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**Winner Chosen** Win a Free Prenatal or Postnatal Relaxation Massage!

Are you pregnant or have just had a baby? I bet you could use a massage! Did you know that Mothering Touch has massage appointments available to provide you relief from your pregnancy and postnatal aches and pains? This week you can enter-to-win a one-hour relaxation massage with Amanda Kihn. You can read more about Amanda as well as our other practitioners here on our practitioner page.

To Enter: Like our post on Facebook, Tag a friend, and make sure you are following our page. You will then be entered to win the one-hour prenatal or postnatal massage appointment with Amanda*. The contest ends on Friday, September 14th at 2pm when we will draw a name.

And check back next Friday for another treatment giveaway!

*No purchase necessary. The winner will have 3 months to claim the massage. Massage must be redeemed at The Mothering Touch Centre, 975 Fort St, Victoria.

 

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

 

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How to Introduce a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

(This is a piece I posted on my blog at evabild.ca back in 2014. I have been asked for it three times in the last week – so I thought I would post it here too! If you want to see what else I have written about babies and breastfeeding and sleep, go check out that website.)

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Let me start with a disclaimer. Not all babies need to have bottles. Babies who are doing well at the breast, and whose mothers are available and happy to provide the breast whenever the baby needs it, these babies do not need bottles. Not all mothers want to or need to spend time away from their babies. And some babies are peaceful and happy between feeds and can go 2-3 hours in the cuddly arms of the other parent or a grandparent while mom goes for a swim or a walk, or sings in her choir.

But some babies and mothers need bottles. Some mothers need time away from their babies, for their physical, emotional, financial or professional health. These babies need bottles. And the mothers, having followed the best advice from breastfeeding experts which is to offer only the breast for the first six weeks, sometimes find themselves at 6, or 8 or 12 weeks, trying to get a very breast-imprinted and irritated baby to take a bottle.

When babies are very new, in the first 4-6 weeks, they will suck on almost anything. A bottle nipple, or a breast, or a finger, or a pacifier, are all relatively easy for them to learn to use. But by 6-8 weeks, babies move on to using their mouths more for exploring and gumming and chewing. So when an 8-week-old baby is presented with a bottle nipple, that behaves in no way like a breast, the baby gets frustrated. Here is this thing in her mouth, it smells like milk, she can taste a little milk leaking out, but she can’t get it to work! Often, parents are given the advice to try the bottle with the baby when she is hungry, and that makes her even more irritated. And then Dad is holding her in his arms, in a position similar to the one in which she gets the breast, and instead she gets this hard rubbery thing which doesn’t work! So the baby howls, and the Dad or Parent or Other-Mother or Grandmother or Uncle feels very rejected indeed. So much for bonding with the baby by giving her a bottle!

Very often, parents will try many, many different sorts of bottle and nipples, trying for the one which the baby will “like.”  They often ask me what nipple I recommend. My hunch is that no matter what nipples they try, no matter what the order they try them in, the baby will finally take the sixth or seventh one they try. It’s not that they have finally found the right nipple, but that the baby got some practice.

So based on my basic knowledge of how to teach skills to children, and on some ideas I have gathered from clever, patient parents who have done this recently, here is the method I suggest. These instructions are intended for the Dad or other parent  – not the breastfeeding mom. This is a skill the baby needs to learn to do with someone else. That’s the whole point of the bottle, for someone else to be able to care for the baby. So let that start now.

Equipment

  • 1 baby in a good mood – not hungry, not sleepy
  • 2 bottles with plain, “slow-flow” silicone nipples (I recommend these because they are cheap and easy to find. If you have something else, use that. The only bottle  would not recommend is the “Calma” by Medela. That nipple is great for a newborn who has to be supplemented. But for a baby after 6 weeks, it’s going to be very frustrating.)
  • In one bottle – for the baby – put just 20ml of breast milk. (If you put more in the bottle, you will be bothered when it gets wasted and you will try to force the baby to take more. This is just going to be a practice session. Don’t expect too much. When you eventually teach this child to ride a bike, you won’t expect him to ride all the way to school on the first day, will you?)
  • In the other bottle – for you – put something that you would like to drink!
  • 1 car seat or bouncy chair

Procedure

  • Put the baby in the car seat or bouncy chair.
  • Put a happy, cheerful smile on your face and arm yourself with patience.
  • Talk to the baby and explain that the two of you are going to have a drink together. Remember, babies may not understand the words you say, but they are very good at picking up your emotions.
  • Suck on your bottle a bit and make some yum-yum noises.
  • Then offer the baby’s bottle to him. Let him explore it with his mouth.
  • As soon as he seems puzzled, take it away again, and show him how you suck on yours.
  • Make it a game. Sing a little song. Be really silly and happy. This makes babies relax.
  • Try a few times back a forth, baby’s turn, your turn.
  • As soon as the baby starts to look unhappy and has had enough of the game, stop right away. You want to create good associations with the bottle.
  • Remember, babies have a short attention span and they get tired and overstimulated quickly. So a five minute session is plenty!
  • Try again tomorrow, and the next day

Try every day, at the same time, if you can, but only when the baby is in a good mood. It may take a week, or more, but eventually, the baby will figure out how to get the milk to flow from the bottle. And you will have taught your baby a skill. Now that’s a way to bond with your baby!

