Staying sane past 40 weeks

Due dates aren’t set in stone.  Hopefully you know that.  They are guesses that fall in the middle of a range of dates during which your baby will most likely arrive.  However, once you go past that “guess date”, things can get tough emotionally, physically, even socially. Maybe you’re tired, you have’t been sleeping, your want your body back, and friends, family, and other people might just be rude about the whole deal.  Here are some tips for staying sane until the baby comes:

  • Change your voicemail and screen your phone calls. Make sure the voicemail message says that you have not had the baby yet, but to leave a message if they would like to talk about something that is not baby-related.
  • Ban all bad birth stories.  The very second anyone tries to tell you anything about their experiences, or the experience of someone they know, stop them and ask, ‘Is this is a good story or a negative one?” If they say it’s a good one, let them continue.  If it’s not a positive story, politely say you’re trying to avoid negativity and you’d love to hear the story after your own baby is born.
  • Pamper yourself. Go for a massage.  Take that nap. Go to the library and check out the trashiest books you can find.  The point is to stay as happy and distracted as you can until baby shows up.
  • Go out on a date with your partner.  You might not have time to go on a date sans baby for a very long time, so do it now.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, but since you have the time, take the time.  Enjoy each other’s company.
  • Spend some special time with your kids.  If you already have a child or two, maybe spend some special one on one time with each child. Again, since you have the time, take the time to connect with your kids before the new baby arrives.
  • Get your car seat inspected.
  • Go to a breastfeeding support group.  You’ll find a room full of sympathetic ears, plus you might get some good breastfeeding info to boot!

Those are my tips.  If you have any to share, plug them in the comment section 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.

5 Items to Avoid on Your Baby Registry

what to avoid on baby registry

I’ve been getting lots and lots of questions lately on if I had good resources about registries,  and you know what?  I don’t.  The truth is, there are millions, if not billions, spent on advertising to new parents.  What do you actually need? Well, a car seat is a must (though you don’t need to buy an infant-only car seat with a handle. A convertible car seat works just fine too).  Your baby needs a safe place to sleep.  Clothes are good.  And diapers?  Well, you might want to check out how much diapers cost before you decide if you’ll go cloth versus disposables.  There are some things, though, that shouldn’t go on your registry, period.

1) A Boppy

Why you should avoid it: Originally marketed as a way to elevate baby while playing on the floor, it quickly seemed like it was a necessity for breastfeeding moms.  Truth be told, it leaves a huge gap by moms’ stomachs, it isn’t high enough to bring baby all the way up to breast, and it’s better for baby to be at a 45 degree angle (or more) when feeding.  Would you be able to drink while lying on your side? Nope. So don’t make your baby do that, either.

A better choice: Instead of a nursing pillow, add some lactation support to your wish list.  Have friends or family members buy you some prepaid time with a lactation pro in your home that you can call for help.  It’ll be way better than a pillow, I promise.

2) Crib Bumpers

Why you should avoid it: Well, for one, the AAP has warned against using them for many years now.  They are a SIDS risk.  The  city of Chicago made it illegal to sell them. Older babies can use them as a step and can fall out of their cribs. I’ve never quite understood what we thought they were going to do, anyway.  I mean, it’s not like your baby is going to get a running start and crack his or her head on the inside of the crib rails, will he?  Nope.

A better choice: Have people buy you some gift cards for restaurants that offer take out or that deliver.  That way when the pre-made meals run out, of if you just can’t handle having one more lasagna, you have a way to feed yourself.

3) Sleep positioners

Why you should avoid it: Originally touted as a way to prevent SIDS, the AAP expressly warned against using them in their updated guidelines from 2011.  Though, honestly, since that happened, I don’t see them much on store shelves anymore.  Still, some mom might tell you that you have to have one…but you don’t.

A better choice:  How about asking for gift cards for a grocery store that delivers?  Doesn’t that sound nice? Heck, I would like them even now.

4) Wipes Warmer

Why you should avoid it: Two words: fires and infections.  Wipe warmers have been known to overheat and start on fire.  And even if that extreme scenario doesn’t play out, the warm, wet environment is a hotbed of germs and can lead to infections.

