Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

One of the biggest sources of anxiety for nursing mothers is the inability to determine exactly  how much milk their baby is getting. I get more calls about this than anything else, and I understand it. It’s an awesome responsibility, feeding a little person and being their sole source of nourishment. It doesn’t help that newborns want to nurse frequently, further convincing a tired woman that surely her baby isn’t getting enough to eat. Unfortunately, this anxiety will rear its ugly head over and over again throughout the nursing experience.  My hope is to teach Moms how to recognize the positive signs that things are going well, recognize when there is an issue, and most importantly, get help if they need it. 

I am constantly reminding the women I care for to look at the big picture. If you assess each data point and feeding individually, you’ll drive yourself crazy.  Some feedings will be good, some won’t. Here are the important questions to ask yourself:

Is your baby pooping and peeing? We are looking for at least 8 wet diapers daily and 3-5 stools for a newborn. The amount of stool a baby passes gets fewer with more time between (sometimes days!) as your baby gets older. But the volume gets larger when it happens, and it is often lovingly referred to as a “blowout.” This is perfectly normal and usually starts to happen at about 6 weeks. In addition, your baby should be gaining weight each time you go to the pediatrician.

The next question to ask yourself is if your baby is having periods of sound sleep? It will most definitely not be as much sleep as you want, but they should behave like a drunken sailor after most feedings and give you some longer stretches during the night.

Then ask yourself, is your baby mostly happy?  No baby will be 100% happy all the time. Babies often have at least one period daily, which usually settles into the evening hours, during which you just can’t seem to satisfy him. This fussiness is actually neurologically based, and written about by Dr. Weissbluth is in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  Nursing is often very soothing to babies at that time, and the feeding frenzy can make even a confident Mom feel that their baby is starving. But again, look at the big picture. If you can answer yes, to the questions above, you are doing just fine.

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Two other situations often make Mom’s doubt their supply.  The first is a growth spurt, which happens predictably at 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months. During this time, your baby will nurse insatiably, having frequent quick sessions that often end in sleep.  Your baby will then wake immediately when you put him down, and demand to nurse again. It is exhausting and usually lasts for about two days, but the frequent feeding helps to increase your supply.   It is particularly concerning at 3 weeks, when the breasts that were overflowing with milk two weeks prior are now deflated, soft and feeling close to their pre pregnancy state. Your baby has now grown into your supply.  The good news is you should no longer be walking around like Dolly Parton. It might have been fun for a while, but do you really want to feel that way for a year?

Pumping also can undermine a Mom’s confidence in her ability to produce enough milk to feed her baby.  The most important thing to remember is that you should NEVER judge your supply based on what you get out of a pump.  There are too many variables to consider-what pump are you using? Is it new or did your girlfriend use it for her 3 kids?  Is it working properly? Did you just feed the baby? Are you pumping between feedings? Did you skip a nursing session altogether to pump? Are you stressed?  Working? Eating and drinking well? Pumping regularly? Occasionally? Have you been away from your baby for a long time? I am sure you understand what I mean.  When pumping, always remember that the pump just gets what is in the breast at that moment in time. When nursing, you are having a wonderful hormonal response that causes milk to be continually produced as long as the baby is taking it out.  This doesn’t happen with a piece of machinery.

What if you can’t answer yes to all my questions? Most often, the problem is easily fixed. Many times the baby is not nursing effectively, and once we fix the latch, the baby becomes a happy camper, and Mom notices an increase in her supply.  If it is truly a supply issue, there are many ways to fix that as well and it often can be rectified very quickly. The important thing is to get help as soon as you sense there is a problem. Please know that we are here for you, just to reassure you that you are doing great or assist with problems as they arise.  My guess is that you are doing much better than you think! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

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Managing Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)

By Nadine Adams MSPT, Physical Therapist, Personal trainer, Pilates instructor and Educator

First, let me tell you how and why I got into helping people manage their Diastasis. I have over 25 years of experience working as a Physical Therapist and over 30 years working in the fitness industry as a Personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  The past 10 years I have worked primarily with pregnant and post partum woman helping them rehabilitate their core strength, physical fitness and regain functional strength in their day-to-day lives. 

