Postpartum


Meet Babywearing International of Tallahassee

In honor of International Babywearing Week, I interviewed my friends Ashley Anderson and Stephanie Lynn of Babywearing International’s Tallahassee Chapter. If you’d like to learn more about babywearing, there are regularly scheduled meetings, typically the First Friday and Third Saturdays each month, please visit the BWI of Tallahassee Facebook Group for current event details.

Babywearing International of Tallahassee

How did you ladies meet? We actually grew up about 30 miles from each other, but we never met until ICAN and Babywearing.

BWI TallahasseeWhat is your favorite part about Tallahassee? Ashley: I love the small town feel, even though it is much bigger than where I grew up! Stephanie: FSU football! It’s a big deal in our house and my husband bought me a wrap just because it reminded him of garnet and gold.

What is your favorite part about babywearing? Ashley: I love the closeness of babywearing and helping others experience that same closeness with their children. It was very natural for me to babywear, I was drawn to it immediately. Stephanie: I love wearing babies, mine or anyone else’s! I love the newborn snuggles, the infant who falls asleep from the motion while being worn. I love being able to contain the toddler-crazy, and being able to give my preschooler a ride when his legs have had too much walking.

BWI TallahasseeWho inspired you to become a Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE)? Ashley: Becky Lewis, the founder of the local BWI chapter, inspired me. She easily “tossed” babies on her back while continuing to calm them while teaching another mom to do the same thing was fascinating. Stephanie: Becky also inspired me to start babywearing and helped me figure out how I wanted to parent my children. It was never a talk that we had, it was just watching her with her kids (and other kids) that told me that was something I wanted to do. I enjoy helping families new to wearing find something that really works for their lifestyle. I became a VBE and helped establish BWI Tallahassee because I wanted to connect with other families in our area. That’s still true! I am thrilled to see returning families at our meetings and I hope it becomes a place where families can come enjoy time with other families, even if they don’t need babywearing help.

What is your favorite carry? Ashley: Lately, I’ve been loving the double hammock, but it changes frequently!   Stephanie: My favorite is the Pirate Carry (reinforced rear rebozo ruck), though we don’t get to use it much lately because leg straightening is my 14-month old’s new hobby.  

BWI TallahasseeNow for the fun questions! Where is one place you’d love to visit? Stephanie: I’d love to visit Bora Bora, but unless we hit the lottery it’ll never happen.

What’s your favorite holiday? Ashley: It is a tie between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would gladly start Thanksgiving in July to have 3 full months of each. Haha! But fall is definitely my favorite time of year. The colors are amazing! Stephanie: My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s all the fun of Christmas without all the headache of shopping!

What’s your favorite animal? Stephanie: Kangaroo, of course because I’d we wearing my baby!

Most hated household chore? Ashley: I hate folding laundry! I’ve mastered the laundry mountain lately and somewhat miss its presence. Stephanie: I detest laundry and mopping. I do at least one load of laundry every day, but I make my husband do all the sweeping and mopping.Babywearing Tallahassee

Do you have any hidden talents? Stephanie:I have the entire carrier library memorized, including colors and most weight limits. I also easily remember number sequences.

What is your biggest moment? Ashley: Having my son Colin was my biggest moment. He is amazing. I sometimes have a hard time believe I had a hand in creating him.

 

 

 


Using Essential Oils Safely

Essential Oils Tallahassee

You hear a lot about essential oils in the birth world. No matter which brand of essential oils you use, or WHEN you are using, please make sure you are using them SAFELY. Like REALLY safely.

What does this mean? Do not use essential oils willy-nilly or solely based on what the manufacturing company says. Seek out what aromatherapists say about that particular oil for your particular situation – small children, pregnancy, or whatever stage your family is in.

As a doula, I am not trained to use essential oils during labor but have had many, many clients who have used them to ease labor pains and discomforts. I am totally cool with whatever families choose for themselves and I personally love using lemon oil while cleaning and even used the same during transition to help ease my nausea!

