Birth & Family Life
A blog about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding,
parenthood & everything in between...
parenthood & everything in between...
Rachel's Remedy Hot/Cold Packs Review
Remember way back when I was chosen as a Brand Ambassador for the Guidance Guide? Well soon after the arrival of our twins Amelia and Beatrice, I received the Rachel's Remedy Hot/Cold Packs to review for Guidance Guide! I wish I had received them a few weeks earlier when my milk first changed from colostrum to milk as I was so very engorged! Engorgement is not fun nor does it feel good.
I tried the hot packs out on a day that the girls slept a bit longer than normal. My breasts were full and latching would have been difficult for their little mouths if I tried without doing anything. Previously, a warm/hot shower would have been my go to for relief. The hot packs were a lot faster than a shower. I warmed the pack part up in the microwave, inserted them into the pack holder and wet the fabric on the outside. The wet warmth felt great on my swollen breasts. Warning...be careful you don't make them too hot. I heated them up too much the first time, and combined with the wetness, it made for a too hot adventure.
The inner pillow contains flaxseeds and it goes inside of a waterproof pouch. This way water and milk are kept off the pillow! The waterproof pouch is easy to clean and quick to dry.
What I really liked is the versatility beyond breastfeeding. Need to put cold on your breasts? Easy, stick them in the freezer (or outside if you live in Canada like me). Need a hand warmer? Put them in your jacket pocket after heating. You can use them on sore shoulders or any muscles that are hurting if you're not needing them for your breasts. Kid takes a tumble? They make a great ice pack!
What's your favourite way to get relief? Please leave a comment below.
With love & light,
Disclaimer: I receive free products from Guidance Guide for review purposes but my opinions are all my own. @guidanceguide #guidanceguide #mystuffmystory #realreviewsforrealparents @rachelsremedy #rachelsremedyrelief
Birth Bubble? Do you need one? What does it mean?
During a recent private refresher birth class, a phrase was used a lot...lock it down. What does it mean and and why is this phrase important to birth and the postpartum period?
It's time to LOCK IT DOWN!!!It happens all the time...unsolicited advice and words of fear about birth coming from strangers...and family/friends. They may have the best of intentions, but typically its garbage that you don't need screwing with your head. Here are a few suggestions on how to LOCK IT DOWN!
1. Set-up boundaries. Being honest about your intentions, especially with close family, in your pregnancy can be freeing. Your birth is not about them. Sit down with your partner and hash out a plan. Then, have a conversation with the individuals that you are closest too. He needs to talk to his mom/sister/dad/aunt if you aren't comfortable. Only attend family events that you want to attend in the weeks leading up to your due month.
2. Hide the Facebook groups or take a Facebook hiatus. People say dumb stuff and its gets worse over the internet when you lose tones. Either limit it to groups that are more focused on positive help or ditch it completely. Negative information and stories get a lot more attention than positive. It's okay to block it out. And remind people that you and your partner will announce your birth when you are ready!!
3. Don't tell people your estimated due date. People ask because they are curious. And then they inquire daily once you reach that date. Their intentions may be good, but you don't need the added stress. Give them a due month or tell them something a few weeks later. Keep in mind that only 50% of women have their baby by 40 weeks 5 days.
4. Keep your babymoon time limited to select people that will provide you with the support you need. Once baby arrives, its a whole new ballgame. Your little family needs time to figure each other out and get to know each other. A constant stream of visitors prevents you from resting and nesting with your little one as well as introduces your babe to germs that are not needed. Keeping the people limited to true support, ie. people who will make you food and whom you feel comfortable hanging out naked from the waist up in your pjs, will help make the transition easier. If you feel like you have to entertain or feed your guests, you will become stressed and so will babe. Plan for this before baby arrives and make your intentions and needs known. Some people may have hurt feelings, but they will recover and hopefully understand it not about them...its about your new family. I made a cute little poster to help stop traffic at your door during the immediate postpartum time.
5. Don't tell people that you're in labour. Limit the people to a needs-to-know basis when labour starts. Labour can be long and boring. The more people that know, the more constant the buzzing of your phone with people who have good intentions...but are constantly checking in with you. Your partner needs to be focused on you and you need to be able to let go during labour. Its a special and intimate time.
Don't feel guilty. Right, easier said than done. Parenting is essentially about feeling guilty LOL. As women, we tend to put others needs above our own or try our best to not offend people. F it. Take care of yourself and your family. Your needs matter. Don't feel guilty blocking out negative people. Don't feel guilty telling a stranger it's none of their business when they say you look like you're going to explode at any minute (or feel free to ask them when they last had sex...anything awkward...).
To summarize, don't be afraid to LOCK IT DOWN!
With love and light,
Sometimes you end up with beautiful surprises in life...
