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Supporting mothers in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship is one of our most important roles as doulas.  

When we talk about the first hours after birth we often tell expectant mothers to trust the baby, they know exactly what to do and the less we mess with the process, the better it goes.





The following YouTube videos show how the slow, gradual process occurs.  We all just need to be patient and let nature take its course.  You and your baby are amazing magical creatures.  If anyone tells you otherwise, come back and watch these.  

The first is a quick highlight reel video by Entrust.  
The second video is from Raising Children Network and has interviews with two mothers.
This third video posted by Jennifer Pitkin is the whole process.  This mom and baby have had immediate skin-to-skin and it seems there has been no interference.  Oh the suspense!!
 
 
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I admit, the Royal Family fascinates me!  According to Life & Style Weekly, Kate is expecting baby #3 with Prince William.  If it's true, congratulations to the growing family!

Like many of us regular non-royal moms, Kate has had rough pregnancies dealing with hyperemesis and bed-rest.  I was sick through the entire duration of pregnancy #2.  It was horrible.

However, Kate is a future Queen.  She is provided unending support by nannies, midwives, Ladies Maids and chefs...(ahhhh Downton Abbey season 6 starts soon in the US!)   

While I may be Queen of my Castle here in Morganville NJ, the staffing is sadly inadequate. If this was a Vlog, I would pan the camera.  You would see, my maid sucks and the chef did not show up again today.

So how can we get the royal treatment for our pregnancy and early days after the baby arrives?  Here are my 3 quick suggestions:

1.  Plan ahead for time to rest.  Kate has planners and schedulers whose sole purpose is to plan her day.  I have my datebook.  It's sad we have to plan to rest, but we do, so learn to use the crock-pot, follow-our Menu Monday Blog and sign-up any older kids you have for some activity that takes them out of your space for an hour or two.  We all benefit from some child-free time and they benefit from some mommy-free time.

2.  Surround yourself with people who are positive support.  A good friend who just agrees because she know it's what you need to hear, and then gently nudges you in the better direction.  ie:  Me:  I am going to eat this entire box of Ghirardelli chocolates and follow them with a bottle of wine! Friend: Sounds AWESOME!  How about I take you for a milkshake and a pedi instead?

3.  Plan for "after birth support".  If you can afford a nanny, hire one.  If not, this is the time to put some cash aside for a postpartum doula.  Kate has them, we should all have them.  A Postpartum Doula comes to you and does all the things that Kate's staff does for her. She helps mom with self-care, she helps care for baby, she helps you spend time with older siblings, she makes sure you are eating and showering, she listens to you and makes sure you are healthy in body and mind!  She gets it.

Most importantly she treats you like a queen.  

Not in the creepy "smoking in the alley complaining about uppity nonsense" way.  In the "I will listen and support you without judgement" way.  It's time we all got treated like Kate.  
It takes a special kind of person with a great deal of patience and compassion and training to support a new mother.  And we have plenty of them!

Call us now at 732-754-9551 to see how we can treat you like a Royal.






 
 
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Soup is the most versatile meal for families with a #newbaby.  This is a great option to prepare as a gift for that new family you are visiting, too!

Just ladle into a mug and you can eat it anywhere at any time.  Keep it in the refrigerator and microwave a cup throughout the day.  

If you dice the ingredients small enough, you won't even need the spoon! (Great for those times when you only have one hand!)

Today's recipe comes from the SheKnows blog site.  They have a cool daily recipe blog that can be delivered to your inbox.

Tomato Escarole Orzo Soup

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can green beans
  • 2 cups chopped escarole leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • Parmesan, for garnish
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


Directions:
  1. To a pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion, and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until the onions are soft.
  2. Add in the minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, vegetables and seasonings. Mix well, then cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the orzo, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls, garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, and serve warm.


Original post can be found on the SheKnows website  

 
 
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Placentas are a hot topic again, as Kim Kardashian announced she will consume her placenta from second baby, Saint North's birth.

