Medical Group HealthScores- Cesarean Deliveries and Perineum Tears

minneapolis cesarean rates

If you may recall, back in 2013, Minnesota Community Measurement released a report that included clinic-level primary cesarean rates. That information was left out of the 2014 report, but I was told by the organization that they were working on revamping the collection process to better comply with national standards. The 2015 report isn’t out yet, but there is some info on the Primary Cesarean rates available on a medical group level and perineum tear rates on a hospital level over at Minnesota HealthScores.

You can check out the full information via the links above, but I wanted to highlight, in each category, which clinics and hospitals had the worst outcomes in each measurement. Now, not all medical groups and hospitals submitted information. It’s highly possible that some medical groups who had really awful outcomes aren’t listed. Perhaps in a future post I’ll try to tease out which groups did not participate, but for now, here are the lowest performers in the Twin Cities metro area.

Medical Group Measure: Highest Primary Cesarean Rates

  1. Comprehensive Healthcare for Women- 31%
  2. FamilyHealth Medical Clinics- 31%
  3. Metropolitan Obstetrics and Gynecology- 29%
  4. Allina Health Clinics- 26%
  5. Fairview Health Clinics- 25%

Hospital Measure: Highest Perineum Tear Rates for Vaginal Delivery with Instrument

  1. Abbott Northwestern (The MotherBaby Center)- 29%
  2. Maple Grove Hospital- 22%
  3. Buffalo Hospital- 29%

Hospital Measure: Highest Perineum Tear Rates for Vaginal Delivery Without Instrument

  1. Abbott Northwestern (The MotherBaby Center)- 6%
  2. Maple Grove Hospital- 3%
  3. Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital- 3%

Over the next few days I’m going to try to find time to tease out more data to share. In the meantime, I hope you find this information helpful!

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.

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, 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.

Don’t make these common mistakes with your baby!

Don't

Ooh…click-bait-y. Sorry.

Some days, I feel like a broken record. There are so many things that have become so ingrained into our parenting culture that very few people question it any more. And I’ve written before about how some things seem very subjective, but when it comes to health and safety, the truth is pretty black or white. So, dear interwebs….it’s time to break some bad habits and burst some bubbles.

When you know better, you do better.

1) No baby should ever be fed 8 ounces of anything in a bottle.

This has nothing to do with formula or breastmilk. A baby’s stomach is only as big as his fist, which means that realistically speaking, a baby should really only be fed 2-4 ounces from a  bottle. Any more than that is overfeeding, plain and simple. And it turns out that it doesn’t matter if it’s breastmilk or formula in a bottle– overfeeding leads to obesity.

Here’s info on how much breastmilk a baby should be given via bottle.

Here’s some info on how much to feed a formula-fed baby.

2) Limit the amount of time your baby spends in “containers”

More than half of babies now have a flat head by age 1. And truth be told, I’m not shocked. I see too many flat heads when I’m around babies. While some of it may be caused by tight neck muscles (some times caused by a tongue tie), the use of too many baby containers is primarily to blame. Parents move their babies from a bouncy seat…to a swing…to one of those magical baby moving chairs….to a car seat…..and so on.

Limit the amount of time your baby spends in these containers. Do more “tummy time”. And find a way to carry your baby in a sling or wrap or other carrier that works for you and your budget. Babies who spend too much time in containers can also end up with under-developed stomach and back muscles, learn fewer words, and not have a chance to learn how to interact with other people.

When you need to start making meals, need to take a shower, etc, then the swing or seat for a short about of time is perfectly safe, though.

3) Car seats are for cars

Want to hear something staggering?

“An estimated 43,562 car seat–related injuries [EXCLUDING AUTO-CRASHES] were treated in emergency departments from 2003 to 2007.”

Stunning, yes? Over 40,000 babies ended up being injured from falls and other accidents while they were in a car seat that wasn’t in the car. I’m sure if a newer study was done they’d have similar findings. The rules for safe car seat use are black and white. Your baby is either safe or in danger.

