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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Upcoming Event: Sibling Class

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 11:23 PM Comments comments (0)
 Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

We are so excited to be offering Sibling Classes at Modern Mommy Boutique this season.  I want to spend a little time explaining our Visual Birth Plan class to give you a better idea what to expect.

We will share a children's book about what happens during pregnancy, labor and birth.  The main thing we want to get across to the siblings is that they can be part of the process, too.

What are some things they can do now?
RIght now, they can help Mother and Father/Other Partner to get ready for labor by helping the mom practice breath awareness and relaxation ideas every day.  They can make sure Mother is eating well and getting enough rest.  For those that can answer, we will ask them to name one small thing they can do to help mommy every day so that she doesn't have to get so tired :)

What do we share about labor?
We talk about different working faces, what kind of noises they might hear if labor starts at home; those kinds of things.  We have the family practice some contractions together - always with the understanding that you can know what to do IF IF IF you feel like you want to do them.  IF NOT, that is OKAY, too. There is no expectation, simply an invitation to participate as they feel comfortable.

What's this "visual birth plan"??
The visual birth plan is a tool we used with all of the births after the first one.  Depending on the age of the children, it may just be one or two simple words (or phrases, maybe) along with pictures that you draw together or pictures you print/cut out and paste onto the paper.

With older children, they may want to have sentences written - we have done both depending on the ages of the children.

The point is - the children have some idea of what to expect, and having the birth plan posted where they can see it and think about it creates space for conversations and clarification to keep happening.  If you are birthing at a hospital or birth center, there will be a point when you are going to transfer in labor.  Knowing ahead of time that this is going to happen may help them: they may not feel completely abandoned when you leave, or totally misplaced when you come back with a baby in your arms.  If you are birthing at home, it may be helpful to know when different people arrive, what that means about what may be happening next.

HERE is a simple example.

If you would like to take advantage of this class for your family, please join us at one of the upcoming classes:

  • Saturday, February 20, 2016
  • Saturday, March 19, 2016
  • Saturday, April 16, 2016


Tuition: $10/family
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Place: Modern Mommy Boutique, Chandler, AZ

Time/date subject to change

Click on link for driving directions to Modern Mommy - major cross streets are 101 Freeway & Chandler Blvd.













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






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Birth Plans for Siblings

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 10:59 PM Comments comments (0)
We have the fortunate situation where our alumni ask to come back to take a refresher course when they are preparing for their next children.  

When these couples take a class together, we still follow the same course outline because the material makes sense in a different way now that they have a reference point for what they are learning.

We also add a little section to each class to talk about sibling preparation.  This fall, we are going to devote some of our Tuesday posts to some of the material we are sharing with them "just in case" it may come in handy for some of our readers, too.

The transition from one child to two children was the hardest for us.  We didn't know how the family dynamics were going to go.  Would our oldest feel abandoned when we left for the hospital? Would she feel betrayed when we brought a new child home?  Would we have time for her? And how about the new baby?  Would we be able to bond with them and still meet the needs of our oldest child?

One of the things we did to reassure our oldest and give her some sense of what to expect was to create a visual birth plan for her.  I didn't take a picture of it - who knew I would be teaching sibling preparation some day??  

Two points to consider:
1. What do they need to know to feel secure? The simpler, the better.

2. How can you portray those ideas visually for non-readers?  You could find pictures on the internet, have them make the drawings, cut out pictures from magazines, or use pictures from their birth to illustrate the ideas that are important to your family. 

Here is a rough idea :

Sibling Preparation with Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonMommy and Daddy will work to labor












Sibling Preparation with Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson(People or Person) will bring you to see Mommy and Daddy and meet 
the Baby
















Mommy, Daddy and Baby will come home in a few days













Sibling Preparation with Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonWe will all grow together













If you are ready for more sibling preparation ideas, click HERE.

How did you prepare older children for a sibling's arrival?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
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®.

 

 

Inside Look: East Valley Infant Massage

Posted on February 5, 2016 at 8:46 AM Comments comments (84)

I met Michelle Cordero last year when we both participated in PB&J Events' Pregnancy + Baby Fair.  She is a wealth of information about infant massage, an amazing tool to help parents bond with their Sweet Peas. Infant massage can also help with common hurdles in the childbearing year: fussy tummies, teething, and bonding with siblings, to name a few.

What makes Michelle's classes unique is that she is willing to work with families who have toddlers.  Most Infant Massage classes only welcome families with non-mobile children, making you ineligible once your Sweet Pea is 6-months old.  Not so with Michelle - since she is a licensed massage therapist, she is able to tailor classes especially to the group.  

I wish you enjoy this month's Inside Look with Michelle! Her contact information is at the end of the post if you want to enroll in an upcoming class, or take advantage of her FREE monthly intro classes.  

Tell me about East Valley Infant Massage.
East Valley Infant Massage (“EVIM”) provides private and group classes to teach parents and caregivers how to massage their babies. I provide nurturing touch skills to parents to impact children for a lifetime. 
 