While we know this idea isn't going to be for everyone, we have been getting calls asking for a smoothie recipe, so here goes. (Keep in mind you can make this recipe WITHOUT the placenta!)

If you have your placenta in your freezer, this is how you can use it!  This recipe is from Code Name Mama's Blog. Visit her blog for more smoothie recipes.

Vanilla Yogurt Smoothie

1 cup yogurt (greek or regular)
1 banana
3 frozen strawberries
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp flax seed meal (for Omega-3’s)
1 tbsp dry quinoa (whole or ground for protein)
Placenta
Dollop of honey (optional)


If you want to know more about the benefits of consuming your placenta as pills or tinctures, connect with us by calling 732-754-9551 or visiting our website NJPlacenta.com. You can also check out our digital information guide here.

 
 
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Kim Kardashian has just announced the birth of baby number 2, Saint West, and she will also consume her placenta, as she did with first baby, North West.  

In her app, Kim posts, "“I really didn't want the baby blues and thought I can't go wrong with taking a pill made of my own hormones--made by me, for me.  I started researching and read about so many moms who felt the same way and said the overall healing process was so much easier.  I had great results and felt so energized and didn't have any signs of depression!  I definitely had to do it again.  Every time I take a pill, I feel a surge of energy and feel really healthy and good.  I totally recommend it for anyone considering it!"

People eating their placentas is not new. It just isn't common practice in the US. For thousands of years, people around the world have consumed placenta as postpartum medicine. Placentophagy is the act of people eating the placenta after childbirth.

It's rise in popularity in the US has been heavily influenced by Hollywood celebrities who consumed their placentas. Below is a short list of celebrity moms who consumed their placentas.

Kourtney Kardashian - This mother of three has been very open about consuming her placentas. On January 10th 2015, Kourtney posted this picture of her encapsulated placenta on instagram and wrote, “Yummy…PLACENTA pills! No joke…I will be sad when my placenta pills run out. They are life changing! #benefits #lookitup." 

Alicia Silverstone - Encapsulated her placenta. "Someone gifted me my (dehydrated) placenta in the form of pills. And I have to tell you that I really loved it!  I got to the point that my husband said, 'Did you have your happy pills today?'  And I was really sad when they were gone. It really helped me."

Mayim Bialik - This Big Bang Theory actress and attachment parenting activist wrote a blog post called ‘You’re Not Gross’ that defended fellow Hollywood actresses Alicia Silverstone and January Jones’ decisions to encapsulate their placentas. In the blog post Mayim admitted she, too, had eaten her placenta in capsule form.  "It's good for mammals to eat the placenta and we evolved for that purpose," she wrote.

Tamera Mowry - Tamera Mowry tinctured her placenta after the birth of her son, Aiden. Liquified placenta, mixed with brandy, and administered through a dropper. Tamera, along with her twin sister, Tia, pulled a bizarre stunt for the season finale of the Tia & Tamera reality show. Tamera dropped some of her ‘placenta cocktail’ onto her sister Tias tongue. 'I was really, really surprised that it tasted pretty good mixed with a little bit of alcohol,' Tia wrote on her blog. 'It was definitely Tamera paying me back for making her taste my breast milk.'

Placentophagy has proven to be tremendously beneficial to our clients. While our clients are not as famous as the gals listed above, they mean the world to us!  The staff of Wise Birth Choices want you to have the best experience possible in birth & postpartum. We would love to speak with you to see if this amazing service is right for you.  Call us at 732-754-9551 or visit NJPlacenta.com to book your services.


 
 
Found this on social media today!  I could seriously watch him do this all day.  Thanks for the tip Dr. Bob....whoever you are.
And now we are seeing the follow-up videos.  From NJ 101.5 FM radio personality Jeff Deminski....OMG it works!
 
 
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Today I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the owner and staff of the Bra & Girdle Factory located at 1900 Hwy 70 in Lakewood.

