Babywearing

A Little Something For You To Know…

By Gina van’t Wout

       Babywearing is something, which has truly inspired me as a mom to open my eyes and see what is really out there when it comes to having and raising our children. Being first introduced to it as something that just seemed practical to me, I have come to realize that the benefits of it and a lot of other wonderful things that seem to come hand in hand, are the way that I want my babies to be brought up. From woven wraps to using essential oils for treatment and healing, all of it is amazing stuff in my opinion.

      The number one rule that I have been taught in babywearing is that it is the one thing that our children expect at birth. It is where they belong, to be close to us and know that we are there for them one hundred percent. Not only is this beneficial to our babes but it also makes life easier for us (as parents). For instance, during frequent household chores and even during cooking for the holidays, I have found that being able to put my little one on my back makes my tasks a whole lot easier. They are happy because they are close to you and being held and you get to complete your tasks hands free. Baby also gets the benefit of learning from you as you do life on a day-to-day basis. The interactions that you make with objects and other people are being passed onto your children as they observe what you are doing.

And not only is this great for your baby mentally and emotionally but also physically as they were accustomed to your heartbeat while in your womb, they are able to continue feeling your movement and hearing your after they are born. In addition, there is literature to support that this helps babies with reflux problems and I also have heard testimonials from mammas that it helped to keep their little one’s hips in the right spot. While babe’s legs are “frogged” in the wrap, it helps to keep their hips in an ergonomic, comfortable position, which allows them to slowly, and naturally adjust over the first three months of their little lives!

Honestly, this is one of the most wonderful things that I have come across so far in the short amount of time that I have been a mother but it is something that I will continue to use until all my children have grown out of it. It only makes sense that we do things that have been around for thousands of years. Obviously it was a good mothering skill as it has been documented and passed on for so many generations. They must have been doing something right back then or how would we have all survived?

HAPPY BABYWEARING MAMMAS![i]


Everyone should consider a Doula!

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What is a doula?

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A Birth Doula

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level

A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

A Postpartum Doula

  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary

A postpartum doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA).

Why use a doula?

Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow. In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences.

DONA International doulas are educated and experienced in childbirth and the postpartum period. We are prepared to provide physical (non-medical), emotional and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth, as well as to families in the weeks following childbirth. We offer a loving touch, positioning and comfort measures that make childbearing women and families feel nurtured and cared for.

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

Research shows parents who receive support can:

  • Feel more secure and cared for
  • Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • Have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse

How to hire a Doula

A doula can greatly enhance your experience of childbirth and the postpartum months. Your birth doula will be at your side along with your care provider and partner, as part of your team for continuous support during labor and birth. Or maybe you’d like a postpartum doula to help you through the transition into parenthood and family. Either way, finding a good fit for you and your family is critical.

A doula’s education, training, experience and credentials are important. When doulas have DONA International certification, you know that they have had the best education and training available. You can also be assured that they have a strong sense of professionalism and integrity.

You will also want to consider whether you and your partner feel comfortable with an individual doula. You will need to feel that this doula is supportive of your hopes and expectations about labor, childbirth and parenting, in addition to having a strong professional background and credentials. That is why we recommend the following four-step hiring process when hiring a birth or postpartum doula.

Obtain names of DONA International doulas using our easy online doula locator

Questions to Ask a Doula

The following questions will help you decide if a particular doula is right for you.

For any doula

  • What training have you had? (If a doula is certified, you might consider checking with the organization.)
  • Do you have one or more backup doulas for times when you are not available? May we meet her/them?
  • What is your fee, what does it include and what are your refund policies?

When interviewing a birth doula

  • Tell me about your experience as a birth doula.
  • What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor?
  • May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me through birth?
  • May we call you with questions or concerns before and after the birth?
  • When do you try to join women in labor? Do you come to our home or meet us at the place of birth?
  • Do you meet with us after the birth to review the labor and answer questions?