During my 2nd pregnancy at the age of 41 years old I found a 3 finger Diastasis at 29 weeks pregnant, coincidently enough in a workshop on Diastasis Recti. Knowing I was going to have to take care of a 2.5 year old toddler, a newborn infant, try to return to teaching Fitness classes and lifting patients as a physical therapist, I set out to learn all I could about managing Diastasis Recti.

I started testing all my clients for the separation and found that it is was much more common than I realized and unfortunately very under diagnosed.  Through my own personal experience living with Diastasis and learning how to manage it I knew I had to share with others what I had learned through my research and that is how my program Restore Your Core REHAB™ evolved.

Fast forward 8 years later, countless hours of research, taking courses from other professionals specializing in this area, and most importantly from my experience working with 100's of clients with Diastasis Recti, I have learned so much about managing this condition. 

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Common Questions about Diastasis Recti

 What is a Diastasis Recti?

A Diastasis Recti is a separation of the two sides of the Rectus abdominus muscle caused by a weakening and stretching of the abdominal connective tissue.  There are different ways to measure the size of the separation but a 2+ finger width separation or larger is considered clinically significant.  

Here is a video demonstration on how to check yourself for a Diastasis Recti.  https://youtu.be/woMH7NqJHlQ

What causes this Separation?

Intra-abdominal pressure most commonly from a growing baby inside mothers uterus, but can also be caused by other forces that stretch and weaken the tissue. In pregnant women the increase release of hormones that loosen your ligaments and connective tissue to prepare for labor allow this stretching to happen. 

An umbilical hernia can also develop due to the weakened connective tissue, but that is a topic for another blog. Make sure to check back on www.restoreyourcorerehab.com for future blog posts on other complications with Diastasis recti and the testimonial page to hear what my clients have to say about the program www.restoreyourcorerehab.com/testimonials

How Do I know I have one?

One of the more common signs post baby is a protruding belly and a woman still looks pregnant even after she has lost most of her pregnancy weight gain.

During pregnancy a doming effect can often be seen when leaning back or bending forward from the hips as seen in the pictures below. Other symptoms can include lower back pain due to a weakened core and improper posture and body mechanics, various kinds of pelvic floor dysfunction often causing stress incontinence, and/or constipation and other digestive issues as in the following client example.

Client Example:

I had a client who came to me complaining of bloating, difficulty moving her bowels, lower back pain and always feeling constipated.  She had tried doing an elimination diet and gave up gluten and dairy thinking that it was something wrong in her gut causing her digestion problems, but didn't have any relief.  Once she started working on healing her Diastasis and knew how to connect into her deep core and pelvic floor muscles her constipation and bloating went away.   Her functional strength improved significantly and she was able to return to a normal diet and back to her love of horse back riding and hiking with her 4 children without worrying about any unwanted discomfort or digestive issues.

What are the common exercises to Avoid? 

Temporarily avoiding crunches, oblique twists, side bending movements, front loaded planks, and for some early on even avoiding exercises in the hands and knees position might be recommended. These either increase intra-abdominal pressure or put abnormal forces on the connective tissue. Once healed, most of these exercises can be performed again if done correctly with good core engagement. No two separations are the same, just as no two individuals are the same and a person’s ability to control these abnormal forces is something that should be continually assessed while returning back to exercise and during day to day functional tasks.   

Can it be healed? 

Finding a qualified health care specialist who has experience   treating Diastasis Recti and can guide you through an appropriate exercise program, exercise modifications, splinting, postural re education and management techniques is the best way to heal your Diastasis.  

To further expand on this question, a sub question could be:
What is considered a healed Diastasis Recti?  The goal is to promote connective tissue healing and prevent putting abnormal forces on the tissue to allow the two sides of the muscle to come back together.  The connective tissue also heals from the inside out and improvement of both the size and depth of the separation are signs of healing. 

The ultimate goal is to regain functional use of your core and pelvic floor to support your spine and pelvic girdle and minimize the abnormal forces on the connective tissue during day-to-day functional activities.   The goals and functional needs will vary from person to person, but managing Diastasis Recti needs a whole body treatment approach for successful functional use of the core and optimal performance.

Correct alignment, proper breathing to retrain the deep core muscles to support how the body moves and protecting the connective tissue from abnormal forces during day to day activities are some of the techniques used in Restore Your Core REHAB™ Diastasis Recti treatment and management program. 

