About Sara

My first child was born on Feb. 16th 2012 and my second is due January 2014. As I embark on my own breastfeeding adventure, I feel so lucky to be able to be a part of the breastfeeding blog world. For more about me read the About Us section of the blog! This blog is intended to be a place of inspiration and information. It is a place to share stories and ideas. I love hearing from you!

Momzelle Nursing News

Archive for the ‘Resources for moms-to-be’ Category

How to find a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I am on the hunt for a pediatrician.  As per usual I am a bit ahead of myself, I don’t have a baby just yet!  But when I give birth in February I want to have a good idea of who will be my child’s regular care giver.  I am new to this city and as I’ve been navigating through the obstetrician and hospital world, I am learning how important it is to be vocal and informed when making these kinds of decisions.


Before becoming so involved in the breastfeeding world, I wasn’t aware of how a doctor could in fact be a booby trap“.  This is a person of authority that we turn to when we are concerned about the most precious thing in our lives.  It is natural that we would listen to their advice without questioning.  This survey of members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a decade old but is shocking nonetheless!  “Although the AAP statement extensively documents the superiority of human milk, a startling 45% of surveyed pediatricians view breastfeeding and formula-feeding as equally acceptable methods of feeding. Another 17% aren’t sure.”

So how can we make sure our pediatrician or family doctor is going to be on the same breastfeeding page?

Here are a few things to do that can get us going in the right direction:

  • Figure out what your breastfeeding beliefs and goals are – How important is it to you to breastfeed and for how long?  Do you want to follow the WHO code to a tee or do you want to supplement and breastfeed from the get go?
  • Get Referrals – Ask your ob/gyn, midwife, lactation consultant, La Leche League, friends and family.  Ask people that will give you an honest opinion and who know what you are seeking in a doctor.
  • Do Research and Prepare Questions to Ask the Doctor - Arm yourself with the WHO code and other information that supports your beliefs.  Here are some questions to ask (for more questions see resources below):
    1) Whose breastfeeding recommendations do you subscribe to? Do you know the recommendations of health organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Department of Health, and UNICEF?
    2)  In what sort of circumstances would you recommend supplemental feedings, interruptions of breastfeeding and weaning from the breast?
    3)  Have you or anyone in your office had specific training in counseling breastfeeding mothers?
  • Have confidence and a positive attitude – Be respectful and responsive when conversing with your doctor.  It should feel like you are a team in the management of your child’s care.


I look forward to creating a bond with my child’s doctor.  I imagine that they will be a big part of our lives, especially in the first few years! 
How impacting was your family doctor or pediatrician on your breastfeeding adventure?

Here are some great resources (and the sources of my research):

iVillage

Baby Center

La Leche League International

 

Finding the right crowd…

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

As I prepare for the birth of my first child, I am realizing how important it is to be surrounded by like-minded, supportive people (which seems obvious, but it really just occurred to me on a profound level!). I have read lots of books, scoured the internet for information, and joined pregnancy newsletters. I have developed ideas and beliefs about birth that I didn’t have pre-pregnancy.

I want to be so involved and pro-active in the delivery and birth process, so I am seeking out as much information as I can. This weekend, my husband and I went to childbirth preparation class at a yoga studio that I found online. Here is where the obvious statement of my first sentence hit me profoundly. This class was perfect for me! I practice yoga (not quite as regularly as I’d like…) and am a big believer in the mind-body connection it encourages. The instructor spoke about relaxation, breathing, movement and touch. Connecting these ideas to giving birth makes so much sense to me. I loved every minute it of it. To top off the experience, at the end of the workshop our instructor promptly tandem breastfed her 15 month old twins. Amazing!

I have just arrived in a new city. I am lucky to know quite a few people already, but I don’t know any pregnant or new moms. I don’t know anyone who desires the same kind of birth I do and I don’t know anyone currently breastfeeding.  To achieve my birth and breastfeeding goals, I see many a mom’s groups and la leche league meetings in my future! I need some mom friends…

Where did you find a group of supportive, like-minded women?  Did they help shape your perspective of parenting?

New mom must haves! What is on your list?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Here at Momzelle we are preparing for the upcoming Baby Time Show in Toronto.  It is one of three trade shows we do every year.    I have worked the booth a few times in the past, but this year is going to be different for me.  This year I will be seven months pregnant at the show.  This year I will be looking for more than the snack bar when I weave in and out of the aisles!

Trade shows are quite exciting!  Everything from big box stores to innovative entrepreneurs, all in the same place.  There are so many products out there for the new mom.

As I near the third trimester, the planning stage is kicking in.  What do I really need? And what do I want?  Aside from my collection of Momzelle tops, what items are new mom necessities?  The list is long and confusing.  We live in a small apartment!  Here is a funny blog from Baby Center about new mom products, comparing them to what our parents had!

What are your essential new mom items or products?  And what ended up collecting dust?

This mom-to-be needs your advice!

