Refresh Wednesday: A guest post on self-care strategies

I’m in the middle of about a bajillion projects right now: planning our open house on 5/2, trying to raise money in the last 7 days of our crowdfunding effort for the non-profit I co-founded, hiring doulas for my agency, and working on securing insurance coverage for childbirth classes. It’s safe to say I’m a wee bit stressed out. I was talking to Sarah Leitschuh, who sees patients here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she said I should check out her blog. I did, and there’s a lot of great stuff there! You need to go check out all of her posts, but here’s one she said was OK to share here. Enjoy! -Veronica

Are you ready to stop making excuses for not prioritizing self care?   Are you looking for suggested strategies that may help you enhance your approach to self care?  If so, this is the post for you.    Not quite there yet?   Click here to read some quotes to inspire you or check out my last post on excuses for not prioritizing self care.

As you review the list of self care strategies below, I encourage you to remember that self care looks different for each person because we all have unique needs and interests.    I hope this list can be used to help you start thinking about and exploring which strategies may work best for you.  It may take some experimentation to identify which self care strategies you find to be the most effective.

Possible Self Care Strategies:

  • Engage in physical activity
  • Commit to healthy eating
  • Participate in deep breathing or other relaxation exercises
  • Meditation
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Engage in creative activities
  • Make time to do things that you enjoy
  • Journal
  • Pamper yourself (Whatever that means for you!)
  • Spend time with those individuals who you find to be the most supportive
  • Commit to getting enough sleep
  • Massage
  • Allow yourself time to be playful or silly
  • Seek the support of friends, family and/or a mental health professional, when needed

Still looking for more ideas?   Another great resource is a blog post written by Jodie Gale. Jodie compiled over 50 self care tips from therapist across the world.   Click here to read Jodie’s post.

As you consider what types of self care strategies you would like to try, it may also be helpful to take a look at my post about Refining Your Approach to Self Care.  That post included a list of reflection questions to help individuals assess their strengths and growth areas in their current approach to self care.

What are your favorite self care activities?   Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments area below.

Ready, Set, Take Care of YOU!

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About Sarah:

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MN #1771).  I have experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families.  I have provided individual, family and group therapy for people who have experienced depression, anxiety, abuse, struggles with relationships and difficulty               managing anger.

I have extensive experience working with individuals who have been involved with the child protection and juvenile justice systems. A primary emphasis of my work has been in working with children and adolescents who have been affected by sexual abuse.

I tailor  my therapy approach to the needs of each individual client or family.

I am a wife and mother of two young children.   My family owns a lively dog.   In my free time I enjoy playing with my children, going for walks with my family, traveling, reading and watching movies.

Contact Sarah at 952-457-2322 or Sarah@SarahLeitschuhCounseling.com

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.

The grand reveal of the new offices at BabyLove!

I’ve been hinting here and there about the construction being done to add to the office space and practitioners who are now collected at BabyLove, but I haven’t had any video tours like I did when I did the buildout of suite 102 last year. There’s more to the story about the reclaiming of suite 200 and the remodeling than you’d think. The video is long, but I hope you enjoy it.

We are having a Great-Grand Opening on May 2nd, 2015 from 1-3pm. If you can’t make it, but would like to know more about the nonprofit we’ve formed to improve maternity care outcomes for families in our area and would like to help our fundraising campaign we’re doing to pay for the initial filing fees, you can find that information here.

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.

Refresh Wednesday: Breastfeeding Myths

Today I’m reposting a blog that I wrote a couple of years ago. The post is old enough to go to preschool now, so I figured putting it up again wouldn’t be too much of a rehash. Enjoy!

Veronica

Breastfeeding myths amaze me.  Some myths are super persistent and are hard to make go away.  Others go away, only to rear their ugly little heads at random.  Two steps forward, one step back, I suppose.

