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

Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Just Tell Me

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 9:39 AM Comments comments (0)


I was reminded again yesterday how prevalent the stigma still is around the struggle after a baby is born: baby blues, postpartum depression, onset of anxiety in the postpartum period...

The transition into motherhood is hard.  The first child is pretty shocking, even if you have a good support system. Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming emotion and experience of holding a helpless newborn, the blood that is dripping out of you for the next few weeks, and then learning to breastfeed on top of all that.  It is doable, and people have been doing it for generations, so you know in your head it's possible...but your body is screaming WTF just happened here.

On top of all this, is the pressure from society to pretend that nothing happened. Bounce out of bed with full make-up, pose for some pictures, host everyone who wants to come meet the baby, and fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes by the time the six-week check up comes around or you are a slug who just can't get it together.

As you add Sweet Peas to your family, there is still an adjustment period. The love happens - you will have enough.  The adjustment for me was learning how to manage the time and the house with 2+ children.  A wise woman once told me, "Lower your expectations every time and you will do great."  Another wise woman reminded me, "They are not all two at the same time."  More on those topics another day...back to the topic at hand.

An older woman asked me why I write about postpartum so much...her generation just got on with it. She asked me why this was such "a thing" for women of this day and age.

My answer is I DON'T KNOW. Is it the food we are eating that doesn't support the hormonal shift as well as it used to? Is it that we know now that drinking and smoking are not the best stress relievers for mothers of newborns?Is it the pressure of  social media to "fakebook" and we are speaking up to say, "not today"? Is is the age of the internet that allows us to gather information and know that we are not alone? 

I have no idea.  My point today is, it is okay to ask for help if you need it.  Maybe you don't need help.  Maybe you had a satisfactory birth experience and your support network is amazing and enlightened and you are doing great.  Yeah!! Bonus points for you. (and I don't believe you)

There are also GOLD STARS waiting for you if you are able to say two of the hardest words, HELP ME.  I just read an affirmation today that really sparked me along with running into some friends who reminded me just how important postpartum care is to families who are struggling:

"It is healthy for me to say what I need and accept help".

When your childbirth educator, doula, midwife or anyone else in your life you cares about you calls you and asks how you are doing, for your own sake, tell us the truth!! 

We expect to hear, "I'm fine!" "Things are great!" "All good!"

What we are listening for are the in-betweens: the pauses, the crack in your voice, the tiredness as you speak.  We have been there - we know it is hard - we know it's an adjustment, and we want to help you. We will try to find a way to see you if we are concerned. So just make it easier for us to help you - tell us without shame, because we have been there, too.

Please tell the people who ask you and want to be there for you what you need.  We will show up and we will support you in any way we can as you make the transition from maiden to mother.  It is okay - you are still a great mom.

Meet the Doula: Ashley Anders

Posted on October 7, 2016 at 10:36 AM Comments comments (135)

Welcome to this month's installment of "Meet the Doula".  This month I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of the Valley's postpartum doulas, Ashley Anders.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley at an ICAN meeting last year, and I am happy to say we have kept in touch.  She is honored to serve her families, and as such, Ashley is dedicated to furthering her own education so that she can better serve her clients. I hope you enjoy our feature with our October 2016 doula: Ashley! 

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
I first heard the word doula years ago when I was talking with a friend about supporting women in childbirth.
 
How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
Since I was little I wanted to be a Labor and Delivery nurse, I loved supporting women and their families through one of the most intimate times of their life, and watching them bring new lives into this world, but quickly realized I didn't like the idea of having to leave my patients to go to another patient, or leaving a shift before a baby was born after being there her entire labor, or having to do all of the clinical things.  That is when I started researching to see if there was this dream job out there of giving non-judgmental support to women and their families before, during and after childbirth, and I came across birth and postpartum doula!
 
Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
I am both a birth and postpartum doula, breastfeeding counselor and newborn care specialist.  Focusing most of my time currently postpartum, breastfeeding and newborn care.
 
How long have you been a doula?
I have been a doula just about 3 years. I am trained with Childbirth International for birth, breastfeeding. I have also received postpartum training, and trained with Newborn Care Solutions for my newborn care specialist certification.  I have supported single moms, moms on bed rest, families that have a scheduled cesarean birth, unplanned cesarean birth, teens, high risk, expected stillbirth, prematurity, twins and triplets.
 
What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
For birth, I love that I am invited into the lives of families expecting a baby.  I love that I can build confidence in women and their partners.  Help them feel safe, protected and informed about the birth experience and provide non judgmental support throughout their journey into parenthood.
 
