With so many products and services out there for pregnant women and new moms, and so much advice floating around, how do you know what’s really best for you? We talked to local experts about lesser-known, not often talked about, or even slightly controversial options for pregnant women, and got the scoop on a few important ideas that women may have never considered.
Expert: Carolyn Zara, Masters of Science in Nursing, Maternal Development Specialist,
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Registered Lactation Consultant
Carolyn Zara outlines the perks of breast feeding in the following ten facts about breast milk:
1) It’s a baby’s perfect food with all the right nutrients in just the right amounts, making it easy to digest.
2) It’s always ready.
3) It changes to meet the needs of the growing baby.
4) It helps the baby’s brain grow.
5) Breastfed babies are sick less often. They have less earaches, allergies and stomach issues and diarrhea.
6) Formula is cow’s milk. It’s designed specifically for baby calves. Breast milk is an extension of what was happening during the mom’s pregnancy because it comes from the mother’s bloodstream.
7) Breastfeeding helps you feel close to your baby. When you’re breastfeeding you learn to watch your baby and their cues. The baby is the leader and the mom is the follower. Mothers and babies begin to fall in love, and those hormones flow which leads to breast milk and the baby’s development.
8) Breast milk is free.
9) It’s easier because there’s nothing to carry, measure or heat. It makes nighttime feeding and traveling much easier.
10) Breastfeeding helps mothers get back in shape. It’s estimated that breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories per day. It also makes the uterus contract and shrink back to its normal size.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers breastfeed for at least a year. Mothers and babies need to have “skin-to-skin” time after the child’s birth to helps promote establishment of milk supply, Zara said. “When the baby is lying skin to skin on the mother’s chest, it’s very soothing and calming. Also, it allows the baby to instinctively find the breast on its own.”
Babies have to nurse frequently and mothers need to allow the baby to nurse anytime they’re hungry. “Many mothers have to go back to work or school but need to find a way to maintain milk supply through a breast pump or nursing,” Zara said. “She has to find a way to collect, store and provide milk for her baby in her absence. The best way of doing that is with a double-electric breast pump.”
Zara recalls being a young mother and wanting to breastfeeding her babies. When she had difficulty, her doctor told her to simply stop. “I became very engorged and uncomfortable. Nobody answered my questions, nobody helped me. I was determined to breastfeed my next child and went to La Leche League and learned all I could. I felt the need to be able to help other people.”
After 40 years of doing so, Zara is still fascinated by mothers and babies. “I love watching women develop into mothers. It’s my passion.”
For more information, call 419-525-4620
or visit www.motheringtouch.com
World Breastfeeding Week
is August 1 through August 7. The annual, global campaign’s intent is to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding This year, its slogan is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal- For Life!” It asserts the importance of sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.
What is your best advice for new moms and dads? What is the one thing you wish you knew if you were doing it over again?
You don’t have to buy everything new, used can work just as well. Melaina Krupp, Fostoria
You’re doing great – even when you’re exhausted, baby is crying and you’re second guessing everything you’ve done up
to that point.
Allison Bowyer, Findlay
Don’t worry about spoiling your newborn, they need the extra love and attention! If I could do it over, I would have snuggled her a lot more like I am doing with her newborn sibling now.
Amie Noel, Findlay
Body, Mind & Soul
Expert: Barb Matheny, owner and instructor
At a time in a woman’s life that is overwhelmed with questions about pregnancy, babies and body changes, prenatal yoga may serve as a source of security. Building strength, stamina, toning, flexibility and balance are helpful throughout pregnancy, labor and childbirth. It’s also a chance to develop a camaraderie and be with others who are having similar experiences. “There is a lot of talking going on before and after my prenatal yoga classes,” said Barb Matheny. “Friendships are formed and I love that about what I do.” Prenatal yoga helps alleviate physical discomfort including lower back pain, swelling, and restricted breathing.
