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Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Natural Baby Parenting Series

I’ve scheduled the next round of classes.  All classes meet at Natural Baby from 6pm-7:30pm.  The cost is per student/couple.  If you are a single mom or your partner cannot come, you may come alone or bring a friend/family member.  The cost is 20.00 per class or you may register for the entire series for 80.00.   To register for the entire series, please email j_byers@bellsouth.net or stop by Natural Baby.  Please rsvp for all classes so that I have enough swag and handouts.

Try to See It My Way:  “Why is my baby crying? Is this normal? I don’t understand what she is trying to say!”  Come learn about infant communication and cues. We’ll also discuss birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance. Plus lots of tricks for calm parenting. Babywearing lessons included!  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.

Breastfeeding:  In our breastfeeding class, we’ll learn about the biology of breastfeeding.  We’ll discuss common issues, finding help through community resources, and returning to work.  Babies are welcome in all classes.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class.

Now What?  The First Six Weeks:  The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Sleeping Like A Baby:  *Yawn* Who came up with the phrase “sleeping like a baby” anyway? Learn about the physiology of infant sleep. We’ll talk about naps and nighttime parenting. And, of course, tips and tricks for getting restful nights for the whole family. 20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank:  Having a baby does not have to put a giant hole in your wallet! Learn practical tips for DIY, saving money, and what is safe to buy used. In fact, saving money can also be a sustainable and non-toxic choice. We’ll talk about creating a lean and green baby registry. What do you really need to raise a baby?  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming.  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Parenting the First Year:  Parents have many decisions to make the first year. This class will discuss solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, and infant development.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Before the good, the worst.

I’m going to tell you how amazing and better-than-expected flying with my kids was. 

But first.

I need to describe the one flight on which it all fell apart.  The flight on which I was that passenger.   The flight on which everyone saw my breasts.

You read that correctly.

It was the one flight I wasn’t concerned about.  We were leaving Cambodia at midnight on a five hour flight to Korea.  I felt confident the children would sleep.  They were already drifting off during the tuk tuk ride to the airport.  

The seats were three on each side with one aisle down the middle.  Norah was at the window, I had the aisle seat, and Cedar was between us.  Scott had already returned to the US.  My parents were on the flight but seated in a different section. 

Take-off was fine.  The girls drifted to sleep as expected.  I watched “The Help” and had a glass of wine.  A few hours before we were scheduled to land, the lovely folks at Korean Air thought we needed meals.  The girls were curled up in their seats.  Never one to waste food and wanting to be prepared in case the girls woke, I took the food.  It was a bad move.   

Picture it:  three trays down.  loaded with food and beverage.  no wiggle room.

And Cedar is startled awake suddenly screams like her arms are being ripped off.

Good morning, everyone.  Let me introduce myself and my precious toddler.

Cedar is screaming and thrashing and twisting.  She’s slippery when she arches her back and straightens her arms.  Now, I have a emergency preparedness plan for just such an event.  I read it on a travel blog.  Take the child to the bathroom and lock yourself in until the child calms. 

Ok, step one.  Somehow get out from under the food trays.  I stack my tray on top of Norah’s (who is mercifully still sleeping).  I grab Cedar and stand up on my seat.  This perch reassures the other passengers that the child is not being tortured.  I want to make sure everyone can see us clearly.  We stumble into the aisle only to realize we are blocked by the first class curtain on one end and the food cart on the other.  A nervous flight attendant runs to me and asks me to “just wait, miss, until the aisle is open.”  Um, ok.

We wait.  And Cedar continues to scream.  It doesn’t let up.  At all.  I try everything.  Yes, even the rescue remedy.  So I do the one thing I said I wouldn’t do:  I whipped out the boob.  No modesty.  Whipped out.  A phrase I hate and claim breastfeeding moms don’t really do.  I did that.  And you know what?  Even that didn’t work.

Finally, the aisle cleared and I carried/lugged/dragged my thrashing child (trying to keep passengers from getting kicked in the head) to the bathrooms.  Which, don’t you know it, were all occupied.  While we waited, sweet flight attendants showered Cedar with chocolate and candy.  Under normal circumstances, she would have been in heaven.  In her screaming banshee state, it made the crying worse. 

Once in the bathroom, eventual calm descended.  She nursed for a little while with those awful hiccup noises.  I began to pep talk her for the walk back to our seat.  She seemed ready.  I let her open the door.  And we made it three steps before the crying began and we bee-lined back to the bathroom. 

Repeat.

This time, I decided to carry my 29 month old child while breastfeeding down the narrow aisle crowded with recently fed passengers waiting for the bathroom. 

