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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

Click the Image to Purchase this Book in Our Online Bookstore!

“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”

Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.

Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of ways:

Listen first

It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen – you may just learn something valuable.

Disregard

If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business…your way.

Agree

You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.

Pick your battles

If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.

Steer clear of the topic

If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Educate yourself

Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.

Educate the other person

If your “teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.

 

Quote a doctor

Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor – perhaps the author of a baby care book.

Be vague

You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet (but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”

Ask for advice!

Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.

Memorize a standard response

Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”

Be honest

Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”

Find a mediator

If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step in for you.

Search out like-minded friends

Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

 

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By Karen Gehl, BS, ICCE

A client recently asked me, what do all those letters mean after your name, and what is the difference between being a “childbirth educator” and a “certified childbirth educator”?  This is a great question, and one many people have as they search the internet for resources and classes to help guide them through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and parenthood. If you have googled “pregnancy” lately, you already know there is an overwhelming amount of information to be obtained on the internet.  It can be very confusing, and unfortunately, often misleading.  It is important for expectant parents to really research the credentials of the people they hire to help them through this special process of bringing their baby into the world.  It is my belief that there is nothing more amazing, awe inspiring, and breathtaking than experiencing or witnessing the birth of a child.  We owe it to that tiny little being to provide him with the safest, most loving environment possible, both inside and outside of the womb.  This is why childbirth classes are so very important, and this is why I have dedicated myself to being the best childbirth educator I can be.  And this is why I welcomed this client’s question!

I explained to my client that I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Virginia Tech in 1987, which is why I have the initials B.S. following my name.  The ICCE initials stand for International Certified Childbirth Educator, which means that I have been certified to be a Childbirth Educator by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA).  What does it mean to be certified through ICEA?  ICEA holds their instructors to a very high standard of knowledge and it has a very intense and rigorous certification process for childbirth educators.  From the time I decided to pursue a career in Childbirth Education to the time I actually received my certification, I had invested 2 full years to acquiring continuing education credits, attending conferences, completing the extensive list of required reading, observing classes, being observed, student teaching, and finally sitting for the 3 hour exam.  It was a very long and intense process, but I passed the test and was officially certified (and very relieved!) in spring of 2006.  That is when I earned the initials ‘ICCE’ after my name.

ICEA has achieved a reputation as one of the leaders in the field of childbirth education because of their strict standards for certification, which is also why they require ICCE’s to prove they are keeping current on childbirth issues!  How do they do this?  Well, in order to maintain the very highest quality of childbirth educators, ICEA requires recertification every 4 years.  I am required to keep up with all the latest research and information on pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as breastfeeding and newborn care.  In order to recertify, I am required to prove that I am continuing my education and keeping current on all the available information in the field.

For example, July 2010 the ACOG (the American Congress of Obstreticions and Gynecologists) issued a new statement that a vaginal birth after a cesarean is “a safe and appropriate choice for most women . . . including for some women who have had two previous cesareans.”  You can read about it by following this link:   http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/press_releases/nr07-21-10-1.cfm

I am very proud to say I have just recently completed my requirements for recertification!

But the studying doesn’t stop there, nor does my commitment to my clients!  The field of childbirth is always evolving and the information changes as new studies are done and new evidence based practices are implemented.  When I am not in the classroom teaching, I spend a great deal of time just keeping up to date on all the latest research and studies regarding pregnancy, labor, birth, newborn care and breastfeeding.  This is how I ensure that my clients will get the absolute best information, based on evidence and research, so they can make the very best choices for themselves, and for their babies and fully experience the life changing miracle of birth.

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Click Here to find one of Karen’s Childbirth/Lamaze Classes for you on our Event’s Calendar or call our office today at (434) 384-MAMA (6262).

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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

Click the Image to Purchase this Book in Our Online Bookstore!