What kind of clientele does EVIM serve? 
EVIM classes are designed for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers who want to include a powerful tool in their care giving to help promote healthy bonding, growth and development. Parents with babies who have tummy issues report that regular massage has been helpful in minimizing digestion discomforts. Regular massage also promotes better sleep and relieves other issues such as teething and congestion. 
 
What age range of client does this service care for? Is there anything you do not provide for?
Our typical class participants range from 3 weeks old to pre-crawling, mostly because we then have a captive audience. We do welcome children up to around 3 years of age, but the more mobile the child, the more creative we have to get in class. It makes for an interesting session!  
 
Even though I am also a licensed massage therapist and can massage the babies myself, I do not provide the massage to the baby directly (I bring demo dolls with me to class) because I want to empower the caregiver with the skills to massage baby not only in class, but long after. There are some interesting studies out there that show that infant massage can help parents become more confident in their abilities as parents. 
 
What makes EVIM unique?
 I tailor each class for the needs of the participants. I'm currently working on adding new classes at different times of the day/week to best accommodate moms and dads with different schedules. Because not one time is perfect for all babies, I understand that sometimes baby will be sleeping or fussy during class. I encourage participants to tend to their babies' needs, such as feeding, changing or rocking baby while watching the instruction. I always send parents home with great handouts to help them practice at home and welcome any follow up questions (during the next class in a series or by phone/email/text in case anything was missed during class. 
 
What motivated you to start EVIM?
I have been a massage therapist for almost 14 years and have worked on clients of all ages, including babies and toddlers. When I had my son 4 years ago, I joined different mom groups online and in person and saw a lot of moms asking for help in different areas with their babies, including sleeping issues, tummy problems and advice for helping dad and siblings bond with baby. I knew that infant massage can help immensely in these areas and more, so I decided to get my certification to teach infant massage to parents to give them more tools to help their babies and their families. 
 
Is there anything else our readers should know about EVIM?
I'm often asked for the magic massage routine that will make all babies sleep through the night or get rid of gassy tummies completely. I wish I could say that there is one surefire way to accomplish these things. However, I know that touch is a simple, yet powerful and underutilized tool that can be added to routine care giving and can make a huge difference for families. Even if baby is a relatively "easy" baby, the family can experience many benefits from massage. I love to facilitate those benefits for my class participants. 
 
What inspires you?
Tough question, since I have many sources of inspiration. My son and husband inspire me daily; as they remind me to slow down, enjoy the day-to-day and find joy in simple pleasures. I'm also inspired by those who do for others with no expectation of getting anything in return. 
 
Michelle's contact informtation
PHONE: 480-269-1531 
SOCIAL MEDIA:
 
WHERE TO FIND MICHELLE:
**Free intro class for expectant parents at the Ahwatukee Babies"R"Us on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7
**Group classes held at Modern Mommy. Check the website as new classes will be added soon.

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

 

Upcoming Events: Spring 2016

Posted on February 5, 2016 at 7:37 AM Comments comments (0)
Upcoming Events with Sweet Pea Births!!


We are so excited to announce that we have lots of new classes coming up at Modern Mommy Boutique during our hiatus from teaching Bradley Method® Classes.  (We start our next session in March!)

Sibling Prep - New baby
Bruss will talk to the parents about strategies for the transition: phrases to use, how to talk about the new baby, reminding the older siblings that they are important, too!
I will be doing story time with the littles and a craft. We will be emphasizing how BIG they are and how your newest Sweet Pea is "just too little!"
Date: 
February 6 ~ 10 - 11 am
Place: 
Modern Mommy Boutique
3355 W Chandler Blvd, Suite 3, 
Chandler
Tuition: $10.00/family
RSVP - call or text 602.684.6567

Healthy Pregnancy Class
For families in any trimester of pregnancy.  Come learn about the basics of exercise and nutrition to build the foundation of a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, plus comfort measures to relieve some of the common discomforts of pregnancy.
Date: 
February 13 ~ 9 - 11 am
Place: 
Modern Mommy Boutique
3355 W Chandler Blvd, Suite 3, 
Chandler
Tuition: $10.00/family
RSVP - call or text 602.684.6567

Sibling Prep - Family Birth Plan
We will be facilitating the family as they create a visual birth plan for their upcoming birth
Story time, discussion, creation of family birth plan to take home
Date/Time: 
February 20 ~ 10 - 11 am
Place: 
Modern Mommy Boutique
3355 W Chandler Blvd, Suite 3, 
Chandler
Tuition: $10.00/family
RSVP - call or text 602.684.6567

Signing Story Time
Come enjoy "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" read aloud with sign language. We will teach you 5 basic signs first, and then read the book together. We will also do a craft that goes along with the book to help reinforce the ASL words
Date: February 26
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: 
Modern Mommy Boutique
3355 W Chandler Blvd, Suite 3, 
Chandler
Tuition: FREE
RSVP - call or text 602.684.6567

Our next Bradley Method® childbirth preparation session starts on March 11, 2016. Enrolling now! 
Call or Text: 602.684.6567


Birth Story Listening: One hour session to sit and share your story and leave with a new understanding
Ongoing: Birth Story Listening sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Read more about those HERE




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










Bébé Concierge: J'aime la vie by Victoria Antoinette

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 5:02 AM Comments comments (0)
Here is a neat business I would like to introduce you to – baby concierge is an emerging industry that is of particular interest to our students and readers.  Stephanie Antoinette is the Founder & M.O.M. (Master of Multitasking) at J’aime la vie by Victoria Antoinette Mommy & Bébé Concierge.  She is like a wedding planner, except for all things mom and bébé!

