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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Wishes For Your Birth Journey

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)
Tonight is the first night of our Winter 2013-14 series.  It is always exciting for us to welcome a new set of students.  We love sharing our passion for healthy pregnancy and natural birth with families who want the best starts for their babies.

Even though there are many options for birthing families, we are still committed to sharing The Bradley Method® because we like being able to offer a birthing class that honors the loving partner as the mother's best coach.

Our Birth-Journey Wishes for all our new students:
  • That they form a community of like-minded families to share and grow with in the parenting journey.
  • That they accept responsibility and do their best with the two aspects of pregnancy that they can control: toning exercises for the back, belly and bottom, and good nutrition.
  • That they do their due diligence and find the right care provider that will support their birth choices, and help them have their best birth possible.
  • That they practice their relaxation techniques at home: these minutes a day turn into a lifetime of benefits for their baby when they can avoid or minimize the use of interventions during their baby's Birth Day.
  • That they enjoy the time and take advantage of the communication exercises to continue laying a firm foundation for the rest of their relationship.

We wish all birthing families preparing for their Spring babies the very best class experience!

What wishes do you have for parents embarking on their Birth Journey?
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®.




Why we teach Bradley™ classes

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)
Why do we teach Bradley™ classes?

Tonight is the night we start another new class series…and tomorrow we get to share time with some alumni students who are joining us for their second series.  They are taking the classes to spend time preparing for the newest addition to their family.

There have been a few “new” birthing methods* to pop up since we have become instructors.  Hypnobirthing just got a huge boost thanks to the royal birth in England.  Yet, despite all the bright, shiny distractions, Bruss and I remain steadfast in our choice to continue teaching The Bradley Method® classes.  We still feel it is the most comprehensive program out there.

We love sharing the information that helped us to have four great birth experiences together.  The way we teach the Bradley Method® doesn’t paint an idealized, sometimes unrealistic picture for a “perfect” natural birth.  We do teach a couple how to build a foundation for their best possible outcome: that looks different for everyone based on a lot of factors that are not in anyone’s control.  

We do teach how to have a low-risk, healthy pregnancy.  We talk about exercise and nutrition as a building block for good outcomes, and follow-up on these every week.  We teach the path of labor, relaxation techniques, and comfort measures so that our couples have a full toolbox of options when they are in labor and so that they can labor in confidence without fear of the unknown.

In addition, our classes talk constructively about variations of labor so that a couple has had some exposure to possible “forks in the road”.  If and when they should face a decision point, it will hopefully not be the first time they are hearing about the variation(s) or possible complication(s).  They have some information, and resources to find more so that they can make an informed consent decision.

As parents, we know that the Birth-Day is really not the end of pregnancy.  It turns out to be the first day in a long journey as a family together with a new baby.  We know it’s not adequate because even the best books on the topic are incomplete.  However, throughout our classes (and in one dedicated class) all of our couples are also introduced to the concepts of breastfeeding and parenting before we complete their series.  We also share lots of resources for them to do their own research in the direction that they feel led with those choices.

Our favorite aspect of teaching a 12-week Bradley™ course is the camaraderie that develops between the couples.  It is a gift to watch a room of complete strangers on the first week turn into a group of friends saying “see you soon” on the last night of class, three months from now.  It is so neat to watch these families support each other, share childcare and celebrate milestones together.


To answer the question I started with...We teach Bradley™ classes because we believe that birth is important.  We want to make a difference and positively impact a family's birth experience, no matter which way a baby is born.  We feel we have succeeded as teachers when our couples have an empowered birth experience with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

So, please join me in wishing our new students the very best as they embark on the journey of learning with us.  We hope to be the teacher that they need at this point in their pregnancy.  Three cheers for the Fall 2013 classes!

*Birth is birth is birth.  What is new is the packaging and the presentation of the message to leave a birthing woman to labor uninterrupted, offer support as she asks or as she needs it, and care providers please stay hands off unless it’s clear that the MotherBaby need assistance for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome – otherwise, just “catch” and thanks for your watchful waiting with your trained head, heart, and hands :)

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®.

3 Whole Food Tips

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:48 PM Comments comments (0)
We talk about avoiding harmful substances in pregnancy in order to help keep mom and baby healthy and low-risk.  I had an epiphany moment a few months ago, and ever since then we have been diligent about avoiding food dyes.  THIS post on BuzzFeed really got me thinking.  I have mentioned it before, and I will link to it again HERE :  when the FDA approves something, it is not approving that it is safe.  It is simply affirming that the approved dose is not going to kill you in that one ingestion.  It says nothing about the long-term effects exposure to the dye or chemical.

So with all this information out there on what you can’t eat, what can an expectant mom eat?  How are you supposed to eat well when you have a dozen things on your to-do list that have to be done before the day is over? 