A better choice: Let’s see….in the middle of the night, some Netflix streaming might be really nice.  Throw a gift subscription on your list.

5) A Baby Bjorn (the classic model)

Why you should avoid it: Any baby carrier that places all of baby’s weight on his or her crotch can case bruising, numbness, tingling, and even hip dysplasia.  Think about it…would you want to hang in that position for hours on end? Probably not.

A better choice: Let’s see: a wrap carrier, a ring sling, a mei tai, a soft structured carrier….anything that has your baby sitting in the carrier, not dangling.  Unsure about your options? Well, we have a class to help!

As I was pulling out our old, icky wipe warmer (Yep, I make mistakes, too.  We used that wipe warmer until my 10 day old son ended up in the ER with a UTI.), I found an old white noise machine.  And while I didn’t list it above, you DO want a noise machine.  Trust me.  When that first thunderstorm hits and your baby sleeps through it?  You’ll thank me.

Simplicity is key.  Also, you’ll be glad to eliminate the clutter in your home.

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.

Breastfeeding Resources Every Mom Needs

Breastfeeding resources

Have you tried looking for breastfeeding information online?  It’s hard, isn’t it?  It seems like there are so many opinions out there; how do you sort through all of them?  The answer?  You can’t.  Well, not really.  But if you know the right places to go to get accurate information, your life will be easier.  So, here are my go-to resources, and the reasons why I love them.

Going old-school: the best books

Don’t gasp.  There are some long-worshiped books missing. I don’t like them either because they are hard to use, only based on option, or flat out wrong. So here they are, ranked in order of my favorite to least favorite:

1) Breastfeeding Made SimpleI love this book because it follows my breastfeeding philosphy:  why make breastfeeding harder for moms?  The answers it gives are common sense, and better yet, help moms tap into their babies’ abilities.

2) A Nursing Mother’s CompanionAnother great book that’s easy to use.  At 2 AM, you don’t need to be hunting through a bunch of pages for ideas of what to try.  Here it’s all laid out in step by step instructions of what to try.

3) The Breastfeeding Answer Book- Dr. Jack Newman is another top researcher, so his book is pretty good in having accurate info.  It’s just not the easiest to use, IMHO.

Online resources

This is where moms get into trouble.  It’s a rabbit hole, I tell ya.  Don’t go on message boards, don’t hunt a million places…stick to these 3, ok? Your sanity thanks you in advance.

1) KellyMom.com- It’s my go-to online resource because it’s accurate, simple, and, now that most of the old broken links are fixed, a treasure trove of great info on all sorts of things, from the normal to the obscure.

2) BreastFeeding Inc- This is Dr. Newman’s online resource for his research.  You can get information in a variety of languages, too.

3) The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine- This is the best place to go to for accurate, evidence-based protocols, especially if you are finding your baby’s physician isn’t supporting breastfeeding.  It’s great for things like jaundice, too.

Apps for breastfeeding and medication

There’s so much bad information out there on what’s safe to take while breastfeeding, and what wasn’t safe to take while pregnant is usually safe to take while breastfeeding.  Here are two apps that you can download so you have the information at your fingertips, just in case.

1) The InfantRisk appThere’s also a phone line to call during the day, Monday through Friday, but the app is always available   Yes, it’s a little spendy, but it supports ongoing research and it’s very easy to use and very thorough.  And heads up, the info is not available on the website.

2) LactmedWhile Lactmed is free, it’s not as user-friendly as the InfantRisk app.  It can take a little bit of deciphering to determine if a medication is safe, but if you’re talking with a doctor or pharmacist, they’ll understand what they are reading.

Hopefully all of these things are useful.  Do you have anything that you love that I might have missed?  Let me know 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.

BabyLove Featured Family: Heather, Brandon, Baby F, and Brother B

Johnson FF

April is coming to a close, but there’s still time for us to introduce our Featured Family for the month of April.  We’ve been so honored to know this family since the night they took our Elimination Class, right through the birth of their second child.  We’re starting today with Heather, and we will hear from her husband later this week.  Enjoy!

  • So far, what has been your biggest joy in becoming a mother again?