If you try this out, do send me an email to let me know how it works for you! And let me know if you make any amendments or variations. I will give you full credit when I pass them on!

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Acupuncture for Cervical Ripening – Guest Post by Malakai Button R. Ac.

Malakai Button, Acupuncturist

The last few weeks of pregnancy is a very exciting time. It is a time of “in between,” a time when you are preparing and waiting for your world to change in an instant. The days seem to drag on forever and the messages from friends and family start rolling in…”has your water broken yet?”…”any baby news?”…”I heard that if you stand on your head while chugging hot sauce the baby will just pop out.” No. Not helpful.

What about acupuncture for cervical ripening?

Cervical ripening is the process which occurs at the end of pregnancy as the cervix begins to soften, thin and dilate to prepare for the birth of your baby. Acupuncture treatments focus on the entire pregnant person, and can facilitate cervical effacement and dilation, assist the baby in achieving an optimal position, relieve aches and pains and help to calm anxieties and fears around birth. Birth preparation treatments are typically given weekly from 37 weeks until labour commences.

There are many studies documenting the benefits of receiving acupuncture in the final weeks of pregnancy. Pre-birth acupuncture has been shown to be a safe option for supporting cervical ripening and shortening the the time interval between due date and actual time of delivery. (1) Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce the duration of labour, particularly the first stage of labour (2,3). A study published in 2006 observed 169 women receiving pre-birth acupuncture. (4) In comparison to those who did not receive acupuncture, the women who received pre-birth treatments had a:

  • 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% if it was the woman’s first baby)
  • 31% reduction in epidurals
  • 32% reduction in emergency c-sections

Acupuncture in the late stages of pregnancy is a safe and relaxing option for those looking to prepare their body and mind for labour. IN order to make these advantages available conveniently, I offer cervical ripening acupuncture packages from 37 weeks which include a complimentary in home postpartum visit in the weeks/months following the birth of your baby. I enjoy accompanying you at the beginning of the journey into labour, and then I love getting to see the beautiful baby afterwards!

Malakai Button is a Registered Acupuncturist in good standing with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia. Passionate about helping women struggling with hormonal and reproductive issues, she focuses on helping women achieve hormonal balance and healthy pregnancies. She offers her acupuncture studio in Victoria, BC as a place for you to cultivate wellness and reconnect with your body’s innate healing capacity. You can find Malakai at Mothering Touch on Saturday mornings or book with her at www.malakaibutton.com

References:

1 Kubista E Kucera H. Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1974; 178 224-9

2 Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6

3 ​Tempfer C, Zeisler H, Mayerhofe Kr, Barrada M Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998; 46:22-5

4 Betts D, Lennox S. Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice. Medical acupuncture 2006 May; 17(3):17-20

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Why do I Doula?

Have you ever considered becoming a Postpartum Doula? AJ Hadfield, our friend, Postpartum Doula and Doula Trainer has written a guest blog post explaining her love for her job. We have a Postpartum Doula Training happening here at Mothering Touch with AJ in June.

 

My name is AJ Hadfield and I am a postpartum doula.  I have been fortunate enough to do this work for the past 13 years.  When I first started, I had a vague idea of helping mothers and snuggling babies.  I didn’t understand how much my clients would teach me and how being a postpartum doula would shape and define the second half of my life.  Why do I doula?

  • Because I understand now that good support at the right time can make all the difference for a new family
  • Because helping couples adjust to parenthood is important, valuable work
  • Because being around new babies all the time is the best!
  • Because watching people become parents is about the best thing in the world
  • Because I am constantly humbled by the power and strength of new mothers
  • Because I recognize the value in giving a parent permission to take a breather
  • Because I get to watch a big brother meet his baby sister for the first time
  • Because I recognize that guiding a new mother on her breastfeeding journey is never the same experience twice
  • Because being part of a family’s postpartum journey is a privilege
  • Because sometimes a mother needs someone by her side to say it’s OK when she’s making the hard choices
  • Because sometimes a new dad needs someone he can cry with, who won’t be sitting across from him at Thanksgiving.
  • Because sometimes, in my small way, I know I have made a difference
  • Because it always makes me smile to get a text with a picture of a poopy diaper and the question ‘is this normal’?
  • Because I know helping to normalize what is overwhelming to new families is important and,
  • Because I know that celebrating what is trivial to most people is also important
  • Because watching a baby latch on and suckle for the first time never gets old
  • Because I know that sometimes, my training and observant eye can help a mama get the support she needs when she needs it most
  • Because helping a parent figure out the intricacies of their baby wrap is always fun
  • Because even on the hard days, when I question whether I’ve supported in the best way I can, I still can’t wait for tomorrow and the chance to do it all over again, and
  • Because I love getting the email two years later, asking what I’m doing in 9 months and knowing I get to be with this family all over again

I am a postpartum doula – I love what I do.