To learn more about the author and the program please visit www.restoreyourcorerehab.com

Parent Reviews of Popular Baby Tracking Apps

Review of BabyConnect App

by Tony W.

Our doula told my wife and me about an app called BabyConnect. It’s available on iTunes for about $5 and is well worth the money. Instead of navigating a clunky paper sheet to log all the feedings and diaper changes, BabyConnect allows you to collect a host of information – including feeding times, food type, nursing, diaper changes, and much more – on your phone at the touch of a button. The app uses graphs and charts to break down the information into days and weeks, providing an easy-to-comprehend format that gives you great insight into your baby’s feedings and bathroom habits. 

To top it all off, the account allows multiple users and also allows users to log on through the web, making it easy for parents who care for heir babies at different time of the day to log all feedings and diaper changes and have them immediately accessible to either parent. I love this app. 

 

Baby Tracker Apps Favorite Features

By Carilyn C.

With each of my babies, I tried not to get too overwhelmed with a feeding schedule and focused more on watching for signs of hunger. However, I found that using a baby tracking app to keep a log of feedings and diapers on my phone gave me peace of mind. When you are a busy, exhausted new mom even remembering something simple, like what time the last feeding began, can be a challenge. Especially early on when you are feeding your baby 12+ times per day. I loved knowing exactly how long it had been between feedings with just a quick glace at my phone. With my first 2 babies, I used an app called Mom Brain. A couple years later when I had my twins, it was no longer available so after some quick research I chose an app called Total Baby. Unfortunately, Total Baby is also no longer available, but as I was thinking about it, I realized that I chose both of these apps for the same reasons.

While many baby tracker apps are loaded with features (tracking baths, doctor visits, medicine, milestones, photos, etc.), what was most important to me during the newborn phase was being able to quickly and easily log feedings and diapers. After the first month or so, when I knew my baby was growing and thriving, I stopped logging diapers. I continued to track feedings for a few months.  For feedings, I made sure the app I was using automatically calculated the time it had been since the last feeding. I didn’t want to have to do the math in my head all day long especially when I was feeding newborn twins who didn’t like to be fed at the same time. Also as a twin mom, it was of course important that I could track more than one baby and easily got back and forth.

Once we were ready for sleep training, around 3 months, I found the tracking apps very helpful for timing naps and nighttime sleep. After tracking sleep for just a couple of days, I could look at the summary charts and easily identify patterns that I used to establish a sleep schedule.

Lastly, while I wouldn’t say it is a vital feature, I did find it convenient that the apps I used both let me track baby’s height & weight. Since I always had my phone on me at doctor appointments, it was easy to keep updated stats stored right in the app.

Looking at what is currently available in the app store, there are a number of options, all between $0-5, that offer the features I found most helpful. Baby Tracker, Sprout Baby, and Baby Connect, just to name a few. 

Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump

by Jessica Adams RN IBCLC

The Spectra S2 Plus is one of the newest breast pump options provided by HBHM Inc. for expecting moms with BCBS, TriCare or Tufts insurance. The aesthetically pleasing rounded curves, ergonomic carrying handle with built-in LED lights, and soft silicone touch button combine to make this pump gentle and quiet, as well as powerful. 

 The most innovative feature of the Spectra S2 Plus is the gentle flutter-like suckling designed to mimic a baby’s natural suckling motion at the breast. It is fast, efficient and comfortable on breasts and nipples. The suckling speed and suction are independently controlled. The let-down mode has one set speed of 70 cycles per minute, as well as 5 suckling suction strength options.

Once let-down is achieved, a quick push of a button switches to the milk expression mode, which has 5 speed settings  ranging from 38 to 54 cycles per minute, and a whopping 12 suckling suction strength settings. Yes, this is a powerful, albeit very quiet and adjustable machine. Each mom can decide which cycle speed and suckling strength works best for her body and unique pumping needs.

