One thing about using nitrous oxide during labor

I’ve long thought that dental work has parallels to obstetrics in that finding a good doctor (or midwife? What would a tooth midwife be?) in either category can mean the difference between being OK with your regular appointments or being intensely fearful of going in to have anything checked out. My mouth is what I jokingly call a “million dollar mouth” insofar as it’ll eventually cost me a million dollars to fix all of the issues with my teeth. The last 2 months I’ve had ongoing tooth pain with my top molar– first, a chipped filling that resulted in a crown prep, a CAT scan that revealed the root canal that was done 2 years ago wasn’t done correctly, TWO root canals to try to clear up a massive infection that was raging in the neglected canal, and all of that culminated in having the damn tooth pulled last Friday. Seriously. All that work and the stupid thing was fractured and couldn’t be saved.

While spending hours and hours in the dentists’ chairs, I’ve written a version of this blog post over and over in my head–the problem being that I was under the influence of nitrous oxide, so when I came to me senses, the brilliant blog posts left my head. HOWEVER….I did have a MAJOR ah-ha moment on Friday that I needed to share.

See, as more and more hospitals and birth centers add nitrous oxide as a pain management option, there’s one thing that may be obvious about using it, but it may not be very obvious to everyone. Nitrous oxide requires active participation by the user in order for it to work; epidurals and analgesics work systemically without the user actively doing anything to feel an effect.

Bottom line? If you’re using nitrous for labor pain and anxiety management, you gotta breathe it in. The best results happen when you focus all of your attention on breathing in the “gas and air” mixture. If you don’t breathe it in, you’re not going to feel anything significant.

You see, when they were getting ready for the extraction, I really wasn’t feeling the effects of the NO2; it turns out, I wasn’t really breathing much because I was so nervous. After the nurse pointed out I needed to focus on my breath, it look less than 30 seconds of deep breathing to feel the wave of relaxation rush over me.

I needed to breathe.

So I do know that the mixture of nitrous to oxygen used during labor is different, and unlike the cannula (see the first picture) used by dentist offices, moms self-administer the nitrous oxide via a mask (see the second picture) or a mouthpiece (an example is shown in the third picture), but my point still holds: If you’re going to give nitrous oxide a whirl, you’ve gotta actually breathe it in, or it won’t work.

Breathe on, people!

Warmly,

Veronica

What do you think about this? Have you tried “gas and air” during your labor and birth?  Is it something you want to use? 

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.

When your breastfed baby won’t accept a bottle

baby wont take bottle

One of the biggest questions I get during breastfeeding class is, “when can I introduce my baby to the bottle?’ And while the answer is different for everyone depending on their situations, there’s one thing that doesn’t come up enough: When breastfed babies reject a bottle. When that happens, it’s frustrating for moms because they feel like they can’t leave their babies, and it’s frustrating for dads and other caregivers because the bottle rejection can feel so personal. So, here are some things you can try if you’re in this situation.

Please note: If your baby is simply not eating anything in any form for a length of time, please seek immediate, appropriate medical care.

  • Is the milk yucky?–Sometimes I forget to ask moms if they’ve had a chance to taste the milk that they have pumped. Sometimes, the pumped milk, due to an excess of lipase (which we dont really understand why this is the case for some moms), can end up tasting or smelly soapy. Kellymom.com has a great set of instructions to help you make your milk more palatable if this is what you’re dealing with.
  • Try a different bottle–Not all bottle are created equal, and even the (unfounded) marketing claims make it hard to figure out what kind of bottle to use for your baby. What I usually tell moms is that usually simpler is better, and a wider bottle is better. No matter what, I’d discourage any mom from making the choice for kind of bottles without baby’s input. He or she will let you know what he likes. One note: It may seem like a faster flow nipple will be better, but if your baby is already leery of bottles, a fast flow can end up coming out too fast and result in scaring your baby, compounding the issue.
  • Try movement– some babies need to be distracted into taking a bottle. the person giving baby a bottle may need to walk, swing, bounce, or sway while trying to feed baby. Some babies need to be sung to while being fed. Some babies prefer to look out of a window, while others may prefer to sit in the dark. Try all of these things– you never know what will work.
  • Try different temperatures of milk– it may seem like the best choice is to heat up the breastmilk to body temperature, but some babies get very upset when the milk is the right temp– but there’s no mom attached to the milk. If this is the case, try cold milk, try milk that’s warmer than body temp (but not hot), and see if any of those changes help.
  • Try something other than a bottle– Bottles are relatively new inventions in the scheme of things. Sometimes the best way to feed a baby who won’t take a bottle is to use something else to feed baby. Cups and spoons are two common things used to feed babies. And rather than me try to explain how to do it here or to send you out to the great web to find information, here’s a great playlist someone already put together of some really great videos:  Again, patience is the key.

