Classes For the Second Time Parents

A few nights ago, the topic of childbirth classes for second or third (or fourth) time parents came up.  We were asked if we thought they need to take childbirth classes.  Our answer?  Maybe!  So if any of these apply, you might need to seriously consider taking classes.

  • If you are making a change in birth place.  If you are going from home birth to hospital birth, or hospital birth to birthcenter birth, or hospital to home, you need to take classes to get yourself ready for the realities of the change of birth setting.  You will have new things to think about, new realities to face, and get ready with a different set of tools.  In a non-birthplace setting specific class like ours, you can easily explore all of these difference in a respectful, evidence-based way.
  • If you were not too happy with your previous birth.  Not everyone gets done with their first birth and thinks that it was perfect.  Some would like to make drastic changes.  Again, a childbirth class that is able to listen to your needs, gives you time to ask questions, and is invested in making sure you get the information that makes you confident in your choices will help you achieve your goals, your way.
  • If it’s been a long time since you last took classes.  This might be obvious, but yeah, birth choices have changed in the last few years.  Newborn safety has changed, and newborn care best practices have changed too.  Taking classes means that you can get the best info and know that you have the most current information to keep your baby safe and happy.
  •  If you realize that your previous classes didn’t prepare you well. If you took super short classes, you weren’t prepared adequately for birth.  No matter who the educator, 6 hours is simply not enough time to adequately address pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and newborn care.  Or if you hated your classes and can’t remember anything, don;t assume that you can do what you did last time.  Births for a mom rarely go the exact same way every time.  Great childbirth classes help correct some of the iffy info you got last time, fills in blanks, and makes sure you are ready, no matter what happens.
  • If you want to give the same attention to this pregnancy as you did the previous baby. Some times, in the hectic day to day life of being a parent, it seems like the next baby will roll right in.  Our Refresher class addresses the realities of adding a new child to your family.  Why not spend some time, as parents, getting mentally ready for this baby.  A childbirth class can be an easy way to focus on the new addition.

I will say, too, that as an educator, I value the wisdom and experience that experienced  parents bring to my classes, especially when they can offer their insight to the new parents in class.  I always value what parents have to bring to class, and after having been through the process, these parents add so much!

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Did you take classes during your second, third, or fourth (or more) pregnancy?  Would you say it was worth it? Comment below! 

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Our next 6 Week Lamaze class starts Thursday, August 23rd, our next 5 Week Lamaze Class starts Sunday, September 9th, our next Weekend Lamaze Class starts September 22nd, and our next Refresher is October 6th.  Click links for more info and to register!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Good parents, bad products

Yesterday, for the third time since 2007, a recall was issued for the Bumbo seat.  I’m sure you saw it.  I’m sure you also saw the long strings of comments on various social media outlets that defended the product, but put all the responsibility for any injuries on the shoulders of the parents. “Well, if parents didn’t put them up on high places, it would be fine.”  When I woke up, logged into twitter and saw the recall, my stomach SUNK.  I knew the entire day would consist of name calling and fights on twitter– parents defending the seat, placing blame for the recall on “bad parents” and there would be parents commenting whose kids were hurt even while using it “correctly”.

I was right.

Even more disturbing, I saw sources that I normally trust place all the blame on the parents or refuse to admit that some products simply are not safe.  And truthfully, I unfollowed one, and I’m very upset with the other.

Here is the thing:

I have never, ever, ever, in all of my years as an educator, seen any product get recalled and parents BLAME OTHER PARENTS for misuse.  Never.  Every single kind of product can get recalled, and nobody bats an eye, but this stupid seat draws ire every single time the manufacturer has a recall.  What is so special that we don’t blink when multiple strollers(See herehere, and here) get recalled for chopping off fingers, but when a manufacturer wants to install a safety strap, everyone freaks out?