So, let’s start on the most irritating ones:

  • You need to toughen up your nipples- ARGH!  This one MUST go away!  Moms, you do not need to do anything extra to get your nipple toughened up.  This awful little gem, in my opinion, was stupid advice doled out in an attempt to get pregnant moms so freaked out by the though of taking a hairbrush to their tender pregnancy nipples that they gave up on the idea of breastfeeding before baby was even born.  Leave your nipples alone.
  • If you have a drink or two, you need to pump and dump*- It’s a complete myth that if you have any alcohol, you have to pump out the “bad” milk until you get every trace of it out of your breastmilk.  Breast milk is a blood product.  The concentration of alcohol is never higher in breastmilk than it is in your blood, and as the levels fall in your bloodstream, the levels fall in your milk.  Generally, the bigger danger from drinking alcohol won’t be from having it in your milk, but instead you will be dangerous as a mother and will not be sober enough to care for your baby safely.  Not sure? Read some more guidelines here.      (*Now, pumping and dumping might have to happen if you are away from your baby for a long period of time while you are out imbibing, but mostly for mom’s comfort, not to keep baby from ingesting alcohol in the milk. If you’re undergoing radiation treatments, you will have to pump and dump.)
  • You can’t take the medication _____ while breastfeeding- Recently, it was estimated that ONE MILLION mothers quit or never started breastfeeding their babies because of incorrect advice about medication.  When I was breastfeeding and needed to take a medication, I would always test my provider to see if he or she knew how to answer the question (even though I usually knew the answer because I had done my research).  And sadly, often I had to teach THEM how to find the correct answer.  Online, you can find some really good information on LactMed, You can call the VERY amazing InfantRisk Center, and you can also download apps for both on your smartphone.  There is no excuse for care providers to not have this information literally at their fingertips.  However, you know now, too, so spread the word that the answers to breastfeeding and medication questions are easy to find.
  • If you exercise, it will make your milk “bad”- This is a complete, total, and utter falsehood.  Truthfully? The last time I read it was in a book on breastfeeding published by a formula company.  But, as always, stay hydrated (and this piece of advice is true even if you aren’t nursing!)
  • What you eat or drink will help your supply- This is a holy grail for some, BUT THIS IS NOT TRUE!  Even mother facing plague and famine are able to make plenty of milk for their babies, as are women who eat nothing but chips and drink soda all day.  And for the most part, their milk will provide plenty of nutrition for their babies.  Only a couple of things, such as vitamin K, won’t be in mom’s milk if she doesn’t have it in her diet.  What will happen if mom has a poor diet?  It will take a toll on how she feels, but that’s pretty much it.  So mom will less able to cope with the demands of her baby, but the quantity and quality of milk will be largely unchanged. For more info, check this out.
  • Fenugreek is totally fine to take to up supply- First of all, too many moms falsely think they don’t make enough milk for their babies.  Some times, it’s more of an issue of mom not having a realistic idea of what a newborn’s needs are.  So first, find out if you really might have a low supply. If you do, the best thing to do is to give baby more of a chance to breastfeed.  But when it comes to herbs to increase supply, realize that they have potential side affects. And if you have peanut allergies in the family, do not take fenugreek. But really you could take all the herbs in the world and if you aren’t letting baby nurse often enough, your supply won’t go up.  It’s supply equals demand, not supply equals Fenugreek.

I know more myths are out there.  These were my easy ones.  Truthfully, this is a hard thing to tackle, because some of them are so closely held by even strong breastfeeding supporters.  Evidence on breastfeeding best practices have changed a lot in the last couple of years, which is why it’s VERY important to find someone who has extensive breastfeeding and lactation training (at least 45 hours) and has been staying current to help you if you have any problems.  What other myths did I miss? Maybe I can tackle them in a future post.

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.

Screw the So-Called “Mommy Wars”

Mommy Wars Suck

A couple of weeks ago, a woman was in my office, and she asked me if there is one word to describe what is at the heart of everything I do at BabyLove, what would that be? After thinking for a moment I knew what my answer would be: love. Love and compassion. You see, I didn’t start my career only teaching classes to families on an independent basis. I started my career as a doula and a childbirth educator by working with moms of all ages, careers, backgrounds, socio-economic classes, and from so many countries I eventually lost count.

I think what is missing from a lot of childbirth educators’ experiences is the background of teaching such a diverse range of moms, dads, and other family members. You see, while it’s assumed that these families have so much that is different in their day to day lives,  they actually have more in common than you would expect. I think every family has it’s share of fears. Every mother is secretly worried about some parts of labor and birth. Parenting seems overwhelming to all of us.

We forget that we are best served by respecting and honoring this transformative journey of pregnancy and childbirth by approaching each mother each, each person with love and compassion. It long ago struck me that I have the power to be the positive voice in a pregnancy. Sometimes all moms hear are negative things: about how birth will be terrible, that parenting is a chore, and tales of bad behavior by preschoolers and teenagers.

