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My First OFFICIAL Blog Post

Well, of course, I have been blogging for years: writing short essays for my website on topics that I hoped would be useful to my clients and my colleagues.  But now Mothering Touch has an actual Official Blog.  This is a little intimidating.  And yet, so much happens here every day of the week, I should never have trouble finding something to write about.

Right now, in the big activity room, Do Stier, a Doula Trainer for Vancouver, is running our annual DONA-International Post-Partum Doula Training.  Fifteen enthusiastic and caring women are learning how to help mothers and families in the Post-partum period (the first six weeks after birth).  Last week I ran a DONA-International Birth Doula Training and twelve new birth doulas have now joined our birthing community.  One of my trainees, came from as far away as Edmonton!

A couple of moms with their babies, on a stroll downtown, have popped in to nurse on the comfy brown couches in our smaller back room.  That back room – officially called the Resource Room (now "The Nest"!) – is one of my favourite things about this place.  We planned it as a room for breastfeeding consultations and private prenatal classes.  It houses our lending library which contains books and DVD’s on pregnancy, breastfeeding and early parenting.  The room also gets used for meetings of local community organization, like the Doulas of Victoria or Breastfeeding Matters.  And on most days, a few mothers and fathers and babies find their way there for a quiet time and a peaceful breastfeeding moment.

Tonight, when we’ve tidied up from the four-day doula training, there will be a prenatal yoga class in the Activity Room.  Elke will lead the lovely round-bellied moms through invigorating and then relaxing poses.  After that, I will teach the fourth class of six-week Childbirth Preparation Class for Doctors’ Patients.  Having spent the last three weeks learning about childbirth and natural self-help and coping measures for labour, tonight we will examine pain medications and other medical interventions.  I look forward to seeing this group of excited parents-to-be, whose questions and curiosity always make the evening lively.

I hope this this blog can become an extension of our store – a place where new and expectant parents can be sure of a friendly welcome and balanced information.  We hope you’ll visit us often.

– Eva

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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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Bellycasting

Making a belly cast is a wonderful way to capture your belly in the final stages of pregnancy.  It can be done on your own, with your partner, or as part of a blessingway ceremony.

help pregnant mom remember the latter days of the third trimesterThe dried cast can be left blank or decorated pretty much any way you like: with paint, feathers, collage, beads.  If you do your cast as part of a blessingway or with friends, you can ask them each to bring something meaningful to decorate your cast with.  Friends and family can help the pregnant mom with the preparation and casting process. Afterwards, it can be hung on a wall as a visual reminder of your baby’s first home.

Making the cast is fairly simple, and you can gather the supplies at a craft store, or buy a kit at The Mothering Touch Centre with everything you need as well as instructions on how to create your cast.

We also have books such as Birthing From Within by Pam England, it offers advice and techniques for making your cast, as well as other projects to express yourself artistically during your pregnancy; and Shari Maser’s book, "Blessingways: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers".  She has many suggestions for marking your pregnancy as a rite of passage into motherhood.

So pull out your beads and feathers, your favourite pictures and your paintbrush, and get casting!

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Postpartum Dads

The answer I got from the counsellor was, "Now is not the time for you.  Now is the time to take care of your wife."

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that it’s not just women who suffer from depression around the time of a new baby.  Researchers have found that 10% of men suffer from both prenatal and postpartum depression, which can manifest as aggression and impulsiveness.  It is a topic that can be difficult for fathers to talk about, and leaves many feeling alone and isolated.  Read the Globe and Mail article here.

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A Parents’ Guide To Packing

Summer’s almost here and that means camping trips, visits to grandparents and holidays near and far.  Here’s a packing list we think is useful for parents whether you’re just going up-island for the weekend, or travelling the globe.

Medicine & Toiletries

  • Thermometer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers
  • Emery board
  • Baby Tylenol or Motrin
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Infant saline drops
  • Your favourite diaper cream
  • Gravol
  • Q-tips for applying meds
  • Band-aids in various sizes
  • Unscented moisturizer
  • Polysporin

Other items for your carry-on/diaper bag

  • Disposable diaper wipes
  • Diapers (if you use cloth diapers… bringing a few eco-friendly disposables just for emergencies is a good idea)
  • A diaper change pad
  • Receiving blanket
  • Small picture books and non-rolling toys
  • Sippy cup or water bottle
  • Two changes of pants; 1-2 changes of socks and 1-2 changes of shirts; 2 pairs of pjs.
  • 1-2 good coverage bibs
  • 3 face clothes, and a small plastic bag for wet ones.
  • Barf bags
  • A portable DVD player with headphones
  • Magnetic travel games or decks of cards – 52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane by Lynn Gordon is a neat deck of cards with plenty of activities to keep kids of all ages busy
  • Your child’s favourite comfort object – blankie, soother, teddy, etc

Dressing for the Plane – choose clothing for the easiest possible diaper change/trip to the toilet, for example:

  • Pants with snaps through the crotch that don’t need to be taken off completely
  • An undershirt that is just a shirt, not a onesie
  • If using pjs, one-piece zippered ones are great
  • A sweater or extra shirt that buttons so that you can just undo it, or take it right off easily

Tip: If your travels are taking you out of the country, we’ve found Prism Imaging on Fort Street to be the most child-friendly place in Victoria to get passport photos done.

And to make traveling even more fun for kids, check out the Trunki wheeled luggage system for kids (pictured above and to the right), kids can pack it, ride it or even be pulled on it – way to make that airport time fun!  We’ve got the Trunki in stock in every color from pink to tiger-stripe – bring your kids in for a test drive!

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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
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