Last week I took a little informal survey of my non doula, non birth worker friends on my personal facebook, as well as a San Fernando Valley community group, and asked mothers and partners to name something that surprised them about birth and that they wished someone had told them about beforehand.
One common theme was support. The great need for continuous support. From comments stating that the partner just didn’t know what to do, or, that it was just too much for them to deal with, to, they just weren’t at all supportive. No matter how amazing your partner is, they too need someone to reassure them, this is normal, birth is normal, fear is normal, you’re doing great. Doulas are trained, of course, to take care of the birthing woman, but, I firmly feel that taking care of the partner is also a huge part of taking care of the birthing woman. If your partner is calm, focused, and directed, they can help you remain calm, focused and directed. Sometimes I think of myself as a labor translator…or, as this great Pam England quote says – a sherpa –
“Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you’d both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!” – Pam England
Every labor is different. Every birth is different. Some are slow and calm, some are fast and frantic. Why not have a calm, caring voice at your side?
Whether it’s your first birth, or your fifth, the calm, nonjudgmental support of a labor and birth doula makes for a more satisfying birth experience!
~Heather Mayer – Birth and Postpartum Doula
*Part 2 will address informed consent and your right to speak up and ask questions!
It is natural for baby to be close to his mother/primary caregiver. Babies are happiest when being held.. Babywearing is a great practice for keeping baby happy and to help build a stronger bond. The benefits of babywearing are many!
When we wear a baby in a carrier, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. A carrier can also be great to help block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby.
When a baby rides in a carrier attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes.. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The carrier becomes in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.
Carriers are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. I love seeing baby wearing dads/partners going for a walk with their baby in a sling! The baby is becoming used to their voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Partners don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Holding baby safe and close in a carrier is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
As a postpartum doula I love spreading the babywearing love and helping new families figure out the perfect carrier for them! There’s so many resources out there for help – from facebook babywearing groups, to certified babywearing instructors located here in the San Fernando Valley .
I just had the most amazing Sunday! I had the privilege to attend a full day workshop on acupressure for pregnancy, labor, and postpartum issues.
Sunday morning I got up early (early for me, Sunday is a sleep in day when I’m not working!), and went from Woodland Hills to Venice. I was blessed with no traffic (if you know Los Angeles, you know what a miracle that is), and gorgeous sunny blue skies.
My DONA International approved workshop was held at The Sanctuary, in Venice and led by the fantastic and highly skilled Nicholas Olow. 9-5:30 was spent all on acupressure and comfort techniques to better serve my clients, and to help facilitate bonding and closeness between the birthing mother and her partner. It was a fantastic day, surrounded by awesome doulas and so much positive energy. Much knowledge was shared, and so much love, and energy filled the room.
I learned SO much. The workshop was hands on and absolutely wonderful. I went in with an open mind and fully expecting to enjoy it, but, I must say, it lit a fire to continue learning even more acupressure techniques. New skills to bring to my clients, new knowledge for me, and a new passion!
So amazing. I love my life!