The truth? The truth is, we all have days when we struggle. We all have days when we feel like we are not going to even be able to make it to bedtime. There are days we all feel so isolated, so alone, so out of touch from our friends, our family, and our community that it can be absolutely terrifying. But, in the end, if we all approach each other with love and compassion as we navigate then joys and challenges of parenthood, then I promise we will get through this together.

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.

3 Things the Tongue Tie Skeptics Get Wrong

I’ve been writing about tongue ties and lip ties for a couple of years, and have been involved in some grassroots efforts to expand awareness and access to providers. Things had been going at a slow, yet calm pace until….until the skeptics and adversaries started speaking up. The first time this really hit our radar, I think, was this blog post from Nancy Mohrbacher. Now, I have a lot of respect for Ms. Mohrbacher, but I think there are a few things that were misleading in her portrayal of the issues. Reaction to her post was swift and divisive. Interestingly enough, comments on her post were removed and the ability to comment was turned off. Other posts have surfaced, but it was this post that prompted me to clarify a few things.

Myth #1: ______ are diagnosing tongue ties and lip ties

From Nancy Mohrbacher’s post:

I appreciate the growing awareness of tongue- and lip-tie issues and health providers willing to do interventions. Yet often the diagnosis is coming from friends, Dr. Google, and Facebook discussions.

OK, so major point of clarification: Medical Doctors can diagnose. Chiropractors (in some states) can diagnose. Advance Practice Nurses can diagnose. Physician Assistants can diagnose. Dentists can diagnose. Unless they hold any of these other licenses, guess who can’t diagnose?

IBCLCs (unless they are also MDs, DOs, etc.) can not diagnose. The internet isn’t diagnosing. Friends aren’t diagnosing. Facebook groups aren’t diagnosing. Once a parent is referred by whatever source to a provider who can do frenectomies, that provider then can diagnose and treat. Period. So let’s stop saying otherwise, OK? Thanks.

Myth #2: Moms aren’t getting help from IBCLCs before wondering if tongue ties or lip ties are an issue

In the 2nd blog post I referenced above, “Revise the Ties, Keep the LC,” she lays out 7 reasons why IBCLCs need to be involved with sorting out breastfeeding issues. I don’t think anyone disagrees with this at face value. But what isn’t really addressed is, if you read many accounts written by moms who have ended up getting frenectomies done on their little ones, most of the time at least one IBCLC, if not 3 or 4, have been involved with working with a mom. And while the author gives the advice that,

Every lactation consultant is an expert on breastfeeding, but not every lactation consultant is an expert on tethered oral tissues, structural issues as they affect breastfeeding,  and recovery after frenectomy.  Many of us have invested considerable amounts of time and money to acquire knowledge and information that is more advanced than the basic training required by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (the certifying board for IBCLC’s).  If you are not sure whether the lactation consultant you have contacted is an expert in this area, just ask.  Ask if they are knowledgeable on complete tongue function, if they have a good working relationship with local providers that release tongue/lip ties.

I can say, in my year and a half of advocacy work, this is hard for me, someone not even in crisis mode with a tiny, hungry baby, to figure out. How on earth are new moms supposed to suss all of this out? They get told that an IBCLC is the person to see for help with breastfeeding, and when they don’t get that help from the IBCLC that actually helps….I don’t know what to say to them.

Myth #3: This issue only affects breastfeeding

There are lots of studies that exist that show links to tongue ties and lip ties and things like sleep apnea, TMJ, speech issues, torticollis, overbites, crowded teeth, etc. (And of course, as I type this, PubMed isn’t working.) You can find lots and lots of info on these various issues over on Dr. Ghareti, ENT’s blog, including a link to the video interview I did with him a year ago. Since teeth, speech, etc are so easily affected, that’s often why dentists are more likely to be receptive to diagnosing and treating lip ties and tongue ties than other providers.

I do realize this is an evolving issue, but it’s easier to have a conversation as professionals if you at least keep the three points I made in mind. It’s easily to vilify, oversimplify, and misrepresent the issue, but that’s not fair to anyone. We’ll all do much better if the dialogue is respectful, open, and there’s no more name calling.

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.