I started wearing Marena products about seven years ago after having major surgery. I needed to wear compression (and actually am supposed to continue to do so) and I found them. Their products were superior to any I had come across. I had bought cheaper products along the way but found that the products from them had lasted.

I had been to birth conferences where some skinny girl who had never had a baby exhibited garments that seemed more fashionista than anything else. They marketed them to women postpartum who wanted to get their shape back. I have to tell you I was completely turned off by the product marketing. But at the same time I knew that postpartum support helped the mom heal faster and feel better as it brought her body back together.

The benefits to wearing compression after the birth includes supporting your pelvic structure, joints and ligaments that were loosened by hormones during pregnancy to return to their non pregnant state.This helps with lessening the strain on your back and pelvis during that recovery time. These products help:

  • provide anti-microbial protection
  • promote healing of diastasis -recti
  • minimize bruising
  • reduce pain
  • improve lymphatic drainage
  • promote skin retraction
  • support the back and abdomen
  • improve posture
  • be cool and comfortable
  • accelerate incision healing

Recently there has been an idea of belly binding- which although is quite pretty- it is not very practical at all. We use our rebozo to help “tie” a mom’s pelvis back together and it feels great but again is difficult for her to do on her own.

Well Marena representatives recently called me to ask if they could come show me their new postpartum products. They have been in the medical field for a long time and make wonderful products. So, expanding into a line that is for postpartum moms is a fabulous idea. There are three new products we will be carrying in our store. These are so different than the products you can buy elsewhere. The soft compression fabric is wicking and breathes. So, no getting hot when wearing it. The binder can adjust completely- so it is great for just after the birth and can get smaller and still support you along the way.

PPGS_Panel-Detail2PPGS_panel detail with overlay 2abdominal wrapPPGA_Product-Image

There are some other great products I hope to carry as well for anyone- their leggings and supportive yoga type pants and their body suits are incredible- although not nursing friendly! I have shared with them some ideas for that! And they also have the option of customizing their products if you need that to be done as well. So, check out the new items! I do not carry these items in stock- but can have them within two days from your order. And if you choose to purchase $100 in Marena products, I can have them drop shipped directly to you free.

Click on the products to go to the store item! The sizing chart is on the  store page.

Growth spurts with breastfed babies tend to follow these numbers- 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months.

You will see the baby all of a sudden not be sleeping well in the early weeks and months. wanting to nurse all the time for about 48 hours- to build up your supply of milk! Ironically when they get older- toddlers and beyond, during a growth spurt you will find they will all of  sudden take longer naps. This is all normal.

Babies do not usually sleep through the night until 3 months or 15 pounds- and by sleeping through the night, that means five hours at a stretch.

measured head of infant seca-212-baby-and-toddler-head-measuring-tape-7

Keep in mind the growth a baby grows a lot in the short time of being a newborn! Amy Spangler reminded us that  the baby’s head growth in the first year is 3 inches. The child will not have another 3 inch growth until they reach the age of 16! So feeding the baby often is a great way to help that baby in that growth!

The reason most babies begin to eat and need solid food during the first year around 6 to 9 months is partly due to this growth spurt times. So, don’t be worried that you do not have enough milk- you will, just nurse for a few days around the clock as the baby increases your milk supply. It is a short time and works itself out in no time at all.

A guest post by my friend and life coach, Lisa Engle.

Recently, a public inquiry to describe the optimal mother brought in a wide scope of adjectives.  Some words that came from the poll were: supportive, nurturing, nourished, wise, faithful, intuitive, intentional, attentive, energetic, organized, loving, motivated, encouraging, devoted, loyal, connected, balanced, healthy role model, filled with grace and fearless.  
No pressure, right?
Evaluating our own definitions of optimal motherhood can bring great insight.  I’d love to hear your input and what you might add to the list.   Isn’t it beautiful the varying values that each person places on the critical and powerful role of Mother?  Isn’t it also beautiful that what I authentically bring to motherhood will serve my children well, but when I try to “do” motherhood by someone else’s standards or expectations, I will be uncomfortable and it will ripple to my children?  Culturally, we’re taught that discomfort is a “bad” thing to be avoided yet when it comes to healthy living, we learn that it’s often an important part of telling us what needs attention.
Insight gained through evaluating your own definitions of a “well mother” can help us tie the choices we make regarding our family to values.   Much like the cultural experiences back in school, the pressures a mother may find herself faced with can lead to extremely refining moments where she (and those around her) may describe herself with very opposite descriptors, quite unwell, in fact.   Often, upon evaluation, we may realize that choices we’ve made were really rooted in someone else’s values.  Motherhood is plenty refining enough without trying to make ourselves appear, behave, or have a certain way according to the values of others.  When we’re rooted in our own well being, rooted in our own value systems, in our own authentic expressions, we bring a strength to this important and powerful role that is shaping the next generation.   Let’s shape them well.