 

If you have questions or are interested in registering for the Postpartum Doula Training happening June 1st to June 4th, 2018 go here or give us a call!

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Baby Art Class for Mother’s Day

Start the tradition of creating art with your Baby for Mother’s Day! Join Emily Grav, Artist and Owner and Director of The Paintbox School of Art to create some artistic memories with your baby.

Emily has selected a project that involves a few simple steps that will be done at different stations and then assembled into one piece for you to take home.

This class is intended for babies age 4 months to around 18 months. Each baby will leave with one completed piece of art. Please dress your baby in clothes that can get mucky or be willing to strip them down to their diapers – things may get messy!

The class is on Friday, May 4 at either 2:30pm or 4pm and it will take about an hour to complete the project – we are keeping short attention spans in mind!

The cost is $24 per baby and space is limited so register early! Cost is per baby, 1 or 2 parents are welcome!

Register online for the 2:30pm class here  or here for the 4:00pm class. You can give us a call at 250-595-4905!

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Supporting the family – body and mind

At Mothering Touch, we try to support families throughout pregnancy and the first years of parenting on all levels, in all dimensions. As part of that quest, we have two practitioners working in our new Treatment Room, listening to and counselling families, helping keep healthy minds in healthy bodies.

Jenny Jackson, Registered Dietitian, has a particular interest in nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in helping to introduce solids to babies in the middle of the first year. She is smart, compassionate and funny! A joy to listen to. She came and gave a talk to the Doulas of Victoria last week – the conversation flowed for over two hours as we shared our passion for caring for childbearing families.

Theresa Gulliver, Therapeutic Counsellor, has a particular interest in mothers and step-mothers. She runs our Motherhood Circle here at Mothering Touch, and does a great occasional workshop called “Find your Joy as a Mother”. In private sessions, she is available to help parents find their way through this new identity and role.

You can book an appointment with Jenny or with Theresa through our on-line booking page.

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Put on your OWN oxygen mask!             

It’s become a well-worn cliche to say that you have to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. But that doesn’t make it any less true. And it is the hardest lesson to learn when you become a parent. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your kids.

During pregnancy, parents are often quite good about self-care, going to exercise or yoga classes, acupuncture or massage. It’s easy to justify because caring for the pregnant parent means caring for the baby too. But once the baby is a separate person, moms often feel that spending time away from the baby and spending money on care for themselves is “selfish.”

My memory of those early years, is that when I went away and exercised or sang, or had coffee with a friend, or had a massage, I came back a kinder, more patient parent. I gave myself more generously for having been selfish for a couple of hours.

In order to encourage self-care among the parents in the Mothering Touch community, we have created a couple of treatment rooms, and we are offering various complementary therapies, provided by skilled and certified practitioners. Jenny Jackson, Registered Dietitian, is offering Nutritional Counselling. Jill Moran, Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Doctor is offering Acupuncture. Theresa Gulliver, Therapeutic Counsellor is offering Counselling Sessions. And  Dr. Shannon Dodson (who teaches our Prenatal Fitness Class) is offering Chiropractic for pregnancy, the postpartum, and for babies. In the next few months, we will add massage and reflexology to our roster.

You can book online from our website. Or you can call us and we will help you over the phone. and if you aren’t ready yet for your baby to be too far away from you, you could have your partner/sister/best-friend/mother-in-law sit in our lounge (we call it The Nest) and cuddle the baby while you have your special time in the lovely, peaceful, quiet, treatment room.

    ~ Eva

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Perinatal Care for Gender Diverse Families

Families come in many forms. It is a responsibility of perinatal care providers to adapt to meet the needs of all parents-to-be in dignified and affirming ways. While many people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences will share hopes and worries about pregnancy and parenting, transgender and queer parents may have some needs and desires that are unique to their gender and sexual identities.

Join Katie McNiven Gladman (Registered Midwife, IBCLC) and Kingsley Strudwick (founder of Ambit Gender Diversity Consulting) for an evening of education and skill-building to better support transgender and queer people as they embark into parenthood.

Date: Friday, May 25 from 7pm to 9pm at Mothering Touch, 975 Fort St

Cost: $35 per person

Book online here or call Mothering Touch at 250-595-4905 to register.