For postpartum, I find that we often focus so much time on pregnancy, and childbirth and forget that there is in fact a 4th trimester.  I enjoy helping everyone in the family transition into having a new baby at home, if its baby #1 or baby #3.  An extra set of hands to help siblings adjust, help mom get a shower or a nap in, breastfeeding/bottle feeding assistance, meal prep, and helping with all of the "is this normal" questions I often get.  Newborn care, infant brain development, feeding, bathing, sleep conditioning, etc., are all things I love to give information on to help clients make the best decisions for their family! 
 
How do you work with and involve the Coach?
I make sure that we are working as a team. My job is never to take the place of a partner or coach.  I like to show and guide the partners on things that they can do throughout labor to assist in the comfort of the laboring mom, but also make them feel comfortable enough that they can take a break, take a quick nap or grab something to eat and she will be supported and never be left alone. 
 
What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
I would have to say that supporting a family through an expected stillbirth was the toughest.  She still had to give birth just like any other laboring mother, but unfortunately had to say goodbye shortly after her baby was born.  It was hard!  I cried alongside with them, made sure that they had everything they needed and was just there for them.  The hospital was wonderful and provided the family with photos and a box to remember him with.  I joined them on the annual walk for infant loss and continue to keep in touch with them.  They were blessed with their rainbow baby a year ago and I was honored to be by their side through the birth of their second son.
 
What keeps you working as a doula?
My family and my clients!  I have the best :).  Hearing that I have found my calling, and that it is obvious that I love my job and what I do, is so great to hear.  I couldn't do this if I didn't have the continued support from my husband.  From day one he has supported me, and pushed me to fulfill my dreams and I cant thank him enough!
 
What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
My birth fee includes 2 prenatal appointments where we will discuss birth plan options, discuss postpartum care/plans and go over early labor comfort measures.  Your labor and birth, and up to 2 hours after, to get you settled into your postpartum room, get you your first meal and make sure that baby has had his/her first feeding.  I will also schedule a time within the first week to come and do a postpartum visit to talk through your birth and make sure that feeding is going well and to answer any additional questions you may have. Since birth is unpredictable there is not a different charge if your labor were to go long or if you were to have a shorter labor. 
 
Postpartum/Newborn care fees are hourly and I do daytime and overnight care.  Each contract can be fit to each client and their needs.
 
Do you offer any other services to your clients?
I offer breastfeeding support, it is included in my doula packages, but I offer it separate if needed. 
  
Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
When I'm not doula-ing I'm sleeping! haha!  I'm also spending time with my husband and 2 kiddos: our daughter Tyler (11) and our son Bennett (4), plus our 2 dogs Maddie and Oddie. We enjoy riding bikes; mornings at the park, watching our daughter ride her horse, and just spending quality time together with family and friends.

Love what you read?? Would you like to contact Ashley?
Read more about Ashley and schedule a visit via DoulaMatch
Phone: 480-457-9151

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®.
 
Sweet Pea Births offers Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson





UPDATE: Fundraising for Willow WIsh

Posted on September 16, 2016 at 3:49 PM Comments comments (84)
Please join us to celebrate the
GRAND OPENING 
Willow Midwife Center for Birth+Wellness

Saturday, September 17, 2016
10:30 am - 3:00 pm

2045 S. Vineyard
Suite 136
Mesa, AZ 85210


Here is a preview of the silent auction:

Little Boy Blue Basket: $300
Starting Bid:  $50

  • $200 voucher from Julie Papia (A Graceful Beginning) for birth or postpartum doula services
  • Placenta Encapsulation from Michelle Ludwig (The Modern Mama Doula Services)
  • Nursing Necklace from Denise Franklin (Denise Doula)
  • Hat+Sock Set
  • Bandana Bib
  • 3-pack Circo Bodysuits
  • Patrull Safety Latches
  • Bumpy Ball

 


 
Sugar+Spice Basket: $300.00
Starting Bid: $75.00

  • $200 voucher from Julie Papia (A Graceful Beginning) for birth or postpartum doula services
  • $50 off Placenta Encapsulation Service from Rebecca Turrigiano (Loving Touch Doulas)
  • Headband from Denise Franklin (Denise Doula)
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • 3-pack Bandana Bib
  • 2-pack Crib Sheets
  • Patrull Safety Latches
  • Bumpy Ball




Modern Mommy Boutique Gift Basket - $150 Value
Starting Bid: $40.00

  • Mudpie Plush Giraffe Blanket
  • Mudpie Giraffe Stroller Blanket
  • Safari Stroller Toy
  • Indestructible Book: Jungle Rumble
  • $40.00 Gift Certificate