They are overwhelming and chaotic but they are part of your life. We found out a few weeks ago that we were expecting a new babe! It was a bit of a shock, but I registered for a midwife immediately and was accepted the same day at a clinic 2 blocks from our home. After two rounds of sub-par prenatal care that I received in Fort McMurray, I was going to be under the care of a midwife! Midwifery care in Alberta has something I've been using my voice to bring attention to throughout elections and changing policies. I believe in midwifery care as a prenatal/postpartum option for all low risk women. I was so happy at my first appointment...10 weeks and a great start!
And then it all changed...
I decided to have a dating ultrasound to confirm my dates as I was fairly certain but I didn't want the pressure to induce at the end of the pregnancy to be so great if I was mistaken. I took my two girls, 6 and 8 years, along with me (summer break from school) as they have been thrilled with the idea of being big sisters to a new baby. Right at the start something looked off. It looked like the there was two sacs and two babies...
Yes, there were two. The tech kindly showed me both babies and asked if I was surprised. Umm, WTF!! I covered my eyes with my hands and then look over to the girls to ask them if they understood what she meant. They were busting with excitement! TWINS!
They got to share the news with their dad once we got home. We are still in a bit of shock and I'm starting to prepare as twins are considered high risk...no more midwife and no more home birth. My disappointment in those losses is still high, but the idea of two babies is growing on me!! I'll be sharing insights, ups and downs throughout the pregnancy here on the blog.
I'm starting a new Birth Boot Camp 10 week childbirth series in NW Calgary August 16...how cool is it that I get to be pregnant along with my students!! There are a couple spaces open. I'll be sharing loads of information for low and high risk births including discussions about prenatal testings, supporting each other with relaxation techniques and comfort measures, prenatal nutrition and exercise, breastfeeding and life with a new baby! Our evidence based information aims to help facilitate discussions between mom and her partner as well as her caregiver.
Partners love the Birth Boot Camp curriculum as it gives them tools to fill their birth tool box. Moms love the confidence they build!
Unsure? Call me and we can set-up a 15 minute online meeting to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks for joining me and my family on our next adventure!
With Supporting Arms,
Surrounding yourself in positive feelings and with positive people is one of my biggest tips for making your birth matter. This includes family, care providers, friends, service providers and your own personal environment. Part of setting up a positive atmosphere is finding one or more birth affirmations that really strike deep within yourself. In the Birth Boot Camp classes, we talk about affirmations for mom and for the partner. You can take a live birth class with me in Calgary or sign up for the online childbirth classes!
I've taken some of my favourites and made them pretty, just for you! If one of these doesn't work for you, I challenge you to find one that does and make it beautiful! Digital, watercolour, acrylic, pencil crayons...whatever speaks to your soul! Feel free to download the images, print the images or share.
With Love & Light,
Understanding the level of vulnerability of birth as a first time mother can be mind blowing. With each client and student, I talk about vulnerability and what it can mean to us an individuals. Many of us as women have experienced shame throughout our lives. Sexual, verbal and physical abuse. Never ending thoughts of obtaining perfection. Push to change ourselves to meet other’s expectations. Shame of bleeding and the symptoms that go along with our menses each month. Shame with normal bodily functions like pooping and farting.Good girls don’t...Birth is a time where we need to say FUCK being the "good girl". Allowing ourselves to do what our body needs, move as we need to move, release those noises that help us to relax and roll through each contraction. To accept the changes our bodies have made.
Please take a real through this awesome Mother Magazine article that talks about vulnerability and birth. She says it all. Birth Makes You Very Vulnerable, and That’s a Good Thing by Sarah Clark.
People fear vulnerability, and birth is deeply vulnerable. When you speak of the realities of it, it triggers some of our deepest fears and things we have been trained since childhood to feel shame for." ~ Sarah Clark (aka Mama Birth and my super hero).
Looking for more information on shame and vulnerability? Brene Brown has some amazing resources in the form of TED Talks and books. Her research into shame and vulnerability has been life changing for myself and many others.
With Love & Light,
In 2015, an epic series called Transformation to Parenthood was compiled with love. It is a lovely collaboration that brings the many choices parents make along the journey and highlights the people that support families along the way.
Does It Matter Which Class I Choose?
I was fortunate to be interviewed for one of the segments talking about support from professionals other than the caregivers in Episode 2. In my opinion, a comprehensive childbirth class is part of the puzzle as we make this transition into our roles as parents. Being well prepared nutritionally, physically, mentally and emotionally allows the parents the ability to make informed choices and feel confident in themselves. Parents also learn about themselves: how to relax each other, how to comfort each other, how to talk to each other, and what other professionals can help. A method type birth class will provide you with a limited set of tools that are not individualized. A class that provides birth tools and the time to practice them gives you options.
Please enjoy this episode and check out the other episodes that have been released!Transformation to Parenthood - Episode 2 from Business on Camera on Vimeo.
Expecting a baby in Calgary, Cochrane or Airdrie in 2016? Check out our class schedule for NW Calgary or our online option!
