Do you think having a baby-feeding plan would help you to be more successful in meeting your breastfeeding goals? I think, indeed, a feeding plan is not going to let you down!
As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in Regina, I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked "why don't you teach a class?". In consults, I get told all the time, the info I give at consults should be given prenatally. I didn't disagree, I just was busy with life - kids and clients and was relying on the local health region to fill that spot. I have taught breastfeeding for years informally at the end of all my childbirth classes and with doula clients, but now the time has some for Your Breastfeeding Experience! No more relying on someone else to do this class and get this information into your hands before you have your baby!
In this 2 hour class we look at what you envision breastfeeding to be like, we will explore the breastfeeding lifestyle & prepare for your breastfeeding experience. This is solid, practical ways to explore what YOU think about breastfeeding, to examine preconceived ideas you have. We look at your personality style and how that affects breastfeeding, and figure out your why with breastfeeding. Everyone has different outlooks on breastfeeding and has their own unique path to take.
It wouldn't be a breastfeeding class without the anatomy & physiology of breastfeeding, with facts and not myths. We will explore how breastfeeding works, what influences outcomes. We will discuss navigating your early breastfeeding experience while considering your birth location and care provides. Your options will be discussed so you have a good understanding of what to expect, what to do if you don't get what you are expecting and how to get back on course, if you get off course. At the end of the class, ultimately you will have what you need to make a baby-feeding plan and how the info and skills to communicate that plan to the appropriate people.
There will also be lots of tips and tools for success & a take home breastfeeding parent guide/workbook!
If you would like to join us for the next Your Breastfeeding Experience class register now!
Today we celebrated breastfeeding with the help of Evolution Fitness. They were the first to answer my call to action!
“I thought I’d be absolutely fine ... I thought I’d just get on with it and it would be easy really ... (but) people were really shocked by the fact that you’re breastfeeding in public. I kind of felt like I didn’t care, but I did care a lot, and it was really difficult ... I just found it really stressful, really embarrassing, really horrible” (Boyer, 2012, p557).
Breastfeeding is universally acknowledged as the normal, expected way for an infant to get nutrition in the early months and years. Despite strong recommendations from the World Health Organization and essentially every national health body in the world, breastfeeding rates, and in particular exclusive breastfeeding rates at six months, remain lower than recommended around the world. Health survey data Canada found a breastfeeding initiation rate of 87.3% and a six month exclusive breastfeeding rate of 25.9% in 2009-2010.
We live in a complex world and as such, breastfeeding in our complex world comes with challenges. There are themes across all groups of women regardless of age, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. It is important to view breastfeeding not simply as a technical task, which is where most of my time is spent helping breastfeeding mothers, but it truly is as an important part of the transition to motherhood. This transition into motherhood is so vital and is a driving force into my I desire to support women in getting breastfeeding off to as goos of a start as possible. Who wants to transition into motherhood on the wrong foot? Women’s breastfeeding decisions are made in relation to the circumstances of her life, her sociocultural context and her individual experiences such as how much support she has at her disposal. There a several layers to mothers breastfeeding successfully. These layers can be identified as the family; the healthcare system; the community; and society. Today I am focusing on the community aspect. The community should be on layer of support she can rely on.
Breastfeeding in Canada is a protected right. Women can breastfeed their babies wherever they are so long as mothers and babies are allowed to be in this space. Clear examples of a place that breastfeeding is not allowed are situations like a children not being permitted to be in the lounge the mother is in because infants are not of majority age, she can’t breastfeed there. Or, if there is a place like a gym area where children are not allowed for safety reasons, a mother cannot breastfeed there. Pretty common sense, no? Women otherwise cannot to be told they have to move, cover up, turn another direction, stop breastfeeding or leave the facility (or any other variation of the sort you can come up with). Even though the law is on their side, mothers still experience criticism and discrimination. With two incidents in Regina that lead Regina mothers to social media to share their stories, I put out a call for action to Regina businesses.
It is so important to create community spaces where women feel truly comfortable breastfeeding. Women who are breastfeeding sometimes describe feeling isolated and excluded from society, primarily because of the social disapproval around breastfeeding in public places. Mother’s describe the feelings they have while breastfeeding in public or even thinking about breastfeeding in public as anxiousness and disapproval. Many women stop breastfeeding sooner than they intend to because of the sense of isolation that results from this reluctance to breastfeed in public places. Developing policies and practices in the community that actively support breastfeeding can positively contribute to breastfeeding rates.
I am so excited that Evolution Fitness reached out to my call to action for Regina businesses. Upon touring the facility yesterday, not only does Evolution fitness support breastfeeding in their facility, they have the capability to provide infant and/or sibling childcare for that new mother, a woman’s only facility in case a new mother wants to have a more private smaller space to work out and they want to provide education to new mothers that help them meet their fitness goals, while continuing to breastfeed. They invited us to host an event at their east location today to celebrate breastfeeding and to let the public know their commitment to breastfeeding. You can see the Global News video coverage or written coverage of the event here.
