Thursday, May 22, 2014

IBC and the Fistula Foundation

For months Informed Birth Choices has been planning a great event to encourage car seat safety and raise money for the Fistula Foundation. Finally the day had arrived. The weather was perfect for IBC's New Moms Group to host this awesome outdoor event.

Chloe Chrysanthus, an IBC doula and car seat specialist, volunteered her time to check and properly install infant and toddler car seats for free. Since 8 out of 10 car seats are installed improperly, this was a great service to all the moms who came out.

In addition to the care seat check and installation, IBC also asked for donations for the Fistula Foundation, an organization which performs surgeries to correct obstetric fistulas for women in developing nations. People graciously donated baked goods and handmade crafts to sell to raise money.

Danielle Koontz, the director of IBC, was hoping to raise around $50 and to her great surprise the money collected totaled $250! That amount is over half the cost of a fistula repair. The IBC car seat check and Fistula Foundation event was a true success and showed that women all over the world can change each others' lives for the better. Truly this event was a win-win for everyone involved! A BIG thank you to everyone involved!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Breastfeeding and Working

One of the most frequently asked questions that is asked when I am teaching a breastfeeding class is, "when should I introduce the bottle since I have to go back to work?" or "when do I start pumping when I have to go back to work?". Breastfeeding, pumping and working seems like it will be completely overwhelming to new moms, but it doesn't have to be. Learning how and when to pump can happen gradually and doesn't have to cause you anxiety.

Here are some of my tips for moms who will have to go back to work:

1. Establish the breastfeeding relationship with your baby first. It is more important to learn how to breastfeed and then worry about pumping.

2. Introduce the bottle after three good weeks of breastfeeding (if the first week sucks, then three weeks after you and baby got the hang of it).

3. When you do start pumping, try pumping in the morning when your milk supply is at its peak. Breastfeed the baby first and then pump the remaining milk. Add in pumping sessions throughout the day and eventually you will start making enough milk to store in the fridge and freezer.

4. Feed your baby from the bottle at least once a day so he/she gets used to bottle feeding.

5. Let the baby lead the feeding by holding baby more upright with the bottle at a 45 degree angle. Encourage her natural breastfeeding instincts (rooting, flanged lips, switching arms, etc.)

6. If your baby won't take the bottle from you (mom), allow someone else to offer him the bottle.

7. Pump when you can at work. It doesn't have to be when your baby would eat. Take advantage of your "pumportunities"!

How and when do all these things occur? Here is an action plan from the IBC Baby Basics class that I teach.

Are you interested in more information about breastfeeding and working? 

Webinar on breastfeeding and working:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From One to Two: Preparing Older Children and You for a 2nd Child

The sibling relationship is likely to be the longest lasting relationship that your child will have, but making that transition from one child to two, isn't always easy. Not only can it be challenging for the older child, but having another baby can also put stress on the parental relationship. Preparing yourselves and your child for the next baby can be very helpful in easing the transition.

Normal things to expect are parental conflicts, increase in stress and workload, ambivalence and/or hostility from the first child. Not all effects of a second child are negative, but the negative aspects are usually the hardest to deal with, so below are some strategies in preparing you and your child for what may come.

Preparing the Parents:
The birth of a second child can sometimes begin the most difficult year in a couple's relationship, therefore working on the parental relationship can have a positive results on parenting. Communication is the key to avoiding conflict.

Here are some questions to ask each other before your second baby is born:

  • What is your vision of the division of labor?
  • How should we handle it if our expectations aren't met?
  • What has worked well for us, as parents, so far?
  • What has been stressful about our teamwork?
  • How can we prepare for a new baby?
  • What causes you stress with our first child?
Every change requires a loss. Think about what you might lose and talk to your partner about your concerns (time together, sex, sleep, personal time, etc.)

Preparing the Child:
Although there are many things that you can do to prepare the older child for a sibling, the child's personality has the greatest effect on the reaction to the new baby. Also, his/her developmental stage can really effect how he/she reacts to the baby sister/brother.

Here are some things to try that may ease the transistion:
  • Read sibling books together
  • Play baby doll games
  • Teach older child the do's and don'ts with the new baby
  • Maintain scheduling consistency as much as possible
  • Encourage questions
  • Describe where they will go and who will watch them during the birth
  • Encourage involvement in preparations
  • Embrace resistance and regression
  • Carve out along time
  • Don't make promises that you can't keep.
When children are making the transition into the role of big brother/sister, they need to know that their emotional needs are taken care of. They need to feel included, respected, important, accepted, and secure.  Also, avoid overt favortism, treat each fairly, honor the children's difference, avoid comparrisons and labeling them, and don't assume that all conflict is bad.

Having a second child can be very stressful on the family during which a lot of adjustments occur, but it also a very joyous time. So, prepare yourselves and your child for the wonderful addition to your family.

For more on sibling adjustment you can listen to the is free webinar.

Books:  Beyond One, Jennifer Bingham and How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, Gerald Newmark