The transition from buying ready-to-eat food at the grocery store to making most of your food at home can be overwhelming.  Here are some ideas that have worked for us.  In addition, I listed some foods that we discovered as we strove to have healthier pregnancies as we learned more about what good, whole food nutrition really is.

1.  Reading Labels  
The big two I look for are the fillers and the preservatives.  Ideally, the food you buy will have neither.  If something has soy lecithin or maltodextrine in it, the manufacturer has augmented what you think you are buying.  In my experience, most preservatives end in –ate: nitrates, benzoates.  HERE is a good list of food additives you can learn to avoid.  It’s not impossible to learn the list.  In the days before smart phones, I would write down ingredients to avoid on an index card. Over time, the list became familiar and I have most of it committed to memory.  A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

2.  Eating Whole Foods: Less is More 
I used to work out of the home.  As a newlywed couple, it was easy to go out to eat dinner, and making a full gourmet meal was do-able because there were no other demands on my time other than working and making meals for the two of us.  Then Puma was born, and I wanted to keep working.  The days of spending two hours or more in the kitchen getting a meal together were over for me.  I started taking shortcuts, like buying canned goods and processed foods that would help me throw a meal together in minutes.  Does that sound like your story?

Along came Night Owl, who despite having a healthy pregnancy and an unmedicated hospital birth, ended up with a whole bunch of food allergies.  He is allergic to wheat, eggs, peanuts, soy, hazelnuts, coconut, soy and watermelon.  Watermelon and hazelnuts aren’t such a big deal – it’s easy to avoid those.  The others – not so much.  Thanks to him, we got started on the path back to a healthy, whole food diet. 

We found a source for free-range meats.  We eat just about everything from scratch again – we are blessed with a nanny that loves to cook and she only knows how to cook from scratch.  The only prepared food we buy is our gluten-free tortillas and pastas.  In an effort to eliminate foods that have more than ten ingredients in them, things that we used to buy for a quick snack are slowly being phased out: gluten-free crackers and pretzels are not making it into the shopping cart as often.  We are replacing them with dried cranberries and dried currants.

We also make our own soups and stocks.  If you look at the ingredients in store-bought soups, they are very high in sodium and additives.  It takes 10-20 minutes to wash and chop the vegetables for a basic stock; then you throw them into a big stockpot with olive oil, water and spices.  I like to use sea salt (my latest "favorite" is pink Himalayan sea salt), tarragon, garlic powder and a bay leaf or two, depending on how much water I have.  We add in chicken bones for the meat eaters so they get etxtra calcium in their stock.  Once the stocks are made, we can use them throughout the week for making soups, rice, and pasta.

3.  Snacks and Side Dishes: Plan Ahead  
There are a couple of options when it comes to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.  You can buy a whole bunch and pray you use them all before they go bad, and with meal planning, this is more likely to work for you.  If you are not a meal planner, do you have time to stop at the store every few days to load up on the produce you know you will eat?  We use the EWG Dirty Dozen list to decide how to spend our grocery money.  We believe that it is worth it to buy the most contaminated crops in the organic section instead of conventional.  We buy conventional produce when the crops are lower on the pesticide list.

Once we get the produce home, I prepare what we can wash ahead:  citrus, apples, mangoes, avocados; basically, almost anything with a hard shell.  I will wash and peel carrots, then slice them and put them in a container with some water.  You can do this with celery as well.  Voila!  Now I have grab and go snacks for the times that I am in a hurry and don’t have time to prepare an elaborate snack before we head out the door.

We still buy grapes, berries and peaches in season.  By purchasing them in season, we find they keep longer.  Those we wash right before they are going to be eaten, and enjoy them when we are snacking or eating at home.

All these ready-to-go snacks only take a minute to prepare ahead or right before you eat.  Getting used to preparing them during your pregnancy will set you up for a good habit postpartum.  As long as baby doesn’t have a reaction to them, you are training yourself to have a good breastfeeding diet in the postpartum period. 

Other good grab and go snacks are nuts.  Throw them together with dried cranberries and currants and we have a homemade snack sack.  Reality check: even that takes time we don’t have some days.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, check out their “Just A Handful” selections.  All of them are good; most of them are healthy.  We splurge on the handful bags that come with some chocolate chunks in them! 

Another time saver are the low-ingredient snack bars: Larabar, That’s it fruit bars, and pure organic bars.  These all have seven or less ingredients and they don’t have soy or cane sugar.  Snacks are a big part of the postpartum period since the constant feeding the first two to three months is conducive to a mama with a monstrous appetite!

As far as veggies for lunch and dinner, we choose to shop our local farmer’s markets so we can support the small farmers around us.  You can ask the farmer directly about their growing methods.  Another possibility might be to save money by visiting them and picking your own produce.

