Saturday, February 28, 2009


I go through times in my life where I am very balanced...spiritually, physically and emotionally. This is always my goal, however, there are times it is necessary to be out of balance in order to accomplish a major task. The key is getting that balance back and staying balanced the majority of the time.
Why do we have such a hard time doing this? Do we not recognize the value? Do we not have the energy? Do we not know how to achieve it? Is it harder for women? Do we feel more spiritual when we are giving sacrificially?
If we don't recognize the value, we will never strive for balance...what is the value? You are in a much better place to serve if you are in a healthy place yourself. You can only give what you have.
How can we achieve balance?
Meditate on the Word-the Lord gave us an incredible set of instructions, it is up to us to read and apply them
Exercise-our bodies waste away if we don't use our muscles. We release wonderful endorphins when we work our muscles. We have a sense of accomplishment when we move.
Eat Well- this means different things to different people. You get direct result based on the "fuel" you put in your body. Step your diet up one step...if you are eating out, make better choices, if you are eating canned and processed foods, eat frozen. If you are eating fresh, step up to organic. You probably will not stick with a plan that changes everything at one time...take baby steps and stick with it.
Get enough sleep- your body heals as it sleeps. Your body needs 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night. If you are not getting that at night, take naps. You handle issues better if you are well rested. Life goes smoother.
Be Thankful-Life will throw you curve thankful, look for the growth, the benefits and the good that will come out of it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

God's Perfect Timing

We always tell moms their babies will come in God's perfect timing. We know there is a delicate dance that goes on between moms and biabies just before birth. Babies produce a hormone that prepares mom's body and moms produce a hormone that helps babies make the final adjustments before birth. Although that is a much simplified version of what goes on, it is true. Science is now able to document it.
This waiting game is often very difficult for moms in our culture. We want everything on an orderly time schedule, one that doesn't interfere with our other plans like work, birthday parties, special occasions, etc. It is hard to be still and wait upon the Lord.
I had an interesting experience today that brought this all to mind, I had my plans and my schedule. I had everything lined up to be in perfect synch with my plans. Meetings were scheduled, appointments were made, there was much driving involves so that was taken in to consideration.
As it turned out, we left later than expected, I had actually planned an extra bit of time so we were still ok. About an hour into our schedule of activities, two police cars past us at full speed and running their lights, a few minutes later two more police cars past in the same manner. I felt there must be s big problem ahead. Not too much time past and we came to a halt , inching forward at snail's pace. More police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, DOT trucks sped past. This thing must be huge. About two hours later, we approach the scene of the accident. Jay counte 17 vehicles, some mangled beyond belief. We made a quick adjustment in plans, cancelled one appointment which really needed to be done and thanked God for His protection. Two hours late and cancelled appointment are nothing like what these folks were going through.
We stopped to get coffee and just as we got back in the car my appointment called, turns out she was 15 minutes away from where we were and could go ahead and meet right now instead of later. THis was such a blessing because with that change, we could go on and do Jay's appointment and still make the last event of the day.
Everything worked out perfectly and I am grateful. I have to wonder what would have happened if we had left on time. We will never know, but for tonight I am going to be grateful for all things...Thankful Jay got to spend some time with his mom and dad, thankful we were running behind schdule, thankful for the flexibility of others, thankful for a wonderful and loving husband who was willing to let me do my appointment when we thought we could just do one and not both. I am thankful for traveling mercies as Jay and I are both on the road a lot!
Now back to the patiently waiting that comes in pregnancy, give thanks for the extra days you are able to carry you little one inside. It is a special blessing that is self limiting. This time will not last forever. We don't know what the future holds.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lovely Day

Amy and I visited a wonderful young couple today who are interested in having an out of hospital birth. They are furniture makers by trade. I almost had a "Mimi momment" and bought a custom made baby crib. I restained myself. Their work is absolutely beautiful with much attention to detail.
We then went to Laurens High school and talked with a group of about 25 students who are interested in nursing, EMT and other health related fields. I love talking to young people. They are so full of questions and so full of life. They loved the birth film but were a little grossed out by the placenta...we love placentas :) I also feel when we talk to these young people it helps them stretch and grow just a bit in their understanding of what is normal. Birth is normal! Stay away from interventions unless necessary. I try to instill confidence in their ability to give birth. Many have never even considered having a baby without medication. Now they have something to think about.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Breastfeeding-the first few days cont.

Be responsive to your baby, but recognize that there are other ways to soothe besides being put to the breast. Other people can soothe your baby also. This idea will disturb some people, but babies have the capacity to securely attach to one than one person. Some of the best adjusted families are those who have help come in for the first week. This allows moms to get much needed rest and babies to be nurtured by others.

Some babies have very little interst in the breast for the first few days. These babies hold out for the milk. They are vigerous nursers who empty the breast of colostrum within a few minutes and then have no desire to nurse. Once the milk comes in they are very content.