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The insurance provided Spectra S2 Electric Pump package contains the following:

·       Spectra S2 Plus Pump motor unit, color pink

·       Power cord/AC Adapter

·       Two collection kits, including both 24mm and 28mm sized breast shields, silicone duck bill connectors, wide mouth bottles, bottle locking rings, bottle discs, wide mouth nipples, bottle caps

·       Two backflow connectors

·       Two individual silicone tubings

·       Spectra S1 Plus/S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump Instruction Manual

·       Warranty information card

Advantages and features of the Spectra S2 Plus that we appreciate:

·       Really quiet

·       Automatic safety shut off after 30 minutes

·       Built-in  digital timer

·       Attach a 12-volt car charger or battery pack and make this pump portable

·       Spectra Baby USA customer service and warranty fulfillment receive an A+

·       2 year warranty on the pump motor unit and 90 day warranty on accessory parts

·       Dual voltage 100V-240V so you can take overseas to many countries and safely use an adapter without need for a voltage converter

·       If the Spectra S1 Plus battery operated pump is preferred, an exchange can be made for an additional fee

·       Breast shield sizes available in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 32mm

·       Massager inserts for breast shields allow for a more comfortable pumping experience and turn the 24mm breast shield into a 23mm and the 28mm breast shield into a 27mm

A few areas that require vigilance:

·       Initial set-up of power cord requires that 2 separate parts be correctly snapped flush together or power will not reach the motor unit

·       The silicone tubing, duckbill valve and silicone membrane portion of the backflow protector should not be sterilized at all, ever.  Sterilizing will result is distortion of these parts.   To wash the duckbill valve, use warm soapy water. 

·       Recommended method of sterilization for other accessories is to place them in a clean, heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over accessories. Submerge accessories and allow to remain submerged for 3-5 minutes maximum, remove, allow to air dry, and cover

·       Pump will automatically return to the last previously used setting. This might be stronger than what you want to start on, so pay attention before attaching pump parts. 

·       Spectra silicone tubing length is ~31.5 inches, shorter than other pump brands, keeping you close to the pump.

Newborn Jaundice – What I Wish I Knew About Phototherapy

By Carilyn Cannon, Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms and Mom of 4

Carilyn has been the Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms since 2012.  Although you probably haven’t met her in person, if you follow us on social media, you have been seeing her posts for years. Recently, Carilyn gave birth to fraternal twin girls. After her experience being readmitted to the hospital when one of her newborn daughters was jaundiced, she felt compelled to share her story with other moms and moms-to-be.

When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was thrilled. As an experienced mom with a 4 and 2 year old, I was feeling prepared for what to expect. Famous last words, right? That feeling went right out the window at my 12 week ultrasound when I got the shock of a lifetime – we were having twins! I was happy, and excited, and overwhelmed, and felt so many different emotions. I instantly felt like a first time mom all over again. This was a whole new ball game.

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Start to finish it was not an easy pregnancy. But I was incredibly lucky that the 3 of us were healthy and made it to 38 weeks before the girls arrived. Two minutes apart, weighing 7lbs 2oz and 6lbs 9oz, Kate and Keira were born and I was a mom of 4. Just like there is a learning curve when you become a mom, there is another learning curve when you become a twin mom. Some things came naturally, like scooping up 2 newborns to hold in my arms, while others, including breastfeeding twins, took more help and practice. My husband and I were getting the hang of things and were excited to bring our girls home and have our whole family together. We were told at discharge that one of our daughters, Kate,  had a  bilirubin level that was “borderline” but we were sent home with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for the next morning.

The next few days were incredibly tough.  Even with the amazing help and support from my husband, family, and friends, caring for newborn twins, a toddler, and a preschooler while recovering from a tough pregnancy and childbirth was a lot to handle. Getting out of the house to see the pediatrician filled me with anxiety because the girls were eating one after another (we couldn’t quite master breastfeeding at the same time). It was not easy to leave the house when there was always a hungry newborn to feed. And as every mom knows, getting diapers, hats, blankets, and everything packed to go out even for a short trip is quite a process. I was constantly worried about Kate’s jaundice, and for a couple of days her levels were not great but not in the danger zone.  However,  we had to keep getting blood drawn to keep a close eye on it. Four days after coming home, Kate’s bilirubin level spiked and we were readmitted at the hospital so Kate could have phototherapy.   