 

 

What’s in a name?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

We have passed the half way mark!  I am twenty four weeks pregnant now.  Although I feel like we have a long way to go, I am in planning mode.  What kind of stroller should we get? Disposable or cloth diaper?  Do I go with a sling or a carrier?  All of these things seem far less important than the simple task of naming our child.  Oh, but it is not so simple!  I feel a bit overwhelmed having the power to name a person.  It is a big responsibility.
We want to be surprised with the gender so we have to have two names at the ready on delivery day.  My husband and I have thrown around a few names and have actually agreed on most!  Maybe this won’t be so hard…

I have some particular criteria:

We would like the name to be French, but easy for the anglophone to pronounce (my husband is from Quebec and I’m the anglophone).  I have always loved French names, but I don’t want to mispronounce my own child’s name!  It’s a bit tricky.

I would like it to be popular but not that common.  I was always one of four Sarah’s in my class.  My name was “Sara without an H” for ten years!  I don’t need it to be completely original, though.  While I appreciate interesting names, I think the person brings character to any name.

Well, that is really my only criteria.  This should be a breeze…

When choosing a name, did you tell people your ideas before your little one came? I am finding that I do blurt out my ideas to friends and family and on more than one occasion I have had a name nixed by someone.  ”Oh, I knew a Sophie and she was a real so and so”.  Names are so personal!

Where did you find ideas for names? I have looked online, in books, asked family (the french side!) and taken ideas from my personal life.  My favourite name of the moment, for a girl, is from my favourite movie.

 

International Babywearing Week!!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I love how there is a week for just about everything these days.  Here is one I look forward to celebrating when I have my little one (due in February); International Babywearing Week!  This year it is being held this week, Oct. 10th-16th.

I am really looking forward to “wearing” my baby.  I was always stealing my nieces from my sister anytime she took out her sling or carrier.  I love the closeness and functionality of it.

I’m looking for the perfect sling/wrap/carrier.  Any suggestions!?  I want to be able to breastfeed easily, have lots of back support, and the two of us to be very comfortable.  From my research, I think I want a wrap for the first few months, then a carrier around 6+ months.

What is your favourite baby sling/wrap/carrier?

Desiring a Doula

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I am in research mode.  I have hit twenty-two weeks in my pregnancy and I am devouring any and all information I can to help me with my plan to have a natural childbirth.  I have discovered that I want a doula.

Here is the role of a birth doula from DONA International:

  • 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, as well as helping 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

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.  That sounds good to me!

It seems imperative to have a doula in my situation: wanting a natural birth in a hospital.  A doula can help me make informed decisions in the moment, based on my true desires.  Ideally, I would like to be in a birthing center with a midwife (I’m on a few waiting lists…), but I feel confident that if everything is going well in my labour that I can have an intervention-free birth in a hospital.  I just have to be prepared.  That is why my husband and I have asked my mother to take on the role of our doula.  Luckily for me, my mother has recently trained to be one!  I was going to have her in the room anyway!  But, trust me, she is going to be my doula, not my mother in this instance.

A postpartum doula provides service to the family after the birth.  The role of a postpartum doula is to “do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable.” – DONA International.  This extra support could be instrumental in making the transition from couple to family.  I am making sure my mom sticks around for a few days!

Did you have a birth doula? How would you describe her role in your labour and delivery?

Did you have a postpartum doula?  What kind of things did she do?

DONA International Birth Doula FAQ’s

DONA International Postpartum Doula FAQ’s

The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets every pregnant woman should know by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman

Gender Loving Care?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Earlier this week, I read a blog post by Alpha Parent called Who is best to parent?  Boys or girls? It is an excellent article designed to help people who are dealing with gender disappointment.  I am twenty weeks pregnant and my husband and I have decided to keep the gender a surprise until delivery day.  This is our first child and I can honestly say that I will be thrilled with whatever we are blessed with; a boy or a girl.  It’s cliche, but I just hope for a healthy, happy baby.

The idea of gender disappointment does linger in the air though.  I’ve already heard comments from friends and family such as “I’m sure you’d love a boy to play hockey with” to my husband.  Will he be disappointed if the house is overflowing with pink things?  I admit that I feel I would be much more capable of raising a girl.  I don’t have brothers or nephews.  There are barely any boys in my family.  I feel unprepared.  But I also feel up to the challenge and part of me wants the uniqueness of having the first boy in the family!

Gender disappointment is a topic that I think needs to be discussed.  In my research, I read many stories of women who are dealing with it.  There was much talk of guilt and shame, keeping it to themselves and being afraid to love their child.  Though it doesn’t affect us all, I think it is much more common than it is talked about.  There are cultural and societal pressures regarding gender that can easily consume us.

So how do you cope with gender disappointment?  How do you overcome it? I think reading the above mentioned post is a good start!  It lists 100 benefits of raising each gender.  It is fascinating and will hopefully lend perspective to those who have lost it.  I think it is important to acknowledge your feelings.  Communicate with your spouse, doctor and/or someone you trust and work through your emotions.  Many people are insensitive to the issue and can only make you feel worse.

