This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a really long time. Take everything you read on parenting with a grain of salt and just do what works for your family.
This is just a little post to ease me back into the blogging world (thesis finally submitted). As usual, the content is in response to a reoccurring issue and discussions with mothers and midwives. And I welcome your experiences and comments on this topic...
In a backlash against the medicalisation of birth women are beginning to reclaim birth (yay!). Partly thanks to the availability of information via the internet, a counter culture has emerged.
Open your eyes. Look at someone and follow their breath. Breathing deeply gives you and your baby the oxygen you need as well as decreasing stress and anxiety.
Labor is intense. It can be very helpful to have a reminder to keep breathing in and out.
The first few weeks postpartum can be really hard. As parents, especially new parents, you’re getting used to having sole responsibility for another little person. Your poor little baby, who has spent the last 9 months being constantly held, nourished, and kept warm, is quite literally pushed into a cold environment where they feel hunger for the first time. It’s a huge adjustment time for everyone. Here are a couple of tips to make your fourth trimester a little easier.
Let go of your sleep expectations. Let baby sleep when and where they need to. If you are able to lay down when your little one does, do so. If your baby sleeps for a long stretch at the beginning of the night, make sure you are in bed early. You will be able to help your baby adjust to your family’s ideal sleep schedule after the first few weeks. Remind yourself that it is normal for new babies to wake at night, and they really, truly, do grow out of it eventually.
Feed on demand. Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a bit of both, feed your baby when they show signs of hunger rather than on a time schedule. Very young babies have fluctuating needs for calories from day to day as they go through growth spurts. If you are breastfeeding, allowing your baby to eat when they are hungry (and for as long as they want) is a big part of making enough milk for your baby. Your baby signals to your body how much milk it needs by how often and how much it nurses.
Hold your baby. Frequent holding helps a newborn to regulate their breathing, heart rate, and temperature. Very young babies are not mature enough to self soothe. Some newborns may want to be held a lot. This is where a baby carrier is very useful!
Don’t worry about creating “bad” habits. Just because your 3 week old is nursing through her nap does not mean your 5 month old will be. Children are very adaptable, especially when changes are made slowly and with respect.
People are more important than things. Your needs, those of your new baby, and your family are more important than a clean house and a to do list with everything checked off. Of course, certain things must be seen to for your family to continue functioning. Everyone must eat and have something to wear, but let as much of everything else go as you need to.
Do what works for your family. Every family is different. When making parenting decisions ask yourself “Is this safe?” and “Is it respectful of our family’s (including baby’s) needs?” If the answers are yes, then carry on!
In a few months time life will settle into a bit of a pattern - like any job, you get better at it with practice.
I’ve had three natural births at home and I do birth work, so I get a lot of questions from friends, family, and even random moms at the park about birth. One of the most common questions I hear is “How can I have a natural birth?” Here’s my top 5 tips.
1. Educate yourself: read books about pregnancy and birth, talk to other mothers, take classes and ask lots of questions. Knowing your options enables you to be an active consumer in your own maternity care. Unfortunately, many hospitals tend to ignore the informed part of informed consent, so you may need to advocate for yourself and your baby during your birth and postpartum.
2. Find a care provider who supports your choices and has the same philosophy of birth as you. This may be the most important thing you can do. If you want to birth naturally in a squat and the majority of your care provider’s births are with woman on their backs who’ve had epidurals you’re likely to have conflict during labor.
3. Consider birthing outside the hospital. Homebirth and Independent Birth Centers are both safe options for low risk women. Find out what’s available in your area. Really look at these options with an open mind. Statistically, out of hospital births have much lower rates of intervention, and if an epidural is a whole car ride away you’re less likely to go for it when your birth gets tough.
4. Hire a doula. Having someone to rub your back through your whole 20 hour labor isn’t just amazing, it also lowers the rate of interventions. Doulas can also help with breastfeeding and early parenting hurdles. If finances are an issue a doula in training can be an affordable option.
5. Decide to do it even when it hurts too much. Birth usually hurts, and it usually hurts more than you think you can handle. If you go into it with the attitude that you’ll try it natural but if it’s too hard you’ll go for the epidural, you’re probably going to get that needle in your back.