When interviewing a postpartum doula

  • Tell me about your experience as a postpartum doula.
  • What is your philosophy about parenting and supporting women and their families during postpartum?
  • May we meet to discuss our postpartum needs and the role you will play in supporting us in the postpartum period?
  • May we call you with postpartum questions or concerns before the birth?
  • When do your services begin after birth?
  • What is your experience in breastfeeding support?
  • Have you had a criminal background check, a recent TB test and current CPR certification?

Check credentials and references. If the doula is a DONA International certified doula, you can confirm her certification by using our online doula locator. DONA International certification is a meaningful measure of a doula’s commitment and professionalism.

Conduct an in-person interview. It is a good idea for both you and your partner to meet doula candidates to decide if they are compatible with your family. Are they kind, warm and enthusiastic? Are they knowledgeable? Do they communicate well? Are they good listeners? Are they comfortable with your choices or do they seem to have their own agenda? Do you feel at ease with them?

The way that you feel with a doula is more important than the number of births that they have attended or how many new families they have nurtured. You may want to interview more than one doula and make comparisons before choosing your doula.

Retrieved from www.dona.org on May 30, 2012.

Water Births

Waterbirth FAQ

Is waterbirth an option in any local hospitals?

Yes, waterbirth is an option offered in Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, and Red Deer. However, only midwives and physicians certified in waterbirth are able to offer this option. Please check with your provider to see if this is an option for you.

What prevents baby from breathing under water?

There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:

1.  Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which cause a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin level is still high, the baby’s muscles for breathing simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.

2.  Babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.

3.  Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in the fetus are hypertonic. So, even if water were to travel in past the larynx, they could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.

4.  The last important inhibitory factor is the Dive Reflex and revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered all over with chemoreceptors or taste buds. The larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue. So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interprets what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed, not inhaled.

For a more complete description, please read Barbara Harper’s Waterbirth Basics 

What is the temperature of the water?

Water should be monitored at a temperature that is comfortable for the mother, usually between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit as it could lead to an increase in the mother’s body temperature which could cause the baby’s heart rate to increase. It is a good idea to have plenty of water to drink and cold cloths for the mother’s face and neck. A cool facial mist from a spray bottle is a welcome relief for some mothers as well.

How much does a waterbirth cost?

In our local hospitals you must purchase a waterbirth kit for $100. This includes a disposable liner, thermometer, hose, and fish net. For home births you may be able to rent or buy your own pool.  The cost for a complete birth pool kit can be under $250.

How long is baby in the water after the birth?

In Canada, practitioners usually bring the baby out of the water within the first few seconds after birth. There is no physiological reason to leave the baby under the water for any length of time. There are several water birth videos that depict leaving the baby under the water for several moments after birth and the babies are just fine. Physiologically, the placenta is supporting the baby with oxygen during this time though it can never be predicted when the placenta will begin to separate causing the flow of oxygen to baby to stop. The umbilical cord pulsating is not a guarantee that the baby is receiving enough oxygen. The safe approach is to remove the baby, without hurrying, and gently place him upright onto the mother’s chest.

When should I get into the water?

A woman should be encouraged to use the labor pool whenever she wants. However, if a mother chooses to get into the water in early labor, before her contractions are strong and close together, the water may relax her enough to slow or stop labor altogether.  That is why some practitioners limit the use of the pool until labor patterns are established and the cervix is dilated to at least 5 centimeters.

There is some physiological data that supports this rule, but each and every situation must be evaluated on its own. Some mothers find a bath in early labor useful for its calming effect and to determine if labor has actually started. If contractions are strong and regular, no matter how dilated the cervix is, a bath might be in order to help the mother to relax enough to facilitate dilation.

Therefore, it has been suggested that the bath be used in a “trial of water” for at least one hour and allow the mother to judge its effectiveness. Midwives report that some women can go from 1 cm to complete dilation within the first hour or two of immersion.  The first hour of relaxation in the pool is usually the best and can often help a woman achieve complete dilation quickly.

Adapted from Waterbirth International