What if that isn’t an option, or you don’t like the variety at your market?  Choosing frozen vegetables from a reputable food company are sometimes higher in essential vitamins and nutrients because they are picked and frozen at peak freshness.  They are economical, and they add a nice variety to your diet.  I remember being less interested in making choices in the later weeks of pregnancy.  It feels like you can’t possibly get any bigger at the end of your pregnancy, all movements are taxing, and having something easy to fix is a blessing!

You can make enough green salad to last three days and dress it with a citrus-based dressing to make sure it keeps.  It may take some trial and error to find a dressing that works without being too runny.  My favorite one is *surprise* homemade.  I learned it from Danielle del Castillo-Hughes at a "Greens" class.  You simply throw all these ingredients together in a blender or Cuisinart and then toss it into your salad: two avocadoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, tahini, garlic, brewer’s yeast, salt, cumin, and the juice from one lemon.

I hope these three points give you an idea how you can start to transition to a more whole food diet.  I wish that yours is a decision that is pedestrian and not food allergy driven.  While having a child with food allergies is one of the best things that ever happened to our family, it was a steep learning curve.  Best wishes to you on your whole food journey!

What are some of your time-saving whole food tips?

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®.


Bradley™ Classes and The Next Baby

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (0)
We have had parents take a Bradley Method® class series with baby number two (or three) when they had never taken a series with previous children.  The question is: is there value to taking a class series when you are pregnant with other children, when you
have already taken classes with another pregnancy?
 
I think that depends on the individual couple.  We made the choice to take a second complete class series because we only took 9 of the 12 classes in our first series.  Bruss also traveled; while I attended 9 of those classes, he only came to five or six of those.
 
We also ended up taking classes with a different teacher.  We were apprehensive at first – who likes change?  It turned out to be a great thing.  Our new teacher offered a different perspective on the same material, and we got to make new friends as well.
 
Here are the benefits we saw of taking a second series:

It was time to honor our new baby.  It’s easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” with your first-born.  For most of us pregnant with number two, baby one is already active and engaged in the world.  They require your time and your energy for the better part of your day.  Taking the time to prepare for our second child’s birth was time we spent enjoying the pregnancy without our older child.  It was just baby and us again during class time.

It was our weekly “date night”.  That adorable toddler?  As sweet as she was, our conversations revolved around answering all her inquisitive questions.  Not a bad thing at all!  However, our drive time going to class was spent connecting with each other as a couple.  Sometimes we were even able to sneak in a little snack stop before class if we got it together and dropped her off at our sitter’s house early enough.

It was the beginning of sibling preparation.  In retrospect, it prepared our daughter to spend time away from mom and dad and still feel valued.  My aunt took care of her while we were at class.  This same aunt is the one we planned to come stay with her until my mom flew in from Chicago.  This time with other adults allowed Ysabella to do something fun without us – she knew it was possible.  She learned to do things without mommy.  Later, after baby arrived, she continued to enjoy doing special things without me, like going out to get breakfast with Daddy while Mommy and baby slept.  She loved this time without me, and she made a decent transition to being an only child to being the big sister.

The material was new again.  First time parents have no idea what to expect from labor and birth.  A mom has no clue what contractions feel like.  A coach has no idea how (s)he will react when they see their partner in labor, and there is nothing they can do to fix it – all they can do is support.  The couple does not know how long their labor will be.  They do not know what their normal gestation is:  is MomBaby an early bird, on time, or a late bloomer?  So many unknowns! 

Going back to class, the material made sense in a different way.  We knew without a doubt that we had to be serious about doing the exercise assignments so that I would have energy at the end of a long birth (back then, Ysabella’s 26 hour labor was “long” to us – haha!)  I wanted to go for the accountability of tracking nutrition and doing the homework assignments.  It was also interesting to learn from the questions our new classmates asked – in that sense, it made it a completely different class.

For Bruss, he was hearing it for the first time, and classes 10-12 were new for us, too.  I also found we paid more attention to the different positions to use in labor and during the pushing phase.  Whether it was new material or a different presentation of the material, it really stuck this time and we made good use of the information in our second labor.

We knew what we wanted to change.  We could look back on our first labor and learn the lessons.  We knew what worked for us, and we knew what we wanted to do differently.  Knowing what we wanted to improve on helped us pay attention in class, even though the syllabus, the workbook and the movies were the same.  The desire to have a different birth, one without the use of Pitocin, helped us focus on the things we wanted to do better.  The classes were a positive step in having the Pitocin-free birth that we were preparing for and wanted to achieve.
 
I am looking forward to teaching our first The Bradley™ “Next” series to our alumni students that are pregnant with their second babies.  We also have a couple joining us who took classes from another teacher and is new to our area.  Since we have the unique opportunity to form a class just for second-time parents, we are also going to spend some class time on sibling preparation.  It will be fun for these families to prepare for their next child together, and for all the big brothers and sisters to have other peers with new babies in the house.
 
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®.