Social media, the internet, and motherhood: The good, the bad, and the ugly

social media

This is a blog post I’ve been wanting to write since I got home from the Lamaze/DONA Confluence last month. The last two conferences I went to spent a TON of time covering social media basics. I’m on social media personally and professionally. BabyLove has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google Plus page, an account on Pinterest, and is on Instagram, too. Me, personally, for the human being behind the smiling avitar….I like twitter (though my no-nonsense, very straightforward, always honest tweets don’t always land well.)

We’ve all had to grapple with the really crummy parts of the internet and social media. I know we know they are there. But I still want to take some time to touch on some things that I’ve been thinking about for the last month, especially in relation to pregnancy and motherhood.

The Good:

OK, so there are some really great things that social media can do for pregnant and new moms. I look at the various tongue tie support groups out there and know that if it weren’t for the internet and social media, we wouldn’t have so much progress in a movement that’s been parent-driven. It’s so grassroots, so worldwide…it would have never moved forward without Facebook groups and websites. Truthfully, it would have gone nowhere, as no community would ever be able to gain enough momentum on its own.

Sometimes social media can put you into contact with people you NEVER would have otherwise been able to meet and get to know. In my case, Twitter is where my people (AKA Tweeps) are. It’s where I’ve met people who I genuinely like and enjoy chatting with, even though I’ve only met a tiny handful IRL (That’s “in real life” if you didn’t know.) And the nice thing about twitter, too, is that there are things like #ppdchat that exist to help new moms navigate the challenges of coping with our ever-changing lives. While Facebook isn’t always a great place if you want to stick to civil discussions, there have been a few times where it’s made me like someone more. And for those of us who are very, very busy moms, it can be one of the few ways we can connect with each other in any way, shape, or form.

To sum it up: not all of us become mothers with a super tight group of women surrounding us. Some of us are introverts. Some of us have social anxiety that can make going to playgroups absolutely hellish. However, thanks to the internet we can get that connection, interaction, and support we need to keep up afloat in even the choppiest water.

The Bad:

As I wrote in my previous post about not googling your birth, the internet and social media is full of way too many opinions and it’s hard to find the facts. So while it may seem easier to search for an answer yourself, it can quickly get to be too much. I’m sure your social media connections are perfectly fine people, but again– you’re just getting a lot of opinions. Now, for superficial things, like where to buy clothes for your child or ideas for parks to go to, opinions are fine. But when it comes to your health and wellbeing or your child’s health and safety, you NEED to find people who know what they are talking about. If you take someone’s opinion and they were wrong…that’s bad.

The Ugly:

You know what’s coming: the trolling, the name calling, the bullying…and I’m talking about adults, not teenagers! Because SO MUCH of motherhood that we hold near and dear (specifically birth and breastfeeding) isn’t controlled by what WE want as women and mothers, but rather by the doctors, midwives, nurses, and lactation professionals we come into contact with, when we have lost our say in the outcomes, we feel small, violated, and wronged. It’s from THAT place of anger that I think most of the vitriol stems. And it’s fair to be angry when we go to someone we trust and they refuse to help. It’s just not fair to transfer that anger to innocent women in that mommy Facebook group.

Then there will always be those moms who get a kick out of stirring up anger and controversy, spreading gossip, using social media to target moms that…OK, you know what? I don’t know why those women behave that way. Having been that target, all I know is that it sucks. I’m sure someone who specializes in this area of things would be able to articulate it better, but I find those moms are usually dealing with a huge amount of anger, a lack of self-esteem, or they just get their kicks out of manipulating other people. I don’t have any easy answers for that, especially if they are people you know IRL.

Bottom line? Being a mom is isolating in about a million ways. If you’re struggling with Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, or just floundering in general, there are some amazing resources out there. But do not belittle, name call, stalk, or harass other moms. I’m not saying you would, but…just don’t do it. And if you ask the internets for help, do so from a place that’s genuinely open to what you’ll get back. If you need to whine about something, whine away…just don’t ask for help when all you really want to say is, “THIS SUCKS.”

