Meditation in an uncertain world: The Calm Birth® Program

It is close to impossible to function out in American society without being bombarded with messages of uncertainty.  One could easily assume many of theses messages have the intent to cause fear which will then drive behavior.  This creates a roller coaster ride of fear and stress.  You do have a choice.  In life, all that we can truly control is our reaction to stress.  The practice of meditation is a way we can choose how we react to stress and free ourselves from the paralysis of fear and uncertainty.  For over 40 years now, researchers at the Harvard Medical School have conducted experiments on how meditation affects stress and health.  A few of the clinically proven benefits of meditation include: lower blood cortisol levels, increase in circulation, lowered blood pressure, fewer hospitalization and has been endorsed by the National Institute of Health as an effective pain relief method for chronic pain sufferers.1-6

The Calm Birth® techniques are awareness-based meditation practices that have been used for centuries around the world.  Robert Bruce Newman, the founder of Calm Birth®, has brought these practices specifically into pregnancy, childbirth and parenting for the first time in the U.S.   These practices use progressive neuromuscular relaxation, as well as traditional sitting meditation practice, to guide a person to discover their inherent state of calm awareness.  Both of these meditation practices have been proven effective at Harvard Medical School.  The Calm Birth® classes I offer are two hours long, one night a week for three consecutive weeks.  This time frame allows you to learn the practices in a group setting and start your own practice in your daily life.  It is helpful during the first few weeks of forming a new habit to have support and guidance.  As well as effective practices for pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, the Calm Birth® program has been endorsed as a method of conscious conception.  Calmbirth.org is a wonderful website to visit to read further information and testimonials of the Calm Birth® Program.  You will find class registration and more on my website.

 

Blessings,

Ellie

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 Info on Ellie:

Ellie Ott

My bachelor’s degree is from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire in biology, with a topical minor in health psychology. My fascination with the human body led me to explore the mind/body healing philosophy. I earned my certification as a massage therapist and health educator at the National Holistic Institute in Berkeley, CA in 1997.

While working as a massage therapist, life brought us (my husband and I) the excitement of children, entrepreneurship and living overseas.

Since returning to the U.S. in 2006, I have earned my certification as a childbirth educator, doula and Calm Birth® meditation teacher. I feel the magnificence of a woman just continues to grow throughout her life. I am humbled by the brilliant teachers who have entered my life, particularly the females who have helped me to find my own inner strength and well being.

I have over 15 years of experience in health and wellness as a certified massage therapist, childbirth educator, doula and Calm Birth® instructor. I also currently teache classes privately and at hospitals throughout the Twin Cities in addition to providing doula services across the Metro Area.

It is my firm belief that we are in the era of self-care and I am honored to be able to share what I have learned on my journey in an effort to be of assistance to others who are committed to self-empowerment through varied forms of education and support.

 

References:

1 D. Orme-Johnson, Pschosomatic Medicine 49 (1987): 493-507.

2 Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation (Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997).

3 J. Kabat-Zinn, L. Lipworth, R. Burney, and W. Sellers, “Four year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain,” Clinical Journal of Pain 2(1986): 159-173.

4 H. Cerpa, “The effects of clinically standardised meditation on type 2 diabetics,” Dissertation Abstracts International 499 (1989): 3432.

5 R. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn, et al, “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation,” Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (2003): 564-570.

6 Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation (Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997).

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Our 2nd Annual Bum and Belly Drive

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Yes, it’s back!

We are collecting maternity clothes, slings and other baby carriers, and cloth diapers again this year that will be going to local non-profits to distribute them to the families they serve. This year, your donations will go to the Tubman Center, Everyday Miracles, and The Diaper Drive.  Starting November 17th, and until December 12th, you can drop off your donations at the following locations:

We hope to add more drop-off locations, too.

We do ask that your donations be clean, free of tears, that are in good working order.  Any maternity clothes donated to need to be maternity-specific and without stains.

We will have a sorting party on December 19th from 7pm-8:30 at BabyLove.  Check back here and on our Facebook page for updates.

Update 11/21/12: Check out the piece WCCO did on this year’s drive. 

