Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A New Idea for Nursing Moms, Haberman Feeders

Many new breastfeeding moms find themselves using a bottle for one reason or another. It is a great way to let mom get some sleep while your partner has some bonding time with the baby. The only problem is that bottles function in an entirely different way than the breast. Baby only has to give a few small sucks and milk flows freely so that all baby has to do is swallow. The position and action of babies tongue is also completely different with the bottle than the breast. This can cause some confusion for baby and can ultimately lead to baby rejecting the breast or milk supply problems due to an improper latch and sucking technique. I frequently recommend to my breastfeeding clients that they use Medela Haberman Feeders for the first six weeks of breastfeeding. These bottles are actually made for babies that have a cleft palate. It has a longer teat type nipple with a slit-valve in the mouthpiece that opens only when baby sucks. The flow of milk is determined by babies sucking and position of the teat in baby's mouth just like when your baby breastfeeds. There is absolutely no back flow in these bottle so no air for baby to swallow. These are a little pricey but I believe worth it for moms who are serious about breastfeeding or who have babies with reflux. They also make a mini size one for premature babies. You can purchase these online at www.selfexpressions.com/habermanfeeder.html

If you live in San Antonio you can purchase the Haberman feeders at the Methodist Womens Lactation Center, 8109 Fredericksburg Rd. Dont let them talk you into not buying them. They tell most of my clients that they don't need them and they don't know why some crazy doula keeps recommending them. Just smile and buy them anyway. Your crazy doula guarantees you will be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Benefits of Red Rasberry Leaf Tea during Pregnancy

Whether you are trying to conceive or are in your last trimester of pregnancy, I highly recommend you consider adding red rasberry leaf tea to your daily diet. First recorded in the 1500's, the tea made from this herb (rubus ideas) has earned the reputation of being the safest and most effective of all uterine and pregnancy tonic herbs. It contains fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus. It is also a nourishing source of important vitamins and minerals. Red rasberry leaf tea contains a rich concentration of vitamin C, vitamin E and easily assimilated calcium and iron. The benefits of drinking a rasberry leaf tea before and throughout pregnancy include:
  • Increasing fertility (especially when combined with Red Clover)
  • Preventing miscarriage
  • Easing morning sickness
  • Reducing pain during labor and after birth
  • Assisting in the production of plentiful breastmilk

Red Rasberry leaf tea does not start labor or promote contractions. It is not an oxytocic herb. It does help strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles so that once labor does start the muscles will be more efficient. I recommend my clients drink one cup per day prior to conception and during the first trimester, two cups per day during the second trimester, and three cups per day during the last trimester. To be most effective this tonic should be used regularly, five times a week or more. Sporadic use will not give you the best uterine toning effect, just as irregular exercise will not build your muscles. Even occasional use is beneficial though due to the nourishing vitamins and minerals found in red rasberry leaf tea. An easy way to add this pleasant tasting tea to your daily routine is to brew some to keep in the refrigerator. This makes it much easier to reach for instead of your usual beverage of choice. This one simple choice has helped many of my clients have a faster, easier, less painful birth.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Colick, Myths & Facts!