“Why hello there!  Have you seen my breast yet?”  “Did you get a good look at my crying toddler?”  “Yep, that’s my boob there.”  “If I can just squeeze by you?”  “Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to knock you in the head with that.” 

We crawled over and into our seats (the food was still there).  I was terrified to stop nursing the child.  Finally, the uneaten food was removed and we began our descent.  And guess what?  

Norah woke up screaming.  Her ears hurt.  And that made Cedar start crying again.  BOTH.  OF.  THEM.  CRYING.

I was prepared for ears.  But on the previous three (!) flights, there had been no ear complaints so I had to dig for the homeopathic ear tablets and gum.  Norah loves medicine and responds well to placebo.  I told her it was powerful medicine and would work immediately.  She went to sleep within 10 minutes.

And then Cedar went to sleep. 

And because we were flying blessed Korean Air, they did not make me (1) buckle my sleeping children for landing or, (2) cover my boob.  The flight attendant even brought me a hot tea.

In Korea, we headed straight to a playground where (still shaking) I prepared myself mentally to board a 14 hour flight.  I seriously considered calling my friend, Kimmie, who lives in Korea to ask if we could move in with her.

Next up:  how awesome flying with children is!

First Classes for 2012

Hypnobabies Childbirth Series:  1 space remaining in the February/March class.  3 spaces remaining in the March/April class.  Both classes will meet in Greenville on Thursday evenings for six weeks.  Email for details (j_byers@bellsouth.net).

Natural Baby Parenting Series:  I’m excited to teach this series again for Natural Baby.  Beginning January 25, six Wednesdays of classes for new or expectant parents.  Couples/Individuals may register for individual classes or the entire series.  20.00/couple/class or 80.00 for the entire series (must be paid in advance).  6pm-7:30pm.  Here is the schedule:

January 25: “Try to See It My Way: How Babies Communicate” (newborn behavior, birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance)

February 1: “Breastfeeding” (initiation, physiology, common issues, finding help, returning to work)

February 8: “Now What? The First Six Weeks” (care for mom and baby, baby basics, postpartum concerns, creating a lying-in, jaundice, circumcision, and vaccine choices)

February 15: “Sleeping Like a Baby” (the normal course of infant sleep, nighttime parenting, circadian rhythm, and naps)

February 22: “Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank” (creating a smart baby registry, DIY tips, cloth diapers, going green can be budget friendly, what is safe to buy second-hand, top toxic products you don’t need)

February 29: “Parenting the First Year” (solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, development) 

Register by emailing j_byers@bellsouth.net or rsvp’ing on Natural Baby’s facebook page under the events tab.

Catch my breath

I’m still here!  Happenings:

I had an epic birth to end the year.  40+ hours unmedicated and unaugmented with 5 hours of pushing!  Births like those affect everyone in attendance.  Watching a woman of determination and faith.  Witnessing her power.  Oh, it was incredible.  I hope she’ll permit me to blog a bit more about it. 

I’m prepping to spend almost three weeks in Thailand and Cambodia.  Skulking around “travel with children” forums.  It seems there are two attitudes regarding flying with children.  1)  Don’t.  Children are demon spawn and belong in the cargo hold.  or 2)  “I’ve never had a problem with my children because they (and I) am perfect.”  When kids misbehave, it is clearly the parent’s fault. 

There are also strong, judgemental opinions on medicating children for flights.  So, will I be medicating my fiery 2-year old who freaks out when riding an elevator?  Well, I won’t be sharing it here!  Too many strong opinions on that one! 

I’m teaching two classes this week.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) is “Sleeping Like a Baby” and this weekend is “Positive Discipline for Toddlers and Preschoolers.”  While I’m an educator for the first class, I’m a facilitator for the second.  In other words, I would not presume to teach discipline.  Ha!  I’m simply facilitate learning for that one!  See the difference?

Norah’s birthday is this weekend.  She doesn’t like change so that makes it easy.  We simply replicate what we do every year.  Small, family gathering.  Scott will leave a scavenger hunt for her while he is at work.  I’m tentatively adding a few changes.  Norah does not approve of a hot chocolate bar but I’m doing it anyway. 

I put together a “Breastfeeding Support Basket” for an online auction.  My friend, Rachel, is adopting.  Go bid!  The auction closes Dec. 9!

Scott is spending his spare hours playing Santa in his workshop.  I love the smell of wood shavings. 

“Now what? The first six weeks”

This one-time class is coming up next Tuesday in Greenville.  RSVP here.

Description:

The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.

20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. Please RSVP so I know how many will be attending.

This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in class.

