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Resource List on Systemic Racism in Perinatal Health in Canada

My motivation in compiling this list was to find Canadian resources for participants in my birth doula workshop.

As a white Canadian, I tend to minimize the effects of racism within our institutions. American or British resources do not help me confront these issues, because I can reassure myself that “it’s not so bad here.” So I set out to find specifically Canadian resources to help me come face to face with the racist past and present of our country. I wanted to focus on health care, and particularly perinatal care, because these are the issues I am called to work on in my profession as a doula, childbirth educator, and doula trainer.

I have only included items that can be freely and easliy accessed (no scholarly article behind pay-walls), and I have chosen shorter items, because they are more likely to get read!

I welcome comments about anything from this list that you watch/read. This list is not final – I hope to continue to add to it and update it. I welcome contributions to the list, if you know of articles or videos you would like to share. Send them along!

Eva Bild, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA) LCCE
Victoria, BC
eva@motheringtouch.ca

 

 

Institutional/Systemic Racism in Hospitals in Canada

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/IPeoples/EMRIP/Health/UniversityManitoba.pdf

Episode from CBC radio – White Coat Black Art: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/i-am-a-white-settler-why-that-matters-in-health-care-1.4545454/it-s-the-hardest-conversation-we-can-have-confronting-racism-in-health-care-1.4545477

https://portal.cfpc.ca/ResourcesDocs/uploadedFiles/Resources/_PDFs/SystemicRacism_ENG.pdf

 

Indian Hospitals (This is the term that was used for these now historical institutions.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUOuUo79zU8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLiyhvZTXXo

https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/a-brief-look-at-indian-hospitals-in-canada-0

https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/books/separate-beds

 

Perinatal Care – Indigenous Families

https://diversityhealthcare.imedpub.com/canadian-indigenous-womens-perspectives-ofmaternal-health-and-health-care-services-asystematic-review.pdf

https://www.nccih.ca/docs/health/FS-AboriginalMaternalHealth-Smylie-EN.pdf

https://www.jogc.com/article/S1701-2163(16)34325-0/pdf

https://openpress.usask.ca/northernhealthcare/chapter/chapter-5-indigenous-birth/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324574736_Indigenous_Birth_in_Canada_Reconciliation_and_Reproductive_Justice_in_the_Settler_State

 

Forced Sterilization – Canada

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-november-13-2018-1.4902679/indigenous-women-kept-from-seeing-their-newborn-babies-until-agreeing-to-sterilization-says-lawyer-1.4902693

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aasDnMQcSvI

 

Perinatal Care – Black Canadians

https://www.chatelaine.com/living/black-birthing-experience-canada/

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/black-maternal-health-canada_ca_5ed90ae3c5b685164f2eab93

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738399118309601?via%3Dihub

https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/black-women-canada-higher-risk-preterm-births-256639

 

Anti-Black Racism in Canada – History

“Anti-Black racism is a particularly pernicious, borderless, and unique form of racism that has its roots in the Transatlantic slave trade. Slavery evolved into what Saidiya Hartman terms the “afterlife of slavery,” the modern-day, virulent, enduring forms of structural racial injustice and the different forms of structural inequalities that African descended people here in Canada and in other parts of the world continue to experience today.”

http://spacing.ca/toronto/2020/06/09/if-black-lives-truly-matter-in-canada-an-apology-for-slavery-is-only-a-first-step/

 

Anti-Black Racism Reading List

https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/anti-black-racism-reading-list

 

Webinars

From the Canadian Public Health Association: Transforming our Response: Practical Tips on Providing Trauma Informed, Culturally Safe Care

Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lttfFKqT3yQ&feature=youtu.be

Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVcg5-DH9mk

Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em3Gc4ggO2c

 

Indigenous Cultural Safety Collaborative Learning Series

http://www.icscollaborative.com/webinars

 

San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

This course costs $300 for anyone who is not employed by a BC health authority. But it is very highly recommended.

http://www.sanyas.ca/training/british-columbia/core-ics-health

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Virtual Bra Sizing!

With or without COVID, life goes on. Folks keep having babies. Mothers still choose to breastfeed those babies. Mothers still want nursing bras.

