Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So is this going to get pediatricians to stop telling parents they NEED to introduce cereal first? I hate hearing from parents that they trust their doctor's advice when the doctor is so obviously NOT up-to-date on current nutrition research :( And nothing you tell them, no study you share with them, is enough to get them to realize they put their trust in the wrong person.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif


Guidelines for Introducing Foods to Infants Being Developed
The traditional diets of infants could change in the near future with the development of guidelines for introducing complementary foods, which are expected to call for an earlier introduction of meat in the infant's diet. At present, 80 percent of US infants are receiving complementary foods by six months of age.

Proposed changes in nutrition recommendations will be discussed Oct. 17 during the NCE session "Throw Out the Rice Cereal — New Recommendations for Complementary Feeding of Infants and Toddlers" (X1004.)

"This is more about the science of complementary feeding rather than the tradition of complimentary feeding," said Frank R.Greer, MD, FAAP. "We have always started with rice cereal because it is hypoallergenic. But to be truthful, it is not a great source of nutrients, particularly for the infant who has been exclusively breastfed. It is much better to get that with meat. In addition, there is growing evidence that the earlier introduction of ‘allergic' foods does not promote food allergy and may even prevent it."

Dr. Geer, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, and the former chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and the co-author of guidelines for complementary feeding that are underdevelopment, said he would address the following topics in his presentation:

What is the scientific basis for the present introduction of complementary foods?
Red meat is the nutrient-rich food that biologically may be best as the first complementary feeding for infants.
What is the rationale for introducing vegetables before fruits, and does this really influence infants' food preferences?
What are the advantages to the early introduction of complementary foods that have allergic potential, including those associated with food allergy?
What strategy for the introduction of complementary foods would have the greatest impact on childhood obesity?

"Our present methods of complementary food are totally based on tradition, rather than scientific research," Dr. Greer said in discussing why the Academy is developing nutrition guidelines. "For example,exclusively breastfed infants need iron and zinc, of which the best source is red meat, typically the last food group introduced to infants."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Analyn's SURPRISE unassisted birth!

I don't know if it had anything to do with it, but we went out for Indian food Saturday night. My doula friend made a comment that it would put me into labor and I told her I hoped not because I was still holding out for the better birth tub to get back!

I woke up with mild but more-than-BH contractions a little after 3am. I went back to sleep between them for a little more than an hour, with a prayer (more of a plea) that this wasn't it, I wanted that nicer tub! I never really bothered timing them, but they must have been about 10 minutes apart the way they were affecting my sleep. Around 4:30 I knew they weren't going away and I needed to fill the tub back up since I never filled it after the last empty. The tub takes about 2.5 water-heater-fulls so I knew we'd have to run some cold water in and boil pots of water. NOT the ideal way to do it, but we'd make it work. The sound of the water was enough to wake Craig and he got up and helped boil water.

I turned off the water to the tub when it started to run cold and texted the doula and the sitter that I was in labor but didn't need anyone yet. I was already having a lot of back pain with each contraction, so I put on the TENS unit and got back in bed hoping to get more rest. I was able to dose between contractions and my dearest husband kept filling big pots and bringing boiling water up every 20-30 minutes until the water was hot enough we figured we could add cold water to make it deep enough if I wanted to get in sooner than the water heater was hot again (if that makes sense...). Then Craig came back to bed until we heard the boys getting up. I texted my friend that the boys were getting up so if she could head over soon that would be helpful.

I stayed down stairs for a bit but decided I'd rather be in my room and went back. I realized I had no idea when the last time I had washed my hair had been, so I took a shower. I got a contraction ever time I leaned over to get something, but the water felt good when it hit my belly so I stood in the stream for a while until I wanted to sit down again. It was hard to get dried off and dressed when every movement gave me a contraction! I tried to lay down for a while, but I found that when I laid down the contractions were not as frequent but stronger and harder to deal with. So I got back up and moved between the ball and pacing. My plan was to call the doula when I couldn't get through contractions without moaning and call the midwife when I needed to get in the tub.

The end went really quickly. Before 11, I texted the doula and asked her to come and she got here about 11:20. Around noon I wanted to get in the tub. Craig got me some water and ice and called the midwife at 12:15. A few contractions later I started to think the pressure in my lower back was "push pressure", not just back labor. I told Craig and the doula that the midwife might not make it. Craig asked if that was ok with me or if I wanted him to call 911. I said it was fine. I tried not to push for a few contractions and just let the breathing do it, but then I HAD to push!!! I felt for her and realized that she was close and my water hadn't broken. A couple contractions later my water broke. Then it was just a few more contractions and her head was out. I sat back on Craig's lap and pushed out the rest of her while the doula helped catch.

