5 Ways to be more Mindful

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

 

5 Ways to be a More Mindful Mama

(This article was written by HeHe Stewart - originally posted to Family Education, read the full article here.)

While emails are still filling up your inbox about last minute gifts and holiday steals, your busy trying to plan the right amount of holiday activities for your kids/family/friends, and trying to stay sane and jolly all the while- we are dropping in to remind you of a few simple ways to stay more mindful, present, and calm during this time of year. These five small mindfulness tips are enough to keep your day from spiraling and simple enough that it won’t get lost in your busy schedule.

What have you done for yourself this year? If your answer is nothing, we gotta change that, sister. Have you ever heard someone say you can’t pour from an empty cup? Of course you have, but the reality is, it’s true. Moms are a superbreed of humans that always put their needs behind everyone else’s. While this sounds very caring and selfless, it actually has the potential to disrupt the functioning of your family in a big way.

Meditate Daily

Ten minutes in the AM and 10 minutes in the PM could be the difference between losing your cool on your kids and reacting when they push the boundaries. As Rachel Hollis always reminds us, if you don’t have an hour a day to set aside for yourself, are you even living? You’re worth 20 minutes. 

Say No

Say no your kids, to your partner, to your boss, your colleagues, to yourself. Say ‘no’ more often and practice healthy boundaries. You know how. Learn to set boundaries so you don’t feel overwhelmed, rush, drowning, or just plain exhausted. Prioritize your obligations/jobs/tasks, decide on a specific number of things you will do that week and when you’re maxed out, you’re done. The answer is ‘no.’ 

Journal

Get those feelings out, then journal a little bit more. Get it all out. Then you can write down your goals on paper so they can come alive. Speaks your goals into existence. See them written in permanent ink. Write about how good it feels to achieve that goal and how you’re going to get there. 

Exercise

Move your body! Those hormones that get going during exercise will make you feel happy. I promise. Give it a try. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, too! Water is such a key component to staying healthy and balanced.

Dry Brushing

This is a fun one and most people have never given it a try! Dry brushing helps drain lymphatic stagnation and supports the elimination of toxins. It is exactly what it sounds like—brushing the skin (your whole body, not just your head) with a dry, soft-bristled brush. It’s so relaxing and provides a great time to check in with your body after a long day!

You deserve the time and space to ask yourself questions like “How do I feel emotionally today?” “How do I feel physically?” “Do I feel safe and loved?” There are so many things that constitute self-care and it truly is whatever you make it. Find something that is easy to incorporate into your daily life and make the promise to yourself to do it everyday for 30 days. If you don’t keep promises to yourself, who in the world will you keep them to? This could be eating one sweet a day without a second thought, taking a quick 30-minute nap once a day, or allowing yourself the time to take three long (sometimes very long) deep breaths before responding to your child’s 64th tantrum of the day. Allow yourself the space to be mindful.

Do Inductions Really Rise Around the Holidays?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Do Inductions Really Rise Around the Holidays?

As long as I can remember in my doula career, I have been told, both seriously and sarcastically, that inductions rise around the holidays because doctors want to control the births they will have to deliver on..let’s say Thanksgiving day or Christmas Day. 

I have to be honest in that I never really paid much attention to it because our team typically takes off the end of the year! It has been an intentional decision in years past to not take births in the months of December and January. This provided us with the time to disconnect, visit family and friends, and wrap up one year + dive into the next with a solid foundation. As you well know, 2020 has changed so much of what we knew and, for us, this meant not having the space to disconnect without leaving birthing people vulnerable in a global crisis and not traveling for this holidays. With this, we decided to work straight through 2020 into the start of 2021. And in this moment, the entire idea of ‘inductions increase at the holidays so doctors can be home with their families’ became utterly relevant. 

So I did what I do best. I dove in head first. 

Do inductions really increase when the holidays approach?


This is a map of the number of babies born on every single day of the year (2004-2014), see here. The darker the date, the more number of births. The lighter the date, the fewer number of births.

The first thing you notice is that the fall time is a hot time to have a baby with September being the overwhelmingly most popular month. This makes sense to me because the end of the year holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc) are 9 months before that and people are getting jiggy with it during the holidays. The seasons impact our birth patterns and we have observed this within Tranquility by HeHe. I wrote about it here

Next thing that we notice is that January through April is light. So I begin to look for the lightest and that turns out to be January. Calculating 9 months before that is April which doesn’t mean much. Tax season is stressful? Spring cleaning has people too tired? Allergies got you too stuffy? Eh. I wasn’t buying it. So I began to go the other way. 