But how do you get a well-fitted nursing bra in times to social isolation and physical distancing? Well, you could follow the instructions on the Bravado website . But right now, we can’t accept returns of bras (or anything else, really.) So it’s a bit riskier than usual to order a bra.

At Mothering Touch we have always prided ourselves on providing personalized service, to support parents through every stage of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. So how can we help with the bra fitting dilemma? Online, of course!

Call us at the shop (250-595-4905) between 10am and 2pm, and we will make an appointment for you to meet with Eva, via Zoom, free of charge!

All you need is to have a measuring tape and be wearing your favourite bra. Eva will guide you through measuring yourself, and together, you can decide on the best bra, and the best size for you at this moment. And, if you are in late pregnancy (37-40 weeks) Eva can make an estimate of what size bra you will need after your baby arrives.

(Eva has been supporting parents in breastfeeding since 1996 and fitting bras since 2004. She brings a whole lot of experience to this situation.)

Then you can order the bra online, secure in the knowledge that it will fit well. (And when this whole episode in world history is over, you will have a funny story to tell, of how you had an online bra fitting!)

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To our Valued Childbirth Class Participants

Dear Parents-to-be

Welcome to the brave new world of online childbirth and parenting classes! The Mothering Touch childbirth educators and I have been working very hard to create new materials and effective activities which work with this new platform. And we are continuing to provide evidence-based, up-to-date, locally informed, interactive, live, personal (and fun!) classes.

While we would SO much rather be sitting in the room with you (which is absolutely NOT an option anymore), we are finding that we can have a good give-and-take and discussion online. Parents are getting their concerns addressed and their questions answered.

One mother-to-be who took our classes recently said: “My partner and I have very much enjoyed both of the online classes we’ve been taking at Mothering Touch. We’re about to be first-time parents, and feel so much better having some down-to-earth discussion and hands-on practice lead by the Mothering Touch teachers. I’d recommend these classes for all new parents for sure!” We have been getting excellent feedback and most parents are very grateful to be offered this online option.

Some parents, however, have been wanting to cancel. They say this online situation is not what they signed up for (fair!) and they are wanting refunds. I absolutely sympathize with these requests, and I know many are coming from a situation in which money is tight because of lay-offs. So we are still honouring our Class Cancellation Policy.

However, I beg you to consider that, as a small, family-owned business, we will not be able to continue to function if everyone asks for a refund. As it is, we operate on a very tight budget, and this quarantine situation is affecting us very deeply, as it is affecting all the other small local businesses that make Victoria such a vibrant, livable city.

I ask you to reflect on the fact that your baby is still going to be born, that the amount of support you are going to have in labour may be less that you expected, and that you are still in need of good, locally-informed preparation for childbirth. Mothering Touch is here for you, as it has been for over 16 years. We want to help. Help us to help you.

If you are truly unable to afford childbirth classes at this moment, our Bursary Fund is still available. All you need to do is contact us by phone to discuss your financial situation. And if you are in a position to help, you can Pay-It-Forward here.

If you want to try Zoom out, so that you have a sense of how it works, join me for our daily Parents-and-Babies Zoom chat from 1-2pm. https://zoom.us/j/157409600 Pregnant parents are welcome too! All questions are valid, all input is valued.

I wish you all health, and patience, and good humour as we go through these challenging times. I am full of hope that we will emerge into the sun this summer, having defeated this virus through cooperation and mutual support.

Wishing you all good things,

~ Eva

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Childbirth Classes – An essential Service?

Well, of course they are not. Babies will come out whether or not their parents are prepared. But in the midst of a pandemic, when a state of emergency has been declared and the cities are shutting down, when hospitals are restricting access to support people in labour and postpartum units, it becomes even more important for your birth helper (who may also be your life partner) to be well prepared to support you.

At Mothering Touch, our childbirth and parenting educators are devoted to providing you with the information and practice and support that you need to feel confident going into labour. We want to train every birth helper to be the very best support that they can be. We want the two of you to feel like a team, who can take labour on and make it a good, life-affirming experience for your new little family.

We are streaming all our our classes on Zoom. Although there are many on-line options for childbirth preparation, in the midst of this emergency it is as important as ever to get information about local resource and practices. Taking an on-line class that was recorded in Tallahassee (nothing against Florida!), won’t serve your purposes as much as a live, interactive class would, given by local childbirth teachers who have worked and supported parents in the very hospital where you are going to give birth!