If you find yourself in the predicament, it can be helpful to seek good lactation help, too. Sometimes having another brain in the mix can help you figure out what’s going on.

Have you dealt with this? Do you have any ideas? Share below!

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.

Where to go to prevent tearing

vaginal tears

Awhile back, I did a quick post on a few of the rates of tears at different hospitals in the Twin Cities area. The info has been slightly updated, and I decided to pull the information for all of the area hospitals.

A few notes: The website that lists this information doesn’t specify what degree of perineal tears they are talking about. Tears are rated first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree. First and second degree tears can be pretty common. Most epidemiological discussions about tears focus only on 3rd degree tears and second degree tears. I’m hoping to get some clarification on what the heck they are talking about when they say “tears”, and I’ll update this post as I can.

Perineum Tears: Rates for Vaginal Deliveries without Instruments; for some reason, St. Joseph’s is missing.

Lowest rates to highest:

  1. Shakopee- 1%
  2. Ridgeview- 1%
  3. St. John’s- 1%
  4. HCMC- 2%
  5. Lakeview-2%
  6. Unity- 2%
  7. Regions- 2%
  8. North Memorial- 2%
  9. Mercy Hospital- 2%
  10. University of Minnesota- 3%
  11. United- 3%
  12. Regina- 3%
  13. Ridges- 3%
  14. Methodist- 3%
  15. Northfield- 4%
  16. Woodwinds- 4%
  17. Southdale- 4%
  18. Maple Grove- 4%
  19. The MotherBaby Center/ Abbott Northwestern- 5%

Perineum Tears: Rates for Vaginal Deliveries with Instruments

Lowest rates to highest:

  1. Regina- 0%
  2. University of Minnesota- 5%
  3. Hennepin County Medical Center- 10%
  4. St. John’s- 10%
  5. Woodwinds- 10%
  6. Regions- 12%
  7. Unity- 12%
  8. St. Joseph’s- 13%
  9. Southdale- 13%
  10. Northfield- 13%
  11. United- 14%
  12. Shakopee-15%
  13. Ridges- 16%
  14. North Memorial Medical Center- 16%
  15. Mercy- 19%
  16. Methodist- 24%
  17. Ridgeview- 27%
  18. Maple Grove- 20%
  19. The MotherBaby Center/ Abbott Northwestern- 24%

Beyond choosing your care provider and place where you give birth with a lot of thought and care, make sure you know the different ways you can make pushing and birth as safe as possible. Check out our Confident Birth and Beyond (Lamaze) classes, too, to learn how to have a safe and healthy birth.

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.

6 Easy Questions to Ask Your Midwife or Doctor

Questions to ask your OB

I’m a big fan of talking to your care provider about things that have a huge impact on the outcome of birth for both mom and baby, but I know some of those big questions can seem awkward. After talking with some of my Confident Birth and Beyond (Lamaze) classes lately, I’ve come up with some questions that should be pretty easy to just slide into your prenatal appointments.

1) When’s the last time you did an episiotomy?- Episiotomies are only really necessary in very rare, very specific circumstances (victims of female circumcision can need episiotomies, for example). If you trace the history of episiotomies, it’s pretty clear that it’s rarely needed. A good answer to this question goes something along the lines of, “Well, I haven’t done one in 8 years” or “I’ve done maybe 4 in my whole career at the very most.”