I got her up out of the water and she was BRIGHT purple, but that's normal because waterbabies don't get any oxygen when their heads are born. She was looking around and looked like she wasn't sure if she should cry or not. We held her and talked to her and I offered her the breast a few times until she took it. The doula called the midwife and left her a message that the baby had been born. Then we just waited!

The midwife came 20 minutes later and her assistant was a few minutes behind her. She gave me a big hug and congratulated me on a job well-done. We talked for a bit about what happened, whether or not I had passed the placenta (I hadn't), and decided to get out to push out the placenta since it hadn't come yet. Her cord was really short so we decided to cut it before climbing out (it had LONG since stopped pulsing!) and Craig said I could cut it since he had cut both boys' cords. They helped me climb out and I pushed out the placenta.

Then I got to climb into my own bed and they checked me out, no tears, just one little nick, everything else was great. They sat down on the floor of the bathroom and checked out the placenta and then brought it back for me to check out. So cool! They checked out Analyn, decided she was perfect, cleaned up the bathroom, did the laundry, helped me go to the bathroom to try to pee, then left me in bed and went downstairs to do their charting. They came back up an hour or two later before leaving to see if I was awake and say goodbye.

After building a relationship with them, I'm sorry they couldn't be there, but it really was amazing and the most empowering thing I've every done!

She was 8lb 8oz and 21.75in long. Her head was 13.5" around. She didn't even lose 5% of her body weight! At 2 days she was 8lb 1.8oz. before nursing and 3.4 ounces after. At 3 days she was 8lb 6oz.

There aren't any pictures or video of the birth since there was no one to take them:( But are some from immediately after and then through checks and clean up.

With Big Brother Eli:

With Big Brother Jordan:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ergo Giveaway

Check out this Ergo giveaway!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Sheila Kitzinger

This was, by far, the best pregnancy book I've read. It was very natural-friendly, birth center and homebirth advocating, and had none of the "here's what could go wrong, ask your doctor how you should proceed at every turn" undertones that "What to Expect..." has.

It is filled with facts and statistics to back the claims it makes in support of natural birthing methods.

It is often claimed that, because far fewer mothers and babies die than say, 60 years ago, when most women had their babies at home, hospital birth must be the cause of this. But, of course, the fact that two things happen at the same time does not mean that one causes the other. Nor should we use statistics of home births from the past, or in developing countries. Many other things are different, including our health, our access to contraceptives, and abortion, and our socioeconomic conditions. These have a profound effect on perinatal mortality. As the standard of living rises, fewer babies die at birth in every country, whether or not they are born in a hospital. (pg 45)

There are full-color pictures of real-life people to demonstrate exercises to alleviates pain and strengthen the body, positions to try in labor, and examples of various other things to expect.

It also does a good job of explaining the why instead of just the how and what.

Childbirth is not primarily a medical process but a psychosexual experience. It is not surprising that adapting your responses to the stimuli it presents should involve a subtle and delicate working together of mind and body. (pg 181)

Kitzinger explains the differences between locations of birth and stressed the importance of making the space a woman chooses her own and having privacy.

When women describe their birth experiences in hospitals, especially large ones, they often talk about all the people who wandered in and out, anonymous faces looking through the porthole window in the door, and conversation about them, not with them, conducted over their supine bodies. Can you imagine the effect of having strangers and other observers around you when you took a bath, sate on the toilet, tried to sleep, or were making love? Birth is a psychosexual activity that involves revealing that which is usually physically and emotionally private...To be watched by someone with whom you have you have no intimate and trusting closeness, to be inspected, criticized, applauded, and urged to do better, can interrupt and prove an obstacle to psychophysical coordination. This is why it is important to create your own space for birth, and to arrange to have one or more companions with you with whom you feel not just comfortable but completely at ease...You need to choose a birth companion who will be like an anchor for you in a stormy sea. (pg 187)

She goes on to urge the woman to choose a female companion to attend the birth with her.

Research shows that if a woman has another woman with her during labor and birth she has a less need for pain-relieving drugs and her labor is shorter. There are fewer operative deliveries (forcepts, vacuum extractor, and Cesarean sections) and episiotomies. Babies are in better condition at birth and mothers are much more likely to look back on the birth as a positive experience. Studies also have revealed that these women have fewer perineal lacerations, are more likely to be breastfeeding at six weeks, and are less likely to be depressed.

This all agrees with the research and findings behind professional doulas. Statistics all favor doulas in every case. Even women who end up with a necessary c-section are happier with the outcome because they feel supported and informed when making the decision instead of coerced into it as so many women feel these days. Even in situations where the birthing mother didn't know her female companion, such as a hospital-provided doula, reported benefits of a non-medical female support person.

