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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!

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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.

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Breastfeeding Challenge!!

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Well, this year, one of my long-time dreams is coming true! The Quintessence Global Breastfeeding Challenge is taking place at the Mayfair Mall!

I worked on the organization of the Victoria site of the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge every year from 2001 to 2006 and each yar I would go around to the shopping malls and ask if they would host the event. Each year they would look at me with the same puzzled expression. Well, to be sure, my request was not a usual one. The Breastfeeding Challenge is an event to raise awareness of breastfeeding and to welcome and celebrate breastfeeding mothers and families. It involves gathering as many breastfeeding mothers and babies as possible into one place, and then getting all to latch-on at the same time – so that all over BC, moms and babies are latching on a participating in this event together. And all over the world (in 2014 there were 195 sites in 10 countries) moms and babies latched on at 11am local time on the first Saturday in October.

The first year Breastfeeding Matters hosted the Challenge, we did it in a high school gym. We got some media attention, but we felt hidden away. I so wanted the event to take place in public, where the visibility would be greater. But in 2002, none of the shopping malls would host us – they said we were not their “target market.” I wondered, if young women and families are not the target of shopping malls, who is? For a few years, we ran the event at the moss street Market, and then in Centennial Square. That was more visible and more public, but damp and foggy in the morning of the first Saturday of October. So we went back inside and ran the event at Silver City in a movie theater for a couple of years.

In recent years, the event has been de-centralized and run by the local libraries. And last year, we did it in an empty store-front at Uptown Mall. But this year!

This year, we are in the Centre Court of Mayfair Mall! I am so happy! And I invite all the breastfeeding mother and families and all the friends and supporters of breastfeeding to join us there on Saturday October 4 for Story Time at 10:30am and then for the Big Latch-On at 11am. See you there!

~Eva

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Breastpump Inservice

 

Breastpump Inservice

Thursday, May 30th

7 – 8:30pm

The Mothering Touch Centre

975 Fort Street

It’s about helping Moms.

 

When it comes to pumps and pumping, what’s new & old?

What are some issues moms need help with?

What are some helpful tips?

 

Come and share your experiences with such things as:

      • Transitioning to home with baby
      • What’s available in the community
      • Use and care of various pumps

Light refreshments provided by BfM-svi.  Please let us know you are coming to help us prepare.  Call Audrey  (778)678-0747

Click here to download a PDF poster for this event.

 

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Practical Parenting Tips

We recently held a contest asking for one really practical tip they have discovered in their life as a parent or soon-to-be parent.  It had to be really PRACTICAL… not, “love your baby”, or “be patient.”  We wanted to know HOW to show our love, HOW to be patient.  We wanted tips that included stuff like duct tape, TUMS, chocolate, exercise balls, baby carriers, salt-and-vinegar chips, diaper wipes, chicken soup, swaddling blankets and stain remover.

These are the tips we received.  We love ALL of them.  They demonstrate how loving, resourceful, intelligent, practical, generous and committed parents can be.  Thank you to all of you.

  • Sanity saver – join a local Facebook mommy group, (even while pregnant if nothing else to start building resources).  When you’re a new mom surviving on little sleep and even when you can’t get out of the house you can still interact with other mommas/vent/have a place to ask any and all questions about baby that’s worrying you/have an instant resource/find a network for playdates/know what baby-friendly events are going on/know where the baby-related sales or deals are/child-rearing tips and if nothing else, by reading other people’s posts you know you’re not the only one going through the same things or know what to expect.  – Annie Smith

  • Everyone who visits after the baby is born brings a food item for the fridge or freezer as finger food or quick dinner for the new family.  And morning visitors get to hold the baby while mom eats, showers, washes and conditions her hair AND brushes her teeth all before noon!  – Maartje Goodeve

  • Practical tip for pregnant ladies: always, always carry a snack with you.  You never know when hunger still strike and when it does, it is fierce!  – Annie Shum

  • Have a hair dryer near your diaper change spot for your new baby – turn it on very low to warm and dry little bums.  Sure to make diaper changes easier and your little one might even fall asleep!  – Tanya Binette

  • Put your babe in the jolly jumper, hung from the bathroom door framehead, and you get to shower!  (tip given by a friend, which was part of our morning routine for many months).  – Rotem Regev

