The Beauty of Breastfeeding

The Beauty of Breastfeeding

I love breastfeeding my infant (he’s 4 months old). It brings me an almost zen-like feeling to watch him grow and know that it’s my body nourishing him. Breastfeeding also causes me to slow down, to set my internal clock slower and move to my baby’s rhythm. When I have had to be away from him and I’m only pumping, I always feel like there is something missing. I can get very caught up in whatever I am doing and start going at the adult grown-up pace. This does not jive with the time experience of babies. They are slower and (I believe) experience the passage of time differently than we do. Breastfeeding causes me to slow down and reconnect with my baby at different points during the day. It is my time to check in with him and really feel how he is doing. Does he look like he’s coming down with something, has he been a little grumpy, is he in a happy mood? These are all things that I read by my baby’s cues. I also feel that I am much more intuned with him and all the oxytocin flowing between the two of us I fall in love all over again. Studies have been done that show that when mothers and babies stare in each other’s eyes and engage in back and forth communication that both of their brain wave patterns move in synch with one another! (crazy right?) You and your baby are literally in synch with one another…if only we could do that more with teenagers…but I digress. The mother-baby dyad is an...
Shiphrah and Puah…

Shiphrah and Puah…

The earliest documentation of African midwifery can be found in the book of Exodus I verses; 15-21 dated 1500 BC; … And the King of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah. And he said, “When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but it be a daughter, then she shall live”. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the King commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the King called for the midwives, and said unto them, “Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive”? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered before the midwives come in unto them.” Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. and it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. *Taken from Sarahn Henderson’s Essay, “The Cauling of Midwife: A historical journey of Midwifery through the hands of midwives of African descent.”*   Read More About Shiphrah and...

The Four Words I HATE the Most in Birthwork…

“I won’t let you...” These are the four words that I hate the most in birth work. If your provider starts throwing out this phrase often, then chances are you will not have the birth that you desire… It is YOUR body and YOUR birth. Too often in this society we are taught to blindly accept what we are told by doctors without question. No doctor, midwife, nurse, etc. is the be all end all. Maybe something you want during your birth might not be a good idea or maybe there is something that your provider is not able to do within the limitations of the hospital or birth center. But that should be a discussion between you both-not a blanket statement of what they will/will not allow you to do. With my daughter, I initially sought out another OB to attempt my VBAC. Many OB’s were open to “allowing” me to  try a VBAC but they all came with parameters… -“I will only let you go to 38 weeks and then we will induce labor.” -“If I see your second baby is getting bigger than the first, then I will have to do a c-section.” -“You will have to get a sonogram every week after 32 weeks so we can monitor the baby size.” These types of responses are what led me to seeking out a midwife and having my daughter vaginally and un-medicated. My labor with her was so long, I truly think I would have ended up with another c-section in a hospital setting. People forget that they have ownership over their own body. Don’t let someone else...
Melanin, A Map for Birth…

Melanin, A Map for Birth…

So, I have been taking some A-mazing classes about birth…really I don’t know where to begin with all the new knowledge that I have acquired on the things that happen to us as women giving birth.  We studied the endocrine system this weekend in relation to what happens when a women is pregnant. One of the hormones that is increased is melanin. You now, that stuff that makes brown people, brown :). Well, let’s think about what turns dark in a pregnant women. Typically, she develops a linea negra down the midline of her stomach, her areolas around her nipples darken and sometimes the area around her cheeks and mouth darken into what is commonly referred to as “pregnancy mask” or  “the mask of pregnancy”. Let’s now stop for a minute and think about the newborn baby. What do we know about their sight at birth? We know that they can only see bright contrasts. Not really any color. Their most prominent sense, is the sense of smell. Smell is the only one of our senses that is connected directly to the brain, in fact it is directly connected to the limbic system in our brain. The limbic system is one of the oldest parts of our brains and is often referred to as the emotional seat of our brain. In fact, our body will have a physiological response to smell before we even register it on a conscious level! But I digress… So we have this amazing little newborn (not as helpless as we think!) hardwired when they come out and when they are put on mom’s abdomen...