Of course, it can take awhile to find your place. And do only what you are comfortable with–It’s hard enough to figure out who you are as an adult without throwing the sticky layer of motherhood on top of it.

That’s what I have for today. Be kind to yourself and others.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

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

3 ways you can have a healthier pregnancy

Safe Birth 31 Days

As I mentioned yesterday, there are some things you can do at the beginning of your pregnancy to raise your chances of having a better birth. Now, I’m not talking about the crazy, overly alarming “stay away from everything and anything” advice you’d find in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I’m talking about some simple things that you can do in the early months to make a big difference later on.

1)Resist the urge to give in to all of the cravings- My theory (and it’s just mine) is that our bodies don’t know it’s 2014 when we get pregnant. It doesn’t know that there are things like supermarkets, refrigerators, and pantries all full of food. Your body thinks that food is scarce and limited (as it used to be), so it unapologetically gives moms the urge to eat as much as it can. But because it is 2014, you need to balance that huge desire to eat with smart choices. Avoid too much sugar, too many empty cards, and highly processed food as much as possible. While it’s true that if you only eat Big Macs every single day that your baby will be mostly healthy, you’ll feel like garbage, and that’s no good.

2) Start getting active- OK, so I know there’s always the warnings about starting exercise, but most moms are totally cleared to start gentle things, like walking or prenatal yoga. One thing I did when I was pregnant with my second child was take water yoga. There were no prenatal yoga classes in the area I live in, so I started doing what I lovingly called “yoga with the nanas.” It was gentle, but it still got me moving. If you were active before getting pregnant, it’s usually considered safe to keep doing the things you did before. So if you were an avid runner, it’s considered OK to keep running. But always listen to your body and touch base with your doctor or midwife on what you’re doing. Oh….and no riding bikes. Your center of gravity is shifting and it’s just not worth risking falling off the bike.

3) Drink lots of water!- This is one thing that I’ve tried to take to heart just in general, but make sure you’re getting enough water. Try to avoid things with sugar, even juice. (see above– it’s just empty calories!) If you’re thirsty, it means you’re starting to get dehydrated. And if you HATE plain water, work on finding a way to jazz it up. Get a water bottle you love and can keep with you throughout the day.

Because they are so dead simple, I feel like we forget to talk to moms about how important these things are. But they are the basic building blocks that, when started in early pregnancy, will leave you feeling better the more pregnant you are. And don’t forget– you’re growing a person! That’s important work your body is doing. Help it out by treating it well.

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Finding Day Care

Finding Day Care

When I was in college one summer and then for a year after I graduated from college (thanks, recession), I worked in day cares. I worked for one not so great place over the summer, and then for a really awesome company after college. I also had the not-so-awesome experience as a mom of finding day care for my daughter, as I went back to work when she was only 6 weeks old (Thanks, employers who unenrolled me from short term and long term disability once you found out I was pregnant so I’d have no choice). Finding good providers is really hard, but there are some really amazing resources out there. I’ll give you my 2 cents first, and I’ll also link a bunch of things to this post to help you sort through your options as well.

First of all, if you’re looking for a space for a newborn, start calling early. Because Minnesota has strict 1:4 ratios for babies in centers, those spaces for good centers fill up quickly. For home day cares, the rules are a little more confusing; the limits on the number of children under the age of 1 depends on the type of setting and the licensed capacity.

Second, make sure you go visit the places while kids are there before you put your name on any waiting list. I’ll link to other resources below, but some things, I feel, are VERY important.

  • Is the place clean? Are there spills and stains all over?
  • Is there food from previous meals all over the floor?
  • Are there toys all over the floor, to the point that it’s impossible to walk without tripping on them?
  • Does everyone have a runny nose? (Yes, I know kids get sick, but TRUST ME– that’s a sign that toys and surfaces aren’t cleaned properly or often enough.)
  • Is it loud? Chaotic? With lots of fighting? That’s no good. Chaos equals injuries, sad kids, and sick kids.
  • Do they have the babies sleeping in safe surfaces?
  • What do they feed the kids for meals?
  • Are the babies held when being given a bottle? (Bottle propping a really, really big no-no.)
  • Is the TV on?
  • What do they do for older kids to sleep? Do they rock babies? Do they rub backs for older kids? Or do they expect ALL kids to fall asleep on their own?