We are in touch with the hospital administration who are keeping us informed of changes that may occur with regards to who is allowed in the hospital, and what services are available.  You can read the letter the Hospital sent out about this here. Our teachers will continue to pass on up-to-date information in our on-line classes, and to take you through information about the layout of the facilities (which we used to cover in hospital tours.)

We started out the week offering the option of coming in-person or streaming the class on the Zoom platform , because we believe strongly in people’s right to make their own decisions about their care. However, as the week has progressed, it seems clear that we must ask everyone to use the online streaming, and not to come in to the store for classes.

Do reach out and contact us by email or phone if you have any questions about classes. We want to help!

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Look at us in People Magazine!

Look at Mothering Touch being mentioned in People Magazine as one of the hot spots on Vancouver Island, in a list of places Harry and Meghan might like to frequent, as they settle in here. How exciting!

You can be sure though, that if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped in to Baby Group, or Motherhood circle, or Baby Yoga, we would protect their privacy, just like we do for all our clients! Everyone has to have a safe place to go with their baby. We might even be able to help with the baby carrier Meghan was having trouble with a few weeks ago! 😉

We are tickled pink!

 

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Valentine’s Day Sing-Along and Craft Party

Cute happy valentine baby playing with red hearts

Come celebrate Valentine’s Day and Family Day – maybe we should call it Family Love Day – at Mothering Touch!

On Friday February 14, come and sing-along with the lovely Alyssa Klazek and her guitar, make a pretty little handprint craft for someone your baby loves, and eat some chocolate!

We want to celebrate the love that builds and nourishes the families in our community. And we want to give you something fun to do with your baby!

Alyssa, who taught our toddler yoga classes for  years (and has moved on to bigger and better things in bookkeeping!), is going to come and lead two sing-along sessions (at 2:30pm and 3:30pm), with fun songs and action rhymes. And Eva will help you do a cute Valentine’s Craft with your baby – make a handprint ornament with a pretty red ribbon.

Of course the best part will be hanging out and chatting with your parent-friends and having a cup of tea, and a bit of chocolate!

Looking foward to seeing you and your cute babies on Friday February 14 from 2-4pm.

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Becoming a Doula

Learning comfrot measures

What are your plans for this year? Are you up for learning something new? Developing some new skills? Starting a new career? Finding a new passion? Why not take a Birth Doula Workshop?

What is a Birth Doula?

A Birth Doula is a person who accompanies pregnant families through late pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. The doula’s role is to provide informational, emotional and physical support. The doula helps the parent or parents to find the information they need to make decisions about their care. The doula provides a listening ear, a compassionate voice, and holds space for the parents to process their experience. The doula holds a hand, wipes a brow, provides a cup of tea or sips of gingerale, rubs a back or massage a foot, suggests positions and movements to ease a long labour.

The doula’s focus is on the parents’ emotional well-being. Doulas do not diagnose, prescribe or recommend. Knowing that the midwife, doctor or nurse is taking care of the safety of the parent and baby, the doula is available continuously, throughout the childbirth experience, to ensure that the family feels safe and supported.

What do you learn in a Birth Doula Workshop?

I LOVE teaching Birth Doula Workshops! It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet with a group of people who are passionate about helping, who honour and respect the power of childbearing parents, who are curious about the process of labour and birth, who are compassionate and caring.

We talk about the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and birth. We talk about the process of birth, both the physical and the emotional unfolding that happens. We try out and practice many different pain-relieving comfort measures – breathing, massage, visualization, positioning, movement. We discuss medical interventions, pros and cons, indications, how to help clients cope with them.

We also discuss starting a doula business, how to create a referral network, how to find clients, how to interview clients.  We help you plan your startup. A panel of practicing doulas comes in to meet with you and share tricks of the trade.

We discuss the emotional aspects of doula work, how to support clients through disappointment, or depression, or loss, how to find resources, and how and when to refer, so that it’s not all on us. And we talk about the postpartum period, and breastfeeding, and the new baby, and how to say goodbye at the end of the relationship.

We spend four days together, immersed in all this juicy, subtantial stuff. It is SO satisfying!

