Posted on

Bras Across The Pacific

 

I was recently reminded of a story about a grandmother-to-be…

Sheila (not her real name) came into Mothering Touch looking for a gift for her grandchild-to-be.  She was very excited at the prospect of becoming a grandmother.  As she wandered around the store, cooing over the cute baby clothes, she noticed our extensive collection of nursing bras.  She wondered if she could buy a nursing bra for her daughter Catherine who was 8 months pregnant.  We asked her if she could bring her daughter in to be fitted.  “No,” said Sheila, “she lives in Japan.”  We started to think about how to help her find a nursing bra in Japan, but Sheila said that Catherine is 5 feet 10 inches tall and needs a very large cup size, and is unlikely to find anything to fit her in Japan.  Sheila was going to visit Catherine in a week or so and would stay until after the baby came, and she would love to be able to bring Catherine a pretty and comfortable bra that fit properly.

So we got Catherine on the phone.  In Japan it was already the morning of the next day!  She was delighted to hear her mother’s voice and so happy to hear about the nursing bras.  She had been looking online, but had no idea what to choose or how to measure herself.  We explained how to do it. Catherine hung up and went off to measure herself and called us back a few minutes later.

From her measurements, and from Sheila’s description of her body type, we made a guess as to what size might work for her.  We told her about the different styles and she chose three different bras and a tank top which she wanted to try.  Sheila bought them and walked out the store proud as Punch about solving this problem for her daughter.

Six weeks later, Sheila was back from Japan with beautiful pictures of her cute little grandson.  She was so proud of him, but prouder still of her daughter who was breastfeeding.  “She’s such a wonderful mother!” Sheila had experienced one of those high points of parenthood: when you witness your child moving competently on into the next stage of life.

Of the bras Sheila had taken to Japan, two fit Catherine perfectly.  She brought the other two back and exchanged them for ones that would fit well.  Then she said: “Can you help me to choose cloth diapers for them?  Catherine would love to stop using disposables.”  We were happy to help.

We are always happy to help people become parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. We love that our job involves helping families to welcome new babies, all around the world!

Posted on

Can One Man do the Work of Eight Women?

Imagine if you lived in the sort of small community most people lived in until 200 years ago. Imagine if you lived within a few meters of where you were born and your parents and your in-laws, your grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins all lived nearby. (Imagine also – for the sake of argument – that they are all nice, kind people and you get along with all of them. That would make life a lot easier, but I know it doesn’t always happen.)

Now imagine that you have a baby. Even if your culture cuts your available help in half by limiting child-care to women and girls, you still have an amazing number of people to help you out. Your mother and mother-in-law and aunts are there to give you the benefit of their experience. (And in those days, child-care practices didn’t change like fashions with every new book some kook published!) Your sisters and cousins might also be having babies, and might be able to nurse your baby for you if you didn’t have enough milk, or had sore nipples, or just needed to sleep. There would always be someone around to chat with, someone to make supper, someone to hold the baby while you go to the toilet.

And the men, while they might not have washed the clothes or cooked the meals, would probably have helped by sitting around in the evenings and holding the baby. There would probably have been an old grandfather who couldn’t walk anymore who sat by the fire all day and was really good at patting babies to sleep. And as the babies got older, the younger men working nearby would have been fascinating for the toddlers to watch and imitate. (I remember when trades-people came to our house to repair something, how my kids would follow them around, gazing in awe and asking questions. Sure gave me a break!)

Nowadays, in Canada, we live in little boxes, little nuclear families, far away from the family and place of our birth. I often meet couples who are about to have a baby and have just moved to Victoria. I always feel for these isolated young things. I was like that once. My husband Randy and I moved to Edinburgh just two months before our second son Simon was due. We knew no-one. It was a very lonely experience. It was very hard on our relationship, and hard on Daniel, our toddler. Luckily, my mother came to stay, for a month around Simon’s birth, to do the work of many, cooking and cleaning and doing laundry and providing comic relief.