BIO:  I am the mother of two beautiful girls and have a baby on the way! My husband Andrew is an incredible father, he is my best friend and number one fan!  As a mother I know that preparing for the birth of a child is one of the most important and overwhelming events in life! I worked 60+ hours a week in the corporate world with my first two children, and barely had time to eat, sleep and kiss my kids at night. Let me help you get your time back... enjoy the birthday party for your child instead of worrying how you will pull it all off. 

SPB: How did you find your way into the baby concierge service?
JLV:  There were a couple of different things that brought this business concept to fruition. One being that Arizona is a very transient state; I actually came from Minnesota myself about 6 years ago. So when I was pregnant with my last baby (3 years ago) I really had no idea where to go for furniture, nannies, photographers, doulas, etc. There was a lot of wasted money and time on my end going through the trial an error of this. The second part was that I was working mom who really just didn't have the time to research all of this, do all the interviews, and plan things like baby showers, birthday parties, etc. I really felt that there should be a local "baby planner" just as their are wedding planners! This is a major and ongoing event in our lives! So I left that corporate position and created a premiere one-stop shop for all mommy and baby needs! 

SPB: How does the service work, and what kinds of services do you provide? 
JLV:  I provide package and A La Carte options so that I can fit various budgets and needs! I help moms with finding the right nannies, doulas, photographers, and more. I also do custom baby registry and birth plans, along with nursery stocking and organization! Then I do the custom party planning, which is anything from baby showers, gender reveals, religious ceremonies, birthday parties (any age), graduation parties and so much more! 

SPB: Can you tell me a little about your favorite packages and their special features? 
JLV:  All of my packages are great and you can customize it to fit any needs. One of the most popular is Vous attendez un bébé!- $150
(So you are having a baby!)   This is where we will create a tummy timeline, create a custom baby registry and create your birth plan. So many new and veteran moms are not sure what to expect, what to do when, how this baby will change their lives. I help take the worry out of this process so it doesn't become a source of stress for the family. 

SPB: How will a mom know which package is right for their family?
JLV:  I offer a free over the phone consult where we generally decide where to start, and we can always add on as we go! 

SPB: How did you find the vendors that you work with?
JLV:  Years of trial and error at my own expense and time! I also belong to some great organizations where I am surrounded with the Phoenix Valley's top vendors! I have done the research for you!

SPB: What are the benefits of using a baby concierge?
JLV:  If you are a new mom, I really guide you on anything from the right products, how to maximize your budget, and the get the right resources you need! For veteran moms like myself this is also a benefit: I work with you on how to transition the new baby with your family, I can get you the right childcare you need, and with each child products are constantly changing... you want to know what is best now!

For all moms my event planning services are a HUGE plus!  Planning parties is my true passion; those who are close to me know I am a list maker! Organization, party flow, good food and fresh flowers are key to any successful event! My personal tastes for decor flow anywhere from modern, to shabby chic, to over-the-top! Planning events is so much more fun then decorating your home because you can adjust it to your mood, theme and guests! I think outside the box, and work with any budget to create unique events!  

As mothers we often spend our time putting together these events for important milestones in our children's lives, yet we barely have the time to stop and enjoy it with them! I make this possible…that it in itself is priceless.

SPB: When would someone want to hire you as a baby concierge? 
JLV:  As soon as they begin to feel like they need help!  I have 13 years experience as a mother myself, I know what it is like to be pregnant, worried, uncomfortable and stressed! I have been through 2 births and about to experience my third, birth can be the most incredible and terrifying experience all at once! I know what it is like to have minimal sleep and still need to work a full time job! I know how personal it is to find the right people to help you take care of your children, and how much it means to execute the perfect party for your kids! I also have the corporate experience to execute all of this properly.  I am the best of both worlds for moms! 

SPB: Are there any other thoughts you want to share with our readers?
JLV:  Let me take the worry out of preparing for baby. For a quote on custom event planning or any of my services, please contact me!

Here are the different ways to connect with Stephanie Antoinette:
Phone- 480-717-2795

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

Picture Books for Siblings

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM Comments comments (29)


We are officially on our babymoon!  We welcomed our daughter on October 1, 2011 ~ you can read about here is her birth story!  I want to thank fellow birth worker, Rachel Davis, for writing today's post so we can continue to snuggle and adore our sweet baby girl!

Click here for Tuesday's post on Sibling Preparation



Picture Books for Siblings
By Rachel Davis

On his second birthday our son, Jacob, learned that he would be a big brother!  As we prepared for the arrival of our second child we explored many picture books about birth and new babies.  I used the Internet and library to find books that are helpful for younger children and gathered my favorites into our lending library.  Here’s my list of favorites!
 
