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Showing posts from 2012

The Swaddle, An important tool in the parents’ tool kit

The Swaddle, An important tool in the parents’ tool kit One item that I always carry in my doula bag when I go to meet with a client is a swaddle blanket.   I have found that when dealing with a fussy infant, swaddling is always a good place to start.   When a baby is upset, the world seems so large, scary, cold, and often over stimulating.   By teaching my clients the basics of a good swaddle, I am providing the parents a technique that will help to warm, calm, comfort, and soothe their upset child.   Below are various resources on swaddling your baby.   The main points in swaddling is to start with a large blanket, make sure you wrap the baby snuggly (able to fit two fingers into the swaddle), and make sure you tuck the tail securely.   I plan to have swaddles on hand to try and purchase at my booth at the Preserving Indiana Birth Choices Red Tent Event on October 27, 2012.   Be sure to stop by and see me. Reasons to Swaddle

Mommy Time or Baby Time? Who knows the better schedule?

Mommy Time or Baby Time?   Who knows the better schedule? New moms often find themselves gently laying their sleeping newborns down into their beds and then saying to themselves, “Finally! The baby is asleep, what can I get done before she wakes up?”   Six weeks later, the baby is awake more often and the mother is trying to figure how to get that sleepy baby back so she can have a moments rest.   Does this seem a little backwards to you?   Perhaps instead of asking what we can be doing while baby sleeps, we should be asking what we can do while the baby is awake.   When baby is sleeping, mother should be sleeping.   Especially during those first 6-8 weeks postpartum. Take Time to Rest Labor and pregnancy is hard work and our bodies need some time to recover fully from the experience.   Likewise, the birth and a totally new environment is hard on the new baby.   Both need this time of rest and bonding.   When baby sleeps, mom should sleep, when baby eats, mom should be

Arranging your own kind of postpartum care

If you aren't sure if hiring a postpartum doula is for you, consider reaching out to your friends and neighbors with a list of things you would like help with once the baby arrives.  This can vary from cooking meals, doing laundry, mowing your lawn or anything else that will be helpful to you and your partner as you spend time bonding with your new baby.  If you are needing a more detailed list of possibilities, check out this link from Gloria Lemay's Birth Blog.

How to make a baby sling from a bedsheet

When visiting mothers about two weeks postpartum, I often find moms are feeling more like themselves and ready to start doing more activities.   Their newborns often have other ideas, sometimes wanting to be held most of the day.   To help meet the need of baby and mother I often recommend the use of baby wearing.   The practice of baby wearing is know the world over and has been used for centuries.   It enables the mother to maintain the closeness with her child, but also free her hands for other tasks and activities. Beyond the practical benefits for the mother by wearing her child, there are many benefits of baby wearing for the baby itself.   Many of these benefits are outlined by Dr. Sears on his website .   Some of these benefits include a baby that cries less, increased brain development, and more opportunities for nurturing touch which has benefits of its own. While there are many options of carriers available, I like to show my clients a basic carry us

Conversations with a breastfeeding mother

Karen is a mother of three children.   Each child had their own breastfeeding experience.   Karen was gracious enough to answer some questions about her breastfeeding experience to be shared with you here on the blog. What were some of the reasons you decided to breastfeed? The reasons I wanted to breastfeed -- I prefer things that are natural, so breastfeeding seemed like the best choice for that. I had seen some people struggle with their babies having intolerances to formula and figured I was less likely to go through that if I chose to breastfeed. My sister breastfed her children, so the network of support was sort of built-in, meaning I didn't have even one person make me second-guess this decision, nearly everyone was very supportive. Also, I wanted to be a stay at home mom so I knew it was definitely the cheaper option (vs. paying for formula).    What were some of your struggles with breastfeeding? My biggest struggle was getting my first 2 babies to latch on... Luckily

To Eat or Not to Eat….That isn’t the question.

It is 2:38 AM and I have just finished nursing my daughter back to sleep and as I stumble back to bed my stomach lets out a frightening growl and that cold feeling of hunger creeps into my belly.   Knowing that I will have a hard time going back to sleep unless I put something in my belly; I groggily try to decide what to do.   When I first came home from the hospital with my first child I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I had to eat more than I ever had during my pregnancy to help maintain the needed calories for breastfeeding.   When none of your normal clothing fits, and you are looking for some semblance of the life you used to have prior to baby it is easy to understand why so many women are concerned about quickly losing all of our baby weight as soon as possible.   Grand plans for exercising and eating low calorie meals come to a screeching halt when faced with the reality of lacking energy as one recovers from labor and delivery and staying up with a hungry baby la

The art of hand expressing breast milk

This month I have the opportunity to teach a new parenting class with the Natural Parenting Education Network of Lafayette.  (See Here) In preparation for the course I was reveiwing my resources for breastfeeding and came across a link on how to hand express breastmilk.  I encourage all moms and dads to watch this movie as it is very simple to understand and can be very beneficial for those wanting to breastfeed their babies.  Here is the link h ttp://newborns Studies have shown that if hand expression 5 times a day is used in additon to the use of a breast pump, mothers produce up to 80% more milk.  And the more milk a mother is producing the easier it is to breastfeed your baby.  Knowing how to hand express is also helpful later in the nursing relationship in case your pump stops working, you need to relieve pressure while away from your baby, or for the mom that only needs to express enough for the occasional feeding that she wil

The Napping Nurser

When I asked some of my fellow moms what they wish they knew when they started out breastfeeding.  One topic that came up was what you should do when your baby wants to fall asleep at the breast, only to wake up 5 minutes later wanting to nurse again. When this happens I will ask the mom a few questions to help determine what should be done, if anything. 1.  Is the baby latching on correctly?   Breastfeeding is much easier, more efficient, and has better milk flow when the baby is latched on correctly.  If the milk is not coming easily for the baby than they might fall asleep out of disinterest.  Check out this link for great images and video of a good deep latch. 2.  Is the baby awake and alert?   Trying to get an infant to actively nurse as they are entering a light REM sleep will not be as effective as nursing a baby in the quite and alert stage.  Keeping baby in this stage can be done through skin

Welcome home baby ….and mom

Often much thought is put into the preparation for baby’s homecoming following the birth.   The perfect crib is bought, the right shade of paint picked for the nursery, you have so many diapers you feel like you are bringing home triplets instead of just one child.   Everyone is waiting expectantly to hold the new little bundle when the family arrives home.   But, what about the mom?   Have any preparations been made for her? Still tired and sore from labor, and probably dazed from the level of hormones raging through her body mom is often looking for a haven at home.   She walks in just wanting to sit down and rest, but finds it difficult to get comfortable in her usual seat.   The distance to the bathroom seems 10 times father away and the distance between baby’s bed and the bathroom even more so.   Dad leaves mom and baby together in front of the TV and the remote is across the room and mother is parched with nothing to drink.   Baby is hungry, but it is hard to hold the baby up at

Gracious Hands Doula Services

Gracious Hands Doula Services My name is Leah Garner.  It is my pleasure to offer compassionate postpartum care to families in the Tippecanoe County area.  It is my belief that the entire family benefits from an extra pair of hands to help, ears to listen, and a heart to care during the time of transition in the fourth trimester.  I have been trained by DONA International to provide nonjudgmental support and education for: Newborn care Mothering the new mother Breastfeeding Baby soothing techniques Family adjustment Screening for Postpartum Mood Disorders Preparation of nutritious meals Light housekeeping Referrals of local resources I hope to share through this page ideas and resources on how to mother the new mother, support the new family, and basic newborn care.   If you have any questions or ideas to share send me a post or email.   I would love to hear from you.