But even for new parents who are not living in such a completely new place, even if they have parents or siblings or other family living nearby, the expectation in our current society is that they are supposed to do this business of having a baby on their own. Our culture values independence and privacy and boundaries. It forgets to value support, companionship, belonging. And it makes for very lonely, depressed and anxious new parents.

I work with new mothers every day. I identify with them strongly and feel a lot of compassion for how difficult their job is. But I actually feel even sorrier for the new dads. (In the case of a LGBTQ couple, the non-stay-at-home, non-childbearing parent often has very similar challenges.) The Dad, without any experience of birth, babies or breastfeeding, has to do the work that used to be done by a mother, a mother-in-law, an aunt, three cousins and two sisters, not to mention the old grandfather and the fun young uncles. Not to mention the work that he has always done, contributing to the home and the family. No wonder he feels overwhelmed! And no wonder so many new mothers are dis-satisfied with the contributions their partners make to the work of a new baby. There is just no way he can do it all. One man cannot do the work of eight women.

Posted on

Twenty to Twenty Four Weeks Pregnant

Twenty to Twenty-Four Weeks Pregnant

You are perhaps still enjoying the glowing middle months of pregnancy. Your little bump is growing bigger and your hair is thicker and you don’t feel sick anymore.

How you might feel between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • As your baby and your uterus grow, they may take up some of the space your lungs are used to enjoying. This can contribute to a feeling of breathlessness. Let your care provider know if it happens a lot.
  • For some women, lying on their back as their uterus gets bigger is very uncomfortable and causes nausea or unease because it makes their blood pressure drop. This is why women are told to sleep on their side. For other women, sleeping on their side is difficult because they are not used to it, or they cannot make it comfortable. There is no evidence that it is necessary to avoid sleeping on your back. For a reassuring post on this click here.
  • You may experience changes in skin pigmentation. Your nipples and areolas may become darker. You may develop dark patches on the skin of your face and a dark stripe down your tummy. These are made darker by exposure to the sun. They will fade again after your baby is born.

Things you may do between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • You might want to start thinking about baby names. This might be a good time to start a list. Baby name books are available in the shops or at the library. And there are lots of resources on-line. BC Vital Statistics provides a fun gadget here.
  • Your baby can hear now. Talk to her! Sing to him! Read stories out loud. Beat little rhythms on your belly. See if you can tell what kind of music or stories your baby likes best. You don’t have to sing lullabies or read kids stories, unless you want to. You baby is just as likely to enjoy opera or jazz or heavy metal. And if you or your baby’s other parent read the newspaper or a text book or a novel out loud, you will find that you can tell from your baby’s movements that he or she is listening.
  • Some women worry about their weight gain. In this middle trimester, you do tend to gain weight faster than in the first three months. About 0.2-0.5kg per week (1/2 a pound to a pound.) Remember, healthy eating is what you should focus on, not controlling your weight.
  • You might want to start finding places to have naps. The library? Your car? On the floor in your office? Sleeping for 15-20 minutes after lunch is wonderfully refreshing. Lie down, set an alarm and practice deep, slow breathing.

 Between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you a detailed ultrasound around 18 weeks to check for baby’s growth and development

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • You may start to feel a lot hungrier. Make sure that you choose healthy, nutrient-dense snacks. It’s a good idea to carry a little package of raw almonds, or some whole-grain crackers and cheese to help get through the day.
  • Wear your seatbelt. The lap belt should be under your belly, low on your hips. The shoulder belt should go between your breasts. Your seatbelt will keep you and your baby safe in the case of an accident.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity. Prenatal yoga classes will take the needs of your growing and changing body into account. And they are a great place to meet other pregnant women.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Healthy Eating: www.healthlinkbc.ca
Prenatal Yoga: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week
Songs and Rhymes for Baby: www.wordsforlife.org.uk

Posted on

Is a Prenatal Class about Childbirth or about Babies?