 Postpartum Gift Basket – $150
Starting Bid: $40
Offered by Lindsay Lutes

  • Postpartum doula care: 5-hour of daytime shift OR 8-hour overnight shift
  • Elephant Diaper Caddy
  • 1-pack Naty Diapers
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm
  • Bamboobies Reusable Nursing Pads
  • MilkMakers Lactation Tea




 Birthing From Within Mentors Gift Basket - $60.00
Starting Bid - $25.00

  • Birthing From Within by Pam England
  • Natural Childbirth Exercises Handbook by Rhondda Hartman
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Tea
  • Reusable Nursing Pads
  • Lavender Candle
  • Bumpy Ball




The Bradley Method® Instructors of AZ Gift Basket $65.00
Starting Bid - $25.00

  • Husband-Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley
  • Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
  • Natural Childbirth ExerciseHandbook by Rhondda Hartman
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea
  • The Bradley Method® Cup
  • Reusable Nursing Pads
  • Massage Tool
  • Rice Pillow
  • Bumpy Ball

 


Babies R’Us Gift Basket - $65.00
Starting Bid - $25.00
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Tea Sampler
  • Swaddle Me Pod
  • 10-Pack Babies R’Us Closet Hangers
  • Koala Baby 5-Pack Closet Dividers
  • Koala Baby Green Storage Basket
  • Infantino Rubber Zebra
  • Babies R’Us Geoffrey Plush
  • Pampers On-The-Go Diaper Wallets with Diaper+Wipes
  • Babies R-Us Diapers
  • 1 Set Munchkin Latch Nursing Pads
  • Chicco Pacifier
  • Plus Travel Size Products from Dr. Smith, Balmex, Dapple, Babyganics, Boppy Bloom, Deva Naturals, and more!



Sweet Pea Births Gift Basket–  $80.00
Starting Bid - $25.00

  • The Night Before Your Birthday Book by Joni Rubinstein
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Tea
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea
  • Hot/Cold Therapy Pack
  • SPB Reusable Nursing Pads
  • SPB Water Bottle
  • SPB Sticky notes
  • SPB Tote
  • SPB Pen

 
 
 
 
Golf Weekend - $500 Value
Starting Bid: $125

  • 3 days and two nights in a private home in the Chaparral Pines Golf Community
  • Two rounds of golf or golf for 2 at Chaparral Pines Golf Course
  • Cart Fee included
  • Must be used by November 15, 2016

 

Lactation Support Package - $180
Starting Bid: $45
Offered by Sarah Kankiewicz, CLE (Firefly Lactation Services)

  • Prenatal visit
  • Birth-day visit
  • 2 postpartum visits

 

Birth Journey Class - $200
Starting Bid: $50
Offered by Dianne Hamre (Doula Dianne)
 
This intensive one-day workshop will equip you with knowledge and skills that will enhance your birth experience while making lasting memories. The ideal time to take this workshop is in your 7th or 8th month of pregnancy. 
 
CLASS BENEFITS

  • This unique birth preparation class is designed with you in mind. You will be given a variety of tools needed for your journey regardless of where you are choosing to birth your baby.
  • The intimate class environment creates a time of special bonding with your partner.
  • It is taught in such a way that you will leave confident in your ability to advocate for your care in a respectful manner.

 
 
Birth Doula Services - $500
Starting Bid: $125
Offered by Ashlee Witham (Essence Doula)
Essence: the most significant element, quality or aspect of a thing or a person.
SUPPORT*RESPECT*EMPOWERMENT 
Ashlee Witham *Doula Services in PHX valley
 
As your doula, I will support you during pregnancy and assist you during childbirth and provide support to you and your family after birth of your baby.
  
 
Postpartum Doula Services - $240
Starting Bid: $60
8 Hours – Offered by Ashley Anders
A postpartum doula provides evidenced based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother–baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.
A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first days and weeks after bringing home a new baby. Research shows that moms, dads and babies have an easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place.
 

In-Home Breastfeeding Consultation - $60
Starting Bid: $15  
Offered by Sarah Kankiewicz, CLE (Firefly Lactation Services)
 
 
Labor+Birth Photography - $400   
Starting Bid: $100
Offered by Rebecca Turrigiano (Loving Touch Doulas)
 
Being passionate about all things birth related, I am excited to be able to offer this service to both my doula clients and also families simply wanting to capture this special time on film. I pride myself in knowing when to capture these moments, and am happiest when my clients haven’t even realized that I was even taking the shots I did! Having a background in fashion, film and T.V, I bring a very unique prospective to your photos. The shots I capture also respect the birthing Mom’s dignity and doesn’t feel intrusive during private moments between partners. I am always honored to be invited into such a private moment. 
 