  • Plain yogurt directly on a diaper rash.  cleared it up overnight and i’m sure it felt nice and cool on baby’s bum 🙂  – Lisa Kat

  • Baking soda & water soak followed by a water and vinegar soak will take the old milk smell out of that gross bottle or sippy cup that has been missing for days & you know is hiding somewhere in your house 🙂  – Ceilidh Myers

  • For the adventurous, use a blow up kiddie pool as a travel “containment” system at your campground.  Use frozen ketchup packs wrapped in gauze as mini ice packs.  – Kristyn Kaitila

  • When all else fails, a handful of cheerios on the floor will buy you five minutes of peace.  – Jana Kim

  • Try to get out of the house each day, even in the early weeks of parenthood.  Even if it’s just to the grocery store to buy one thing, go to the coffee shop, or walk the dog.  Just getting a change of scenery and some fresh air is refreshing for body and soul.  – Meghan Wiebe

  • If you ever manage to cook/bake up something your baby likes then do up a big batch and freeze into portions.  Then you always have a quick and easy meal on hand.  – Lara Engst

  • If you are planning to go back to work after your mat leave go on many daycare wait lists as soon as you know you are pregnant.  – Clare Randell

  • Start singing one song/lullaby as soon as your baby is born whenever you put your baby to sleep.  I did it with my baby.  And after about a month, whenever he fusses, I would start singing it and he calms down right away.  Very useful when you are in the car or trying to get him to calm down to feed or for a quiet time.  – Juliana Wijoyo

  • Be sure to have one-handed meals at the ready for the first couple of months.  Wraps, muffins, soup in a mug… anything that can be prepared and eaten easily with one hand while feeding!  – Rhea Harriman

  • Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct when it comes to your little one, you really do know what’s best for her, and don’t let others instill doubt in you! 🙂  – Celle Rikwerda

  • When your munchkin colors on the gorgeous glider and ottoman, or the couch with pen/marker, bust out the dish soap and good old elbow grease!!  – Angela Scandale

  • My practical tip is for a mother’s sanity.  Join a baby group.  I felt very isolated in the beginning, but then a friend recommended coming to Baby Group.  I could not thank her enough.  Not only do you get to hear that all the crazy things your baby does is actually normal, but you get the support of all the other parents.  You also get to make friends, who conveniently are on maternity leave as well, and would love to meet you for a coffee or a walk.  I think it is the best advice I received and it is the advice I give to all new Moms I know.  – Jamie Owens

  • If your little one is a fussy eater mix anything with yogurt and I bet she/he will eat it!!!  – Jessica Johnson

  • If you plan on pumping and bottle feeding or formula feeding and are thinking about buying bottles, I recommend buying a few different types of bottles and then once baby is born, see what they like best, then go out and buy more in that model of bottle.  I see so many parents buy 20 bottles of say Ventaire but then their baby is born and don’t take to the bottle and prefer another kind!  (Even my daughter did this :))  So, try out a few different bottles with your little one and then decide from there 🙂 – Nicole Baldwin

  • The one practical thing I could recommend for those becoming parents is to know that something that works for one baby doesn’t work for another.  Therefore there is no point in buying everything before baby comes – better to borrow from a friend and test it out first.. Like carriers, swings, bounce chairs, wraps, etc… Baby’s are picky!  – Lucy Smirnis

  • If you have smaller breasts (I’m a C cup, and it still works for me), no need to invest in expensive designer nursing tanks and bras.  Two tank tops layered do the trick nicely.  To breast feed just pull up the top one, and pull down the one underneath, and viola, a discreet way to nurse at half the price.  – Zach Brittany Mallett

  • When my little guy started getting interested in his feet, I started putting them in his hands at diaper changes (and giving him lots of encouragement and smiles for ‘helping mommy’).  Now that he is a very squirmy 7 month old, it helps keep him on his back and (sort of) still during diaper changes… at least most of the time. 🙂  – Holly Fang

  • Coughs and colds, we hate germs.  To help your littles with a cough, put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the soles of their feet right before bed.  It works.  Give it a try.  – Mira Cameron MacIver

  • My most practicle advice for new moms, get a carrier.  In whatever form… sling, wrap, Ergo, whatever.  When you’re at your wits end (and you will be) strap your baby in and get outside!!!  – Trisha Walker

