An oldie, but a goodie!
Winter is here....like, all the time. It's Minnesota.
So your cousin gives you a baby snowsuit and when you place baby in it they look like a little baby marshmallow and IT IS THE CUTEST THING YOU HAVE EVERY SEEN.
But as cute as it is, it is not safe to have baby in a snowsuit while in the carseat locked into the car. There is too much fluffiness, that the straps cannot be as snug to keep baby as safe as possible in their carseat. Instead, best practice in keeping baby warm AND safe in their carseat is shown in the image above.
Secure baby to their carseat ensuring they are nice and snug, and then wrap them with blankets and lastly place a shower cap like baby careseat cover over them. Lock them into your carseat base, and then unzip the carseat cover and/or remove a blanket to ensure baby does not get overheated riding in the backseat (place your hand on their chest to gauge their temp and place or remove blankets as needed).
As your baby gets older and starts to fling their around around like the crazy monkey that they are, then ensure to wrap their blankets under their arms.
So when can you use that amazing snowsuit? When you are going for a wintery walk, that snowsuit will be amazing in keeping baby warm as you enjoy our never-ending winter wonderful that is the frozen Minnesota tundra.
For more information, check out The Car Seat Lady: http://thecarseatlady.com/warmandsafe/
Happy snow driving friends!
Happy basket buying!!
We spend so much time preparing for labor & birth and baby stuff, we often forget to prepare for our own recovery after birth (known as the postpartum period or 4th trimester).
I was the same. My day was spent nursing, healing cracked nipples, nursing, sitting in stiz baths, nursing, sitting on a donut pillow, nursing, wondering when I could take a shower, nursing, unable to grab my snacks, nursing…get the pattern? I was overwhelmed by the newness of my healing postpartum body, learning how to breastfeed and how to keep a tiny human alive and thriving AND keep up with my pre-birth American life.
That’s where I went wrong. I was trying to keep up with what I thought other American mothers were doing just days after delivery, and I could barely get food or a shower into my day.
I was reminded a couple of weeks into my parenthood by my Mexican cousins about the postpartum Cuarentena; 6-weeks of lying in to optimize postpartum healing and to help baby transition easily from the womb world to the outside world.
This Cuarentena lying in practice enables the brither’s body to recover more efficiently and effectively as it allows the uterus to cramp back to its regular size and back into its correct alignment and position. It also helps lessen your postpartum bleeding, allows your perineum or cesarean incision feel better, calms swollen legs and feet, and gives your organs time to reposition to their old homes. Plus it benefits your breastmilk supply as you an focus on your baby and catch their early hunger cues to boost your milk supply.
And there are benefits to baby too – you are HOME to your baby. Your baby goes through a crazy roller-coaster of birth, and its bright, cold, loud and so.much.space out here that babies are out of their element for awhile. When mothers practice lying in, they hold their babies more which makes your baby feel more secure as your body will feel, smell, sound and taste like their womb home.
You are your baby’s home. These first 3months are an extension of the pregnancy for your baby.
But 6 WEEKS lying in?! Ugh, I was two weeks in and already sick of seeing the same four walls.
How about a 5-5-5 rule instead? So much more doable. A rule of thumb to a healthier postpartum is a lying in period that is only 15days.
5 days IN bed – Stay in bed or on the couch. The goal is to be off your feet and allow others to serve you. This is the beginning of your babymoon, where you chill with baby in bed, skin-to-skin and learn who they are and their personality.
5 days ON bed – No more than 30min cumulatively on your feet within a 3hr cycle. Getting sick of being only inside your house? Great, go get the mail and come back and sit/lie down. Make some lactation energy balls, and then go chill with baby and Netflix for awhile. The goal is to still rest as much as you can, with minimal time on your feet.
5 days NEAR bed – No more than 30min cumulatively on your feet within a 90min cycle. Maybe you are now feeling like taking on one household activity per day, some stretches or yoga. But rest is still the utmost importance. Do not take on all your previous responsibilities yet.
Note, if you are recovering from a cesarean birth then the recommendation changes to the 7-7-7 rule: 7 days IN bed, 7 days ON bed and 7 days NEAR bed.
Begin to make plans now in pregnancy to give yourself the gift of 15days of lying in and getting to know your baby. Focusing on your well-being first will help you care for baby in amazing ways!