Even more on top of that, Evolution Fitness wants to challenge other businesses to be leaders in this area to show us how they support breast-feeding in their facilities. Is your business ready to show your commitment to breastfeeding?
In the past "Lactation Consultant" was a term/title used to refer to a specific group of people, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). In recent months/years, there have been certificate programs created (different than CREDENTIALs). Because Lactation Consultant is not a protected title individuals who choose to work with families and offer breastfeeding help can refer to themselves as Lactation Consultants. Some choose to do this, while others choose to use a different title in order to differentiate themselves. While some choose to use a different term/title, often the public does not know any different or gets confused and refers to all these individuals as Lactation Consultants.
There are very distinct differences between requirements to use the title International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the certificate programs but also the scope of practice, continuing education required, mandate to belong to a registered body, etc.
This scenario unfortunately leaves the public having to be aware of this and do some homework when calling someone for help.
I do believe that there are varying levels of help that mothers need and that there is room for multiple layers of helps. In fact, my becoming an IBCLC started with a different level and layer of breast-feeding support that inspired me to learn more, continue my education and write the IBCLC exam. The scenario becomes a concern when the public is confused and thinks they have seen an IBCLC, when in fact they had not or when someone with a certificate program (with its own distinct title) begins to use a term that can be misleading, like Lactation Consultant, or even with a Lactation Consultant position or just a breastfeeding support clinic within a healthcare facility is being staffed by a nurse, who might have some extra training in breastfeeding but isn't an IBCLC.
I worked hard to become an IBCLC as did my IBCLC colleagues and we are proud of our IBCLC title, but we also know we are more commonly known as Lactation Consultants. I became an IBCLC to leave breastfeeding better than how I found it in 2004 and continue to work hard to make it better. But this isn't about myself and the work I do. This is about the public being aware of the variability that exists and that there presently is no regulation on breastfeeding supports.
It can be compared to Interior Designers & Interior Decorators, Architects & Industrial Designers, Dental Assistant & Dental Hygienists, RN's & LPN's, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Assistants, Medical Laboratory Technologists, Lab Assistants and Phlebotomists, Midwives and Doulas. So often we come into contact with these fields but we have no idea what the differences in education, skill, title, role, etc is. Ideally, it is up to the professional to make sure the public is aware of this, but it is undoubtably confusing to the consumer and can be overseen by the professional in busy times or misunderstood by the consumer especially when the consumer in the case of breastfeeding help is an overwhelmed, new mother.
It can also be that the professional is intentionally choosing to refer to herself as a Lactation Consultant with no regard for the confusion it may cause.
There are a few places that people can go to look to see if their Lactation Consultant is an IBCLC. One is the public registry of IBLCE https://iblce.org/public-registry/
In Saskatchewan you can also double check with the Saskatchewan Lactation Consultant Association. http://www.skslca.com
9 reasons why HypnoBirthing isn’t a good idea!
1. You don't want to understand the normal process of birth.
Of course you want to understand birth! Now, you do not need to be a “birth expert” but you should have a basic understanding of the process that occurs with the body so that you are not left surprised and wondering. The HypnoBirthing class is going to teach you the important parts of giving birth.
2. You don't want to be able to stay calm during your birth experience.
Who stays calm during birth? Isn’t it a time of chaos and commotion? NO, it doesn’t have to be at all. A very wise person once said to me, while I was pregnant, “If you stay calm, everyone else will stay calm”. HypnoBirthing helps teach you how to remain calm while experiencing something new to your mind and body. You can even remain calm in times of feeling nervous, worried, anxious. The goal is to help you remain calm so that your baby is welcomed into a calm environment. Babies are only born once and isn’t it a lovely idea to welcome them into a calm environment so they are ready to receive all the love you have to give.
3. You don’t want to take time in your pregnancy to connect with your baby.
I bet you have already connected to your little one! It is almost impossible not to feel connected to something that is throwing it’s limbs into your organs. But, are you connecting on an intentional level? Are you sending loving messages to your baby and showing baby how much, way more than I bet you imagined, love you already have for this little person you have not even met? HypnoBirthing is going to help you get a deeper level of connection with yourself, your baby and even your partner! YES, your partner can get bonded with baby during your pregnancy, too. Attachment is the root of our emotional well-being and starting early has great benefit.
4. You don't want to be in control of your birth experience.
When I say control here, I don't mean that you can plan all the details of how your birth experience is going to go. When I say control, I mean, you are in the drivers seat of the car along this unknown journey. You know your destination, but you don’t the way. However, you are not on this trip alone. Your car is full of passengers, guests. Ok, it might be more like a bus from time to time. Some people get on the bus and off the bus, some get on the bus and stay the whole journey. All these passengers have pieces of information that when put together will help you arrive at your destination safely. Some of these passengers you feel really safe with and trust and some of them are rather unfamiliar and you might not trust them so much. How do you know if you should listen to them or not?