 

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Find Your Joy as a Mother – Practical Tools to help you Thrive

Free Interactive Workshop by Therapeutic Counsellor: Theresa Gulliver

Motherhood is a challenging life transition.
It is nearly impossible to prepare for how much it changes your entire life.

Do you ever feel like you love your child(ren) but you hate your life right now?

You are not alone!
Yes, it will change

But, what do you do in the meantime?

In this 60 min interactive workshop, Theresa Gulliver, Mother, Step Mother and Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, shares useful information and effective tools to help you find your joy as a mother.

Why?

Because, you deserve it!

When your well being is a priority your entire family benefits.
Find more peace with the challenges that are beyond your control & feel empowered to start making a shift where you can.

Your relationship to your challenges can be your greatest motivator.

Theresa’s goal is for you to seize every opportunity to heal and grow and be the best mother you can be – for yourself and for your family!

Sunday, April 8 from 6pm to 7pm.

Call Mothering Touch at 250-595-4905 to register for this free workshop. Or register online.

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Valentine’s Day Art Class with Baby

 

Start the tradition of creating art with your Baby for Valentine’s Day! Join Emily Grav, Artist and Owner and Director of The Paintbox School of Art to create some artistic memories with your baby.

Emily has chosen three projects for you and your baby to make together and they will make perfect gifts or keepsakes. You will make a clay foot print heart, a clay hand print picture frame and a finger painted print in your baby’s choice of colour!

This class is intended for babies age 4 months to around 18 months. Each baby will leave with 3 pieces of art. Please dress your baby in clothes that can get mucky or be willing to strip them down to their diapers – things may get messy!

The class is on Friday, February 9 and it will take about an hour to complete the projects – we are keeping short attention spans in mind!

The cost is $24 per baby and space is limited so register early! Cost is per baby, 1 or 2 parents are welcome!

Register online for the 1pm class here  or here for the 2:30pm class you can give us a call at 250-595-4905! (1pm class is full but there is still space in the 2:30pm class!)

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Sing! Sing! Sing!

These days, with the Christmas season approaching, it feels that all I do all day is singing and babies, babies and singing. Of course, babies and families are my work-work, but singing is my play-work and it takes over my life at this time of year. I sing in a choir and I am cast in a musical, and I will be singing for a few church services.

I sing because I love it, but also because I must. I must sing for my mental health, for my creative spirit, but also for my physical well-being. And I believe that singing to your babies is good for their mental health, their creative spirit and their physical well-being. And for yours too.

When you sing to your babies, you tell them that there is nothing to worry about (or why would you waste energy on song?). You master and regulate your breath and this relaxes your body and theirs. You share your feelings with them, joy or sadness.

When you sing to your babies, you expose them to long, often rhyming, rhythmic segments of language. This is such valuable input to someone who is trying to learn to speak! And the abstract words are combined with musical information about the emotions associated with those words. We know about the value of talking to your babies, but when that one-sided conversation starts to be difficult to maintain, sing!

When you sing to your babies, you give them information about their day. In the morning you sing getting-up-and-washing-your-face songs. When it’s time to go out you sing getting-into-your-car-seat songs. At changing times you sing diaper-changing-songs. And at bedtime you sing lullabies. Those musical snippets (Wagner called them leitmotifs) announce change, activities, moods, useful information for a baby who has no control over their day. It’s so much easier for them to go along with what you planned if you give them a little advance warning!

When you sing to your babies, don’t worry about how well you sing. Your enjoyment of and emotional commitment to the song is much more important that your vocal technique. Don’t pass a fear of singing on to your babies. As the days get shorter, and the winter cold keeps us indoors, pull out some old songbooks or cd’s from your childhood. Remind yourself of the lyrics you love and pass on a love of song!

~Eva

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Santa Claus is coming to Mothering Touch!

Mothering Touch is very lucky to be on Santa’s list of places to visit! He will be here on Friday, November 24 from 2 until 6pm and Saturday, November 25 from 2 until 5pm.

We are also lucky to have the fabulous photographer Amanda Haddow this year to photograph all those adorable little ones with Ol’ Saint Nick!

This event raises money for the Young Parents Support Network. So we ask for a donation of $5 which goes directly to them and you get your picture taken with Santa.

About a week after the event, Amanda will post on her website a gallery of all the photos.  You can find yours from this and download one for free. FOR AN EXTRA COST you will be able to purchase high resolution photos suitable for printing directly from AmandaHaddowPhotography.com

On these two days we also have a Christmas Shopping Sale. Almost everything in the store is 20% off, so get some shopping done while you are here!

Don’t call us to try and pre-register. You can only sign-up ON THE DAY. But Santa and Amanda are very quick and no one has to wait very long!