Come join Chico Doula Circle and other expectant families for thier monthly, family centered workshop. This month positions for labor and birth is on the menu! This is a great, interactive class where you will have the opportunity to get used to the different ways in which a laboring woman can seek the comfort she needs throughout. Chairs, balls, rebozos, we cover it all! Check out the event details and RSVP on Facebook!
Bringing a new baby home is filled with excitement. When welcoming a new little bundle into your household, the first few weeks can be challenging. When babies are in the womb, they are most active at night. This is because the uterus is more relaxed at night, so there's more room for baby to move around. Once your little one is born, they sometimes don't get the memo that they are not longer inside a womb. They often go right on ahead and keep spending most of the night awake. Another factor that contributes to your little one's sleep schedule is the size of their stomach- it's tiny! Think how quickly food travels through your stomach, and realize that nourishment will travel quite quickly through a small little tummy. So, your baby may be awake and wanting to feed quite often.
These two factors alone can contribute to exhausted parents. When you add sleep deprived parents to a baby that relies on you for all of their needs, keeping your living situation under control, especially if you have to stay in a temporary home for a bit, and keeping yourself fed and nurtured may be the furthest thing from your mind. So, what's the solution? You need a house fairy! A house fairy is someone who slips in wherever your new little family is, and does magic. They don't tell you how to parent, they just do your dishes. They might make you meals, do your laundry, and make sure baby is resting peacefully while the new parents take a nap, a shower or a relaxing bath.
A house fairy is not your guest, so you don't need to worry about entertaining them. You don't need to worry about getting dressed before they come over. If they come over and your little family hasn't gotten out of bed all day, they will be happy and probably tell you to stay in bed as they bring you some food.
Maybe you have stellar relatives who would make awesome house fairies. They know what it is like with a newborn and they are more than willing to help. If you are so lucky to know someone in your family or circle of friends who would love to you help you out like this, graciously accept their help- they will make your first few weeks so much better. You will get to enjoy those precious days with your new baby knowing that your only job is to be with your baby.
There is also the option of hiring a postpartum doula , a nanny, or a night nanny to help you out. All of these professionals are essentially house fairies, plus so much more. They can do light cooking and cleaning for you, and are also experts in newborn care. They know how to encourage parents to nurture themselves after baby comes home, and they are also great at integrating the whole family, such as older siblings, into the new situation with baby.
Whether you have friends, family, or a postpartum doula to help out after you bring your new baby home, having someone designated as your house fairy will help assure you have the best time possible bonding with your baby. It's likely been a long road to get you to this point, so relish every moment and get the necessary help however you can.
We here at Supportive Conceptions Surrogacy can guide you in the direction of a professional in the area where your surrogate gives birth so you have all the help you need while waiting to be able to take your baby home. Let someone else do the dishes so you can enjoy those long awaited baby snuggles!
This post was originally posted on Supportive Conceptions Surrogacy.
As doulas, we are privileged to work with many different women and families. Each family that we work with brings their own perceptions and expectations of our role. Some families hire a doula to help them achieve a drug-free childbirth. Others had a hard time during their first birth and just want everything to be different. No matter the situation with our clients and their individual reason for seeking out doula care, an intimate relationship often develops.
Each relationship a doula has with her client is different, and the same doula can have a different relationship with different mothers. For instance, some mothers really like to call and check in with us, prenatally. She may be upset after a doctor's visit, or after an argument with her partner. Her phone call to us may start out about how she's feeling, or how her last prenatal appointment went, but we will definitely ask "How's everything else going?," and this sometimes opens the floodgates of what's really going on. We invite her to unload on us. Really, it is our role, and we cherish it.
And we really do love our jobs- we love hearing about your cramps, loose bowel movements, your backache, or your leaking urine. We love to hear all about the emotional ups and downs you're going through, too.
During your labor, the relationship you've built with your doula really kicks into high gear. Many mothers find that they feel much better with no clothes on especially during transition (when you're dilating from 7-10 centimeters). Your doula is used to this. She is used to mothers ripping off their clothing, and she won't bat an eye at your nakedness, or your bodily functions which are likely under less control than you are used to.
After your birth, your doula will stay and help you get started with breastfeeding. So, once again, she will likely be up close and personal with your body. This, of course, depends on your comfort level and needs.
