Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding & Babywearing’ Category

What to Expect When Your Baby Is Not Who You Expected Him to Be: 5 Strategies for Parenting a High Needs Baby

Monday, April 13th, 2015
Image credit: (Click for original source)

Image credit: (Click for original source)

You can never be quite sure of who this tiny human is going to be after he or she emerges from your womb.

We often expect an image like this one (Artist: Brenda Burke). Mom and baby awash in the sweetness of new motherhood. You picture the days snuggling away in quiet and coos, with only occasional crying.

The reality is usually different. The vast majority of us have to soothe an intensely crying baby at more than one point. Everything can be difficult to navigate when you are sleep deprived, and your postpartum hormones are in full swing.

However, if you have a baby who seems to have a more than usually intense personality, and a higher than normal demand for all things Mother, you may have a high needs baby.

That said, there are a lot of simple tools that can be helpful when you find yourself facing a high needs baby. Here are five good starting places:

1. Get help yesterday. My top advice would be to hire a postpartum doula, who will be able to assess the situation, and make good recommendations. She will know a lot of tips to help soothe your crying baby, and many postpartum doulas do overnight work, so you can get some much-needed sleep, and tackle the issues with a clearer head.

2. Relax as much as possible. (I know that sounds crazy.) I’m not talking about spa visits, necessarily. I’m talking about learning basic relaxation techniques. Remember the breathing lessons from your childbirth class? Those are life skills, and you will need them as you manage the stress of parenting a high needs baby. It can be as simple as stimulating a yawn, or putting baby in a safe place while you take a shower.

3. Learn about a baby’s normal development. I have found that this one factor can make all those mountains seem like molehills again! When you know what normal looks like, it is much easier to recognize what isn’t normal, and therefore get specific help.

4. Visit a chiropractor within baby’s first few weeks of life. Find one who specializes in care for women and their children, if possible. Many high needs babies fare better after a few adjustments, especially if their birth was very fast or very slow.

5. Learn about babywearing, which can be a lifesaver (sometimes literally). Babies who are worn, or at least held often, cry less, because their needs are met more quickly, and they have less chance to get worked up.

Now, these are very basic, ground zero strategies. These are not going to solve all your problems. They are only a springboard to get you started. Pick one, and give it a try!

What would you add? Have you had a high needs baby? What worked for you and your family? Why? Where did you turn for help?

Grace & Peace,

Birthy Weekend Links

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

This week, featuring breastfeeding:

Image Credit:

Every Parent Should Know The Scandalous History Of Infant Formula

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Before I share the article I’m about to link, I need to make a few things clear for you:

1) Formula, in and of itself, is not bad. Neither is it anywhere near what breastmilk is. That is not insulting, it’s simply the truth. Breastmilk is not the “best” option for feeding babies, it is the biological, expected norm. It is part of the normal, physiologic progression of the childbearing year.

2) I am NOT anti-formula, and this post is NOT intended to insult those who have used formula, or have used it in the past. In fact, breastfeeding is one of the things I knew very little about when I was feeding my own babies. I have used formula. For three of my four children, yet somehow I manage not to take offense when the risks of formula to babies are spelled out. I ask you to do the same.

3) The purpose of this post is to highlight the horribly unethical marketing practices of formula COMPANIES. Especially in the developing world.

Read this with an open mind, and try to understand that this is not a commentary on your parenting. You are still a good mother, no matter how you choose to feed your baby. But please remember that the majority of women in the world do not really have a “choice.” It literally means life or death for their babies.

Thank you.

Every Parent Should Know The Scandalous History Of Infant Formula

Grace & Peace,

Inconsistent Breastfeeding Advice = Consistent Frustration for Moms & Babies

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I was excited to see this issue addressed at Best for Babes, because it is something I have seen over and over in pretty much every hospital birth I’ve attended as a doula.

When a woman hears one thing from her L&D nurse, another from the baby nurse, and still another from the lactation consultant, it is no surprise to see her and her baby battling uphill to do something that they were both designed to do. The amount and quality of training for the many professionals women encounter during the birth and postpartum period in the hospital varies widely. Then, there are the individual experiences of the women in the profession that – like it or not – color the advice they give.

It can make a woman’s head spin!

As a labor doula, I see so many women go from a sense of satisfaction in their labor and birth, to frustration and discouragement in the immediate postpartum period. One thing I hear all the time from these mothers is this very complaint: inconsistent advice. I’m there to help with initial latch, but I am always upfront that my training only extends that far, and for any issues they come across, they need to speak with a lactation professional.

I have begun sharing some basic tips with my clients before I tuck them into their bed in the Mom & Baby unit, in the hopes of mitigating this factor somewhat. I have seen some good results, but until some truly fundamental changes are made in most hospital lactation departments, these results are sadly limited. I find my role gravitating more and more to peer support and referrals to independent professionals.

In the interest of making even a small difference, I would like to share a little bit of advice I give to many mothers who are planning to breastfeed their babies. The most fundamental piece of advice I can share is this:

At the very least, request to see the same consultant throughout your hospital stay. This will help streamline the advice you’re given, as the consultant will have helped you from the first, and will be familiar with the options you and your baby have already tried.