I mean, yes, I have my opinion on the seat.  I guess the drawbacks of the design are simple to me as an educator.  This is the only product, short of a stationery baby exerciser, that does not have a safety strap.  More over, with the narrow base, it did not seem stable.  Safety straps on baby products really do need to be used every single time.  I’m not making this up.  And the recent recall of the Bumbo that calls for the installation of these straps, seems to confirm my complaints were warranted.  Hopefully this will fix the issue and no more recalls will be needed.

Just because you can buy something does not mean they are safe to use.  The AAP warns against the use of crib bumperssleep positioners, and walkers for babies.   As a CPST, I want to tell you that all the crash test and car safety powers that be will tell you that using any sort of after-market product with you car seat can put your baby or child at risk.  So that means no mirrors, no strap covers, no pillows, no baby blankets that go under the baby in the seat.  I simply can not tell you that there is a safe way to use any of these items.  Ever.  In the event of a crash, they interfere with the car seat’s proper function and put your child at risk of injury or death.

Baby products get recalled.  Even car seats, one of the most tested and regulated items you can buy for your child, get recalled.   If you have a high chair that gets recalled, does that make you a bad parent?  No!  But there are bad products.  Drop-side cribs are now banned from sale.  They are no longer manufactured, and you can not sell it without repairing it (using the kit provided by the manufacturer).  Bag slings are no longer sold either– there simply is no way that the design would ever allow for the safe transport of a baby.  And in both of these cases, the safety of little ones trumped parent choice.

Is this going to be the case of the Bumbo seat?  Will it eventually go away (and, hopefully, take with it the debate)?  I don’t know.  But before any of you ever say anything to anyone else about stupid parents using the Bumbo up high, please take note:  No baby should ever be placed on a raised surface in any thing.  Not in a bouncy chair, not in a swing., and certainly, not in a car seat.  And you know what?  Those elevated car seats lead to more injuries and even deaths than a Bumbo ever did.  But I bet we all do it (I did it!)….and I would by no means call you stupid.   That car seat however…well, I have my opinions.

So, that’s my soapbox.  The comments are open, but after yesterday…please behave. =)

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Guest Post: Postpartum Depression and Social Media?

Veronica’s Note: Today’s guest post comes to us via Crystal Clancy, MA LMFT.

I read an article today about Microsoft’s new study to work on identifying, via social media, if new parents may be suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). My initial response was one of excitement. It is truly awesome, and a huge step in the right direction, that a huge conglomerate like Microsoft is stepping up and saying that more needs to be done to recognize PPD, and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about it.
The skeptic in me (I call her “Evil Crystal”) creeps out of the woodwork, or into my brain at 11 pm as I am trying to fall asleep, and I start thinking about this research, and what the results will look like. I think back to my own experience with PPD, and did not have Facebook as an outlet. However, I can hypothesize what my posts may have looked like…
“Motherhood is amazing! Having two kids is a breeze and I feel like our family is complete!”
OR
“I <3 being a mom! Every day is a blessing!!!”
OR
“Enjoying every minute!!!”

In reality, here is what I really would have liked to post (but never would have):
“Projectile vomiting… another change of clothes… LOL!”
OR
“Would it be OK for me to duct tape the pacifier to my daughter’s face so that she may stop screaming for several hours starting at 4 am (for the fourth morning in a row)?”
OR
“Today, it took every ounce of strength to not carry out my plan to put my daughter down for a nap, pack my son up in the van, and take off to a hotel for the next six months”.

PPD is so fraught with shame and embarrassment, and a job hazard of specializing in working with new parents that are struggling is that many of them have shared that they would NEVER tell people that they are having a hard time, or feeling like they may hurt themselves, or having intrusive thoughts. In fact, most of my clients actually talk about how they avoid Facebook like the plague because they see so many “My life is so perfect” themed comments. I have (unfortunately?) become a bit wary and watchful about the comments that are just a little too cheerful. So as much as I am thrilled that more research is being done, I have to admit my skepticism that they will really get solid evidence that people put comments about how hard of a time they are having (beyond, “Yawn, I am tired”) for all the world to see. I hope I am wrong.