Getting the chance to enjoy the little things. Knowing that my baby is going to grow so quickly and that I get to enjoy every moment, even the tough ones! I never thought I would be so overjoyed to have a baby girl!!!

  • What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your baby was born?

The long crying spells and breastfeeding. I thought with our first that he cried often because he was overtired and I was sure I had it all figured out this time around…Boy was I wrong!:) She has many crying spells and I do think it has to do with being overtired and trouble falling into a sleep state. I’m still unsure of why she is crying often, but I just always try to soothe her and I wear her most of the time. Breastfeeding was also tough because Finnley had trouble latching on. I thought the second time would be a breeze after breastfeeding my son for a year. It sure is different nursing a newborn! It is tough, but SO worth it! Giving up was never an option for me though, so I just worked through it. It only took 3 weeks for us to get the hang of it!

  • Where and how have you found support for yourself when you’ve needed it?

I’ve gotten a lot of support from other moms. Moms I met from the first time around and during this pregnancy. It’s nice to have Mama Cafe to go to every week- I make that a priority! I’ve gotten a lot of help from Veronica and Brittany! – from breastfeeding help to babywearing tips! I find that I am just one of those people that needs to vent my complaints and difficulties to relieve stress:). My parents are also around to help when my husband works late. It is nice that my husband will change/rock Finnley when I’m done feeding her. I don’t feel as bad asking this time around:) Just because I’m not working does not mean I don’t need sleep!

  • Did you feel that your childbirth classes prepared you for this birth? How so?

Very much so! I felt much more empowered to have a natural birth, which was what I wanted. I felt I learned a TON about the process of labor and birth and the effects of interventions- even after going to a class the first time around!

  • What is one thing you think all parents should know before the birth of their baby?

It is more life changing than most people think. It is so incredible… you can’t believe you made this perfect little being. But there’s also the tough part. Waking up all hours of the night is a lot more difficult than it sounds, but it only lasts for a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. Be prepared to ask people for help! Other cultures have people helping them with everything for weeks after the birth of a baby- you don’t have to do everything and be super parents!!!! When family comes over to hold your baby, take a nap! Whenever you can, SLEEP! :) Cuddle your baby as much as you can, each phase passes so fast!

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.

Self-care is just REALLY hard

Last week, while chatting with a newly-made friend on twitter, she admitted that she’s starting to get a little burned out as a mother.  I asked her about what she’s doing for self-care, and she gave the usual answer we all probably would give if asked: Not enough.  The barriers for not taking the time to take care of ourselves as mothers are universal: the kids come first, not enough time, not enough family members to assist with child care, not enough money, not enough energy…..

Ugh.

I’m right there with all of you, completely.  I’m awful at self-care.  My stress level is always high, I’ve always got more to do than hours in the day, and juggling the kids and their activities and needs during their waking hours is about as much as I can manage.  Right now, though I have two saving graces: First, I’ve started working with a health coach to bring down my stress level, and she keeps me accountable.  Second, I am blessed with a husband who is supportive of me taking the time I need (when I can find it) to take care of myself.  But even with that, it’s still hard.  Here are some things I can suggest to help with it:

1) Start small- My one goal is to read a novel for 20-30 minutes every day.  I can manage that. To make it even more stress-free, I found some books in the dollar section at the local thrift store. The sad truth is, I can not be trusted with library books.  I always end up with fines. So, rather than stress about fines, cheap books I can keep are my best option.

2) Make it part of the routine-  I am a person who thinks that having a routine is essential for my sanity and the kids’ sanity.  It was essential when I was a working mom because without it, it would have been to easy to always be late for work.  Now that both kids are in some amount of school, it’s essential to make sure they are on time and I keep my sanity. Sneaking in that small block of decompression is critical.  And, just like everything else, repetition is the key to creating a habit.  The tricky part, though, is avoiding the temptation to stray from the commitment   Like right now?  I should be doing my “me-time”; instead, I’m blogging about it.