Description of Services

  • Available for Home, Birth Center and Hospital births
  • Labor and Delivery Photos starting in Active labor (6 or 7 cm dilated)
  • 50- 75 Edited, full resolution Digital and printed copies given to you within 7- 10 days



Naturopath Visit - $200
Starting Bid: $50
Offered by True Harmony Wellness Center


Spa Gift Certificate - $80
Starting Bid: $20
Offered by True Harmony Wellness Center


Mini Maternity Session - $175
Starting Bid: $45
Offered by Aimee Sugar Photography
 
 
Essential Oil Introductory Kit - $35
Starting Bid: $10
Offered by Aimee Sugar


Placenta Encapsulation Package - $175
Starting Bid: $45
Offered by The Pampered Belly
Placenta Encapsulation
Placenta Print
 










 


Raw Belly Cast - $75
Starting Bid: $20
Offered by The Pampered Belly
 











 
 
Magikarp Blanket - $75
Starting Bid: $20
Offered by Hookin’ for Rent


















Some last minute additions - will have more info at tomorrow's event!!

Photo Session –
Starting Bid:
Offered by Rala Photography
 
 
 
Nutrition Consultation –  
Starting Bid:
Offered by Baby Bloom Nutrition
 
 
 
Therapy Session –
Starting Bid:
Offered by OSS Physical Therapy


I hope to see you at tomorrow's event.  Come look for me upstairs - I will be at the silent auction sign-in table :)

Breastfeeding Your Newborn

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 9:57 AM Comments comments (29)

Wardrobe provided by Modern Mommy Boutique

Breastfeeding is biologically designed to keep us wired to our newborns so that they stay warm, safe, and alive.

All those glossy, shiny pictures that show ethereal mothers and sleeping babies - they are nice. Realistic? Not so much.

The immediate postpartum period is hazy. We are coming out of the birth journey through labor land, our hormones are adjusting to being not pregnant, we are minus the placenta that has been a hormone factory since it formed in utero to support the pregnancy; oh, and we have a tiny little human to look at in wonder and keep alive every day.  Add in all the leaking from our eyes, our breasts, and our vagina...and the possibility that everyone wants to come over and see the baby so now you have the pressure of cleaning a house and being presentable yourself...it's a chaos and adjustment period like no other.

Like today's quote says, breastfeeding meets all of our newborn's needs: safety, security, and nourishment.  I have said this before and I will say it again...the only thing you *have* to do in the immediate postpartum is rest and get to know your baby.  Dim the lights, stay in bed, do lots of skin-to-skin with your newborn; get up only to use the restroom or shower.

Let everyone else take care of you: all meals in bed, and limit visitors to the ones that are comfortable seeing you naked and/or breastfeeding (and that you are comfortable if they see you naked and/or breastfeeding!). The only thing you need to do in the days after your baby is born is recover from the birth journey and feed your baby. I ask my students to at least consider a minimum "lying-in" period of 3-7 days. 

It is important for everyone to get sunshine. Along with lying in, we also did about 30-60 minutes outside during indirect sunlight hours to go for a walk and get some fresh air while keeping baby skin-to-skin.

Once you have gotten lots of sleep to recover from the birth journey and have breastfeeding established, start adding more to your routine. If you have older children, it is definitely okay to ask for help with them so at the very minimum mom and the new baby can bond and get organized with living, breathing, and breastfeeding together. This is a great time for the partner to step up and do bonding time with the older siblings so that they feel attended to and seen even though there is a new person in the house.  

You can also switch roles! We would have a nap time when Bruss would do skin-to-skin with the new baby while I stayed out of the bedroom. I would use that time to connect with the older sweet peas in the house. Maybe we would go outside together, read a book, play games, do a craft; something to let them know that they were still seen and loved by me although I had the new sweet pea to nourish, too.

In this age of information, it is easy to read too much and get overwhelmed with all the do's and don'ts that are available on the internet and on-line forums, including this post you are reading right now!!  My best advice: read your baby.  The baby books are general information.  YOU KNOW YOUR BABY BEST. Never, ever doubt your mother's intuition.

You know what your baby needs, your baby knows what (s)he needs, just do that. You cannot spoil a baby by holding them too much.  You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby, even if it was just 20 minutes since the last time they ate: you are giving them a LIVE fluid that is easily digested and used efficiently by the body...yes, they might *really* be hungry again.

The last idea I want to leave you with is the two magic words: FOR NOW.  This phase you and your baby (and the family) are going through is FOR NOW. It is not forever, it is not for a lifetime...it is FOR NOW. The baby is eating around the clock FOR NOW. The baby is not sleeping FOR NOW. You are feeding around the clock FOR NOW. You are cluster feeding FOR NOW. You are leaking everywhere FOR NOW.