Who can be a doula?

Anyone! Anyone who is prepared to be compassionate, respectful, open-minded, open-hearted. Anyone who is ready to be on call for weeks, and ready to stay up all night, and press on a sacrum until your wrists and thumbs ache. You don’t need to be any particular age, or gender, or to have any particular education. You do not need to have had children. People of all sorts become pregnant, and they need people of all sorts to support them.

Are there laws restricting who can practice as a doula?

No. Not in Canada. Anyone can call themselves a doula. But I encourage you to get proper training and to become certified. Do your research. Make sure that the organization training you and certifying you is credible. Consider: is it an associaton of doulas which works for its members, or is it a privately-owned business trying to turn a profit? Is it an organization whose training and certification will be recognized in other provinces, states or countries?

Does the trainer you are going to learn from provide any mentoring or support after the workshop? Will they help you find clients? Will they support you through certification? Do they run meetings for doulas to meet and connect and network? (Yup. I do those things…)

DONA International

The doula organization I have been certified with for over 20 years, and for which I train doulas, is DONA International. DONA was the first international doula organization. DONA developed the Standards of Practice for doulas which have been studied, determined to safe and beneficial, and which have become the industry standard. DONA has certified thousands of doulas in over 50 countries around the world.

How can I find a Doula Workshop?

Funny thing that. I happen to be teaching a doula workshop in Victoria from March 6-9, 2020. You can read all about it here.  

I offer one bursary (full and partial) in each workshop to folks in financial need. As part of my efforts towards Reconciliation, I offer one full bursary in each of my workshops, to an Indigenous person. Please contact me directly – eva@motheringtouch.ca

If you can’t be in Victoria that weekend (too bad, it’s a great time of year to visit), you can find a DONA International Birth Doula Workshop here. 

I have so many more questions!

If so, contact me. I love to answer questions about being a doula.

 

In the Doula Spirit,

                 Eva

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Community Acupuncture for Postpartum Healing

By Marika Hall, BA, HDP, R.Ac.

It is believed in Chinese Medicine that proper healing in the postpartum period can lead to a graceful menopause, greater health overall and even recovery from previous illness and chronic dis-ease. In many traditional practices including traditional Chinese medicine, the mother and baby were left from 4 to 6 weeks to recover and build their bond. Family and friends would bring food, clean, keep mom and baby warm and away from cold, wind and the outer world, in order to protect the new family from illness, over exertion and emotional overwhelm. In some cases the mother was not even allowed to bath. Her only job was to eat, rest and learn the language of her new baby. In our modern world we know it is good to bath on occasion and getting some gentle exercise is very important to help in both physical healing and mental well-being. But the general principles behind these practice are still important to keep both moms and babies healthy, encourage recovery and bonding and lead to long term health outcomes.

While most put lots of emphasis on the birth plan and what the nursery will look like, not many think about those tender weeks, months and first year of recovery and transformation, love and grief, confusion and joy. It truly takes a village to support a new family in this period of time and I encourage all my clients to sit down and make a plan in advance. Asking friends and family to help cook food, do chores, run errands and give a family space to find their new groove.

While mothers often look to massage or acupuncture during pregnancy to help ease discomforts and improve health, after the baby comes, mothers often put that self-care aside to focus on the baby. But if the mother is not cared for, the baby suffers too! This is why I offer postnatal community acupuncture at Mothering Touch. You are welcome to bring your baby, and to receive your treatment in community, as you care for, cuddle and feed your baby.

Reducing pain and inflammation

The body’s natural response to going through the hard work of labour, the stretching and sometimes tearing of tissues, the hours of squatting and pushing is to send fluid and immune cells to these tissues to repair them. This insurgence causes inflammation which causes pain. In order to reduce the pain we want to reduce the inflammation by helping the healing of tissues. Good nutrition is key to repairing the skin and building new vessels and cells, especially helpful is bone broth and collagen.

One of my favourite and safest ways to speed healing, reduce inflammation and pain is with acupuncture. Acupuncture works by stimulating neurotransmitters that modulate pain, release tight muscles and helps the body find the optimum path to healing. Ideally, having acupuncture in your home three days after your delivery is best to promote healing and well being.

