BabyLove’s New Home- During

The wonderful guys who have been working on turning a space from a gym to BabyLove’s new home have been FLYING through everything; So much so that it kind of caught me off guard. I’ve been busy trying to find new furnishings for the space without breaking the bank, arrange said furniture over and over in my head, and trying not to freak out, overall. But the truth is becoming very clear that I’m outgrowing my tiny space upstairs, and this move to the first floor will be a very positive one.

One thing: I am looking to buy any exercise balls anyone out there might have but not be using. My dear husband is building me a rack to keep the exercise balls on, so I’d like a full set of 9 balls to put on the rack. If you have a ball you’d like to sell or donate, just use the form below to let me know.

So, without further ado, check out how things are shaping up!

 

I can’t wait until you can come see it!

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.

4 Combination Car Seats to Consider

Combination Car Seat Recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the “ask and ye shall receive” category, I was asked last week about combination seats, aka “harnessed boosters.” Since I’ve already posted about the convertible seats I like, I figured that this would be an easy post to put together.

I was wrong.

Parents, I get why you get so frustrated when it comes to this subject. There really aren’t a lot of combination seats out there!  I did poke around for awhile, and I used the IIHS booster seat ratings to help guide my picks; all of these seats were given a “best bet” rating for use as a belt-positioning booster. Here are the four seats I would suggest you consider:

#1) The Evenflo Maestro

Full disclosure: this was the combination car seat I bought for my son after he outgrew his convertible car seat. He was able to stay in in with a 5 point harness until November of last year, and he was 5 years old then. He’s still using it now as a booster seat. I don’t love it as a booster (I don’t like how the shoulder portion of the seat belt is threaded), but I do like that you can secure it with the LATCH as a booster to keep it in place in case you have to stop suddenly or get in a crash.

  • Cost: $70
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 50 lbs and 28 – 50 inches
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 19” W x 20.5” D x 27” H inches
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#2) Evenflo SecureKid DLX

For a step up in price from the Maestro, the Evenflo SecureKid has some really great extra features to make it more comfortable for your child and easier for you to install.  The headrest is adjustable, and the lower anchors have retractors that automatically tighten the install as you push on the seat. As far as I can tell, you can only get the seat from BabiesRUs, and as of the date this post was published, is only available for preorder.

  • Cost: $160
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 65 lbs and 28 – 50  inches, or 17 inches when seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 26” High x 19” Wide x 21” Deep
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#3) Recaro Performance Sport

If you read my post on convertible car seats, you know that I really love the Recaro ProRide. For a combination car seat, the Recaro Performance Sport is really great too.  You can’t use it rear-facing, but if your child has outgrown his or her convertible car seat, this is another great option. This seat has an adjustable headrest, has memory foam cushions, and has some extra features, like color-coding slots and a white stripe on the edge of the harness, to make sure the straps aren’t being threaded incorrectly. Also, the seat meets both US and European crash test standards; the requirements to pass European tests are more stringent than in the US.

  • Cost: $200
  • Harnessed limits: 20 – 65 lbs and 27 – 50  inches
  • Highback booster limits: 30 – 120 lbs and 37-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 25” High x 1.5” Wide x 14” Deep
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#4) Britax Pioneer 70

The Britax Pioneer is also on the higher side for price, but it’s long life means that you’ll get your money’s worth. As with the Recaro, Britax seats pass European and US crash test standards. One feature this has that the other seats don’t is a harness that you can adjust the height of without rethreading. My only quibble with Britax seats is that they can a little tricky to install using the vehicle seat belt; though as always, if you read the manual and follow the directions, you should be fine. Unlike the other seats above, this seat got a “check fit” rating from the IIHS for use as a belt-positioning booster; this means you’ll have to take extra care to teach your child what proper belt placement is.

  • Cost: $185
  • Harnessed limits: 25-70 lbs and 30-54  inches, 18.5 inches seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 45-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 19″ W x 34″ H x 21″ D
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Expiration: 9 years from date of manufacture

Hopefully this will help you narrow down your choices. Do you have a seat you love that I missed? Share it below!

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.

Myths about Doulas

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To celebrate International Doula Week, I wanted to talk about some of the myths out there about hiring doulas. While many people know about doulas or may even know a doula, there are still some things that people don’t fully understand about what a doula does or does not do.

