So I was blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom for the first 2 years with my twins. I loved it. When we moved I went back to work, but I think we all knew my heart was at home. I really do like my job and I love the people I work with, but we are at a place where I can go part time. I am really excited about this because not only and I getting more time with my family at home, I am starting some exciting new venture in my life. I have recently because an Usbourne Book Consultant and I am loving sharing the gift of reading with my kiddos. I have also made a big change as well when I certified to become a doula. This is something I have been working towards for awhile, so I am very excited to be able to devote to it the time it needs to grow into a good business.
We have been getting ready for Christmas around here. The tree is up, lists are made, and peppermint mochas are in hand. This week we also went to see the big guy. I am really excited for Christmas this year. Penny and Ben really understand Santa for the first time. Last year the kind of got it, but not like they do this year. So I am so excited to watch them this year. This was our first Christmas outing. We have some other fun ones planned.
We went to see Santa at the Bass Pro shop. This was much more laid back than the mall and had a whole bunch of free Christmas games to play. There was a carousel, a remote control car race track, a red ryder bb gun game, letters to santa, and of course the giant fish tank. Penny and Ben had so much fun.
The major themes for this Christmas this year are going to be Batman and Baby dolls apparently. Ben asked for a Batman robot and Penny asked for a baby high chair and bottle. Both of them did so good with Santa this year. Judah on the other hand didn't do quite so well. I'm the genius mother who decided to take him out after 2 month shots.
Regardless we got out Santa picture for the year and a couple other cute pictures.
I've written a lot here recently about Judah's birth. I have his birth story, my attempt to VBAC and my breastfeeding journey. These were all very personal, yet very positive posts. If you read them, you will see one of the main themes is the importance of my birth team and the supportive people around me. For me there is no way I could have done this with out my Doula Marcia Mattern, my Bradley teacher Laura Thorp, my amazing midwife Janey Hitch and the lactation girls at Pekin hospital. If you are in the central IL area I can not say enough good things about my birth team and would recommend them to anyone who would listen to me rave about them.
That being said I need to get to my reason I am writing this and that is the importance of a supportive birth team. I knew setting out to VBAC I needed a supportive team and I also knew that a doula would be a very important part of that. We interviewed a few different people and the two we liked the best ended up being the two who were involved in our birth. There is so much information out there about how much a doula can help you to get the birth you want and have less medical interventions. Doulas are birth support who are there to help the mother and the father. They do not make any decisions for you, they are just there so you know you options and to be supportive. This was beyond true for me. She helped me in finding the right provider and also the information and courage to change providers when it was apparent I wasn't in a good place for me. Her knowledge of the local birth community was so helpful. She also had me think about things I had never even thought of. During the birth she was calming and gave me courage to make my own decisions and she also encouraged me to move and helped with pain. I had pretty intense back labor and I needed her or my husband by my side the whole time to apply pressure on my back when I had contractions. She was a truly treasured part of my birth, I could not have done it with out her. That is my experience, and I will never give birth with out a doula again.
I decided to take Bradley Method birth classes. My birth educator there ended up being a major source of support in the ups and downs of my pregnancy. She knew the birth community and way able to help direct me. She went above and beyond helping me. She also obviously taught my the Bradley Birth Method. I found the techniques she taught and we practiced in those classes to be so amazingly useful during labor. In fact the anesthesiologist told me right before the C-section (long story) that while he was waiting he researched the Bradley Method because he saw I took the classes on my birth plan, and said I was one of the calmest women he had ever seen in labor. And for that I can give some credit to my teacher for preparing me for that day and supporting me along the way.
I did not start seeing my midwife until around 30 weeks when it became apparent my provider was not as supportive of my attempting to VBAC as he initially said. My doula and teacher both recommended her. She was very upfront and supportive. I learned you have to have a provider who supports your choices and doesn't merely tolerate your choices. I always felt support from my midwife and she never rushed me. She always took the time to explain everything to me. I feel like she fought for my VBAC as much as I did.