Babies love new places! There’s so much to investigate and new things to touch. But many people aren’t too happy to have your little one crawling or toddling freely about the house exploring everything in sight. While you think its adorable that Baby found the Tupperware, your host may not think it’s cute that her tidy cabinet has been rearranged by sticky baby hands. If your host has a big heart she’ll let you know that your baby’s exploring is okay. But even then, you run the risk of your baby breaking or losing something.

Bring toys!

The best thing you can do is bring along a bag of toys to seize your child’s attention. You can purchase new items, or dig through your baby’s toy box to put together a collection of forgotten favorites. Avoid bringing loud toys that may annoy others, and bring toys that will hold your baby’s attention for a long time.

Bring your own supplies

Think about things that keep your baby happy at home or in the car, and bring these with you, such as your sling, a favorite blanket, a Boppy pillow, or a special lovey. If you are prepared, then your baby will be more content.

Safety issues

Visits with a mobile baby are tricky, especially if you’re at a home that isn’t childproof. If you want to avoid physically shadowing your baby around the house, bring a few safety tools, such as outlet plugs and a folding baby gate to section off stairways. When you arrive, assess the area and ask if chemicals, medications, or fragile vases can be put away during your visit. Remember that you’re certain to miss some hazards, so keep a close eye on Baby during your entire visit.

Food and eating

Whether your baby is new to solid food or has been eating it for a while, bring along a few favorites. If you don’t bring snacks with you, your baby may not touch the dinner that’s served and may cry for her favorite crackers. In any case, don’t feel you must push your baby to try something new to the point of a temper tantrum. Politely requesting something simple like toast or cheese is perfectly okay and will be welcomed more than a loud and tense test of parent/child wills.

What if you’re breastfeeding and your baby is hungry?

Do what comes naturally: Feed him! Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby. If your hosts aren’t used to seeing a mother breastfeed, then you’re doing our world a favor by introducing one more person to the beauty of baby feeding. Be thoughtful about other’s sensitivities. This doesn’t mean you need to hide, but your efforts to be discreet are a courtesy for those around you and may help others feel more comfortable about seeing you breastfeeding your baby. Using a sling, blanket or nursing shirt are easy ways to accomplish this.

Changing Diapers

Bring a changing pad; this will protect the surface you’re using. If you don’t have a pad, ask for a towel. Ask where your host prefers that you change the baby, or suggest a location: “Do you mind if I lay the towel on your bed to change the baby?”

Bring along (or ask to use) plastic bags to store messy diapers. Make sure that they are sealed so that they don’t create odors. If you use disposables, put used diapers in a sealed bag and offer to take them out to the trash. People don’t like stinky diapers in their bathroom trash.

Sleeping and napping

If your little one sleeps in a cradle or crib you may want to bring along a portable crib. If you don’t have one, or if you co-sleep at home, this is a time when “anything goes.” If your baby will sleep in your arms, then go ahead and enjoy an in-arms nap. If your baby is flexible, put a blanket on the floor and set up a sleeping nest. Don’t leave Baby alone, since the area probably isn’t childproof.

A great nap solution is to bring your car seat into the house and strap your baby in securely, or fashion a bed from a large box or an empty dresser drawer. Keep your baby close by or check on her frequently.

For co-sleepers, your first order of business is to create a safe sleeping place. Inspect the furniture placement in the bedroom. If you know that pushing the bed against the wall would make the situation safer for your baby, then politely explain to your host. Let her know that you’ll move it back before you leave (and then remember to do so).

Be prepared for anything

Life with a baby is filled with surprises. Take a deep breath, and do your best to keep your baby content….and if things don’t go as well as you’d hoped, remind yourself that “This too shall pass.”

Show your appreciation

If you’ve had an overnight stay, if your host is helpful, or if you made special requests during your stay, remember to send a thank you note that expresses your appreciation.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

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By Elizabeth Pantley, excerpt from her book: “Gentle Baby Care”

Click the Image to Purchase this Book in Our Online Bookstore!