Third, make sure you check references, and, in the case of in-home providers, call the county licensing department to find out what kind of complaints they have on file. Here’s a list of things you should be asking.

Minnesota has some really amazing resources out there for families. Child Care Aware Minnesota has a checklist, including a pdf of the checklist, that’s very detailed that you can use to help you make sure you’re asking all of the relevant questions. To locate options, there’s Parent Aware.

It’s important that you make sure you are totally at peace with your choice. I can tell you from my own experience that there’s nothing worse as a mom to find out that your child hasn’t been well taken care of. Hopefully these tools will help you dig through the options and you can find the right fit for your family.

Anything to add? Share below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Urban Myths of Pumping

Pumping myths

Somehow, mothers are more worried about pumping in breastfeeding class than they are about breastfeeding itself. That’s OK. Pumps are external, foreign objects that, when you think about them on the most basic levels, are kind of weird. I’ll avoid spelling it out for you, but there are some things I want to cover to help dispel the myths that float around out there about breast pumps.

1) “Pump and dump” isn’t real if you imbibe: If you search various websites for information about drinking and breastfeeding, you’ll get page after page of warnings telling you that even though the amount of alcohol in breastmilk is minuscule, your baby is little, so…it might be dangerous. I, on the other hand, really like science, I think things like osmosis are real, so when I saw actual calculations of the levels of alcohol in breastmilk, I thought that was pretty cool. ( Side note: This blog post was actually copied and pasted on the Dr. Jack Newman website from the original author without attribution, which is a really jerk thing to do.) Bottom line? Don’t pump and dump. Oh, and for all the bluster about booze and breastfeeding, we tend to forget that the really dangerous thing is parenting while drunk.

2) You should start pumping in the hospital: One of the dumbest things a nurse can do is to hand a mom a pump an hour after delivery to see if mom is “making any milk.” Colostrum is milk, but it’s thick, and trying to pump colostrum is like trying to suck honey through a straw. It just doesn’t work very well. Hand expression does seem to work better, though. (Actually, all moms should learn how to hand express, because technology sometimes breaks or you forget a part, or life happens and you can’t have a pump with you 24/7.)

3) You need a gigantic stash of breast milk in the freezer before you go back to work: For one thing, you’ll be pumping milk for your baby while you’re at work. In Minnesota, you have both state and federal law protecting your right to do so. The milk you pump today will feed your baby tomorrow.  Is it a good idea to have 40 ounces or so in the freezer before you go back to work? Sure, but take it easy on the pumping. Pump a few ounces in the morning, and save that. Don’t pump after every feeding just so you have have a ton of milk. Your body will think you’ve picked up an extra baby somewhere and will start making enough milk for 2. As much as we talk about low supply, lots of problems can stem from oversupply, such as infections, baby spitting up copious amounts of milk, and baby choking on the fast flow on milk.

4) The amount you can pump is proof of the amount of milk you’re making: Simply put, the amount of milk you can pump is proof of…the amount of milk you can pump. There are a myriad of reasons why moms have a hard time pumping, be they due to poor-fitting flanges, a motor that dies quickly, or just not being able to respond to the pump the way your body responds to your baby. Any time a mom tells me they have a sudden drop in pumping output. my thought is immediately the pump broke, not that the breast broke.

5) You should pump so that your partner can feed the baby one feeding a night so you can sleep: Supply meets demand, and if you aren’t getting up for a feeding that your baby needs and you’re not pumping while someone else is bottle feeding baby, your body will stop making as much milk and potentially lead to an infection. Oh, and numerous studies have actually found that breastfeeding moms actually get MORE sleep than moms who bottle feed.