I reached out to Bra & Girdle Factory for answers to the questions we hear from our birth & postpartum doula clients.  I compiled a list and headed to Lakewood for answers.

Upon arrival, I was escorted to the round table and the women shared their wisdom. 




I sat with Cheryl Teitelbaum, the owner of the Bra & Girdle Factory, and a few of her staff, Joan Diana, Lorraine Hammersten and Cathy Levey.  These women were a blast to talk with and swap boob and breastfeeding stories.  They all contributed to the Q&A. (Women in the photo from L to R:  Cheryl Teitelbaum, Joan Diana, Gala Sossa-Delgado and Joni Maione)

1.  At what point in pregnancy should women shop for maternity bras / nursing bras?

We suggest 3 different time frames because your body changes so much, so rapidly.

Initially you should come in to be sized and fitted when your bras start feeling tight or uncomfortable. This varies from woman to woman.  Some need a fitting when they make the switch to maternity clothes.  For most it will fall around month 4 of your pregnancy.

The second sizing and fitting should be as close to your due date as possible.  This is when you breast tissue starts getting ready to go to work and you be closer to your nursing size.

Third fitting should be during months 3-5 postpartum.  This is when you will lose some of the "baby-weight" and your breasts have settled in with your individual breastfeeding cycle.   

2.  Is there a formula for sizing a nursing bra? Is it based on my non-pregnant size?

The formula is coming in and getting sized and fitted.  You may be wearing the wrong size right now. (The women shared some chuckles over how deluded we are at selecting our own sizes, I was pegged immediately.  I will be heading in for a fitting ASAP) 

3.  Are there specific styles you suggest for plus sized nursing bras or larger breasted women?

Larger breasts need bras with less stretch and more structure.  Wider straps to take the strain off the shoulders.  We offer sizing up to size 56 N.  

4.  We hear underwire nursing bras are contraindicated in breastfeeding, potentially causing blocked ducts. Is this a result of poor fit?

This is often a painful result of poor fitting bras.  Not all women who get blocked ducts are wearing the wrong bra, but a good indicator is a repeat problem in the same area of your breast.  Wired or wireless, if your bra is too tight you will eventually have a problem. 

You can wear a wired bra, but it must be the right size and fit.  We carry wired and wireless nursing bras in the larger cup sizes.  NEVER SLEEP IN A WIRED BRA – whether you are nursing or not.  It is just bad for your boobs.

5.  What do you recommend women wear for nighttime nursing?

Sleep bras are great for night nursing because they hook in the front.  They are super comfortable and stretchy, so it’s easy to just pull the cup down to nurse without unhooking too. 

6.  What is the recommendation for laundering nursing bras?

Wash by hand and NEVER put them in the dryer.  We tell women to take them in the shower and just wash them while you’re in there.  Hang them to dry.  Your regular bath soap is fine and it's a couple more minutes of peace in the shower!  

7.  What is the price range of nursing bras at your location? What is the range of sizes available?

Regular prices range from $50-75, but we offer a 20% discount which brings them down to $40-60.

8.  What are the benefits of coming the Bra & Girdle Factory vs grabbing a bra at one of the big box stores?

The biggest benefit is our dedication to providing you with comfort and correct fit.  That means less pain, less stretch marks and less sagging later.  We have trained professionals who are here to help you.  Women who come here benefit from a larger selection and a larger variety of styles.  



We also want women to avoid the frumpy look they get from generic box store bras. Especially for women who are returning to work and pumping.  A good undergarment makes the outfit. A supportive nursing bra with the correct fit will help keep you looking stylish and professional, while still giving you access for pumping sessions.

I heard you can convert a regular bra into a nursing bra....is this true and what magic are you conjuring?

This is true, and it isn’t magic.  For a seamstress fee, we can convert any bra into a nursing bra.  If you have a brand/style you love, we will turn it into a nursing bra for you.  We can also size a bra up or down for you.


