Birth of a Doula

Birth of a Doula

A brand new mother sat at home in her living room with her baby boy a couple of days after giving birth. She had done so much preparation leading up to her birth - she and her husband attended a childbirth class that focused on having the partner as coach to the laboring mother. Even so, she had hired a birth doula to support them both through the process. As part of her childbirth class she attended a breastfeeding support group to learn about feeding her baby once he arrived. She had her music picked out for her birth, lined up her photographer, and packed all the special items she wanted to bring with her to the birth center. 

Things didn’t go as planned. …

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We were all thumbs, or, what to do about thumbsucking

We were all thumbs, or, what to do about thumbsucking

Q. My baby used to love her pacifier, but now she’s found her thumb and there’s no looking back. Should I worry about the problems we’ll have breaking her of this habit in the future?

You’ve certainly asked the right person - I had a thumb-sucker myself. (Notice the emphasis on “had.”)

Sucking is one of the most common ways babies and toddlers comfort and settle themselves. Many – like my daughter, Olivia, for instance – start in the womb. According to Cary lactation consultant Cindi Freeman, “Sucking is a normal and necessary biological activity for young children that can last well beyond their weaning from the breast and bottle.”  And sucking on a thumb has several advantages over a pacifier. ...

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Getting clear on foremilk/hindmilk

Getting clear on foremilk/hindmilk

Q. I read about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance on the Internet and I’m worried that I have it. What should I do?

A. Oh, the Internet. What a great resource it can be for quick answers and support on so many topics. Yet, sometimes it’s misleading.

Inevitably when a breastfeeding mom is concerned about this issue, I know she has been self-diagnosing online. Information on the Internet about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance tends to trick a mother into thinking she has the condition when, in fact, it’s a very rare condition, says Cindi Freeman, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Freeman Lactation Services in Cary, North Carolina.
 

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Adventures of a one armed baby (or one way to wean from a swaddle)

Adventures of a one armed baby (or one way to wean from a swaddle)

A while back I collaborated with Heidi Holvoet on a “why and how to” swaddle article. Heidi is a sleep consultant, author and owner of Baby Sleep Advice. In the article, I wrote that swaddling is one of the best tools new parents have for calming newborns and helping them to sleep better. I explained how swaddling prevents the startle reflex from waking newborns and creates a comforting, womb-like sensation.

Eventually though, even the best tools get thrown out of the toolbox. ...

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Babywearing provides benefits to both baby and parent!

Babywearing provides benefits to both baby and parent!

Q. I’m desperate to have my hands free while I take care of my three-month-old son, but I’ve heard slings can be dangerous. Is there a type of sling or wrap I can use so I can get a few things done during the day?

A. What a smart momma you are to seek a solution to your challenge of getting daily tasks done while still being able to tend to your baby. 

Baby-wearing, as it’s called in the attachment-parenting world, can be an excellent solution. Infant slings, wraps and carriers have been used for thousands of years in cultures around the world. In addition to freeing up both hands, baby-wearing provides many benefits to the baby, including promoting a positive bond between child and parent. And, according to anthropologists who travel the world studying infant-care practices in other cultures, infants in baby-wearing cultures cry much less. ...

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Are your sleep habits healthy ones?

Are your sleep habits healthy ones?

Q: There is so much talk about the importance of sleep and healthy sleep habits for our babies and children. How do I know if we have healthy sleep habits in our home?

A: It’s true: We know so much about the importance of sleep nowadays, maybe because so many of us are sleep-deprived. But we can’t deny the science that shows us how important healthy sleep is for our children’s growth and development.

Growth requires several hormones to stimulate various biological events in the blood, organs, muscles and bones. The production of human growth hormone (HGH) is affected by nutrition, stress and exercise. But in young children, the most important factor affecting its production is sleep. The most intense period of HGH release in children is shortly after the beginning of deep sleep. Without adequate sleep, growth problems can result. A lack of sleep at night can also...

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What to hand a hungry toddler

What to hand a hungry toddler

My kids are great eaters. Foodies, you might say. We raised them that way from the get go. Instead of chicken nuggets and french fries, we offered miso soup loaded with tofu as an early staple. Now 23 and 19, I could have paid for their college education with all the sushi they’ve eaten over the years. 

My daughter makes French macarons to die for. My son has a whole science project going on in his kitchen with all kinds of homemade fermenting vegetables, kimchi and kombucha. He even got me making my own sauerkraut and it's delicious. But I digress. ...

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12 doula tips when visiting new parents

12 doula tips when visiting new parents

Do you have the perfect family and friends who know (or knew) just how to support you after your birth? They realize that recovering from childbirth, whether natural or otherwise, takes time, and that the new baby (or babies) need time to adjust to the world and bond with their new family. They understand how to nurture the new or growing family with food, household help and space. 

Oh, that’s not how it was/is for you? Then we can help. It’s called Tips From the Doula and was written by our own doula extraordinaire, Erica Aday. It works well posted in plain view or distributed to well-meaning friends and family in advance of visits. Here’s how it goes:  ...

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