With Love & Light,
There is a lot of information out there about breastfeeding...mostly good, some crap and some dismal. This post will be continually updated with great breastfeeding links as I come across relevant and well informed information on breastfeeding. Think I'm missing something? Please post the link in the comment section and I'll add it if its good. Pregnant and want more info? Sign up for Birth Boot Camp where you get a 3.5 hour breastfeeding video plus lots of class time spent on the topic BEFORE baby arrives!
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With Love and Light,
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Baby coming any day? New baby just arrived? Let your visitors know the ground rules before entering...and to stop ringing that darn doorbell! Everyone has different circumstances, so pre-plan your rules and make sure they get posted!
The first few weeks after baby arrives are important for the family. Mom and babe have to rest, recuperate and get to know one another. Let recovery take as long as needed. Visitors can be a blessing and a burden. Guests bringing healthy postpartum food, snacks or meals and helping out around the house without the expectation to hold baby are helpful and considerate. Don't be afraid to make boundaries for your family members and friends.
Below is an example of a sign to post on your front door. Feel free to download it and use it by clicking on the image. It will take you to a Dropbox location for the PDF! Students in my childbirth classes receive a similar sign in Class 10: Life with a New Recruit. You can take a live birth class with me in Calgary or sign up for the online childbirth classes from anywhere in the world! I've also made a twin or multiples version for all you parents of multiples!!
If you'd like to share it, please credit Adventures of Little as the author.
Do you have visitor expectations or rules? Share them in the comment section please!
With Love & Light,
Like many women expecting a baby, there was a book that was referred to me to learn about what to expect...turns out it wasn't right for me. I found this out too late after my first baby, but my wonderful doula for baby number 2 provided a selection of books that were more about what I wanted to learn. While preparing to certify as a Birth Boot Camp instructor, I read some of the same books as well as new ones. I had to share as they are so helpful for those interested in learning what their bodies are capable of and how to help your body excel with nutrition, exercise and relaxation.
Here is a my list of top 3 "general pregnancy books" to get you started. They are focused a lot on pregnancy; what's happening, how what you do can affect your body and briefly the birth/postpartum time. There are more that I'll write about later that are more specific about certain subjects including birth, breastfeeding, postpartum and babies.
1. The Healthy Pregnancy Book by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN, Linda Holt, MD and BJ Snell, PhD, CNW. My favourite part of this book was the detailed discussions about the importance of nutrition before, during and after pregnancy. Many books tell you to eat good, but this book really gives you details as to what to eat and how it affects you and the baby. Their Rules of Two really stuck with me: "eat twice as often, eat half at much at a time, chew twice as long, take twice the time to dine."
I also really enjoyed the alternative view points: a pediatrician, a nurse, an ob-gyn and a midwife. I felt it was a balanced viewpoint focused on natural births that are empowering. Their is still a chapter on what can go wrong in pregnancy covering high-risk as well as issues that may occur; low risk and typical pregnancies are the focus. The book was also recently updated, so you can find comfort that the book is current.
There are sections for you to track what is happening month to month, which is a wonderful way to remember how you were feeling while it was happening. They also cover the birth and postpartum week, but in not as much detail. They have full books dedicated to those subjects. The Sears family is world renowned for health, attachment parenting and great information. I highly recommend the book.
As a side note, I have met Dr. Sears several times and he is a phenomenal speaker with a great deal of passion. He is a big believer in good health coming from good nutrition. He is a big part of the Juice Plus+ community and recommends them as a supplement in his books. You can find more information about Juice Plus+ here (note: we are a Juice Plus+ family and I distribute them) or ask me!
2. The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth by Shelia Kitzinger. Shelia was a brilliant human. She wrote many wonderful books and was a big believer in trusting birth. This book is filled with great information including many pictures of labouring and pushing positions. Practicing these positions before baby can help fill your toolbox with positions to ease pain. Other great topics include preparing a sibling for the birth and why writing down birth ideals can be helpful, especially the atmosphere of the room, no matter where you are birthing.
3. The Mother of all Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas. Ann Douglas is Canada's foremost pregnancy writer. It is a great book filled with advice from parents as well as her knowledge. Pretty much every topic is covered between pre-pregnancy and postpartum. Their are charts and tables to help visually compare topics and Canadian statistics. Canadian statistics are harder to find in many books as the focus tends to be on US statistics and research. Canada is slightly different from the US due to a smaller population and different healthcare. There is a complaint chapter which I found easy to read and use...what symptoms should be reported to your caregiver immediately and what complaints are typical of pregnancy. She discusses the major typical complaints, what causes them and how the woman can help reduce the complaint.
What's Your Favourite Pregnancy Book?Did you have a favourite pregnancy book? Share it below in the comment section! You can find all of my recommended pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding and postpartum books and videos over in the Lending Library...they are available to be borrowed by all students and clients!
With Love & Light,