6 ways to feel more productive while nursing your baby

 

do while nursing

One of the hardest parts once you conquer breastfeeding is that sometimes it makes you feel like you should be doing something…more productive. I mean, come ON…you ARE making sure your baby is growing and thriving, but we live in a society that eats quickly, and unfortunately, babies still haven’t been forced to adopt out weird societal norm. Throw into the mix that babies nurse not just out of hunger, but out of thirst, too, and it can be darn frustrating to be sitting on that chair, nursing your baby…again. So, I came up with some truly helpful things that you could do while feeding your baby.

1) Clean up your phone contacts- If you’re like me, you phone is full of all sorts of clutter and old info and numbers for people you really never want to talk to again. Going through and deleting bad info seems like a huge chore, but is a perfect thing to do with one hand. Think of how amazing you’ll feel when it’s all clean and organized!!!!!

2) Order hard copy prints of pictures from your phone- If you’ve ever had a phone stolen with all of your pictures on it, you know how gut-wrenching it is to no longer be able to look at the pictures you’ve been taking of your sweet kids. And the reality is, those digital pictures can’t be handed down to future generations. While it may seem quaint, actual pictures in photo albums or boxes are the answer. There are apps that let you order prints from your phone, and they all have free print offers. Future you will thank now you, I promise.

3) Learn a new language- My husband is trying to learn German through podcasts. I’ve long been interested in trying Duolingo, a free app to learn languages. Finding the time can be tricky. But if you use feeding time for baby as learning time for you–you may actually make progress!

4) Get a lower cable/internet bill- Yes, this one actually requires making a potentially frustrating phone call, but if you call, tell them you’re thinking of switching to the competitor, see if you can score a lower rate. It may work, it may not. It never hurts to ask.

5) Check you credit score- This one will make you feel like you’re really doing a great job of adulting. And to make sure you don’t go the the wrong place, here are the instructions from the State of Minnesota.

6) See if there’s money out there for you, friends, or family- Yep, this is a real thing. I’ve found money for family members. I’ve never found anything for me, but maybe you’ll get lucky and locate money you didn’t know you had. Here’s Minnesota’s program. You may want to check all the states you’ve lived in or relatives have lived in. Just makes sure you ONLY look via official state government pages.

And if you’re local and you want to meet other moms and chat with a nurse, make sure you check out Mama Cafe. It’s a free group for breastfeeding mothers held every Thursday from 10am-11:30am, held here at BabyLove.

Any other clever things you do while breastfeeding? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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.

Meet our new doulas!

As you may remember, I announced the launch of Metro Doula Agency, LLC just over a year ago. Since then, my doula partner Liz and I have been taking clients as a team, and it’s been wonderful. We know our team model improves the quality of support that families receive and it makes life easier on us and our families.

The word “agency” implies there will be other doulas…and I’m excited to announce that we’ve brought on two wonderful women. They will be working as a team as well. I’ve had a chance to spend time with them and I could not be more thrilled with their gentle hearts and bright spirits. Below you’ll find pictures and introductions from Liz R. and Katelyn. They are both trained and have experience, but are working on their certifications.

We know that the agency model is something new to the area, but I’m confident families and providers will come to know that our doulas are the most professional doulas around, that they are highly knowledgeable, and that families will never be without support for their birth, no matter what. Metro Doula Agency stands behind our promise to support families, even through long labors, epidurals, or cesarean births.

With the addition of these two fine ladies, we are able to offer doula services on a sliding fee. So if you’ve been wanting to hire a doula, but have been trying to scrape together pennies to pay for one, we may be a wonderful solution to give you continuous labor and birth support. Contact us at info@metrodoulaagency.com metrodoulaagency@gmail.com and we’ll get you the excellent doula care you deserve.

Warmly,

Veronica

Minneapolis birth doula

Hi!
My name is Liz Ripka. I am 30 years old and have been a birth doula for the past year. I have always been fascinated with pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.  After many of my friends, and family told me how wonderful I would be as a birth doula I thought I would look into it. A few weeks later I found a workshop and began my training. I have never felt so passionate about my job! I love being able to help and support women and their partners.  I focus on offering a nurturing presence, educating, supporting a woman’s choice, and making the birth of their child as special as possible to each family. I believe that laughter and love are important in the birth process. In addition to working with BabyLove as a birth doula, I am a nanny for two adorable little boys. I love serving each and every family and I feel so honored to be welcomed into their life story. I look forward to this journey!