Did you face gender disappointment?  How did you deal with it?  What are your best resources that you want to share with other mom?  This is a safe and non-judging place.  All feelings are valid.

Here are some resources I found:
Secretly Sad: Overcoming Gender Disappointment

Help for those suffering from gender disappointment

The Birth Plan – Breastfeeding and Beyond

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Most of my readers, I assume, are already breastfeeding mothers.  I would love your help and advice on this post’s topic!

Did you write a birth plan? I plan on writing one.  I am having a hospital birth because the waiting lists for midwives is long and lonely in Montreal (to be fair, we just moved here and I didn’t get on the list until I was already eight weeks pregnant).  So far, I have had one visit with my new doctor and felt very comfortable with her.  The hospital has a great breastfeeding policy, in accordance with the World Health Organization.  They also implement the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, although I don’t think they are accredited by Unicef.  I admit that in my first visit the actual birth (and therefore my ideas of what I want) didn’t come up.  I didn’t bring them up.  I have my second appointment next week and I am going to make sure I begin the conversation.  I am sixteen weeks pregnant and I don’t think it’s too early. I believe that the more I talk with my doctor, the more she’ll understand my needs.

This will be my first child, but I feel lucky that I already have a few birth experiences.  I was in the delivery room when both my nieces were born.  My sister had midwives for both births.  The insight of watching my sister be fully in control of her experience was eye-opening.  Her midwives were gentle guides, but my sister was the boss.  Up until her pregnancy I was under the belief that you just go to the hospital and do what the professionals tell you!

I don’t want to make out like I think hospitals, doctors and nurses are barbaric goons that want to pull my baby out with forceps because their shift ends in ten minutes, but there is a reality to just allowing routine hospital practices to be performed during births (see the slightly sensational video below).  I’m not ready to have a home birth.  Although low risk home births are just as safe with a midwife as low-risk hospital births, I want to be in a hospital with professionals there to take care of baby and me if something goes wrong.  If something goes wrong…  If all is going normal and naturally as our bodies are designed, than I want to have limited (no!) medical intervention.

So I am going to write a birth plan.  I am going to put as much detail as I can and be sure that my husband and my mother (a trained doula, who will be in the room with me) know what I want and will act as my voice when I am in the throes of labour kindly requesting drugs!

My birth experience will directly impact the first few moments and minutes, hours and weeks with my new baby.  I realize my birth plan will have to be flexible, but more importantly it has to be written.  I want to breastfeed.  I want to have a natural childbirth.   My birth plan is my way of supporting myself!

This is a very intersting short documentary posted on www.thebirthingsite.com about the topic.  It definitely promotes home births and birthing centres, but the bottom line is that it promotes empowerment.  We have rights and choices when it comes to our bodies and our babies.  Knowledge is power!

Did you write a birth plan?  How did having one (or not having one) affect your birth experience?
I would love to hear stories!
~Sara @ Momzelle

Here are other resources:
Writing a Birth Plan

Top Ten DO’s for writing your birth plan

Know your options

 

The most popular breastfeeding books

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I like to be prepared.  I am fourteen weeks pregnant and I want to buff up on my breastfeeding knowledge.  Call me old fashioned, but I love curling up with a book and so rather than gather all my information sitting in front of a computer screen I am looking for the best breastfeeding books out there.  Of course, I sat in front of the computer to research this idea :P  I also asked friends and family to recommend their favourites.  Here is what I have come up with:

 

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, by Dr. Jack Newman.  My sister went to his clinic in Toronto and is a big fan.

 

 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, from La Leche League International.  The LLL has such a great reputation and is a trustworthy source.

 

The Breastfeeding Book: Everything you need to know about nursing your child from birth through weaning, by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears.  Martha Sears had eight children, enough said.

 

These seem to be the most popular, best-selling breastfeedng books.
Now, I hope they are in my local library!
Were these books helpful for you?  Were there any other books that helped you in your breastfeeding adventure?  I’d love to hear about them!
~ Sara @ momzelle

New resource for parents and wanna-be-parents in Toronto

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Hello! I had the great pleasure to meet Natasha Marchand about one year ago at one of Toronto’s Baby and me fitness class. She was giving a cardio-fitness class to a group of pregnant ladies and I came in to lead a discussion beforehand about breastfeeding (that is how the Baby and me fitness classes work: 30 min. of discussion/sharing before the physical activities start). Natasha was fabulous: soft, well spoken, the kind of person you meet and who instantly makes you feel relaxed and whole. As a doula and Hypno birth instructor, she partnered up with three other fabulous women to start a business called Bebo Mia. They offer all kinds of services to new parents and wanna-be-parents in the GTA. If you’re in Toronto, looking for a doula, for a yoga class, or for fertility and parenting advice, I recommend looking them up.