Being in tune with the body and nature are big factors in a good birth experience. "Purple pushing" consists of waiting for the beginning of a contraction, exhaling, then taking a deep breath holding the breath while pushing to the count of ten, then exhaling and repeating two more times before the end of the contraction. But all evidence-based birth shows this is a horrible way to navigate the second stage of labor!

If we watch any mammal giving birth, a cat, for example, or a sheep, we notice that it does not take great breath and then "block" the birth canal by holding its breath. A sheep gives birth with rather light, quick breathing. (pg 213)

Different positions for birth can help different situations. While most OBs prefer a woman to be sitting or lying on her back, evidence shows that there isn't a worse position.

There is no reason that you should have to be tucked up in bed. there are definite disadvantages to the supine position (lying flat on your back) for your baby, since the blood flow in the large veins is in the lower part of your body may be obstructed by the heavy weight of your uterus, and this can reduce the blood flow through the placenta to and from the baby. (pg 213)

There is a chapter on the screens and tests that can be run to assess the baby's health. Doctors tend to rely too heavily on these tests and many times they give false-positives and lead to unnecessary interventions.

[Ultrasounds] are not good at estimating birth weight, although they can be more accurate with premature babies. Research shows that the mother's guess at her baby's weight is more accurate. (pg 230)

So a woman must decide if the potential information that may be gained from the test is worth the risks involved. In the case of ultrasounds, they are assumed to be safe. But that has recently been called into question.

As far as we know, ultrasound is safe...On the otherhand, it is known that high-frequency sound waves continued for a long time can damage an adult's hearing. Questions have therefore been raised about effects on the baby's hearing, since, although the sound waves are bounced off the baby for only a short time, the baby may be vulnerable at certain stages of its development...no one yet knows if any [babies] will suffer delayed effects in later life. (pg 231)

While many people will tell you there are different kinds of labor, many don't know just how different labor can be. Sadly, too many doctor have expectations of what "normal" birth should look like. Women then get the impression that their bodies can't give birth without help from drugs and machines.

In the U.S., the most common reason for a Cesarean is the diagnosis of dystocia - prolonged labor. Thirty-eight percent of Cesareans are done for this reason. Another 20 percent are augmented with intravenous oxytocin in its synthetic form (pitocin) for the same reason. As a result, women suffer more infection, bleeding, and a longer hospital stay - and many are left with the feeling that their bodies have failed them. (pg 285)

So how slow is too slow? Many doctors will suggest intervention at 12 hours after active labor has started. The assumption is that labor should progress at 1cm per hour and that 12 hours is longer than the body really needs. But the average first labor, when left to labor and not in a hospital setting with strangers and monitors and interventions is 15-17 hours! And nothing under 24 hours is really considered to be "long" in the natural birthing world. No more babies or mothers die when labor is left to a natural course and time-line. Many doctors will even suggest minor interventions to "speed up labor" after only a few hours, telling the mother that breaking her amnio sac will help things move along. But this practice isn't proven and can lead to more painful contractions and introduces bacteria into an other-wise sterile environment. Plus, the minute the sac is broken, the clocked is watched because most doctors won't let a woman labor more than about 24 hours with her water broken for fear of infection.

Many women think that birth has to be painful. They can't imagine a natural birth because they think that they won't be able to deal with the pain.

People often think that pain is just a matter of a "high" or a "low" pain threshold. There are very few women who think that they have a high pain threshold and can bear pain well. in fact, the idea of pain threshold being like a wall, with some of us possessing high walls and others low ones, is a myth.

It is now known that the pain sensation threshold is the same in all human beings. In one research study in the United States, members of Italian, Irish, and other ethnic groups were given electric shocks ranging from mild to fairly strong, and every single person said pain occurred at exactly the same point. Yet obviously we do not all react to the pain in the same way, because it depends on what is going on in our minds. (pg 304)

So each woman needs to learn how to deal with her pain. How to handle it in a constructive way instead of dwelling in it and saying she can't get passed it. There are different ways to do this and they are as varied as the women who use them. Hypnosis is a fairly new option in the US.

[Hypnosis] has the great advantage over chemical anesthetics of not reducing the baby's oxygen intake or making the woman feel drugged and drowsy. In fact, about a quarter of women who have had hypnosis in childbirth say that they experienced no pain... (pg 310)

Acupuncture is another option if the mother can find a provider.