 OMlogowithwebsite

 
“You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today, will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”  
Dr. BJ Palmer
 

Today I was asked about tipping a doula. They wanted to know what was the “norm.” Sometimes folks hear me talk about receiving a tip. We do get tips. Sometimes they come when we have gone outside of what the family thought was good service to excellent service. Sometimes it comes when we have a very long labor. Sometimes it comes when the labor is short and they felt we helped them cope with a fast and furious labor. Sometimes it is when we come a few times to them- false starts or when we have been available for lots of phone calls for days with a prodromal start and stop labor. We are in a service industry and tips are sometimes a part of how families let us know their level of  appreciation.

Tips come in a lot of ways. I have received wonderful cards with the sweetest sentiments, gift cards to favorite restaurants, my favorite chocolate, a new book they thought I would enjoy, a cabin in the mountains rental comped, flowers, an edible arrangement, jewelry and many other items and of course cash. Tips are never expected but are certainly a welcomed surprise. But the best tip a doula can receive is you sharing with your friends about doulas, about her in particular and about our company. So, yes you can tip your doula. But sharing her name with others- sharing with your care provider how much you thought of having her with you, writing a letter of recommendation for this blog or on a facebook page, those are fabulous tips. Sharing pictures that were taken of her “in action” since she is usually the one with the camera, is a fabulous gift! And remembering us is also a wonderful tip- sending us a holiday card with pictures of “our” babies each year, and inviting us back for the next baby is the biggest tip of all! Tips can come in many delightful ways!

 

You asked for it, so we are doing it! An ITP Central location for our meetings!

 

You are invited to attend a monthly introductory tea of the Labor of Love Women. We will be meeting on the second Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is a great time for couples to casually meet each doula. We show a short video and then introduce the company’s services. Each specialist will have a chance to be introduced and say a little something about the area with which she is involved within the company. This presentation is less than an hour. Then there will be a time to ask questions, mingle and informally meet all of the women of love that work with Labor of Love Doula and Childbirth Services, Inc.

We have childbirth educators, labor and postpartum doulas, lactation specialists, massage therapists, placenta encapsulators and also have apprentice doulas that would love to meet you. This is a couple event, so please bring your partner if they would like to meet us as well. If you want to come alone that is fine too. We do ask that you not bring children to this tea, but babes in arms are welcomed.

This is an opportunity of sorts to do informal interviews with each person within the company. It allows time for you to meet each one individually and decide if you would like to set up a formal interview or make plans to hire one of the ones you have met from this informal interview setting. There is no obligation on your part at all. Just come and see what we are all about and let us share our philosophy and services with you.

This meeting is free and open to any friends or family members that are also interested in hearing more about our services. Feel free to spread the word among your friends. We do ask that if at all possible, you send an email with your name, due date, phone number and location for your birth to Teresa to confirm your attendance a few days in advance.

Please visit our Calendar to see when our next classes will be held. For more information on classes or events call Delandra at 770-241-2078 or email her at info@alaboroflove.org.

Our NEW Location: Intown Community Church near the corner of LaVista and N Druid Hills- the recommended way to come in is via Clairmont to LaVista if coming from 85 since it has less traffic than N Druid Hills. It is on the same side as the shopping center- just a bit down from it. Come in the side entrance.

website: www.intown.org directions: http://www.mapquest.com/mq/5-OItpR*cp

RSVP via an email to Teresa as soon as possible, if you plan to attend.

For more information please contact Delandra at 770-241.2078 or Email her at info@alaboroflove.org.

“I am interested in hiring a labor doula. What do you need to know and what do I need to do next?”

