The “Longest Shortest Time”…the best description EVER of life with your newborn, borrowed from the brilliant podcast of that name. I like to be really real about the highs and lows of newborn parenthood. It’s important that we talk about postpartum honestly so we don’t feel alone, judged and inadequate. The voices in our own head are tough enough, but let’s support one another; like one big sleepover (without the sleep). Here are some of my favorite places online that I hope will help carry you for even a moment through the longest shortest time. Plus a hug from me. I am just a phone call or text away if you need me.
1: Postpartum Support International: They have a 24-hour confidential helpline with over 300 trained support professionals who will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement and connect you with local resources if needed, available in English & Spanish
“You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well.”
Call: 1.800.944.4773. Text:503.894.9453.
2: Healing Baby Bath | This video of a newborn bath given by Sonja Rochel, a baby nurse at the Thalasso Clinic in France, captures how she helps newborns transition from the womb to the world in the most healing way. After watching this, you’ll want to know what she says about how to do this safely at home with your newborn (or somehow magically appear moments after you’ve given birth).
“I take the time … for such a young baby so soon after birth, the memories of being in their mommy’s belly are still very vivid … and with the bath I want her to re-live those beautiful moments, and cherish them.”
You can read more about Sonia Rochel’s ‘Thalasso Baby Bath’ technique here.
3: Dr. Angellique Millette | She is a gift to all of us around infant, toddler and child sleep. She is a trained midwife, infant and pregnancy massage therapist, birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator, parent coach, and child and family, therapist. Oh, and she has her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
The biggest plus is that Dr. Millette is one of the kindest people I know. Sign up for her newsletter and check out her archived webinars on all sleep topics for instant help. I also LOVE this Hands To Heart Sleep Swaddle that Dr. Millette created based on her work.
BONUS: Watch & Listen
‘The Longest Shortest Time.” You won’t feel so alone when you listen. Especially the earliest episodes. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Hillary Frank.
Last week I shared with you some of my favorite places online for all things birth-related – this week I’m focused on some support-full Breastfeeding Resources for all of you new and expecting parents. Breastfeeding is a duet that requires practice by you and your baby. Preferably without any “shoulds” and with all the nonjudgmental support you deserve.
“But just as we are now appreciating what occurs when we respect a baby’s ability to find its mother at birth, what I am seeing with Laura and other mothers is heightening my respect for and understanding of our own abilities as women to find our babies at birth. When we do not rush through the moment of birth, but honor the pause that marks the center of this sequence, what happens, in my experience, seems to be nothing less than a paradigm shift of equal significance.
For we are not only finding our babies, we are also finding ourselves as mothers, and finding our way into a new state of being.
2: KellyMom.com | All too often, breastfeeding sites are more dogmatic than I feel comfortable with. I’m drawn to the lactation consultants who subscribe to the “let’s just feed the baby” non-dogmatic support camp. Kellymom is a great site for up to date, evidence-based information around all things breast and bottle feeding that just does that.
3: Mamava | So proud of Mamava, a Vermont based company started by two women. Download their app on your phone to locate one of these wondrous pods to breastfeed in a clean and private space. Imagine that…
BONUS: What To Watch | Here are a series of videos on Baby-Led Latching that offer an alternate perspective to the current “put the baby to breast immediately after birth”. In these videos, you’ll see these most remarkable instincts and skills with which babies are born to find their way to your breast on their own, known as the “newborn crawl”.
From the time he was a puppy, I knew Peace had the perfect temperament to be a Therapy Dog and so many years ago, we certified as a Therapy Dog Team.
He loves his visits with the children on Pediatrics at UVM Medical Center. As soon as I take out his Therapy Dog bandana, he gets excited and heads for the door. He knows exactly where we are going. I have to give us at least twenty minutes or so just to get from the parking garage up to the fifth floor because so many people want to pet/hug/admire/love/take a picture of Peace as we make our way through the hospital.
He is an enormous Golden Retriever; weighing in at about ninety pounds (down from one hundred given his eleven years, size and proclivity to arthritis). We say he is a Golden channeling “Newfie”. If I had a dollar for every time someone remarks on how huge his paws are, I’d be inordinately wealthy. The answer I’ve come up with to the question I get more often than not – “Why is he so big?” – is to say that Peace needed an extra-large body to house a heart as big as his...
It had been a dream of mine forever to pioneer a Therapy Dog Team on Maternity. Where else would a Doula and her Dog want to be? So, after some research around protocol and the support of the midwives and nursing staff, Peace and I began our visits to the Mother/Baby unit.
Once we announce ourselves at the Nurses Station, the staff come from everywhere to love on Peace. Then we begin our trip down the hallway, knocking gently, opening the door a crack and ask “Would you like a visit with a Therapy Dog?”
Almost always, the answer is a resounding YES PLEASE! For the mothers who have delivered and miss their dogs they have left behind at home, Peace brings much-needed comfort. For the first-time mothers who have left behind their “firstborns”, the dogs they have raised before giving birth, Peace helps them allay the anxiety around going home and introducing their human babies to their dogs. They have the chance to practice right then and there, lifting their new babies for Peace to smell and nuzzle. We visit with the mothers who are on bed rest for preterm labor, have experienced miscarriage and loss and recovering from surgery. Mothers have sat on the floor hugging him and sobbing into his fur.
Peace is always gentle and kind and knowing.
One Doc said it right; Peace is the best medicine in the hospital.
Doesn't it just make sense to have Peace on Maternity at every hospital?
I am now being invited to attend the births of my eldest daughter Indy’s friends.
These are the same girls (now women) who sat at my kitchen table in high school eating homemade chocolate chip cookies while we discussed birth control and heartache.
Those who come to the house for Good Birth Class (instead of meeting online – I DO work with Millenials) now sit pregnant, on the very same couch they made out on. Talk about altered states…
Last month, I had the honor of helping to usher in baby Jack. Jack’s mama, Molly, has been Indy’s best friend from the time Molly was 18 months old. I helped Molly’s mother labor 27 years ago to bring in Molly’s brother.
In the midst of all of this, I am keenly aware that we are currently living in an altered state…
What keeps me afloat in these unsettling times are the babies; the reminder of this continuity over millennia, of the repetitive renewal and infinite possibility that comes with each birth.
I need to say this. We need to protect our mothers and babies. We need to safeguard their health and their passage in our communities, our country, our continents and our cosmos.
Birth is sacred and it preserves our humanity. It is the key.
Peace on earth really does begin at birth. I see it there every time…
Let me know if you want to talk or have coffee. I am here.