In labor, electroacupuncture may be used at points in the ear for analgesia, and with this technique the woman herself can control the degree of stimulation. In Bejing today, acupuncture is performed in preference to epidural anesthesia for 98 percent of Cesarean sections. (pg 311)

There are many other natural remedies that can and should be tried before resorting to chemical therapies. Aromatherapy has long been used to calm or excite a person. A cold wash cloth with some lavender oil is very calming when the woman is warm and anxious. There are also different types of homeopathy available if you seek them out.

Lavender can be put directly on the skin. It can be mixed with one or two other essences...Some essential oils are overpowering if you use more than one or two drops, so sniff the bottles first before you concoct your recipe to make sure that it is well balanced. (pg 312)

Unlike conventional medial treatments, homeopathy aims to treat the whole person, including the mental and emotional states that have an adverse effect on physical well-being...The more diluted the remedy, the more effective it is. (pg 313)

There is a section on the medical pain remedies available. It explains what each option does, how it is administered, and the risks involved for both the mother and baby. After her own research, the author found that:

...18 percent of women very much regretted having had the epidural and said in effect, 'Never again!' (pg 322)

She goes on to conclude that the circumstances around the choice of the epidural has a lot to do with the feeling afterward. A woman who plans to get it all along, or knows that she will wait as long as possible, and then asks for it is much happier with her decision that the woman who feels that it was her only choice, or that the doctors or other people around her were pushing her to get the epidural. It has to be her own choice while the others in her environment are supportive of any choice she makes.

You have the right to decide what happens to your body before during, and after childbirth. You are not bound, either by law or out of politeness, to agree to procedures and investigations to which you object. If things are done without your consent, it is a form of assault on your body. (pg 324)

Many time women don't think past the point that the baby emerges, but there is a whole third stage to go through. The placenta needs to be birthed, the cord clamped and cut, the perineum needs to be checked and repaired if needed, etc...One question that comes up is when the cord should be cut. Standard practice is to clamp it and cut immediately after the baby is out. But evidence shows that it's better to wait until the cord stops pulsing.

If the placenta is left to separate naturally, it may take about half an hour or longer. Clamping the cord immediately at delivery may make the chances of a retained placenta more likely. If the cord is not clamped until after it has stopped pulsating, there is much less chance of a retained placenta. This is because when the cord is clamped, blood cannot flow out of it, which would encourage the now defunct placenta to peel away from the uterine wall. A blood-packed placenta stays firm and full and is less likely to separate. (pg 334)

Inducing labor is risky. There's no question about that. However, there are many doctors who push women to induce so they can plan it into their weekly schedules, or because they say it will be easier or faster, or just because the woman is over 40 weeks. So, it's important to know the risks.

Extremely strong contractions are likely to interfere with the blood flow through the uterus. In one study it was discovered that fetal distress was significantly more common in women taking pitocin, that babies were more likely to have low Apgar scores, and that far more of them than usual went to the nursery for special care. (pg 338)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring is very helpful when used sparingly. The problem occurs when it is relied upon solely, instead of using it as a tool among others.

A major disadvantage of EFM is that it increases the Cesarean section rate by 160 percent, without any benefit to the baby. The rate is reduced if fetal blood sampling is done before the decision to proceed to operative delivery, but there is still a 30 percent increase in the Cesarean section rate, again without any benefit to the baby. (pg 342)

Interpretation of electronic monitoring data sometimes causes more harm than good. Half of all babies show some irregularities of heartbeat during labor. Usually this is of no significance. We don't know how they manage it, but babies actually sleep during labor...But it has now been discovered that the baby only has to be roused a little for the heartbeat to pick up. One way of doing this is to touch the top of the baby's head. Mothers have their own ways of achieving the save result - changing position, for example - and this may reassure the doctors. (pg 344)

Emergency Cesarean sections are often performed because of changes in the fetal heart rate that are judged to be signs of asphyxia. Yet more than 50 percent of babies delivered by Cesarean section turn out to be in good condition, so operating was unnecessary. What has actually occurred is a series of complex changes in the baby's heartbeat as a result of a normal catecholamine (stress hormone) surge. These alterations have then been misinterpreted as signs of fetal distress.

The Amercan College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), and now the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) support a policy of regular, frequent listening with an ultrasound stethoscope as equal or superior to electronic fetal monitoring in a low-risk pregnancies. Despite this reversal of support for electronic fetal heart monitoring, most doctors and many midwives and nurses have not been well trained in auscultation, which also requires more staff time, and so continue to rely on EFM.

