Traveling with Baby: How to Prevent Baby from Crying on an Airplane

The idea of a long trip with your little one can be daunting. The professional postpartum doulas at No Barriers Birth compiled a list of solutions for infant discomfort during travel, so that you can feel confident and prepared!

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Preventing Crying on the Plane

1. Relieve Ear Pressure  Just like adults can alleviate pressure in their ears by chewing gum, babies also find relief in sucking and swallowing. Since turbulence may make breastfeeding difficult or dangerous, you might want to have a pacifier or bottle on hand. Tylenol given a half-hour before take-off and again before landing can also prevent pain (and screaming).

2. Prevent Overfeeding  While feeding may soothe baby, feeding more than you normally would can cause painful bloating. Atmospheric pressure actually creates more air in your tummy, so substitute pacifiers and teething rings if baby is full and needs something calming.

3. Avoid sedatives Medications meant to make baby sleep often backfire and make your child overtired and irritable or even hyperactive. Instead bring a few new toys that baby has never seen for a nice distraction, or even headphones and calm music.

4. Temperature Planes can be freezing! A familiar blanket that smells like Mom or Dad can be a lifesaver.

Helpful Travel Tips

5. Avoid over-packing  You can purchase packs of diapers, wipes, and formula when you reach your destination. For your travel day, it’s best to pack about one diaper for every hour of travel and possible delays (you certainly don’t want to run out at 30,000 feet!)

6. And if all else fails, do not let the haters get you down! Solicit the help of a flight attendant if someone is bothering you or making you upset. You deserve support, not judgment!

How Your Postpartum Doula Helps You Travel

  • Handling the details: She will make sure that nothing is left behind, from a car sun shade for shielding baby to resealable bags for dirty clothes and bibs. She will find the mother’s lounge at the airport and make sure a crib is set up in the hotel room, taking all of that worry off of your shoulders.
  • Dealing with the TSA: Have no fear when it comes to bringing breastmilk on a plane or transporting your stroller—your doula will double-check all of the rules and standards before you even book the flight. It will also be such a relief to have your doula’s extra set of hands to cart everything through the airport!
  • Taking care of yourself: Want to go on an outing with your family but baby needs a nap? Let holiday time be as restful, fun, and stress-free as possible by bringing your postpartum doula with you. Just like she does at home, she will enhance your experience, and make sure that you don’t miss out on anything!

-Blog post authored by Sally Stratmann, A professional Postpartum Doula at No Barriers Birth

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Building Traditions on Baby’s First Christmas

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Lights, Cookies, and Advent Traditions!

Do you love how your mom’s family always exchanged one gift on Christmas Eve, or how your husband’s family likes to gather together to watch Elf and drink hot cider? Now that your own little family has begun, you guys can hand-pick the traditions that you like best.

How exciting to set the stage for the ways you want to celebrate the holidays as a new family! You get to craft the most meaningful and memorable moments for baby’s first Christmas (and of course, all the cute photo ops). Here are some ideas as you embark on creating special memories together as a family this year.

  1. Drive to see the lights

    In East Texas we’ve got the best lights at Santa Land, a mainstay for childhood Christmas traditions.

  2. The Polar Express

    Make some magic happen for your kiddo by visiting the Polar Express train down on the Texas State Railroad in Palestine, TX. Kids wear their pajamas, hear the story read, and wait for the conductor to come by to punch their tickets. It’s a magical, memorable journey!

  3. Keepsake ornaments

    These ornaments are all about the memories associated with them, and baby’s first Christmas is a biggie! Choose to honor this special holiday with a sweet ornament that will bring you joy year after year when you or your child pulls it out of the box each season as you decorate the tree. You might create a photo ornament, or personalize one with baby’s name.

  4. Christmas PJs

    Oh the cuteness! This tradition allows for the whole family to have adorable photos on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.babys-first-christmas-pajamas

  5. Food!

    As your baby gets older, they’ll be able to help you in the kitchen baking or decorating cookies, or whipping up your family’s traditional Christmas Coffee Cake (recipe to come!). Food brings families together, so start now building on this meaningful tradition.