I’ve got more myths on my list, but 5 is a good number. Anything you think needs to be added?

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

How to dispose of a car seat

Car Seat Disposal babylove

I got this little gem of a car seat 2 weeks ago. It’s expired and it’s time for it to go to car seat heaven. You can recycle car seats in the Twin Cities, but if you just need to get rid of it, I’m going to show you how to make the seat ready to throw away.

The goal here is to make sure that NOBODY would even think of fishing it out of the garbage and using it.

photo 1 (9)First, I want to point out that this seat is missing warning labels. See the place where there is sticker residue? That should have a label on how to position the handle.

photo 2 (7)This warning label is missing too.

photo 4 (7)Here’s the back. Just as an FYI, I hate this car seat. When we talk about what makes a car seat cheap or expensive, this kind of strap adjustment is cheap and VERY hard to use correctly.

photo 4 (6)So, I unthreaded the straps.

photo 3 (7)I turned the seat back over and pulled out the buckle.

photo 1 (6)

 

Then I pulled out the straps.

photo 2 (6)I pulled off the plates and the chest clips from the straps, and pulled the straps through to the back. I then pulled off the straps.

photo 3 (6)See? Here’s the little pile of hardware and straps. Can I just say again how GROSS this seat was?

photo 4 (5)Next, the seat cover came off. Ew. Gross. Just a quick reminder here– don’t be daft and try to make new covers if you find an old, dirty seat.

photo 1 (5)Next up? Cutting the seat cover in half. Someone won’t try to reclaim the seat by stitching it back together, right? Right?

photo 2 (5)I pulled out the padding.

photo 3 (5)A baby bucket!

photo 4 (4)

 

I unscrewed the handle. My hope was to get both sides off this way, but 9 years of crud had the other side totally stuck.

photo 1 (4)Action shot of me breaking the handle! Wish I had a hammer here.

photo 2 (4)There are all of the pieces, ready to be taken out to the dumpster. How does it look? Would you try to reuse it?

photo 3 (4)

 

So long, gross car seat! I hope you never try to protect a baby again. Rest in pieces.

Any questions? Let me know if I can answer any for you in the comments below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

How to save money on cloth diapers

Save Money Cloth Diapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no mistake:  The cost of putting diapers of any kind on a baby is an expensive proposition. Most estimates of how much parents spend on disposable diapers and wipes in one year are in the $750-$1000 range.  Even if you purchase 24 of the most expensive one-sized cloth diapers you can find, you’ll still come out ahead once you consider that most kids in the US potty train around age 3.  However, lots of parents see the initial cost of diapers and have a bit of sticker shock. There are ways to save on cloth diapers– some better than others.  Here’s what I usually suggest:

  • Find a place that resells used diapers- Locally, there are a few places that buy used diapers for resale.  The three that I know of are Peapods in St. Paul, Bellies to Babies in Richfield, and All Things Diapers in Blaine.  Look carefully at the diapers before you buy, though. Make sure the hook and loop fasteners are in decent shape.  Make sure the elastic isn’t shot.  And while a little staining is fine, diapers that are very discolored might have buildup that will make your diapers leak. 
  • Check Craigslist-Again, though, make sure you carefully inspect the diapers before purchase. Find out what kind of detergent they used to wash the diapers (the wrong kind can cause the nasty buildup I mentioned above).
  • Check out online swapping forums- The one that I know of and used when I was looking to buy cloth diapers for my son was Diaper Swappers. They’ve FINALLY updated their website, so it’s a little easier to use than it used to be. However, since you’re dealing with people you can’t meet face to face, buyer beware.
  • Make your own- From time to time, this national fabric chain will offer cloth diaper classes.  There are lots of websites that offer both supplies and instructions for sewing your own diapers.  You can also make t-shirts into diapers.
  • Crowdsource your stash- Finally, my last tip is not as much to get used diapers, but rather to ask for cloth diapers as shower gifts. One diaper can make the perfect present for a friend or co-worker, and family members might want to purchase half a dozen of them for you. Update: It turns out you can register for those diapers that you want at Peapods. Check out the details here.