I was already nervous because I know that jaundice can be extremely dangerous, and felt so helpless as she lay in the incubator alone. I was terrified she would damage her eyes since she kept knocking off the little goggles. Her twin sister came with us to stay in the hospital, but it was heartbreaking to leave my older son and daughter when we had just got home a few days ago. They were worried for their new baby sister and missed their mom. Thankfully, after 24 hours Kate’s bili level was in a safe range and we were able to go home.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I was getting back to work after being on maternity leave. Kathy, the Founder & CEO of Healthy Babies, Happy Moms, and I were updating the company website and other marketing material when for the first time I saw a photo of the Infant Home Phototherapy service - my jaw hit the desk. This was not the scary, goggles, incubator, hospital image I have burned in my brain from my own experience with Kate. Instead I saw a tiny baby sleeping in a little bassinet wearing with what looks like a cute, cozy blanket/sleeper. Plus, the service comes with daily home nurse visits where they provide an assessment, weight check, and bilirubin blood draw that they report to your pediatrician. On top of all that, they can help with breastfeeding while they are there. WHAT? Why, why, why didn’t I do this?

Now I do have to mention that of course while learning how to breastfeed twins I was talking to Kathy frequently, so she knew of Kate’s jaundice and reminded me of the home phototherapy if we were to need it. But when I got that call from the doctor that Kate’s bilirubin had spiked and we needed to get to the hospital I was scared, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  I didn’t stop to consider other options. I wish I had. I wish I had seen the photo and remembered it. Having the level of care Healthy Babies, Happy Moms provides in the convenience of my home would have been so much easier for my entire family. Eliminating all of the trips to the pediatrician’s office for bilirubin checks and instead having a nurse come to us would have been amazing. So yes, I love working for this company and I truly believe in the work done by the amazing team of nurses. But I am sharing my story as a mom. A mom who would have greatly benefited from knowing more about Infant Home Phototherapy, and a mom who wants other moms to know that this incredible service is available.

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For more information on Healthy Babies, Happy Moms' Infant Home Phototherapy click here

Nurture the Nurturer(s)

by Elyse Wilkie

Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Pre & Postnatal Yoga Teacher, DONA Doula in training

The common expression, ‘It takes a village’ proves to be most accurate for parents who have just welcomed in the birth of a new babe. Whether you are having your first child or third, the first few weeks after a baby is born is often when parents most benefit from the help of their ‘village.’  A newborn thrives on unconditional love and endless affection. To best meet the infant’s needs, it is essential the parents maintain their sense of wellbeing through daily self-care practices.

As new parents, it is too easy to put the needs of the newborn before their own, a strategy which will quickly lead to the new parents becoming exhausted and overwhelmed.

By the family having a solid support team to turn to, day-to-day life can run more smoothly while overall daily happiness and the ability to stay present is greatly increased. For new parents, a freshly prepared nutritious meal and a few moments rest will leave parents feeling refreshed and ready to take on the gratifying moments and arising challenges of raising a newborn.

Ayurveda is a preventative holistic healthcare system that provides the wisdom and tools necessary to fully support a new family, as well as the individual.  There are endless and immense benefits to new parents whom feel nurtured and supported in the weeks after the birth of their babe. Mental clarity, increased stamina, the body’s ability to heal faster, decreased anxiety and depression, and the balancing of post birth hormones, and deep bonding with the new babe can all be easily achieved through the support of your tribe. It is vital for new parents to have ample rest and time to practice daily self-care in order to stay healthy and happy for their newborn. As an Ayurvedic Health counselor, student of the DONA doula training, and having earned both my prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher training, I am here to support the family unit in multifaceted ways.

The following services are offered in the convenience of your home to ensure that the experience is only helpful and restorative, never stressful. By eliminating the need to load all of the baby’s necessities into the car and trying to work around an infant’s sleeping schedule, I am able to assist your family in receiving moments of peace and restorative relaxation so you are able to appreciate the blessing of these fleeting, precious moments.

Family Home Care services include but are not limited to:

·       Seasonal Nutritious meals cooked in your home or delivered to you

·       Personalized yoga practice designed around the needs of the new parents

·       Ayurvedic Therapeutic Bodywork with Organic Oils and warm sea stones

·       Client Wellness Consultations to bring the body and mind back into balance

·       Instruction on the Methods and Benefits of Baby Bodywork

·       Family yoga practice

·       Guided Meditation and Pranayama (breath work) to simultaneously energize and ground you

·       New Parent free time- choose to rest or do as you please while I tend to the needs of the baby

If you currently have a newborn, have one on the way, or have experienced what it’s like to feel past the point of exhaustion, know that your ‘village’ is here to support you. 