  • Try to set one goal per day for yourself.  It can be anything – shower and dress, do a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, make it to Mom group…  And if it doesn’t work out, try again the next day.  Things can change so quickly, and this can be stressful, but trying your best to do what’s best for baby and yourself in the moment is what matters most.  I also tried to get outside at least once a day with the stroller except the days when it really snowed.  Baby loved the fresh air and so did I – for the exercise, to clear my head – and for those first few months, to help my baby nap!  – Lara Perzoff

  • Use an old 5 volt cell phone charger to bypass the battery pack on your swing.  You will never have to buy those expensive D batteries and never run out of power!  Especially good with newborn twins who slept better in a swing at first 🙂  – Sarah de Rham

  • Learn how to breast feed lying down and learn how to breast feed in a carrier.  It’s possible and makes life so much easier!  – Anastasia Cyprus

  • My son drinks from a sippy cup, but I give him a regular cup in the bath for practice.  No soaked clothes and no mess!  – Clara Smith

  • Your child is ever changing.  Once you get used to what you believe is normal, it all changes again on you.  Expect change, and embrace the new stages in your little ones life.  – Jen Schilling

  • In my 16 months of parenting there is one thing that I have learned.  Babies vomit a lot.  The first time my son got sick was around 7 months old.  I found myself constantly doing laundry of stinky milk vomit.  I was really quite discusting.  Unfortunately, my matress was not to be spared as well.  One thing that really helped was mixing baking soda with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.  Mix the two together well and put the powder in a siff and srpinkle on your mattress, leave sitting for an hour and vacuum.  Voila.  The baking powder absorbs any moisture in your mattress and the essential oil gives it a nice smell.  I hope this helps if anyone is thinking about how to get their mattress cleaned.  – Dawn Cheung

  • Always carry a pack of post it notes when out and about – comes in handy for a potty training toddler.  Stick it to the automatic flusher sensor so it doesn’t flush while your little one is still on the toilet.  – Brittany & Crawford

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Breastfeeding Support and Naturopathic Medicine – A Natural Fit!

By Guest Blogger: Dr. Alexis Blanks, ND

When you are pregnant, it’s pretty natural to be focused on the immediate task ahead… that little thing called labour!  But once the baby is born, along with the realization that you are now in charge of another person’s life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, comes the challenge of learning to breastfeed.  Along with this challenge will likely be the realization that although it may be the most natural thing in the world, breastfeeding is a skill to be learned like any other and there may be all sorts of challenges and questions along the way.  As a relatively new mom, this is an experience that I can relate to.  As a naturopathic doctor and trained breastfeeding counselor, I am so excited to have knowledge and skills to help new mothers during this exciting time in their lives.

Naturopathic medicine and breastfeeding support is a natural combination.  One of our key principles in naturopathic medicine is to prevent future health problems through education of healthy living.  I have often been struck by what a powerful effect the simple act of breastfeeding your child can have on a baby’s long term health – and the mothers health too!

Naturopathic doctors combine modern scientific knowledge with more a holistic view of health and well being. We are experts in the use of many natural forms of medicine such as herbs and homoeopathy and are also trained to know when pharmaceutical intervention may be required.  In my practice I am also licensed to prescribe pharmaceuticals when necessary.  A visit to a naturopathic doctor is usually much longer than a visit to your conventional doctor.  This allows us the time to obtain a thorough understanding of a mothers concerns and to provide enough explanation so that the mother can leave the office feeling that she has been heard and that she has a good understanding of the problem(s) and the solution(s).

There are a myriad of questions a woman might have about breastfeeding such as how to deal with nipple pain, attain a good latch and know that your baby is getting enough milk, I can help women with these questions.  There are also some questions that as a naturopathic doctor, I am particularly well trained to answer.  Questions such as:

  • the use and safety of medications, herbs, supplements and homoeopathic remedies during breastfeeding.
  • supporting milk supply with the use of herbs or medications.
  • options for treating medical issues such as thrush and mastitis.
  • the potential for certain foods in moms diet to aggravate baby via the breast milk.
  • the introduction of solid foods.

As a nursing mother, I know how fulfilling it can be to breastfeed your child.  I am excited to combine the skills I have learned in breastfeeding support with my medical and naturopathic knowledge for helping women with this wonderful, and yet, not always easy skill!