  6. Family Time

    Start crafting rituals like watching a retro Christmas special like A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or your family might choose to read the same special holiday book each Christmas Eve, or to read the Christmas story! Some favorites passages are excerpts from Luke and Matthew as these incorporate lots of detail for young kids to visualize and enjoy.

  7. Meaningful sacred traditions

    Your family may enjoy an advent calendar for children to anticipate and engage with the sacred meaning of the holiday. Or your family could make an advent wreath together every year from natural twigs and branches. Mom or dad could help the child light the candles each week as Christmas day draws nearer. What’s important is that your new tradition is authentic and meaningful to your family.

  8. Pass on generosity

    In the spirit of Santa Claus! One of our local clients started a beautiful tradition that each day of December, the family wraps a small present to give away to a child in need, and then donates them to a local organization or to a sponsored family. Santa doesn’t have to be all about receiving, but can also instill the love of giving into your family’s Christmas, and into your child’s heart.

So what traditions have you started? Share your ideas with us and our readers in the comments!

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Why? Because Mistakes Do Happen

placenta-bags-mixed-up-safetyWhy do we encapsulate in our clients home? Why do we provide our clients with everything they need to safely transport their own placenta? Why would we never, ever, ever take a placenta out of our client’s possession? Two reasons:

1. Mistakes happen.

One happened yesterday to a new mom (not our client) who entrusted her health and safety to a service provider who did not uphold the safest possible standards.

A mix up. Two containers resting on the counter. They look identical.

One is snatched up for a quick front-porch drop off at this newly postpartum woman’s home.

Only after taking several pills did this mom realize that they might not belong to her. And it was confirmed. She ingested another person’s organ.

Only after reaching out to the person who did the encapsulation did the service provider realize her other client also received the wrong pills.

Two mothers. Two newborn babies. Two huge questions:

Have I or my baby been exposed to something dangerous? Can I trust that these replacement pills are actually mine?”

No new mother should have to ask these questions during an already stressful time.

2. Your safety comes before our convenience. Every time.

Sure, I suppose that some encapsulators prefer to put your placenta on the stove while enjoying the convenience of simultaneously preparing a salad and chuck roast for dinner, or while stepping outside to bathe their dog, or even while prepping another client’s placenta over in the sink, or “insert productive tasks here” which one might be able to accomplish when placentas are processed in the encapsulator’s home. Maybe they don’t do those things. Hopefully not. But the truth is, mistakes do happen.

We have the ability to enact a protocol in our industry that eliminates this problem: client keeps placenta in her possession. Period. It’s quite simple really, and yet in our unregulated industry of placenta encapsulation, this faces much resistance from many encapsulators. Policies like “I always label the containers,” or “I don’t start the second placenta until I finish the first one” still leave room for human error. And good intentions aren’t good enough when it comes to exposure to blood borne pathogens.

When performing this service outside of the client’s home, any self-imposed procedural safeguards are not enough when an accident occurs, which obviously, they do occur. It is unacceptable that recklessness has increased this mother’s stress level during an already overwhelming time of bringing home a new baby. I can’t imagine that “good intentions” are good enough to any mother that this has happened to.

Our strict policy of only encapsulating in the clients home gives our undivided attention to our client and to her placenta, regardless of the extra miles or time that may be required of our Postpartum Placenta Specialists. It is absolutely the safest possible location for us to encapsulate your placenta and on your safety, we will make no compromise.

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5 Things I Know About Postpartum Recovery

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Our friend Katie Fleming, The Lake Country Doula, partnered with us this week as guest blogger! Out of her postpartum experiences and her lovely quick wit, she has 5 fabulous tips to offer you.

 

Congratulations! You’ve just had your baby and your sore back and swollen feet are gone for good!

Let’s get real. The immediate postpartum period can leave you feeling both like a goddess and a train wreck in the same 5 minutes.  I’ve been blessed with two little ones myself, and here are 5 things I know about postpartum recovery…

5. There’s always something they didn’t tell you.

Our sisters, our friends, our mothers… Maybe they didn’t tell you that your feet can swell even more in the days after childbirth. Maybe they didn’t tell you that yes, you will need to wear a pad thicker than your newborn’s diaper. Or maybe they didn’t tell you your boobs can not only leak, but straight up SPRAY when they are full.