St. Paul Birth Doula

Hello!

My name is Katelyn Hinrichs. I was born and raised in Minnesota and currently reside in the suburbs of Minneapolis with my family of four. My interest for birth came about when I gave life to my firstborn. I found myself reading anything I could get my hands on, and it was then that I realized this was my calling and there was no looking back! When I’m not spending time with my family, I love to grab some coffee and go shopping, snowboarding, and getting cozy with a book! I love to collect glass containers in hopes to give them another use down the road. My favorite subject in school was my fine arts acting classes. Being a doula means supporting my fellow sisters through this transformative time; giving them the support and means to feel empowered throughout their pregnancy, birthing experience, and beyond.

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.

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, 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.

Crystal and Veronica talk about loss and infertility

loss and infertility

It’s time for another installment where Crystal and I talk about a topic and you get to see the conversation word for word. Today, we talk about infertility and loss.

Hey Crystal,

I wanted to talk to you about pregnancy, loss, and motherhood.

I have never lost a child myself. I have, though, supported many families who have. All of those babies NEED to be remembered. However…

There is NO easy way to become a parent. It’s all tough. There is no sure-fire way to end up with a child. The road to motherhood and fatherhood is paved with pain, anguish, tears, and faith. Always. And in my mind, we are all best served by honoring that, speaking about it in realistic terms, and moving beyond the fairy tales.

Loss happens early in pregnancy, late in pregnancy, after birth, and after the adoption should have been finalized. All of them are equal. All of them are very, very sad.

You’ve experienced infertility. I want to hear your story. I want to know what your thoughts are.

-Veronica

Yes, grief and loss can definitely occur in several different realms of adding to your family. As we discussed yesterday, there is no “sure thing” when it comes to family building.

My story began in 2000, when my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby. 18 months later, we were still not pregnant. I felt very dismissed by many professionals, because I was “only 25″ (I couldn’t be going through infertility, right?) so it took me some time to seek additional help. In addition, there were several of my friends and family getting pregnant easily (seriously, NINE in SIX months, all of whom got pregnant either unplanned or very quickly) and it was heartbreaking. I felt like nobody understood. And then people, in an effort to be helpful, say very insensitive things.
Needless to say, I ended up seeking a reproductive endocrinologist, and after two rounds of Clomid, we were pregnant. My son was born in March of 2003.

-Crystal

That’s such a true, powerful phrase: There is no “sure thing” when it comes to family building.

I feel pretty lucky, now that I think about it, that I didn’t end up with severe endometriosis symptoms until AFTER my second child was born. The same thing I’m doing now to treat it kept it at bay until my husband and I wanted to have kids. It’s entirely possible, though, that I could have had problems getting pregnant.

We also have the “F” word to think about: Failure. It’s a word I always, always try to avoid whenever I talk about pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. And then on the flip side, I HATE when birth professionals talk about “success” and their “success rate” for x. Hate it. Those words take away the mom’s ability to speak her own truth, they give credit to the professional, and discussing failure does not allow for the nuance of biology, variations of the maternity care system, and life in general.

Sorry, that was an aside.

For the most part, it’s getting easier for moms and dads to talk about loss and stillbirth publicly. Have you ever talked to moms who lost a baby 20 or 30 years ago? Their stories are HEARTBREAKING. Although, I talk to moms who had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past year and I’m still disgusted by how those moms are treated in the hospital. It’s heaping trauma upon trauma.

So, for moms who had trouble getting or staying pregnant, once they do have a viable pregnancy, what sort of things do you recommend? I can’t imagine it’s a good idea to let the fear take over.

Yes, I have unfortunately worked with women who have lost babies long ago, and the trauma still lingers. Very sad.

For women now, getting pregnant following infertility or loss, I recommend support groups (they have some specifically for pregnancy after loss), and normalize their anxiety. This often, in and of itself, is helpful. Having their partner hear that, whether it’s with me or from their partner, can be helpful as well. Then, we work on self soothing techniques, like breathing, relaxation and mindfulness skills. Finally, I may implement some therapy skills, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help the anxiety and panic symptoms.

Thanks for another good conversation, Crystal!

Back at you! This is fun!

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.