Thank you to the gals at the Bra & Girdle Factory for their time, dedication and support!  We hope you will stop in on your quest for the comfortable nursing bra.  Let us know how your visit goes!


This post was contributed by the Fabulous Doula Jill Dillner.  Jill can be contacted by email at jill@wisebirthchoices.com.
 
 
PictureDoulaTzipi's husband and their baby
Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I am one year postpartum with our first child.  Looking back, here is what I realized.

My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula.

My husband undoubtedly has the most intimate connection with me and our baby. He has been my primary support, my champion and my co-parent. He is the person who got up with me in the middle of the night and brought me the baby to nurse. This is the person who ordered take out when I was too wiped out to prepare dinner. This is the person who I called at work, asking him to pick up “insert various items here”  on the way home.

Partners have an important job post-partum. Caring for mom and baby, but they also need bonding and self-care.  This person is adjusting to new parenthood too!

He got lost in the shuffle.

The non-birthing partner gets lost in the frenzy of newborn-hood. People ask about the state of the new mother and baby.  People joke about how tired everyone must be and poke fun at “daddy diaper duty”, but who is actually asking how our partner is holding up?

So here you are on this beautiful and challenging journey together, and the person who you turn to for EVERYTHING is also exhausted and may be even less grounded than you. It doesn’t mean that they are any less of a rock, it just means that they need support too.

Family and Friends Help For Awhile

Some people are blessed with friends and family that organize themselves as a meal train for you postpartum. They stop by laden with casseroles. These people are awesome, but eventually, they stop bringing casseroles.

I don’t know about you but I am not good at asking people I know for help. I will take whatever you offer me, but I wasn’t comfortable asking guests in my home to help me set up a sitz bath. I seriously felt like I had to hand the baby to every guest that walked in the door when what I really wanted was to hold her and watch Netflix.

Also remember that not everyone is willing (or will think to offer) to fold your laundry, help you set up nursing stations around the home with water, snacks and reading material, or even look at that clot you passed to help you determine if you should call the OB. There are limits.

Google and Facebook don’t actually have all of the answers

There’s nothing that you can’t find out from the internet these days. Thankfully we have amazing networks on Facebook where we can ask questions to other moms who have been there and if they don’t have the answers there is always Google. Just a sampling of some of the things that I Googled as a new mom

“What does normal breastfed baby poop look like?”
“How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk?”
“How to fold a cloth diaper.”
“How to swaddle a baby.”
“Why does my baby sleep all day and stay up all night?”
“Complete dinner meals in ten minutes or less”

Most of the time I got answers, but sometimes I didn’t feel confident in what I found and would end up Googling things ad nauseum in different combinations until I just gave up. A post-partum doula would have provided me with resources and information on the spot. My husband would have definitely preferred that over obsessive late night googling.

A really good doula will have local connections to professionals that work outside of her scope of practice. She should know a Certified Lactation Consultant that can come to your home on short notice. Answers from real life pros are always better than what you find on Google because the answers are personalized.

A Post-Partum Doula is an Investment in Your Family

If I could give one thing to each new mother it wouldn’t be a wipes warmer or a baby wrap or even a gift certificate for a massage. It would be a post-partum doula. A post-partum doula is an investment in parenthood. It is an investment in the health of the new family. A post-partum doula is a critical part of the family support system.

A good doula will help the non-birthing partner feel bonded to mom and baby.Your post-partum doula is a trained professional. She will provide unwavering and unbiased support to you and your partner as you adjust to parenthood. She brings knowledge and experience into your home to help you make parenting choices that you feel confident in. She is definitely not there to tell you how to take care of your baby, she is there to help you build a foundation for your growing family. She is an investment. Her experience in breastfeeding, infant care and calming, sibling integration and promoting self-care for the post-partum family will be an available resource to you as long as you employ her. She will make sure that you feel confident in your abilities as a parent and when she leaves your family, you will feel connected, strong and prepared.



