If there’s one thing the experts agree is guaranteed about pregnancy and birth, it is that “it will likely be very different from whatever you might be imagining.” This is Julia Bower, a CNM (certified nurse midwife) in Austin, Texas. Bower has delivered over 800 babies in her over her twenty-plus-year career. In case you are unfamiliar, certified nurse midwives like Bower are health care professionals who have a graduate degree in midwifery and have passed a certifying exam. Certified nurse midwives (as well as certified professional midwives, though they don’t necessarily have a degree) are licensed by their state* to provide much of the same care as ob-gyns and are experts in low-risk births.
We asked Bower to give us her unfiltered play-by-play of childbirth.
Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them.
These days, our culture sends a strong message about the benefits of breastfeeding. Many moms feel proud when breastfeeding is going well — like they have passed their first important test of motherhood with flying colors. That being said, not every woman can or wants to breastfeed, and it’s my opinion that the outcomes for babies who are formula fed may be academic, but in real life are imperceptible. Breastfeeding is not nature’s way of testing your abilities as a mother, and formula feeding is certainly not any indication of failure or insufficiency.
Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them. Though some find that it comes easily, most women say that breastfeeding involves a learning curve. It can take days or weeks for you and your baby to find your way.
The majority of women admit to me that, even when it works, breastfeeding is also really hard.
(click link at the top to continue reading on medium.com)
Idaho and Utah recently joined the party, meaning that parents in every state can legally breastfeed in public.
Over the years, stories of people who have been asked to leave restaurants or other public places because someone complained about the way they fed their babies have made headlines, prompting outcry from advocates and providing fodder for debate among the masses.
Prior to states passing laws, there was little recourse for parents in such incidents. In fact, breastfeeders could be cited and fined for public indecency if a law enforcement officer responded to a complaint in some situations.
These laws were not passed without controversy — in fact, Utah’s almost didn’t make it past committee.
Utah’s Breastfeeding Protection Act passed the House Business and Labor Committee by the narrowest of margins in February, with a 6-5 vote in favor. Sponsored by Rep. Justin Fawson, the bill states that breastfeeding is legal “in any place of public accommodation.” The original bill also clarified that it didn’t matter whether the breast was covered or uncovered.
(click to read the entire article on upworthy.com)
For a growing contingent of moms-to-be, doulas have become just as essential to the childbirth experience as taking omega-3s and getting down with hip-opening yoga squats. There’s a good reason for that—studies have shown that by enlisting the help of these trained pregnancy pros, mothers are more likely to deliver healthy-weight babies and successfully breastfeed, while being half as likely to experience birth complications.
So what, exactly, does a doula do? “A doula provides a constant presence of emotional support, education, advocacy, cheerleading, and hands-on guidance for expectant mothers and couples as they approach and enter into the birth process,” explains Well+Good Council member and Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas, who says client Rebecca Minkoff refers to her as “a producer for your birth.” And if that sounds like the kind of ally you could use outside the delivery room—say, when it comes to your side-hustle or your dating life—many modern doulas are ready and willing to assist with that, too.
(click link at top to read the entire post on wellandgood.com)
“THE notion that nothing good happens after midnight does not seem to apply to times of birth. Around the world the peak hours for vaginal births that have not been induced by drugs fall between 1am and 7am; the numbers then dwindle throughout the rest of the day. This has led many scientists to believe that giving birth during the early morning offers some sort of evolutionary advantage, perhaps gained long ago when hunter-gatherer mothers and their infants would benefit from having their group reunited during the small hours to help with care and to defend them against any predators.
The problem with this theory is that almost all the information on the timing of human births comes from modern, urban settings, such as clinics and hospitals, which could produce artificial conditions that skew the variation in timings. Not so, it turns out. As Carlye Chaney of Yale University shows in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, early-morning births are common to communities with both modern and traditional lifestyles.”
(click link at top to read this fascinating article on economist.com)
(click link to read this really important piece on thecut.com)
I’m lying awake, gazing at the gentle rise and fall of my 3-month-old’s chest. He’s a delicate infant, constantly surprising me with his smallness, like his sister did when she was born four years earlier. In recent weeks, my son has begun stretching out the number of minutes between nursing sessions. He can go for two hours without eating now, or two and a half if I’m lucky. This means I have more of a chance to sleep, at least in short spurts. But every time I drift off, I jolt awake in a sweaty panic.
I am on high alert all the time these days. I tell myself that this panicky feeling is normal — I have a new(ish) baby, after all. But it doesn’t feel normal. I have constant visions of my son suffocating in the night. I think of waking up to his cold body. I spend nights imagining a thousand unlikely, tragic things that could happen to him.