  • Car seats should never be placed on top of shopping carts in the seat area. The basket is OK, but not in the small shopping carts (and see above).
  • Car seats should NEVER be placed on restaurant high chairs.
  • Car seats should not be placed on tables, chairs, beds, in cribs, in those sling things the restaurant was suckered into buying….your baby should NEVER be left in a car seat on an elevated surface.
  • If your baby is in the car seat that’s been placed in a compatible stroller, baby MUST be strapped in. Babies wiggle and fall out more than you want to know.
  • Behind falls, the other cause or injuries or worse is suffocation—which is why you should never leave a child of ANY age strapped into a car seat to sleep unattended.

4) It’s normal for breastfed babies to poop anywhere from more than 7 times a day or once every 7 days…or more.

Breastmilk does not cause constipation. Some times I forget to warn moms that it’s totally normal for exclusively breastfed babies to get super efficient about breastmilk digestion and just not poop very often. Hey, as a new mom I freaked out about it too….until I found my trusty breastfeeding book that told me it was totally normal. That experience inspired the phrase “fro-yo poo.”

I’m sure there’s more that I can think of….there’s always more. But 4 things is plenty for now, yes?

I hope this is helpful!

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.

Twin Cities Patient Advocacy Resources

Twin Cities Patient Advocacy

As much as I love maternity care transparency, I also know that one of the most important things any family can do is to speak up when they feel like they aren’t being respected, if they feel like they received unsafe care, or if they need a third party to discuss treatment plans and interventions. Because this information can be very (VERY) hard to find in some cases, I decided to compile it all in on handy-dandy table. While I complied this list with maternity care in mind, please know that this information can be used for any patient.

Hospital, City Phone Number of Patient Advocate
Fairview Ridges, Burnsville 952-892-2262
Fairview Southdale, Edina 952-924-5965
Fairview Lakes, Wyoming 651-982-7851
University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis 612-273-5050
Maple Grove Hospital, Maple Grove 763-898-1003
Healtheast St. John’s, Maplewood 651-232-7967
Healtheast St. Joseph’s, St. Paul 651-232-3061
Healtheast Woodwinds, Woodbury 651-232-0002
The MotherBaby Center, Minneapolis Abbott 612-863-5391, Children’s 612-813-7393
Allina United, St. Paul 651-241-8232
Allina River Falls, River Falls, WI 715-307-6145
Allina Cambridge, Cambridge 763-688-7964
Allina Mercy, Coon Rapids 763-236-8061
Allina Unity, Anoka 763-236-3121
Allina Regina, Hastings 651-404-1158
Allina New Ulm, New Ulm 507-217-5143
Allina Owatonna, Owatonna 507-977-2650
St. Francis, Shakopee 952-428-3100
Park Nicollet (Healthpartners) Methodist, St. Louis Park) 952-993-5541
North Memorial Medical Center, Robbinsdale 763-581-0780
Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis 612-873-8585
HealthPartners Regions, St. Paul 651-254-2372
Hudson Hospital, Hudson, WI 715-531-6000
Northfield Hospital, Northfield Ext. 1177 (Quality Director) Ext. 1147 (Social Worker)
Mayo Clinic Red Wing Hospital, Red Wing 651-267-5073

Minnesota Health Facility Complaints: 651-201-4201

Minnesota Board of Medical Practice: 612-617-2130

Wisconsin Department of Health: 1-800-642-6552

Joint Commissions: 1-800-994-6610

Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers: 305-420-5198

If you have concerns about your care, first ask to speak to the Nurse Manager on duty.

Patient Advocates/ Representatives are usually only available during daytime business hours.

The location you are at may also have social workers on staff that you may talk to.

I have also uploaded a pdf, Twin Cities Patient Advocacy. If you are a parent or a family member looking to download it for your personal use, please feel free to do so.

If you are a doula, a childbirth educator, or another birth or health professional, please DO NOT use or reproduce without my written permission; I thank you in advance for respecting my work as you would want others to respect yours.

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.

5 Reasons Why Car Seats Are So Tricky

why are car seats hard to install

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week! YAY!

I get complaints all the time from families about how hard cars seats are to install and use correctly. Yes, they can require a few tries before figuring out how to get a seat installed correctly into a car. Yes, I often end up with cuts and scrapes while helping parents wrestlt with a seat. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all easier, but the reality is, things aren’t going to change any time soon. So if you’re wondering what the deal is, here are 4 reasons those car seats are so tricky to install.