January, December, November. Well, well, well. Jackpot. This is what I had been warned about thousands of times before and it was unveiling itself right in front of my eyes. I could NOT believe what I was seeing. New Years Day, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas (12/26) basically melted into the background indicating there were virtually no births occurring on those dates. How bizarre. New Years Eve and January 2 was a close second. I was floored.

As I continued to scan, I noticed that December 19 & 20 were a deep color indicating a ton of births occurred that day right in time to ensure they are discharged by Christmas--vaginal and c-sections so a provider might not even have to come in and do rounds. I continued on and, again, I noted a sequence of deep plum on December 28, 29, and 30 seemingly squeezing in births between holidays. Fascinating. I was hooked and had to look into this more! 

Also, on this list of questionable birth patterns is July 4th! It’s the lightest shade of pink which says not a lot of births happen on this day.. Coincidence or intentional?

What do the numbers say?


So, let’s look at the hard numbers. (I rounded up in all scenarios since you can’t have .38 or .48 of a baby) If we take Christmas day, we see that 6,574 babies were born across the United States. It obviously won’t be an even split, but for the sake of this I divided the number of births by 50 (states) and that comes out to 132 births per state. That means that from Wyoming (state with the smallest population, 580K residents) to California (state with largest population, 39.51M--yes million) there are less than 150 births in each of these states--does that feel right to you? Does it feel like nature orchestrated that or human intervention? Check out the numbers for yourself here.

Let’s do a few more-- New Years Day has 7,792 births across our nation and that’s roughly 156 births per state. Christmas Eve has 8,069 births and that translates to roughly 162 births per state. The entire week of Thanksgiving is a light pink indicating not a lot of births are happening this week. One more and it’s July 4 with 8,796 births with means each state would have around 176 births. On all of these dates, we are talking about less than 200 births. To give you a reference point, there are between 33K-43K OB’s in our country with New York, California, Texas, Florida and Michigan having the most OB’s in comparison to the rest of the country

Matter of fact, our country is experiencing a shortage in OB’s at the moment and it’s steadily declining. I like to think that we are shifting from highly medicalized birth to midwifery care and a more hands off approach. Time will tell. 

They are human too. But you chose to be a doctor. 


We must consider that doctors are humans, too. They want to be with their families on the holidays just like the rest of us, but then there’s a layer of, “but you chose to be a doctor.” We must remind ourselves how lucky we are to have servicemen and women, first responders, nurses, doctors and all other essential workers. However, this also opens the door for manipulation to have the chance to weasel its way in.

Our healthcare is broken. 


If you missed one of our most recent Instagram posts (if you aren’t following us over there, you certainly should! It’s a fun time!), we shared about how money may be influencing the c-section rate in the US. A 2013 study found that the more educated someone was on the birth process, their options, and the medical system the less likely they were to have a c-section. This study looked specifically at physicians caring for other physicians and wouldn’t you know it—they perform SO MANY LESS c-sections on fellow physicians. They found that when the patient is another physician, they are less likely to end in a c-section. The authors suggested that since the patient (a fellow physician) is so educated on their options, the birth process, and the medical system, they are less likely to experience manipulative care that so often leads to unnecessary c-sections.

This study also shares an interesting fact that c-sections earns providers and facilities hundreds to thousands of additional dollars in revenue. So it makes sense why traditional CBE classes taught by hospitals are teaching people how to be compliant and not question the system. Yet, if you’re educated enough to know better, your odds of a c-section drastically decrease. I quickly recognized this critical flaw in our healthcare system years ago at the start of my birth work journey. I created The Birth Lounge to give pregnant folks unbiased, honest (not always pretty), transparent childbirth preparation.

You must advocate for yourself. 


You still have so much control over your birth even if your due date is one of the dates we know tends to have few number of births. Be sure to do your homework on knowing how to advocate for yourself. Hire a our team to be with you--in-person or virtual doula support. Make a birth plan and discuss with your provider beforehand. 

Here are a few resources that will be helpful to you in navigating this as you head into the holidays! First, knowing the research and science on inductions and c-sections is imperative. Here is a c-section bundle of resources that will help you understand how to avoid a c-section

You may find that your provider tries to pull a fast one on ya in order to keep their holiday plans! Knowing the hard facts for yourself is the best way to ensure you will not be manipulated with false reasons--well, i’ll say reasons that are not evidence-based. The first one that comes to mind is The Arrive Study. This is the study that looked at whether inducing everyone at 39-weeks yielded better results. Some providers will try to use this study as a blanket statement, but there were big limitations to this study. You should read up on it before agreeing to be induced at 39-weeks--it’s not quite as simple as many providers might lead on. You can read the science here or listen to episode 147 of The Birth Lounge Podcast

It’s also wise for you to know the science behind other reason that are *not* evidence-based reasons to be induced or have a c-section across the board: big baby, low amniotic fluid, due date, and advanced maternal age!