The truth about postpartum recovery is that everyone learns something new about themselves, their body, or how things are different than they expected. We all find out very quickly how important it is to keep an extra shirt handy, for example.

4. Sleep is CRUCIAL!

Life with a newborn is exhausting. They eat all. the. time. About 6 days in when exhaustion really hits, you regret every tantrum that 5-year-old-you threw when you were told to take a nap. Sleep is just that important. Everyone always says “sleep when the baby sleeps” but for those first few days and weeks, that seems impossible. You have a new baby and they need you to stare at their tiny precious eyelids, right? Well, one mother to another, for the sake of your sanity, take a nap! Your body will thank you.

3. You only get the help you ask for.

For the first 2-3 days of your baby’s life, chances are you will be visited a lot. Folks will will come with balloons, flowers, and gifts for the little one. They will want to hold the baby, ask personal questions about your birth, politely ask if you need anything, and then head back to their non-newborn-having lives.

It’s hard to ask for help. Everyone wants to feel like they are on top of things during this challenging time, but I’m here to tell you, that YES, YOU CAN AND SHOULD ask for help. Ask for those dishes to disappear! Ask for a meal! Most people want to help you – sometimes they just need some direction.

2. “Opinions are like….”

You know the saying. There is never a time in a person’s life when they receive more unsolicited advice and opinions than when a baby is born. All of a sudden you will be told things like “breast is best!” or “don’t hold the baby too much or you’ll spoil him!”

Being constantly bombarded by everyone’s opinions can leave you questioning your abilities and your sanity. Remember – just because someone has an opinion doesn’t mean you need to make it yours! Including how you choose to recover from your birth.

1. YOU are important.

I remember being newly postpartum with my first baby. Everything he did was the most important thing in the world to me. He peed? He opened his eyes? He squeaked in his sleep? All important. He might want to nurse in 20 minutes? Important. I better not go enjoy a walk by myself in case he wakes up.

I remember feeling like an alien. It took a long time to feel like a person again. By the time my second came it really clicked. I realized: yes, this baby is very important. But so am I. When my needs for rest, self-care, exercise, food, and social time were met, I could better take care of my family.

Wherever you are on your postpartum journey, YOU ARE IMPORTANT. You are incredible. You are worth it.

If there is ever a moment when you begin to question whether or not you are important, reach out to the No Barriers Birth team. Their postpartum doulas will be there with you every step of the way to:

5. Tell you all the things you want to know

4. Help you get some sleep

3. Give you the help you need

2. Keep their private opinions to themselves

1. Treat you like the VIP that you are!

Katie Fleming is the owner of The Lake Country Doula in Hartland, Wisconsin. She is the mother of Liam (5) and Lyra (4). She enjoys cleaning up the same messes she cleaned up yesterday, making tasty food, and singing songs from Daniel Tiger.

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5 ways to have a fit pregnancy

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Back when Anne Boleyn announced her first pregnancy, physical activity was forbidden and even lifting her arms above her head was believed to be harmful to the baby!  When she neared time to birth she was scuttled away to a dark room with much incense and a hot fire for her “lying in.” Thank God pregnancy doesn’t work like that anymore!

While modern pregnancy doesn’t involve stifling fires and specialized pregnancy corsets, it can still be a challenge to exercise during pregnancy in a way that is fun and comfortable.  So what’s a girl to do?  Here are five great ways to have a fit pregnancy:

1. Zumba for a SUPER FUN work out

The best part of Zumba is that it doesn’t feel like exercise.  It’s dancing with sweat! Communicate with your instructor so you can modify the workout as needed to be a level of intensity you need/want.  The routines are catchy and may come in handy when you’re a week past your due date and want to make a viral you tube video. A favorite Yoga studio, Fly & Love Yoga Lounge, offers a weekly Zumba class just south of Tyler in Flint.

