Lots of parents wonder if it is possible to “spoil” their babies by picking them up every time they cry or holding them a lot throughout the day. Basically, the answer is, “NO!” watch my replays from Periscope below to hear why. And remember to follow me on at Periscope.tv/MoniqueTheDoula.
Some of the most pressing questions I get from families I work with have to do with breastfeeding. Mothers, their partners, grannies, sisters, play cousins ALL want to know is baby getting enough? Is it normal if baby eats more than once every few hours? What if mom has small breasts? What if baby is only at the breast for X amount of time? Is the baby too small? Is the baby too big? Should I give water? Supplements?
Since babies and breasts don’t come with manuals (YET! Manuals coming VERY soon), we have to rely upon our instincts (and cues from our Little Ones). The great thing is, our biological instincts are wired, once we give birth, to know what needs to be done when we see, smell, hear or taste (also known as kissing all up on) our little bundles. The not so great thing is, we have been conditioned not to trust these instincts, to constantly compare ourselves and our children to others and to actually SEEK OUT the most horrid of horror stories to undermine our instincts.
Here is the thing, the VAST majority of women are perfectly able to breastfeed. There are some women who are not, but, most women who are fearful that they are unable, are perfectly able. Here is the kicker, however, the stress that comes with not being able to breastfeed can actually LOWER your milk supply! In fact, ANY stress can lower your supply. But, please, DO NOT stress about stressing, thereby adding more stress onto your stress. I made a little poster with some tips and techniques to get that oxytocin flowin’ and those stress levels lowered. Download it, print it, share it. Please let me know if it helps you.
Doula the Daddy: Why Supporting Black Fathers is Essential
I am a doula and, as such, my work focuses primarily on pregnant and postpartum mothers. However, I assist fathers to be more involved in the process of birth and caring for the newborn. Time and again, Black fathers have communicated (verbally and nonverbally) their feelings of being less than fully supported and having their positions, during their partners’ pregnancy, labor and caring for the baby, usurped.
While the mother and baby are (and should be) supported, protected and cared for fully by all who surround them, fathers need just as much support if we are to expect them to display healthy, sound leadership within their family unit. In a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reviewed 43 studies with over 28,000 participants and found that 10 percent of men had prenatal or postpartum depression. While the number of men who suffer from prenatal and postpartum depression mirrors that of women who suffer from postpartum mood disorders, men, largely go undiagnosed and untreated.
Whether a man suffers from a postpartum mood disorder or not, men can feel inadequate and unnecessary when it comes to his partner’s pregnancy, the birth of his child and caring for the new baby. His mother-in-law, his partner’s best friends or sisters, even his own mother can take over in areas where he might be most helpful. If poverty comes into play, his masculinity is questioned based on his ability to provide the needs and wants of the mother and child- especially, in the Black community, where men experience immasculation through racism on an ongoing basis. Coupled with the stresses of navigating the systems in which the mother may be involved (medical, welfare, etc), this can force a man to be less involved in the life of his child from the womb. Studies have shown that men who are involved in the process of pregnancy and birth are more attached to their children and have a better sense of their child’s temperament and moods at age 3-6 months. When a father recognizes that he matters in the life of his child, it can prevent or ease symptoms of prenatal and postpartum depression.
A father’s complete involvement in the life of his child from the womb is beneficial for him, the child and the mother. When a father cares for the mother of his child, the mother better cares for herself and her child, even in utero. When a father is involved in his child’s life at an early age, it protects the child from psychological trauma and turmoil and behavioral problems in later years. It is imperative that a father understands that his legacy starts from the moment of conception. It is imperative that fathers are lifted and thoroughly supported, educated and empowered during a time where he is just as vulnerable as the mother.