1) They can only help if you’re planning and unmedicated birth

Doulas do lower the chances a mom will have unnecessary interventions, but there’s a lot can do even when mom is planning to get an epidural or needs to schedule a cesarean.  The most important thing a doula can do in all of these situations  is to hold the space, provide support for both mom giving birth and her partner too.  And, if anything unexpected should arise, doulas are trained to help you roll with the changes and make sure all of your questions get answered by the staff.

2) They are a substitute for comprehensive childbirth education

While it is part of a doula’s job to help parents get the information they need to make informed decisions, there is simply not enough time during prenatal visits to cover the information that would be included in a 12 hour childbirth class. Additionally, it is out of a doula’s scope of practice to provider education; the doula trainings simply do not cover enough information to allow a doula to know as much as a certified childbirth educator. I’ve also heard from other doulas that it’s just hard to work with families that haven’t taken the time to learn about their options and the possibilities for what can occur.

3) Doulas tell you what to do

Doulas provide emotional and physical support for mom and partner. While doulas can make suggestions for positions or other comfort measures that may be helpful, ultimately, all decisions are the mother’s. Also, a good doula will not judge a mom on her decisions, and only really bad doulas would stop supporting a mom as a result of any decisions she makes. It’s not our birth- it’s yours.

4) They can speak to the staff on your behalf

As with #3, it’s imperative that any decisions and any discussions are between care provider and the family. Doulas can help you get more pillows, help you find your nurse, and fill up your water bottle if you need more water. If you need to talk to the staff about questions or concerns, the doula is not a part of that discussion.

5) A doula takes over for the partner

Doulas provide support for both mom AND the partner, making it a more pleasant experience for both. So that means a doula can get food for everyone, let the partner take a nap, and if things are going really well with just mom and partner, blend into the background, ready to step back in whenever needed.

6) A doula can “protect” you

Sometimes moms are really good at realizing that they place they are planning to give birth and/ or their care provider may not be the best choice, and they want to hire a doula to “protect” them against unwanted procedures. While a doula can help support families in all kinds of situations, the better choice would be to hire a doula AND find a care provider they feel safe with. And again, a doula can’t speak to the staff on your behalf.

7) Doulas are a luxury

While the cost of a doula can range from $400 to $1200 or more, the reality is, a doula is something that could potentially save you money in the long run. Parents will spend a lot of money on a lot of things that may or may not get used, such as expensive strollers, fancy decorating for the baby’s nursery, and more toys and clothes than they have space for. A doula, though, is one thing that can result in better outcomes for both mom and baby. And don’t listen to me…even Suze Orman thinks doulas are a necessity!

I am excited to say that my business partner Liz and I are are currently accepting doula clients; we work as a team to provide top-notch care and support. Find out more information about hiring us here.

Have any questions? Comments? Sound off below!

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.

A tour of the new BabyLove- Before

BabyLove is moving from the 2nd floor down to the first floor, and you can get a sneak peek of what it looks like!

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.

Guest Post: It’s not the Method, it’s the Mother.

Veronica: I met Deena Blumenfeld, owner of Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, at the Lamaze International Conference last October. The number of independent educators at the conference was small, and the number of women who owned our own businesses was even smaller. Last week, Deena wrote Book Review: “Lamaze: An International History” – Breath Control: The Rise and Decline of Psychoprophylaxis for the Science and Sensibility blog. That sparked a discussion between Deena and I about the current methods being taught in childbirth education and how they are modern versions of psychoprophalaxis. Below is a wonderful post Deena wrote on her blog in 2012 that so echos my feelings on “method-based” childbirth education.

Bradley, Hypnobabies, Brio Birth, Birthing from Within, Lamaze and so many others…Does it matter which flavor of childbirth education you take?  Maybe.

Every method has its benefits.  However, every method is not for every mother.  Not every mother needs a method; not every method will work for an individual mother.

I note that we all have different personalities and different learning styles.  We come from different socio-economic backgrounds.  Some of us have been abused during our lives and that will impact our needs during birth.

Some women need a more flexible class.  Others do need to know what to do at all stages of labor and birth; they need the method, the prescription.  If a woman feels more comfortable with a specific method for birth, then she should use it.  If she feels more comfortable knowing her options and selecting those that work best for her, then she should go with what she knows to be best.

Yes, I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (and proud of it!).  No, I don’t teach a method.  So, how does that work?  I teach the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices.  I teach the evidence-based best practices.  I keep current with the research, studies and policy changes that are released.  I help my parents make informed choices regarding their pregnancies, births and babies.

I incorporate my yoga into class with the breathing I teach; the names of the postures and positions for labor and birth; the meditations, and visualizations come from my own experience.