2. Running for physical and mental endurance

Running is a great first and second trimester exercise and if you’ve been a consistent runner for a while, many women can continue running throughout pregnancy. It increases endurance (something you’ll need later), circulation, muscle tone, and focus.  Often my clients who are marathoners will use their running as visualization during contractions. Being able to pull from all sorts of previous challenges helps you concentrate and bring muscle memory into a new experience. This can be a very powerful tool in birth. Racquet and Jog  in Tyler offers a weekly group fun run if you want to exercise in a non-competitive and laid back style, which is so great for pregnancy work outs!

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3. Cycling for leg strength

Cycling is perfect for honing long term leg strength, an asset not to be overlooked during labor.  It improves circulation, oxygen flow, and abdominal strength. It can also help tone your pelvic floor.  By cycling outdoors, you have the advantage of finding adventure, beauty, and nuance in your surroundings.  Many women cycle well into their pregnancies, and after baby arrives when you return to gentle exercise, it’s a great activity to do together as a family! Elite Bicycles in Tyler can link you up with group rides of all abilities.

4. Pregnancy Yoga for complete health

This is a great place to start if you aren’t already in an exercise routine.  It’s also great for the third trimester when other exercise options begin to be a bit too much.  Pregnancy Yoga can be adjusted to each participant’s needs. It’s flexible and easy to pick up, geared for all body shapes and fitness levels.  Many of the yoga poses are also a great way to practice labor positions, opening the pelvis and teaching your body how to move with your baby.  Yoga also focuses on intentional breathing, a great skill to hone not just for pregnancy and labor, but life in general.  The Gentle Yoga classes at Fly & Love are great for pregnancy, and Beth can help modify your yoga experience specifically to your pregnancy needs.

5. Swimming for late pregnancy comfort

Swimming is a perfect workout for your entire pregnancy, especially the third trimester. The water counteracts the pull of gravity and allows you to move with more freedom.  Swimming improves breathing, circulation, arm and leg strength, improves flexibility, and increases endurance.  As you near the end of pregnancy, swimming relieves tension, helping you to relax and be mindful of your body and your baby.  For Summer pregnancies, swimming lowers your body temperature and helps fend off the oven that a summer baby brings. Tyler Tennis and Swim is a great spot for East Texas swimming!

You’re making people, which is so incredible!  So pamper yourself with good health and focus. Your body will thank you, and you will be able to pull from your practice and use it to your advantage during your labor and postpartum.  It doesn’t have to be an Iron Man challenge, you don’t have to be seeking a celebrity baby body. This is about you feeling good about your changing body, nourishing your mind and your baby through what makes you feel fit and empowered.   Talk with your OBGYN or Midwife about what exercise is best for your body and your pregnancy, and go get with it!

 

Emilie Jenkins is a beekeeper-baker-cellist in Bellingham, WA where she lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys.  In her off time she enjoys reading, sipping tea, and tending her urban homestead. She loves empowering women in their individual birthing experiences as a pre-certified Birth and Postpartum Doula with Nesting Birth Doula Services.

 

 

 

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I’m going to tear my what?!?

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I’m sure you’ve heard stories about tearing when pushing during birth. Are you clenching your bottom together just thinking about it? Yeah, I’m not surprised. This is one of those possibilities in childbirth that everyone wants to avoid!

Let’s combat fear with facts.

The part of the body we are talking about is the perineum. This is the skin at the southern-most part of the vagina, facing the rectum. Its ability to stretch accommodates your baby descending and crowning.

Not all women tear in birth (YAY!) The truth is that while more than half of all vaginal births do result in some degree of tearing, most tears are minor enough that they heal within 7 to 10 days. The most common type of tear is a first degree tear which is usually repaired with just one or two stitches, and sometimes no stitches are needed at all.

Within a few minutes of birth, the doctor or midwife will check these tissues and repair any tears. Different types of tears will need different approaches for healing and soothing. The advice from your medical team could include OTC pain meds, using ice packs, witch hazel, epsom salts baths, or exposing the wound to air for better healing. The most severe injuries (3rd and 4th degree tears) occur in less than 2% of births, and when this occurs greater attention may be needed for complete healing.

