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September

Mothers and Babies siting on the floor

Happy September!

Such a great times of new beginnings – school, work, fall harvests, Jewish New Year…

Here at Mothering Touch, we have a refreshed and renewed Calendar of Pre and Postnatal Yoga and Fitness for you and your babies and toddlers. Drop-in Classes are $16 – but if you buy a punch card of 10 classes, they are only $13 each!

Come and try out Prenatal Yoga – a great way to get in touch with your body and stay moving as your pregnancy progresses. Our Postnatal Yoga classes all welcome babies – and we have graded them, so that they become more challenging and strengthening as your baby gets older. And if you want something more up-beat, try our new Postnatal Strength and Stretch with Renee on Tuesdays! As your babies become toddlers, come and try out Yoga DESPITE the Toddlers (where the teacher guides the parents through poses, while distracting and amusing the kids), or Yoga FOR Toddlers (where the kids learn yoga too!).

Our Drop-In Baby Groups are starting up again too. For the first time in 15 years, we are raising the price on those – to a whole $3! It’s totally worth it, though, to sit with other parents whose babies are the same age as yours, and to hear their worries, their questions, and get their opinions and support with your concerns. It’s a great place to make new friends for this new chapter in your life.

Pregnancy Happy Hour is also a great place to make new friends. Friday evenings, from 5-6:30 (Don’t worry if work makes you arrive a little late – doesn’t bother us!) Pregnant people get together to chat about pregnancy and its highs and lows, along with an experience childbirth educator/doula who can answer questions and help find resources. We laugh a lot!

Motherhood Circle is starting up again too. This weekly, registered therapeutic group is for women who want to explore their experiences as new mothers and build community in a supported and nurturing environment. Theresa Gulliver, a therapeutic counsellor, runs the groups with sensitivity and skill. And if your baby is now over a year, join Theresa for Motherhood Circle 2.0 and explore the challenges and joys of the toddler years.

At the end of the week, on Fridays from 2-5pm, our acupuncturist, Marika Hall, runs a Community Acupuncture clinic. It’s a great place to get some TLC after a long week of work! The discomforts of pregnancy and of the postpartum body can be alleviated in the comfy zero-gravity chairs. If your pregnancy is coming to its end, cervical ripening acupuncture can help labour start in good time, or help a scheduled induction work more smoothly. If your baby has been born, bring them along. Marika is happy to work around your baby as you hold, cuddle or nurse.

September – so many riches – so much to try. Come and join us, and experience the support of the Mothering Touch!

 

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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/

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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!

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ParentFest 2019 – Friday May 31, 2-8pm

Family walking by the sea

ParentFest 2019 is our NEW annual Parent-Celebrating Event. On Friday May 31,  the day before the United Nations Global Day of Parents (June 1), Mothering Touch will be honouring and celebrating and pampering parents of all genders.

The Global Day of Parents “… was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2012… and honours parents throughout the world. The Global Day provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”

Mothering Touch wants to join in this expression of appreciation, And so from 2-8 pm on Friday May 31, we will be having a party!

All day long, in our big activity room, all divided up into booths and dimly lit, practitioners of various modalities (massage therapists, acupuncturists, reflexologists, a yoga therapist, a photographer) will be offering their services for little 15 minute mini-treatments for $5 each. In the Nest, there will be delicious snacks and tea. We will have friendly doulas here to help host our guests, and to hold babies while parents have treatments. In the shop there will be a 20% off sale (on almost everything), live music, and free workshops!

In the afternoon, from 2-5pm, we want to focus on families with older babies and toddlers. Alyssa Klazek will be here with her guitar, playing for all of us, but also leading some sing-alongs. Because we want the whole family to come along to this event, we wanted to provide some activities for the older babies and toddlers too. So there will be bubble making equipment outside – next to the Valet Stroller Parking. And indoors, the two treatment rooms will be handed over to the babies – one to play in, and one to do some simple crafts – play dough and crayons.

In the evening, from 5-8pm, we would like to focus on expectant and pregnant parents, and very new families with tiny babies. Local doulas will be here to chat, and hold babies while parents get a massage, or some acupuncture. And in the centre of the store we are going to run free mini-workshops, hosted by our Mothering Touch practitioners – workshops on massage, reflexology and acupressure for labour, and on how to stay connected as a couple after you have a baby.

We hope parents in Victoria will come and join us to try out some new experiences, and that they will leave feeling pampered and appreciated! Happy Global Day of Parents!