First, you have made a great decision regarding including a labor doula at your birth. The studies show:

●        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

●        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

According to DONA these are the things that a doula provides:

●        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.

●        Helps 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

We provide a Monthly Meet and Mingle so you can attend to:

●        Meet all of the doulas and educators within our company

●        Have a chance to hear about our services

●        See a short video about doulas

●        Have an opportunity to mingle and talk to each doula who is of interest to you

●        Send us your due date, location for your birth and your phone number for our sign in if you plan to attend the tea.

When you contact our company we provide:

●        Contact information for each doula with fees associated with each doula in a packet of information

●        You can also email any doula by contacting her by using her first name@alaboroflove.org

If you are unable to come to the tea:

●        Call the doula who is of interest to you and chat to determine if she sounds like she may be a good fit

●        Set up an interview with the individual doulas who may match your needs

Once you determine the right doula for you:

●        Send in the last page of the labor doula agreement with the retainer

●        Contact the doula to let her know it is on its way to our office

●        Set up a prenatal with her if you to be done near your 36-week mark

●        Put a reminder on your calendar to send in the final payment to reach our office by the beginning of the 38th week

Stay in touch with your doula:

●        We love to get emails about your pregnancy progress

●        We love to assist you with questions of a non-medical nature to help you have a smoother journey

●        We love to hear your desires and dreams for your birth

●        We love to have you visit our blog and read information that may help you in your pregnancy, labor and postpartum period

●        We love to have you sign up for classes we offer and hear about the classes you are taking

●        We love to share and offer input on books that you may find helpful in gathering more information

“I am interested in hiring a postpartum doula, what is the next step?” Most of the labor doula ideas are the same for a postpartum doula.

According to DONA these are the things that a postpartum doula provides:

●        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

When considering a postpartum doula:

●        Where you live is important as some doulas do not go to all areas

●        What hours are you considering needing

●        What days of the week are you desiring

●        We do not provide overnight care since a postpartum doula “mothers the mother” and night time care is really being a night time nanny- we believe if a mom is taken good care of during the day, she can handle her nights

●        We do provide night care for moms with special needs- postpartum depression issues, surgical births or multiples if it is needed

How and when do you hire a postpartum doula:

●        Ideally, we like to be hired prior to the birth of your baby, but often times couples do not anticipate a need until after the baby has arrived

●        Setting up an interview where she comes to your home is helpful although you can also hire a postpartum doula at the Meet the Doula Teas

●        You mail the agreement with the retainer that pays for the first 5 hours and contact the doula to set up the times you need if your baby has already arrived

●        Each week you receive an e-bill to alert you to the hours worked and the balance that is to be paid each week for her services

●        You mail this to our office, it delays things if you give it to the doula herself

●        If you have hired a doula prior to your baby’s arrival, contact her after you have had the baby and let her know the baby has arrived and when you want her to come

●        Ideally, we need a 48-hour notice on both when you want the doula to arrive as well as if you need to reschedule her arrival on a prescribed time

“I am interested in some classes you offer. What is my next step?”

●        Preparing for your birth, for being a parent and for breastfeeding is an essential step.

●        Information is power and preparing for a new event gives you valuable information

●        Our classes are very hands-on with not only information but how to put that information into practice

●        We offer a variety of classes to choose from based on your needs

●         How do you find out about our specific classes and when they are offered:

●        Our online calendar on our website is updated frequently. You can access it at http://alaboroflove.org/calendar.html

●        You can contact us to get the informational packet which has a list of our current classes, dates, and prices

●        We offer childbirth classes that are done in a group setting on two different days and times and also a 2-weekend immersion. For those who just can not get into a group session, we do offer private classes held in our class spaces in three different locations around town We also offer a Birthing Again class for repeat birthers who took some type of class the previous pregnancy.

●        We offer several specialty types of classes and most are held at least quarterly.

●        How do I get signed up?  Email us for an informational packet and fill our the class agreement and send payment for the class to hold your spot

“I still have questions. Who and how do I contact someone?”

Delandra Vinson is the owner of Labor of Love Doula and Childbirth Services. You can call her at 770.241.2078 or email her at info@alaboroflove.org. Also visit our main facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Laboroflovedoulaandchildbirth to enjoy a great community full of information!  Thanks!