Any questions?  Email us at info@babylovemn.com or call us at 651-200-3343.

Thank you so much!  We’re looking forward to another AMAZING drive!

Warmly,

Veronica and Brittany

Want to learn more about BabyLove and what we do? Visit our website for a full list of classes, events, and services that we offer.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Beyond Birth: The New Normal

Veronica’s note: To help parents understand why the new class that Margaret and Leann are offering at our space is so important, I asked Leann to write a post about the importance of planning for the postpartum period. It’s great food for thought.  Enjoy!

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I clearly recall the day my husband and I brought home our first son, Nathan, from the hospital. We walked through the door, set his car seat down in the kitchen, looked at each other and said, “Now what do we do with him?” It was such an eye-opening moment for us. I had read at least 10 baby and breastfeeding books, had the nursery ready, and all of the shower gifts organized and put in their place. I completely thought I was prepared for this little guy to join our family.

Low and behold two weeks later I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, my husband was returning to work and leaving on a three-day business trip, and my mother was ready and waiting to come “help me” with the baby.

I was a mess! Full of panic, questions, and uncertainty.

Either I ignored all of the warnings from my friends or no one ever told me how hard these first weeks with a baby would be. No one warned me that I wouldn’t be able to set my own schedule with my baby. No one warned me that I would not be able to anticipate the next time I would get a good chunk of sleep. And no one warned me how much worry comes with being a new parent.

This is why I am so passionate about my profession as a postpartum doula. I love babies (who doesn’t?), but what I love even more is being at the side of a new mom and her partner as they navigate their way into parenthood. I live for the moments when I help a new mom through a challenging breastfeeding moment, or answer her list of 20 questions about what is going on with her baby. This transitional period from competent adult to competent parent is so important and so often overlooked. Hence the creation of my business, Tender Transitions.

So, how can you better prepare yourself for when your  baby arrives? Join us at BabyLove for a new class called, Beyond Birth: The New Normal where you will learn the truly important information needed for those first weeks at home with your baby. Taught by me and another incredible postpartum doula, Margaret McKinley Owens of Mothering By Mom, you’ll learn all about what to expect in the postpartum period otherwise known as the Fourth Trimester. Wondering how to ensure successful breastfeeding? Or how about how to make a good swaddle for your baby? And even how to soothe a fussy baby? Yep, it’s all included in this class. Don’t hesitate – sign up now!

In Tender Care,

Leann Latus

CLC, PCD(DONA), Sleep Consultant

http://www.tendertransitionsmn.com

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Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove’s Recipe Exchange

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Mama Cafe is funny.  Some days, we end up helping moms with lots and lots of breastfeeding issues.  And then some days, like last week, we end up talking about other stuff. Last week, we did some recipe swapping.  Here’s a small handful of what we are feeding our families and LOVING.

1) Roasted Chickpeas

This is a huge favorite at Brittany’s house.  And the recipe is awesome, because it’s so adaptable. You can switch out the seasoning to suit your own taste.  And add some quinoa or couscous and a salad and you have a very healthy, very inexpensive dinner!

2) Zuppa Toscana 

When our CSA share was rockin’ and rollin’, this soup was a lifesaver AND a favorite at both of our houses.  We omit the cream, making it far healthier.  Kale certainly is a superfood, but swiss chard works well.  Other substitutions we’ve made is to use normal (not Italian) pork sausage and using Broccoli leaves instead of the kale. Mmm….soup.

3) Roasted quinoa and potatoes

So simple. So flexible.  So yummy.  If you’re trying to add more veggies to your diet, a Mark Bittman cookbook is a must. This recipe is amazing.   Neither one of us have ever made it the same way twice.  We’ve added broccoli, asparagus, turnips, mushrooms– whatever we have on hand– in addition to or instead of the peppers.  For cheese, chevre makes another amazing option. And since it’s full of protein and veggies, it’s a complete meal.

4) Consumer Report‘s hummus

If you are doing baby-led solids (which we do recommend), hummus can be a great way to add interest and nutrition to your little eater’s diet. And truthfully, this recipe is far yummier than almost anything you can buy…and cheaper.