Prenatal Childbirth Preparation for Doctors' Patients

This term we use – Prenatal Class – is confusing, isn’t it?

Some parents-to-be are fascinated by, or worried about labour and birth and are wanting to spend a lot of time talking about it. They come to our 12-hour, six-week Childbirth Preparation classes and are happy to spend most of the time on labour and birth, and practicing comfort measures and coping skills, and find that it’s great that we also spend two entire hours talking about babies and breastfeeding.

Other parents, who are more worried about how they are going to cope with the baby once it is out, feel they would like to spend more time talking about babies and breastfeeding.

It’s for this second group of parents that we have designed the Parenting the Newborn series. It’s a three-week, six-hour series in which a postpartum doula and breastfeeding educator takes you though two hours on baby care and two hours on breastfeeding, and then a First Aid Instructor comes and teaches two hours of Infant First Aid and CPR.

Many of our parents take both sets of classes. And we encourage this by giving parents a $15 discount if they sign up for both classes at the same time. (We also acknowledge that there will be a little overlap between the classes.) Some parents take only one, or only the other.

I would say, that if you take only one, the Childbirth Preparation Class is the one to take. Experiencing childbirth in a healthy and satisfying way takes knowledge and preparation. Labour and Birth happen all at once, in a big storm. There is little time to consider, or problem solve during labour. The learning and considering and deciding needs to happen before labour starts – even though you may change your mind during labour itself – in fact you probably will.

You can learn baby care and breastfeeding over several week and months. Babies are very patient with fumbly parents, and every parent figures out their own way through the challenges of of the first weeks. In fact, the hormones you make (yes, parents of all genders make hormones when they are around babies) will help you be more attentive and respond more sensitively to your baby.

At Mothering Touch, we believe in people’s basic ability to give birth and care for their babies. We want parents to feel well-prepared and well-supported, to feel satisfied with their birth experience and to be able to enjoy the first weeks with their baby. That is the goal of all our classes and groups.

Posted on

Sixteen to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

 

Sixteen Weeks to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

This is the best part of pregnancy for most women. The nausea and fatigue of the First Trimester are over. You may have gotten used to the idea that a baby is growing inside. You’ve made a few – maybe a very few – lifestyle changes and you feel good about that. You may have told others about the pregnancy and this helps you to adjust to this new identity.

How you might feel between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • You may be “showing” now. A little baby “bump” may be a source of pride. Some women feel it says “I’m pregnant – I’m not just gaining weight.” Other women feel shy about the pregnancy becoming obvious.
  • Most women start to feel the baby moving sometime in this period. At first you may just wonder if those are bubbles in your gut. Soon, you will recognize those flutters are the movements of your baby.
  • Some women may feel short of breath at this time. Your lungs are increasing in capacity, but your baby is also growing and taking up space. Shortness of breath and dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure. These are a normal part of pregnancy, but if they distress you or prevent you from functioning well, do talk to you care provider about them.

Things you may do between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • Plan for your maternity leave. You will also want to look into Employment Insurance coverage for your maternity and parental leave.
  • Buy some maternity clothes. Your pre-pregnancy clothes may have reached the limit. And you may want something new that says “I’m pregnant.”
  • You may find yourself thinking about what kind of a parent you want to be. This is a good time to talk with your partner (if you have one) and or your friends and family about parenting styles and philosophies. Some good books include: Becoming The Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook Of Strategies For The First Five Years, by Laura Davis and Parenting From The Inside Out, by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.
  • You may find yourself having very vivid (sometime scary) dreams. As your sleep is disrupted by the discomfort caused by your growing belly and your (seemingly) shrinking bladder, you are waking more often in the night and recalling more vividly, dreams which you might otherwise have forgotten. These dreams are common to pregnant women and reflect how seriously we take the changes that are coming in our lives.
  • Mood disorders – depression and anxiety – are just as common in pregnancy as in the postpartum period. Some sadness about the changes in your life, some sense of loss or anxiety about the future, these are normal feelings for this time in your life. If these feelings distress you or prevent you from functioning, do talk to your doctor or midwife about them. It is best to get help and support early.