 
Write Your Own Book!
Looking back on the time we spent preparing our son for the birth of his sibling, there is one book that stands out.  I put together the “Baby Jacob Book,” which featured photos and information from my pregnancy with my son, photos and information from his birth, and photos of Mommy and Daddy doing typical baby things with him in his first year.  We thought about the things he would notice during pregnancy (such as my growing belly), moments he would witness at the birth (such as Daddy supporting Mommy through a contraction), and everyday activities we would do with the new baby (breastfeeding, babywearing, bathing, etc.). 

We gathered photos of Mommy and Daddy doing these things and used a photo website to create a book, with simple captions.  This was not a baby book, but rather more of a storybook.  He loved it during pregnancy and still loves it.  During times when our daughter is in need of a lot of attention, we pull out the book and show that our son received the same special treatment from us when he was a baby.  It has been such a wonderful tool for him, and it has had the fun benefit of reminding us of those special times we shared with Jacob. 

A word of advice: use discretion when you put your book together because your enthusiastic child is likely to show it off to visitors.
 
Books for Baby-to-Be
These four books are all focused on, or written for, the baby in utero.  They are great to read to any sibling-to-be and there is no discussion about what actually happens during the birth.  They would also make lovely gifts for expectant parents who would enjoy reading aloud and bonding with their baby in the womb.  (Around the end of the second trimester, babies begin to hear sounds and will start to recognize their parents’ voices and other familiar rhythms such as frequently-read books.)
 
Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman
This is one of our son’s favorite books and he still requests it often.  It is about a baby growing in utero, communicating with its guardian angel.  It provides an interesting change of perspective from most of the other books.  For example, the baby believes “mother” is a place, and baby feels that the womb is growing smaller and tighter.  Goes through pregnancy, birth, and beyond.  The angel is only shown as sparkles, but it is a main character so this book is for families who accept angels.  Highly recommended because it makes you think of pregnancy and birth in a new way!
 
Before You Were Born by Jennifer Davis
This is a cute lift-the-flap book that has lightly covers the stages of pregnancy and birth with rhymes and colorful pictures. 
 


Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park
Narrated by the baby in utero, this is a fun book written by an Arizona author.  It is a fun rhyme about the reasons why the baby can’t wait to be born.  (For example, there is no one to play tag with in the womb!)  Just a fun read, not an educational piece about pregnancy.
 
Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go by Tish Rabe and Dr. Suess
Dr. Seuss fans will enjoy this book that features many of his beloved characters. 
It has been said that this book was designed to be read to the baby in utero, as the Dr. Seuss-style rhymes are stimulating for babies.  Thus, the intended audience is the expected baby but it is also a fun read for siblings-to-be.  Note that the book is the length of a typical Dr. Seuss book but it is pocket-sized, so it can be a little awkward when sharing with a child.
 
 
Preparing for Homebirth
These are our two favorite books on homebirth, plus an additional book that just came out.
 
Hello Baby by Jenni Overend
We loved this book about a young boy who is expecting a sibling.  He also has older sisters.  The book is focused only on the birth and shows various people assisting, the mom is walking, the midwife and father aid the delivery, and in the end the whole family snuggles together to sleep.  Beautiful and gentle illustrations, including one tasteful depiction of the mom actually giving birth in a standing position.  Note that the original edition of this book was called Welcome with Love, which we found at our local library.
 
We're Having a Homebirth by Kelly Mochel
(http://www.homebirthchildrensbook.com/)
This is a booklet that features an older sibling participating in a homebirth.  To be honest, I found the illustrations to be a little jarring and a little more graphic (full vaginal picture for birth) compared to the previous book, so scope out the sample pages on the website before you buy it.  I think this is the only book that showed a mom breastfeeding without concealment.  We eagerly added it to our collection so we could provide our son with an additional example of a homebirth.
 
Mama, Talk About When Max Was Born by Toni Olson
(http://www.talkaboutmax.com/)
This is a new book that I haven’t read yet, but it looks sweet and I wanted to pass it along!
 
 
 

Preparing for Hospital or Birth Center
We really liked these three books that featured births away from home. 
 
Baby on the Way by Dr. William and Martha Sears
We loved this book that prepares siblings, from young through elementary aged, for the birth of a baby in a birth center or hospital.  I particularly appreciated the tips for parents, which provided age-appropriate advice in explaining certain aspects of birth.  This book would be particularly helpful if you have a few older children and want to read it at their different levels simultaneously.
 
There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury
A lovely and comforting book intended for a younger child.  During the book, the sibling talks to his mother about the baby, wondering what it will be like.  At the end, the sibling travels to the hospital to meet the baby. 
 
What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby by Heidi Murkoff
This book is another educational piece that is excellent for a variety of ages of siblings-to-be.  Narrated by a dog named Angus, the book offers information about pregnancy and hospital birth.  As with the Sears books, it includes tips for the parents.
 
 
Preparing for Role of Big Brother/Sister
These are the books we found to be most enjoyable and beneficial for preparing our son to be a big brother.  They all focus on the time after the baby’s birth and cover a variety of the new baby’s needs (eat, diaper changes, sleeping, playing) in order to prepare a sibling for what to expect. 
 