Keeping the emotions balanced

In TCM, Our emotional well-being is controlled by the liver who is responsible for the smooth flow of all our fluids, mental, emotional and physical energy. So if we get stuck in a mental or emotional rut or don’t move enough our qi becomes stagnated causing the liver to become upset and stagnate further. As we know post birth there has been lots of qi and blood lost and the change in our hormones, sleep schedules and need to rest can lead to further qi stagnation and emotional imbalance.

One of my favourite uses of acupuncture is in balancing the emotions. In fact, in Chinese medicine each emotions is associated with a different organ. Long term emotional imbalance can injure the organs as can injure organs lead to emotional imbalance but lucky it is quite easy to help the qi move smoothly and find the correct path again, relieving anxiety, depression, worry, sadness, fear, shock, anger and over stimulation.

Receiving acupuncture in community with other mothers helps to normalize the experiences of pregnancy, labour and the postpartum. It help us to feel less alone. It creates a safe place we can come back to again and again for healing and restoration.

______________________________

Find out more about Marika at her website www.marikareidhall.com

Medical Disclaimer

Information in this post and on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of practice experience and research by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional.

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Cloth Diaper Workshops – and why I love them!

Baby in cloth diaper on a blanket

My name is Teegan, and I have the pleasure of extolling the virtues of cloth diapering in the Cloth Diaper Workshop at Mothering Touch. As a mother of 3, all of whom were cloth diapered, it brings me joy when I can help other parents make the decision to use cloth diapers. While there are many things – both big and little – that I get out of it. Here are my top 5!

1) Meeting Expectant Parents

 While running this workshop, I get the opportunity to meet many new or expectant parents. As I don’t work within the birthing community, this is my chance to help influence people’s decisions during a time of great change. The workshop allows me to make it easier for parents to make the decision to use cloth diaper. I can lean on my experience of cloth diapering my 3 children and be a positive contributor to their new life.

2) Try Before You Buy

Mothering Touch has a variety of different types of cloth diapers, from pre-folds to all-in-ones. The workshop lets me demonstrate each style of cloth diaper, and more importantly, gives the parents a chance to touch and use the different options. This test drive helps people to see just how versatile and easy to use the cloth diapers are! This is especially valuable for those parents who are a little more resistant to using cloth diapers.

3) The Green Component (and not the newborn poop kind…)

Cloth diapering is a great way to lessen our impact on the environment. At Mothering Touch we talk about this all day long! The beauty of the workshop is that it allows me dedicate time to highlight how to mitigate environmental impacts, and which products are best suited to the parent’s intentions. I especially like it when parents come back after the workshop to get opinions on which diapers, creams or liners are best for those of a green persuasion. 

4) De-mystification – Cleaning Style

In my experience, the most common obstacle for any parent to pursue the use of cloth diapers is cleaning them. In the workshop I try to take the mystery out of the equation. Poo is an inevitability, regardless of disposable or cloth use. Simply by talking about how we all get poo on our hands, despite our best efforts, regardless of diaper style, helps to remove the trepidation of cloth diaper use. You will have heard of the “Poosplosion” (and if you haven’t, you soon will); cloth diapers are much more effective at reducing the likelihood of a blow-out. And if you think about it, isn’t it better to wash something designated as a poo trap, rather than the onesie? At any rate, painting the poo picture is really a highlight of the Cloth Diaper Workshop.

5) That Cloth Diaper Life

One of the best things I get out of doing the workshop are returning parents who have taken it and are now using cloth diapers. It fills me with pride and satisfaction to know that I was able to help these parents make an educated decision to use cloth diapers. I truly enjoy allowing parents to feel confident in their choice to cloth diaper. And let’s face it, what’s cuter than a tiny human with a giant diaper? I mean, c’mon!

Cloth diapering your baby can be a challenging decision, but it can also be an easy one. My goal with the workshop is to make sure that everyone who attends, leaves with a better understanding of cloth diapers, how easy they are to use, and that this isn’t really that big a decision after all….

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August

A beach near a lake, in the summer.

We are in the lazy, hazy days of summer.

The store is a quieter place. Many of our clients and our instructors are away on holidays, visiting family. So we cancel some classes. Right now, Monday Baby Massage, Monday Afternoon Postpartum Restorative Yoga, Wednesday Morning Postpartum Yoga, Motherhood Circle and Community Acupuncture are all on hiatus.