By learning a series of discussion points and communication skills, HypnoBirthing, helps you to ask the right questions to get all the information you need at the time during your experience to help you make decisions. You are still the one in the drivers seat and need to know what direction to go, but if you don’t know, you get to ask the passengers for the information to help you decide. You do not need to get out of the drivers seat and let someone take over the driving.
5. You want to have your baby in the hospital.
That is A-OK! HypnoBirthing works everywhere. You won’t be the first person ever to use HypnoBirthing at the hospital. In fact, HypnoBirthing is a great option for people who are transitioning to a new location to give birth (see above; staying calm. This is an important factor for travelling in labour).
6.You are too scared of birth to be able to relax.
Fears. We all have them. Good news is; HypnoBirthing deals with fears. It is a unique program in that way. Rather than saying “don’t be silly, you have nothing to be afraid of", HypnoBirthing looks at the fear, accepts the fear and addresses the reality of that fear. Fears teach us some things about ourselves. When you give fear your attention, see it, learn what it was needing to teach you, then it will release from the body. Some people struggle with that and HypnoBirthing helps make this an easier process.
7.You don’t relax easily.
Most of us don’t. Relaxation is not something we do enough of. Relaxation needs to be practiced. The way HypnoBirthing is structured, it allows for that practice to occur and be built upon throughout the pregnancy so that it is much easier to use in your labour & birth.
8. You don't want to be hypnotized and be persuaded to do something you really don't want to do.
I promise this cannot and will not happen. The body cannot do anything it is not open to doing! And, no one is doing this TO you. YOU are doing this for yourself. You will be 100% in control at all times.
9. You are going to ask for pain medication so you won’t feel labour anyway.
Pain relief is absolutely an option women will choose. This is also OK. Some people do choose to use HypnoBirthing as a way to avoid pain medications. Also, OK. I just want you to consider a few things. There is a period of time before you can receive pain medication, that will still might be uncomfortable and you will have to manage somehow. Also, the pain medications do not take away all the discomfort and they do not always work for everyone. So, HypnoBirthiing can be complimentary to the plan of pain medications, as you will learn about some other pain relief options. Also, with all the other the other benefits of HypnoBirthing, it would still be a great class for anyone to take. Don’t let choices you think you will make in birth keep you away from all the other amazing benefits of this class!
If you are in the Regina area, here is more information on future HypnoBirthing classes. If you have some more questions for us, send us an email.
When does learning begin? Annie Murphy Paul posed this question to us in her TedTalk (she also answered it). You might be thinking maybe at Kindergarten, and then jump to preschool or maybe a few months of life. Or maybe you think as soon as they are born, they are a blank slate, ready to take it the world in. Annie Murphy Paul has some good research to share which shows learning starts in utero, before we are born. The womb is full of first learning experiences.
She goes on to talk about what she calls "Biological Postcards from the outside world". The teachings of the world this baby is going to be born into comes from the food the mother eats, the mothers voice, the air she breathes, the chemicals she is exposed to, the emotions the mother feels. It is multi-sensory and multi-dimensional learning. The world in which a mother is living has great influence on that infant.
Many of the things a mother is exposed to might be harder to control then others.
The "Biological Postcards" are being sent whether we send them or not but I want to challenge you to think about Biological Postcards you can send with intention as you plan for your babies arrival - the birth and the time following.
Are you sending messages to your baby that are full of enjoying your pregnancy and feeling excited for your future family or perhaps you haven't been able to enjoy your pregnancy for one reason or another. Are you feeling safe and relaxed when the time for birth comes or is it a feeling of being fearful and stressed? Have you thought about that message to your baby? Are you feeling like you are creating a loving, welcoming space for your infant or perhaps you haven't been able to get to that space yet because you are feeling scared and overwhelmed?
At Queen City Doulas & Company we want to help you create intentional Biological Postcards. Through our classes and our doula services we can help construct the feelings you want to feel, alleviate some of the feeling you might rather not feel and create a loving, calm, relaxed environment for you, so you can create the same for your baby. I invite you to look at our upcoming HypnoBirthing classes as the perfect place to start writing postcards to your baby. I also invite you to share by commenting what you want your baby to read on their postcard.
You can watch Annie Murphy Paul's TedTalk here.
Our team is not yet complete and we have lots of goals and things to check off our daily to-do-list. If you are interested in exploring opportunities with Queen City Doulas & Co, please submit a letter of intent!
At Queen City Doulas & Co, we want the new families and expanding families in Regina to get off feeling like they have some sort of superpower. But, we don't mean a superhuman, do it all and take on the world kind of power. We mean the power to make your own decisions, the power to do something hard while feeling like you are doing something amazing, the knowledge to know that your body has the power to accomplish the job ahead. We know that anyone can feel this way but that everyone has a different method to achieve those feelings. We know what works for us, might not work for you…BUT, we have the skill set and desire to find out what works for you, so we can support YOU.
We cannot wait to work with you to get you feeling the way you desire to feel during your pregnancy, your birth experience, your breastfeeding experience and further into parenthood.
Stay tuned for all the things to come as we grow!