What Baby Needs by Dr. William and Martha Sears, w/ Christie Watts Kell
This is my favorite book for preparing children to be big brothers and sisters.  It is written to be applicable for a variety of ages and includes tips for parents on facilitating sibling adjustment.  I prefer this book over the others because it has a focus on attachment parenting and demonstrates breastfeeding and babywearing.

I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole
Cute book for young boys who are expecting a new sibling.  The boy helps his parents care for the baby.
 

I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole
Cute book for young girls who are expecting a new sibling.  The girl helps her parents care for the baby.

 
McDuff and the Baby by Rosemary Wells
This book features a dog instead of an older child, but that might make it easier for some children to relate.  The dog feels forgotten after the baby’s arrival and the parents make an effort to spend time with the dog again, as well as to create a new family tradition.  Would be a great book to continue reading after baby’s arrival.
 
Now We Have a Baby by Lois Rock
This is a simple book that is good for younger children and describes the needs of a new baby.
 

What to Expect When the New Baby Comes Home by Heidi Murkoff
This is another informative book that is designed for a variety of ages.  As with Murkoff’s other book, mentioned in the previous section, this one is also narrated by Angus the dog.
 
 
Do your children have any favorite books about birth and new siblings?
 

 
About the author: Rachel Davis is the mother of three joyful children, a son born naturally in the hospital and two daughters born at home.  She is also a childbirth educator and birth doula in downtown Phoenix.  To contact Rachel, please visit www.birthandearth.com

 

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®.


Preparing Siblings for New Baby

Posted on October 4, 2011 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (0)

We are officially on our babymoon - we welcomed our daughter
Angélica
on Saturday morning.  More about her birth story will follow soon!  In the meantime, I want to thank my fellow Bradley Method® Instructor, Rachel Davis, AAHCC for providing today's blog post.
Rachel Davis, AAHCC is the mother of two joyful children, a son born naturally in the hospital and a daughter born in the water at home.  She is also a Bradley Method® instructor and birth doula in downtown Phoenix.  To contact Rachel, please visit www.birthandearth.com.


When we were expecting our first child my husband and I felt that the baby was “ours,” a sweet being converting us from Rachel and Mark to Mommy and Daddy.  We had a lovely little boy named Jacob and he was the light of our life.  When we were pregnant with our second child, the focus was more on the conversion of our son from Jacob to “big brother.”  We carefully prepared him for the arrival of his sister (born 33 months apart), using the following tips.  My hope is that they may also be helpful for your children!
 
Pregnancy
Consider your child’s developmental age and how they might grasp the concepts of the length of pregnancy and the possibility of loss.  We had already had a miscarriage and didn’t plan to announce our pregnancy until the end of the first trimester, but I chose to casually tell Jacob right away because it brought me comfort.  We explained that the baby would come, “in the summer when it is really hot outside.”

We used picture books to help explain the changes in Mommy and how the baby is growing.  At his tender age, our son didn’t inquire how the baby came to be in Mommy’s belly but we had an explanation ready if the question came up.  My little guy was very understanding of my morning sickness and pregnancy discomforts and even acted as a little nurse for me.

Care Provider
My husband and son attended almost all of my prenatal appointments and Jacob became close with our midwives.  Sometimes he enjoyed trying to help with the fetoscope and blood pressure cuff, while other times he would play with the train set in the office.  He would talk about the midwives at home and was very comfortable with them.

We decided what role we wanted our son to play in the birth of his sibling and discussed our preferences with our care provider.  In our case, we wanted our son to be present during the homebirth and we made the decision to hire a separate doula solely for the purpose of assisting Jacob whether he wanted to be with Mommy or be in another room.  Some families prefer to have the children waiting away from the birthplace so there are no distractions.  Do what is right for your family, but realize that the parents and care providers will probably not be in a position to care for the child during the labor and birth.

Baby Preparations
Some people like to involve their children in the selection of the baby’s name.  For example, Krystyna and Bruss’ daughter helped to select the name of her baby sister.  In another example, our nephew pulled his sister’s name out of a hat when his parents couldn’t agree.  Some children like to give the baby a nickname during pregnancy, such as “Grape” or “Peanut.”

I involved Jacob in all of our physical baby preparations such as washing clothes and diapers, installing the car seat, gathering the infant toys, etc.  As we worked I explained where everything was going to be kept, what was off-limits to him, and shared memories of using each item with him when he was a baby.

We also discussed age-appropriate ways in which our son would participate in baby care activities.  We picked out a doll for him so he would have someone to diaper, wear in a sling, and even nurse (yes, he “breastfeeds” his doll!).  He practiced holding his baby cousins and we pointed out other kids who were big brothers and big sisters.

Birth Day
During your pregnancy, discuss the details of birth that you feel are important to share with your child.  If they will not be present for the birth then they may be comforted by knowing what Mommy and Daddy will be doing.  If they will be present for the birth then it would definitely benefit them to know what to expect.  Reading or telling birth stories (especially featuring siblings) and sharing birth videos are helpful tools.  Why not tell your child’s birth story and show their birth video?  Being a Bradley® instructor, I had plenty of birth videos on hand and my son enthusiastically requested to watch one every day of the last trimester.  As a matter of fact, our 2.5-year-old son was so well-educated that he once told a stranger, “The baby is in Mommy’s uterus and when it is born it will come out of the vagina!” 