My second son Joshua cried for at least four hours straight every day. Nothing I did made it better. He was only two months old and I thought that I might lose my mind. The doctors casual, " It's just colick he'll grow out of it" made me feel helpless. I believed him and decided it was like a random plague that affects some babies and not others for no explainable reason. I have had moms tell me that they were colicky babies too and it must just run in the family. In a way they are right. We now know that most colick is not caused by gas as we were so often told. Colic is usually caused by one of two things. Lactose intolerance (which does seem to be genetic) which causes the lining of the stomach to be irritated and possibly bleed. Or by acid reflux which causes a painful burning of the esophagus. No wonder babies scream and can't be comforted!
There are two ways to determine whether you baby is lactose intolerant. My favorite is to take a stool sample in to the doctor and let them look at it under a microscope for traces of blood. Really simple! The other way is to take your baby off of all products containing lactose. If you are nursing this means you must not eat or drink anything with lactose in it.
If you determine that your baby isn't lactose intolerant then the culprit is most likely acid reflux or GER (Gastro Esophageal Reflux). Reflux most commonly occurs when the ring of muscle that joins the stomach to the esophagus does not function properly. This muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, usually opens very briefly for swallowing or vomiting, and then closes again. But in reflux cases, the muscle stays relaxed and food and stomach acids can flow back into the esophagus. This causes an intense burning sensation. There are many treatment options for babies with GER. You should see your pediatrician for diagnoses and treatment options.
There are several things that can help make baby more comfortable. Be sure that baby is propped at a 45 degree angle during feeding and for at least half an hour after. Feed baby smaller more frequent feedings. Try Baby Bliss Gripe Water, this works wonders for some babies. It can safely be given before every feeding. Most of all make sure that you allow some down time for yourself. Having a baby with colick can be very stressful. Be kind to yourself and allow someone you trust to care for the baby while you do something just for you. If you don't have friends or family that can help call a postpartum doula. They are specially trained to care for colicky babies and can give you a much needed break.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lullaby & Goodnight, Sleep Tips for Newborns.

When my phone rings late at night it is usually a new mom who is very sleep deprived. The conversation starts out quite business like and quickly moves to tears as mom tells me that she hasn't slept for more than a couple of hours in at least a week. My heart really goes out to these exhausted moms as I used to be one of them. As a postpartum doula it is so great to be able to come in and help families get some rest and to show them how they can teach their new babies to sleep better and longer. I recently had a home visit with a mom whose baby was two days old. The baby had kept her up all night wanting to nurse every hour, but in the light of day was now sleeping like an angel. I asked when the last time baby had nursed and she started counting on her fingers and decided it had been almost four hours. I recommended that she start to keep a log of babies feeding times and feed the baby every 2-3 hrs during the day even if this meant waking him up for a feeding. I also don't think it is a good idea to feed the baby more frequently than every two hours as this can cause digestion and reflux issues for baby. I showed this new mom how to swaddle her baby up tightly and explained how to activate her babies calming reflex when he was fussy. We talked about how important it is to swaddle baby up and lay him down while he is still awake to allow him to learn to fall asleep on his own. This is a skill that even a newborn baby can begin to learn. We also talked about the fact that babies will sleep better and longer if they are swaddled, propped on a wedge at a 45 degree angle, and have a white noise CD playing while sleeping A week later mom called to say how much better things were going. The baby was stretching out to 4 hours of sleep at night and was eating and sleeping better overall. She said her family was amazed at how easy it was to calm the baby when he was fussy using the calming techniques she had learned. This true story is what makes being a postpartum doula so rewarding. Postpartum doulas offer wisdom as well as practical and emotional support to new families. Research has shown that the incidence of postpartum depresion is significantly reduced in moms that have the support of a postpartum doula. If you are a new mom and feel you need a helping hand with your newborn please seek out a postpartum doula in your area. She can help you and your family get the rest and support you need. If you live in the San Antonio area and need help with your new baby please don't hesitate to contact me. I am always happy to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Importance of a Birth Plan

Are birth plans important? Why do I need one? Many expectant moms have been told that they should have a birth plan but they struggle with questions about how to make one and what to include. I'd like to share a story with you that I think will help you understand the importance of a birth plan. One of my clients who was 38 weeks pregnant with her first baby asked me to go to her ob. appointment with her. She was planning on giving the doctor her birth plan and wanted me to be there. I thought her birth plan was well done and not out of the ordinary. She wanted to be free to move around during labor, intermittent fetal monitoring, a hep lock instead of an IV, no episiotomy. She was healthy with no complications so these were not unusual requests. After her exam she showed the doctor her birth plan and asked him to sign it. After reading through it he proceeded to tell her line by line why she couldn't have any of the things she had requested. He told her that he had been delivering babies a very long time and he would know what she needed. He told her to just sit back and let him drive this plane and not to start getting bossy now that they were almost to the end of her pregnancy. I promise you this is a true story. Of course my client was devastated. We talked about her options and she decided she wanted to change doctors. There are very few doctors that will accept a woman after 32 weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, her story had a happy ending. She found a supportive doctor who allowed her to have the birth she wanted. I tell you this story to encourage you to make a birth plan and share it with your doctor hopefully in your second trimester. This will allow you to know whether you and your doctor are on the same page about your desires for birth. It also will give you time to make changes if you find that your plan for the birth is not acceptable to your doctor. Here is a link to a great online birth plan generator http://www.birthplan.com/