Do you consider yourself the consumer, the client when you are hiring your physician? Do you feel they need to listen to you and help you have the birth you want? When did we as women give our rights to choose the birth experience we want to achieve on someone who is not in labor? When policies do not make sense- are not evidenced based- are not open to being changed based on you as an individual but instead are based on what fits their schedules the best- when will you speak up? I wish every woman would take back her birth. I wish she would educate herself early on to what her options are. I wish she would take an early pregnancy class to understand how to select a care provider that is right for her.  And the question I would begin with – is to have a mom tell her doctor what an ideal birth experience would be like and then ask,

“How will you be helping me to facilitate that experience?”

If they are clueless or simply dismissive, walk out then! They should be honest about what they can do. They should be willing to help you. They should be willing to give you names of childbirth educators and doulas who they know will help you on that journey to an ideal birth. If they can not do that- why are you giving them your money? Remember you are the consumer. If you demand it, they will provide it. Money speaks. The way we will change birth is to quit giving money to those who are not supporting us in our journeys.

Dollar-sign

I was Melody’s doula for her daughter’s birth. Abigail was my 415th baby to be a doula for. But I have known Melody’s mom since I was 17, so she is a special doula client for sure. I heard her talk about the Korean traditions she was involved in being married to a Korean man. I loved hearing of the story of Tae-gyo. I asked her to share the story in this guest blog!

“Be sure to be careful,” my mother-in-law said over the phone. “Think good thoughts, be peaceful.” Those few words were merely a hint at what I would learn over the next year – that Koreans treat pregnancy and birth differently from Americans.

A few weeks later my father-in-law e-mailed me information about Tae-gyo. Tae-gyo is a Korean word that literally means prenatal education. Koreans, you see, believe that everything that the mother does affects how the baby will turn out later in life. Thinking peaceful thoughts leads to a peaceful child. Studying a foreign language while pregnant leads to the child excelling at languages in school. My in-laws were thrilled that I was tutoring chemistry and calculus through my pregnancy. “That’s good Tae-gyo,” they said. “The baby will be smart because you do this.”

Everything, it seemed, boiled down to “Good Tae-gyo” and “Bad Tae-gyo” – eating whatever I was craving was good Tae-gyo; eating inferior food was bad Tae-gyo. My mother-in-law made sure that I only ate the most beautiful food. She would cut an apple for the family to eat, and pick out the most perfect slices to serve me. Once, when the family was eating cookies, I reached for half of a cookie because I wasn’t hungry enough to eat a whole one. But my mother-in-law reached out her hand to stop me. “No! You cannot eat a broken cookie! That’s bad Tae-gyo.”  Eating broken food would mean that the baby would be broken. In a similar manner, eating duck is discouraged (lest the baby have webbed feet), as well as chicken skin (baby’s skin won’t be smooth) and tofu (too likely to fall apart). I was also discouraged from watching any violence on TV. The family’s main focus over the nine months of pregnancy was to ensure a peaceful, happy, stimulating environment for me. I felt like a queen.

This attitude didn’t end with the birth of my daughter. Naturally, some of the focus shifted from me to her, but I was amazed at the attention Koreans pay to the mother during the postpartum period. In Korea, it is said that if a woman does not rest properly during the postpartum period, she will have a range of health problems when she is old, and so every care is given to see that the mother has a peaceful period of recovery. My mother-in-law stayed with us to help me with housework and baby care for the first three weeks. She encouraged me to do nothing more strenuous than wringing out a wash cloth, and she frequently told me that my only job was to rest, eat seaweed soup and hot soy milk, and nurse my daughter. I was encouraged to wear long sleeves to keep me warm, even though it was a hot Atlanta summer, and to not exert myself for at least 21 days. My mother-in-law frequently offered to take my daughter for an hour or two so I could rest.

The postpartum food of choice in Korea is seaweed soup. Koreans believe this soup encourages milk production, as well as helping the mother heal after labor. My mother-in-law fed me nothing but seaweed soup for the first week, and after that at least once a day for the rest of the time she stayed with us. She also served me hot soy milk (cold drinks are thought to be bad for a new mother’s health) and fresh fruit at most meals. I was served breakfast in bed for at least two weeks.

