Devils Workshop

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

Health, Home, and Happiness: Being Informed About Childbirth, Breastfeeding, and Babies

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Being Informed About Childbirth, Breastfeeding, and Babies

To start this off, I'd like to note that I'm just a mom. I certainly don't have all the answers, but these are the things that I think are important to look into. As with everything, you can't blindly follow anyone for you or your child's well being.

It's up to you as the parent to look into everything for yourself and make the decisions that are best for you and your family. That said, here is some information that I have found to be important to know, but not generally presented as normal. If you don't agree, don't worry, we can still be friends ~grin~

There's even more that I wanted to cover, but I don't think I'm going to have time. So here's what I was able to get down while my toddler was napping and 9 month old was nursing


I was surprised what a difference a good prenatal vitamin made for me. I tried using Walmart prenatals with my first (ack!) but used a good quality whole foods one with my second and it made a huge difference. Read about it here.

Please be informed about standard prenatal care. Knowing what mainstream doctors do ahead of time is important so you can make informed decisions, not just be railroaded into what is 'normal'. Here is a timeline. Before I was pregnant, when I was researching what I wanted to do as far as prenatal visits go, I methodically went line by line down what was 'normally' done in America. And I became educated on what I wanted to skip (like the quad screen and amnio), what I could do myself (blood pressure, urine dips if necessary, fetal heart rate), and what I would need to be on the watch for (including, but not limited to, signs of preeclampsia, baby movement, growth).

I ended up doing it all myself, but I wouldn't hesitate to seek help if something out of the range of normal presented itself. Because I was educated on what was normal and what wasn't, I was at peace and didn't have to wonder what was going on with my body and depend on a doctor to tell me what was up.

I check my own cervix for dilation out of curiosity, check fundal height, monitor blood pressure, baby's heart rate... It's all easy enough to learn to do on your own and it's nice and reassuring to be able to check it when you want, especially with the fetal heart rate- no more panic attacks if the baby hasn't moved in a couple hours. We use a fetoscope, though I did borrow a doppler to use during my second birth since it's hard to pay attention to the fetoscope when in the middle of labor.


Risks associated with a hospital birth Unfortunately, many moms don't know what they don't know about hospital policies and how they can actually harm mothers and babies. If you're set on a hospital birth, please read and be informed. And have someone else (a doula maybe?) equally informed about your wishes, to help you have the safest experience possible. I'm not completely against hospital births, I just want moms to be aware that there is a lot of bureaucracy in hospital birthing, and there is lots that they will say is a hospital rule that isn't best for you or the baby.

Though many hospitals don't allow it (due to a very minute risk of aspiration during an emergency c-section), eating during labor is very important for a laboring mom and I believe the benefits highly outweigh the risks. I keep honey on hand in with my birth supplies and force myself to eat some every hour, even if I don't want to. Childbirth Today goes over the evidence here.

Science and Sensibility covers many more issues that are pertinent to healthy pregnancy and birth

Childbirth Today again goes over the evidence that indicates that an upright position is best to labor in. Using gravity to help bring the baby down is best for mom, best for baby. While many hospitals claim that they allow laboring in all positions, mandatory fetal monitoring and IVs do not make it easy to do so.

Enjoy Birth has a great article about the dangers of routine hospital procedures like IVs, fetal monitoring, and routine induction. I learned in my research that so many routine hospital procedures are based on outdated information and are not evidence based.

When we were researching our birthing options, I was surprised to find that I think that unlicensed midwives are better for what I need than licensed ones. With the licensing comes state control of your birth, so if whoever gives out the licenses has outdated information, the midwife is obligated to follow those rules rather than what the need of the mother and child is.

Questions to ask your care provider. Suppose you're not totally sold on the whole homebirth/midwife thing yet. I would encourage you to ask your care provider (hospital midwife, doctor, or certified nurse midwife) an extensive list of questions, all that are very applicable to a safe birth. Then, I would encourage you to call a local homebirth midwife in your area (or a few- start with the one who sounds the best to you over the phone when you ask about a consultation) and ask the same questions. Most, if not all, homebirth midwives give free consultations, so this shouldn't be a problem.

An interview with Kim, Why do I need a Doula?


Our interview here with Jess from Breastfeeding Basics. She talks about challenges that new mothers face, especially ones specific to our modern culture.