 Between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you the option of having an ultrasound scan around 18-20 weeks.
  • In BC, ultrasound technicians are forbidden by law to identify the baby’s sex. If the baby’s genitals were visible, the sex will have been included in the report sent to your doctor or midwife. If you want to know, you can ask your care provider.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Continue to stay active. As you get bigger, take care of yourself before and during your workout.
  • Eat a small snack about an hour before your workout. The calorie boost will increase your energy.
  • Sip water throughout your workout. It’s especially important to stay hydrated while you’re pregnant.
  • Take extra care with exercises that require balance. Your body is changing rapidly, and you can feel especially off-kilter while running or doing step-aerobics.
  • Continue to experiment with nutritious food. As you become a family, you will find that cooking and eating together is an important part of taking care of the whole family. When you and your partner shop and cook together, you are practicing making a home for your baby.

Resources:

Posted on

Twelve to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

Twelve Weeks to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

You’ve come to the end of the First Trimester! You are now entering the Second Trimester – this is the time of the legendary glowing, energetic happy pregnant mama. Of course, that does not happen for everyone. For some, nausea and vomiting do not subside, and fatigue persists even after twelve weeks. This is very difficult.

How you might feel between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Nausea and vomiting might start to get better.
  • Heartburn might start or get worse
  • Some women find their sex drive gets stronger at this time – estrogen from the placenta contributes to this.
  • Stuffy nose and nosebleeds
  • Sore back
  • Hair growth – all those growth hormones the placenta is making can make hair grow well on your head – and elsewhere.
  • Headaches. Acetaminophen may be ok (ask your care provider to make sure), but ibuprophen and aspirin are not safe for use in pregnancy. Try a cold compress on your forehead, taking a nap, or having a snack.

Things you may do between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Because you are now passed the period of highest risk for miscarriage, this may be when you choose to tell friends and family about your pregnancy. This can be an exciting and happy thing. It can also create a lot of attention and make some women feel shy. Take your time, and tell your news at your own pace.
  • Pregnant women tend to spend a lot of time in the Second Trimester thinking about the baby (some call it daydreaming, or processing, or meditating), wondering what s/he will be like and how it will feel to be a parent.  Use that motivation to learn right now about baby care, and infant development. Some good books include, The Baby Book, by William & Martha Sears and Your Amazing Newborn, by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus.
  • This is alo a good time to learn more about breastfeeding. A good book would be Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Nancy Mohrbacher.
  • Consider having a doula at your birth.  A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides physical, informational and emotional support and helps parents to have an easier and more positive childbirth experience.  You can learn more by clicking here.
  • Register for Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes.  It’s best to take these after 28 weeks, but you have to schedule them and register for them now or the class you want may not be available. 

 Between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • at this stage, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • if your prenatal screening tests have shown positive results, you may be offered amniocentesis. You can read about that here.

You’re getting to know your care-provider now, and developing a relationship with him or her.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.  It’s so easy to forget.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • As the nausea starts to go away, experiment with new, nutritious foods.  You may feel hungry in a way you have not experienced before.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity.  As you get bigger around the middle, you may feel a little awkward in your regular classes and decide to join a pregnancy yoga, fitness or aquafit class.  Or not!  The best way to get exercise is to do what you love in an environment you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let anyone else tell you where that should be.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Infant development: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/babies-physical-development-0-6-months
Breastfeeding videos: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/feeding
Doulas: http://www.doulasofvictoria.ca/
Doulas: http://doulamatch.net/
Genetic testing: 
http://www.perinatalservicesbc.ca/ScreeningPrograms/PrenatalGeneticScreening/family-resources/default.htm

Posted on

Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

 

Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

This business of explaining to people how far along you are in your pregnancy! When you have COMPLETED Eight weeks of pregnancy, you are in your NINTH week, but you are not nine weeks pregnant – yet

