Childbirth Education: Is it still relevant?

Childbirth classes Twin Cities
Wisdom from a dad about vaginal exams. He’s so right!

It’s no secret childbirth education class attendance has gone down in the last decade. The reasons are a combination of many things:

  • Hospitals cutting back on options for families as cost controls put pressure on small departments
  • Reliance on online resources by families
  • Doctors and Midwives actively discouraging patients from taking classes
  • The rapid inflation of class prices
  • Too many years of big, impersonal, boring classes that leave parents unlikely to recommend childbirth classes to others
  • The resurgence of named “method” classes

Again, as one of the few area independent educators (only?) who started my career teaching for hospital programs, I’ve had a very different experience with the role of childbirth education in the community. I’ve watched the attitudes flip, where moms are scared to take classes, or think the information is so obvious that they don’t need to spend any time in a classroom. And as much as I love doulas and I know they are evidence-based, there is a limitation to both the training and scope of practice that means that doulas aren’t meant to take the place of education. Once parents actually GET into my classes, there are a few things they are all pleasantly surprised about:

First, the ability to ASK questions and discuss a wide spectrum of topics with an educator who is neutral and can address things like evidence-based care and best practices. Asking those questions on social media and message boards don’t help parents get facts….just a lot of opinions, which can make it all seem relative, useless, and a waste of time to figure out. Instead, I find that when classes are run in a way that allows for conversation about topics between parents, with the guide of an educator, help parents sort through the opinions, and put other ideas and experiences into context.

Second, good classes are structured in a way that leads to many “AHA!” moments for parents that can’t happen when trying to get information from a book or online. Those moments are what then spurs other questions, helps pull together the larger picture, and inspires confidence. Part of what I LOVE as an educator is when I hear parents coming up with gems of wisdom that prove to me that the process of sitting through 8, 12, or 15 hours of classes is valuable, helpful, and worthwhile.

Third, and I’ve had this conversation with educators who have been teaching longer than I have– what we’re missing in the Twin Cities is the importance of having families from all walks of life and circumstances sitting in the same room. As is the case with so many things, the “boutiquification” of pregnancy and birth in everything from strollers to childbirth education is further separating us from each other, leading to a more fractured, less inclusive, less diverse experience. That leads to an echo chamber of sorts, and parents don’t have a chance to hear that there are other ways to see things, and other families might be facing different situations.

Finally, I want to point out that every doctor and midwife SHOULD be supporting the process of evidence-based childbirth education. Evidence-based. NOT outcome-based. If we are going to reverse current trends in the US of poorer outcomes for mothers and babies over the last 10 years, we can ONLY do that by bringing childbirth education attendance rates back up. It’s so very hard to put into words, but I’ll try: Even with the best care providers, there’s a limitation to the amount of time they can put into educating and giving resources to families. As a childbirth educator, my role in the community isn’t just to educate, but to help encourage families to have healthier pregnancies, find providers appropriate to their situations, and catching a myriad of things that otherwise fall through the cracks. It might not make sense, but I know my BabyLove families get it.

I’ll be headed to Kansas City next month to be inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators. I’m honored to join a group of smart, caring, passionate women (maybe men? Hmmm…) who feel as strongly about the importance of childbirth education as I do. It’s not flashy, it’s not trendy, but I know that childbirth education is as vital in 2014 as it was when Elizabeth Bing first started teaching in the 1950s. And hopefully, class attendance will reverse trends.

That’s what I have today.

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.

Choosing a Pediatrician…or Not

How to choose a pediatrician

Just as the language that we use when discussing birth tends to favor the term “OB” instead of “Doctor,” or “Midwife,” or “Care Provider,” when we talk to parents about finding someone to take their new baby to, the default term for this person is “Pediatrician.” These word choices leave out wide swaths of care providers. For births, it’s not uncommon for people to forget that there are Family Medicine doctors who also provide maternity services (and often they are the one kind of care provider where you can reasonably expect to see the person who did your prenatal care to also attend your birth), or they don’t understand that Certified Nurse Midwives are qualified, appropriate options in many places. For children, Family Medicine doctors are an alternative to Pediatricians, but there are also Advanced Practice Nurses who can do well-child (and sick child) care, such as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners or Family Nurse Practitioners. So, while there are things you need to think about finding a care provider for your baby, keep in mind that there are more options than just choosing a pediatrician.

1) Location- When you have a sick baby or a sick child, that ride to get things checked out can be very stressful. And while the best choice for you may not be the closest option, be realistic about choosing a provider who is 45 minutes away. The distance may become too much to manage. If your child is going to daycare, keep that location in mind when narrowing down options, too. Sometimes finding something largely between your home and daycare makes the most sense.