I give women a selection of options from which they can choose to use, or not, as their body tells them.  I remind them not only to follow their body’s instincts, but to trust in their baby and their placenta to know how to give birth.

I do not prescribe certain breathing techniques for women to use.  Nor do I prescribe a series of positions for a woman to use during birth (like a certain Yoga Birthing method).  I do not prescribe any specific mantras, music or meditation.

Why not teach a method?  Why not give more specific instruction as to what to do when?  Because no one method will work for everyone.  There is no one right way to give birth.

If I tell you do X, Y and Z while breathing this way, I’ve stripped you of your autonomy.  I’ve taken away your ability to trust in the process of birth.

If I tell you do X, Y and Z while breathing this way and you fail to do it, for whatever reason, you will more than likely perceive your birth as a failure or perceive yourself as a failure.  This is simply not true.

The method failed, not the mother.

I work with pregnant women and new mothers all the time.  I run a yoga-based workshop called Healing from Traumatic Birth.  I’ve been teaching it for the last 3 years.  One thing that surprised me is the number of women who feel like failures because they didn’t have the “Bradley Birth”.  They “gave in” to the epidural, therefore their birth was traumatic.  Their mantras or affirmations weren’t enough to get them through, so they requested pain medication – and it was devastating for them.

Perception becomes reality.

These mothers perceive themselves as failures, therefore their births were traumatic.  Their perception is valid, their pain is valid.  However, this is not their fault.

This is a failure of the method, not the mother.  This is a failure of that educator, not the mother.  By not following through with an (somewhat) arbitrary set of predetermined, prescriptive behaviors, the woman perceives herself to have failed not only herself but her baby.

On the flip side when a birth is “successful”, and we credit the method we take the power away from the woman.  We strip her of her right to say “I DID IT!”  Instead we hear her say, “I couldn’t have done it without method X!”

In response to a shared birth story online:

Mom #1 – “Thanks so much for sharing! I love reading Hypnobabies stories since I’m using that method this time…

Mom #2 – “I agree. I of course thought it was awesome that it was a Hypnobabies story to…

My response – “Credit where credit is due. It’s not the method, it’s the mother. Kudos to her for birthing her baby the way he needed to be born.

It takes the power away from the mother to credit the method for her birth “success”.  To credit the method is called “advertising”.

About the author:

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Deena H. Blumenfeld, E-RYT 200, RPYT, LCCE is a Certified Khalsa Way™ Prenatal Yoga Teacher and Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator, Lamaze Trainer and the owner and lead educator here at Shining Light Prenatal Education

She has been practicing yoga since 1994.She became a certified Yoga instructor through 3rd Street Yoga in December 2008. She completed her 60 hour Prenatal Yoga training in February 2009 in Los Angeles at Golden Bridge Yoga with Gurmukh. Her Lamaze certification was completed in October 2010, through Magee Women’s Hospital and Lamaze International. She is an advocate of empowered birth for women.

Through the teaching of Prenatal Yoga and Childbirth Education classes, she helps women become more confident in their choices regarding pregnancy, birth and parenthood. Deena has also studied yoga with Doug Keller, Max Strom, KK Ledford, Shakta Kaur Khalsa and others. Her ongoing professional development as a Childbirth Educator has been with Ina May Gaskin, Penny Simkin, Gail Tully of Spinning Babies and other childbirth professionals.

Deena is also a mom of two – a son, born via c-section in April 2005, and a daughter in March 2009, a VBAC. She is an active member of the local ICAN chapter and a member of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.
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.

Don’t leave me tongue tied!

Image via Flickr by Qole, used under Creative Common license

This weekend the Lactation Consultants in Private Practice convention was held, and I was very happy to see some tweets on tongue and lip tie coming out of the conference. I’ve noticed a big uptick in the amount of information available to families and professionals alike in 2014. However, I see kids and adults with severe tongue and lip ties as I go through my day to day life, which is really awkward when it’s family members who already think I’m off my rockers when it comes to this issue. It’s frustrating to see how much ignorance and stubborn attitudes still persist.

First of all, there’s no such thing as a “short tongue.” That’s a tongue tie. Gap in the top front teeth? Lip tie. Left undiagnosed and untreated, babies usually have problems with breastfeeding, but they can have other health issues as well. Treatment, if you can find a care provider who does treat tongue ties and lip ties, is pretty straightforward, as I noted in the post about my daughter’s own frenectomy. There are dentists who can treat the issues in adults and in babies, in addition to ENTs.