My mother-in-law was only able to stay with us for three weeks. But one hundred days after my daughter’s birth, my in-laws travelled back to our house for the traditional celebration called Baek-Il, which literally means 100 days. My father-in-law says that Koreans celebrate a baby’s one hundredth day because it marks one year after the baby’s conception. In Korea, that year in the womb is counted towards a person’s age, and so the hundred day celebration is like a first birthday party. And it was at this point that I noticed the change. For one full year, I had been treated like a queen because I carried and birthed their granddaughter. Now, the attention was shifted (as it should be) to her.

Most Americans are aware of the respect Asians show to the elderly, but I don’t think many are aware of the respect this culture pays to women during one of the most special times in their lives. I feel very lucky to have married into this wonderful culture, where pregnancy and childbirth are treated with such care.

Sometimes when I remind a mom who is due soon that she should be using the last weeks of her pregnancy for pampering, she thinks this is frivolous behavior. Pampering is a great preparation for birth! Here are the ideas and the benefits to each of these things that I suggest!

Resting, getting more sleep! Our bodies when we are almost due becomes in more need for sleep and rest. So listen to your body! If it says to call in to work for a rest day- do it! If you need an afternoon nap- take it! And although you are feeling the need to finish all of your last minute tasks, don’t! Go to bed early! Why? Fear and fatigue are the main reasons women who did not plan to get medication end up doing so in labor! So deal with your fear- but definitely don’t go to bed late to only wake up in a few hours in full labor and not have had any sleep. So, please listen to your body- your body and baby will appreciate you doing so!

Massage. Circulation improvement, muscle tension relief, round ligaments being softened so that the baby can position themselves beautifully, mind release… need I name more reasons? Really, come on now- if you are one of those folks who does not think they enjoy a good massage, there are different types of massage. Try something different! Watsu is a gentle water massage in a warm pool and is very passive- stretching and swirling and softening tight muscles. Shari Aizenman offer this in the metro area. KMI is my favorite- and everyone knows Harry Kramer is my go to man for keeping my body albe to be at births over and over! I see him once a month! This is a deeper, stretching massage but he caters to what your body is craving. And one of our doulas, Charlotte Scott offers energy body work that is a different approach as well. She has this magnificent table that offers music and rhythm as part of the experience in a unique way. She does more lymphatic massage when working on me and it is wonderful as well.

Chiropractic. I have a few favorite chiropractors. I think you should consider regular chiropractic care during your whole pregnancy- just like regular massages. Why? A well aligned body keeps the baby well aligned. Blood flow and your organs working at peak performance can only enhance your birth body! I think you should choose your chiropractor based on where will you go most- is it close to your work or is it close to your home- or are they open in the evening- whatever it is – make sure they are well versed in good alignment for the best birth body you can go into labor with! I enjoy going to see Leyla Cheveney in Lilburn and Danielle Drobbin in Midtown. But I must confess I need to go more often! Find the chiropractor you love and go!

Acupuncture. I have to say going to my acupuncturist is one of my favorite things to do. I love the environment of his space and his energy is contagious. I always leave feeling energized and whole. So, who does not need to feel energized and whole for labor? Two of my favorites include the gals at Intown Acupuncture but I have to say my acupuncturist is Gurusahay at GRD clinic. But in order to get the most benefit from acupuncture, go early in your pregnancy- don’t wait til you are in your final months! (more…)

I recently received an email with these questions and comments- and thought it would make a great blog article!

Hi there: I’m just at the beginning stages of considering a doula. I’m giving birth in a local hospital with a doctor . I have a couple of concerns and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion.  I’m thinking about hiring a doula because my mother and sisters don’t live in the United States.

 

We doula mostly in hospitals, although we love supporting women at home births as well. And often folks have family that either does not live close or they do not plan to include for a number of different reasons. Having a doula provides one more set of hands to support and certainly can act as a bit of information guidance along the way. Even with a sister or mother along for support, often women find a doula a wonderful addition to the labor support team.

 

I told my doctor I’d like to try to give birth without an epidural and she asked me if I would also have a root canal without anesthetic- which I wouldn’t. She also said since this is my first baby, it’s more likely to be long and difficult. So now my husband thinks I should have an epidural too. But I don’t want to give birth laying on my back etc.  (more…)