How you might feel between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea, vomiting, food aversions or food cravings
  • Intense fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Increased urination
  • Sensitive breasts and nipples
  • Breasts may grow and nipples and areola and sebaceous glands of the areola (little brown or pink bumps)get darker

Things you may do between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • If nausea and vomiting are a problem, you may want to read up on remedies. Motherisk is a great resource and even has a forum where you can talk to other moms having trouble with this.
  • Your bra may start to feel tight. It may be time to get bras in a larger cup size. You don’t need a maternity bra – a well-fitted bra of any sort will do. If your bra’s cups still fit but the band it too tight around your ribs, ask for a bra extender.
  • You may feel that your pants are too tight, or that you don’t like anything tight around your middle – even though you are not “showing” a pregnancy bump yet. Bella Bands or other waist band extenders are available for that time before you actually need to buy new, maternity pants.
  • Some women have very few symptoms of pregnancy at this stage. They don’t have nausea, they aren’t showing yet and they sometimes worry: “Am I really pregnant?” This feeling will pass, with time, as your body start to grow to accommodate the baby.
  • Buy a pregnancy book or two. Our favourites include:
    • Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
    • The New Pregnancy & Childbirth: Choices & Challenges by Sheila Kitzinger
    • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

 Between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every four weeks at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • discuss nutrition and food safety
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • after 10 or 12 weeks of pregnancy, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • discuss work place safety with you
  • discuss genetic screening tests

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other parent) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Talk, talk, talk with your partner about your plans as co-parents. This is a good time to work on your relationship and make it as strong and harmonious as possible.
  • Continue your normal physical activity routine. Unless you have some special risk, there is no need to reduce your activity.
  • Try a prenatal yoga or fitness class – a good place to meet other pregnant women
  • Avoid hot-tubs, steam rooms, saunas and hot yoga. Anything that raises your body temperature above 102°F or 38.9°C may put your baby at risk.
  • If you find yourself worrying about whether the risks of taking medication, or herbs, or  environmental toxins, you should of course, consult your doctor or midwife. But if you need the answer right now, try Motherisk.
  • Join the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre – “You don’t have to be showing to show up!”

Resources:

Posted on

Eight Weeks Pregnant

 

(There are lots of places online to read about how big your baby is, whether he can hear yet, or how long her fingernails are. We thought we would provide you with a list of to-dos, for each month of pregnancy. Our culture’s convention is that pregnancy is 40 weeks long – which is 10 lunar months or 9 calendar months. Because most women seem to count their pregnancies in weeks, we will count in lunar – 28-day – months.)

Eight Weeks (the First Two Months)

The most confusing thing about being eight weeks pregnant is that you are only SIX weeks pregnant! Your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, which can be confusing since that was probably two weeks before your egg and sperm met! But your doctor or midwife will count from there, so you might as well too.

How you might feel before Eight Weeks Pregnant:

You might think “Wow! It worked!” or “Oh no! What now?” or both. You might have some early symptoms of pregnancy – sore breasts, moodiness, cramping, a little spotting (implantation spotting around day 21-22 of your cycle is normal and nothing to worry about) – or you may have none of these.

Things you may do before Eight Weeks:

  • Tell people you’re pregnant – your partner? Your parents? Your friends? When do you tell them? How? It’s all up to you. There is no right way or right time to do it. Some women wait until the end of the First Trimester because of the small risk of miscarriage during this time.
  • Decide what kind of care-provider you would like – do you want a doctor or a midwife?
  • Find out about the family physicians in Victoria who provide maternity care with the Victoria Medical Society.
  • Find out about the midwives providing care in Victoria from the Midwives in Victoria, or from the BC Midwives Association. 
  • See your chosen care provider. If you can interview a couple or care-providers and decide who you like best, that is ideal. But often, given the demand in Victoria for midwives and maternity care doctors, there is not much choice.
  • If you live on Vancouver Island, you can register with Public Health online.

