Taking Care of You!!!

There are a million and one articles on how to be a great mom, wife, daughter, and friend. They are wonderful tools in coping with life and responsibilities.  The whole idea of being the best mom you can be is at the same time encouraging and terrifying.  How do I know I am doing it right?  Is there a measure?  What if I blow it?

Every mom alive has dealt with these fears.  There are no easy answers.  However, the best place to start is with you.  Are you at peace?  Do you feel focused?  Do you personally have resources to calm you when the uncertainty strikes?

What feeds your soul?  As a doula, I encourage pregnant moms to think this one over.  It is important, as you meet the needs of everyone else in your life, that you evaluate your own needs.  Each of us has things that calm our spirits and bring us peace.  What are these for you?  Is it curling up in a chair with your favorite book?  Maybe you enjoy a walk in the sunshine.  Perhaps your favorite thing is talking with a friend or family member on the phone or in person.  If you are spiritually inclined it might be reading your Bible, meditating on scripture, and praying.  I have clients who love gardening.  This connects them with nature, gives them something beautiful to look at, and allows them to participate the growing process.

Decide what meets this need in your life and schedule time for it each day.  This may sound like a tall order, but it is vitally important to you being the best you can be.   If you have a little something to look forward to each day it makes the hubbub of life more bearable. Taking care of yourself shows others you are of value.  It helps them see the importance of being grounded and planning ahead.

Start practicing this routine now, even if you are newly pregnant.  Developing this quiet time as a daily habit will help you find inner peace.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated!  JUDY

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Children and the Heat

In August of 2015 we shared a three part series on surviving the heat!  The subject headings were:  Hydrate, Stay Dry, and Take it Easy.  As summer 2016 arrives all those suggestions remain valuable.    JUDY

 

Recapping:

Hydrate:  Small children and babies maintain a much higher body ratio of water to tissue than adults.  This is why you will find your pediatrician so concerned about dehydration when you little ones have fever or illness.  They need more liquid proportionally than adults.

Personal Note:  Once I ended breastfeeding I did not immediately switch my children to drinking out of a cup.  I moved them to bottles in order to be certain they were ingesting enough liquid.  I would cut juice by 600%, putting just a small amount of juice with a large amount of water in their bottles.  It just did not seem possible for them to drink as much liquid as they needed only using a cup.  (Be sure to brush their teeth in order to protect their teeth from the sugar/fructose)

When it is especially warm popsicles are a great option.  You can make them yourself with fruit juice, or purchase inexpensive bars at places like Smart n Final or the grocery store. They are a mess, but great for keeping cool!

Stay Dry:  Be very aware of moisture accumulating on your baby’s clothing and diaper. Once your baby is mobile allowing him to run/crawl/lay around completely naked may be your best option.  Do so on a tile floor or in the backyard; if you have an awning, umbrella or other protection from direct sunlight.  Due to their high liquid balance small children are more susceptible to heat stroke.  One of our family’s favorites for keeping dry is Caldecine Powder.  It helps with everything from diaper rash to jock Itch!!!

Take it Easy:  Remember to slow down during the hot weather.  Relax, enjoy the fan and a cold drink, read books or watch cartoons together.  Your little ones will be uncomfortable and not understand why.  Once the heat of the day has passed, or early enough in the day to avoid it; go sit on beach, walk in a tree filled park, take a picnic lunch and sit in an air conditioned mall.  In other words, do what ever you can to beat the heat!!!

Boundaries for Your Children Out In Public

As parents you decide how you want your baby and older children to relate to others.  It is important to think this through before going out in public.   Is it OK with you for strangers to touch your child?  How close do you want them to come?  Do you want your older child approaching a stranger’s dog?  Considering these and other situations ahead of time will create a since of control and comfort for you.  JUDY

{At the end of this post please find some fun activities to consider}

Do not assume others will automatically know your boundaries.  Think about them.  Be in agreement with the other adults who will be out in public with your kids.  It is important to be consistent.  Your children will become comfortable with your standards.  This is a very good thing.  It gives them limits, builds their comfort level and helps them feel secure.

Recently a new family shared they took their baby out for her first outing.  A vendor at the farmer’s market asked if she could touch the baby.  They graciously said yes, only to watch the vendor wrapping up fish parts moments later.  Yuck!!  Ha!  Ha!  Needless to say they thought twice before agreeing to her being touched the next time.