Guest Post: Craft Night Saves Lives

Last night was the return of Craft Night at BabyLove.  It was wonderful. If you saw it and thought, “That would be fun,” you were right. But one mama, Mari Koeck, attended the most recent craft night and sent along these really amazing thoughts.  Enjoy!

-Veronica

Some days as a mom I feel like Mother Theresa. Other days I feel like Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. Today was not a good day. The kids were communicating solely in unintelligible alien shrieks, everything was escalating, and I was not coping well. I could feel my stress level rise, but I was not Mother Theresa. I am thankful I held it together enough to avoid creating headlines, but, barely.

A couple of years ago I watched a National Geographic documentary about stress. The gist of it was that the chemicals released for our “fight or flight” response to problems need to be burned off or they start attacking our cells, causing them to age more quickly, subtly attacking and killing part of our physical body. Thank God the documentary didn’t end there. Can you imagine the tailspin of depression and unbearable stress that would send any viewer into?

They went on to talk about how researchers studied a group of people who suffer from prolonged, chronic stress. They chose parents of children with special needs and they were surprised by what they saw. Yes, chronic stress was every bit as serious as they knew, but they observed something new. Many of the mothers in their study were part of mom groups with other moms raising children with special needs. The mothers who attended these groups had lower stress levels than those who didn’t, but researchers were shocked to discover that the physical damage to cells caused by stress wasn’t simply limited by their relational connection, it was reversed.

After my painfully un-Hallmark worthy day, I was at the end of my rope. It was as if I couldn’t just feel the stress physically killing my cells, but I could feel it killing the deepest part of me that makes me know I’m alive. But tonight wasn’t just any night, it was BabyLove’s Craft Night. It is a simple concept, any kind of moms can come together and…craft. While there’s something deeply satisfying about creating something with your hands, it was the relational aspect of simply chatting with other moms that was better than any medicine or therapy for me today. There wasn’t any program or attempt to make it into “something.” It just was what it was, simple, but profound. It was meeting my real need at the end of a stressful day for some mom relationships to undue the harm that stress was trying to do to me.

When I first came to BabyLove, I thought I was bringing my son to Mama Cafe to hang with other babies. The reason I kept coming was because of the way just being together with other mamas from all backgrounds nurtured the best parts of me. When I was in such a positive place, not only did I never once get a whiff of the “mommy wars,” but I felt deeply loved and I wanted to love those around me. I was renewed and energized by these meetings and I need to remember that it isn’t just in my head, but there is a physical need for this kind of relationship as well.

If you’re a bit of a worrier – like me – and are still hung up on the fact that stress is killing you, then you need to: 1) Watch this TED video “How to make stress your friend” by Kelly McGonigal (Available here) and 2) Do something about it by finding other moms to connect with whether in your neighborhood, your church, your child’s school, or BabyLove. It takes a bit of extra effort, but it is an investment in not just reducing stress and improving your health, it is ensuring more Mother Theresa moments for you and your kids, and we all need more of those.

Mari is a mother of two and head writer for Koeck Communications, LLC

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.

Eagan GRACE Support Group dates

Image via Flickr by TschiAe, used under a Creative Commons license
Image via Flickr by TschiAe, used under a Creative Commons license

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting in September, BabyLove will be a location for the Eagan GRACE Support Group.  Missing GRACE is a non-profit located in Rogers, MN, and we will be another location for families to receive support twice a month.

In the support group we have topic led discussions on subjects including: differences in male/female grieving, relationships with friends and family through the grieving journey, coping with holidays/anniversary dates, health issues/concerns, subsequent pregnancy fears, and other related topics.  On occasion the group will do an activity that is helpful for the grieving process. (Scrap booking, crafts, video, having a guest speaker, candle light memorial service, etc.)

We are unfortunately unable to offer child care during the meeting.

Please email us at info@babylovemn.com or call us at 651-200-3343 for details and to let us know if you plan to attend one of the meetings.

If you are a professional who works with families that would benefit from this support group, please contact us for more information and for materials to hand out to families.

2013 Schedule

Generally, Meetings will take place the first Monday of the month from 10am-noon and the third Friday of the month from 6-8pm.

September 20th, 6-8pm

October 2nd, 10am-noon

October 18th, 6-8pm

November 6th, 10am-noon

November 15th, 6-8pm

December 4th, 10am-noon

December 20th, 6-8pm

Update: Eagan Support Group Dates is a sheet we’ve put together with information to hand out. 

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.