The Bottom Line:


You are in control. You get to call the shots here. The biggest and most powerful tool that you have in your toolbox is your knowledge. The more you are prepared for what to expect, the better you will be able to navigate these conversations and advocate for yourself. 

“If you are due around the holidays, you should always question an induction or scheduled c-section.” -Dr. Sarah Leahy

If you want to learn more about how to have your dream birth, check out this free 30-minute masterclass, How to Craft Your Ideal Birth!

HeHe Top 12 Breastfeeding Essentials

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Breastfeeding your baby is no easy feat! No matter what society tells us, learning to breastfeed does require patience.


1. Haakaa: This thing will honestly change your life. Not only is it a hand pump, but it can be a total game-changer for building supply! The Haakaa is a silicon bottle shaped hand pump that attaches to your breast by suction and that’s how it removes your milk.  I’ve seen nursing parents say things like, “This boob just can’t make more than an ounce,” but when we put the Haakaa on, 3 ounces collected! It takes a time or two to learn how to attach it, but once you master it, you’ll never forget. 

2. Hand Pump: I know, I know, the Haakaa is a hand pump so why do you need this? Well, because I suggest using this over an electric pumps for so many reasons like you’re in much more control and the convenience factor is through the roof. You can easily stick a hand pump in your purse and that’s not true about an electric pump.

3. Breastfeeding pillow: This is one that everyone needs, but it’s a matter of finding the right one. There are two that I love. First, the My Breastfriend nursing pillow. It’s firm and wraps all the way around you and is supportive of tons of nursing positions. Next, the boppy. This one wraps around your front, but not all the way around. It’s not as firm so many women need to put a blanket or pillow under it. However, it’s a must-have for your baby to be lounging space and can be a fun addition to tummy time! If you decide to get a different nursing pillow over the boppy, then I suggest ordering the Boppy Lounger (for a safe space for baby and supporting tummy time) rather than the open-bottom boppy. 

If you're looking for more information about breastfeeding basics, check out our Breastfeeding Bundle here!

4. Silverette cups: Don’t be deterred by the price. Hear me out, these Silverettes are an investment, but they are pure magic. Silver holds tons of great healing properties like antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. This can be fantastic in preventing things like thrush. They also help heal cracked and sore nipples. They are cooling (you can even throw them in your fridge for extra relief!) so they might just be the answer to your sore nipple problems! 

5. Nipple Cream: This one is weird because I go a bit rogue. Instead of traditional nipple butter, I recommend and use Primally Pure Baby Balm for sore nipples. I actually use this baby balm for so much--healing pimples, dry skin or dry patches on my skin, on my cuticles and on cuts & scrapes. It’s made of all organic ingredients (you can eat almost all of them) and smells so good. I also love Motherlove Nipple Cream

6. Storage bags: These are a must for all that milk your Haakaa is going to collect, plus anything that you pump to build a stash! Don’t underestimate your body before you even give it a chance to do its’ job. Even if this is not your first child you are breastfeeding, this journey will be different than last time. You’re older, it’s a different baby, and you’ve already done this before. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging. I digress.. You are going to want to be able to store the ounces of milk that you pump and the way you do this is storage bags. Here are my fave bags. I suggest taking a sharpie and writing the date + AM or PM like this: 11/4/19 PM. I also love this affordable lie-flat stackable system! Stackable systems are such a space saver if utilized correctly. 

7. Sunflower Lecithin: This is a supplement that I always suggest talking to your doctor about if you get more than 1 clogged duct. The way I look at it is, they are preventable. This can be a combination of lots of things like not wearing bras that are too tight and watching your sugar intake, and not going too long in between pumping/feeding sessions. If you have one clogged duct, I give our bodies one slip up. If you’re having recurring blocked ducts, that isn’t right. I mean, just listen to the name--blocked ducts or clogged ducts. Sunflower Lecithin can be so helpful in preventing this. Talk to your doctor about using Sunflower Lecithin to help support healthy breasts and a smooth breastfeeding journey. 