Matheny emphasizes the importance of doing these exercises with a trained, certified prenatal instructor. The difference between prenatal yoga and other aerobic classes is that the body doesn’t overheat, which can harm babies. Matheny is always reminding women where to align their bodies so they don’t have any compression in the belly area and cautions them “to pay attention if they’re feeling uncomfortable because it’s likely that their baby is too.” Playing down any kind of competition in the class is vital because some might look around at others and think, ‘They’re doing that, I should be able to, too.’ As a pregnancy develops, women start to release hormones called relaxin, which is a natural hormone produced to help stretch the muscles. Women who might not have felt flexible in the past suddenly do and need to be aware of overstretching their muscles.
“I certainly believe that when a mother is calming her body down, she is creating a calm environment for her baby as well,” Matheny said.
Cascades Women’s Health
Expert: Tonya Fenzl, CNM
Tonya Fenzl takes pride in knowing that she is helping expectant mothers during one of the most exciting journeys of their lives. Backed up by physicians, nurse midwives are able to provide personalized care that caters to patients. “I’m able to be there and answer their questions. In labor, I can be at the bedside the entire time; there’s a lot more dedicated, personalized care with a midwife.” Their main goal is to educate women from the moment they’ve had their confirmation ultrasound through their labor and delivery. “My job is to make sure that they are in the best condition possible and let them know what to expect next with their bodies and their baby’s growth pattern. Whether they’re experiencing heartburn, nausea, or another form of discomfort, I want to ensure them that it’s normal.”
Other important health concerns are monitoring blood pressure and healthy weight gain. “The advantage is that you are talking to another woman about a woman’s body. We get to know them very well and can relate to them.”
Home births have been getting more attention recently and although Fenzl hasn’t seen any home births in Findlay, she says, “The experience is wonderful, and completely normal. It’s usually a calm environment, and when things start to get intense, you have to convince the mother that she will be okay.” The very minute things move away from the right direction, midwives must recognize that and transfer the laboring mom to a hospital. It needs to happen with someone trained and very experienced and “most patients are very capable of it,” she said.
“I was geared toward midwifery my whole life,” Fenzl said. “Once I got into nursing school and I did my rounds in obstetrics, I was completely in love. It was magic to me.”
Stepping Stones Counseling Center
Expert: Rachael Helms, licensed independent social worker
Having a newborn is almost synonymous with change. And it may not always be pretty. Sleepless nights, extreme emotions and altering relationships may leave women feeling more guilty than joyful. For one in eight women, this will mean experiencing some form of postpartum depression, which is any form of depressive disorder usually starting two weeks after giving birth.
Symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, difficulties with decision making, withdrawal from family and friends, focus on routine, and anxiety, leave moms wondering why they feel the way they do.
Causes are significant hormonal changes including the rapid decline or change levels of estrogen and progesterone, and previous cases of depression and anxiety. “It doesn’t mean that anybody who experiences postpartum depression has a preexisting case, but if you did, it increases your risk,” said Rachael Helms.
Postpartum depression and mood disorders often affect more than the mother. The significant other is likely dealing with a lot of their own symptoms. “Their whole life has shifted and things are changing, educating them is the first step and then teach them to support each other,” Helms said.
Education is also the first piece in prevention. Making sure that women are in good health is integral. Helms works on proactive planning to give women the necessary education ahead of time. “After that two-week period, if certain feelings and thoughts start to develop, you can quickly challenge and address those by saying ‘Okay, this is just my body’s response, this is just the hormones working.’”
The most effective treatment would fall under what Helms calls cognitive behavioral therapy which is a short-term solution-focused treatment that focuses on defying troublesome thoughts and finding ways to challenge them. “This is supposed to be a time of joy, excitement, and anticipation, and you’re supposed to love this child so much that the rest of the world melts away,” said Helms. “Women not feeling these things have to understand it really has nothing to do with their bonding or love for their child.”