Happy Postpartum Friends!
Ready for Labor Series: Test Your Knowledge about Common Labor Interventions as well as Labor Induction
I love me some good trivia games. I get a little over competitive and definitely over confident in wanting to crush my trivia opponents.
So, let's combine the fun of trivia and my love of labor education!! Doesn't this sound like the BEST date night during your pregnancy?! *wink, wink*
In my classes we discuss these options, and it can feel like an educational lecture. Not as interactive as I would love for it to be. So let's test your knowledge after our class together to see what you remember and where we can fill in gaps for education.
If you have yet to take a class with me, then let's connect and help feel more prepared for the labor process. Connect with me here.
First up, let's test your knowledge around Common Labor Interventions such as fetal monitoring, IV fluids, pelvic exams and eating & drinking in labor. Written in a jeopardy manner, play alongside your partner and see who will win the dessert in the back of your freezer. PLAY HERE.
After you have beaten that game, follow it up in testing your knowledge around Labor Inductions and Augmentation (using medications to start and/or speed up labor), such as pitocin, cervical ripening, sweep/stripping the membranes, & AROM (breaking your bag of waters for you). PLAY THIS GAME HERE.
Now comment below. How did you do? Who won the game?
Happy playing trivia friends!
Funny how the media portrays labor beginning: Water breaks everywhere, woman screams, hails a cab, shows up at the hospital and baby is born less than 5min. Woah! What drama! Seems like a woman in labor = everyone should freak out.
Let’s talk about how it really goes. You are within 39-41weeks (as evidence supports about 90% of women go into labor on their own within these two weeks), you go to bed, get your fort of pillows built up around you and finally find a comfortable position to fall asleep. In the middle of the night, you wake to the feeling of you peeing yourself. “Ah balls!” is your thought as you check to see if your partner is still asleep. So, you sprint (as quickly as a 39-41week woman can sprint) to the bathroom to clean up. You go back to bed and as your leg hugs your pregnancy pillow, you feel more pee come out again. “WTF? I’ve lost full control of my body”
Are you peeing yourself? Maybe. But maybe your water is leaking. Meaning, your water might have broken.
So, here’s the real deal…
About 8-10% of women start labor with their water breaking.
That’s all! Only about 8-10%. For the rest, it typically breaks the closer you are to pushing.
Okay, so what does water breaking have to do with tacos? Well, if your water breaks outside of your birthplace you’ll want to take note of TACO.
(T.A.C.O.) Time, Amount, Color, Odor
These are things that your prenatal healthcare provider will want to know.
TIME – There is an increased risk of infection as time passes once your water breaks, especially with more frequent vaginal exams. Your midwife or doctor may want to induce labor if contractions do not start on their own within 12-24hrs.
AMOUNT – No, you don’t need to squeegee the fluid into a measuring cup to see how many ounces you are leaking. Just note whether it is a trickle or a gush. If you are unsure if your water has broken, go to the bathroom, urinate, place a medium flow sanitary pad in your underwear, go lay down on your side for 10-15 minutes and then stand up. If water has pooled in your uterus and/or vagina and comes out when you stand up or if your pad fills up within half an hour, it would be a strong indication that your water broke.
COLOR – Should be clear. Yellow or greenish brown color would indicate that baby had a bowel movement in utero called meconium.
ODOR – A mild or odorless smell is normal but a strong odor may indicate infection.
After your water breaks, make sure to place a sanitary napkin in your underwear as you will continue to leak with many position changes and/or during a contraction as your placenta continues to produce amniotic fluid until it is birthed.
*If your water breaks and you are Group B Strep positive, your prenatal healthcare provider will want you to come to the birthplace right away so that they may administer antibiotics to you (as recommended by the CDC).
*If your water breaks, Group B Strep negative and are not having contractions, you may consider staying home to try to bring on contractions (evidence supports within 12hours 45% of birthers will begin to experience contractions). Walking and hula hoops on a birth ball can be helpful during this time.
*In labor, your prenatal healthcare provider will break your bags of water to ”help move your labor along” (aka augment labor). You always have a choice in this and have the right to discuss the benefits, risks and alternatives before following your intuition about this procedure (also called AROM, artificial rupture of membranes).