2) Are you OK with me using upright pushing positions?

and

3) Are you going to make me lie down for the actual birth? Question #2 and question #3 kind of go hand in hand, but you’d be surprised how often a doctor or midwife tells a mom she can PUSH in any position, but will then, at the last minute, tell a mom that she HAS TO lie down for the “delivery”. Lamaze Healthy Birth Practice #5– Avoid Giving Birth on Your Back is best for moms and best for babies, period.

4) So, what do you think about the ACOG/ SMFM Consensus Statement on the Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery? When it came out in March of 2014, the Consensus Statement was a really big deal. How big? It redefined the onset of active labor from 4 cms cervical dilation to 6cms of dilation. That’s just one of the numerous guidelines published to help improve our rising maternal mortality rate in the US. Your care provider should be up to date and following these practice guidelines, because there is a need for improvement from the normal way of doing things.

5) Do you do a lot of VBACs? The issue of VBACs versus Elective Repeat Cesareans is so much bigger than just the oft-cited “rupture”. The rising cesarean rate in the US is largely a result of reduced access to VBACs, and our rising maternal mortality rate has been tied to repeat cesareans. Most women who gave birth by cesarean are candidates for VBACs; it’s a matter of finding a care provider who will “allow” them. And if your doctor “allows” them (see how I put that in quotation marks? heh), does he or she actually DO any?

6) How quickly after birth do you clamp the umbilical cord? The case of delayed versus immediate cord clamping is pretty much decided– it needs to be delayed. A recent study on cord milking following cesareans (since you can’t really wait for the cord to stop pulsing on it’s own during a surgery) had some pretty important results, including a reduction in cerebral palsy. Yeah, you know that thing fetal monitoring was supposed to prevent but doesn’t? At this stage, it’s pretty hard to defend immediate cord clamping, even when babies are born prematurely or need resuscitation. Clamping and cutting needs to wait.

  • What questions did I miss?
  • Did you ask your provider about any of these things?
  • What kind of answer did you get?

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.

Business Basics Part One: Smart Starts

how to start birth business

I’ve written before about the realities of owning a business that not everyone knows about. I also spend a lot of time reading articles on running a business, talking with others about running a business, and loads and loads of time actually running the business. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting something new from scratch is that they only hear a dead baseball player’s voice in their heads telling them, “If you build it, they will come.”

Gosh I hope people get that reference. Anyway.

You can be talented, passionate, skilled, etc….but there are things you need to do to get the little tiny sparks of inspiration and courage that got you excited to start your business to catch fire. I’m going to try to write a number of posts to help explain a little bit of what’s in my head and what I’ve learned (usually the hard way) to hopefully help others. Consider it a dose of reality wrapped in a candy coating of love. First up? Smart beginnings.

  • Have a office– either a real physical space or a space at home that’s only for work. If you went from being employed by another business to being self-employed, you may not have the discipline to stay accountable to yourself. Going to an office helps your brain switch from “hanging out” mode to working mode so you can actually focus on the tasks at hand. Having an actual office helps you seem more legitimate to others, too. Just don’t make the mistake of getting a luxury space before you have the income to justify it.
  • Don’t spend your precious time doing easy stuff like trying to build Facebook. The reality? Social media isn’t the amazing free marketing tool that it was 5 years ago. Sure, having a presence there builds engagement, but you have more important things to do, and it’s too easy to get sucked in to reading through your own Facebook or Twitter feed.
  • Spend time figuring out not just what you’re trying to sell, be it a service or a product, but what you’re going to tell people when they ask why they need whatever you’re trying to do or sell. Also helpful? Figure out how to set yourself apart, or, if you want a tongue-in-cheek, singable way to put it: You’ve gotta get a gimmick if you want to get ahead. (The video is mostly safe for work until the 3:00 mark.) I’ve never seen a single episode of Mad Men, but I have to imagine that’s Marketing 101.
  • Don’t know what to do? Learn! Get yourself a good mentor. Check in with some of the amazing resources out there from places like Entrepreneur or Inc. magazine. When I’m feeling a tiny bit stuck, those places can be awesome sources of insight and inspiration.  (Which reminds me: I need to schedule time with my mentor.)
  • Get yourself a good banker. I’ve been lucky to have come across a really good one. The smaller banks who focus on small (like, small, not just “capital less than $5 million” small) businesses can again help you learn how to be smart with money and give you access to capital tools to help you get of the ground. Meet with your banker quarterly.

