A mother that I worked with last year (and am still working with!) recently sent me her reflections about her first year as a parent. She fought hard to be able to breastfeed her babe and is still going strong. If you are struggling – hang in there, get help, keep going! We are here to support you to reach your breastfeeding goals.
My daughter is one. It feels so normal and totally crazy. I can’t imagine loving her any more than I already do. She is so precious. I am almost more amazed that we have been parents for a year. Or at least we have gotten some experience stumbling through these new life stage milestones.
I am proud of myself that I’m still nursing – and that I am not ready to stop. It was such a battle and one I could not have done without Ann Marie, BABS, my husband, and so much encouragement from friends. And I’m SO grateful. I do think it helped me bond to S in a way that I really needed. I was so unsure if I would love or resent a baby, and once the work was done, being able to offer her something no one else can, having those times when it can only be her and me – it just mattered so much. For me, it was a unique gift that put me closer to her, that cemented our new mother / baby relationship. And I desperately needed that to happen.
The theme: Superheroes! But not just one type of Superhero will be honored at the Gala; everyone’s own personal super powers and birth community superheroes will be celebrated!
Cocktail attire, with accessories and costumes encouraged. Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, dancing, a silent auction and bidding frenzy (made possible by donations from so many local businesses!), photo booth, games and prizes, all while supporting BABS and the hundreds of parents and little ones who come through our doors each year.
Visit the Gala page on our website to purchase tickets and nominate your own birth community hero before time runs out!
I remember the first time a client apologized to me for choosing to get an epidural in labor. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to remember what I might have said to this woman prenatally that would lead her to think that she’d be letting me down by getting an epidural. Could something as simple as “That’s a great idea” or “You can do it” when she told me she wanted an unmedicated birth end up in the perception of judgment? I reassured her with everything in me that she had made a good choice, that I had absolutely no agenda of my own for her birth.
But I admit that I also wondered whether there was something else I could have or should have done to encourage her. I know as well as anyone that doulas reduce epidural use. I was a new doula, and I wanted to prove that I could create that outcome. I was unable to separate the larger statistical picture from the individual experiences of my clients.
I have wondered a lot over the years whether and how much what I do and don’t do impacts birth outcomes. The answer, usually, is a rather unsatisfying, “I’m not really sure.” I’m finding, though, that the measurable outcomes matter less and less to me. What I care about is how a family feels about the experience of bringing a new person into the world.
Parents bring a lifetime of being themselves into the labor room, they bring their chosen team, and then they are handed the labor they are handed. Every labor is different, and every mother handles what she is given in her own entirely unique way – which interacts with her relationship with her partner, her experience of pregnancy and parenthood (her own and others’), the kind of day her midwife or doctor is having, and countless other unknowable things. There is nothing simple about birth.
So how does a doula fit into this web of Stuff that comes along with the birth of a baby? Hopefully, she has had time to get to know the parents ahead of time – time enough that the mother and her birth partner(s) feel safe being vulnerable with her. This is not about the “birth plan,” though there are some key things to know in this area. Rather, it’s about communication, verbal and non-verbal. It’s about the doula’s ability to convey, “I am here, there is nowhere else I’d rather be, and I can hold whatever you give me” – and about the parents’ ability to trust that.
When it’s done well on both sides, this leads to parents who are deeply satisfied with their own ability to do something really hard. The measurable outcomes are just a side effect. Sure, deep trust and emotional presence lead to fewer medical interventions, because labor goes better when moms feel safe. But for any individual, that may or may not be true. She may end up with nothing going “right” (read: “as expected”) but if she has support – and allows herself to be supported – she is likely to emerge from the experience feeling capable and effective, and able to heal. Without good support, even if everything goes exactly the way she wanted, she may feel bulldozed, even traumatized by the enormity of what it is to give birth.