3 thoughts on “My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula”
  1. Angela on March 20, 2015 at 1:31 am said:
    Very well written! I wish I had known about postpartum doulas years ago when my family would have benefited from the professional assistance. This is definitely more valuable than wipe warmers, or 15+ receiving blankets.



  2. Emily Merrell on May 5, 2015 at 6:58 pm said:
    Wow, I feel exactly the same way. A lot of people think that Google has all of the answers, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to get a little bit of extra training in order to care for a newborn baby. Thanks for posting this information.



    • DoulaJill on May 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm said:
      Thanks Emily. Postpartum doulas can alleviate so much anxiety and uncertainty. I hope more families make budgeting for postpartum care a priority.



 
 
PictureI don't LOOK like a wolverine....
I had my first baby when I was 36.  Now he’s 11 and we are good, but when he was a newborn my son and I didn’t mesh so well….and we sucked at breastfeeding!

We don’t have any beautiful images of us looking into each other’s eyes while he nursed and played with my nursing necklace.  I don’t have any warm memories I can recall that make my heart swell and my eyes well with emotion.

I nursed a wolverine(click here for clarification image)

Nursing my son felt like taking a Brillo pad to my boob every 1.5 to 2 hours.  He never slept.  Ever.  His naps were only 15 minutes long.  I was crazy sleep deprived.  While looking through a box of photos from my son’s first year, I found one of my husband holding a baby I didn’t know.  I asked him “whose baby is this?”   to which he replied. “yours”.

Let that sink in.  I didn’t recognize my own baby.  Ugh!

Now 11 years ago, there was no Lip Tie/Tongue Tie groups on facebook.  (Was there even Facebook?)  I read everything and nothing helped.

I reached out for help and was told over and over, “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if it hurts you’re doing it wrong.”  I HATE THAT PHRASE!  It makes me want to throw things and do other worse things that I will never put in print. (howya doin NSA)

I asked my OB for help. She told me “don’t be a hero”.  I fought on, in agony.  My husband begged me to stop and just use formula.  I fought on, in agony.  I asked my pediatrician for help.  She told me to supplement because the boy wasn’t gaining enough.  I fought on, in agony, and now supplemented.

Supplementing was the biggest slap to my motherhood self-esteem.  Maybe they were right. I was too old to be having my first baby.  (Yes they used to say stupid s**t like that to every woman over 32)

I still fought on, nursing and topping off his tank with formula.

There is good news.

Around 6 weeks postpartum  (yes 6 LONG PAINFUL weeks. I am a stubborn mule) we sat down to nurse.  I did my natural childbirth relaxation/meditation to prepare for the pain. (yes that still comes in handy throughout life so take a real class) and it didn’t hurt.  It was sore, but not agonizing. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

I had tamed the wolverine!  (click here for clarification image)

I became the queen of breastfeeding!  I started nursing ALL OVER in public. I was that mom who could whip out a boob and latch a baby on before you even saw that rouge and always controversial nipple.  I would tell the host at restaurants to make sure we had a server who was going to be ok with breastfeeding, cuz we were gonna be throwin’ down.

But, I still was supplementing.  I tried everything to increase my milk supply and nothing was working.  Nurse on demand, blah blah.  Check.  Co-Sleep, blah, blah.  Check.  Oatmeal, blah, blah.  EEW, not checked.  You need to sleep more, blah, blah….did you read paragraph 3????

And finally one day a wonderful little herbalist lady gave me fennel seed to make tea.  She told me this would increase my supply and he would get enough milk so we could all sleep.  So I made fennel seed tea and drank it at every feeding that day.

IT WORKED!!!  I drank 6 oz of fennel seed tea at each feeding for a day and my milk went BOOM!  My supply was suddenly amazing.  This simple little plant was able to do amazing things for my boobs.  He started to extend the time between feedings.  He finally started sleeping for 5 hours straight at night.