In early outings carrying baby in a wrap or baby carrier invites fewer touches.  Most folks will not invade your personal space to touch your baby.  If baby is wrapped close to your body, facing you, there will be questions about his age and gender, but you are in complete control of his space.  If children are in strollers you have less control over their safety.

Think ahead about how you will respond to strangers approaching.  If polite, most often they will ask if they can touch your children.  My #3 baby was a blue eyed blond haired doll with what we called Angel Fuzz.  Everyone wanted to touch her blonde curls.  When she was in a stroller I had less control over who could get to her.  If strangers approached and asked, depending upon their demeanor, I would say “I’m sorry, but I am not comfortable with this just yet.”  People were understanding.  I never had a problem.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  How do I feel about strangers touching my children?
  2. How close do you want others to come to your baby?
  3. What can I say to be polite but to set my boundaries?
  4. Where might these kinds of situations occur?
  5. Do the other adults with whom my children spend time understand my thoughts on this issue?
  6. What will I do if someone enters my child’s personal space with out my permission?
  7. How can I handle an uncomfortable situation without upsetting my children

 

Websites with ideas and suggestions for boundaries and activities:

http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/photo-gallery/fun-family-outings.aspx                                                                                                    7 Family Outings That Don’t Cost a Dime

WhattoExpect.com                                        Baby Outing Bliss

http://www.parents.com/baby/new-parent/motherhood/fun-things-to-do-with-your-baby/                                                                  10 Fun Things to Do With Baby

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/peaceful-parenting/201106/get-your-children-under-control-in-public                            Get Your Children Under Control in Public

http://www.disneybaby.com/gear/9-fun-father-and-baby-outing-ideas/                                                                                                              9 Fun Father and Baby Outings

 

 

Benefits of Skin to Skin contact for Mothers

As researchers investigated the advantages of skin to skin contact for babies they discovered there are also great benefits for mothers in this practice.  As we know, hormones are very active in women prenatal and postpartum.  Hormones excreted from the baby’s brain cause women to go into labor.  They cause the development of colostrum and breast milk.  Hormones affect the emotional and psychological condition of women. They aid in the production of breastmilk, speed recovery time, protect against postpartum depression, and aid in general wellbeing.

The practice of skin to skin contact has been found to protect mothers in a myriad of areas.  As previously discussed in this blog, many medical facilities are including this option in the delivery room for mothers and babies.  Even in cases of surgery (C-sections) mothers are encouraged to hold their babies in skin to skin contact during scutchering.   This practice has begun widely over the past year.  It is cutting edge therapy immediately after birth.  If your OB is not aware, educate him.  Provide any of the articles included in this edition of the blog or the last.  Talk with your Pediatrician also.  These benefits are too great to be ignored.   JUDY

Some of the benefits of skin to skin contact for mothers:

  • Reduces risk of

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Kangaroo Care increases the levels of maternal oxytocin, which serves to restore mom’s pre-pregnancy hormonal levels and reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

  • Increases

MILK PRODUCTION

Studies have shown that moms who practice Kangaroo Care from the start are more likely to continue exclusive breastfeeding when they bring baby home. The surge in maternal oxytocin and prolactin levels in the early hours after birth appear to have long-term effects in increased milk production. Moms who experience breastfeeding difficulties are likely to see near-immediate improvements by practicing Kangaroo Care for at least 60 minutes per session, 1-2 times a day.

  • Speeds

RECOVERY TIME

Increased levels of maternal oxytocin are released while mom is holding baby in Kangaroo Care, which in turn…

  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Lowers cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Reduces postpartum bleeding
  • Increases pain tolerance
  • Promotes

PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING

The increased levels of maternal oxytocin, a natural hormone that creates a “relaxation and well-being” response, aids in mom responding with nurturing and affectionate behaviors toward her baby. Mom is more sensitive and aware of her baby’s needs and feels more confident about her parenting skills.

Below please find research and articles explaining the benefits of skin to skin contact for mothers.

Hospitals use skin to skin contact to help mom and baby – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfYdsCLXVWs

The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact – Dr Jack Newman

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&id=82:the-importance-of-skin-to-skin-contact-&Itemid=17

Mothers, babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact — ScienceDaily

http://www.cochrane.org/CD003519/PREG_early-skin-to-skin-contact-for-mothers-and-their-healthy-newborn-infants

Skin-to-skin Contact | La Leche League Canada: Mother-to-Mother …

http://www.lllc.ca/category/faq-categories/skin-skin-contact

Mothers, babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact — ScienceDaily

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141111111703.htm