2) Access- This may be obvious, but if a clinic or provider has a full practice, it’s disappointing, but would mean that you’d have a very hard time getting appointments, especially for urgent issues. Every clinic has different arrangements for after-hour care, too. Find out what they do when parents have a sick child at 2am. Not everything is Emergency Department-worthy. Case in point: When my son had to have a pre-op checkup to have his tonsils taken out, the clinic we had been going to since he was born could not, would not find me any appointment within the 7 day window the surgeon required. I only got an appointment after escalating the issue to a manager and explaining that this was very important that he get in, because it’s hard to get surgeries scheduled. We’d had other issues with being able to get appointments, but this was the absolute last straw.

3) Bedside Manner- When you have a new, tiny baby, it can be overwhelming, and you need to find a care provider for your child who is kind, listens, takes the time to answer questions, and takes your thoughts and goals seriously. We all have bad days, but if you aren’t being treated well or respected on a consistent basis, then you need to look for another provider.  You usually have lots of options– find them!

4) Breastfeeding Knowledge- Again, moms face huge hurdles to make it to the 2 week mark with breastfeeding, much less to make it to 6 weeks or 6 months. Your baby’s care provider should be an ally to help you, not to try to discourage you. Unfortunately, not all pediatricians or other providers understand breastfeeding that well, and that lack of comfort on the subject may make them less likely to help a mom meet her breastfeeding goals. And just as study after study has found that when doctors have free samples of a medication to hand out, they are more likely to prescribe those medications to pateints, the same is true for breastfeeding.  A care provider who has free samples of infant feeding products may be more likely to default to that as the solution to a wide array of concerns, when it may not be necessary to go that route.  There are providers out there who really get breastfeeding, and if your goal is to breastfeed for any amount of time, pick someone who wants to and can help you meet that goal.

5) Are they up to date?-This is the car seat tech in me saying this, but if your baby’s care provider tells you that you can turn your baby forward facing at one year and 20 pounds, please know that that has not been an appropriate practice for at least a few years. Guess what? Best practices for car seats, medications, and everything else do change over time as we gather more and more information. I consider the car seat thing a canary in a coal mine, and I get concerned whenever I find care providers who are so blase about serious issues like car seats.

So, remember your options:

  • Pediatricians
  • Family Med Doctors
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • Family Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants

And I also like to point out that even if you do a lot of research, think you made the right choice, but start to have any of the issues I listed above, or if your gut tells you that something is just not right, don’t be afraid to switch. It’s easy, and it’s worth it.

Anything you’d add? Let me know in the comments 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.

Postpartum Lifehacks

Postpartum advice

I was reminded this week by some moms that I don’t always share all of the tips and tricks I’ve figured out over the years with every single class. Some I’ve figured out on my own, some other moms have shared with me. So, to make your post-birth recovery easier and less stressful, I offer the following tips and tricks:

The magic of prunes:

This one my midwife shared with me when my son was born.  The stuff they usually tell you to take to deal with constipation is, in my experience, pretty useless. So, to really get things moving along, do this: take 5 prunes, put them in a glass of water, and let them soak overnight. In the morning, drink the water the prunes were in and eat the prunes. Is it kind of weird? Yes. Does it work? HECK YES.

Calm the curlicues:

This one a mama shared with us at Mama Cafe. As your hairs starts to fall out after baby is born, you will often end up with little tufts of wispy hair around your hairline in the front. Wide cloth headbands are the secret to tame them until they grow out. As a bonus, headbands hide greasy roots.

Don’t chop your locks too soon:

Again, one I learned the hard way (and had a 2 hour appointment with the owner of the salon having to fix what the stylist did). While it’s tempting to chop your hair after baby is born, realize that your cut won’t always work well if you get a drastic haircut before you’ve lost the extra hair.

Forget the Tucks:

While the tub of witch hazel pads you get postpartum are nice, they are pretty thin. Instead, buy some witch hazel at the store (usually found in the first aid aisle), and get some cotton rounds (by the cotton balls, but they are flat circles) and put some witch hazel on the rounds to place on your pad instead of the pre-made ones.

Protect your sheets:

Milk leaking while your sleeping, baby’s diaper leaking during a feeding, spit-up….all of these can interrupt your night when you realize you’re lying in a puddle. To avoid middle of the night sheet changes, use lap pads (like these) under you and change them out as needed. Those same lap pads are amazing for the changing table, too.