1) Lack of universal requirements for LATCH in cars- While LATCH became standard on most cars starting in 2002, there aren’t set standards for HOW the LATCH system exists in a car. So, for example, in some sedans, you have 3 different positions that you can use lower anchors. That’s rare. More often, you can only use the outboard positions. Lack of universal standards mean that you need to consult the car;s owner manual and the car seat owner’s manual to make sure they will play nicely with each other.

2) Lack of universal requirements for car seat manufacturers- In the US, car seats are required to meet minimum crash test standards. You’ll also start to see more seats now that have “side crash protection,” but not all seats do. Some seats have “ease of use” features like lockoffs, variable angle settings, optional rear-facing tethers…you get the picture. And while those things can make a seat a great seat to use, I find that parents are more confused by the array of options than helped. The free market at it’s finest.

3) Parents don’t read the directions- I know those manuals seem like they are simply too thick to read and have too much information, but the grand secret of car seat checks? We read the manual for the car and your car seat with you and go from there. Just don’t tell anyone that’s what we do. (OK, so we also have some tricks up our sleeve and are more familiar with different seats, but still.)

4) That seat your friend lent you is broken- After a few years of use, some really messed up things can happen to car seats. Like what? Harnesses completely misthreaded, buckles missing, parts installed upside-down, key pieces broken off, lower anchor belts so coated with crumbs and goo that you can’t actually adjust the belt…yikes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The car seat is the ONE THING you should buy new. Car accidents are the #1 cause of death for kids under the age of 12. Why skimp on a vital piece of safety equipment?

5) Amazon reviews are just opinions- So, you get home that seat that has RAVE review from parents online, and then you realize….it’s not as easy to use as people say. Why? Well, again, the reviewers may have a different kind of car, may have a different number of kids, and who’s to say that they put the seat in correctly? Maybe it was “easy” to install because it’s wrong.

And know that if you’re struggling, help is out there. A CPST can help you understand your car, your car seat, and teach you how to install your seat in your car. We’re often happy to help advise on types of car seats, too. Car seat techs are special kinds of nerds. Let us help you keep your precious car as safe as can be.

Warmly,

Veronica

Related:

My suggestions for Convertible Car Seats

My suggestions for Combination Car Seats

 

 

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.

Criteria for provider referrals

Recently, I had a conversation with a doctor about the hows and whys of how I choose which care providers to refer families to. They can be OBs, Family Med docs, Midwives, Pediatricians, Chiropractors, LCs, Birth and Postpartum Doulas, and Dentist, as well as a variety of other specialties. So, when I decide which names to give to a family, I do so based on the following criteria:

  1. Where is the provider located? Whenever possible, I try to find the most appropriate professional as close to the family geographically as possible. In some cases, it can be difficult to find certain specialties in certain geographic areas, so I may have to explain to the family why they might need to travel an extra distance to get care.
  2. What kind of training and qualifications does this professional have?Again, I want to make sure that the professionals have an adequate amount of experience.  I’m slightly hesitant to refer families to brand-new doulas, for example, because I’ve seen too many families left in the lurch when a doula wasn’t able to make it to a birth. I also want to know that the professionals have actual experience working with families with a specific situation. It’s always a good sign to me if they have gone to get extra training in a certain field, such as a chiropractor being Webster Certified.
  3. Do I feel comfortable with the how knowledgeable the provider is? While I’m not a doctor or a chiropractor, there are certain things that can clue me in to the quality of care they can give the families I work with. Accurate breastfeeding knowledge is one huge thing I pay attention to; sorry, it’s just not ok when they (especially chiros) start telling breastfeeding moms that they can only eat a perfect diet. Talk about #firstworldproblems! Car seats is another  issue that indicates the quality of a provider’s care. Any doctor who still tells parents to turn baby around at 1 year or 20 pounds is IMMEDIATELY removed from my list of who I can comfortable refer to; that hasn’t been appropriate for at least 5 years. Another red flag for me is when a provider can’t handle the basics, like getting measuring effacement backwards. If I, as a doula or educator, know the basics better than they do…well, that’s not good.  Extra negative bonus points if their lack of knowledge results is serious harm to mom or baby. Again, the doula should not know what’s wrong 3 hours before the OB figures it out.
  4. Do they quote actual studies? I may not know every study by heart, but I’m very good at recognizing absolute BS. IF they make up “studies” to try to seem evidence based, but in fact are making recommendations that do not match official guidelines of their professional orgs, that’s just not OK.
  5. Are they ethical? Do they behave with integrity? Do they charge a fair amount, or are they overpriced (and do they keep jacking up their rates)? Do they treat moms and babies with respect? Do they treat other professional with respect? I have no leeway for anyone that isn’t ethical.
  6. Do families have positive feedback? This is important. The experience that families have with the professionals to whom they are referred is a critical reflection on BabyLove. If I consistently hear good feed back and families are seeing positive results, then those providers end up getting a LOT more referrals from me.
  7. Do they reciprocate? In this heavily saturated market, I know that there are usually a lot of options. However, if a provider NEVER refers families to me, that’s just plain rude, and they can expect the same in return. It’s just common sense. I also try very hard to avoid the omnipresence habit of being “cliquey” when it comes to my network. Substance over style, I say.