And it is not too late to RSVP for tonight’s Breastfeeding Class.

Reminder: New Classes

These classes for new and expectant parents begin next week.  Links are now up for registration.  Please pass along to anyone who might be interested in attending. 

Natural Baby Parenting Series:  I’m excited to teach this series for Natural Baby.  Beginning Nov. 15, six Tuesdays of classes for new or expectant parents.  Couples/Individuals may register for individual classes or the entire series.  20.00/couple/class or 80.00 for the entire series (must be paid in advance).  6pm-7:30pm.  Here is the schedule:

Nov. 15: “Try to See It My Way: How Babies Communicate” (newborn behavior, birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance)

Nov. 22: “Breastfeeding” (initiation, physiology, common issues, finding help, returning to work)

Nov. 29: “Now What? The First Six Weeks” (care for mom and baby, baby basics, postpartum concerns, creating a lying-in, jaundice, circumcision, and vaccine choices)

Dec. 6: “Sleeping Like a Baby” (the normal course of infant sleep, nighttime parenting, circadian rhythm, and naps)

Dec. 13: “Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank” (creating a smart baby registry, DIY tips, cloth diapers, going green can be budget friendly, what is safe to buy second-hand, top toxic products you don’t need)

Dec. 20: “Parenting the First Year” (solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, development)

Register by emailing j_byers@bellsouth.net or rsvp’ing on Natural Baby’s facebook page as events post.

New Classes

Childbirth Crash Course:  Around the holidays, it can be a challenge to fit in a class or even find a series offered. This class will cover the basics–stages of labor, comfort tips, and as much as I can cram in 2.5 hours.  Great refresher course or last minute childbirth class.  December 3 at 9:30am.  50.00/couple. 

Natural Baby Parenting Series:  I’m excited to teach this series for Natural Baby.  Beginning Nov. 15, six Tuesdays of classes for new or expectant parents.  Couples/Individuals may register for individual classes or the entire series.  20.00/couple/class or 80.00 for the entire series (must be paid in advance).  6pm-7:30pm.  Here is the schedule:

Nov. 15: “Try to See It My Way: How Babies Communicate” (newborn behavior, birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance)

Nov. 22: “Breastfeeding” (initiation, physiology, common issues, finding help, returning to work)

Nov. 29: “Now What? The First Six Weeks” (care for mom and baby, baby basics, postpartum concerns, creating a lying-in, jaundice, circumcision, and vaccine choices)

Dec. 6: “Sleeping Like a Baby” (the normal course of infant sleep, nighttime parenting, circadian rhythm, and naps)

Dec. 13: “Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank” (creating a smart baby registry, DIY tips, cloth diapers, going green can be budget friendly, what is safe to buy second-hand, top toxic products you don’t need)

Dec. 20: “Parenting the First Year” (solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, development)

Positive Discipline and Toddlers:  Dec. 10 from 10am-noon at Natural Baby.  20.00/couple. 

Register by emailing j_byers@bellsouth.net or rsvp’ing on Natural Baby’s facebook page as events post.

Dear Public Health and Pediatric Nurses

It is ok for a mama to breastfeed her baby during a painful procedure.  The baby will not die from choking on breastmilk. 

Let me repeat:  It is ok for a mama to breastfeed her baby during a painful procedure.

My first pediatric visit with my firstborn ended badly when the nurse refused to let me nurse Norah during an injection.  I was crying.  The doctor had told me I could but the nurses shut the door and said it wasn’t gonna happen.  One nurse said, “You’ll strangle that baby.”  And she tried to take Norah from me.  Rather roughly.  Yeah, that wasn’t gonna happen.  I left in a blaze of postpartum tears. 

Recently, a mama friend stopped in at the local health department to get a vaccination for her baby.  The nurse belittled her and bullied her about her vaccination choices.  Then told her she could not nurse her baby during the shot.  She would “aspirate that baby.”  Now, this mama had nursed her baby through every heel stick and injection.  He has never cried.  This time he did.  And the mama left in a blaze of postpartum tears.

Really, is this request such a big deal?  Do you really, really think that this activity is dangerous?  Has there been a case of a baby dying from breastfeeding aspiration?  I haven’t been able to find one.  And babies choke on breastmilk all the time.  Especially when mama has a forceful let-down. Maybe mamas with forceful let-downs should not be allowed to nurse.   

I found  this American Academy of Pediatrics statement:   Breastfeeding during a painful procedure such as a heel-stick for newborn screening provides analgesia to infants.