Cushion your bum:

After a vaginal birth, you need to take a couple short tub soaks every day. If you needed a lot of stitches or ended up with hemorrhoids, the hard tub may hurt to sit in. Take a towel (either a small bath towel or a hand towel) and fold it up and sit on it whilst soaking in the tub.

Control the visitors:

One of the worst things to happen in the first few weeks is to have an endless stream of visitors. Mom won’t get enough sleep, baby may not get enough to eat, and baby is exposed to more germs. Set up strict visiting hours 2-3 days a week for a couple of hours in the early evening for your coworkers, friends, and Aunt Lucy to drop by. HELPFUL visitors who want to come cook, clean, or grocery shop are welcome any time, but if they say they want to stop by to “see the baby and drop off a little gift they bought for the baby,” they need to come during visiting hours.

Have a peace offering:

If there are older siblings who are about 3 1/2 or younger, you can convince them that the new baby brought gifts. Don’t ask me how that is supposed to have any logical explanation, but if there’s something super special your other children would like, but it, wrap it up, and have it ready for the first time they see the new baby. Everyone will have gifts for the baby–this helps older kids feel less left out.

Those are what I figured out over the years. Have any hacks to share? Add them 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.

The real co-sleeping dangers

dangerous baby sleep

Today is Friday. I don’t usually blog on a Friday, but I saw something this morning on social media that was so blatantly dangerous and disturbing, I needed to speak up.

If I had dug around my box of old family pictures for awhile, I could have posted, for #ThrowbackThursday, one picture that still upsets me to this day: it’s a picture of my dad, sleeping on the couch, with me as a teeny tiny baby on his chest. It’s not like he knew it was dangerous, but as I always tell parents a) He did the best he could with the information he had and b) Now we know better, so we do better.

So, here’s the thing: While maybe their message is well meaning, when the “never sleep with your baby”, “back to sleep”, and “don’t breastfeed while drunk” messages get pushed and pushed and pushed by the powers that be, it discourages and blurs the lines about what is safe and what really isn’t. If you pay attention to the headlines, you’ll notice that two things ARE truly leading to the deaths of babies: Parents sleeping with babies in couches and chairs, and parents falling asleep on a couches or chairs while drunk or on drugs (legal or not).

What, really then, is dangerous?

Never fall asleep with your baby while on a couch or in a chair

Never share bed space with your baby if you smoke

Do not fall asleep with your baby if you’ve been drinking

Do not share sleep space with your baby if you are on any kind of sleep medication

Waterbeds and sagging mattresses are very dangerous sleep spaces for babies

Do not share sleep space with your baby on a bed that is pushed up against a wall

Do not allow pets or older children to share the same sleep space with you and your baby

If you want a good handout to share with patients or family members, the always-amazing Kathleen Kendall-Tackett has a PDF on her website on safe sleep. She also has this really great video you can watch:

The reality is, it’s not uncommon for mothers to fall asleep while breastfeeding at 3am. They are exhausted, eyelids droop shut, and….zzzzzzzzz.  It happens. BUT…if you’re going to fall asleep while nursing, make sure that if it does happen it’s in the safest situation possible: On a firm mattress without heavy blankets, no pets, that your hair is tied back, and you are not under the influence of anything.

Listen, accidents can and do happen. It’s imperative that parents make safe choices for their kids. While so much of parenting seems like you can just make whatever choice you want, there are a few things that are not negotiable:

Always use properly-installed car seats and seat belts for your child, and make sure whatever method of child restraint you are using is appropriate for his or her age, height, and developmental stage.

Lock up your guns if you have young children. (Yeah, I went there. I don’t care.)

Don’t leave a baby or toddler unattended in the bathtub or around pools, lakes, or rivers.

Don’t put infant car seats on top of shopping carts, restaurant high chairs, chairs, tables, or anything else that’s not the car seat base in the car or compatible stroller.

Don’t parent while very intoxicated.

Don’t sleep with your baby on the couch.

Don’t sleep with your baby while sitting in the chair.

OK. Sorry. Soapbox done. Carry on, and make safe choices. Your child’s life depends on it.

 

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.

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.

One on One….Done

IMAG0865

First, I know I’ve been pretty lucky over the last 6 years to have the chance to stay at home with my kids during most weekdays.  I have worked a variety of schedules, full time, part time, nights, and weekends, since my daughter was born almost 8 years ago.  Before my son was born 4 1/2 years ago, I had many days where I got loads of one on one time with my daughter.  Once she started kindergarten, it was my son’s turn to have mommy to himself. And now, I have exactly 6 days of this left.

