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Blog

How to Prepare for a Wonderful Home Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

Wren Birth in pool.jpg

An amazing birth experience begins with preparation, and it's never too early to begin preparing for your home birth. After all, anyone interested in giving birth at home is almost certainly seeking a positive birth experience, something that is easiest to obtain when plenty of preparation comes into play.

So how do you go about getting things ready for a home birth? I recommend checking the following things off your to-do list before the big day!

Take Care of Yourself

This step applies no matter how you plan to give birth. After all, you want to keep baby healthy, and the very best way to do this is to take care of yourself. That said, this step becomes even more important when you're planning a natural birth, something that all home birth mamas are seeking.

You see, birth is a very physical experience, and being in good shape is important for ensuring you have the strength and stamina to help your birth go as smoothly as possible.

Choose Your Birth Team Wisely

Obviously, you’re going to need to find a homebirth midwife to attend your birth. However, choosing the first homebirth midwife you come across is rarely the best way to hire. Instead, interview several options and go with the one you feel most comfortable with. Trust your instincts on this one!

The same goes for your birth doula. Your doula will be with you throughout your labor and will actually spend more time with you than your midwife, so be sure to choose one you click with.

Take a Quality Class

All too often, women go into labor expecting to experience what we are shown in movies and TV shows. The reality however is that labor and delivery rarely match what media shows us. In fact, the process is much more complex than you might imagine, and knowledge is power when it comes to working through labor.

For this reason, a quality birthing class is a crucial step in the preparation process. There are a good number of in-depth class options out there, and by taking two or three different sessions you can make sure you know all the important things before delivery day arrives.

Get Your Home Ready

Of course, if you're going to be delivering at home, you will want to prepare the space to an extent. No, this doesn't mean you need to deep clean from top to bottom—though your nesting urges may tell you otherwise.

What it does mean is making room for the birth tub (if necessary), keeping clean sheets and towels on hand, keeping the pantry well stocked, and keeping your birth kit readily available.

Prepare for Postpartum

Giving birth in the comfort of your home is a wonderful thing. However, it does mean hospital staff won't be standing by to help for the couple of days after you give birth. While this is a bonus in some ways, it could also be considered a negative when you find yourself needing to cook right after the birth or when you just need someone to hold baby so you can take a post-birth shower.

Obviously your partner will be able to help with some of this, but they are likely to be pretty exhausted as well. Therefore, you will want to line up some postpartum help to come in. Some people choose to bring in a close relative, but many others prefer the professional help of a postpartum doula. Additionally, you will likely want to prepare and freeze a few meals to reheat and eat in the weeks after the birth.

If you're looking to hire postpartum help, look no more! My team and I are happy to help your family adjust to your new addition in any way we can. Contact us today!

Finding the Breastfeeding Support You Need

Chelsea Gonzales

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The first few weeks postpartum are filled with huge changes. Perhaps the biggest change of all is learning to effectively breastfeed your little one. While babies are born with the instinct to nurse, they won't necessarily be great at it right off the bat. At the same time, mothers sometimes need a little help getting started themselves, and this can lead to some serious frustrations.

Fortunately, there is help available out there, and finding the right help could turn your nursing relationship around in no time.

Knowing When You Need Help

So how do you know when to find this help? How do you know your situation is dire enough to warrant it? Honestly, you'll likely know if things aren't going right. However, just in case you don't recognize it right off the bat, it is good to go in knowing what red flags to look for.

Any of the following could be cause for concern:

  • Prolonged separation of mother and baby
  • Nipple pain that cannot be easily remedied at home
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Trouble finding a comfortable position
  • Shallow, painful, or incorrect latch
  • Baby losing a significant amount of weight

Of course, this is not an exclusive list of reasons to find a breastfeeding professional. Therefore, if your gut tells you something isn't right, it's best to find the help you need, if only to put your mind at ease.

Who to Call On

The next step is finding a person who can offer sufficient help. Finding the right individual may seem like a daunting task, but once you dive into the world of breastfeeding you'll discover that it's not as complicated as it seems.

If you had a doula attend your birth, or if a postpartum doula is helping you around the house, she may be able to offer the support you need. These individuals are not always trained lactation consultants, but even those who aren't have plenty of experience with nursing mothers and may be able to offer some pointers.

When a doula isn't available or when her help isn't enough to solve the problem, it's time to turn to a lactation consultant. Many hospitals keep lactation consultants on staff, and these individuals can be a great option if you're still in the hospital when problems arise or if your insurance company will only cover the services of an in-hospital consultant. However, out-of-hospital lactation consultants often offer more personalized attention and assistance. These lovely helpers can be found through such organizations as Thrive Mama Collective.

Of course, there is nothing like peer-to-peer support. While breastfeeding support meetings aren't the solution to serious problems, they can be helpful if you're just needing emotional support, tips and tricks, or help finding better positions. If these are the kinds of things you need, I recommend checking out the breastfeeding support group at Thrive Mama Collective, or one of the other local support groups.

The Importance of Finding Support

Why is finding breastfeeding support so important? Well, there are a couple of things to consider.

Finding help could make or break your nursing relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is a super important part of human development. It is an excellent source of nutrition for your little one and can even help boost their immune system. Additionally, the bond you will create with your little one through nursing is absolutely priceless and will set the stage for many healthy, strong relationships in the years to come.

Not only that, but finding help could also pinpoint any medical issues with you or baby that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Therefore, seeking out help as soon as you feel it is necessary is always ideal.

As you can see, finding breastfeeding support is easy enough and also incredibly important. After all, two sets of eyes and hands are always better than one when you're trying to carry out a difficult task, and learning to breastfeed is a difficult yet wonderfully rewarding task, to say the least.

If you've been thinking about finding some help as you establish your nursing relationship, don't hesitate. Hire a postpartum doula for general help and support, or seek out a lactation consultant if you believe there may be an issue. You'll be glad you did when you see baby nursing like a champ and growing leaps and bounds.