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Crystal began her journey in perinatal/ reproductive mental health 12 years ago, when she found that adding to her family was not going to be as easy as planned.  Infertility before her first child was followed by postpartum depression after her second child was born, and this experience has contributed to a passion for helping those who struggle with anything from infertility, to loss, to perinatal mood disorders.  She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who offers counseling with individuals and couples at Nystrom and Associates in Apple Valley.  She is currently the Director  of the PPSM HelpLine, and has volunteered her time speaking at conferences, pregnancy centers, and OB/GYN Clinics.  An essay about her postpartum experience was recently published in the book “Not Alone,” edited by Alise Wright.

In her spare time, Crystal enjoys spending time spending time with her husband, John, and two children, Riley (9) and Kira (6).  She is and avid reader, and blogs when she can find the time.  More information about the services that Crystal provides can be found on her website.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Guest Post: 5 Things First-Time Mamas Should Know

Veronica says: As the arrival of Brittany’s second baby grows near, we are frantically working to finish a number of projects before she takes her maternity leave.  This leaves me with long list of to-dos, with not much time for blogging.  We have had some wonderful women step forward to write some guest posts.  Up first is Nell from Whole Parenting Family.  We were honored to have Nell review our Better Breastfeeding class earlier this year. 

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How wonderful that you’re expecting, or expecting to expect! Welcome to the journey of motherhood. Your journey is unique to you, and your motherhood is a process, both exciting and challenging! As a second-time mama, I’m glad to share with you 5 things that I wish I had known my first time around.

1) You might not gain the expected weight, or you might gain much more.

Healthy guidelines set forth by the Mayo Clinic are 28-40 pounds if you are underweight, 25-35 pounds if you are normal weight, and 15-25 pounds if you are overweight. But sometimes, even if you’re considered “normal weight” you might gain way less, or way more. I’m considered “normal weight” and I gained 45 pounds with my first, and barely 20 with my second. Go figure. There are many factors at play. It is good to gain weight! And crucial for your baby’s development. In a culture that focuses on losing weight, it can be difficult to embrace your new shape. Love your changing body! You’re growing another person and that’s a special and difficult task.

2) There are many, many birth options.

The standard OBGYN. The up-and-coming standard hospital midwife. The out-of-hospital midwife. The doula present. Investigate, ask lots of questions, and question yourself about what you think you want. Waterbirth? Generally, only midwives do those. Epidural? You can still have a midwife even if you plan for pain medication. Pain med options? There are more options for medication than just an epidural (which has many potential side effects, so don’t think that means you’ll have a walk-in-the-park delivery).

And if you start from choosing your place of birth, that changes your options on care providers as well. If you’re birthing with an out-of-hospital midwife, where does she have hospital privileges, just in case? And if you’re in a hospital, do they have a NICU, or would your child have to be transported, just in case? What is the hospital cultural attitude toward birth? And what does your insurance cover? And who knows a good doula?

3) Trust your gut if something feels wrong.

Constipation? That’s normal. Pangs of discomfort? That’s normal. Heartburn? That’s normal. But what about the degrees of pain? What about if you aren’t sure if something’s normal? Don’t push those fears or concerns aside. If you think anything is wrong, talk to your healthcare provider. Don’t try to tough it out (I did during my first pregnancy and it turned out I had kidney stones and an infection simultaneously). They won’t think you’re a hypochondriac. If you have multiple pregnancies, there will be differences between them as well, so relying on your mama instincts if something feels off is the surest way to catch any abnormalities or reasons for concern for both your health and baby’s.

4) Maternity clothing does not have to look terrible.

Fashion and motherhood do meet nowadays. Yes, our moms were photographed in moo-moos. But there is a nice sliding scale of chic to classic, new to next-to-new in the clothing department now. Motherhood Maternity is an affordable line all the way up to Isabella Oliver, which is a less affordable line. Most box stores have maternity lines too, Gap, J.Crew, Old Navy, etc. And get creative, wearing non-maternity clothing that has ruched sides, or a nice movement to it. As soon as the tag says, “maternity,” the price tag goes up, so try to shop with a careful eye on the non-maternity rack. If you have a formal event, a local store in the Metro called Babies to Bellies rents high end formal wear so that you can wear it when pregnant, but not buy it!