I mean, he’s been in preschool for the last 2 years.  He’s been coming with me to BabyLove since we opened our doors in 2011.  He has sat in on meetings, come along for tours of properties, sat through car seat classes; most of the time, he’s done really well.  Lunches have been just the two of us for 3 years.  Since he needed to eat, that usually meant that I also made myself lunch.  We’ve gone on errands, play dates, visited my grandmother…just the two of us.  He helps me fold laundry.  Hopefully, once I publish this blog post, he’ll help me clean the toy room.

When I first found out that I was going to have a son, I had no clue how I’d end up relating to him.  I grew up with two sisters, no brothers.  Little boys were foreign to me.  But my own little boy has been really good at showing me the ropes.  We have our groove, our routine, and once summer vacation starts, that era will be over.  Both he and his sister will be home for the summer break, God help me, and then he will be off to kindergarten in September.

Look, I know I will still have chances to spend time with him and just him, just as I have had chances to do so with his sister.  And I know that he is beyond ready to go off to school full time in the Fall (hello, the crazy boy can read and knows how to do simple addition in his head).  I also know that BabyLove, my “third child”, will benefit from my free-er time.  It’s just sad, you know?

However, just as has happened with his sister, I am excited to watch both of them grow and thrive in their new school next year.  I am looking forward to the new adventures.  I am looking forward to being able to go different places with them.  I am looking forward to seeing how much both kids will grow.  As much as I am sad that this is one of my last remaining afternoons with just my sweet little boy, nothing in life is permanent.  I will relish (most of) the time I have left with him.  I don’t have much of a choice otherwise, do I? =)

Oh, but I do have a question:  Who is going to make sure I don’t forget to eat lunch once both of my kids are in school? That I am worried about.

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.

Tongue Tie: A True Story

 

tongue tie blog post

 

Yep, this really happened to me.  I struggled and struggled with breastfeeding, but nobody could tell me why it was so hard and my daughter seemed “fussy”.  Finally, when she was 6 years old, I looked in her mouth and….she had a lip tie.  All of the people I went to for help could have noticed it…if they had the proper education on the importance of screening for tongue and lip ties.  Left untreated, tongue and lip ties can cause painful latching, difficulty latching, slow weight gain, sleep apnea, colic, speech issues, tooth decay, and misaligned teeth.  Find out more information here.

And if you are told that it’s normal, don’t buy it. IT’S NOT.

That’s my story!  The good news is we’re finally going to get it fixed.  I cringe to ask, but– do you have a story like this?

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.

BabyLove’s Featured Family: Donncuan, Kelsey and Charles (Part One)

Note:  This week we are starting a new series of pieces of interviews with BabyLove families.  Today, we hear from Kelsey, and we will hear from Donncuan later this week.  Enjoy!

IMG_5907

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

My biggest joy is two-fold… seeing the smile on my son’s face and the way my husband cuddles with our son. My mother was absolutely right when she told me that one cannot describe what it’s like to have children—one much experience it for one’s self. It’s true—I cannot put to words how fantastic motherhood is.

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

BREASTFEEDING! I had no idea how challenging it was going to be for me. I just assumed it came naturally (and it does with a little know-how), but there were a couple mitigating factors that made it difficult for my son and me. Difficult time latching, using a nipple shield, milk supply affected because I was stressing out… Ultimately, I learned that I needed to calm down, not stress out over every little thing, and know that it’s okay if you need help (anywhere from using a lactation consultant to formula). There are a lot of resources to take advantage of when you need help—use them. (Editor’s note: we offer Mama Cafe for families weekly to help with the simpler breastfeeding issues and refer to highly skilled IBCLCs for complex issues.)

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

My mother. I cannot even begin to explain how helpful she has been to me. She’s been there for me physically and emotionally. She did a fantastic job raising my five siblings and me, so I know that she comes from great experience when she gives me her advice.

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

ABSOLUTELY! In my humble opinion, I believe that every expecting parent-to-be should take a childbirth class. My husband and I learned a myriad of things—we did ourselves a favor when we took the childbirth classes. I think we would have been ill-prepared as parents if we had not taken the classes. The most important thing I took away from the classes was the knowledge of the stages of labor. I was able to recognize each one of the stages as I was experiencing them because I was taught them. It made my birthing experience that much more enjoyable because I knew things were progressing and had an idea of what to expect.

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

Birthing options: the hospital, a birth center, or at home. Before I got pregnant, I just assumed everyone went to the hospital to give birth. My husband and I did our own research and really got informed on our options. Ultimately, we chose home birth. It was a fantastic experience and we will definitely be doing it again (so long as the subsequent pregnancies are low-risk).

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

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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.