I didn’t fail my client all those years ago by not coming up with enough suggestions or techniques or words of encouragement. But I did fail to develop the kind of relationship with her that would allow her to make the choices she needed to make without fear of judgment. So many of us walk through life feeling judged almost constantly – it is a radical act to create a relationship based on trusting that each person will make the right decisions for herself. A wise and wonderful mentor and friend of mine once said, “Imagine what the world would be like if we believed that everyone had really good reasons for their choices.” The doula relationship can be a taste of that world – and it’s pretty yummy.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) are experts on infant feeding and we are here to help you reach your breastfeeding goals. We are a part of the healthcare team that helps families before and after birth, and we are here to support you in anyway we can. The BABS Lactation Center is a judgment-free zone – we meet each mother’s concerns, needs and choices with respect and compassion.
Here are some of the things an IBCLC can help you with. Did we leave anything off the list? Let us know in the comments!
- Sore nipples
- Milk supply
- Weight checks
- Tongue/lip tie
- Fertility while nursing
- Tandem nursing
- Nursing multiples
- Questions about sleep
- Weaning from a nipple shield
- Exclusive pumping
- Going back to work
- Inverted/flat nipples
- Induced lactation
- Non-latching baby
- Premature/near-term baby
- Safe formula feeding/supplementing
- Breastfeeding after sexual trauma
- Plugged ducts/mastitis/thrush
- Gestational diabetes
- Craniosacral treatment
- Hand expression
- Fussy baby
- Prenatal & postpartum depression/anxiety
- Travel/special events while nursing
- Negative feelings about nursing
- Breastfeeding during pregnancy
- Introducing solid foods
- Breast reduction/augmentation
- Pump fitting/pump suction check
Dr. Linda Smith, Distinguished Professor, Developmental Psychology, Indiana University
Dr. Swapnaa Jayaraman, Assistant Scientist, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University
Cognitive Development Lab, www.indiana.edu/~cogdev/
In an earlier post, The view from down here: Understanding the visual environments of infants, we told you about an ongoing study that would give us an insider’s look into the beautiful visual world of infants. What is in front of young infants? Does this view change as infants grow older and begin to do new things like sit up, crawl, and walk? Well, it looks like it does! Several families in the Bloomington area participated in our study. Parents placed light-weight head cameras on their infants when they were awake and recorded their visual environments. We got wonderful data from 44 infants at different ages (between 1 to 24 months). This rich data is helping us understand the natural statistical properties of the visual world of infants. As promised, here we present to you a representative few (of the millions of) images that were collected from these head camera videos. See how the visual environments change with age and how that change seems to be driven by the child’s own development.
1 Month Old
6 Months Old
1 Year Old
18 Months Old
2 Years Old
One of our most interesting findings is that the visual world of infants seems to be ordered in time. Early in life, infants seem to spend a lot of time with a face right in front of them. As they grow older, face time seems to decrease consistently; when they are about 2 years old, faces in view are relatively rare. So what is it that occupies the visual space of infants as they grow older? It is hands: the infants’ own hands as well as their caregivers’. Very young infants hardly get views of hands perhaps because they can’t bring their own hands into view and because their caregivers hands are frequently holding or carrying them. But as they grow older – as they begin to become more independent, create new tasks and environments for themselves, and take a more active part in their social world – infants begin to experience more and more hands in front of them. By the time they are toddlers, hands are one of the most frequently featured items in their views.
Our findings suggest that the views that babies present themselves are determined by the developmental level: youngest infants remain where they are placed, but as they learn to sit up, crawl, walk, and talk, they find themselves in very different visual environments that provide a different range of visual experiences. These experiences in turn influence how these babies understand their environments, learn words, objects and even gestures.
Head-camera studies have great potential to tell us a lot about what infants and toddlers see, how they learn about their world, and how their visual environment contributes to their development. To read more, go to: http://www.indiana.edu/~cogdev/papers.html Are you curious about your child’s visual and cognitive experiences? Would you like to participate in our research studies with your child? We are always on the lookout for infant and child scientists (newborns through 6 year olds) in the child development labs at the IU Psychological and Brain Sciences department. Come check us out and register your child on our website at http://www.indiana.edu/~cogdev/ or call 855-8256 (ask for Char).