If the fetal monitor suggests that the baby is under stress, the baby's blood should be tested in order to check the findings. if the baby is having difficulties, this shows up in the blood chemistry. But this testing is not often done. A biochemical test carried out in order to assess the pH level of the baby's blood cuts down the number of unnecessary Cesareans. (pg 345)

C-sections are also covered in a manner that both explains when and why they may be needed and when and why they should be avoided. It includes quite a lot of information about what to expect if it comes up, and the safety information needed to make a decision if the doctor says it's necessary. Many women feel pushed into a c-section that isn't totally necessary, but just because it's been a while and the doctor claims to be worried about the baby after a "long" labor. But there are also medical reasons that doctors claim necessitate when they actually don't have much benefit.

Research has been carried out on the outcomes of automatic Cesarean sections for multiple births and when women have diabetes, and it has been shown that this practice is unlikely to be of benefit. Delivering all twins by Cesarean section does not save lives or produce babies in better condition...

...The Cesarean rate in the United States is approximately [33] percent and in some hospitals 50 percent or more. But there has not been a corresponding rise in the fetal survival rate...

...Some doctors like to do Cesarean sections just because a baby looks as if it is going to be big. This is not a good reason...(pgs 348-349)

And finally Kitzinger covers the "Once a section, always a section" mentality against VBAC, saying that many are unnecessary but aren't given a chance at a trial of labor.

One professor of obstetrics says that problems of scar separation are 'much less than the one percent that is often quoted,' and that even if the scar is pulled open by strong contractions, "careful monitoring of the fetus and mother usually means that any harm to either is rare.' (pg 349)

Many women don't know about the ongoing and future problems a Cesarean can cause.

A Cesarean may have long-term effects, too. A study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynacology reveals that nearly half of all women who have a baby by Cesarean section do not go on to have other children - almost one in three because of infertility problems, and one in five because the Cesarean experience was so awful they could not face another birth by this method. Three times as many women are infertile following a Cesarean as those who have a spontaneous vaginal birth, and six times as many women suffer from the effects of emotional trauma. (pg 350)

Too many women aren't told these types of statistics. They look solely at present situation. That is understood when the baby or mother is in immediate danger, but most the time there is time to take a break and reassess what is going on and maybe even try something differently before charging off to the OR. Most c-sections are life-or-death situations, they are done "just in case".

After the section about the medical side of birth and the hazards it can bring, the author delves into "Gentle Birth". She stresses the importance of a low-key vaginal birth.

...in spite of the relentless onslaught of contractions as full dilation approaches, the baby who is pressed through the cervix and down the 9-inch (23-cm) birth canal responds more vigorously to life than do most babies who are merely liften out through an abdominal incision. (pg 359)

The Gentle Birth section takes issue with many hospital policies, practices, and attitudes. Against all research, many hospitals continue to demand that certain things happen. Unless women specifically demand otherwise, the vast majority of hospitals take the baby from birth to be cleaned, measured, and then placed in the warmer to keep warm or given to the mother swaddled in a couple blankets.

Research has shown that even a low-birth-weight baby keeps warmer when in flesh-to-flesh contact with her mother and nestling against her breast than when wrapped and put in a crib. So ask a helper to slip your gown down over your shoulders or take if right off before the birth. A blanket can easily be thrown over you and your baby or a heater can be placed over you both. (pg 365)

The immediate clamping of the cord comes again in this section as well.

Immediate clamping may reduce the baby's red blood cells by over 50 percent. (pg 365)

Many hospitals also insist on bathing babies soon after birth which can be problematic as their bodies can't yet regulate temperature.

But babies who have received drugs from their mothers' bloodstreams, including narcotics, are not only sedated but also unable to prevent heat loss efficiently. So if you want a bath given, you should not have had narcotics in the last five hours, your baby should be full term, weigh more than 5 lb (2.5kg), and not have breathing difficulties at delivery, and the room should be warm. (pg 367)

The book is very pro-breastfeeding , but a short segment explains how a baby will feed for pleasure and how a bottle-fed (formula or expressed milk) baby can be accommodated.

When bottle-feeding, remember to hold the baby close, cheek against your breast, just as if you were breast-feeding. Although it may produce a less comfortable cushion for the baby's head, a man can also do this. The baby may sometimes like to lie nestled against your partner's bare skin, and fathers who give a feeding like this in the middle of the night say how much they enjoy it. Never feed a baby while he is lying in a crib or stroller, or even worse, prop up a baby to feed on his own in a crib, however rushed you are. It can be dangerous. (pg 408)

The book concludes with a chapter covering baby care and postpartum recovery. It stresses the importance of keeping healthy, both mentally and physically, in order to take care of the baby.

It's best to do as much research as you can on your own, but if you don't have the time or drive to do so, this is a great place to get the information you need to make solid decisions based in facts instead of assumptions. Happy Learning!!