*As noted above, typically your water will break on its own at some point during labor. If this happens, let your healthcare team know so they can note TACO as well as provide you a pad for the continuous leaking.
Happy leaking from your vagina friends!
Overnight Bag (think 3night stay):
o Your own face masks (hospital will provide if you do not bring one)
o Toiletries for each parent (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, etc.)
o Electronic chargers (phone, iPad, camera, etc.)
o Your own pillow, pajamas and clothes (you’ll still look about 6mo, so bring loose fitting and/or maternity)
o Partner pillow, pajamas, clothing, and a sweatshirt
o Nursing Bra and/or nursing tank tops
o White noise machine to encourage better rest
o Copy of insurance information and your ID
o 2-3 Baby outfits
o Blanket to wrap baby in
o Infant car seat – Bring with you into the hospital when you arrive in labor, or for your scheduled induction or cesarean
o Pediatrician or Family Practice doctor and doctor’s office information
o Your own brand of diapers* (This is optional; most Minneapolis/St.Paul hospitals have pampers for you to use during your stay)
o Your own brand of wipes* (This is optional; most Minneapolis/St.Paul hospitals have dry wipes for you to wet down with warm water from the bathroom for you to use during your stay)
o Your own brand of an infant formula* (This is optional; all Minneapolis/St.Paul hospitals have donor breastmilk and formula to use if supplementing is recommended. Also, if supplementing is recommended and your goal is to 100% breastfeed your baby your breastmilk, please contact a lactation professional.)
o Gallon ZipLoc Bags, to make ice packs
o Lacrosse Balls (for massage bottom and hips, plus great for counterpressure on lower back)
o Other massage tools8 (optional)
o Massage oil (coconut or almond oil are great, and if looking for odorless try cornstarch)
o Lip Balm
o Essential oils or other favorite scents (i.e. lavender, lemongrass, clary sage, peppermint, citrus, etc.)
o Phone or iPod/iPad with your labor music lists ranging from energetic to soothing
o Blue tooth speaker
o Small Tripod to set up smartphone or tablet to talk with your virtual doula or take photos
o A comfy wardrobe (i.e. knee-length skirt/dress, robe, slippers, soft bra easily removed, & warm socks)
o Swim top/Bralette to stay covered, if desired, while in tub for hydrotherapy
o Partner bring your swimsuit too if joining birther in the tub for better hands-on support.
o Electric tea light candles or simple string of lights to bring dim lighting
o Camera/video camera
o Copies of birth plan/birth wish list/preferences
o Copies of your labor/birth mantras and affirmations
o Copies of your labor/birth visual encouragements or inspiring photos
Food for your Labor and Stay (partner may not be able to leave to grab food, so plan to bring some extra meals that the hospital will not be providing. Nurses can help bring items to the microwave to heat up when needed. Most Postpartum Recovery rooms have refrigerators, but not all labor&delivery rooms.):
o Dates – Eating 6 dates/day in the last 4weeks of your pregnancy, evidence supports it can significantly
shorten your labor and be more efficient.
o Plain Water & Beverages with electrolytes (i.e. coconut water, gatorade, emergen-C, etc) – use a bottle with a straw (a water bottle for partner too)
o Light snacks for birthing mom (i.e. Applesauce, Oatmeal, Pancakes/Waffles, Homemade energy bites, Broth, Raw Honey Sticks (broth and honey sticks are great to sip on if you have an epidural))
o Bigger snacks/meals for birthing partner and postpartum recovery birther (i.e. Sandwiches, Salads/Stirfrys/Grain Bowls, Soups, Trail mix, Granola bars, Nuts, Crackers & Cheese, Fresh fruit/Veggies, Other snacky items)
o Breath Mints to be close to birther
This list may seem big, but many of these items are quite small. And you never regret bringing extra snacks anywhere in life!
For Cesarean Birth Moms, everything above plus:
Your healthcare provider may recommend the following medications. Please consult with your medical provider prior to taking any of the following medications.
Lastly, it is encouraged by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists you are seen by your prenatal provider within 2-3 weeks post-delivery and again within 12 weeks post-delivery to ensure optimal physical recovery. So call your prenatal health provider and schedule your appointment! You deserve the best postpartum care EVER!!