Hopefully you like these! If you have any recipes to add, please share in the comments below!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Ask the Educators: October 18th

Yes, another week, and we have a new vlog entry!  We answer questions about what makes a class a Lamaze class, and we talk about what mom needs to eat when she is breastfeeding.  As always, if you have questions that we can answer for you, email us at info@babylovemn.com!

Thanks, and see you next week!

Warmly,

Veronica and Brittany

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove’s “Ask the Educator” for 10/11/12

We managed to do another one this week!  Preparation for the Birth and Baby Expo is keeping us Cah-RAZY busy, so we had to shoot this week’s video in Veronica’s kitchen.  Eli makes another cameo today too.  Today we answer questions on attending class even when one partner has a child from a previous relationship and give you the lowdown on sushi and coffee while breastfeeding.  As always, email us with any questions you want us to answer!

Oh, And we REALLY want to see you on Sunday from 2-4pm at our 1+1 Birthday Party!

Enjoy!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove’s “Ask the Educator” for 10/3/12

We are trying something new at BabyLove! We’re going to answer your questions every week here at “Ask the Educators”.  This week we talk about why we don’t have different classes based on place of birth and why a stuffy nose during pregnancy is normal and things you can do to help. Check it out!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

So long, paper!

You might have seen this already, but as of last week we have gone to an online class registration system.  It seemed like it was time to step into the 21st century.

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We chose a really great company to go through for the registration process, and we keep finding new things it’ll let us do.  But here are the highlights of what’s up and running:

  • The full list of all of the classes we have scheduled through April 2013 are listed on our Registration page. But keep an eye on it– we are adding new classes in the very near future!
  • Multiple class registration can be handled in one transaction.  Just choose the classes you want to sign up for and enter your info once!
  • You can pay for your class at the time of registration or you can pay at class, as before. You will get an invoice after your register reflecting this. Our cancellation policy will not change.
  • You will automatically get a confirmation right after you register.  You will get a reminder email the day before class.

Also, we did a quick tweak to our classes.  We’ve heard feedback, and now our Sunday, Monday, and Thursday classes are all collectively called “Evening Lamaze Childbirth Series“.  It had been confusing what the differences between 5 and 6 week classes.  Truthfully, there was none. Both are 15 hours total and have the same information.  Now you can just pick a night that works for you!

As always, we are happy to answer any phone calls or emails if you have questions.  Thanks for all of your support, as always! We know we have many happy families taking our classes, so sign up and be one of them!

Warmly,

Veronica and Brittany

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How to Buy a Car Seat- Some Tips

It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week!

I get a lot of questions from people about what kind of seat they should buy.  There are some rules, and then I have some opinions. The real answer is that you should buy the car seat that fits your child, fits your car, and that you can use correctly every single time. So, beyond that…how do you know what to buy?

Used Seats 

  • Never use a seat whose history you don’t fully know. Thrift stores are a very horrible place to buy a car seat.  It’s a pretty bad idea to buy used seats from online classified sites or garage sales.  The seat could have been in a crash, could have missing or broken pieces–you just don’t know.  You child’s life is more important than being thrifty.
  • Think twice before borrowing someone else’s seat.  Only do so if you absolutely know the seat was never in a crash severe enough that would have required replacing the seat.
  • Don’t ever use a seat that is missing labels. Also? Don’t use an expired seat.
  • Always check to make sure a previously used seat hasn’t been recalled, even if it was yours from an older child.