Helpful info for Daddies, Partners, and Doulas

Quotes are from The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin

For most women, the peak of pain in the dilation stage seems to be reached by 7 or 8 centimeters. Electronic recordings made from within the uterus...show that after 7 or 8 centimeters contractions do not continue to increase in intensity, though they sometimes come closer together. Contrary to most people's assumptions, the contractions do not keep getting worse until dilations is complete or the baby comes out. (pg. 85)

This illustrates that if a woman waits as long as she can and then asks for drugs at 8-9 centimeters because she doesn't want it to get worse, she need not worry. It won't get worse. If you can handle it up to that point, you know what's worse, you know what is to come, you can make it without drugs!

[Dads] Try not to take it personally if the mother criticizes you or tells you to stop doing something that you expected to be helpful. Just say, "Sorry," and stop doing it. don't try to explain why you did it or express frustration with her. She is really saying that labor is so difficult right now that nothing helps. You are the safest person for her to lash out at...(pg 88)

Men just don't get it. They can't get it. No matter what they have or will go through, they cannot relate to giving birth. So, try everything you can think of to help, stop when she says something isn't working and try something else. It doesn't matter if it's massage she usually enjoys, or if it worked last time she was in labor. It's not personal, it's not you, it's just not working at this moment.

Seventy percent of cases of shoulder dystocia...happen in average-sized babies, and this problem cannot be predicted. When this serious complications occurs, doctors and midwives use well-practiced techniques to resolve it. (pg. 228)

So, when the doctor plays the "Big Baby" card and fears that the baby could get stuck, just remember, ANY baby could get stuck. It's not reason to plan a c-section based on guesstimated size. Especially since late-term ultrasounds are rarely correct and can be up to 2 pounds off in either direction.

The chances of a cesarean increase by two to four times in first-time mothers who have elective inductions, when compared to first-time mothers who have labors that begin spontaneously. (pg. 230)

So in other words, unless you want a c-section, just say "no" to non-medical induction.

[After the baby is born]...The warmest place for the bab (and the place where he will be happiest) is against his mother, skin to skin, with the two of them covered by a warm blanket. Unfortunately, many hospitals customarily keep a baby in a warming unit while the nurse does all the newborn procedures. Then the baby is usually wrapped and given a hat. If the baby is presented to the mother all wrapped up, she should...place the baby naked against her skin with a warm blanket over both of them. You should not uncover the baby or remove the hat. If a newborn gets chilled...it may take a long time for him to regain his temperature. (pg 105-106)

Kangaroo care. Studies have shown that being held skin-to-skin against a parent's chest and covered with a blanket keeps a baby warmer than does a heated baby bed. The baby benefits not only from the parent's warmth but also from his or her movements, soothing voice, touch, and even heartbeat sounds. Both parent and baby are more content when they spend some hours each day in this "Kangaroo Care". Babies who have been "kangarooed" gain weight faster, suckle better, cry less, and are discharged from the hospital sooner. Kangaroo Care has been done even with babies who are receiving oxygen or tube feedings or who are very premature or sick....(pg. 263

There is nothing the nurses or baby catcher needs to do to a healthy baby that can't be done while the baby rests on mom's chest and explores the breast for the first time. Baby can be seen, watched, checked, and listened to all while mom hold him.

While a woman's right to have a cesarean without medical justification is often unquestioned, her right to a vaginal birth is seriously jeopardized. (pg. 321)

The reasons for the sudden downturn in the VBAC rate are not clear. No new evidence has revealed that VBACs are more dangerous than they were in the mid-1990s, when VBACs were promoted by insurance companies, government agencies, and many other organizations of medical professionals. Researchers have found that uterine scars are more likely to separate with two recent practices: the use of a single-layer rather than a stronger double-layer closure after a cesarean delivery and the use of prostaglandins to induce a VBAC labor. Provided that women have had double-layer suturing with their cesareans and that prostaglandins are avoided in their subsequent labores, VBACs are as safe as they were when they were very common...With modern surgical techniques and a supportive birth environment and caregiver, between 60 and 70 percent of women who attempt a VBAC will have one. (pg. 321-322)

It's so sad that even though evidence shows that VBAC is a safe option when done correctly, many doctors continue to tell women that it's safer to be sliced back open. What's sadder is that women believe them:(

The cord is often cut immediately, but a recent scientific analysis has found benefit to waiting for at least two minutes or until it stops pulsating - in five minutes or so. Less likelihood of anemia for as much as six months exists in babies whose cords are cut later. Until the cord is clamped or stops pulsating, the blood passes back and forth between the baby and the placenta. It goes from placenta to baby whenever the uterus contracts, squeezing the blood from the placenta through the umbilical cord to the baby. (pg. 333)

There is no proven benefit to immediate clamping of the cord except in emergency cases when the baby needs care or the cord is wrapped around the neck and the baby can't be delivered safely.

