Hey partners, do you ever feel left out in the feeding of your baby? You might not have the appropriate plumbing to help directly with feeding, but there are many ways in which you can help!
One of the best things you can do is educate yourself in breastfeeding and the benefits of breast milk. It will be easier to support your partner in their breastfeeding journey when you believe in the benefits.
In the beginning weeks, or even months after bringing baby home, there are a lot of ways in which partners can help as well. It may seem simple, but helping with chores around the house can be a huge help for mammas. While mom and babe are busy feeding you can do some dishes or fold some laundry for her. This allows the mother to connect and bond with her baby and enjoy the feeding without having to stress about chores around the house.
During this time, limiting visitors can also be helpful for the mom. If possible, limit visitors to those who are supportive and helpful. Having meals made and help around the house from visitors can also be a big help for both parents.
Pumping is a great time for partners to be involved as well! You can play or cuddle with the baby while mom is pumping, and you can also feed the bottles to baby so you can feel apart of the feedings.
Every couple is different but determining roles before the baby arrives can be beneficial. For example, while mom is waking up every two to three hours to breastfeed, partners can change the dirty diapers. This way you are working as a team. Taking care of a new baby can be a lot of work but doing it as a team makes it a lot more bearable.
Partners need a support group too! Reach out to other dads and partners who have had babies of their own already and ask for advice and tips for supporting a breastfeeding mom. You will also have contacts to reach out to after the baby is here and you find yourself with more questions.
The best news is, breastfeeding is not the only opportunity to bond with the baby. Skin to skin has a plethora of benefits and is not just for moms! Yep that’s right, whip that shirt off and enjoy some skin to skin time with your sweet little babe.
Breastfeeding is a journey between mom and baby, but it is much easier with the help of a supportive and caring partner. You got this!
Time to bust a common myth about doulas; doulas do not replace partners in the birth space. Are you a mom or a partner who needs a little more convincing? Let’s break it down then! Here’s a handful of reasons why doulas don’t replace partners, and can in fact help them be more present in the birth space!
(1) Okay partner, you know all those childbirth education classes you went to during mamma’s pregnancy? Do you remember everything they told you about early labor signs, when to go to the hospital, positions for back labor or what kind of words to use when she is in active labor? It’s okay, there’s a lot to be learned in this new transition into parenthood and you’re not expected to remember everything. As for birth doulas, we breathe, eat, and sleep all those things they teach you in childbirth classes. We also have training and certifications and hours of education and studying that helps us remember all those things that may slip your mind. This can bring a lot of comfort to families.
(2) You get a teammate! There’s no doubt that labor and birth can be exhausting for moms, but it can also be taxing on the partners as well. You may get only a few hours or even minutes of sleep, you may be active and on your feet the whole time, you might not always get chances to eat or use the restroom, and your emotions will probably be all over the place during the experience of your baby being born. A doula can relieve dad or partner at any time during the labor process. For example, doulas often bring bags full of snacks not just for mom, but to keep dad full and energized as well! If we see a dad/partner getting tired we can offer to give labor support for a while so he/she is able to take some to rest and re-energize. Doulas advocate for the moms, and their partners as well!
(3) Doulas can offer a sense of comfort and support during a time that can have your emotions feeling a little bit scattered. Doulas are trained to have a calm and relaxed nature to them, especially when they are in the birth room with a family. They can be someone to lean on when you feel like you could use some comforting.
(4) Someone to help facilitate and respect the birth plan. Often during birth, the mother, partner, and even medical staff can get focused and caught up in the birthing process. A doula is someone who can pay attention to those sometimes missed or forgotten things such as delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin when baby is born, dad helping catch the baby, etc. The mother and her partner most likely picked these elements for their birth plan because it was important to them and a doula can make sure those things happen when everyone else is focused on your baby entering the world (as they should be).
Hopefully this has answered some of your questions about doula support and their role in your birth space. The main goal for doulas is to facilitate a birth experience that aligns with your wishes and hopes of bringing your sweet babe into the world. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the ABC staff.
*Definition of self care: "The practice of taking an active role in protecting ones own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress."
Pregnancy can be a beautiful time in a women's life but along with that beauty may be fatigue, nausea, aches and pains and an overflow of various emotions, and STRESS. This is NORMAL. As new expectant moms we are advised to practice a measure of self care and take an active role in our well being which usually includes going to their prenatal appointments, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding foods, and adding in some nutritious foods. This is all great and very important information to follow for her health but protecting moms happiness may not be practiced or mentioned enough.
When baby is born moms are busy! Feedings, diaper changes, pediatrician visits, lactation support visits etc. Yes, this time is exciting but it is exhausting! Once mom is in her postpartum period it can be more of a challenge to take out the time to include activities to keep her emotionally refreshed. If a mom starts practicing self care and sees the VALUE in it during pregnancy she is more likely to continue this vital skill throughout her postpartum period and beyond.
So what are some self care tips during pregnancy?
1. Start small. If a mom has never practiced self care before it can actually be a challenge to take time out of their busy day to dedicate time for herself.
2. Make two lists
List #1- Moms can Jot down daily things that can help bring happiness to their day. Example: taking a bath, reading a book in a quiet place, baking, going on a walk, sewing, painting, writing, going for a drive. Decide on a time for these activities. She may decide 20 minutes of reading a book may be what works for her.
List #2- She can Jot down things that can bring her happiness on a regular basis but she couldn't do daily. Example: getting a massage or pedicure, taking prenatal classes, visiting a friend or family member.
3. She can start by doing at least 2 activities a day from list #1 and at least 1-2 activities from list #2- 1-2 times a month.
4. After practicing self care a mom can Meditate on how she feels after completing each activity and also at the end of the day. Journaling may help with this! She may be surprised to notice a sense of calmness and peace.
5. Once she has accomplished a few days or so she can add in more daily/monthly activities if possible!
Many people voice concerns that self care feels selfish and takes up too much time but it is quite the opposite. Self care allows ones mind to be refreshed and can help increase focus and energy which allows them to potentially get more done throughout the day! Self care also alleviates stress so a mom can be more present with her family and new baby. Yes, self care may sound easy but can be a challenge in our busy lives. Taking out time for ourselves not only benefits us but everyone around us.
How do you practice self care during your pregnancy?
As our February calendar starts filling up with expectant Parents, a question that is often asked is when is the right time to hire a doula?
It is never too late to hire a doula, but to get the most benefits out of the process we suggest hiring a doula around the 30th week of pregnancy! This allows for us to get to know each other and to utilize the Evidence Based Birth Workshops that are provided in our packages! We also love getting to see our Moms progress throughout their pregnancy before the big day!