You may not be sure what kind of toys, or how many, your baby should have. It’s likely that you hear conflicting advice that runs from one extreme to another! It’s either: “Don’t give your baby toys he’ll be spoiled,” to “Give your baby lots of toys they develop his brain.” So…which is it?

Both sides of this debate have valid points. A baby does indeed learn from the things she plays with, and the more things she has access to, the more she can learn. With this in mind, many parents spend a fortune buying toys; however, many toys hold a child’s attention for three or four days, only to be relegated to the bottom of the toybox or back of a shelf.

Babies learn about their world by using all five of their senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Toys engage and refine these senses by:

  • Helping your baby learn how to control his movements and body parts
  • Helping your baby figure out how things work
  • Showing your baby how he can control things in his world
  • Teaching your baby new ideas
  • Building your baby’s muscle control, coordination, and strength
  • Teaching your baby how to use his imagination
  • Showing your baby how to solve simple problems
  • Helping your baby learn how to play by himself
  • Setting the foundation for learning how to share and cooperate with others (more…)

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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution

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The environment that your baby enjoyed for nine long months in the womb was not one of absolute quiet. There was a constant symphony of sound — your heartbeat and fluids rushing in and out of the placenta. (Remember those sounds from when you listened to your baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler stethoscope?) Research indicates that “white noise” sounds or soft bedtime music helps many babies to relax and fall asleep more easily. This is most certainly because these sounds create an environment more familiar to your baby than a very quiet room.

Many people enjoy using soothing music as their baby’s sleep sound. If you do, choose bedtime music carefully. Some music (including jazz and much classical music) is too complex and stimulating. For music to be soothing to your baby, pick simple, repetitive, predictable music, like traditional lullabies. Tapes created especially for putting babies to sleep are great choices. Pick something that you will enjoy listening to night after night, too. (Using a tape player with an automatic repeat function is helpful for keeping the music going as long as you need it to play.)

There are widely available, and very lovely, “nature sounds” tapes that work nicely, too, as well those small sound-generating or white-noise devices and clocks you may have seen in stores. The sounds on these — raindrops, a bubbling brook or running water — often are similar to those sounds your baby heard in utero. A ticking clock or a bubbling fish tank also make wonderful white-noise options.

You can find some suitable tapes and CDs made especially for babies or those made for adults to listen to when they want to relax. Whatever you choose, listen to it first and ask yourself: Does this relax me? Would it make me feel sleepy if I listened to it in bed?

If you must put your baby to sleep in a noisy, active house full of people, keeping the tape running (auto rewind) will help mask baby-waking noises like dishes clanking, people talking, siblings giggling, TV, dogs barking, etc. This can also help transition your sleeping baby from a noisy daytime house to which he’s become accustomed subconsciously to one of absolute nighttime quiet.

Once your baby is familiar with his calming noise, or music, you can use these to help your baby fall back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Simply sooth him by playing the music (very quietly) during the calming and falling-asleep time. If he wakes and cries, repeat this process.

If your baby gets used to his sleep time sounds you can take advantage of this and take the tape with you if you will be away from home for naptime or bedtime. The familiarity of these sounds will help your baby sleep in an unfamiliar environment.

Eventually your baby will rely on this technique less and less to fall and stay asleep. Don’t feel you must rush the process; there is no harm in your baby falling asleep to these gentle sounds. When you are ready to wean him of these you can help this process along by reducing the volume by a small amount every night until you finally don’t turn the music or sounds on at all.