Buying New

  • If you want to do a little bit of homework ahead of time, I found absolutely the most amazing resource on car seats. the National Highway and transportation Safety Administration has an Ease of Use Guide for pretty much any seat you can think of.  It has height and weight limits on the chart as well, which is AWESOME, because that information can take a bit to find on a manufacturer’s website.
  • When you go to the store, pay attention to how easy it is to adjust the position and the tightness of the straps.  Some seats have easy adjustments, most require you to take the seat out of the car to adjust the strap position (which isn’t done often anyway), but some seat even require you to uninstall the seat to adjust the tightness of the harness.  Again, the easier these adjustment can be made, the more likely you are to use it correctly.
  • Make sure the seat will fit in your car!  This is a tough one, especially if you are buying a rear-facing seat.  Find a store that will let you take the seat to your car and check the compatibility. Also, make sure to read the car seat user’s manual to find out how much space you need between the top of the car seat and the actual seat in front of it.
  • Consider expiration lengths. If you are buying a seat for your first child, longer expiration dates mean you’ll be less likely to have to buy a new replacement seat for future children.  5-6 are standard for most seats made by US companies, but some seats go to 9 years.
  • If you are buying a convertible seat, buy the one that will fit in your car but allow the child to be rear-facing the longest.  It’s not just weight to consider.  Most kids outgrow a seat by height before weight.
  • When buying infant-only seats, look at how easily you can adjust the angle of the base so it’s correct.  Some have really nice adjustable feet. Otherwise, you can use a pool noodle unless explicitly told not to by the manufacturer.
  • If buying a high-back booster, look if there are multiple settings for the slot the shoulder part of the belt goes through.
  • If you are trying to fit multiple seats across a back seat, look for narrower seats.  Some of those seats can get awfully wide.  In fact, just today I saw a mom who has a compact car with an infant-only seat and two pricey seats all in the backseat. Because of the width of the seats, the pricey seats were installed incorrectly, which made them kind of useless.  Again, go to a store that will let you try the seat in your car.

And finally, a suggestion.  Infant-only seats are fine, but if you are on a budget, consider buying one really, really good convertible seat that can be used from birth until age 3-4.  You’ll be happier because you’ll have a seat that’s probably easier to install and use, and your child might even be safer. Some of those seats even have things like a way to use the tether in the rear-facing position and additional crash test projection. So instead of buying one $100 seat you use for 5 months and then a $150 seat you use for 3 years, buy one rockin’ $250 seat.  You’ll be happy you did!

Any questions?  I’ll be happy to answer them in the comment section below!

Transport safely!

Warmly,

Veronica, proud CPST

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

What your doula* wants you to know

*Disclaimer: There are many doulas in the Twin Cities and  different practicing styles.  So while many of these things might ring true for many of them, they might not for all of them.  I think these are pretty standard, though.

This winter, I will have been a doula for 6 years.  I have learned something from every single family I worked with. Currently, I am taking a break from doula work to focus on other things (namely, BabyLove), but this break has provided me with some time for introspection.  So, here are some things that I wish every family I have ever worked with would have known.

  • You doula is there to support you.  She will be your unwavering guide through an unknown journey.  However, she will not have your baby for you.  Having a doula can make your labor shorter, easier, and it can have fewer interventions, but all the work is yours to do!
  • If you are uncertain about your care provider or place of birth, having a doula can help, but the better plan is to keep your doula and find a place where you ARE comfortable.
  • Keep in regular contact.  A quick email or chat after a prenatal is great.  That way your doula knows what’s going on and you can have a chance to alert her to anything new that might have come up.
  • Meeting your care provider can be helpful.  There are A LOT of doulas out there, and some times getting a chance to meet your doula in person will mean that your care provider and doula will work together well when the birth actually happens.
  • If you think you might be in labor, don’t just text your doula.  Texts are fine if you want to touch base about something small and not time-sensitive. However, if you have contractions that are 10 minutes apart, CALL.  Actually, if you have ANY questions about contractions you’re having, call.
  • If you are admitted to the hospital for anything, especially if it might be preterm labor, LET YOUR DOULA KNOW.  She might not need to be there with you, but having the heads up that something abnormal is up is very helpful.Then if you do need her, she has some warning.
  • Call your doula when you think anything might be going on labor-wise.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  You’re not bugging her.  That’s her job.  Then you can work on a plan of next steps together.  It’ll be less stressful for you, too.
  • After baby is born, if you need resources for anything, ask your doula.  That’s what she’s there for.  Need more help?  She can help you find a good postpartum doula.

What do you think?  Any doulas want to chime in?

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.