Whether they will be present with you or not, it may be helpful to give your child a tour of your intended birthplace.  (Use discretion, you know whether your child will find fear or comfort in seeing the hospital or birth center where you’ll be.)  Explain at an age-appropriate level what will be happening.  If you are planning a homebirth then explain what rooms you are planning to labor in, where the tub will be (if you are renting one), and other info of interest to them.  We had a blessingway in our home and my husband and son participated in the blessing and watched as our tub received special words of intention, as that was where we planned to (and did) have the baby.

If your child will be present for the birth, make plans ahead of time so you and your birth team know what the little one’s role will be.  Would you like the child to cut the cord, or even catch the baby?  Perhaps your child will be in the tub with you, take photos, or rub Mommy’s back during a contraction?  Our son was very intrigued by the placenta and was an enthusiastic observer for the placenta print process.

Of course, be flexible and know that plans may change based on the child’s (or your) needs in the moment, and that is okay.  For myself, I found peace of mind in creating a back-up plan for our son.  We intended for him to be at the birth but if it didn’t work out then he was going to go to a relative’s house.  One family we know had a list of people to watch their two children during labor and birth and at 3:00am they called three people on the list, went to voice mail three times, and finally the fourth person picked up the phone and came over to provide childcare.  Have a back-up plan!

Regardless of whether your child will be present with you or not, I love the suggestion of packing a labor bag for the older sibling.  (Thanks to fellow Bradley® teacher, Wendy Diaz, for the idea!)  We had a bag packed with inexpensive toys, activities, and healthy snacks all individually wrapped and intended to be distributed at intervals throughout the birth.  Kids always enjoy opening a package and this can keep them occupied for a good amount of time.

After Birth
Consider having gifts for your children to exchange with one another.  Some children enjoy picking out a present for their new baby sibling.  In our case, I bought a special gift for Jacob (Duplo blocks) and hid it until the day after the baby’s birth.  As we snuggled together as a family of four, I pulled out the gift and explained that the baby, Leila, had brought this special present for Jacob.  It was a small token but it helped things get off to a good start.  While on the topic of gifts, another common suggestion is to have a few little things stashed away for times when guests come to meet the new baby and bring a present for the baby but not for the sibling.  We had Jacob open many of Leila’s gifts and he now enthusiastically picks out her outfits every morning.

Be prepared for a change in your family’s routine, and clear your schedule to accommodate the needs of a newborn.  You may need to take a break from XYZ activity that your older child was involved with.  Your children need a well-rested mother more than they need to go places.  It isn’t worth the stress on your family to try and operate at the same level you were on before the baby, and in time you will be in a new routine.  While you are at it, make plans with friends and family to take your older child on special outings after the baby’s arrival.  This is a great opportunity for Coach to step up and take on some additional childcare responsibilities while Mommy is on a babymoon.  You’ll appreciate the opportunity to snuggle with your newborn and nap, and your older child will be thrilled to have the spotlight on them for a little while.

Consider the language you use when talking about your children.  Talk about, “our new baby,” or, “Jacob’s little sister,” rather than exclusionary terms such as , “Mommy’s baby.”  When people compliment your new baby, proudly point out what a great big brother/sister the baby has.  Brag about your older child while they are within earshot.  On the flip side, know when it is time to change the subject and talk about something else that isn’t baby-related. 

Lastly, don’t expect everything will be perfect.  Despite your best intentions and efforts, your older child may experience jealousy or negative feelings about the baby.  Find healthy avenues for expressing these feelings (discussion, art work, or even hitting a pillow to get the frustration out).  Don’t overestimate your child’s developmental capabilities and behavior; your newborn’s safety comes first.  In our case, we are teaching our son to ask Mommy or Daddy for permission before he hugs or kisses his baby sister because he doesn’t quite understand how gentle he needs to be.  He is also never left alone unsupervised with the baby. 

Do you have any favorite tips for preparing children for the birth of a sibling?


Additional Resources
Friday's blog post will feature a list of picture books that may be of interest to children.

Preparing Your Family for a New Baby


American Academy of Pediatrics website with advice broken into different age categories.

 
Children at Birth by Marjie and Jay Hathaway
Book written by the couple who wrote The Bradley Method® curriculum.  Specifically intended for as a guide for preparing children who will be attending the birth.  This book is out of print but I was able to check it out through the Inter-Library Loan program.

 
About the author:

Rachel Davis is the mother of two joyful children, a son born naturally in the hospital and a daughter born in the water at home.  She is also a Bradley Method® instructor and birth doula in downtown Phoenix.  To contact Rachel, please visit www.birthandearth.com.
Rachel's next Bradley Method® series will be offered on Tuesday evenings from January 10, 2012 through April 3, 2012.


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®.



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Preparing for our Homebirth

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 11:49 PM Comments comments (0)
Argh!  I feel like a working-out-of the home person again!!  Since yesterday was a holiday and we didn’t do schoolwork, I am working like today is Monday and I have one more day to write…the joke is on me!
 