My main point? If you’re going to be successful, you have to do the work. You. Don’t expect someone else to come along and do all of the heavy lifting for you. Be disciplined, be creative, and be deliberate. And find someone to be accountable to, be it a mentor, another business pal that you can trust, or a banker. I hope this was helpful. I’ll write more later this week, but if there are things you’d like me to touch on, comment below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

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!

IMG_0638

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.

Bad Business Behavior

 

business ethics

I talk with other entrepreneurs all the time, and we are continually amazed by how many people we see doing things that are ethically and sometimes legally big no-nos. While I’m not a legal expert, most of these things are pretty darn common sense (you’d think, at least). Here are 5 things that no self-employed small business owner (or anyone, really) should ever, ever do:

  • Coordinate with other businesses in your industry on prices for all of your products- Did you hear about the yogurt cartel in France? The reality is, there are a few anti-trust laws that prohibit various kinds of business practices that discourage free trade and can hurt consumers. The Federal Trade Commission can and does enforce the anti-trust laws on the books. Price fixing can seem like small potatoes, but it’s just NOT ok. From the FTC website:

A plain agreement among competitors to fix prices is almost always illegal, whether prices are fixed at a minimum, maximum, or within some range. Illegal price fixing occurs whenever two or more competitors agree to take actions that have the effect of raising, lowering or stabilizing the price of any product or service without any legitimate justification.

So any Facebook conversation telling other doulas how much to charge? Ahem.

  • Stealing copy from websites- Plagiarism is not ok, OK? No matter what you think, you can’t lift explanations, descriptions, or any other chunks of writing from other websites. If you’re wondering if your work has been lifted, here are some helpful instructions on how to find the thieves and what kind of actions to take. And if you’re tempted to commit this sin, you could lose your website or worse
  • Use photos without permission-I have to imagine that before the invention of Google Images, it was harder to know if someone was using a photo you’ve taken for their own purposes. However, since you can do searches just based off of images, it’s even easier to figure out who is using a photo without permission. If you need pictures for advertising or your website, consider paying for stock images from one of the many stock image companies. The investment per picture can start at about $5-$10, but knowing you can use the picture legally is worth the small investment. If you need a picture for a blog post, you may be able to use a picture under a Creative Commons license or via something like the new terms of use offered by Getty Images.
  • Think registering your website is all that’s needed to name a business- Each state is different, but you need to find out what the rules are where you live for using and filing a name that’s not the same as your own personal legal name. You may have to go to the Secretary of State office in your state to find out what laws and regulations exist.
  • Use Facebook instead of an actual website- OK, so there are no legal issues here that I know of, but, while I know it’s easy to set up a Facebook page and harder to make a website, you really need a website. Facebook pages have too many limitations and are far too unwieldy to use as the online home for your business. Get a website!

Those were the 5 I could think of for now. Do you have any I missed? Share 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.

Used car seats aren’t a good deal

dangerous used car seats

“Another post about used car seats?”

Yes. Another post about used car seats. Like much of parenting, there’s the inherent instinct to dismiss professional advice as being overly-cautious or self-serving. And babies can be expensive, so clearly it’s all a scam to get parents to pay more money for more junk that they don’t need, right?

Um…..no.

If this post didn’t convince you that used car seats should be used with caution, here are 6 things I want you to think about:

  1. That used seat may be hard to install or use correctly- Over time, manufacturers make upgrades to the design of their car seats. In theory, as they get smarter about design and use, they make the seats easier to use. Some older or inexpensive car seats may be very hard to adjust the straps so that they are tight enough, which means your baby wouldn’t stay secured in the car seat in the event of a sudden stop or crash. It’s also VERY common for used car seats to have stuck or difficult lower anchor adjustments, making it so you can’t tighten the seat’s install enough.
  2. That used car seat may have gone through an unreasonably high amount of wear and tear- Something we look for as CPSTs when looking at used seats to to see if the shell of the seat has been weakened or compromised in any way. It’s pretty common to find that a seat has gone through an excessive amount of stress and has weak points in critical parts of it. These weak points may mean that the shell breaks at the belt path or at the harness slots if placed under any extreme force.
  3. Seats get recalled- When a family has a used car seat sitting in the basement or garage, they may not notice if a recall has been issued on a seat (this is why registering products is critical). It’s not uncommon to come across recalls when using previously used seats. Some recalls render the seat useless, some require a fix, and some just address seat usage. Whatever it is, these are key to take into account.
  4. The previous owner didn’t care for the seat properly- Car seats can stop working if not cared for in the correct manner. Using bleach on webbing can lead to the straps breaking down, causing them to be very weak. Failure to clean moving parts according to manufacturer’s instruction can cause them to seize up and no longer work. Clips and tabs can break off over time. It’s important to take these possibilities seriously.
  5. The car seat has been put together incorrectly- I don’t have any hard and fast statistics on this, but it’s VERY common for a seat that’s been used over a length of time to have the various straps and buckles twisted, threaded through the seat the wrong way, or to have parts of the seat backwards or in the wrong place. Without a thorough knowledge of how seats should work, you may not be able to determine if a seat has problems that need to be fixed.
  6. The car seat is too dirty to salvage-  Babies are messy. Spit-up, vomit, poo, crumbs–lots of things end up in a car seat. Usually, the car seat cover can be removed and washed (usually on delicate, but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions), but other things like buckles and straps often can only be cleaned with warm water and mild detergent.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can understand that the expense of a car seat can seem very overwhelming. However, there are good ways to spend those dollars in a way that is both wise and safe and that is useful for a long length of time. After all, it’s better to spend $200 on one seat that your child can use until he’s 6 or 7 years old than to buy 4 seats at $75-$100 or more each time to get to that same age.  We’re talking about something that can protect your child from the leading cause of death for kids. That’s something to value.

The National Highway and Transportation and Safety Administration has some very good resources that can be helpful to understand the complicated topic of car seats. Check it out, and let me know if you have questions!

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 things that $800 stroller can’t do

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photo credit: stobor via photopin cc

OK, so I have a confession: I’m sure he’s  REALLY nice guy, but….I’m not a fan of The Baby Guy. The baby gear industry racks up 50 BILLION dollars worth of sales every single year. Fifty BILLION dollars. As the NYT times review on this book about the baby gear industry points out, this is an industry that preys on parents fears and anxieties, with ever-skyrocketing prices that all sell the illusion that the right products are NECESSARY to make it through pregnancy and postpartum.

I’m not trying to shame anyone. Hey, any industry that makes billions of dollars is really hard for anyone to compete with. And like I said, Jamie Grayson is, I’m sure, a perfectly nice guy, but you have to stop for a moment and wonder what exactly you’re hoping to get from his advice. What specific things do you hope to gain from only having the priciest gear piling up in the nursery? Beyond the gorgeous articles and glowing reviews telling you that you MUST HAVE THIS STROLLER AND THESE VIEWS, there are a few things I want to point out:

1) The $800 stroller can’t help you learn how to have a safe and healthy birth and help you find a care provider and birth place you are happy with

2) The $800 stroller can’t support you at home during early labor

3) The $800 stroller can’t help you with breastfeeding

4) The $800 stroller can’t help you recognize the signs of postpartum depression or anxiety and then refer you to qualified help

5) The $800 stroller can’t come over to your house, make meals for you, clean your house, and answer your questions about how to take care of your baby

So, I invite you think about where you put your dollars. How much will you actually gain from those items you scan in the baby store onto your registry? I’ve been there too–with baby #1, I made sure we had all the STUFF (though 9 years ago there wasn’t as much stuff as there is now); by baby #2, I went and got a couple of not-pink sheets, maybe a new changing table cover, a few lap pads–and that was it. Everything else was unnecessary.

What DOES help with the fear, the anxiety, and the uncertainty?