We are excited to welcome you into our lab!
With the recall of the Graco car seats (click here for the manufacturer’s information about the recall), I am sure that many parents are wondering how to know if their car seat is safe. Where do you go to get that information? Are wondering how to install your infant or child’s car seat safely? Or even just wondering what the right size seat is for your child? How do you know when to move from an infant seat to a child seat? What about toddlers? Older children? Boosters? When and for how long do you need those?
One website has all of this information. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a page called Parents Central where you can get all of this information and more. There is a place to see all recalls and also to register the car seats you own so that you can be notified in the event of a recall.
Once you have figured out the safety of the car seat itself, it’s time to take a look at how you have put the car seat into your vehicle.
The best way to do this is to make an appointment with a certified car seat technician. These amazing people work or volunteer in all kinds of locations: at hospitals, fire stations, police stations, or perhaps out of their own homes. You just want to make sure that whoever is doing it is up-to-date on their certification. The seats change; the cars change. I was certified years ago as a car seat technician, but could not pretend to do a car seat check today. I’m just not up on the new regulations and changes in cars and seats. Once again, NHTSA’s website will direct you to an inspection station. You can find the link to this search at the bottom of the NHTSA webpage. For your convenience, here is the direct link.
The NHTSA website also has information for pregnant women, about used car seats, and what to do if a car seat has been in a crash. You might want to go check the website out today.
There is also an opportunity at the BABS Baby Fair on March 2, 2014 to make an appointment for a car seat check with the car seat technicians from IU Health Bloomington Hospital. Call the BABS office to make an appointment – 812-337-8121. There are a limited number of spots and they usually fill up, so call soon!
“We are very excited to offer this fun, educational event free to the public for the first time this year. It was always our intention to serve our community by providing The Baby Fair as a resource to families, making it easy for them to connect with the information, products, and services they need,” said Joy Jones, coordinator of The Baby Fair.
The Baby Fair is a popular event and this year it will include educational seminars, live music, a toddler bouncy house, a magic show, a lactation station, and story time with two characters from the popular PBS show Super Why. The Baby Fair will also have a visit from a Monroe County Fire Fighter, car seat safety checks, and more than 50 exhibitors from all over South Central Indiana.” The first 300 families will receive a free reusable gift bag full of samples and coupons related to life with a baby. There will be great door prizes and face painting for the little ones as well as pregnant belly painting.
The sponsors that make the Baby Fair possible include Southern Indiana Pediatric Dentistry, Osmon Chiropractic Center, IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Reach High Consulting, Super Oldies 105.5 WQRK, WTIU, Midwest Color Printing, Managed Health Services (MHS), United Way/Monroe Smart Start, Lamar, Markey’s, Dr. John Labban, and IU’s Early Childhood Education Services.
For more information about Bloomington Area Birth Services and The Baby Fair, please visit bloomingtonbirth.org/babyfair. You can also find us on Facebook. Be sure to “join” our event on Facebook where you can hear about all of the great items in our swag bags and door prize baskets.
Restful sleep is essential to our health and well-being, and new parents often need more sleep or are very concerned about how much sleep their baby is getting. I recently came across some excellent posts from a year ago at Psychology Today written by Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., of Notre Dame University. She summarizes what is known about normal infant sleep in 5 posts.
Parents receive a lot of advice and opinions about what their babies should be doing with regards to eating and sleeping through the first two years. How useful it is to find a collection of information that pulls together research and evidence-based information in one spot!
Of course, reading about what is normal may still not answer all of your concerns or questions about your specific situation. Many parents come to a Lactation Consultant or a La Leche League leader with concerns about the place, quality or quantity of sleep they or their baby is experiencing, and these are excellent people to talk to about such topics! They can help you figure out how to get the most sleep possible in your given situation and will provide support without judgment or dismissal of your concerns.