We are actively working on preparing our kiddos (ages 6, 4 and 2) for our homebirth since we are at 35 weeks now.  Here are some of the things we are doing:
 
1.  We are watching birth videos with them at night so that they have an idea what it might look like, sound like and how we are going to work together to have the baby.  One of my favorites is “Children At Birth” by Hathaway Productions and distributed by the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.  This shows five different births attended by siblings, all with different levels of involvement by the siblings.
 
2.  We are talking about what “working” looks like. We ask them to show us what they look like when they work hard.  We ask them questions like, “What kind of faces do think Mommy might make if she is working hard?”   As it turns out, our social studies and Bible study lessons the last week have been focusing on how the Holy Trinity works together, and it’s making a great tie-in to how our family is going to get to work together to welcome our baby.
 
3.  We are talking about how the birth will progress from start to finish.  We have shared with them the different stages of labor and what we may or may not be doing, and if they feel like they want to help, how they can help us. 
 
4.  We talk about how there is probably going to be some fluid and maybe some blood that comes along with the baby, and they have gotten to see that on the videos.  One of the very important things for me to emphasize with them is that if at any point they don’t like what they are seeing or if it’s not something they want to see in person, that they can come and go as they want.  We tell them they are welcome anytime and they can leave anytime.
 
5.  We are doing relaxation practice so they can see how Bruss talks to me and touches me.  We allow them the opportunity to be involved or not.  Pretty soon we will need to step it up to a labor rehearsal so that they can understand how long a minute is when Mommy is having a contraction.  I think it will seem longer to them than it will to me!
 
6.  We are going to make a list of things that will be likely to happen when we go into labor on butcher paper and hanging it in our schoolroom for us to review and revise as we have different thoughts.  On the list are things like: who is going to come over to watch them, what they can do while Mommy and Daddy are in labor, that the midwife will come as labor progresses, etc.  We made one of these lists when we were expecting our second child, and looking back NOTHING happened as per the list except that we left without a baby and came back with a little brother from the hospital.  I don’t know what will happen according to our new list.  I think the point is to give the kiddos some sense of what to expect to ease anxiety and the unknown, and to that end, it is worth the exercise.
 
7.  We have told them how we labored in the past and how I might get to a point when I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to be touched as we get to what is called “transition”.  We follow with the statement that this will probably mean that the pushing work is near and that we will want to get to this point so we can meet our baby very soon!
 
What I have found fascinating about this process is that the kids want to know if the births they are seeing is their birth, which then leads to us showing them their birth story pictures.  I am learning that our children are very interested in how what they are hearing applies to them, which is important to remember as I teach them not just about childbirth, but life itself. 
 
In the last two days we have seen an interesting behavior shift in our home.  I wonder if they will feel reassured that their place in our family is secure if we make an effort to consistently tell them how they fit into the picture stories we are telling them.  It would be a relief to see our generally sweet children show up again.  

We have our home visit with the midwives tomorrow.  This is our first time ever doing this.  I will write about that on Friday since I know we are among the growing number of people choosing homebirth.  This is all new to us and we are excited to be able to experience this and share it with you.

As a reminder, our fellow teacher, Rachel Davis, AAHCC is going to write an in-depth look at sibling preparation while I am on "maternity leave".  I am looking forward to having her share her great information with you! 
 
What do you think – how did you prepare your children for the arrival of their next sibling?  For those of you that had a homebirth, did you have any pleasant surprises in your children’s involvement or reactions? 
 
 
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 2

Posted on July 15, 2011 at 2:06 PM Comments comments (0)
On Tuesday we looked at the dollars and cents/sense of starting or growing a family (read more).  Today I am going to offer some considerations to continue the conversation on growing your family.
 
Child Spacing
How did you/ do you get along with your siblings?  Did you like your family dynamics growing up?  How about your partner?  What was their childhood experience? 
 
This is a good place to start when you and your partner are talking about “when” should you start trying to have another baby.  There are families with children whose birthdays are within a year of each other – not usually planned, however, it happens!  I suggest talking to people who have this experience and see what they thought about it, and if they would recommend it.  If you decide it is not for you, then take reliable precautions in the birth control department.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, some families deliberately space children out so that each child is essentially an “only child”.  When one child is getting ready to start kindergarten, another child is conceived.  These families try to maximize the one-on-one time between parent-child in the formative years, and keep the children at enough of a developmental distance to “try” to minimize sibling rivalry.  I don’t know that you can ever eliminate it completely!
 
Child Count
Back to the conversation on Tuesday – have you and your partner had discussions about how many children you could comfortably support?  Finances could definitely factor into this decision if you have ideas about how and what you want to provide for your children.  Family size may not be of concern to you if you feel like the basics of love, food, shelter and a public education are enough; your children will have ample opportunity to make their way in the world and provide for themselves.  If you want to provide them with more opportunities for hobbies or sports, a private or higher education and extended travel, then you may choose to have a family size that fits within a far-sighted financial plan. 
 