Before Eight Weeks of Pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • ask about your medical history and get to know you a little
  • examine you and weigh you and measure your height
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • provide useful information about your health and safety (and those of your baby) during pregnancy
  • order blood tests to determine your blood type and to screen for a variety of diseases which can harm the baby (STI’s, HIV, rubella, Hepatitis B)
  • offer prenatal screening for genetic abnormalities You can read about this at Perinatal Services BC.
  • Ask your care-provider about getting a Pregnancy Passport to keep track of appointments, tests and results.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other-mother) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Start taking a pregnancy vitamin tablet with folic acid – ask your pharmacist for a recommendation.
  • See your dentist for a cleaning and a check-up. Make sure your teeth are healthy, it affects you own general health.
  • Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking recreational drugs – if you do.
  • Evaluate your exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace or your home and reduce it as much as possible
  • Improve your nutrition. Eat nutrient-dense foods, emphasizing whole grains, vegetable and fruit, lean protein and high-quality fats
  • Limit your intake of salt and caffeine
  • Be physically active on a regular basis
  • Start or continue a physical activity you can pursue during your pregnancy (yoga, swimming, hiking)

Resources:

  • Subscribe to the Lamaze International Weekly Pregnancy email for information on healthy birth practices, from nutrition during pregnancy to measures that will help you feel more comfortable during labour.
  • Baby’s Best Chance
  • Healthy Pregnancy BC
  • Motherisk Women and their healthcare practitioners wanting to learn more about the risk or safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, chemicals, x-rays, chronic disease and infections during pregnancy and while nursing can contact the Motherisk program at SickKids. Motherisk is a clinical, research and teaching program affiliated with the University of Toronto.
  • Ready to quit smoking? Quit Now! 
  • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy 
Posted on

When should I take Prenatal Classes?

 

I’ve been teaching Childbirth preparation Classes since 1992 and my feeling is that it is best to take classes in the third trimester of pregnancy.  That means AFTER 28 weeks.

Before 28 weeks, women tend to be focused on other tasks of pregnancy (See The Second Trimester for more info about this).  Women tend to become MUCH more interested in the process of labour and birth once their bellies get bigger and they get closer to their due date.  Also, you want to have the information fresh in your mind when you go into labour.  It doesn’t make much sense to learn it months before you need it.

You also want to choose a class that will end by the time you get to 38 or 39 weeks.  This is not really because you are likely to have the baby early, first-time moms are more likely to have their babies late than early.  But by 38 or 39 weeks, women tend to be quite uncomfortable and tired and coming to class in the evening or for a whole day on the weekend is not so much fun.

When you choose to do your class depends also on which format you take.  If you are doing a two-Saturday class, the best time might be in your 35th and 36th weeks.  If you are going to take a 4-week series of Sunday afternoons, you probably want to start by week 33 or 34.  And if you are going to take a 6-week series of weekday evenings, you should probably start in week 31 or 32.

Is it okay to take the classes starting as early as 28 weeks or ending as late as 39 weeks??  Well, of course if scheduling is difficult, it’s better to do them early or late than never at all.  But remember that the other mothers in your class will all be due around the same time and if you are due much before or much after them, you miss out on the mutual support and the companionship through those last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of being new parents together.  We had one mom who started her classes when she was only 26 weeks phone and ask us to move her into a later series because she felt “not really pregnant” when she compared herself to the others in her class.

Please feel free to call us and have a chat if you are finding it difficult to choose the rights dates.  We are here to help!

Posted on

Every Monday is Grandparents’ Day! 15% off all regularly-priced merchandise

Grandparents are important

As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and often the most important members of that village are those of the previous generation. Grandparents are important for so many reasons.

Grandparents have such a special role in the life of a baby. They are often the first people parents rely on after baby’s birth. Grandpa may hold baby while mom has a shower or manages a quick bite to eat. Grandma may be there to help with baby’s first bath, or to help get ready for the first outing. This role helps establish a bond between baby and Grandparent. Grandparents are the first adults other than moms and dads that demonstrate to baby that they can trust other adults to provide comfort and basic necessities such as feeding and diapering. This is an important lesson in baby’s life.