If you need more info on what essential oils are safe for your family, check out Using Essential Oils Safely​ or their Facebook group: FB.com/groups/UsingEOsSafely/

According to the aromatherapists at Learning about EOs, “Pregnant women need to be especially careful when using essential oils, as some oils are never okay to use during pregnancy.” Two books I’ve seen frequently mentioned while researching EO use for my family are Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child and Natural Babycare. Here are direct links for more information about essential oils for my typical audience:

Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Essential Oils and Children

The takeaway from this I really, really want you to get, is that we all need to be doing our own research on the oils we are interested in BEFORE we buy them, getting the information from sources that are not looking for our business. These oils, even though they’re natural, they have strong medicinal properties and should be treated with respect and caution just as you would any other medicines for your children – and yourselves!


Breastmilk Keepsakes

EXCITING NEWS! Read on to find a 10% off coupon code for HollyDay Designs!

Breastmilk Necklace

What do you do with your frozen breastmilk stash? It might sound like a rhetorical question, one with a simple answer: Feed it to the baby! But, there’s a way to turn some of your milk into a breastmilk keepsake to memorialize your breastfeeding relationship!

It might sound silly, but this wasn’t around when I was at the end of my stash or I would have sent it off to a breastmilk jeweler instead of using it as an additive in the bath to help with my daughter’s eczema. Last year, a close friend moved very, very far away, so a big group of us pooled together and bought her a breastmilk necklace to honor her and her son’s hard-won nursing relationship.

So, if I was to have access to a time machine, one of the many stops would be to the day I used my last bag of frozen milk to tell myself to hold onto it because there was a cool new trend going to happen in a couple years.

If you search online, you will find a million different jewelers who create breastmilk keepsakes – necklaces, beads for your Pandora bracelet, and more. The artisan selected for our friend’s necklace was one recommended to me, Hollyday Designs. I loved that she had a design that incorporated a camera as the recipient is a wonderful photographer (her pics are all over this site!). If you like this necklace, you’ll love her other designs!

 

UPDATE!!!! Once I shared my blog post with Holly, owner of Hollyday Designs, she was so thrilled to hear about my experience that she offered my clients and readers A COUPON CODE!

Now through July 31st, use code BOLDBIRTH10 for 10% off your entire order from HollyDay Designs! They offer more than just breastmilk keepsakes – they also create memorial pieces and, similar to the breastmilk options, they have beautiful pieces that incorporate your life-sustaining placenta!


Meet Casey Yu: A Dissertation on Motherhood 1

In honor of Mother’s Day and a special birthday, I interviewed Casey Yu. I remember the first time I met Casey but it was so HOT that day as I was waaaaay too pregnant for Summer, I’m not even sure I said more to her than a grunt or a defeated sigh. I met her for real when we hired her as our maternity photographer, and we became fast friends. Tallahassee NICU

So, what special birthday? Two years ago today, Casey’s son William was born. The Will of #freewill and #feedwill hashtag fame. His birth was the first planned cesarean I ever attended as a doula, although it was planned last minute for very emergent reasons, as you’ll read below. I remember being nervous and scared for both he and Casey in the days and weeks leading up to his birth, although on the outside I did my best to remain a calm source of support. I spent every single moment of his birth sending good thoughts out into the Universe for the two of them, hoping it would help get them through the hard times ahead. And today, Will and his family celebrated his second birthday halfway around the world! Casey is now using her experience as a photographer and a mother via cesarean delivery in her dissertation research.