For example, when Bruss and I were talking about conceiving our fourth child, we had conversations about whether or not we could provide our children the opportunity for “hobby” classes and the college education we want to provide for them if we both continued to work from home.  Would we be willing to have a fourth child if it meant one of us would have to rejoin the Daily Grind?  What would we be willing to sacrifice to keep on-track with provisions and savings if we did not want to go back to work in an office setting?
 
Obviously, we decided to go forward with having another baby.  Since neither of us wants to start working outside of the home again, we decided to cut back on the “extras”.  We found many areas where we could save money and acted on them so we could continue on the same path and have our baby, too!
 
Returning to the question of “how many children” - are you and your partner on the same page?  If not, what needs to happen for you to agree on how many children you want in your family?  Why is one number appealing to you, and why is another number appealing to your spouse?  Do you have a career or business that you love and want to get back to - if "yes" to this question, maybe you are a "one and done" family.
 
Some people consider birth order when it comes to making this decision.  Do you want an “only child” or a “middle child”?  Personally, I know of many families where the “middle child” ends up being the only productive adult out of the sibling group.  Our decision to have a fourth was not based on “middle child syndrome”.  Watching the dynamics of the three children in our family pushed us over the edge on having a fourth.
 
As Bruss and I observed our children’s interactions, we quickly agreed that having a “buddy” would be preferable to the “2 against 1” we saw.  Sometimes the older two (sister and brother) want to play together because they communicate well and don’t want little brother meddling with the game they have going on.  Sometime the boys want to play together and roughhouse and older sister is completely left out.  Then there are periods of fleeting perfection when all three play well together and it is heaven on earth!
 
However, this dynamic is also tied to the spacing – our children have birthdays that are about two years apart, so there is a little rivalry going on.  Here again, as parents we see it as a trade-off.  We made the deliberate choice to try to keep them about two years apart so that they would have close relationships as children and hopefully into adulthood.  However, at their current ages of 6, 4 and 2, it is making us be really good “managers”.
 
Another factor I want to mention is religious beliefs.  There are religions that are pre-disposed to large families for a variety of reasons.  If you belong to one of those religions and abide by their teachings, then your family will be as large as mom can continue having viable pregnancies.  If you choose not to follow their teachings because you want a smaller family, then you will probably have to come to terms with using birth control methods that are not considered “natural”.
 
Nursing Relationship
If you breastfeed your children, nursing comes into play when planning when you want to have your next child.  How long do you plan to nurse?  Are you willing to nurse two children of different ages at the same time?
 
Your idea about how long you want to nurse your child may determine when you want to get pregnant again.  With our first child, I always thought I was going to wean her when she was a year old so we could start trying to get pregnant again.  Her first birthday came and went and neither of us was ready to wean! 
 
We decided to start “trying” for another baby anyway since I decided that I would be willing to nurse two kiddos at the same time.  It sounded daunting at first, but when I realized that the nursing needs of a two-year old are much different from the around-the-clock demands of an infant, I relaxed a little.  As life would have it, our oldest was weaned before I conceived our second.  This time, our youngest is still nursing occasionally. It remains to be seen if I will still be nursing him when our next child is born.
 
Are you ready to wean if nursing could compromise your pregnancy?  Breastfeeding stimulates the production of oxytocin – the one and the same hormone that stimulates uterine contractions.  If you are pregnant and nursing, be aware of the tightening you may feel in your abdominal area if you are still nursing an older sibling.  Some moms are able to nurse with no problem through a pregnancy.   Other moms have contractions that are strong enough to force the decision to wean if they feel it might compromise the pregnancy. 
 
You won’t know which camp you fall in until you find yourself in this situation.  I suggest to read up on this so you can be prepared and know which choice you would make before you have to make the decision under pressure.  La Leche League meetings would be a great resource for more information – both the trained leaders and other moms would have knowledge and experiences to share with you.
 
Sibling Preparation
When will you tell your children that you are expecting?  What will you tell your children about the pregnancy and the baby?  How will you help them make the transition to being the “big brother” or the “big sister”?
 
These are questions that you and your partner will want to agree on so that you are a team when you present your child or children with “the news”.  If your children are younger, they will be none the wiser without your announcement.  If your children are older…it depends on how attuned they are – they may figure it out on their own.  Without us telling them this time, both of our older children noticed changes in me.  Subconsciously, they knew I was pregnant without a word from us.  Once the pregnancy was established, we did confirm their suspicions. 
 
There are several books on the topic to help you prepare for a smoother transition.  You can find children’s picture books about new babies and there are books written for parents.  I am very excited that my fellow Bradley® teacher, Rachel Davis, has offered to write in-depth guest posts on this subject while I am “on leave” from writing this fall after our baby arrives.
 
Here are my favorite children’s books:
Big Sister Now: A Story about Me and Our New Baby by Annette Sheldon and Karen Maizel
What to Expect When Mommy’s Having a Baby by Heidi Murkoff and Laura Rader
What to Expect When the New Baby Comes Home by Heidi Murkoff and Laura Rader
 
If you have any questions on sibling preparation in the meantime, feel free to write me at [email protected], and I would be happy to share what has worked for us with you.
 

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®.

 

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