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Breast is Best for Moms Too!

It’s common knowledge that breast milk is the best start for babies, reducing risks for many short term and chronic diseases.  But the best kept secret is that breastfeeding is beneficial for moms too!

Latest studies show good evidence that women who breastfed their infants have up to a 12% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for each year they breastfed.  Breastfeeding decreased the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 21%. Breastfeeding also decreased the risk of breast cancer by up to 28% in those whose lifetime duration of breastfeeding was 12 months or longer.

Women who did not breastfeed their infants were more likely to have postpartum depression (unmeasured factors, such as depression that was undiagnosed prior to giving birth, may have increased the rate of depression seen in this group).  And current studies show that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers’ bone density returns to pre-pregnancy or even higher levels.  In the long-term, lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis.  In fact, recent studies have confirmed that women who did not breastfeed have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause.

If we as a community want to improve the health of our future generations, we need to come together and support our mothers in their choice to breastfeed. Here’s our chance to support breastfeeding moms!

– Eva

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Breastfeeding Is Like Ballroom Dancing

Two people learning to do the same thing with their bodies at the same time. Each has to learn a set of new skills but also has to learn how the other will respond.

Stage 1 – Starting Out:

When you start out learning ballroom dancing there are tense hands and shoulders, sore feet, twisted ankles, stepped-on toes, irritation at the partner for not behaving as expected.  Nothing makes any sense, the music goes too fast and the instructor seems smug and self-satisfied.

In breastfeeding this is the stage of:  “How do I get her on if her little hands are in the way flailing about and when do I know if her mouth is open enough and as soon as I get her latched on she falls asleep and if I take her off she wakes up right away again and HOW OFTEN do I have to do this every day?  The breastfeeding counselor gives me all this advice, but SHE doesn’t have to wake up four times every night!  I bet she’s forgotten all about how hard this is.”

Stage 2 – Got a grip:
Eventually, you and your partner learn one set of steps to one piece of music and you can do that reliably, though with some false starts and a lot of effort.  You grip each others hands too hard and use up way too much energy.  You’re not really having fun yet, but you’re going to stick with it a little longer.

In breastfeeding this is the stage of:  “I can only breastfeed in one chair with exactly five pillows in precisely this position and if anyone talks to me while I’m doing it, it won’t work.  Why am I doing this again?  Oh, yeah.  It’s good for the baby.”

Stage 3 – Almost there:
At some point dancing gets to be fun, at least some of the time.  You can do more than one step and sometimes you can even have a conversation while you’re doing it.  And you realize that you really do like your partner after all, these lessons were not a terrible idea that is going to ruin your relationship.

In breastfeeding this is the stage of:  “Hey, that wasn’t so bad and it doesn’t hurt and I only had to re-latch him once!  Look at his little hand lying on my breast.  Isn’t it sweet?  Oh he’s come off the breast and he looks like he’s had enough to drink.  Hey, he smiled!  Maybe not right at me, but he smiled!”

Stage 4 – And you’re off!
A very few dancers get to the next stage where they can walk into each-other’s arms and sail off across the floor through complex figures to whatever music is playing.  They don’t even think about what their feet are doing, but rather how much they are enjoying moving to the music.

Luckily, almost every mother who breastfeeds for longer than four to six weeks gets to this stage.  “It’s 5am.  Have I fed her since midnight?  I can’t remember.  I must have, we started out with her on my left side and now she’s on my right and my bra’s unhooked.  I guess I did it in my sleep.  I can’t believe it’s become this easy to feed her!”

In some ways, breastfeeding is much more difficult than ballroom dancing because your partner doesn’t understand the instructions given by the ‘teacher’.  You can’t explain to your baby how he should open his mouth or where he should put his hand.

In other ways, breastfeeding is easier than ballroom dancing.  You’ll get way more practice, feeding your baby 10-12 times a day in the first weeks.  Also, you have hormones that are helping you to bond with your baby and make you want to feed him.

Actually, breastfeeding is really a lot simpler than ballroom dancing.  Trust me, I’ve tried both.

 

Copyright Eva Bild, 1999
You may reproduce this article if you reproduce all of it, give credit to its author, and do not make any money from it.