Here at the BABS Lactation Center, we also offer classes and private consultations that include information on normal development of babies from 4 months to 10 months (Bigger Babies) and 10 months to 24 months (Busy Toddlers). Often knowing what is normal can be reassuring that you are on the right track with your baby, and it gives you a place to start if you need to make some changes so that parents are getting enough rest, too!
I came across this article on Huffington Post, and I was completely intrigued.
Baby showers are nothing new; when you’re pregnant, most people expect a mother to have a baby shower. But recently, grandmothers are celebrating their little grandbaby’s arrival with a “Grandma Shower”. Is it selfish to garner the attention away from the expectant mother? Or is this trend practical, helping grandmothers to be gifted with many of the items she may need if (when) she cares for her grandchild?
Traveling back in time, First-Time Pregnant Amy thinks about Grandma Showers: Really? A shower? For me?! Oh, wait…this baby shower is for you? And you’re not pregnant, right? Your ankles haven’t disappeared, right? Getting out of bed doesn’t involve grabbing the mattress handles and hoisting your larger-than-usual a$$ out of bed? Oh, I’m sorry. Do I sound cynical? Upset? Me?!?!
….Second-Time Pregnant Amy thinks about Grandma Showers: Oh, that’s sweet. It will come in handy when you have your grandchild visit for the night or when we come for the holidays. And by the way, you deserve to celebrate this baby!! Look at that cute little onesie. I’m so honored that you’d want to celebrate this baby! What a loved and lucky babe.
…Third-Time Pregnant Amy think about Grandma Showers: Great. Do you think anyone at the party would want to help me fold some laundry? Maybe bring me a meal to put in my freezer for after this baby is here? Maybe contribute to a postpartum doula fund for me or gift me a massage for when you’re watching the baby and I have an afternoon free? Oh, wait…this is about you…right. So, what about that laundry idea?
Essentially, my thoughts about Grandma Showers have shifted as I got older, more experienced in motherhood. If I was expecting my first and my mother or mother-in-law had a Grandma Shower, I
would’ve might have been completely upset dumbfounded. I would’ve wondered why the attention was off me and on someone WHO ALREADY HAD THEIR TIME!!! I would’ve rolled my eyes and complained to my husband about how ridiculous the concept of GRANDMA SHOWERS.
But I feel differently as a mama-to-three. I love my kids, but their grandmas LOVE them to the moon and back . They don’t nanny for us (we live too far away), but they have taken the older kids for a few days at a time every summer and they host us when we visit throughout the year. It’s SO nice when they have the items at their home we regularly use. I’m so taken back with how thoughtful they are when I show up to their home and they’ve added ANOTHER toy to their collection as the kids have aged and outgrown the rattles and infant toys.
If the grandmas in my family celebrated our baby with a Grandma Shower, I’d be completely supportive. It’s a way to honor the transition from Mother to Grandmother, and shouldn’t that be a celebration? I’ve seen such joy in my mother and mother-in-law as they play and interact with my children. Their love for my children is so special, and I want these special women to feel my support for them (especially when I’m busy changing diapers and nursing and lacking the time to pause and say, THANK YOU FOR LOVING MY CHILDREN!).
What do you think about Grandma Showers?
Are you looking for a way to help out BABS but not sure how or you don’t have the time to make a weekly commitment? Please consider volunteering at the Baby Fair! The Baby Fair will be held March 2nd the Bloomington Convention Center.
Monday, February 24th we will need help putting out yard signs. Later that week we will need extra hands to stuff swag bags. On March 2nd we will need help throughout the whole day. Before the event starts we will need help with set up and exhibitor check in. We are going to need a few volunteers to pass out bags, programs, and great visitors. During the event we need bouncy house monitors, volunteers to staff the door prize table, and work the concessions table. After the event we would love it if we could get a few volunteers to help with clean up.
If you are interested in helping please contact the office at 812-337-8121 or email our office manager at firstname.lastname@example.org .