Babies enjoy these peaceful sounds, and they are just one more piece in the puzzle that helps you to help your baby sleep – gently, without any crying at all.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002

Website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth

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Having a new baby brings extra expenses to every family’s budget. With these uncertain times, many families are losing jobs due to layoffs and the economy having ups and downs. To help you with ideas on how to save money, here are a few ideas:

  • Breastfeed Your Baby as long as possible, at least a year. Breastfeeding saves parents $1000 or more in formula expenses for a year and much more money and family energy because breastfed babies have fewer doctor visits and medical bills, less diaper rash, less stains on clothing, etc.
  •  Use Cloth Diapers as much as possible! Disposables cost 10-25 cents each! Babies use up to 6000 diapers in 2-3 years. That means parents spend at least $3000 (most times more) to use disposables until their child is potty trained! Using washable diapers can save you so much, not only with the first baby but also with the second and third!
  •  Stop buying Baby Wipes. Make your own or use a plain clean washcloth with warm water and a little baby wash.
  •  Cook at home and cook from scratch as much as possible. Fast food doubles to quadruples your food expense. Cook larger amounts and have more for lunches and leftover meals.
  • Pack lunch, snacks, and a bottle of water when you go out instead of shopping for fast food. 
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.  Wear a sweater in the winter and use fans in the summer to save energy at home.  Put up a clothes line and hang your clothes and cloth diapers to dry instead of using the dryer all the time.
  • Plan your purchases! Make lists and stick to your lists when you shop.  Don’t allow yourself to “impulse buy.”

Things Many Moms Say You Can Do Without:

Changing Table – change baby on top of a dresser or bed.

Baby Bath Tub:  Wash baby in the sink or tub

Baby Towels and Robes

Baby Food:  Babies eat many foods from the table when ready.  Buy an inexpensive Baby Food Grinder (at Best Start).

Baby Wipes Warmer

Mobile:  Babies soon tire of these and you can make your own with a coat hanger and some pictures or toys hung from it.  Just be sure to keep it out of baby’s reach.

Infant shoes:  Purely decorative and unnecessary until baby can walk

Baby Dishes:  Baby can eat off clean high chair tray, place mat, or table.  They usually throw the dish on the floor anyway.

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By Jane Bradshaw, RN, IBCLC, RLC, Childbirth Educator, HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator

What’s wrong with this statement? How could a woman benefit from Prepared Childbirth Classes if she definitely wants an epidural?

1. Because a laboring woman can not always have an epidural when she wants it. Usually she must be in active labor and progressing, effacing and dilating. It is worth it to know comfort measures to cope with labor until that point.
2. An epidural may slow or stop labor. If that happens more drugs are given to stimulate labor to ‘move it along’, usually pitocin. Both of these, the epidural and pitocin, are strong, serious drugs that can cause fetal distress. Parents need to understand these drugs well before choosing them, knowing the benefits, risks and alternatives, how to ask questions and discuss these with their care providers. Then they need to be able to consider their options to make the best decisions for themselves and their baby.
3. Sometimes an epidural, Plan A doesn’t work (roughly 10% of the time) or it may work on only 1 side only numb one area and not others. Then what do you do? Women who don’t have Plan B are more likely to feel totally unprepared, disappointed, upset, fearful and have more pain.
4. Sometimes labor goes too quickly to get the epidural! These quick labors are usually healthy but very intense. It is worth it to know techniques to help yourself through a fast & furious labor, just in case.
5. A woman or her baby may have a medical condition, at any time that makes her unable to have an epidural. This is a rude awakening if a woman has planned on getting it, and is not prepared to cope without one, again causing more fear, tension, and pain.

What do childbirth preparation classes, commonly known as Lamaze, teach that would benefit a woman who plans to have an epidural?

1. The normal process of labor and delivery. Many mothers fear labor and the knowledge acquired in childbirth classes can reduce fear, tension and pain.
2. All benefits, risks, and alternatives of treatments and medications, including epidurals, that are possible during labor so the woman and her partner can make smart, informed decisions.
3. How to talk with your care provider about your medical choices in labor. During labor, much of what happens to you is optional. Know your options!
3. Lots and lots of risk-free, non-medical comfort techniques for labor.
4. Techniques that promote a healthy labor, ways to help it progress normally, so it is as short as possible which is good for both mother and baby. Who wants a long labor anyway?

Prepared birthing classes are good for EVERY expectant couple!

Call Best Start Parenting Center for more information about Prepared Childbirth Classes or visit our classes page on our website by clicking here.

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