What made you interested in writing your dissertation about motherhood?
I have been writing on and off about mothering online ever since I started my doctoral program at FSU, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my youngest that the focus started to change. Will was diagnosed with IUGR in utero, I had high blood pressure, and was on bedrest from 24 weeks until he was born, in all of his 3lb 2oz glory, at 32 weeks in an emergent cesarean section. In all regards, my experience birthing Will was not too bad. I had a really supportive birth team, with a doula, helpful family members, and surprisingly, a midwife from my practice that I’d had my doubts about but she was perfect at the time. The culmination of events from his birth and my recovery led to my interest in writing about and learning about cesarean sections and their impact on women as a whole. His birth, the support I received, the recovery (both physical and mental) path I took – all of this had a profound impact on me as a person, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would end up writing about it for my dissertation!

My dissertation topic explores the use of cameraphone photography in how knowledge is gained and shared by women who have undergone cesarean sections. I argue that the act of capturing images on a cameraphone and sharing them socially can be considered a powerful act, capable of effecting change. I am in the midst of editing the prospectus of my dissertation, which is essentially the first three chapters outlining my argument, the literature review I have conducted, and my proposed method of
answering my research questions. Getting there!
Tallahassee Parenting
How do you hope your research will change the future of motherhood?
One of the most unique experiences women have is the ability to give birth. This process has become progressively more complicated and murky with so many women who have given birth feeling less in control of their bodies than ever. It is my hope that this work will culminate into photographs captured by mothers to describe the experiences they are having, and encouraging all birth professionals (obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas) to consider the impact of cesarean birth on women as a whole. The United States performs over 30% of births every year via cesarean sections, when the World Health Organization indicates that the optimal rate for cesarean deliveries is between 5-10%. This huge discrepancy needs to be addressed by everyone – pregnant women and their birth teams.

Perhaps most simply, though: my hope is that my work can empower women in their quest to birth their children – however the baby is born.

Who has inspired you?
Oh gosh, so many have inspired me. I have grown up in a long line of amazingly strong women with my surname – my mother, my grandmother, my two aunts, and my two cousins. They are some of the most badass, strong, passionate women I’ve ever known. Josh’s family boasts some amazing people too – my in-laws have been incredibly supportive of my education and have helped me shape what I want to do. My advisor is amazing as well and has understood the fervor and anger I feel when I write about some of the things I have had to write about to get this prospectus off and running. My husband Josh is, as I term, the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. My three kids are inspirations (and also cause premature greying of my hair!).

But mostly, I am inspired by the stories I have heard from some of the most amazing people I know who have given birth via cesarean section. Having a child in and of itself a transformative experience. Having a child via cesarean section takes amazing courage and bravery that is not recognized nearly enough. They are my inspiration, through and through.

Tallahassee Newborn PhotographyWhat is something about you that we would be surprised to hear?
I asked Josh to answer this for me, and he says, “I think they would be surprised to know that you are actually capable of emotionally connecting with other humans.” I have a pretty tough exterior and my kids will be the first to tell you that I like to get my way, I am sometimes mean, but secretly way down deep (probably inside my little toes), I am a softy.

And now for the fun questions! Where did you grow up?
All over! I was born in Illinois, lived in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, and Florida. I spent two months in Alaska at one point too!

If it won’t make you homesick, what is your favorite part about Tallahassee?
The parenting community! I love the small town feel of Tallahassee – every time I went out to run an errand, I am bound to run into a friend and have a moment to stop and chat. It made me feel connected to an entity of motherhood far greater than the effort I put forth at home.

What is your favorite food/thing to cook?
My late grandmother’s sticky rice stuffing, with pork ribs, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms. Mmmmm!
Tallahassee Motherhood

Have you ever won a trophy?

Yes! I ran a 5K in Chicago – my first one. I am 99% sure I got a medal.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both! I am the first one awake in the morning, usually due to the sun that rises early here in Dhaka. And I get my second or third or fourth wind around midnight.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Chinese New Year! Josh and I make a ton of Chinese food and invite all our friends over for a grand feast. I look forward to it every year!

What’s your biggest moment?
Hasn’t happened yet. The second I get to have my advisor hood me and call me Dr. Yu – that will be my biggest moment and you can come back and edit this post to reflect that when it happens.