And, as always, if you find cloth diapers overwhelming and confusing, remember that I offer a Cloth Diaper and Babywearing combination class for only $25.  You can check out the schedule and register here.

Those are my tips.  Have other ideas?  Share in the comment section below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.

Why You Need a Birth Plan

Image via Flickr by Jason Lander used under a creative Commons Lisence
Image via Flickr by Jason Lander used under a Creative Commons License

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birth Plan, or Birth Preferences, originally seen as an important tool for families to communicate their ideas about birth, often comes under fire from the nurses, OBs, and midwives who end up having to read them.  Parents tell me all the time that they get told specifically NOT to write a birth plan. I say that’s crazy and horrible advice.  Birth plans are useful for everyone.  A well-written and well thought-out plan can serve many purposes. Granted, they can be very poorly done as well. So before I explain why birth plans are a crucial part of planning for birth, let me first explain why they can be so hated, too.

First, I don’t think parents truly expect that they can dictate things like how long their labor will last, how long they plan on pushing, the size of the baby, or any of those things that clearly can’t be changed by anyone.  Secondly, I do realize that a lot of families will go online and find some of the “Birth Plan Generators” where they can just check off a bunch of things without giving much thought to whether or not those things even apply to the place where they are planning to give birth. Finally, some birth plans can end up being really long and full of useless information.  The worst birth plan I ever saw was about 11 pages long, filled with information such as the names, ages and personalities of the mom’s 3 dogs, complete with pictures of the dogs and her entire family.  The irony with this was that the only actual mention of birth was one line:”I want an epidural.” As anyone who has taken a good childbirth class knows, an epidural doesn’t mean you don;t have to think about your birth.

So then, what are the good reasons to write a birth plan?

The process of writing a birth plan can help families frame their expectations for how they’d like others to respect their personal birth experience.  Things like the lighting, what mom would like to wear, perhaps certain religious preferences, and music all are appropriate to list. No matter what happens, if interventions are used, ALL of these preferences can and should be respected. If a caregiver balks at any of them, I’d suggest that the family consider finding a more respectful place in which to give birth.

Also, the process of actually writing a birth plan can be a great exercise for the families to start thinking more about the actual day of birth.  Thinking through all of the choices and options is a wonderful way to actually focus on birth, and not just the baby.  I’ve found that the process of writing a birth plan helps parents mentally place themselves at the birth place, imagining who will be there, and even thinking about certain logistics, like what to bring and who to notify.  Many families (especially if they haven’t taken any childbirth classes, or took really awful scary ones) find that they’d rather avoid the birth plan process so they don’t have to start thinking about the actual birth. The answer then is to find some help- hire a doula, take classes, or seek out a therapist to get good, confidence-building information, get support, or to get to the root of any fears.

If there are special religious preferences that your families has and there are specific traditions or rituals that are very important to you, a birth plans can be the way these are explained to and communicated to everyone involved in the birth.  Hospitals are required by law to respect and make allowances for cultural and religious preferences. And while I’d usually say that birth plans should be one page maximum, if there are extensive rituals and traditions that need to be explained, then the birth plan should be as long as it needs to be.

Finally, a well-written birth plan is just a great tool for setting a tone, expectations on the level of respect, and for explaining any specific details that may be pertinent to an individual’s situation.  Things like previous births, who is allowed into the birth room, and any medical conditions should go in the introduction.  These details paint picture of who you are and will help good staff do a better job of taking care of you. If you have a care provider who talks you out of even the most reasonable requests, then you really need to rethink your choice of a care provider.

At BabyLove, we have a workshop to help you write a good birth plan. Held every other month, it’s time to learn what can go into a plan, and we give families to to work on crafting and refining a helpful, positive birth plan with our help. Find out more about the class and register for workshop by visiting our website.

Have you found a birth plan to be useful? Share in the comments below!

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified 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.