I was finally able to stop supplementing with formula.  I continued using fennel seed tea for the rest of my breastfeeding career.   I didn’t have to use it every day, but I used it a lot.  I used it with my daughter who came along 2 years later and didn’t have to supplement with formula at all.  Now she is a whole other blog post…


 
 
PictureDoulaRenee and her beautiful babe!
My husband and I had our first son in September 2005 in a small hospital in Massachusetts.  With his birth also came postpartum depression.  I was finally able to admit that I felt awful, scared, stressed, and very lonely about four months after he was born.  My recovery took multiple therapists, prescription anti-depressants and relocation back to New Jersey where most of our family lived.   I spent over two years digging myself out of that fog.

I wanted to find anything I could to avoid that demon again.  In the course of raising our first child, and coming out of the depression, I became a birth doula.  I learned so much about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum time that I was able to prepare myself against the possibility of having the depression return.  When we decided to have another child, six years later, the fear of the depression returning was difficult to bear.  However this time I was going in prepared with new tools; and a different perspective on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I found the Midwives of New Jersey of Hackettstown NJ.  I chose them because I wanted a home birth and they were able to help me accomplish that wish.

In my prenatal visits to the midwives, I told them about my previous postpartum depression.  One of the midwives suggested placenta encapsulation. My first reaction was “ICK!”, followed quickly by curiosity and wonder.  I immediately beganresearching the benefits, found a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (PES) close enough to my home, and decided that this would be the best thing for me.

Our second son was born in December 2011 and the fear of depression was strong and heavy in my head from the moment my water broke.  I contacted my PES the morning after he was born and she had my placenta pills delivered to me within 72 hours after the birth.  I began taking them immediately and quickly felt a difference in my state of mind.

Our new baby began to develop eczema serious enough to crack and bleed.  We learned it was due to food allergies.  He also wouldn’t sleep!  He didn’t sleep through the night until past two years of age.  He still does this occasionally at the age of 3! Mommy and Daddy were not getting much sleep.  If this baby had been my first, we would not have had any more children.

The placenta pills were my life saver and sanity keeper during those first few months.  Even though I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was able to function and take care of myself and my family.  I truly believe if I hadn’t taken those placenta pills, I may have been committed in the first few months postpartum.  The difficulties that we went through trying to figure out his issues, (colic, silent reflux, multiple and severe food allergies, severe eczema) how to cope with them, and how to help him overcome them, should have sent me into depression. My family would be in a much different place right now, had I not taken advantage of the amazing organ that my body made for my baby.

The reason I wanted to have my placenta encapsulated was based solely on the fear of going through postpartum depression again. The rewards I got were that and so much more!  The amazing benefits that I experienced from placentophagy included improved mood, I felt no familiar signs of depression creeping back in.

I also saw a huge difference in my milk supply.  With my first son, he never seemed to be satisfied and I was never able to pump more than 2 ounces.  This time around, whew! What a difference!  I was able to pump an average of 5 ounces, and my son would actually pull off my breast because of what may have been over supply.

I had increased energy, shortened lochia, accelerated uterine recovery, weight loss, and a quicker return to well-being.  I did have one dose give me jitters and one dose gave me heartburn.  I only had those two days of discomfort, out of the two months that I took the pills.

In the middle of my sons first year, the woman who encapsulated my placenta offered a course to teach other women how to do the amazing work of Placenta Encapsulation. I jumped in and took the course.  Now I am pleased to be able to offer this gift to other moms.  I also have begun to offer classes to teach the process of encapsulation through Wise Birth Choices.

I hope that the practice of placentophagy increases, and that new mothers begin to realize that we have within us the power to heal ourselves.   All the nutrients and vitamins and minerals and hormones that went in to building and growing a beautiful baby should be given back to us! The one responsible for making it.

Women – we can give that gift back to ourselves!