"Labor of Love" by Cara Muhlhahn

These are my favorite quotes from "Labor of Love".

The implication of his comment was that I was too intelligent to be a nurse of midwife. It's ironic, because in Danish society, midwives are the ones with the best grades. They are more highly revered than doctors. (pg. 45)

In the United Kingdom, A joint statement written by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) in April 2007 states, "The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support homebirth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why homebirth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications, and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby. (pg 166)

From experiences like those that happen most often in hospital births, a woman doesn't learn that her body is an amazing vessel of creation that can do things she never dreamed. This feeling, that I exist to defend, is an intangible that is very difficult to study and often lost to articulation. Instead, in hospital births, all to often a woman learns that her body can't do these things, and she is left with feelings of inadequacy. (pg. 172)

That's right: home is definitely safer in terms of exposure to germs! The mother's body has already dealt with the germs that inhabit her home. In Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, author Jessica Snyder Sachs states, "Children absorb the good bacteria they need to have populating their own digestive tract from birth on. A caesarian birth for example, results in a baby who is not exposed to the bacteria found in the mother's perineal area, which raises the risk of developing autoimmune problems like asthma and Type 1 Diabetes." (pgs. 173-174)

Why do so many women sign up for the disempowerment and added risks that come with hospital birth?...A woman in an ob-gyn's office feels she needs to cooperate even though her instincts might be telling her to disagree, or question, because this person is going to deliver her baby. Her life and her baby's life will eventually be in the doctor's hands. (pg. 174-175)

This results in the insidious process of turning one's own instincts and intuitions over to the advice of the experts, even and especially when it contradicts a woman's intuition. Many women make this unfortunate and unnecessary mistake. They choose a doctor they hear is "good" and then turn off their own voice, replacing it with "the voice of reason" -- that of the expert. This process is facilitated even more by the hormonal state of pregnancy, which creates an unusual psychological vulnerability in the pregnant woman. By the time labor begins, the hierarchical power relationship has been conveniently laid down. It's almost impossible at the late state for a woman to take back the power. (pg. 175)

All medical practitioners trained in this country, including nurse-midwives, are trained to ensure safety in potentially risky situations while simultaneously minimizing the risk of litigation in the event of a bad outcome. There two themes are always presented together, enmeshed like Siamese twins. Preventing a malpractice suit becomes integrated into every clinical judgment call. The reason why doctors place so much emphasis on minimizing risk and liability is that they have come to see themselves as ultimately responsible for every element of every outcome. This simply isn't true. We are all only players in a complex chain of events. (pg. 179)

And hospitals aren't all bad. We couldn't do without them in cases of emergency. They have lots of intelligent doctors and machines and equipment and medications on hand that are great to have at your disposal when things are abnormal or become dangerous. They're just not great places for normal birth. (pg. 181)

The homebirth midwives with whom I associate in New York City are all equipped to deal with each of these outcomes. I'll venture to say that more often than not, their vast experience can promote patient safety better than the judgment call of a first-year resident, fresh out of medical school, who may be the person attending to the labor floor of a hospital. (pg. 190)

Regardless of where a birth takes place, safety is conferred by the ability of the health-care provider to make a quick diagnosis and then to stabilize the patient. This happens as a result of clinical skill and the provider's paying attention, which is where the one-to-one patient-midwife ratio at home wins. (pg 190-191)

The ability to remain unseen and not only to allow the birthing woman to have her power, but to help her achieve it, instead of stealing that spotlight, is what makes a midwife...amazing. (pg. 225)

Lord knows I had said many pithier things about empowerment and other aspects of homebirth...I read that article and felt once again, Are these people for real? They have come so close to such a huge, sacred event, with such immense political repercussions, and then profaned it, oversimplified it, and reduced it once again to the black and white of one of the usual themes: those who choose homebirth do so to prove that they don't need the establishment. To them, it's some sort of crusade of rebellion against pain medication that somehow involves healthy eating. People who oversimplify homebirth miss the real meat of the matter. (pg. 226)

breastfeeding is the best so back off, Lady!!

So, some dumb ass answered a message board post I had put up looking for advice on how to get Eli to stop throwing his pacifier out of the crib. Here's what her reply said (having nothing to do with my request):
Instead of worrying so much about his pacifier, I'd be more concerned that you are still breastfeeding him at his age. If he's on solid food, which I hope he is, he doesn't need to breastfeed any more. It's more for you than it is for him and that's kind of strange. Wheat are you going to do when the new baby is here.... Put one kid on each breast? Kids should know how to use a sippy cup at a year old. If you're really worried about nutrition for him,use a breast pump and put it in a cup.