Also, decline advice from anyone who is not from the lactation department, as you can have no guarantee of what they are basing their advice on. Smile, nod, and let them go about their business as you do what you think is best. And for heaven’s sake, don’t let them grab your boob and shove the baby’s head in! Babies don’t need that much “help.”

Take an independent (i.e. non-hospital), evidence-based breastfeeding class, if at all possible, especially if you have never breastfed before. Watch a lot of good breastfeeding videos (check out Dr. Jack Newman’s website).

You can also take a good breastfeeding book to the hospital with you, and consult it as needed while you’re there. Here are three great ones: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, The Breastfeeding Book, or The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers.

You also may consider scheduling an appointment to meet with the head of the lactation department before you give birth, and ask about the qualifications, training, and philosophy of the consultants who work in your hospital. If possible, find one you seem to line up with in philosophy, and request to wait for her shift before getting any lactation advice in the hospital.

Consider your place of birth. Revisit the idea of an out-of-hospital birth place, especially if your hospital is not certified Baby-Friendly. I have yet to see homebirth moms struggle quite as much as their hospital counterparts, no matter how great the birth was. When moms and babies are comfortable, uninterrupted, and given support, they tend to have far fewer issues – and this does not really happen in the hospital, despite the kindness and good intentions of the hospital staff.

Side note: Most midwives have decent training and experience in breastfeeding basics, but if there is an issue beyond that, please turn to peer support you can find in La Leche League, or an IBCLC, stat!

Last, but not least – if you still feel the hospital is the best option for you: Did you know that you can opt to sign an AMA (Against Medical Advice) form, and get home early!? As long as both you and baby are healthy, you should be free to leave the hospital within several hours of giving birth, and try this breastfeeding thing at home in your own bed! I highly recommend this option if your hospital is known for anything that is not baby-friendly, especially if they make a habit of separating moms and babies in the early postpartum hours.

One last note.

When you try a new piece of advice, give it more than one feeding before you decide it’s not working. Trust your instinct – when you know, you know, but give each trick a solid try. This can be different for different circumstances, so make sure you always ask the advice-giver how soon you should see a difference.

I truly hope this has equipped you a little more thoroughly to navigate the first breastfeeding days, and to minimize the inconsistent advice you will receive. Hey – you can’t avoid it all!

Have you experienced this problem of inconsistent advice? How did you handle it? What was the impact on you and your baby, if any? Do you have any tips to offer?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany Miller, CLD, CCCE

Weekend Links

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Last night, I joined the #doulaparty on Twitter – whew! Talk about a birth junkie high! Anyway, I came across some great links this week I’d like to share with you. If you’re one of my facebook friends, you have probably already seen these. Pass them on to your own friends who don’t have facebook accounts! If you haven’t already, please join me on facebook to see the articles I post, to ask questions, or start some discussion groups on all issues birthy.

Links for Your Birth Junkie Fix

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Disclaimer: The views expressed in anything I link to, while I may agree with the position, I am not always in line with the words and tone chosen to express the position. So, if you read something you disagree with – don’t slam me. Be open to new information. Thank you.

101 Reasons to Breastfeed

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Remember too, that breastfeeding is what is normal, and is what has kept the human race alive ever since the beginning of time. Of course, I know that there are some woman who have many obstacles to overcome – this is why it’s so important to surround yourself with support. Good support. Support who can show you the ropes, if need be. A labor doula, postpartum doula, or lactation educator can all be invaluable if you don’t have any other women in your life who have breastfed, and can show you how it’s done, and help you with any problems you have.

I also understand that there are rare women out there who simply cannot breastfeed for some medical reason or another. And those women are not less of a mother. They are every bit as in love with their babies, and seem (to me) to be the ones who try the hardest.

C-Sections, Pelvises, and Breastfeeding Toddlers (How can you resist?)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Make sure you watch this video to the very end – it has a wonderful message for ALL mothers, not just those who choose to breastfeed their toddlers.

Weekend Birth Linkage

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Welcome to my new Birth In Joy site! Please pardon the plainness, and lack of links, as I am hoping to soon invest in a professional transferring all my content from the Blogger site to this one. I have a sluggish start ahead of me, and I hope you will be patient with me as I make this transition. Here are a few links to tide you over until the next time we meet!

Delivery Method Affects Brain Response to Baby’s Cry ~ By: Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times Health

Why Babies Should Never Sleep Alone ~ A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing, and breastfeeding. By: James J. McKenna and Thomas Dade

High-Tech Interventions Deliver Huge Childbirth Bill ~ By: Rita Rubin, USA Toay. (a.k.a: One more reason to consider having a homebirth.)

Weekend Linkityness

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Child delivers her mom’s baby! ~

“Natural” cesarean mimics vaginal birth experience. ~ Scientific American. All I can say is – it’s about time! Here’s hoping the research that goes into this affirms the benefit and safety of this!

Works for Me Wednesday: Domperidone to increase milk supply ~ Blessed Quiver. Find additional info here.

Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What? ~ The Huffington Post.

Improved outcomes, fewer cesarean deliveries, and reduced litigation: results of a new paradigm in patient safety. ~ AJOG Article on changing common litigation-avoiding practices.

Late vs Early Clamping of the Umbilical Cord in Full-term Neonates ~ JAMA article relaying new evidence showing the benefit of delayed umbilical cord clamping.