Part 2 in a 2-part series (see Part 1 here)
Our clients have told us time and time again that the internet can be an overwhelming place for pregnant people. One huge benefit of hiring a doula - especially earlier in pregnancy - is that you have a home base where you can turn to ask questions... instead of falling down online rabbit holes.
When our clients reach out to us for support or information on a particular subject, we usually draw from a pool of our favorite resources. We have a collection of favorite resources that are:
from reputable sources
validating of people's experiences (as non-judgmental as we can find)
helpful in real life (aka not too long or too jargon-y for real parents with real lives to read and absorb)
We thought we'd create an online collection of some of our favorite resources so other parents can benefit, not just our Orange County and Long Beach doula clients here in beautiful southern California! (Some of these are area-specific referrals, but if you don't live near us ask some doulas in your community for resources.)
This week we're featuring resources for postpartum, breastfeeding, and more. If you missed last week's post with info for pregnancy and birth preparation, catch up here!
Newborn Care Resources
This publication outlines the WHO's guidelines for delayed cord clamping for improved maternal and infant health. It includes links to studies and addresses both babies born pre-term and full-term. For parents interested in learning more, this article gives great context and could be helpful in conversation with your medical care provider.
This is a great resource for parents who want to learn more about the administration of the Vitamin K shot for newborns, usually within an hour or two of birth. The article also mentions the oral option for Vitamin K.
Many of our clients find this article helpful when deciding whether to accept or deny eye ointment for their babies within an hour or two of birth. Of the newborn procedures offered in a hospital setting, erythromycin is the most common for our clients to decline.
Articles: Jaundice in Newborns
Many of our clients are told within a week or so of birth that their babies have "breastmilk jaundice" and they need to stop breastfeeding switch to formula while the condition is tested and treated. Since 60% of term babies and 80% of preterm babies get jaundice, it's quite normal and usually doesn't need to be treated as an emergency. The recommendation to stop breastfeeding is not always best practice; often, actually increasing breastfeeding is safe and important in these cases. (If you like learning about these kinds of things, check out this article about new evidence that jaundice may be the body's way of protecting itself against sepsis.)
These are two articles our clients have found helpful when their baby's pediatrician has recommended they stop breastfeeding due to jaundice (increased bilirubin levels):
Jaundice article from the International Breastfeeding Centre by Jack Newman (more technical language in this one)
Jaundice article from the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh by Bev Curtis (a little easier to understand)
It's important to remember that a break in breastfeeding can often lead to diminished supply and baby having trouble latching and taking in milk effectively. Recommendations to stop breastfeeding should always be made in consultation with a lactation professional (lactation counselor or lactation consultant).
Did you know that the car seat misuse rate for Orange County is estimated between 70-90%? That's way too high, especially considering that the misuse of a car seat means that it can't do its job of protecting little ones. When you get a new car seat or a new car, or if you have any questions at all about how to properly use your car seat(s), a certified CPST can help you become 100% comfortable using your seat properly each and every time you use or move it.
Service: Sleep Consulting with Marlee
Questions about sleep are all too common in our work with parents of little ones. If you find that getting in enough daytime sleep is hard, if your bedtime routine feels like it lasts forever, or if you find yourself up at night with your baby or toddler more often than you’d like to be, Marlee can help. Her gentle sleep support is based on the science of infant and toddler sleep learning, and her approach is especially focused on breastfeeding families. There is no one answer that works for everyone, so Marlee will work with your family to make a plan to get to your sleep goals and coach you through each step of the way.
Guidelines: Safe Cosleeping Guidelines
The University of Notre Dame's Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory has put together a quick guide to sleep safety for parents wishing to cosleep (baby sleeps in the same room as parents), including bed-sharing guidelines.
There is a TON of information out there about how to help babies go to sleep and stay asleep. This book is one of our favorites because the author understand that there is no one cure-all for baby sleep. She incorporates information about biological human sleep patterns, tips for helping little ones at various ages and stages learn the difference between daytime naps and nighttime sleep, and includes a wonderful tool for evaluating what you've tried and whether it's helping (despite probable sleep deprivation brain fog).