Remember that your doula has likely seen it all- she will not be put off by your emotions prenatally, she wants to know the nitty gritty details of how your body's doing during your pregnancy. Once you think labor may have started, she'll want to know exactly how you're feeling. During labor and birth, she is there for you. She will maintain her empathy and professionalism no matter how clothed or naked you are. She will hold your hair back if you get sick, and she will walk you through the beginning stages of breastfeeding.
Through all of this, nothing is too much information for your doula.
Sometimes there are misconceptions about doulas and drugs. Sometimes people think the only families that may consider hiring a doula are those that are planning to have a drug-free birth. And some other people may think that doulas are anti- pain medication. What a sad thing it is that mothers and families may be missing out on doula support because of these untruths. The fact is, doulas and epidurals can be the perfect match for some people.
Families hire doulas for all sorts of reasons, and yes, many are hiring us for our knowledge of non-pharmacological knowledge of coping with labor. On the other hand, most doulas will also have experience with women who decided either on the spot, or beforehand, to use a medical intervention to decrease the intensity of their contractions. These women can utilize the best of both worlds during labor. They can get the decrease in sensations that they want from their narcotic or epidural, while still having the steady support from their doula.
When a woman gets any kind of medicinal pain relief, there is still a lot a doula can do to support her during her labor and birth. Sometimes, when a woman no longer has to focus on the physical aspects of labor, her mind will start racing. It is not uncommon for a woman to start thinking things like “Is my baby ok?” “Is everything going all right?” or even “I feel like I can’t breathe.” Our role is then to support the mother emotionally and assure her when everything is going along normally. We can help point out when the mother is having contractions, and in this way, she can still her to the fact that she is in labor.
The numbness that comes along with an epidural is a blessing and huge relief to some women. It does sometimes also have the effect of slowing labor down. It is a good idea to have mamas move at least every 20 minutes, to help the baby become engaged in the birth canal, and move labor along. Sometimes this can be a challenge when an epidural is on board. The doula knows specific positions to help the mother get in, which are appropriate in this scenario, and which will help her baby get into it's optimal position for birth, and keep things moving.
Sometimes, care providers will want to let the epidural or other drug wear off a little before the mom starts to push. This makes it easier for her to feel when and how to push her baby out. A doula will then jump right in with the physical comfort measures she has been professionally trained to provide.
And lastly, sometimes pain relief, for whatever reason, doesn’t work out. Sometimes a woman may still have ‘windows’ of pain where the drug doesn’t numb her. Or, if her labor is moving very quickly, she may not have time to utilize the pain medication she was planning on.
Doulas are not here to judge or impose on your birth story. We support women in whatever choices are right for you. Childbirth is intense and filled with a myriad of physical and emotional ups and downs. A doula will help navigate the waters of labor and birth for any mother who desires her support.
Many times mamas want to increase their milk supply. Maybe you are going back to work and so baby isn't nursing as much, maybe you are going though a stressful time emotionally and this may affect your supply. Or maybe you are wanting to starting pumping breastmilk, and want to increase your supply for this.
The number one thing that will affect your breastmilk production is demand. Never forget this. The more your baby nurses, the more your body makes milk. When your baby's going through a growth spurt, it may take a few days for your body to catch up and start making more milk. Just nurse, nurse, nurse. But it certainly won't hurt to make a batch of these yummy cookies too.
Brewers yeast, hops, and oatmeal are just a few ingredients that come to mind as galactagogues, or foods that are supposed to increase your milk supply. This explains the old adage that drinking beer will increase your milk supply. There are also a plethora of herbs that are purported to increase your supply. Of course, you can also just eat oatmeal on a regular basis, or make these cookies often. Each lactation cookie recipe that you find will vary in its ingredients and its healthiness, but they usually have one or more galactagogue in them. These are the magic makers in lactation cookie recipes. The recipe below calls for brewers yeast. This is different than yeast used in baking, and different from the cheesy tasty nutritional yeast. Brewers yeast is a whole different ingredient. You can order it online or buy it in certain grocery stores, like Chico Natural Foods. Some stores like Raley's may carry it as well.
Here is a sample recipe for Lactation Cookies I found on Food.com
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies by Noel Trujillo
Yields 4 1/2 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.
If you are having trouble establishing or maintaining your milk supply, making an appointment with a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is one of the best things you can do. There is no substitution for the information and guidance they will provide. So grab that baby of yours, stick them on your breast, munch some of these cookies, and make an appointment with an IBCLC.
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