1) Take evidence-based childbirth classes

2) Hire a birth doula (remember, a doula isn’t a substitute for childbirth education)

3) Take breastfeeding classes and find a breastfeeding support group

4) Make sure to be open with a loved one or friend if you feel like you’re experiencing anxiety and depression, and know help is out there

5) Consider hiring a postpartum doula

You know, believe it or not, you can put THOSE things on your baby registry. Ask for money to pay for doulas and classes. I’m sure Pinterest has some ideas for cute things people can do to gift you these services.  And while the expensive stroller looks impressive, navigating pregnancy, birth, and beyond takes more than things– it takes actual support.

If you want to see a sensible list of what you should put on your baby registry, head on over here and find my FREE checklist.  It’ll get the piles of presents under control.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave 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.

When the parent knows more than the physician

parent versus physician

Two articles that I’ve read In the last 3 days have compelled me to share something here on the blog. The first was a story in this month’s The Atlantic that talked about the amount of burnout that physicians face, largely due to the insane demands of charting and other administrative functions. The other was a story from The New York Times about how parents can sometimes do so much research that they know more about their kids’ health conditions than the doctors who end up treating them, largely because the parents have made time for the research that the already-frazzled physicians don’t have.

I’ve told my story before about my daughter’s birth, and I detailed her lip tie release last year. (Oh, and by the way, her front two teeth no longer have a gap. Take that, lip tie deniers.) There’s another story, though, that had way more of an impact on me as a mother and as an educator. It’s the story of my daughter’s obstructive sleep apnea.

I get that all new moms are anxious when it comes to their baby’s sleep. I mean, we do talk about SIDS quite a lot, so there is naturally going to be some worry about making sleep safe. But, in those first few days at home, in the middle of the night, I was disturbed to realize: my daughter would stop breathing while asleep for 3-4 seconds at a time, and then start breathing again with a small gasp. At first I thought it was my imagination, but the hours I spent sleeping with my hand on her while she was asleep in her bassinet next to me did eventually convince me there was a problem that I wasn’t making up.

I shouldn’t tell you this, but things were a little better when I finally threw in the towel and put my daughter to sleep on her side instead of the officially approved back position. When on her side, she was able to flex her neck, and she would tilt back her neck far enough to open and straighten her airway while she slept. She would continue to sleep in that position, neck bent and mouth open, for the entire first four years of her life.

When I finally ventured out of the house with my 4 week old daughter to have lunch with a friend, it was my very, very exhausted self who had been holding her upright for every nap that was gently counseled to try cosleeping. “Just try it for a nap,” she suggested. That afternoon, after looking up all of the safety guidelines, I did, in fact, try cosleeping for the first time. It was a life-changing revelation. From that nap forward, my daughter did co sleep with me until she was 9 months old.

The researchers who do study safe sleep have found that when breastfeeding mothers and babies sleep close together, either in the same bed (again, following the established safety guidelines) or in a crib or bassinet within arms reach of moms, there is a synchronization of sleep patterns that is believed to be important for newborns who aren’t very good at regulating their breathing during sleep on their own. Furthermore, as researcher Kathleen Kendall Tackett once told a plenary session at a conference in Boston that I was attending, for babies with obstructive sleep apnea, co sleeping and bed sharing can be critically important for helping those babies keep breathing.

Now, my story isn’t as much about co sleeping as what happened when I tried to get help for my daughter. At one of her very first well baby checks, I mentioned to her doctor that she would stop breathing when she was asleep. As a new mom, he dismissed any of my claims. As she grew and started to take naps on her own, my husband and I got used to listening to her regular gasps for air over the baby monitor. In a messed up way, those gasps were reassuring: they told us she was still breathing, just not correctly.

Later on, after doing some more research and after it was abundantly clear that she would always have short periods of apnea while sleeping, I did broach the subject again with her doctor. He finally listened and said a sleep study should be done, but the wait list was months long. Shortly after that, our lives spun into chaos: our basement was destroyed during a very heavy rainstorm, requiring us to gut the entire thing and start over from scratch, my husband, sensing an impending layoff, got a job in downtown Minneapolis and had a 12 hour workday and commute, and I became pregnant with my son. (Looking back, it was probably inevitable that I’d end up with postpartum anxiety.)

Tomorrow: The advocacy journey continues

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.