Guidelines: Babywearing Safety
Babywearing International has a great page with lots of helpful tips for safe babywearing. It includes an info sheet with examples of safe positioning for various types of carriers (soft structured carriers, wraps, ring slings, and more), as well as information about wearing little ones at different ages, from newborns to toddlers.
We love the way this article helps parents think critically about whether and how they want to use a swaddle or sleep sack for their little ones. Lots of parents aren’t aware that swaddling comes with any risks or drawbacks, so this is a fresh perspective that many of our clients have found helpful.
Article: 10 Tips for Tummy Time Success
This article includes some great tips for helping babies enjoy tummy time, and helps parents understand why tummy time is important (basically baby physical therapy!). Especially helpful if you happen to have a little one who does NOT enjoy tummy time!
Feeding Your Baby
If you're in need of support when it comes to feeding your little one (whether you're breastfeeding, pumping, using donor milk or formula, or any combination of these), the most helpful thing you can do for yourself and your little one is to work with an experienced lactation counselor. Marlee has been supporting families this way since 2015 and offers in-home visits. You won't find prescriptive one-size-fits-all help here. Instead, Marlee will help you figure out what your options and resources are based on your unique situation, and figure out a plan for moving forward.
This is a wonderful post from KellyMom.com (one of our absolute favorite breastfeeding resources). It lays out what to expect in the beginning when you're breastfeeding, including everything from how to tell if baby is getting enough milk to changes in your breasts to managing milk supply.
Blog post: Healing Tips for Cracked Nipples
Also from KellyMom.com comes this list of tips for healing hurting nipples in the early weeks of breastfeeding. The link includes a recipe for a very simple saline soak. Basically you just make a little bowl of warm salt water and soak your breasts after you nurse. If it's difficult to soak, you can just dab some on with a soft washcloth. Try that for a couple minutes every time you nurse. Then gently blot dry, express a little milk to cover your nipples, and let them air dry. If you want to put on a top after your nipples are dry, applying some nipple cream first might make that more comfortable.
Blog post: Look at the Baby, Not the Scale
This article is wonderful when the question of "Is my baby getting enough?" comes up. One aspect of breastfeeding many parents find challenging is the fact that we can't know exactly how much milk baby is getting. This article offers other ways to assess whether babies are happy and healthy aside from simply looking at weight gain. (Can be especially helpful for parents whose babies are on the smaller side as well.)
Great advice from this article: "If there are nursing problems, the first answer should never be supplementation but must be to find the best advice and help available. Find quality help in person if possible and online if needed."
Guidelines: How to Prepare Formula Safely
The World Health Organization (WHO) created this brochure to help parents and other caregivers learn to properly prepare infant formula. There is a lot of room for error in preparing formula, and it's critical that caregivers understand how to do this in a way that is safe for babies to ingest.
Many parents are unsure of how long breastmilk can sit at room temperature before being fed to baby or stored in the refrigerator or freezer. These guidelines help to clarify the safety of handling breastmilk, including proper thawing and storage information.
This post details some out of the ordinary methods for helping a baby learn to eat from a bottle. If your little one has trouble transitioning from one feeding method to another (especially from feeding at the breast to feeding with a bottle), give this a read.
Blog post: Tools for Feeding (Bottles and More)
Yet another great resource from KellyMom.com. This post includes options no one may ever tell you about other ways to feed a baby besides at the breast or from a bottle. Especially great for parents who need to get calories into their little one and prefer to use expressed milk instead of formula.
Our clients are sometimes prescribed medication while breastfeeding, and they often want to make sure what they're given is safe to use while feeding without having to "pump and dump." Many obstetricians, psychiatrists, urgent care physicians, and family physicians are unclear about these guidelines and prescribe meds with "pump and dump" instructions more often than necessary. The Infant Risk hotline is an amazing resource where parents can call a team of experts and find out whether a prescription or over the counter medication is safe to take while breastfeeding or expressing milk for their little ones.