3) Connecting with others- Networking has become my main source of social interaction outside of classes.  That can be fine, but sometimes it ends up being 2 hours of behaving like a walking, talking commercial. (Not always, but sometimes.) Finding other women to connect with is a goal in 2013.  More specifically, women who have other interests outside of mine–because being in the echo chamber of the birth world has it’s limits.  But, mamas? Be brave. Branch out. You’ll be surprised how so many other moms are aching for that connection.

4) Slow down- There are a million things to do on any given day.  There are events, concerts, sporting events, museums to visit, so many play groups and events, TWO zoos–and oh my goodness it’s just too much.  Yes, there are a lot of things you COULD do, but there has to be a risk/benefit calculation.  There’s a fine line between doing stuff just for the sake of being busy and doing, and doing so much that it becomes stressful for you, for your kids, and it becomes draining, not invigorating.   And you know what?  You don’t suck as a parent if you can’t make it to everything or be everywhere.  Slow down. Just let your kids have some down time, too.  You will all feel better.  It will involve saying no, which I get is hard to say, but being a parent means drawing lines sometimes. But sometimes…

5) Say Yes- And here, I am calling all fellow introverts.  If you are like me and just would rather stay home rather than accept an invitation where you might not know everyone else there, it’s totally OK to have those feelings.  Maybe the last thing you went to was no fun.  But you know what?  If you can, be brave and accept that invite.  You might still want to hide in the bathroom some of all of the time, but even that tiny bit of effort is you trying to take care of you.  For that, you get a gold star.

So, BabyLove families– any of this ring true? Thoughts? Need a place for that self- care? Come hang with me on April 27th for our Craft Night. It’s looking like it’ll be loads of fun!

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.

7 Things to Do While Nursing Your Baby

While Nursing

Here’s a not-so-well kept secret:  Brand new babies need to eat.  Some babies breastfeed quite frequently.  Some babies take awhile to nurse. That’s fine.  There’s no way to predict it and no way to really change it, so it’s best to go with the flow.

So, that leaves time mom is sitting on the couch, or in the rocker, or lying in bed with a baby who is eating, right?  To some moms, this is a bad thing– it’s “unproductive time”.  I challenge you to look at it differently: It’s productive time!  So here are some things you can actually do while you feed your baby:

1) Watch a TV show- It doesn’t matter if you have straight TV, cable, Roku, Netflix, DVDs, whatever, find a TV show and start watching.  With my first, it was Felicity.  With my second, it was Gilmore Girls.  A mom at Mama Cafe has been binge-watching The West Wing. Fine!  Great!  When else in your life will you ever have an excuse to do such a thing?  Answer?  Never.  So go for it!

2) Catch up on phone calls- I work from home in the afternoons.  The phones roll over from the office, so if I get a work-related call, it can be tricky; my kids are older, very talkative, and LOUD.  But back in the day when they were babies, if the phone rang and they got fussy– I’d just start nursing.  Or, if I was settling in for a feeding, I’d grab the phone, my to-do list, and start calling people. Win all around!

3) Read to older siblings- Siblings can feel left out when a new baby comes.  So, while the baby is busy being fed, find a book (or a game) that you can read to the sibling(s).  Everyone’s needs are met.  Done!

4) Baby grooming- OK, so you might think this is crazy (until you have kids are you find yourself doing just this), but while babies are nursing is a GREAT time to pick out eye crusties, ear wax, and even–wait for it- trim fingernails by tearing them with your teeth. Yep.  I said it.

5) Social media- Tweeting and Facebook extensively while breastfeeding is totally acceptable.

6) Be at Mama Cafe- Even if you don’t have a question, being with other moms is very important as your life changes.  If you do have questions, we’re happy to help, and our other moms certainly have wisdom to share.  And if you have to pee, we’re happy to hold your baby so you can go to the bathroom all by yourself.  And trust us, as moms,  it’s a rare moment to get to go without someone else bugging you. So Mama Cafe.  Tuesdays.  Be there.

7) Walk around- Once you have breastfeeding figured out and your baby is a little older, you can find carriers that work well with breastfeeding.  I’ll never forget the time my sister was visiting with my small nephew and we were out at the mall and he got hungry.  She just adjusted her Ergo, opened up her tank top, and zipped her light sweater around herself and the baby and we just kept walking.  Nobody could see anything, her baby was happy, and she could keep going and safely feed her baby.