If you have a birth doula she is also an excellent resource for helping you decide what to include in your birth plan. Doulas usually include help with your birth plan as part of your birth package. If you are struggling with what to include in the birth plan or just have questions please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to help.

Monday, April 20, 2009

S.A. Doula Recommended Reading List

Many of the families I work with ask me for my opinion about the best books to read to get ready for their birth and new baby. I wanted to share with you some of my recommendations.

  • I personally feel that every pregnant woman should read, "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer. This book informs women on the pros and cons of all of their labor choices. She covers the latest research on everthing from prolonged first stage labor to vbac. Another great book to prepare for birth is, "The Labor Companion", by Penny Simkin. This book is a wealth of information on coping strategies for labor.

  • If you are planning to breastfeed you baby and only have time to read one book choose,"Breastfeeding Made Simple", by Nancy Mohrbacher. It truly is simple, easy to understand and has wonderful pictures.

  • I know there are tons of books out there on infant care, feeding & sleeping. The book that I really love is, "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer", by Tracy Hogg. It is full of practical advice that is fun & easy to read. I wish I had this book when my children were babies! Another resource that I highly recommend for new parents is, "The Happiest Baby on the Block" dvd by Dr. Harvey Karp. He shows parents how to use five simple techniques to activate their babies calming reflex. I have used this with many fussy babies and it truly does work. My clients demand for this dvd was so great that I became a distributor.

I hope that these recommendations will help to get you started preparing for the amazing journey of parenthood. As always please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

Friday, April 17, 2009

VBAC Births in San Antonio

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors who are willing to do vbac births in San Antonio. Sadly, many moms feel like their only option is a scheduled c-section. I wanted to share a recent wonderful experience I had at a vbac birth with my client. When I met Julie she was expecting her second child and was interested in hiring me to be her birth doula for her second birth. She has a three year old son who was born by cesarean after 3 long hours of pushing. Julie is 5'2 and Tate was an 8'11 ounce baby. Julie had recovered physically from her cesarean but emotionally she still struggled with feelings of failure. After much soul searching and very little encouragement, she and her husband had made the decision to try and have a vbac with their second birth. Julie was under the care of the Lonestar Midwives who deliver at St. Lukes Baptist Hospital. Fortunately for Julie she was at one of the few vbac friendly providers here in San Antonio. Although, dozens of studies report that for women who have had one prior cesarean birth with a low-horizontal incision, the risk of uterine rupture is less then 1%, many physicians will not allow women a trial of labor due to the liability risk. Julie and I met several times prior to her birth and talked about places she had gotten "stuck" in her labor. We talked about ways we could handle those situations differently. After talking, Julie felt that delaying/avoiding an epidural was very important for her and that pushing on her hands and knees was crucial to be able to push out her large baby. Julie worked hard learning relaxation breathing and relaxation techniques. She used the Hypnobabies vbac relaxation cd. Many of my clients have used this program with good results. I am happy to report that Julie vaginally delivered her beautiful son after a very manageable 18hr labor. She delayed getting an epidural until 7 cm. After an hour of pushing on her back she insisted on pushing on her hands and knees which was the key to her success. I hope this will be an encouragement to any moms who desire a vbac delivery. The success rate of vbac birth is around 70%. That means that 3 out of 4 women can successfully delivery their baby vaginally. If it is your hearts desire to deliver your baby vaginally it is definitely possible!