So, since I took the time to write this up in defense of Eli's needs, I thought I might as well copy and paste it here for anyone else who is retarded enough to have the same thoughts. Hope this sets you straight if you think formula is as good as breast milk or that it has to stop any time before the age of 2! I'll put it in a blog as well so it will be around forever! lol

Sorry, but that's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. You need to do some research if you think that breastfeeding needs to stop at a year. They have done study after study and children benefit from breastfeeding as long as it continues. The AAP recommends AT LEAST a year and then as long as it works for BOTH mother and child. I don't do it for me, I do it because my son hasn't shown any sign of weaning. I'd love to have my breasts back to milk-free and I'm sure my husband would, too!
The WHO recommends at least TWO years! The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that babies be fed with breast milk only — no formula or solids — for the first 6 months of life. It is better to breastfeed for 6 months and best to breastfeed for 12 months, or for as long as you and your baby wish. Solid foods can be introduced when the baby is 6 months old, while you continue to breastfeed.
NO WHERE will you find scientific evidence that it's bad to continue to breastfeed past the age of one. I'm sorry you have been given (or maybe you just assumed) this information. There are a lot of doctors out there who aren't up to date on their breastfeeding statistics. Because I breastfeed, my child has higher immunities to illnesses like colds and the flu. He's only been sick ONCE in 13 months and that was a mild cold with a snotty nose, nothing else. "Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease." No ear infections (another proven benefit of breastfeeding because of positioning and the need for a stronger suck than on a bottle or sippy cup). And he's smarter, another thing you can look up. Breastfed babies have a higher IQ and the longer they are breastfed, the more it helps. Longer breastfeeding also contributes to lower allergies (both food and environmental).

This is not new information, I'm surprised every time I hear ignorance like yours.
Here are some 2005 findings by the AAP:
"Studies on infants provide evidence that breastfeeding can decrease the incidence or severity of conditions such as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding may offer protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma among others."
The 2005 policy recommendations include:
~ Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child (no FORCED weaning)
~ Mother and infant should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate breastfeeding
~ Pediatricians should counsel adoptive mothers on the benefits of induced lactation through hormonal therapy or mechanical stimulation (yup, that means you should be nursing your adoptive children as well as your biological)
~ Recognize and work with cultural diversity in breastfeeding practices (breastfeeding 2 years and on)
~ In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
o 29% of energy requirements
o 43% of protein requirements
o 36% of calcium requirements
o 75% of vitamin A requirements
o 76% of folate requirements
o 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
o 60% of vitamin C requirements
-- Dewey 2001
~ It's not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. According to Sally Kneidel in "Nursing Beyond One Year" (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.)
Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
~ The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that children weaned before two years of age are at increased risk of illness (AAFP 2001).
~ Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers (Gulick 1986).
~ Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
~ Per the World Health Organization, "a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness."
Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES

~ Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma is to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and continue breastfeeding long-term after that point.

Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:
1. reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
2. speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby's gut,
3. coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
4. providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers).
Nursing toddlers are SMART
~ Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.

Benefits to mom:
"Research indicates that breastfeeding can reduce a mother's risk of several medical conditions, including ovarian and breast cancer, and possibly a decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the postmenopausal period." The longer you breastfeed, the better off you are because it decreases hormones in your body that lead to cancers.
MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy

* Extended nursing delays the return of fertility in some women by suppressing ovulation (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References). Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom's bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother's diet. (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. (References).

* Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women (References).

* Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight easier (References).

I'm guessing you are not in the medical field, I certainly hope not. I also hope you aren't spreading this misinformation about a natural process to too many people.

Feel free to do some research and try to contradict me, you won't be able to. And, for the record, yes, it's called TANDEM NURSING. It's been going on since the beginning of time. You feed the baby first to make sure they get what then need and then continue with the older child. No different than nursing twins.

All this information was easily found in about a half hour. Here's where I got my information:

Where did you get yours? I'm guessing it's just the opinions of people around you or a doctor who isn't up to date in his breastfeeding information. I Googled "you shouldn't breastfeed a toddler", "not good to breastfeed a toddler", and "risks of breastfeed a toddler" and NOTHING to support these statements came up. NOTHING. Each statement only brought up links I had already checked on benefits of breastfeeding and support information.

Look down on all of us moms who are only doing what is best for your toddlers, but you have nothing to back up your statement except ignorance and old information. And in the future, answer the question that is asked, don't put in your opinions when they aren't asked for or needed and have NOTHING to do with the advice being sought.