If I missed any good ideas, leave it in the comments below!

-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.

Used car seats: Are they safe?

used car seat

When parents face the arrival of a new baby, the number of things they feel like they need to buy can be overwhelming.  Things like clothes, diapers of some sort, and a safe place to sleep are a must.  Lots of things, like bouncy seats and jumperroos seem necessary, but are actually just extras that are nice to have.  If you can get those “nice things” for free as hand me downs, that’s great.  But what about car seats? Can you use used car seats?  Well, best practice is always to get a new seat.  Typically, newer seats have more safety features, they are usually easier to install, and they are just cleaner, for goodness sake.  But of you REALLY are dead set on using a previously used car seat, you must keep all these things in mind:

  • Can you ABSOLUTELY verify the history of a seat? If your sister is giving you a car seat she used, you would probably know if she was ever in a car crash with that car seat. You would have heard about the car accident when it happened.  However, if you are getting a seat from a friend of a friend? Maybe not.  And buying a seat at ANY garage sale or from a thrift store? Horrible idea. It’s amazing what people will rationalize when it comes to selling used car seats at a garage sale.  Your child is more important than saving a few bucks.
  • Are all the pieces there and in working order?  I have had people bring in previously used seats that are missing buckles, with cracked shells, or broken chest clips.  Sometimes you can order these missing pieces, but let’s get real:  If the seat is broken, it’s not safe.  Simple as that. You’ve worked really hard to heave a healthy baby, so don’t put thriftiness ahead of your child’s safety.  If the seat you have isn’t safe, get a new seat. Period.
  • Does the seat have labels you can read? If you can’t read the model name, number, or manufactured on date, you simply have no idea if the seat is too old to use, nor can you check if the seat had a recall issued.
  • Is the seat too old to use? Most seats have an expiration date 5 or 6 years after the date of manufacture. (A few brands have a 7 or 9 year expiration date.) Always check with the manufacturer, but if it’s expired, the manufacturer had determined that the seat can’t be assured to work in a crash.  Don’t use an expired car seat.  And if the seat will expire before your child will grow out of it, keep in mind, you WILL need to purchase a new seat when that seat expires.
  • Has the seat been recalled? When you get a new seat, you should take the little postcard it comes with, fill it out, and send it in. If it’s someone else’s seat, you will want to go online and check to make sure there wasn’t a recall issued since the seat was purchased.
  • Lost Manual? Check online. Car seat manuals are easy to lose.  Whenever there is a question on how and where to use a seat, a tech’s answer is to always check the manual. We can’t do that if it’s not there. So go find the manufacturer’s website and print out a new one…and don’t lose it.

If you do end up with a damaged or expired car seat, you have two options. You can destroy the seat and dispose of it in your normal garbage (as you see in the photo above).  You can also go to a recycling facility that will accept car seats. There may be a fee for this, though.

Lately, I’ve had some push back from parents and pediatricians when it comes to the subject of using used, unsafe seats.  I hear that “a used seat is better than no seat”….but no. There are plenty of resources for families who TRULY can’t afford a new seat.  We are happy to help families figure out their options, and can even be a resource for care providers who don’t know what options families have. If you have a used seat (or a new seat) and want to make sure it’s being installed and used correctly, schedule your individual car seat check with us today.  It’s worth every penny!

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.

Yes, moms, each stage is special

As I face the prospect of sending my youngest to all-day Kindergarten next year (HOORAY!  He’s so ready to go!), I find that more and more I am catching myself in the moment, able to appreciate my children for exactly the stage they are in right now.  7 1/2 years of motherhood has taught me (as you’ll read below) that every stage is amazing and challenging and no one age is better than another. I’m finally starting to enjoy my kids, just as they are.  Below, an essay I wrote for a newsletter last year. Enjoy! 

Veronica

IMAG0406

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It’s taken awhile, but one year after painting the living room walls, we’re finally working on getting paintings and pictures hung up.  A couple of shelves inspired the need to get a large chunk of it done a couple of weekends ago.  The kids’ school pictures had remained in the envelopes they came in until I finally could find another 8 by 10 frame to put Ronan’s picture in.  We have all of Lily’s pictures, starting from when she was a baby, stacked up inside one frame, the newest picture on top. So, as I was adding in her 1st grade picture, I took a moment to flip through the rest of them. I could not believe how quickly she had changed and grown, especially these last couple of years.