Proper latch is vital in a good nursing relationship. If it is painful to nurse, there is a problem. Seek help in establishing a good latch. Call your midwife, a LaLeche League leader or member, your childbirth educator, a postpartum doula, or a lactation consultant. Don't wait unitl you have a crisis on your hands and you are ready to throw up your hands and quit. Get help early. If your nipples are sore, a tsp of salt and 1 cup of warm water will do wonders. Follow that up with lanolin cream. Don't use soap as it is very drying.

If you are concerned about milk supply, 6-8 wet diapers a day indicates enough milk. If you still have questions, get your baby weight. The average baby will gain about 6-8 oz a week.

Feed yourself. You will feel much better and produce milk better if you are well rested, have enough fluids and are eating enough...about the same as you were eating in pregnancy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Breastfeeding-first few days

As you know I am re-reading BabyWise. I am not advocating this method but rather looking critically as some of the suggestions for parenting. Rather than rehash the book, I decided to share some of the ideas that have worked with moms and babies over the past ten years. Some of those ideas are in line with what I have read, others not. You decide for yourself if these would be helpful to you.
Moms sometimes ask me right after baby is will I know my baby is hungry? Great question and shows interest in the child's needs.
Babies come from the womb in various states of hunger. Some attach to the breast immediately while others look around, get settled, root and lick a bit and then latch on. Some suck vigerously right from the beginning, others "play" at the breast. This is all within the realm of normal. After their first nurse, babies will most often take a very long nap, a period of non-reactive sleep. These little guys are saked out. They have no interest in anything. They have had a tough journey and the are ready for sleep. There is no need to wake your baby during this time. It may last 4-6 hours, we have had a few babies sleep, only waking briefly to look around a bit, for 8 hours. As long as baby is pink, well flexed, breathing without any distress and maintaining their body temp, they are fine.
After this inital sleep, babies will nurse every 2 to 3 hours. These nursings will take from 20 to 30 minutes, usually. The important issue here is good active nursing during this time. Once baby is attached, they need to be encouraged to stay awake and complete that time without falling asleep at the breast. What I find when babies are allowed to fall asleep at the breast is frequent, short nursings, very sore, tired moms, and discontent babies . This is frustrating to everyone concerned.
Oh my, time for church...more later :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sleeping Babies

I have been contemplating a post I read recently about babies not sleeping at night. I decided to reread a book "Being BabyWise" because of some very bad reviews I had heard. Comments like "this method is dangerous" and "detrimental to breastfeeding relationships"
My first exposure to this method was with a family who had two children, they now have six. When I arrived at their home for an initial visit, the children were in their room, with a baby gate in the doorway so they could see their parents. They played contently for about an hour while we talked. At the end of our meeting, the mom pulled out banana bread and drinks for all of us including the children. They sat at the table with us and "engaged" in conversation while we enjoyed our delicious snack. They were polite, the mother was calm, the home was orderly and pleasant. I asked her what parenting technique she used and she shared with me the book. As with anything you read or are exposed to, she had made modifications to the method to fit her family needs.
I have watched this family grow through the years. They are respectful to one another, loving and compassionate. Their lives are orderly. They are happy and well adjusted.
My point in all this for yourself, take the good, ditch the bad and accept that there are many different methods out there and they all work for some people. Take a look around you and observe the families you admire, use them as a model. You may not do everything they are doing, but you can pick up a nugget from each one.
Be responsive to you children, but not reactionary. This can go two ways. You may be react because of the way you were raised...I won't ever do _____ to my children. (very dangerouse words) Or you may react to your child. Take the time to figure out what your child is needing (yes needed are different than wants) and respond appropriately.
Use common sense. Children have no boundaries except what you set. They are constantly testing those limits to see what is acceptable. It is ok for you, as the mom, to have needs. You are not selfish if you need sleep, to go to the bathroom, take a shower, or eat. I know you may be thinking, surely moms don't feel guilty about doing basic care for themselves...surprise, I actually talk to moms who have not showered all day because or eaten because if they put their baby down, they will cry...and they feel they are being bad mothers for allowing their baby to cry for the 10 minutes it would take to hop in the shower. Now lest someone take what I just said and completely twist it around...I am not advocating ignoring or abandoning your children. What I am saying is recognize your need, recognize your child's need and make a compromise.
It may look like this...
Mommy needs to _________ (you fill in the blank: get a shower, fix lunch, get sleep) You have been fed, changed, held and loved. I understand you like to be held and mommy loves to hold you, but right now I need a ________ so I am going to put you down in this safe place and I will be back to you in just a few minutes. You will not warp your child or make them insecure with this approach. They are very smart. They will learn you have not abandon them, you do come back, and they learn to comfort themselves.
I will reserve my opinion of BabyWise until I have finished rereading it. I let you know what I think. For now, remember that you family is a unit made up of memebers and each member has needs. The family unit will function much better and with less resentment in the long run if each member has their need met and no one member's needs are elevated for extended periods of time.