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

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

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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

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

How to Overcome Unrealistic Expectations in the First Few Weeks of Parenting?

Get to know what your parenting expectations are so when the unrealistic expectations creep in, you can kick them to the curb!

Part One

Unrealistic Expectations

Have you heard that “your expectations determine your reality?” It is so true especially when it comes to having a new baby at home. Your body, daily routines, sleeping, eating, showering and all your activities are going to change.  It will be a time of transitions and adjustment, not just for you but for everybody in your household.  Embrace it! Talk about it and most importantly, believe that you can do it!

When you don’t know, what you don’t know, how do you know what to prepare for?

Setting unrealistic expectations only makes your job as an exhausted parent harder than it has to be. In all my years supporting families I have yet to meet a mom that is not exhausted, does not want to cry or parts of her body are sore at some point in the first week.  It is normal to have ALL these feelings. If you go into parenting with realistic expectations, the early days of parenting don’t seem so bad.

Parents should expect that

Babies:

  • Cry, sometimes a lot
  • Typically do not sleep at night but love to sleep during the day
  • Nurse a lot, possibly 15-20 times in a 24-hour period
  • Prefer to sleep on a person, not by themselves
  • WILL likely pee on by you at some point
  • Go through diapers and clothes like crazy

Moms:

  • May feel like a Mack truck has hit you on day 3 or 4
  • May bleed through your clothes
  • Breast milk may leak through your clothes and all over your bed sheets
  • Happy one minute, sad the next
  • Wish someone else could feed the baby
  • Long for alone time and a HOT shower
  • Dislike night time because you know you are not going to get enough sleep

Dads:

  • Wonder what happened to your partner(emotionally)
  • Utter exhaustion
  • Miss your partner, crave time together
  • Frustrated because you can’t “fix” everything
  • Not sure how to BEST help your partner
  • Feel helpless because you can’t nurse the baby (there are many other things you can do)
  • Are ready to go back to work

Parenting is HARD! Parenting a newborn is overwhelming.

As a postpartum registered nurse, working in a hospital, community health settings and in families homes made me feel like I had a good handle on what “life” would actually be like when I had our first. Ha Ha, I was wrong!  I had years of knowledge and experience plus my husband and I felt as prepared and ready as we could be.  However, knowing she was all our responsibility, made things a tad more overwhelming and scary. Having my own was very different from helping other families adjust and transition.  As an After Baby Consultant, my job is to stay current on all things mom, baby and family related and support parents in their parenting philosophies. I help them feel prepared for the unknowns, shorten their learning curve and give them the support to feel educated, informed and confident.  As a new parent, I learned that all my experiences and knowledge would only take me so far.  I had to rely on my instincts and trust my gut. Thankful for all the wisdom I gained while helping others as it made my transition easier and my expectations more realistic. You can be the best babysitter, nursery worker, auntie or friend, but when it is 2 a.m. and your baby is screaming while the world is sleeping, you realize parenting is HARD!

Appliances and cars come with instructions manuals, so why don’t babies?

You can read and research everything on newborns, but nothing can prepare you for the first night, week and month of life with your baby. The staff (instruction manuals) are with you at the hospital or birth center for the length of time you are there but once you leave, they do not come home with you. You are on your own. That first night home can be exciting, overwhelming, scary and downright exhausting.  Being in your own bed is heavenly but there is NO call light to push when you have questions or need help. You probably will not sleep much and if you do sleep, it will be with one eye open. Learning your baby’s noises and adjusting to their sleeping and feeding takes time, but you WILL get there. You try a lot of trial and error before you find out what works for your baby, then they change it up again. Not all things work with every baby and that is NORMAL too. Keep trying, talk to other parents and trust your gut.

Unrealistic Expectations

Call me today to talk about your postpartum expectations and we will make a plan together.

Check out part 2 on knowing what unrealistic expectations to ignore.

Do I really need life insurance when I need a bigger house and a roomier car?

With all the preparations that come with baby’s arrival, buying life insurance is probably not on your priority list. Maybe it should be?  

LIfe insurance Agent

The end of your pregnancy is nearing and you are excited for your baby’s arrival. You are prepared for the delivery, the nursery is decorated and your bag is packed. Daydreaming about what life will be like with your new son/daughter is happening more frequently. You lay on the couch, flip on the t.v. and see images of children that make you cry. Instinctively you reach down and gently rub your belly, you feel your baby stir inside you. Instant relief. However, the “what if’s” creep up in your mind and you begin thinking about your child and the future…Are you prepared for the “just in case?” Read more

Umbilical cord care

Cord Care: What do I do with this stump?

Caring for your newborns umbilical cord

Your baby’s umbilical cord is the life line between mom’s placenta and baby. It is developed between the 4th and 8th week in utero and contains two arteries and one vein. The umbilical vein supplies the baby with oxygenated blood and nutrients from the placenta and the umbilical arteries carry de-oxygenated blood and waste from the baby to the placenta.

Once the cord is cut and clamped after birth, what do you do with the umbilical stump? In short, nothing! There used to be two main schools of thought when it came to taking care of your newborns umbilical cord; some hospitals and birthing centers left it alone completely while others directed you to clean it with alcohol after every diaper change to help it dry out faster. Read more

Your Child’s FIRST Test

Postpartum and Breastfeeding support
APGAR

In case your baby book has a spot for the APGAR numbers or someone asks what your baby’s APGAR score was, you can tell them.

Congratulations…your baby has been born and you are super excited to bond and learn all about them.  If your baby is doing well, this FIRST assessment is done quietly and quickly and most parents don’t even notice. It can be done by your doctor, midwife or nurse. This will be the first of many tests your child will be given and it happens at 1 minute and 5 minutes after delivery.  The 1 minute score is to see if there is an immediate need for further medical intervention while the 5 min score is to see how they are progressing to life outside the womb.

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