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For further information on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, how wonderful the bodywork feels, or other information on postnatal yoga and guided meditation, please visit www.anahatahome.com    

Contact Elyse by phone: 401-2182480   or email:   elyse@anahatahome.com

 

Impact of a Father

I remarked to my husband a few weeks ago that I am seeing a definite shift in my older son's dependence on me to an imitation of him. Any overt attempt by me to be involved in their lives by way of assistance with anything, is met by a rather stern reminder that I am not necessarily needed right now. They are men after all, and they don't need their mommy. Even my 8 year old has fleeting moments of this attitude, which I am definitely not prepared for.

My husband responded by saying he doesn't see it. I know he is frequently hurt by them acting as if he isn't even there. He actually stated that he feels his absence would have more effect on them then his presence does. I was stunned and saddened by that comment and have been thinking about it ever since. What I came to realize is that his presence has an incredibly positive effect on them, one that we probably won't fully realize until they are husbands and raising children themselves. But his absence would have an incredibly negative effect on them, and I would see that immediately.

My husband is teaching my boys how to be men, and I can't do that. I can try, and do try, every day. I make them open doors, let me go first, and help with normal housework. They can cook, do laundry and clean a bathroom. I refuse to raise boys that sit on the couch and expect to be waited on. But for all my talk, it is my husband that they are watching and whose behavior they are copying, trying to figure out how to be a man. And here is what they see, when he thinks they aren't paying attention:

They see someone who makes sure they are fed every evening. We eat together as a family at least 5 times a week, and it is because of him. If it was up to me, dinner would be burnt or a bowl of cereal. I am not particularly proud of that. I am just not as hungry as they are and too easily distracted in my home office to pull off a good meal more than a few times a month, as much as I love to do it.

My boys see a man who is making a concerted effort to take good care of himself and be around for the long haul. They exercise regularly as a result. They eat good healthy food, drink water daily and have habits at a young age that I never had. But, they also appreciate a run to Hill Top Creamery and a great steak. He has taught them that balance.

My husband has a beautiful garden that has greatly benefited from our built in landscaping crew. My sons have seen the benefit of daily tending to something that you can be proud of. They have enjoyed and been amazed with the quality of vegetables that he has grown in our own backyard. They have developed definite opinions regarding the way their lawn should be cut and get as antsy as I do when it isn't done in a timely fashion by whoever's turn it is.

My boys can jump a dead car, and have installed a dishwasher and a toilet this year. I, of course, would call someone and pay them to do it. My husband gets on You Tube and figures out how to do it himself. Then he gets his boys to help him. As silly as it sounds, these are skills that are going to make some women very happy some day.

Most importantly, my boys are learning how to treat other people. I am constantly amazed at the glimpses of him that I see in all of them when they are speaking to others. They are learning how to treat women based on the way they see me treated. One of my favorite quotes is "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother." He has truly given them that gift. In addition, they watch him with his own mother, and I am confident I will be well cared for when I need it. That is another gift he has given me.

They see a man who is here, every day. This is an accomplishment in an era when marriages end all the time. It wasn't always this way. For the first 15 years of our marriage, I was a single parent of 4 boys under 10. He traveled constantly and at times, I resented it. But now, I am so grateful. I was there at a time when I really needed to be. Now with the advent of the home office, he is here when it is most important for him to be. When he has to occasionally travel, I am amazed by my incompetence. I am all out of sorts without him around. How did I take care of 4 little boys all by myself? And from the minute my boys wake, they are asking "Where's Dad?" If he isn't sitting in his office when they come bounding down the stairs, they notice. They are immediately aware of his absence and I know they miss him, as I hear that question over and over again, all day. All that said, I think there is a piece of them that is secretly excited when they realize he is traveling. Because they know that odds are, we are ordering out that night! 

The Newborn Stage

We shared this in 2015 and it's still true! Happy Mother's Day Mamas!