Our Baby Groups have been running until this week, but will be cancelled for the last two weeks of August. Pregnancy Happy Hour has been cancelled all summer, but will be back in the fall.

I’ve been travelling more than usual too. I was away at Music camp for a week last month, and later this month I have some trips planned to Toronto and Montreal to visit my kids, and other family. While I am away, Linda is planning to hold our annual “The Boss is Away Sale.” All sorts of cool things, baby carriers, diaper bags will be discounted, so that we can clear them out and make way for new Fall products.

But eventually, the summer will be all used up. The evenings will shorten again, Labour Day will come, kids will head back to school, and we will follow suit.

As of September 2nd, we will start up our new Fall Drop-In Schedule. All Groups will be back up and running. And from September 8-13 we are going to run a special “Bring a Friend for Free” promotion. All drop-in yoga and activity classes and all drop-in groups will welcome your AND a friend for the price of one! So start thinking now of all the friends you want to bring to Mothering Touch that week.

But for now, enjoy the rest of the easy living of summertime. Don’t rush the fall. It will come in its own time…

 

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How to bottle-feed a baby – Paced Bottle-Feeding

bottle-feeding

Whether we are exclusively bottle-feeding, breastfeeding-with-occasional-bottles, or doing-half-and-half, it makes sense to feed the baby in the most physiologic, relaxing, pleasant way possible, which helps parent and baby develop a comfortable attachment. This process is sometimes called Paced Bottle Feeding. It involves mimicking the flow that the baby might get at the breast, and allowing the baby to have control of their experience, the way they would at the breast.

This information is intended for babies from birth to six months or so. After that, the baby will be better able to communicate their needs.

General guidelines:

1. Feed your baby based on the baby’s cues, not on a schedule. Hunger cues are:

a. Lip-smacking
b. Tongue darting
c. Squirming
d. Rooting – looking for something to suck on with their mouth
e. Hands to mouth
f. “Barking”
g. Crying is a very late cue – really more a sign of distress than hunger.

2. In the first three months or so, a bottle-fed baby will need small amounts of milk, 2-3 ounces, about 8-10 times per day (24 hours). Gradually they will start to take more milk at a time and feed less often.

3. Hold and cuddle the baby a lot. Even when you are not feeding them. We often over-interpret baby’s crying as meaning hunger when really the baby is asking for physical contact, movement, stimulation.

4. Don’t change the baby before the feed (unless absolutely necessary.) It just makes a hungry baby angry to be changed when they want to eat. It’s better to take a little break in the middle of a feed to change a diaper. And babies often poop when eating anyway!

5. Have your baby skin-to-skin when feeding, if you like, and if it’s convenient. Do not swaddle the baby when feeding them. Let the baby’s hands be free to explore and participate.

6. Use a slow-flow nipple – this is a nipple which, when held upside-down with milk in it, will release one drop of milk per second. This makes sure the baby does not eat too much, too fast.

7. Plan to take 10-20 minutes to complete the feed. Every feed does not need to be the same length. We all have some long meals and some short ones. Taking a longer time to feed allows the baby to recognize the feeling of being full before they become over-full. This reduces “colicky” crying.

Step-by-step Bottle-Feeding:

1. Make sure you, the parent, are comfortable. Make sure you are not hungry yourself, and can sit and focus on the baby for the next 20 minutes or so without interruption. Find a cosy place to sit, with good support for your back and arms. Make sure you have the bottle and a burp cloth and maybe a box of tissues nearby, as well as a water-bottle for yourself, and perhaps your phone, so you don’t have to jump up if it rings.

2. Make the baby comfortable in the crook of your arm. Your elbow should be supported, and the baby’s head is resting against your forearm. The baby’s head should be higher than their stomach. The baby does not have to sit absolutely upright, but being on an incline is better than flat on the back. (Babies fed while lying flat are at more risk for dental caries and ear infections.) Being upright means the baby is able to release air they might swallow.

3. Touch the baby’s upper lip with the nipple and draw the nipple downwards over the bottom lip. When the baby opens their mouth, put the nipple in slowly, letting the baby draw it in. Do not force the nipple into the baby’s mouth.