If you read any of my breastfeeding posts you know it has been a very rocky road. Seeing lactation specialists is the only reason I am still breastfeeding. They helped me figure out why these things are happening to me and got a game plan to figure it out. I am now half breastfeeding/half bottle feeding with donor milk and my supply is still increasing. The knowledge they have seems unending and gives me options I didn't know existed.
So in the end I would say that a birth team is important because they are your source of knowledge and support. You need to be able to trust and feel comfortable with these people. They see you at your most vulnerable time in life and you need to feel trust and support. This is what my birth team did for me. Although my birth did not end how I had hope because I did have to have a c-section, I know that me and my birth team did everything we could to avoid that. Because of that I am at peace and very happy with this birth and I would say that my birth team is the biggest part of that.
So please look for a supportive team and if you don't feel like you have one, don't be afraid to leave and find that support you need. This is your birth and you are in control.
I am excited to share with you a great opportunity for giving.
This is the time of year we are all counting out blessings. Most of us are so beyond blessed and it gets lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are too busy focused on soccer practice and getting meals on the table, we forget to stop and think what a blessing those mundane hassles are. There are people all around the world who make do with far less, and sadly there are people out there who are not making due at all. I am very happy to be able to present to you this wonderful opportunity to help those less fortunate than us.
Balsam Hill is a great Christmas site. It had beyond beautiful decorations and amazing Christmas trees. It is definitely worth checking out, but I am not talking about that today. They have an amazing charity event going on right now. They are matching any charitable donation up to 10,000 100%. Also for every $10 you donate you are entered into a raffle to a Christmas tree with all the trimmings or hundreds of dollars in gift cards. The charities that you can donate to are amazing. I am excited for the chance to donate to Embrace Global. They do great work with maternal and child health care. There are other great one to choose from, I would go check them out here. This is a great way to give back and Balsam Hill is going to help you give back even more. So check out the great organizations you can donate to and double what you can give. Be a blessing to someone out there who is in need of you help.
Being a momma who struggles with supply issues I sometimes feel tied to my pump. When I got first got home with Judah I was very structured with my pumping, but as life happens are you have to care for a newborn and your other children you need a little wiggle room. So although I don't pump as much as I would like to, here are some of the tips I have learned to make the most out of each session.
1. Make sure you are a proper fit. There are different sizes of flanges for different size nipples. Make sure you have a proper fit. Keep in mind it is nipple size not breast size. When it is pumping it should be pulling your whole nipple in with out rubbing any on the side. It should be comfortable and not painful. It it is have it checked by a lacation consultant if you have questions.
2. Massage. I massage my breast before I start to get the milk moving a little. There are also time I don't feel like the pump is working as well as it shoud, so then I will take a break in the pumping session and massage again. Heat compresses also work really well with massaging too. This is basically just anything to get the milk flowing.
3. Press the Flanges into you, and also let them hang. What I mean here is don't just hold them to you and count on them to do all the work. Sometimes I will press them into me and get more sprays of milk. I will also press them into me a slight angle and get sprays from other places. I will also bend over slightly and hold them so my breasts are dangling over them, and this also gets milk from other places.
4. Give it time. From personal experience, I know that if I pump for over 20 minutes I get a second let down of milk. I will only be getting small drops for a few minutes, but if I just give it time the milk starts to flow for another small amount. It may only be half an ounce, but of me, with my supple issues that is a lot.
5. End with hand expression. I was amazed when I started doing hand expression at the end of every pumping session. When I think the pump is done and had gotten everything out, I stop pumping. Then I try to hand express. I am always surprised with the amount of milk I can still get from them. I can usually get another half ounce. These is good because the more thoroughly you empty your breast the more it will fill up. This is a good way to increase production.
These are some things that have helped to me get more out of my pumping sessions. If you have any other tips please share them. I always love to learn more about pumping more effeciently.
I am so expert so if you have any questions about using a pump properly or questions about your supply please talk to a lactation consultant.