8. LaVie Massager: Mastitis is a bitch! The biggest culprit causing mastitis (that we see) is clogged ducts! These two pesky speed bumps can sneak up on you and really throw a kink in your breastfeeding journey (temporarily). You can get a clogged duct from various things like going too long without nursing/pumping, wearing bras that are too tight or that have underwire, and not draining your breasts completely at each nursing/pumping session. You can check out HeHe Clogged Duct Rescue Kit here! One of the best tools for releasing a clogged duct is a vibrator! We love the LaVie massage, but a traditional vibrator will do the job, too! Here’s one for $6 (plus batteries) that has been a lifesaver many times in many homes we serve! If you don’t already have a well stocked bedside table, now’s the time! 

9. Nursing Comfort Pads: I love these because they do both, hot and cold! These are lifesavers--- or should I say nipple savers?! Either way, you will not want to breastfeed a baby (or exclusive pump) without these handy things! I also recommend buying a pair or two of these and storing them in your freezer for the first few weeks as your nipples adjust to al the “action” they are getting right after birth.

Sidenote: It’s normal for your baby to feed every 1-2 hours in the first two weeks of life. It’s also normal for your baby to stay latched and nurse continuously for a few hours at a time--this is known as “cluster feeding” and your baby will do it for many reasons. First, they are adjusting to this new life “on the outside” and will find immense comfort in nursing (you’re not creating any bad habits so comfort nurse away at this age). Second, they are sloughing off all the neurons that they no longer need while creating new neural pathways for skills they do need since being born.


10. Nursing Tanks + Nursing Bras: There are so many options when it comes to finding a nursing bra (and tanks!). I definitely recommend purchasing one bra from a few (three to four) different brands and seeing which one you best after your baby is here. Why would you want to wait? Well, your breasts are going to change. They are not filled with milk now, but they will be. They aren’t sore or learning to regulate a milk supply right now, but they will be. They aren't being taken out of your bra every 1-2 hours right now, but they will be. Your milk supply will absolutely impact which bra is best for you, so it’s wise to just wait. The same thing with pumping bras (this allows you to be hands free while you pump because the bra hold the pump in place on your breasts). This Momcozy bra is a multi-use bra that is a nursing and pumping bra, plus it’s so soft! This bra is like a sports bra, but made for nursing! Finally, this nursing bra has thicker straps to accommodate bigger breasts or anyone who needs support for their back. This Motherhood Maternity bra is nursing friendly and appropriate to wear under dress clothes if you’re making the return back to work.

11. Bamboobies Breast Pads: Breast pads are always something that women ask, “Do I really need them?” No, you definitely don’t need them, but they do play a supportive role in this breastfeeding story. Imagine this: you're walking in the grocery store and you notice that people are staring at you. You think they must be noticing your darling new baby. As you’re headed down the bread aisle, another mother with her 2-year old, gently whispers “It’s time to change your pads,” as you walk past one another. Immediately, you think your postpartum bleeding has bled through your pants like a middle schooler in math class. You hightail it to the restroom only to discover the front of your shirt is soaked with breastmilk! You think to yourself, “How did I not feel that?!” So… you don’t need breast pads, but they are handy. I particularly love Bamboobies or these bamboo breast pads that are so soft and come with a handy wet bag to store used breast pads throughout the day.

12. Legendairy Milk Supplements: This is one of my go-to’s, my first defenses, my staples. I absolutely love Legendairy Milk and I have seen their supplements completely turn around so many nursing parents’ journey. Their supplements are made from organic herbs and ingredients! I also love that they are a US-based, women-owned business. They have 10 different formulas for you to choose from to achieve your exact breastfeeding goals! Their supplements support things like increasing the fat content in your milk and increasing supply as well as supporting the mammary glands! I’ve linked a few of my other favorites in our Amazon Storefront so you can simply add to cart and be on your way!

*We’ve put all the necessary supplies in our Amazon Storefront to make it easy peasy for you to round-up everything you need!


Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

8 Reasons Why Being Pregnant for the Holidays is Awesome

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


(HeHe's article is published for Family Education HERE in its entirety.)

The holidays can be a time of stress for so many of us. I wondered if pregnancy provided women with a sense of comfort or was an added factor to the holiday hustle and bustle. I reached out to moms in various stages of their pregnancy and parenting journey to see if the thoughts surrounding their holiday bumps were of sugar plums and presents or stockings filled with coal. This is a countdown to the number one reason why it is merrier than mistletoe to be expecting a tiny human during the holidays.

This is a countdown to the number one reason why it is merrier than mistletoe to be expecting a tiny human during the holidays. There's nothing better than being pregnant during the holiday season!

(HeHe's article is published for Family Education HERE in its entirety.)

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 
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