4. Keep the bottle tilted so most the nipple is full of milk. But don’t worry if the baby sucks in a little air – this is quite normal.

5. Count the baby’s sucks and swallows. If the baby does not take a breath by the fourth or fifth suck, remove the nipple and allow the baby to have a break in the flow to swallow and breathe. Keep the nipple right there, by the mouth, so the baby can latch on again when ready.

6. The baby may be upset when you remove the nipple. Talk to them and tell them it’s coming back. They just need a little break. After you have done this a few times, and they know it always comes back, they will be calmer.

7. Other signs a baby needs a break are:

a. Opening eyes wide
b. Pulling the head back, or turning it to the side
c. Arching the back
d. Pursing the lips
e. Letting go of the nipple

8. Take the nipple out right away and sit baby upright or put baby up on your shoulder if you see these signs of mild distress:

a. Milk spilling from the mouth
b. Opening eyes widely
c. Stiffening of arms and legs
d. Flaring nostrils
e. Grimacing
f. Lips turning blue

9. Talk to your baby. Tell them a story. Talk about your plans for the rest of the day, or about what you did this morning. Make it clear that you are focusing your attention on them in a loving and relaxed way, and that you enjoy their company. Develop a habit of pleasant meal-time conversation that will last a life-time!

10. Switch sides halfway through the feed. If you were holding the bottle in your right hand to start with, switch so you are now holding it in your left hand, and the baby is resting on your right arm. This provides for symmetrical eye stimulation and development.

11. Let the baby decide when the feed is done. Signs of being finished are:

a. Falling a sleep
b. Turning head aside or back from the nipple
c. No longer sucking
d. Letting go of the nipple

12. Resist the urge to encourage the baby to finish the last bit of milk in the bottle. The baby is in charge of their body and their stomach. Letting the baby feel satiation cues and responding to them is a good way to set up good eating habits for later life.

13. Put the baby up on your shoulder to burp. Pat their back gently.

14. A baby will often fall asleep for a few minutes, and then decide they could use a little more milk. Take advantage of that little break to change the diaper. Then be prepared to give the baby a little more milk. That’s okay.

15. If the baby still seems to root around even when they have had a large amount of milk, consider that they might just need to do a little more sucking. Offer a pacifier and a cuddle and see if baby falls asleep.

Resources:

HealthyFamiliesBC.ca is a good website on family health – lots of information there on formula feeding and bottle preparation.

HealthLinkBC.ca is another source of British Columbian health information.

www.inspq.qc.ca/ is a Quebec resource with good, detailed information – in English.

Many of the ideas I have shared here are influenced by:
https://www.peelregion.ca/
https://kellymom.com/

Posted on

Pay it Forward

I find myself having to do something I always dread. I have to raise our prices. I always resist doing this – so years go by and our prices stay fixed. I really wanted to keep our Childbirth Classes, especially, affordable, because I know most expectant parents don’t have a lot of spare cash. But it has to be done. We will be raising the prices of our Childbirth Classes, and our Parenting the Newborn Classes on August 1. (So you might want to let your friends, who have not yet registered, know that this month is a great time to do so!)

At Mothering Touch we have always given bursaries to families who are in financial difficulties. These families are referred to us by their midwives, or family docs, or public health nurses. We negotiate a fee they can reasonably afford – sometimes that means $20.

As we raise our prices, I want to make more people aware of our Bursaries, and I would like to make more bursaries available. So we have come up with a plan. When folks register for their classes, they will be given the option of contributing $5 or $10 to our Bursary Fund. As they pay for the classes that help them to prepare for parenthood, they can support another family, who might not be as well off. They can pay it forward.

We’re going to put a Pay it Forward button on our front page too. So that families who have already taken their classes can make a contribution.

When you contribute to our Bursary Fund, you are giving a pregnant parent and their partner or support person the opportunity to get evidence-based information about childbirth, breastfeeding and early parenting, to go on a tour of the hospital where they may be birthing, and to attend two free prenatal yoga classes. You help connect them with Mothering Touch, and resources that will support them all the way through the first years of their baby’s life.

We hope many of you will consider donating to our Bursary Fund, and will pass the word along to families who may be able to benefit from it.
Have a great summer!