Service: Postpartum Doula Support from Marlee
After having a baby, many new parents have dozens of questions about their baby's behavior and appearance, how their body feels after giving birth, and so many other aspects of life with a newborn. Marlee's postpartum doula support offers you the chance to spend time with an experienced guide and mentor as you move through those early weeks. This service includes lactation and infant feeding support, discussions around sleep and baby care, referrals for other resources you may find useful, meal preparation, and so much more. To learn more about how a postpartum doula can help after birth, check out this blog post or this one that talks about various reasons why people choose to work with a postpartum doula.
Referral: Sarton Physical Therapy (Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy)
The pelvic floor is responsible for holding us up, and withstands a lot of extra pressure during pregnancy. After birth, that area of the body can use some TLC, and that's where pelvic floor physical therapists come in. The therapists at Sarton Physical Therapy have years and years of experience, and our clients have reported especially great experiences with Julie Sarton and Sherine Aubert.
In other parts of the world, everyone is screened by a pelvic floor physical therapist after having a baby. We highly recommend scheduling at least one visit with a pelvic floor PT postpartum just to make sure your body is healing well after pregnancy and birth.
Acupuncture treatments can help to address many aspects of postpartum healing and rejuvenation. Megan Joyce and her team are compassionate, gentle, and approachable, and they’ve helped many of our clients find relaxation and improved well-being after giving birth.
Referrals: Chiropractic Care after Birth
In addition to being a great addition to many parents' health in pregnancy, chiropractic care can be wonderful after birth as well - not only for parents, but for babies too! Webster Certified chiropractors specialize in infant adjustments as well, which are super gentle and can even help with breastfeeding issues at times. Here are some wonderful professionals in Orange County:
Angell Chiropractic in Newport Beach
Coastline Chiropractic (Dr. Julia offers house calls all around Orange County)
Light Within Chiropractic (Dr. Annie offers house calls in south Orange County)
Lander Chiropractic in Brea
Dr. Brittney Cicon in Lake Forest
Dr. Valerie Farino in Irvine
Dr. Heather Carmona in Irvine
Dr. Amy Forrest-Readdy in Long Beach
Blog post: Healing Vaginal Tears after Birth
Our friend Kristin Hauser is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, yoga teacher, somatic sex educator, and also a birth doula. As a holistic health practitioner, she has written a wonderful blog post about healing after experiencing a vaginal tear during birth.
Referral: In-Home Postpartum Massage
Most people find that their body needs extra TCL after giving birth. Imagine that, right?? Brandy Ferner is an amazing massage therapist who specializes in postpartum massage. She sees postpartum clients in office at Renaissance Spa in Aliso Viejo, but she also offers new parents the magic of a luxurious massage for their tired postpartum body right at home. A massage from Brandy is nourishment for both body and soul (we can say that firsthand because we've worked with her) and we highly recommend this to our birth and postpartum doula clients!
Informational resource: Postpartum Support International
Postpartum Support International provides resources and information for parents suffering from postpartum mood disorders. From the baby blues to postpartum depression to postpartum anxiety (which is even more common than postpartum depression), you'll find resources and support here.
Mom & Baby Yoga: Ma Yoga (various Orange County locations)
This unique "parent & me" yoga class is offered in a few locations around Orange County. For parents who practiced yoga before or during pregnancy, it can be a sweet way to reconnect with your body and bond with your new little one!
Exercise Group: Fit4Mom
After a few months, many new parents are feeling ready to start getting some exercise. It can be hard to find time to do that, especially with a little one in tow. Fit4Mom offers exercise programs designed for parents of little ones, and offered all around Orange County:
Video: Carrying an Infant Car Seat
For anyone struggling under the weight of carrying an infant car seat all over the place, a chiropractor made this video demonstrating a more ergonomic way to carry these unwieldy seats.
If you gave birth in a hospital and had a difficult or traumatic experience due to actions (or inactions) by hospital staff, you might be wondering if there is any way to report the things that happened during your birth. We wrote this blog post as a starting point for anyone who wants to explore ways of making a formal complaint following a difficult or traumatic birth or postpartum experience in a hospital.