Postpartum, Breastfeeding and Parenting Blogs

Tucson Kid Friendly Activities

Looking for kid friendly activities in Tucson?

Tucson Kid friendly activities

At my last couple of postpartum home visits, I have been asked, “what is there to do with my 0-5 year old in Tucson?” As a recovering mom with a new baby and a stir crazy older child, the thought of packing up and going out is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it could make for a better, calmer and happier afternoon for YOU. Read more

Lost hopes and dreams

Not only did I lose a child, but I lost all my hopes and dreams for him as well!

When the doctor lifted his stethoscope and told us that our son, who was cradled in my arms, had passed away, my world crumbled.  I was numb, found it hard to breath and my heart had shattered into a million pieces.  Yet I still had to answer questions from the police, standard procedure, but still completely awful, walk back into a room full of people that didn’t know what to say and then return home to tell my daughter that her little brother would not be coming home, EVER!

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12 Days of Postpartum Care

12 Days of Postpartum Support and Education 

 

for the Holidays

Gift certificates for Postpartum support

 

Looking for the perfect gift for PARENTS-TO-BE this holiday season?

Going from Me to We, means transitions are coming

Look no further

HIRE an in-home MOTHER-BABY-FAMILY RN expert and you will be the TALK of the HOLIDAYS

Feel Free to sing along

 

 

On the first day home from delivery, my After Baby Consultant gave to me:

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How to best support your friend when she is the NEW MOM?

The new mom….

New Mom-Tucson Postpartum DoulaYou are the FIRST of your friends to be pregnant. Everyone is so excited and over the moon to meet your little bundle of joy. Soon though, they realize that having a baby is A LOT of work.  You can no longer just drop everything and meet up.  You are not as free to go to happy hour, the gym, or meet up after you get off work.

Messy buns, yoga pants and puffy eyes are your new attire but your heart is FULL. You are in love.  Exhausted. Missing your friends. Feeling alone.  Where is everyone? Why is no one coming over anymore? Your phone rarely buzzes.  Did my friends forget about me? Read more

Insight in to the life of your newborn

What is normal for newborns?Newborns cone head

Should I worry?

Since newborns do not come with their own set of instruction manuals, how are parents supposed to know what is and is not normal? Newborns are mysterious little beings and make parents worry over little things.  There is no rhyme or reason for why they do what they do at times.  The fact that you worry is proof enough that you love your child and only want what is best for them.

Below are a few facts that you may notice about your newborn.  Try not to worry.  Not all babies will have all OR any of these because every baby is different. They are all pretty normal findings.

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Being a grandparent in 2017

Grandparents:how times have changed

Last Sunday was National Grandparents Day and I read a statistic that was shocking to me: “Grandparents lead 37% of all U.S. households in this country — that’s 44 million households nationwide.”  Grandparents play a vital role in families and should have a day to be celebrated by those who love them.  Grandparents

A little history about Grandparents Day.  A woman named Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade of West Virginia started pursuing her goal to honor the importance of Grandparents in 1970 but it did not become a holiday until President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day in 1979. Her three main purposes for creating National Grandparents Day were to:

  1. Honor grandparents.
  2. Give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
  3. Help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.

Parenting Practices

Parenting practices have changed tremendously over the past 20 to 50 years as guidelines and recommendations have further developed.  As a result, these changes have contributed to many communication issues between parents and grandparents. Sometimes, feelings get hurt and misinformation is handed out leading to frustrated and overwhelmed parents. What can we do to help smooth this out for all generations? Educate Educate Educate.

I love including grandparents in family and newborn care. By learning how grandparents parented their own children and dispelling myths with evidence based research, it is easier to help them see how times have changed and how they can best support their grandchildren. My goal is to bring families closer together and allow everyone to peacefully celebrate the newest family member.  The three biggest topics I discuss with grandparents are: sleeping, breastfeeding and spoiling, however I am knowledgeable about plenty of other topics.

Sleeping

Prior to 1992 when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) introduced placing babies on their sides or backs to sleep, most babies slept on their tummies.  In 1994, the Back to Sleep education campaign was introduced to share research stating that it is best for babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). 1996 brought the AAP revision of their recommendations again to add that babies be placed to sleep on their backs on a firm surface with no soft bedding. In 2000, the Back to Sleep campaign revised its message again to include that bed sharing may be “considered hazardous under certain situations.”  Yes, there have been several revisions since 2000 but the current recommendation is still BACK TO SLEEP and sleeping in their parent’s room, not same bed, for at least the first 4-6 months!