 

When she was first born, like all new parents, we found the demands of having a new baby more challenging that we expected. My husband would say, probably as a way to say that the difficulties of having a newborn would pass, “I can’t wait… .”  As a new mom, I would always scold him whenever he started a sentence with that phrase.  “Yes, we can wait”, I would tell him.  “We can enjoy this age, right now, before it’s gone.”  However, as years went by, another child was added, and life got more complex, as it does once children start going to school, I joined in on the wishing away the present, in hopes that the next age would be easier.

 

Looking through the stack of pictures, the fat, baby face slowly thinning, her limbs getting longer and leaner, I was taken aback by how much of the changes I don’t remember.  I’m sure I’m not the only one to do this, but I just hadn’t been paying that much attention at the time.  And truthfully speaking, I had such a difficult time adjusting to my new baby that I just hoped to make it to the end of each day.  Later that week, when talking about our (normal yet challenging) 3 year old son, I caught myself starting in on a sentence that started, “I can’t wait until… “, but stopping right as those words left my mouth.  I thought of my sadness and knowing how quickly those years can pass. I also know very well by now that each age has its own joys and challenges. So you know what?  I can wait. It might be difficult some days, but I am working very hard to accept my kids for where they are at right now, because one day, I will again take out the pictures to add a new one, and I want to be able to know I appreciated each age, rather than wishing we’d have moved on to the next.

 

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.

NICU Options in the Twin Cities

UPDATE 2/14/13: After posting this, I got an update saying Children’s Minneapolis was a Level IV, and St. Paul was a Level III. From this AAP chart, you can see the level designation that were in place until last August.  After that, the AAP issued these revised guidelines, which helps explain the “Level IV” and “Level III” designations some of the hospitals are now going by.  However, some places are still sticking with the old levels, so there will be a mix of both below.  I have corrected some errors below.

I’m not even sure what got me thinking about this, but this morning, I woke up curious what the different Twin Cities hospitals had for options for Special Care Nurseries and NICUs.  I knew there were different levels and was aware of some of the differences from hospital to hospital, but t struck me that I didn’t know the information for every hospital.  It took me some digging online, a few phone calls, and even a couple of well- answered tweets, but I was able to put this little chart together. (More information on the various level designations can be found here.)

Hospital NICU Level How many weeks gestation?
Children’s St. Paul (United) IIIb  III 24 weeks
Children’s Minneapolis (Abbott) IIIc  IV 22 weeks
Hennepin County Medical Center IIIb 23-24 weeks
Maple Grove II Info not found
Methodist II 32 weeks
Mercy II  Info Not Found
North Memorial Medical Center III 23 weeks
Regions II 30 weeks
Fairview Ridges IIIa 30 weeks
Fairview Riverside (Amplatz Children’s) IV Info not found
Saint Frances II Late preterm
Saint Joseph’s II 34 weeks
Saint John’s IIIa 28 weeks
Fairview Southdale IIIa 30 weeks
Unity II 34 weeks
Woodwinds II 34 weeks

*The Level IV designation is used to indicate a very specialized level of care is available  but is not recognized formally by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a designation.  (See above)

Now, as I used to tell families on hospital tours, I hope you never have to see the insides of any of these nurseries, but the information is still good to know, especially if you have a higher risk pregnancy.  For low risk pregnancies, this is probably not an important factor– making sure you give birth in the place you are most comfortable with a care team that you trust is of utmost importance   In the cases where there is a greater chance of complication, it might be a good idea to plan to give birth at a hospital where they will have the capacity to care for your child, rather than give birth at one hospital and have your baby transferred elsewhere.  Please note– this is by no means the only thing you need to consider when choosing a place of birth.  However, for pregnancies with a higher level of risk, this is something to think about!

Did you consider NICUs when choosing a place of birth?  Is this information helpful?  Sound off below!

 

Warmly,

 

Veronica

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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.