There are some really great resources out there if you think you or your child has a tongue or lip tie. I’ve linked some of the best ones out there below.

On the health effects of tongue tie and lip tie:

On Diagnosing Tongue and Lip Tie:

Other resources:

I’m sure there is more out there, but these are my favorite that I’ve found so far. Together, we can help educate care providers and friends and family members. Do you have a story about tongue tie or lip tie? Any questions? Comment below!

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.

Maternity Care Transparency is Important

maternity care transparency

If you’ve been reading my blog here for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I really love maternity care transparency wherever I can get it. My reason for this is simple– it boggles my mind that the outcomes for any one provider or birth place aren’t made a public record. In many places, families not only have the time (at least 28 weeks!!!) to research birth options, but at least more than one option to look into. And while families can always ask questions directly (and still should), it would be wonderful if the information on various birth outcomes was public information.

Last year, Minnesota made a small step forward when Minnesota Community Measurement released a report that included Primary Cesarean Rate by clinic. While it wasn’t a full picture of birth outcomes, it was FAR more information than had ever been released before, and I’ve found it was a really good tool for showing families how much of a difference the choice of care providers can make to their birth outcomes. It was also fascinating to see how you could see trends within systems, which was a good indicator that policies really do drive outcomes more than actual patient needs. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see any such information for 2013. MCM released the new report without any Primary Cesarean data in it.  Their explanation was that,

Under the direction of our Measurement and Reporting Committee (MARC), we revised the 2015 reporting specifications for the Maternity: Primary C-section measure so that rates will be reported on a medical group level rather than a clinical level. Due to this upcoming change, the Maternity Primary C-Section data for 2012 dates of service will not be included in this report. (p. 7)

Sigh. We’re back to having very little public information.

So here’s the thing. Good maternity care isn’t as simple as “home versus hospital versus birth center.” It just isn’t. Good care can happen in any of these settings. Really crappy care can happen in any of these settings.  And while you can ask around, it would be SO MUCH better if you could actually look up what the numbers say. Numbers might not always be 100% right, but they are a darn good place to start.

Choosing a care provider or birth place SHOULD NOT be influenced by advertising, either. I’m honestly really sick of hearing and seeing commercials that make a hospital sound like the most perfect place to give birth (usually right after a gigantic renovation because, hello, that renovation needs to get paid for somehow), but their birth outcomes (from what little is publicly available) are some of the worst in the area. That’s not truth in advertising. That’s bait and switch. The truth would be more like, “We have pretty rooms, yes, but we have staffing ratios that don’t meet best practice and our policies aren’t supported by current medical evidence.”

Or close to that.

So, what do we do?

Well, learn about your options. Come take a Lamaze class with me. We will talk about options and how to know when various interventions are a good choice. Learning how to ask questions to make medical decisions isn’t just a skill that you’ll only use during birth.  It’s something that you’ll need when your baby grows as they face normal illnesses and injuries.  It even comes in handy when you take your pets to the vet! Lamaze childbirth classes don’t just give you birth skills, they give you life skills.

In a perfect world we could all band together and demand that out state legislature pass a bill mandating public reporting of various maternity care measures. They do a good job in New York, where you can find the information on the state website.  Minnesota could pass a law that mirror’s New York’s Maternity Information Law.  I know it’s not as much fun as the Sunday liquor sales bill that makes an annual appearance, but it would be a HUGE step forward that would keep everyone accountable.  Can you imagine? We’d all be able to pull up the information whenever we wanted, and we could see changes from year to year.  Ah, it would be wonderful.

In the meantime, the best you can do is make sure you ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t just look at the pretty wallpaper on that tour–ask questions. If the tour guide doesn’t know, get the information to contact the person who DOES know. If they won’t tell you, then tell them that you won’t put your baby at risk in a facility that can’t be honest with consumers. Lamaze International has a really great set of resources via their “Push For Your Baby” campaign that can give you a starting place. If at any point your warning bells start to go off, find a new provider. Period. If you have options where you live, exercise your right to switch care providers. You deserve care that’s respectful of your needs and your baby’s needs.

Oh, and if you’re so inclined, maybe give a little jingle to whoever represents you as ask them about maternity care transparency. After all, that’s one of the ways a bill eventually becomes a law.

So, that’s my stance on maternity care transparency. Thoughts? Questions? Sound off in the comments! If you really feel as strongly as I do, make sure to pass this post along. We can make a difference.

Warmly,

Veronica

P.S. If you want extra credit, you can read this really great article on the issue from a public health standpoint.

 

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.