Related to vaginal tearing is a procedure called an episiotomy. This is a small snip in the perineum to allow a little more space for the baby to descend. There was a time when episiotomies were routine, but that day has largely passed. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists no longer recommends episiotomies as a routine procedure, but it is good for you to know that instances can occur in birth when episiotomies can be a very useful tool in urgent situations.

Women are voicing to their care providers that they want their vaginas to remain as intact is possible. Now in East Texas hospitals, episiotomies are performed at fewer than 10% of all births.

Many are worried: “If I tear, does it mean sex will always be painful?”

Look: if we’re completely honest, sex is different for most couples after birth! A little discomfort in the early weeks of intimacy is to be expected but women should not have lasting pain, and most women don’t. If you do have lasting pain that isn’t improving, a talk with your doctor is in order. A referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist will help you develop a plan and work towards full recovery of the vagina and restoration of healthy sexual function.

If preventing a tear or episiotomy is important to you, a conversation with your doctor or midwife will help your team develop a plan to reduce the risk of injury to you perineum in birth.

Let’s dispel the fear even further and prepare for great success! More tips for preventing tears including practicing pushing positions and techniques, as well as effectively communicating your needs with your care provider are included in our Childbirth Education Class and our doulas are invaluable resources for this as you prepare for birth, too. Drop us a line!

 

 

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Fresh Fruit Mocktails of Summer

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When you’re pregnant in Texas in the Summer time, you’ve got to get creative to endure enjoy these scorching months. A cool, refreshing drink can totally hit the spot.

The best mocktails our pregnant clients in East Texas are enjoying this summer are ultra delicious versions of a Latin favorite: Agua Fresca! Agua Fresca is extremely easy and simple to make: creative combinations of fresh fruit, herbs, sweetener and a blender are all that’s needed.

We’re big fans of the “use-what-you-got” ideology in the kitchen, so don’t be scared to experiment! You can use an immersion blender instead of a regular blender, substitute various fruits or herbs, or try different sweeteners like maple syrup or local honey.

And if you’re no longer pregnant, or just looking for a great adult summer beverage, grab the Grey Goose and give these recipes a little pick-me-up! Add 1.5 oz of vodka, gin, or rum to a 16 glass of ice, top with the mocktail recipe of your choice and stir.

Here in Tyler and Longview, we particularly love using great finds from the local farmers markets. Enjoy the best recipes we’ve made using fresh market produce this summer.

 

Cantaloupe Cucumber Agua Fresca Mocktail

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  • 5 cups cantaloupe (about 1 medium cantaloupe), cut into chunks
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, more according to taste
  • ice for serving
  • Cucumber or lime slices for garnish

Puree cantaloupe and cucumber until smooth.  Pour through a fine strainer or cheesecloth to separate the pulp.  You should end up with about 3 cups strained juice.  Discard pulp, or freeze into ice cubes.

Pour liquid into a large pitcher.  Add water and stir to combine.  Sweeten according to taste.   Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with cantaloupe chunks, plenty of ice, and a garnish of lime or cucumber.

 

Honey Peach Mint Mocktail

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  • 6 cups peach slices, peeled
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp honey, more according to taste
  • ice, for serving
  • mint leaves for garnish

Puree peaches and mint until smooth.  Pour through a fine strainer or cheesecloth to separate the pulp.  You should end up with about 3 cups strained juice.  Discard pulp, or freeze into ice cubes for your drink.

Pour liquid into a large pitcher.  Add water and stir to combine.  Sweeten according to taste.   Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with plenty of ice and a sprig of mint.

 

Basil Melon Agua Fresca Mocktail

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  • 5 cups watermelon pieces (roughly 1 medium seedless watermelon. Honeydew would be great too!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 handful of fresh Basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, more according to taste
  • ice, for serving
  • mint leaves of lime slices, for garnish

Puree melon and basil until smooth.  Pour through a fine strainer or cheesecloth to separate the pulp.  You should end up with about 3 cups strained juice.  Discard pulp, or freeze into ice cubes for your drink.

Pour liquid into a large pitcher.  Add water and stir to combine.  Sweeten according to taste.   Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with plenty of ice and a sprig of basil.

 

Do you have creative ideas for more fresh Aguas Frescas? Share in the comments!

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