home birthing midwives

How Can Partners Bond with Baby?

Nursing mothers have an immediate connection with their baby. Mamas are likely breastfeeding around the clock so there is no question of the importance and necessity of their role.

What about partners? How can they bond with baby? Partners may feel unhelpful or not needed, but the truth is that they are a crucial component in baby’s life. Your partner has a different voice that can prove to be just what baby needs in certain situations. And his or her scent and touch are also welcomed comforts for baby.

When our son was a newborn, he had a slight case of jaundice and so one of my husband’s duty’s was to warm him in the sun for a few minutes each day. That was when he perfected his “Tiger in the Tree” hold. Dad also became the designated swaddler because he was much better than I was at folding and tucking!

Here are some other ways partners can play an important role in baby’s life:

  • Cuddle or take a nap with baby on your chest

  • Read or sing to baby

  • Change baby’s diaper

  • Burp baby once he’s done nursing

  • Wear baby in a sling or carrier and go on a walk

  • Give baby a bath

  • Rock baby to sleep

For more on this topic check out La Leche League’s pdf What About Partners? We would love to hear some ways your partner bonded with your baby.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.

6 Marvels of Breastmilk

It’s no secret that I am a proponent of breastfeeding and a fan of breastmilk. My 1-year-old still enjoys mommy milk daily, I am an advocate for milk banks, and I have gone as far as to say during a board meeting ice breaker that my super power is making milk!

Breastmilk cannot be manufactured, and nourishing our babies is just the beginning of what is so fab about all those precious drops. Mama milk can reduce the risk of children developing eczema, asthma, allergies and obesity later in life, while prolonged breastfeeding helps reduce the lifelong risk of heart disease.

But, it wasn’t until I went to session four of Genevieve’s prenatal classes that I tapped into more of the many miracles associated with “liquid gold.” Here are some of them:

Six Marvels of Breastmilk & Nursing

  • Mind Reader. The complex composition of your unique breastmilk constantly changes to meet the developing nutritional requirements of your baby. A baby’s saliva sends signals to tell mom’s body what he needs.

  • Germ Fighter. There have been many reports on the health benefits breastmilk offers a baby -- such as antibodies that can build his immune system. As you come into contact with new infections, your baby will automatically get some immunity from them too.

  • Cancer Preventer. Every time you nurse you reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

  • Mama Helper. Breastfeeding has a number of other long-term advantages for moms. Nursing can delay the return of your menstrual cycle (mine stayed away nine glorious months), which will help maintain your iron status. And, it often improves your metabolism.

  • Oxy Booster. Breastfeeding causes your “love hormones” to rise. Scientists have discovered that oxytocin levels go up while women breastfeed. This is thought to help increase your feelings of love towards your child. It also means you slowly forget all the rough bits associated with childbirth.

  • Nonstop Producer. You don’t need to wait for your milk to refill. Milk is produced around-the-clock so the breast is never empty. In fact, the emptier the breast, the faster the milk production.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list of the amazingness of breastmilk. After my son was born there were several situations when I called to ask my midwife, Genevieve, what to do. I was often surprised and relieved to hear that the answer was… use breastmilk. I applied it to my sore, cracked nipples to relieve pain and help them heal, I put several drops on a rough skin patch on my son’s face to alleviate the dryness, and used it on his minor cuts to prevent infection.

I thought I’d heard all there was to know about breastmilk and then I read a stat from a British article on the benefits of breastfeeding. It stated that breastmilk is different for sons and daughters. Did you know that boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls, therefore, breastmilk produced for boys contains up to 25% more calories? Even with a year of milk knowledge under my belt I still find that there is much to learn about this super food.

Did I miss one of your favorite mama milk marvels? Please, tell me more.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.

Is My Home Too Small for a Home Birth?

If you’ve had similar thoughts then perhaps this post will help answer the question and put your mind at ease.

“That one is gone forever, she said.” I opened my eyes, one more contraction down, and was transported back to my kitchen with Genevieve and my home birth team.

When Genevieve arrived that afternoon I was in the back bathroom, but through varying degrees of contractions had made my way from my bedroom to the living room and then to the kitchen. I’d managed to cover most of the footprint of my modest 1,200 sq. ft home before reaching 6 centimeters.

One of the many questions I had asked Genevieve during my check-ins was “is my home too small for a home birth?” I was worried that the bed took up much of the real estate in our bedroom, that we would not be able to fit a birthing tub in our common space, and that there wouldn’t be room to stretch out once two midwives, an apprentice, a doula and my husband were huddled around me.

A quick search on the Internet shows that many women have the same fears and are at a loss for answers. What constitutes a house “big enough” for a home birth? Said simply…any place you call home. There's no place too small to labor in, and midwives are completely comfortable and prepared to assist in the tiniest spots.

Women have given birth in small condos and apartments, and we have all heard stories of babies being delivered in cars. Last year Genevieve and Sisters Midwifery had a mama who delivered in her RV, so it’s easy to see you don’t need much room at all.

Although I had originally worried that my home might be too small, once I was in labor, the square footage made no difference to me at all. My pint-sized bathroom had room enough for three, and furniture I thought would be in the way was subtly and strategically moved around. After I delivered my son, everything was put back in place and my home seemed tidier than before.

It’s hard to know what you’ll do during labor or how you will react so it’s important to feel free in your space.

Women who choose home birth often prefer the comfort of being in familiar surroundings. They feel more confident and relaxed when they are able to control their birthing environment: the lighting, the temperature, the noise, their bed and their bathroom.

We look for the coziest places to labor in. So, that becomes the more important question over size. Do you feel like your home offers you the capacity to feel secure and stress-free during labor and delivery? If your answer is yes, then that is what matters.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.

Water Birth Options in the Austin Area

Originally posted on April 23, 2015 by Genevieve

Water birth has become a popular choice for home birth parents. It has been a great pleasure to assist with water births at home.

Laboring in the water gives the mother tremendous physical relief while promoting emotional calmness and mental clarity. I’ve observed women enter a tub of warm water during active labor, and I’ve watched their muscles relax, eyes close, and breathing deepen. Birth partners can also enter the pool to provide massage and close physical contact. During the pushing phase of labor, women often stay in this soft state and gently push their babies out. The warmth of the water brings circulation to the perineum, minimizing the probability of perineal tears. Most babies will birth spontaneously, and the mother or her partner can bring the baby up out of the water.

Many babies are calmed by the warm water, a familiar environment for them. Usually, mothers can stay in the tub with their babies to begin breastfeeding, and the placenta can be delivered in the pool. Decades ago, Dr. Leboyer recognized the power of water to ease the newborn’s transition to the extra-uterine environment. The Leboyer bath can be provided to a newborn after any type of birth.