Click on the button under the photo and view the rates for your hospital. Don't forget to ask your care provider directly about their group's cesarean rate, as it will differ from your hospital's average rate. (As I say in class, it's not your hospital deciding and performing the cesarean birth, it is the care provider and their colleagues you have been seeing/working with in your prenatal visits.) This will not only enhance your birth experience, but will also encourage you to be an informed-decision maker for yourself and your family's optimal health outcomes.
Let's dive into each piece and how to apply this in your support when you arrive to labor day.
The birthing mother needs privacy, respect, and continuous support to best cope with her labor and maintain the balance of hormones to progress labor. Maintaining this balance will keep her labor effective and her discomfort manageable. The environment surrounding you during labor influences these hormones, as well as your mind’s ability to enter into the deep relaxation.
So in reflecting on your ideal environment/birthing space:
The birthing mother is encouraged to stay well-hydrated for the duration of her labor as evidence supports those who took in more fluids had shorter labors by about 30 minutes, in comparison to those with mild dehydration could contribute to slightly longer labors. With so much fluid flowing through the the birthing mother means urinating every 45 minutes to an hour can help decrease the size of her bladder to make more room in the pelvis for the descending baby.
The birthing mother is encouraged to move into 2-3 positions within an hour. Even changing how the birthing mother moves is included in the number of positions changes, because it causes their pelvis to be more dynamic to invite baby to descend. So, while they are on the birth ball hula-hoop the hips into a clockwise direction through 20-30 min of contractions, and then counter the hula-hoop movement for another 20-30min.
The big position changes and small movements all help the birthing mother find her rhythm and ritual to achieve effective relaxation to continue to work with her labor process.
Remind the birthing mother often how amazing she is, how powerful and strong she is. Partners, repeat your love for her. Tell her you are so proud of the hard work she is doing and thank her for taking this on for your family. Remind her she has everything she needs right there, right now and that she is safe and you will stay by her side.
Out of Bed/Open Pelvis:
Research suggests laboring and giving birth in an upright position can have several benefits: gravity can help bring baby down & out, less risk of compressing the mother's aorta so better oxygen supply to the baby, it will help the uterus contract more strongly and efficiently, AND helps the baby get in a better position to pass through the pelvis.
So even if continuous monitoring is needed for medical reasons, the birthing mother can still be upright by asking for wireless monitors or if needed to stay in one area she can consider sitting on the birth ball with more freedom to move.
If choosing or needing to spend time in bed, use a peanut ball to place between the birther’s knees to keep the pelvis open to encourage baby’s descent.
Rest between/Relax during contractions:
In between contractions, the birthing mother and her partner should rest to reserve energy. Evidence supports in a 12-hour labor, only 2 of those hours are actually spent contracting, while the remaining time is the body resting. If the body is resting, the birthing mother along with her partner should rest too. Think pillows, soft places to lie into, blankets, quiet room, cushioned knees, leaning over a birth ball, leaning into partner, etc.
Relaxing during the contractions by taking a deep cleansing breath and soften the jaw, mouth and then your pelvic floor to communicate directly to the cervix and vagina to open, allowing a more effective descent for baby. This is the basics of the Spincter Law.
Touch & Massage:
Using the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labor helps heighten the production of oxytocin and thus more endorphins to aid the birthing mother in a more comfortable labor experience.
Touch during and in between contractions in early labor promotes rest as the body learns how to labor during this phase. As the birther progresses in her labor journey, she tends to prefer massage as a form of full relaxation in between contractions. She may ask for counterpressure and/or massage on her lower back, bottom, hips, and/or thighs during contractions. Follow her lead and if she says no to touch, respect her boundaries and let her know you are willing to touch/massage again if her needs change. Using heat along with your touch can also be comforting.
So happy to see an IBCLC write an informative post explaining why a product like Momsense can actually mask other issues in breastfeeding, and even possible interfere with the helpful assistance from a local IBCLC, CLC or Peer Lactation Counselors (like myself!).
Before registering this item on your baby list or purchasing this product, read this post from Rachel O'Brien IBCLC.
Alexia the Doula
Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator & Postpartum Doula serving Minneapolis, St Paul and the greater Twin Cities area.