your care provider what they suggest.  Some encourage you to practice stretching the perineum as you approach your estimated due date, some will have you do nothing since they massage your perineum as the baby is crowning to ease the passage of the head.  Some care providers will want you to practice and they will do a perineal massage during the pushing phase.  The point is that between good nutrition and perineal massage, you can avoid tearing or an episiotomy altogether.
 
4.  Breathe your baby out.
     Another way to avoid tearing or an episiotomy is to tune-in during the pushing phase of labor.  Wait until you have an undeniable urge to push to start pushing.  If you are asked to push and you could take it or leave it, you are not ready to push.  You are only wasting your energy and possibly stressing out your baby and your body.  Believe me when I say you will know – the only thing you will want to focus on is getting the baby out of your body!
     Your contractions tend to space out in frequency again during the pushing phase.  Use this time to recover your energy by practicing relaxation and doing your deep abdominal breathing. 
~ When it is time to push, push only to the point of comfort.  Ease your baby out and the skin stretches comfortably; if you push too hard or too fast, you can tear from the extra stress on the skin. 
~ Do not hold your breath any prescribed amount.  Hold it only as long as your body wants to – the last thing you want to do is deprive your baby of oxygen when they are already constricted by the tight squeeze.
 
5.  There is pain after labor is over and you are holding your baby.
The three major sources of pain are contractions (!), the perineal area, and breasts.  Side note: If you have a fever after labor, it's time to call your doctor.  Do not ignore any redness or swelling or pain that is accompanied by a fever.  Dizziness and fainting are also indicators of something more serious.  This is not the time to "tough it out".  If you end up in the hospital it will compromise your ability to take care of your baby and breastfeed.
 
CONTRACTIONS
     This was the most surprising to me.  I wasn’t told that you keep experiencing uncomfortable contractions every time you nurse, and well after labor is over.  The discomfort during nursing lasted anywhere from 3 to 7 days in my experience.  Since your body makes oxytocin every time you nurse, you will feel the contractions until your uterus has shrunk down to its approximate pre-pregnancy size.  They are the most uncomfortable in the two days after labor; they get less and less noticeable with time.  You can use a heating pad to dissipate the pain during and after nursing.  My placenta pills helped ease the discomfort my last postpartum period – they made a big difference.
 
PERINEAL AREA
     If you have an episiotomy, it may feel like the pain is worse than labor because it is hurting, “ouchy” pain that persists, versus the productive pain that helps you meet your baby and then stops.  Between the trauma of the cut and the stitching for repair, the skin swells and the receptor nerves are screaming at you.  It is likely you will want to take something to ease the pain. 
     A tear that needs to be repaired with stitches may also be uncomfortable.  There is a direct relationship between the number of stitches you need and the amount of pain you feel.
     I never saw the sense in having a pain-med free birth only to introduce drugs when the baby was nursing.  There are things you can do to cope with the pain and keep from introducing drugs to the baby through your breast milk.
~ Use cold compress on your perineum to numb the pain: you can make one by cutting open a newborn diaper and stuffing it with ice, or you can buy perineal compresses.
~ Use healing herbs in the peri-bottle: Did you know that even without a tear, wiping after you use the toilet is a no?  A peri-bottle is used to rinse the vaginal area after eliminating when you have a vaginal birth.  We learned about the herbs from our midwives.  Considering that hospital births tend to be more traumatic on the perineum, it’s hard to believe that our homebirth was the first time we used them.  Again, BIG difference in recovery time – I felt better within 24 hours!
~ Do a sitz bath: You can sit on an inflatable donut pillow in the bathtub, or you can use a basin designed to sit in your toilet.  Salty, warm water helps to heal the perineal area and the warmth will feel good, too.
 
BREASTS
     There is a learning curve in each breastfeeding relationship.  The biggest one is probably going to happen with your first breastfed baby.  Your nipples have to be “broken in” with the first baby – it takes a little time.  And although there is discomfort as your breasts swell (engorge) when your milk comes in, nursing should not hurt.  Many breastfeeding stories include pain, and although pain is common, it is not normal.  If you are having pain when your baby latches on, when baby is nursing, or both, get help!  La Leche League leaders, a certified breastfeeding counselor, or an IBCLC certified lactation consultant can help you identify the issue(s) and teach you how to nurse comfortably. 
     The first three weeks after birth are critical in establishing your milk supply, and effectively, the rest of your breastfeeding relationship.  If you get off to a good start, you and your baby can have a nursing relationship until you have a mutual weaning.  If you have a less favorable start, you will affect your milk supply, which then dictates the length of the breastfeeding relationship and possibly include the use of formula.
     You get what you pay for when it comes to help – LLL is knowledgeable, albeit free, peer-to-peer help.  A certified breastfeeding counselor has taken at least one professional class to receive their certification.  An IBCLC lactation consultant has the most professional training and experience from which to draw. 
     Spend the money you need spend in order to have the breastfeeding relationship you want. Some things, such as latching, are easily remedied with the help of a LLL leader.  Other things require professional help.  Among all the things on which you can spend money during the postpartum period, getting help in order to give your baby the best food possible falls high on many priority lists.
 
Preparing yourself before your baby arrives with knowledge, good nutrition, and exercise for strength and stamina will help you have fewer interventions during labor and hopefully avoid birth trauma.  A positive birth experience, being well rested and feeling competent in feeding baby is part of the equation for a happy new mother.  Check in again on Friday to read helpful tips about transitioning from pregnancy to new family.

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 still enrolling for our Winter Series
December 5, 2011 to
February 20, 2012  

For more information or to register, please
call us at
602-684-6567
or email us at [email protected]
 
 

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