I am going through the newborn stage all over again.  My baby sister, who is 9 years younger than I am, just had her third baby.  He has arrived 8 years since the last Fahey baby was born, so it’s all new to us.  Even for me, who deals with newborn issues all day, every day.  Somehow, it is much different when you have an emotional attachment to the family in the thick of it.  I have watched them manage through the endless sleepless nights, and both parents being sick for weeks, (I am not sure there much worse that being sick with kids to care for!) while this breastfeed baby bounced back from the same illness in two days.  I see the weekends packed with games, practices, birthday parties, and too many things left undone. Because of course, life goes on for the two older kids, and they are working hard to make sure that life isn’t disrupted.  And then there is that job, which really gets in the way, but someone has to make some money right? My husband and I marvel at them, because of course, we have been there before, but honestly can’t remember half of it or how we got through it!  I just know that we eventually did, and they will too. One of my favorite quotes from Kathleen Huggins, a RN who wrote the Nursing Mother’s Companion, is “that if you find it hard, it’s because it is hard.”  Really hard.

So, as Mother’s Day approaches, I am thinking of all you brand new mommies, and tipping my hat to you as you get through this wonderful and special, yet challenging time.  Here are a few pointers to hopefully help make it easier to manage!

First and foremost, please remember that this is just a phase and it won’t last forever. This chaos will end, and it really gets so much easier to deal with, on so many levels, right around 3 months. Your baby will never be this little again, so try to enjoy all the sweet moments that are there, when you are awake for them!  Also, please remember that you don’t have to do everything.  Men don’t get it, but nothing stresses a woman out more than a messy, dirty house and things undone.  But you have to let it go, and let others help you when they can.  Take the extra food and stick it in the freezer.  Let someone take your big kids for a few hours.  Have your mother in law give the baby a bottle so you can take a nap.  If someone wants to do your laundry or grocery shopping, let them.  You will have control over the situation again sometime in the near future, it just isn’t going to happen right now.

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Next, don’t make more work for yourself.  There a three key points to remember when living with a newborn.  The first is NEVER wake a sleeping baby.  If your baby is pooping and peeing, gaining and back to his birth weight, sleeping soundly many times a day, and generally happy, don’t bother him. Not to change a diaper, not to burp him.  If he is asleep and happy, he doesn’t need anything but sleep.  Let him get it, and take a nap while you are at it.

The second point is that if your baby is awake and not happy, please assume that he needs more to eat, and offer another feeding.  He won’t take it if he doesn’t want it.  Many families make the assumption that their baby can’t possibly be hungry, as they just fed them.  They spend all their energy trying to calm a fussy baby and get him to sleep, when if they would have just fed him again, he would be out cold in 15 minutes.  Sometimes, they just need the tank topped off.  Do it, and enjoy some peace and quiet!

Lastly, if the above doesn’t work, your baby is probably going through the daily fussy period which rears its ugly head around 3 weeks and is gone by 3 months.  At this time, motion and cuddling work wonders. Break out the swing, or vibrating chair. Go for a car or stroller ride.  Invest in a sling of some sort, so you can carry your baby, but still have your arms free so you can accomplish something.  His preference is always going to be to be with you, but if someone else wants to hold him, let them.  You could use the break!

I think the hardest part of being a new parent is not knowing what is normal and then feeling like it is never going to end.  But it does.  And people do it again.  Some of us are even so forgetful, that we do it 4 times!  Hang in there-it’s all worth it.  And give us call or head to a support group if you need a pep talk.  You aren’t the only one feeling the way you do.  And someday soon, you will be laughing about it all, and helping someone else through it.  That moment will arrive sooner than you think! 

Post Baby Fitness

Alisha El-Machiah
Method Fitness Personal Trainer

After giving birth many of you may be eager to jump into fitness and get back into shape, especially if you were active before giving birth. For some of you, the prospect of keeping up with a new baby will be the inspiration to begin a fitness program for the first time. Unfortunately, what many women do not realize is that their body is very different than it was 9 months ago. This can be frustrating and dangerous when making the decision to get back into exercise. Starting off with good information and guidance is very important.