An interesting article, The Language of Breastfeeding, I came across a while back about how to change your language to indicate that breastfeeding is normal rather than subtly indicate that artificial human milk replacement is normal.

Wondering about iron deficiency in your breast fed baby? The Nourished Kitchen has a post on it. For us, we just watch for external signs of iron deficiency (paleness, lethargy) and our doctor is comfortable with that. We don't do any blood draws to test.

Kellymom is a great resource to quickly check if a medication or herb is okay for breastfeeding, and for different breastfeeding problems and solutions.

Mastitis is an infection that occurs occasionally during breastfeeding. I got it for the first time with my second baby, when he was 8 months old. Here's the research on natural treatments for mastitis that I did.

Baby Care

Car Seat information- We choose to keep our children rear-facing as long as possible, then we'll keep them in 5-point harnesses as long as possible. Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a child's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash. There is research to suggest that a child forward facing is 5 times more likely to die in an auto accident than a child rear facing. Please check out the Kyle David Miller Foundation's web page, it has really great information about how to protect your child in the car. At the least, just know that 'legal' doesn't mean safe. Just because it's legal to turn your child forward facing at 12 months/20 lbs does not mean that's the safest option for your child.

Introducing solids- this is how we introduce solids, we do it really slowly. Please keep in mind also, though, that I produce enough milk easily to do this, and my children thrive on it for 12 months. This might not be best for all families

A Vaccination disclaimer for your doctor to fill out, I highly doubt they ever would. I'd love to go more into vaccinations, but I think that might take an entire year. Again, please just be informed of the real risks of the vaccines, as well as risks of the diseases, how common the diseases are, and how they are *really* spread (ie tetanus isn't spread by rusty nails, it's in cattle manure. And the tetanus vaccine is one of the most toxic ones). To research vaccines, I started by looking each disease up on the CDC website, and was alarmed to find out that they aren't as deadly as we've been conditioned to believe. I actually started researching vaccines attempting to write a paper statistically (with statistics, not just people's opinions) proving that vaccines were necessary. I couldn't do it.

Vaccination Article, my friend Rachel found this.  And an article on how we research vaccines.

We chose not to circumcise. If you thought this was a given and that everyone did it, please visit just to be informed. I fully support circumcision for religious reasons, but even then, how Jesus was likely circumcised as a Jew on the 8th day was much different than the modern routine circumcision done by doctors after birth. A video of modern medical circumcision- not happening for my baby.

And, I've found that I need to educate everyone who might change my son's diaper on how to care for an intact boy. You don't want to retract! And many many people think that you have to.  And please be informed! Circumcision causes more deaths than chocking does in the entire 0-10 age group on a yearly basis.

Cloth diapering: Green Mountain Diapers is my favorite cloth diapering website. Their prefolds are nice and thick, and the whole website is very informative. I used PUL covers with my daughter, but my son is sensitive to any kind of synthetic, so we use wool soakers over prefolds for him.

Unexpected causes of diaper rash: Diaper rashes aren't always from not being changed often enough, sometimes kids are sensitive to the diapers themselves.

Sam had baby eczema when he was little, and still gets it at 9 months if I have too much dairy in my diet. Here's what we did to eliminate his baby eczema quickly and without steroids.

Babywearing: I use a pouch sling for easy in-out of lighter babies, in the cradle hold as newborns and on my hip when they get older and can sit upright. The Ergo on my back, it's super comfortable, and the mei tai on my front to nurse in or on my back for them to sleep in. My baby likes the mei tai the best, it must be most comfortable. I made it so it comes up high enough to support his head when he falls asleep.


Have a link that applies? Leave me a comment and I'll put it up!

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I found this blog through Nourishing Gourmet carnival & then realized you were the same person as on Keepers blog! Ha! Great blog post. Lots of great info for moms. We practice a lot of what you wrote about!
Jessica O.

August 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Found you on....oh...birth revolution? I think.

Anyway, loved your list. Thanks for sharing.

August 31, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Cara, I am absolutely amazed that you have written all that you have. You impress me. Nice post- lots of links, that's great!

November 18, 2009 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Pure Mothers said...

I just found your blog. Can we be friends? :-) I love your POV on all of these topics. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and helping women to make more informed choices.

April 10, 2010 at 5:40 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home