November 20, 2009

The other night I attended a seminar with the purpose of introducing the community to the new Certified Nurse Midwife that will be working at the Clarian Arnett Hospital. This will be the first CNM to work at a hospital in our area. What an amazing breakthrough! Welcome, Sharon Smith, CNM! My hope is that the demand for care from a Midwife will rise, and the hospital will hire more. Our community is in dire need of some change and improvement upon prenatal and childbirth care. Like I have said before, our choices until now have been fairly black and white.

The evening started with a dinner. I sat at a table with a friend, and a few very nice women I had just met. One was a NICU nurse, another a Lactation Consultant, and the other a Doula. The conversation was great! Following the dinner, Sharon began her talk, starting with a brief history of Midwifery. One thing she pointed out was the meaning of Midwife: ‘with woman’. She went over her credentials and where she got her education. She received her Masters of Science in nursing in Nurse-Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. She has over 10 years experience working with women during pregnancy and childbirth and other life transitions.

The next portion of her talk was focused on what services she will offer to the community. They are as follows:

Routine Obstetrics
Support for Natural Childbirth
Health Education and Preventative Care
Preconception Care
Family Planning
Routine Gynecology

With these services the patient will be introduced to a more individualized and higher level of care. A Midwife’s philosophy is to focus on prevention and education. This would mean more of a collaborative relationship between her and the patient. She will offer advice for staying healthy by paying attention to nutrition and exercise. Concerning pregnancy and childbirth, the woman is encouraged to participate more in decision making. The Midwife will work with the mother to keep her pregnancy low-risk and give her the opportunity to decide how she would like to bring her child into the world. A Midwife’s view of pregnancy and birth is that it is a normal process. All of this means more time spent with mom. I love this. The small amount of time I spent with my previous OB always seemed oddly short. After my experience with a Midwife, I was immediately drawn to her model of care.

So, if you choose to use a Midwife for your child’s birth, and your goal is for a natural birth, she will work with you to try and avoid any unnecessary interventions while laboring. A Midwife is quick to try all other options before it comes down to using an intervention such as an epidural, an episiotomy, or a vacuum. This does not mean if you decide to use some sort of labor augmentation that she won’t support you. The choices you make for your birth are still in your hands, and the Midwife will stick with you throughout the course of labor and birth. She will also remain with you for postpartum care. She will stay to assure you and baby are doing well and breastfeeding (if that is the plan) has been initiated.

Overall, I feel the that the support you get when using a Midwife is tremendous. You get the education and preparation you need to fulfill your plans for pregnancy and birth. And you get a care provider that listens and supports you in your decisions for your family.


Formula Fed America

November 15, 2009

I MUST see this film. I am beyond thrilled that a movie is being made about the issue of Americans not breastfeeding. My hope is that we are making a turnaround. Check out the trailer for the movie, and visit the official website. Here is a wonderful quote I found on the home page.

When we trust the makers of baby formula more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies, we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women. Thinking that baby formula is as good as breast milk is believing that thirty years of technology is superior to three million years of nature’s evolution. Countless women have regained trust in their bodies through nursing their children, even if they weren’t sure at first that they could do it. It is an act of female power, and I think of it as feminism in its purest form.

–Christine Northrup MD

Discovery at 2 a.m.

April 8, 2009

During one of the many nightly feedings for Archer I saw this. Beautiful song.

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Feeding from the Breast

April 8, 2009

Every morning I wake up to feed Archer. So, while I’m waking up I watch TV for a bit before I start the day. I’ve been stuck on watching a couple of shows on TLC–Bringing Home Baby and A Baby Story. My Bradley Method teacher always told me to stay away from these shows, but I can’t help watching. The shows are getting better. I’m seeing less of the births with interventions and more natural drug free births. Hopefully this is a sign that American women are waking up.

One thing that drives me crazy in these shows is the mothers’ efforts to breastfeed and the insane amount of misinformation they are all getting about it. Most of the moms desire to breastfeed, but the first few days they are feeding the babies formula because they think either they should wait for their own milk to come in or that they don’t have enough milk for the baby. Each show is then concluded with mothers of 10 week old babies being fed with formula and mothers who are disappointed they couldn’t breastfeed due to lack of milk. I am one of these moms that was misinformed as well. With my first son the lactation nurse never told me actually how big the baby’s stomach is the first few days and that the baby will get what he needs with persistent feeding. I was never told that the first 6 weeks you will be breastfeeding ALL THE TIME. I was told the baby will eat every 2-3 hours for about half an hour per feeding. This was way off! I think that moms assume they don’t have a sufficient milk supply because the babies aren’t as quickly satisfied as with feeding with a bottle. Nursing takes much longer. And also, a newborn is used to being fed constantly in the womb; a switch to only eating every 2-3 hours is quite drastic.

Women need better information and truth about breastfeeding. It usually will start out with struggles. We need to get the message out that we as mothers really do have EVERYTHING our babies need, including enough breast milk. We need not get so discouraged. While breastfeeding is natural, it may not come to the moms and babies naturally. It takes some work, but after the feeding has been established, it is more than rewarding and very easy.