Before starting any exercise program make sure you have the okay from your doctor. Depending on your current health and condition, your doctor may have you wait until your 6-week postpartum check-up. If you had a C-section it may be longer. Once you have the okay to start, take it slow. It is very common to have an achy body, poor posture, weakened pelvic floor muscles and fatigue. Some women also suffer from diastasis recti. This condition is the separation of your outer most abdominal muscles (aka “the 6-pack”) and needs to be handled with the correct training and care. While many think that exercises like crunches will help this condition and strengthen these muscles, they can actually further the damage and worsen the condition. Start with exercises that are low weight, low intensity and low impact—it’s best to let a qualified trainer teach you what to do as these movements are not as intuitive as typical ab exercises. Listen to your body and work within your capabilities.

During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin helps open your pelvic floor in preparation for giving birth. It also can loosen up tendons and ligaments making your joints feel wobbly and unstable. This hormone can stay in your body for months after pregnancy and puts you at a higher risk of injury.  If you feel like you may be pushing yourself too much, take a break. The road to being in the best shape of your life requires you to pace yourself, celebrate every small victory along the way, and forgive and forget your occasional shortcomings (we all have them!). And remember, you can do this--as fitness professionals we see people make remarkable changes every day.

Here at Method Fitness we want to help the patients at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc.  get started the right way. So please join us for a free “New Moms Fitness Workshop” at our beautiful, private fitness studio, taught by master trainer Alisha El-Machiah. This workshop will take place on April 12th at 2 pm and will focus on correct and supportive abdominal and core work. Class size will be limited to 10 women but we will be offering future free workshops to help as many new moms as possible. Please reserve your space right away by emailing info.prov@methodfit.com.  Method Fitness is Rhode Island’s longest-running personal training studio, with the state’s top trainers, here to serve you. We’re located at 1 Richmond Square, Providence, RI 02906. Map and directions are at www.methodfit.com.  We hope to see you!

Fighting the Good Fight

I find myself increasingly sad over the current state of affairs in our county.  Fiscally, I am a Conservative.  Socially, I am a Liberal. I am aware that this makes no sense and have four teenage sons that like to remind me of that every chance they get.   I am a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act.  The Essential Health Benefits have made it possible for women to have insurance pay for our services and have provided an access to healthcare that I have been fighting for in Rhode Island for over a decade.  The possibility that this, maternity, and mental health care could be taken away is abhorrent to me. Public health in America, now a preventative health care system instead of a sick care system, is on the verge of being dismantled.

So every day, I am looking for little glimmers of progress, kindness and random people fighting the good fight.  And I do see it.  Everywhere I go, people are being kind, smiling, talking to each other, opening doors, being patient and respectful. I go out of my way to connect with people I come across. I am sure I don’t always do a stellar job, but when it isn’t reciprocated, I am crushed.  My husband, who travels all over the country and to Europe, sees the opposite.  People who are short tempered, rude, cold and impatient are the norm for him.   Europeans are amazed at what is happening in our country, trying not to laugh in his presence at the freak show they are witnessing abroad. Our home has become a refuge for some peace. That is, until we turn on the TV.

Here in our tiny state, I have met a local hero who gives me hope that good things are happening all over our country.  His name is Keith Cooper and he is the Executive Director of Beautiful Day, a non-profit located in Providence. Beautiful Day seeks to build on ramps to employment for recently arrived refugees. They own a social enterprise - an artisan granola company - and nourish the health of their community by providing first jobs and on the job training for highly vulnerable populations.  Beautiful Day produces delicious locally-made food products and are making plans for their own granola kitchen that can double as an incubator to help refugees start their own businesses.  Their ultimate goal is to develop a transferable model that could serve vulnerable populations facing daunting job-entry barriers. They seek to empower people, whose lives have been shattered, to move forward, one day at time.

Keith has reminded me what is great about our country. We help people in need.  We have a right to free speech and to advocate for those vulnerable populations who can’t advocate for themselves. He has inspired me to do what I can to make a difference. There are opportunities all around us and I am going to take advantage of them. I will support local refugees by buying Keith’s granola. I will finally start the non-profit I have always planned on, to provide lactation support for those who can’t afford it or whose insurance doesn’t cover it. It will be my back up plan if the Essential Health Benefits of ACA are repealed, so that access to this type of care is not interrupted.  And I will stay open to other ways to take part in the many things that make this country great, rather than focusing on the negative I am bombarded with daily. Will you join me?

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