Grandparents fill many roles in the life of the new baby. They are caregivers, giving parents a break when they need it most. They are the tradition keepers, passing on family customs and history. They are playmates, often having more time to play now in this new role and in this different time of life.

This is an entirely new phase in the life of parenting. Grandparents are now watching their children parent. It is sometimes a tricky transition. It is a role shift. This also means that it is a time of reinvention. Grandparents get to decide what this new role will look like. They can choose their new name, Grandma, Grandpa, Opa, Nona, Nanna, Papa… And they can choose their role. Taking baby to a music class once a week, or keeping a baby book of important events, or keeping the family close by having extended family gatherings or reunions. And of course, there are those grandparents that, for many reasons, end up taking on a much bigger role than expected, sometimes becoming primary caregivers. For these Grandparents as well, they must define their role.

At Mothering Touch we value Grandparents. We know how important Grandparents are to their children and grandchildren and that it takes more than the nuclear family to raise children. For this reason we are making every Monday Grandparent Day! Show off your grandchild by bringing in a photo (or ultrasound image) of him or her or them and we will give you 15% off your purchase.

Posted on

Why do people take a Birth Doula Workshop?

Why do people take a Birth Doula Workshop?

Well, of course, many people come because they want to be professional doulas. They want to accompany and support new families through pregnancy, labour, birth and the post-partum period. They want to make this a new career. These new doulas want lots of information about the business and practical side of being a doula, how to keep track of expenses, what to charge, where to advertise and how to find clients.

But that’s only about a third of the people who come to the workshop.

Another third is made up of professionals or pre-professionals. Some are nurses or nursing students who want to learn a more holistic, client-centred model of care. Some are aspiring midwives who want some experience with births and being on-call before they apply to midwifery school. Some are massage therapists or chiropractors or acupuncturists. They are wanting to add doula skills to their resume. Some will go on to work as professional doulas for a while. Some will provide doula services to occasional clients from their massage or acupuncture practice.

The last third is made up of people who just want to talk about birth. Some of these are older women who have finished having babies, and remember those experiences fondly. Some are people who had not so great, even horrible birthing and post-partum experiences. Some of these people also want to be able to support a sister or daughter or friend who is about to have a baby. They don’t want to be professional doulas, but they want to learn about it, and maybe even try it out.

In this last third, are also some young people in their late teens or early twenties who can’t stop thinking about getting pregnant and having babies, but who feel they don’t want to or can’t or shouldn’t do that right now. My daughter Hannah, who took the workshop with me when she was 19 or so, said it was a lot like “Sex Ed – the Sequel.” She felt all young people should learn about birth long before they are ready to have babies of their own. I think she might be right!

Of course, people being what they are, these three categories overlap. Almost everyone has more than one reason for being at the workshop. And that makes it a rich and satisfying weekend. So many experiences, so many ideas and perspectives. And everyone is so generous about sharing their thoughts and their feelings. I always feel filled-up and satisfied when I finish teaching the workshop.

Why do you want to take the Birth Doula Workshop?

Whatever your reasons, you are welcome to join us November 3-6, 2017! Find out more about our DONA-Approved Birth Doula Workshop.

Posted on

My Baby Hates the Car Seat! – Guest post by Aliya Khan

“My baby hates the car seat!” Such a common complaint from new parents in our Baby Groups. Recently, Aliya Khan, a regular in our baby groups, offered to write a blog post for us on her experiences with her daughter. As you will see, she has TONS of ideas!
________________________

Caring for an infant can be hard. And having an infant that hates the car definitely doesn’t make things any easier. (I’ll just say it: Having an infant that hates the carseat sucks.)

So what are you to do when your baby gets upset every time you place them the car seat?