I think all of these things are fair, and it has taken awhile to get down to a list I feel good about. I’ve been very excited to add good providers to my list in the last couple of months, too, and always love sitting down with any new professionals to chat and to see if they would be a good addition to my list.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Leave ‘em 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.

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, 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.

5 Items to Avoid on Your Baby Registry

what to avoid on baby registry

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

1) A Boppy

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

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

2) Crib Bumpers

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

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

3) Sleep positioners

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

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

4) Wipes Warmer

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

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

5) A Baby Bjorn (the classic model)

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

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

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

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

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, 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.

Buying Baby Items at Garage Sales

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Image credit: Mark Turnauckas via Flickr (used under Creative Commons)

Update 5/15/14: This is from last year, and I’ve already seen more used car seats that I would like to see. Why, people?!??!? 

One other disturbing trend I’ve found out about is that some kids’ consignment sales are claiming that the used car seats that they sell are “certified” to be safe. There is no such legitimate designation. PLEASE don’t think that those seats are a good choice. OK. So read on:

Now that the sun is out, the snow is mostly melted, temps are rising, it’s finally time for garage sale season.  Garage sales are a great way to save money on items for you baby or child, for sure!  There are some things you should keep in mind when out shopping to make sure that you’re saving money, not wasting it.

  • Don’t buy car seats at garage sales- I don’t know what else to say.  It’s pretty straightforward.  This is the ONE absolutely, completely necessary baby item you’ll need, but also the most critical to your child’s life.  Save money on everything else, but not this.
  • Make sure the item you’re buying wasn’t recalled- When you are out and about, it’s impossible to keep in mind all of the strollers, high chairs, and other baby items that have been recalled over the years.  There are a couple of ways to check on the status of an item if you have your smart phone with you.  Recall.gov keeps track of every recall issued.  They have a mobile app that you can download (though it looks like it’s only for Android phones), but they also have a mobile site that you can access easily on the go. Find more info on their website.
  • Be realistic on your ability to properly clean a product- I’ve been a mom for almost 8 years, and some things are just really hard to clean.  If it’s fabric, make sure that you can remove it completely, otherwise you’re just stuck spot-treating any dirt.  And plastic seems like it would be easy to clean, but some things have too many corners to clean. If it’s totally grungy, just pass on it.
  • Avoid drop-side cribs- Drop side cribs have (mostly) been illegal to sell or resell for a little while.  If they have been repaired and the drop side is in a locked, fixed position, then they are fine (because the recall has been fixed). Again, check out the info above to make sure the recall has been repaired.
  • Avoid stains- Is this obvious? Maybe.  I’ve seen so many pins, been told so many things to try on stubborn stains, but the truth is, baby stains are hard to get out.  There will be more onesies. Pass on stained clothes, no matter how cute.
  • Make sure the cloth diapers will work- Before buying used cloth diapers, ask if they used diaper cream, what kind of detergent they used, and, perhaps most importantly, why they stopped using them.  If their baby just grew out of them, that’s fine.  But if they stopped using them because the diapers leaked, you might want to pass.  You can try stripping the diapers, but that’s not guaranteed to work.

Happy spring and enjoy the garage sale hunt!

 

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.