Will you be my advocate?

I often get asked this at consults.

It’s tough because I know there’s this movement happening that is telling people that is what a doula does.  I know that in a way we are advocates, but the way this happens is different depending on who you talk to.  Doulas included seem to not be in agreement.

The more I do this work, the more I see what a tight rope walk it is.  On one hand, we are there to inform families about what is happening to them.  On the other hand, we are not care providers.  Our role starts to go into grey areas when we begin to speak about Read More >>

Hospital Water Birth

This family found me through Hypnobabies.  I was not planning on taking anymore births since I wanted to give myself enough time to prepare for my own upcoming birth in July.  Though when I got the initial email my heart was immediately drawn to this family.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the attraction was, but I knew that I needed to consider this opportunity further based on how our online communication went.  Not only did this family need support for their Hypnobabies preparation, but they were seeking a water birth with a midwife who had just recently started practicing again.  This particular midwife had taken a break after being restricted from offering families alternative options typically found in out of hospital birth settings. 

The hospital they chose has a water birth policy in effect (where babies can actually be born in the water), but having that reality actually transpire is a different story given the hospitals sparse experience with it.  The fact that few providers have experience with this mode of birth makes it a bit tricky too.  So it seemed to me that this midwife choice might be the ticket for this family to have this option actually manifest.  

I knew that this family could use all the support they could get, and I was excited at the prospect to be a part of the team. 
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Nursing beyond a year

With my son, I had a heck of a time with nursing.  Part of it had to do with me not being mindful of how he was being bottlefed when he was not in my care.  His feedings were rigidly scheduled, and he received more in one sitting from the bottle than he would normally get while nursing.

To keep myself motivated, I kept setting targets for how long I would nurse.  What started as 3 months, turned to 6 months, and then 12.  By the time we hit 9 months the bottles won, and I was left to sort through my conflicting emotions regarding the experience and failure to meet my final target.
 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided to take a more natural approach.  To keep a healthy perspective, I didn’t set any expectations or goals.  I decided to simply nurse when appropriate, and for as long as needed.

Now that my daughter is approaching her first birthday, I’m starting to get a bit uneasy as we chart into unknown territory.  I have been noticing that my usually confident manner is a bit shaky when people ask about when we are going to stop.  Even though I fully intended to nurse beyond a year all along, I have not been able to articulate clearly why I feel convicted to do so.  Whenever this happens, I know it is time to arm myself with knowledge. Fortunately, I purchased The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding for my lending library a while back.  I am finding it to be a wonderfully written book that encourages nursing, all while respecting the autonomy of women.  The other night when I was contemplating the issue at length, I picked up the book and turned to the chapters dealing with extended nursing and weaning to learn more. Benefits of extended nursing

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A newborn’s demands are in