For one thing it forces you to reevaluate your priorities:

‘Do I really need to leave the house?’
‘Is that appointment really that important?’
‘Do we really NEED groceries?’
‘Do I HAVE to take auntie Kelly to the airport?’

The answer can’t always be no, and eventually you’re going to have to put your baby in her car seat.
So do you just put up with the screaming? If you’ve ever driven in your car with a screaming baby you know just how insurmountable this task can be.

I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the whole spectrum of feelings from hopeful, to anxious, to enraged and finally defeated (mixed in with some guilt over the rage). Before I had a baby I thought if you couldn’t get your baby to settle down at home then that’s what you did; go for a drive and let the car lull them to sleep. I was led to believe it was the go-to, fail-safe, do-this-when-all-else-fails, sanity-saving method for us new parents. But our baby quickly let us (and the whole neighbourhood) know how she felt about being in her car seat. So I had to either get creative or spend the first few months of her life staying home or going no further than my feet could take us.

I soon discovered, through the ‘new mommy’ circles I ran with, that this is actually very common among infants. And that I wasn’t the only (by far!) that was struggling with this issue. Nor was I the only one who experienced the emotional roller coaster that each trip manifested. Thankfully she outgrew this around her 5th or 6th month and she’s developed into a delightful young traveler, but I could have used this list in those bleary-eyed early days.

First- is your baby comfortable: are the straps twisted, is she too hot or too cold, hungry, does she have a soupy diaper, etc…the usual checklist. Rule out any medical conditions by talking to your baby’s pediatrician. If everything seems good and they’re still upset give any or all of the following a try:

  1. Find two or three radio stations that play mainly static and save them to your presets in your car.
  2. Pulse the static radio stations to mimic a heartbeat.
  3. Attach a ribbon to your baby’s window your baby can entertain herself by watching the ribbon flutter in the breeze.
  4. Leave the house at a predictable naptime or just make short trip between naptimes.
  5. This one worked for me the most: the sneaky side boob feeding. Nurse your baby to sleep with they’re clicked into the car while casually, awkwardly leaning into her seat, boob at mouth level. (Please note that this is not comfortable for you in ANY way. This method may not work for all boob shapes. If you bottle feed this will probably be way more comfortable. And it will only work if someone else is driving, of course.) (Mothering Touch Comment: Make sure your own seatbelt is fastened!)
  6. Sing. Sing the whole time. Sing so your baby doesn’t have a chance to start crying. They’ll be busy listening to you sing your butt off (don’t be shy here, it doesn’t matter what you sound like, your baby just loves to hear your voice).
  7. Place a mirror on the back of the head rest so your baby can see themselves and reflections. Maybe they’re lonely back there.
  8. Crack the window slightly. A cool breeze, the sound of the wind, the sudden pressure change in the car might be enough to grab her attention and stop her from crying.
  9. Open and close her window over and over. (Please note this only works if you have power windows.)
  10. Attach something to the car seat bar. In my case it was a luggage tag but a soft toy or something similar would work too. I kept it close enough for her to touch but far enough away so she couldn’t put it in her mouth.
  11. Talk. Talk about anything and everything. Talk about what street you’re on, what colour the car is in front of you, how many trees there are on the road where you’re going, what you’re going to do when you get there. Talk so much that your baby won’t have time to think about crying.
  12. Put up a sun shade over her window. There’s nothing worse than finally getting her to calm down only to get stuck at a stoplight with the sun shining right in her eye and getting her all upset again.
  13. Change, Feed and burp right before strapping her in. An uncomfortable diaper, being hungry or a gas bubble can quickly escalate to screaming when strapped in tight.
  14. Pacifier. My daughter Never really took to a pacifier unless it was in my mouth first and then she’d try to grab it. Then she would either play with it or chew on it. Warning: if the pacifier falls out you may be stopping the car to put it back in.
  15. If all else fails strap her into your carrier and take the bus (or walk if that’s an option.)

These are some ideas that help me 75% of the time. All these tricks can be helpful but if you’re too distracted by your unhappy passenger, pull over.