5) Tune out the negative input.

As soon as the word is out that you’re expecting, expect a lot of unsolicited advice and story telling. It’s a beautiful thing to share motherhood with other women. This is why we have baby showers! But people may also take the opportunity to share about their traumas, or their negative experience or feelings about pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood. Comments like “get sleep now, because you never will again” or “get the epidural because my cousin had this terrible tearing and ripping” simply aren’t helpful to you in your journey as a new mom.

Ask for lots of love, support, and enthusiasm from those you know, and just don’t heed any negative input.

Nell Alt is a mother of two, attorney, crafter, and blogger. She can be found musing about parenthood, gardening, food, and classical music over at Whole Parenting Family or sewing and knitting at Whole Parenting Goods on Etsy.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

5 Things We Really Want You to Know About BabyLove

As Lamaze class offerings have rapidly increased in the Twin Cities, we really, really wanted to let you know what makes us different, and explain why we do some things the way we do. So, without further ado:

1) We think classes should be a mix of parents, regardless of what their choices are.

While it’s quite in to have classes for parents giving birth in a specific setting (homebirth-only, or hospital-only), or for parents making different choices to have to get singled out (VBACs, waterbirths), we think parents only gain by having a mix of different viewpoints.  And while “hospital-neutral” or whatever often results in classes that only mention a few common topics, ours cover everything, choices aside.  Oh, and since we take the time to get to know families in class, we can address all of their needs, not just some.  Life is better when we can share, don’t you think?

2)We won’t tell you where or how to have your baby

Lamaze still has this connotation with… stuff.  Be it breathing, natural birth, vaginal birth, hospital birth, people seems to think Lamaze isn’t for them…well, because.  At the end of the day, we’ll help you learn how to have a healthy pregnancy, what normal birth is like (and you’ll learn why there isn’t one “normal” way birth goes), and give you the best medical evidence on any interventions that might happen.  We’ll help you figure out how to sort out any decisions you might make, but after that, it’s up to you.  You will have the tools you need to have the healthiest birth you can have, and on your terms. We know every mama is different, every situation is different, and we want you to leave our classes feeling informed and empowered.  After all, it’s your birth.

3) We truly think everyone deserves AFFORDABLE classes

Last week, while at a networking event, I was talking with other professionals about our classes, and that our prices were not as high as what others might charge. “I don’t know, you should just go ahead and charge $300 for them.  That’s still worth it,” one woman said to me.  While we get that higher prices make things seem “fancy” and thus more desirable, we can’t in good conscious do that at all.  Bottom line is that the number of options that include what our classes include and is under the $200 price point is getting really, really small.  Classes that help parents have good births and help them be good parents is just not a luxury to us.

4) Our Lamaze classes allow you time to build a relationship with the educator and, more importantly, other parents

After all these years of teaching, I know that some classes get along better than others.   Although it drives me batty when I’m staring at a list of topics to cover, when the families start chatting and breaks go an extra 10 minutes, that’s a rare, special occurrence.  But in order to get this magic, you need to spend more than 6 hours in one Saturday together.  I have watched mamas form Facebook groups, have monthly playgroups, and stay in touch long after the last night of class.  Parenting is best done with a village, so let us help you by offering a place where the longer class format encourages learning AND bonding with other parents.

5) We’re always there for you

The BabyLove families know that we are there for you, no matter what you need.   During pregnancy, birth, after birth, we’ll help you find the best resource for whatever questions you have.  You can even come back when your little one is over a year old– we’ll still help you navigate parenting so you can do the best job of parenting your way.

Hopefully that helps you get a feel for us.  We’re a little bit different, in a good way, and we hope to see you soon!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.