Breastfeeding

Did you know that the infants grandmother has the most influential impact on whether the mom exclusively breastfeeds? Yes, this is true! Grandma’s, it is ok if you did not nurse, you can still support your daughter or daughter in law.  Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to boost the new mother’s breastfeeding confidence. Moms with newborns want and need your support! Do not let lack of breastfeeding knowledge and/or experience influence how you provide support.

Ways to help breastfeeding moms: offer to go to a breastfeeding class with them. Read about the numerous benefits of breastfeeding. Bring pillows for support, food for nourishment and water for hydration. Research evidence based websites together if they are struggling (kellymom.com).  Keep moms company when they sit down to nurse. Offer to burp baby in between breasts. Snuggle babies between feeds so mom gets a little break, but encourage her to feed on demand, not on a schedule.  Reassure her that she has enough milk for her baby and she does not need to supplement (unless the lactation consultant/pediatrician is concerned).  Build up moms confidence and help her trust her instincts, ask for help when needed and together you can get through the initial challenges of breastfeeding.

Spoiling

Last but certainly not least is that holding your baby all the time will spoil them.  This is not the case! Study after study show how crucial touch is for your baby’s growing development. Babies are completely incapable of being manipulative, therefore unable to “be spoiled” by being held all the time. Meeting your babies’ needs by quickly responding, snuggling, singing and talking to them immediately builds trust, safety and security for your infant.

Research shows that holding your babies results in less crying and more contented babies. Who doesn’t want that?  Therefore grandparents, encourage your family to hand the baby over to you for cuddle time. Share with the newest member how their parents were as babies.  If you are comfortable, ask to wear the baby. Keep the baby close. Holding and responding to your grand baby’s cry’s is meeting their basic needs.  You will have plenty of time to SPOIL them later in life.

Some things haven’t changed much

Disposable diapers are pretty much the same but definitely more absorbent. Most have newborn cutouts for the umbilical cord and lines that change color when baby is wet.  Cloth diapers are making a comeback and are much easier to use these days with buttons instead of diaper pins.  Swaddling blankets are made bigger and therefore easier to swaddle.  Sleep sacks are pretty common and have made swaddling a breeze for parents and grandparents alike.

It is hard to keep up with the constant changes in the world of moms, babies and families. As a grandparent-to-be or a veteran grandparent, ASK first how you can help and then support the parent’s decisions.   One of my many roles as a professional RN/Doula/Lactation Educator is to inform and educate.  I discuss the current recommendations and guidelines as to the WHY. Then it becomes the parents job to think about and apply what they believe will be the best decision for their family.

“I do not hold grandparents to be glorified babysitters but rather as parents’ surrogates who bring love, a continuance of generational values, and a sense of the child’s worth to the integrity of the family…”                  Marian McQuade

National Preparedness Month: Family Plan

What is a Family Plan?

Family Plan

I am so used to creating and planning with the families I support. Whether it be creating birth plans, a plan for your postpartum period, meal plans, returning to work or daycare plans or a plan for company to visit once you are home. Sometimes the importance of planning for the “OTHER” things fall to the bottom of the pile. Have you created your family plan?

In light of September being National Preparedness Month, is your family prepared in case of an emergency? Fire? Falls? Poisoning? Drowning? Abduction? Having children means, you can never be too careful.

With the recent devastation of hurricanes Harvey and Irma and all the wildfires, it got me thinking about the importance of planning and preparing for the little things too.  In-home disasters (water line breaks) or emergencies (fire) could happen at any time.  This blog will discuss BASIC things for family safety in your home, not dealing with natural disasters! Read more

How to know when to switch your baby from the bassinet to the crib?

BassinetThere are a variety of sleeping arrangements these days for babies from parents’ bed, rock n plays and bassinets to pack-n-plays/play yards and cribs.  How do you know when your baby has outgrown their current sleeping accommodations?  Today we will focus on WHEN to make the transition from bassinet to crib.

Baby’s tiny bodies love the close quarters of a bassinet. It is more womb-like than the crib.  Bassinets are mobile, smaller and fit nicely next to the bed so many parents choose to place their baby in one from the first night home while others start with the crib. The decision is yours; there is no hard fast rule.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, “sharing a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent” https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-safe-sleep-recommendations-to-protect-against-sids.aspx

As always, make sure your baby sleeps on their back and that their sleeping surface is firm and uncluttered.  No bedding, padding or stuffed animals.

HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR BABY IS READY FOR THE TRANSITION:

First, what are the manufacturers weight limits for the bassinet?  Most bassinet weight limits are 15-20 pounds but may vary.  A smaller or premature baby may get longer use out of it than a larger baby.  This can mean that the transition may occur anywhere between 3 and 6 months. Make sure you start the transition prior to baby exceeding the limit.

Second, once the baby is rolling over or trying to sit up, the shallowness of the bassinet becomes a danger.  Babies could fall out or tip the bassinet over.

Third, does your baby look uncomfortable?  Is their head hitting the top or their feet up at the end? Your baby could be long and lanky and only 12 pounds but they may look squished in their bassinet.

Lastly, has your baby reduced or dropped their middle of the night feed? Babies tend to start entering deep sleep quicker and stay in deep sleep longer between 3-6 months.

Sleeping: bassinet to cribIf you are nervous about this move, try putting the baby down in the crib for nap times.  Play with your baby in the crib, do tummy time or lay them in the crib if you are putting laundry away or cleaning up their room.  If their crib is in another room, hook up a monitor so you can still see them.

Keep an eye on their weight, mobility and length to know when to begin the transition from bassinet to crib.  This will be one of MANY transitions as they grow.

             If you are looking for more helpful parenting tips, call me today.

 

Labor is approaching, what questions should you ask?

Labor QuestionsThird Trimester

Congratulations, you have made it to your 3rd trimester.  Your little one is packing on some weight and you feel her kicks and stretches even more powerfully now.  You are super excited to meet her BUT have patience because there is a lot of developing she still needs to do before she can safely come earth side. Soon she will be in your arms.

As your delivery date approaches, the reality that labor is coming becomes more real. You HAVE to give birth to this baby.

At this point in your pregnancy, you should be thinking about or working on your birth plan (lets people specifically know what you DO and DO not want during labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period).  Some people want their goals written out, others just talk to their support people and make sure everyone is on the same page. Do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.

Labor questions to ask your provider:

  • WHO will be delivering my baby? Again, is the OB or Midwife in a solo practice or in a group with other professionals? If a solo practice, ask who their back up/on call professional is. If a group practice, do I get to meet or schedule visits with the other doctors? What is your on call day?
  • Will you be at the hospital the entire time or do you come and go based on how I am progressing in labor?
  • When can we discuss my birth plan?
  • Are you ok with me NOT delivering on my back?
  • What is your position on inductions? Why would you induce me?
  • Vacuum and forceps usage?
  • Do I have to have an IV upon arrival? Oxytocin?
  • What monitoring do you recommend when I go into labor? External or internal?
  • Will you delay cord clamping?
  • Should I keep a copy of my prenatal records with me?
  • Do you perform cervical checks? If so, how often?
  • When labor begins, at what point should I call you?
  • Do you support vaginal breech births?
  • What is your c-section rate? Episiotomy rate? In what situations would you perform one?
  • How long will you let me go after my due date?

Labor questions

 

Understanding all your options and getting all your questions answered can help alleviate your fears, put you at ease to feel safe, informed and supported during your pregnancy and your labor and delivery.

Give me a call today to learn how I can help you feel the same way once your baby is in your arms and you are in the comfort of your home.

20 helpful questions to ask at your prenatal appointments

prenatal questionsYou have chosen your provider and the news that you are expecting is finally sinking in.  Maybe you get an early sonogram picture and your heart explodes at the life growing inside you. The wheels in your mind are spinning as prenatal questions keep popping up. You devour pregnancy books and ask friends but you won’t have peace of mind until you chat with your provider.

As an RN, a former certified childbirth educator and co-author of Starting out Right: Positive Strategies to Guide Adolescents through Healthy Pregnancy and Childbirth, I have heard almost every possible question that people have during their pregnancy. A good amount I can answer, others I will tell you I need to get back to you and some I will tell you to ask your OB or Midwife. Read more

Pregnant? Who provides your prenatal care?

2 lines or a + sign, now what?

prenatal-care
Pregnant

Whom do you tell first? How do you share the news? When do you tell?

Wait a couple weeks or shout it from the rooftops? Sorry, there is no right answer.

Once the initial shock or excitement has worn off and the reality has set in, how do you decide who to go to for your prenatal care? When do you start getting prenatal care?  Do you see an OB/GYN? Or a Midwife? Read more