And this study in Canada:  There are no reports of adverse events, such as gagging or spitting up. Compared with the frequency of breastfeeding, vaccine injections are uncommon, and it is unlikely that an infant will associate breastfeeding with painful procedures.

And several others.   

What I did not find was anyone with anything to say about aspiration during breastfeeding.  Where is the evidence? 

I couldn’t believe this was such an issue.  The breastfeeding books I read told me to do it…then I couldn’t find anyone who would support it!  When I finally found a nurse willing to administer an injection while I breastfed Norah, I admit I was a little nervous.  Would she choke?  Nope, she didn’t even cry or turn to look at the nurse.  

So c’mon.  Lighten up on this one.  Be a baby-friendly nurse, please.

Upcoming Classes

Mindful Birth:  I have a few spots available for this childbirth class series.  We’re planning the reunion now for the babies born in the last series.  It is so wonderful to see couples on the other side of their births feeling strong and empowered by their experience!  Class begins March 25th and will meet until May 4th–a mix of Fridays and Wednesdays to accommodate schedules.  7pm-9pm in Greenville.  Email for more info (j_byers (at) bellsouth (dot) net)

Hypnobabies:  Begins May 6th and will meet for six consecutive Fridays from 6pm-9pm.  I have three spots remaining for this popular series.

Cloth Diapering 101:  I teach this class every 3rd Saturday at Natural Baby.  1pm.  So, March 19 (following the amazing fundraiser/consignments sale—more to come on that), join me to learn about your options for cloth diapering.  Last month was standing room only!

Two Things to Do While Pregnant

Put these two items on your To-Do List.  You’re pregnant for 9 months.  You can fit it in.

1)  Learn about breastfeeding.  Yes it is natural.  Yes it is the biological norm for human feeding.  Yes we are mammals and thus defined by our mammary glands.  Here’s the problem:  we’ve become disconnected from this function.  We don’t witness it as part of normal life.  My sister told me of a young girl who had no idea how babies were fed without a bottle.  She even asked, “Do you drink the milk and then spit it in the baby’s mouth?  How cool!” 

And then you’re given this baby.  It is all you, mama.  And you are unfamiliar with the tangible signs that baby is “getting enough.”  And maybe you don’t know that her little stomach begins the size of a marble.  Did you know colostrum (the initial nourishment) is measured in tablespoons? 

Oh, and then you realize that it takes 15 hands to get the baby properly latched, held in place, arms out of the way, breasts compressed? 

I remember picking Norah up to nurse her in the middle of the night that first week postpartum.  I was so tired.  I tried to latch on her feet instead of her mouth.  And then Scott was asleep and dreaming he was nursing the baby while he held a tiny pillow to his chest.  Exhaustion.

Yes, it is natural.  No, it does not come naturally for many women.  So learn.  Take a class.  Don’t just read a book, buy it so you’ll have it to re-read at 3am.  Know where to go online for help.  My favorite resources are kellymom and Dr. Jack Newman.  And please stay away from books that try to put newborns on a schedule.  Every medical organization and breastfeeding organization says to feed baby on demand (when baby says it is time to eat). 

2)  Take an independent childbirth class.  Even if you’re planning to birth with an epidural.  Why?  Because sometimes you are not able to get an epidural (moving too quickly, no anesthesiologist available, low platelet count, etc).  And sometimes you get one and it doesn’t work.  A childbirth class will give you other tools in case your primary tool doesn’t work out.  You won’t panic.  You’ll have plan B.  Also, you probably won’t get an epidural before your first contraction.  Wouldn’t you like to have some ways to cope with those? 

A childbirth class will give you a realistic picture of birth.  Did you know that active labor for a first time mama is around 12 hours and that most labors do not begin with your water breaking?  You might decide to spend some time in the comfort of your home before rushing to the hospital.  A childbirth class will give you confidence to identify where you are in your labor and what to expect next.  It will give your birth partner confidence to support you.  It will show you options you didn’t know you had.   

Why independent?  Because the hospital class spends more time teaching you procedures, pain medication options, what to expect as a patient and less time on alternative pain coping options, stages of labors, etc.  Independent classes are usually longer and more in depth.

Don’t make excuses on this one!  If you cannot find a group class, take a private class in your home.  If you don’t have time, take a private class in your home around your schedule.  It is important. 

Things to consider when choosing a class. 

I don’t normally go authoritarian on expectant couples but I’ve heard one too many terrible birth story and sabotaged breastfeeding story this week.  Your birth experience matters because regardless of natural birth or medicated birth, knowing you are an active participant–making choices, getting informed consent–gives you confidence to do this difficult journey called parenting.  Birth is a small window in time but it is a giant door to becoming an informed and mindful parent.