The phases will pass and you will be onto the next FOR NOW before you realize it. By the time your sweet pea is 6 months old, you will have a good handle on this keeping them safe and alive thing that is also called parenting.  Ask for help when you need it from the people who will do what needs to be done without passing judgement on your choices for your family. Seek out and become involved in support groups (they are available online and IRL) that align with your parenting philosophy and breastfeeding goals.

Best wishes as you make your way in the world with your sweet pea - you've got this.  You are the parent that your baby needs.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Phoenix La Leche League: Live, Latch, Love
As part of the LLL area conference
August 26th, 5-7 PM
Embassy Suites Biltmore
 
La Leche League Conference
August 26-28, 2016
Embassy Suites Biltmore

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

Top 10 PostPartum Tips

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 7:12 PM Comments comments (0)
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®.

Meet the Doula: Sue

Posted on June 30, 2013 at 10:41 PM Comments comments (1)

Sue Marquis, PCD(DONA) is new to the area, having just moved from Michigan to Arizona in the last month.  Welcome to the heat, Sue!!  Thank you to our friends at Modern Mommy for helping us make the connection!

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
 I had probably heard the word previously but did not know what it was until my son told me that my first grandchild would be delivered at a birthing center with the assistance of a doula.

How did you decide that becoming a postpartum doula was part of your journey?
After my granddaughter was born, my son and daughter-in-law told me about postpartum doulas and what their role is. I absolutely loved the idea of becoming one, and I knew that it would be something that I could do well at - and be passionate about!

How long have you been a postpartum doula?
I have been certified since October 2012 and started working with families in January 2013. Regarding training, I completed the Professional Education in Breastfeeding training in September of 2012 and the Doulas of North America (DONA) Postpartum Doula Workshop in October 2012. My certification through DONA International is official as of today!

What do you enjoy the most about being a postpartum doula?
I love working with, and helping the families.  Just as each family dynamic is different, there are countless ways a postpartum doula can help a family.  A doula needs to be able to determine the needs of each family and help each one in the best way for them.  I find tailoring my approach to their specific needs to be very rewarding, and families are so grateful for the support and help.   Some of the areas a postpartum doula can help with are breastfeeding support and consultation, diapering, cooking, laundry, and family life adjustments to the new baby.    

What is your philosophy when you go into a family’s living space?
I try to get some background ahead of time so that I have an idea of what the family needs will be. My philosophy is to be non-judgmental and respect their right to parent in their own way. I make sure to respect their privacy and make confidentiality a priority.
 
How do you work with the new parents?
Since this can be a very stressful time in their lives as well as an exciting one, I try to be supportive, nurturing, warm and confident so they know they can trust me to be in their home and help them with their precious newborn.

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
I used to run a daycare, so my postpartum doula experiences have not seemed very tough in comparison! Nonetheless, one situation that sticks out in my memory was when a father questioned me about how a postpartum doula was different than a nanny. I think the reason he asked was because the couple had just had a set of twins, and all the mom wanted me to do was take care of the babies so she could sleep. To him, it seemed I was simply babysitting. I explained to him that what I do is much more than taking care of infants; I told him that a Postpartum Doula offers education, companionship and in-home support for families with infants. Basically, taking care of the babies was helping to take care of the mom. He seemed to understand better after my explanation.

What keeps you working as a postpartum doula?
I love the feeling that comes with helping and supporting others. I find that parents are, for the most part, very appreciative for the help they are receiving. And I love babies!

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter or longer-term agreement?
I charge a fee of $18.00 an hour. That fee covers assistance with newborn care, family adjustment, nursing support and help with light household needs.  The number of visits and hours is up to the individual family. If it is a longer term agreement, I am certainly open to offering a lower hourly rate or a package deal.

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
I know some doulas have specialties in other areas, and I appreciate that. However, since being a postpartum doula is somewhat new for me, I am not yet offering any other services. That may change in the future. 

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
I love to spend time with my family, especially my granddaughter, who turns 1 this month. I have been a hospice volunteer. I also like to bowl, and I enjoy watching most sports.

If you would like to contact Sue to arrange an interview, here is her information:
313-574-2080 Cell

313-586-8313 Alternate number
480-625-4816 Alternate local number

Website: lighthousedoula.com

Emails: [email protected] or [email protected]

Would you find the services of a postpartum doula to be beneficial?
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonPlease leave us a comment - it won't show up right away, however it will be moderated and posted.  
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.

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


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 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

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®.

0