Category Archives: Doula stuff

It’s been a while…and volunteers needed!

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It’s been a while…and volunteers needed!

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here. I have decided to start blogging again as I used to enjoy doing it. I have been pretty busy with the business and work and so the blogging  got pushed aside.

Since I last penned anything on here, I have become a CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator, joined CAPPA Faculty and started training postpartum doulas, took the CAPPA New Parent Educator training Teresa Maskery, took a CAPPA approved working multiples training which I hosted, Kimberly Bepler came from the US and we did training at CSI, Spadina- Birthmark allowed us to use their space. I also embarked on a sleep consultant’s certification with IPHI- International Parents and Health Institute, training with Mar De Carlo, and her holistic science of sleep method. I am hoping to be a certified maternity and child sleep consultant by August, 2020.  It is for this qualification and certification that I am seeking some volunteers. If you are pregnant and experiencing challenges with sleeping, if you are a parent of a baby, toddler or older child and want some tips on helping optimise sleep for your baby please get in touch with me. Email me at suyindoula@gmail.com. You don’t have to be in Canada to volunteer! Sleep consults, optimising and coaching can be done remotely and virtually. I have consulted with clients in Jordan and Taiwan recently.

In other news, I have trained 6 postpartum doulas, since the beginning of 2019.  Andrea Lorenzo, who did her postpartum workshop with me at the beginning of September, 2019 has just gained her certification from CAPPA, and is now a CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula. She has worked really hard, been so conscientious and is a great doula- a big shout out to her for achieving her certification within 6 months of taking my training. Awesome!!!

 

This is a picture of the 4 postpartum doulas who did my workshop in September, 2019. Andrea is the one by the white board.

I will be blogging about Andrea soon, I interviewed her on why she wanted to be a certified postpartum doula.  A lot of doulas do not certify, as the doula profession is not regulated here in Canada. They feel they do not need to certify. I will ramble on more about this in my blog about Andrea.

This year will be my 2nd recertification with CAPPA for postpartum doula, which means I have been a doula for almost 8 years.  I have been privileged to support many families and have transitioned them into parenthood.  They welcomed me into their homes and trusted me with their babies and I have had such great experiences working with them. I am truly grateful to have a job that I love.

Here are some pics of my little clients, I have their parents permission to post their pics.

 

I have attended about 2 births a year for the last 6 years too, being a birth doula. This too has been rewarding. I don’t tend to take on many births as I am predominantly a postpartum doula and my schedule is pretty full. Trying to fit a birth in and being on call can be difficult. Therefore, I only do 1-2 births a year.

Back to today! I have decided to blog every week, and more often if I have time. I will be using this platform to reflect on my week, like a form of journalling. I feel like the time is now, for some self care and reflection!

I hope you have enjoyed reading and if you know of anyone who can benefit from holistic science of sleep coaching, please get in touch via my website http://www.cherryblossomdoulas.ca  or email me at suyindoula@gmail.com.

Thank you for dropping by…… more to come in the days and weeks to come!

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting the Month – The Chinese Confinement Period (CAPPA Article Contribution)

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As a Malaysian postpartum doula of Chinese origin, a large proportion of my clientele are Asian (Chinese). I have supported quite a few Asian clients who observed the traditional practice of sitting the month or Zuo Yue Zi or Zhor Yuit. I am sure a lot of postpartum doulas are aware of this tradition, but if you aren’t I will share with you briefly what this involves and share a few recipes with you.

This cultural practice is meant to allow the postpartum parent to recuperate and recover form the birth of their baby. They are supposed to rest and do very little, and not leave the house for a month. During this time, the postpartum parent is said to be in a ‘cold condition,’ giving birth has caused them to lose a lot of heat. Moreover, their pores are said to be open and they are predisposed to getting chilled. In order to protect and improve their health, a diet of ‘warming’ foods is vital and avoidance of cold water is important so that their bodies return to one of equilibrium – not cold or hot. Cold drinks are also forbidden for this period.

The Chinese diet is a combination of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ and neutral foods. Ginger, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, red dates(Chinese jujubes, usually dried), dried longan-a tropical fruit, dark green leafy veg, adzuki beans, black beans are all ‘hot’ foods.

‘Cold’ foods are lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, mung beans, most root vegetables ( as they grow underground where it is dark and cold) and anything raw- think salad items.

Consequently the Chinese postpartum diet consists of mainly ‘hot’ foods with the addition of meat- chicken mainly but pork ,beef and eggs are also eaten. Seafood is not eaten as it’s thought to be s cold food as it comes from the sea which is cold, and also toxic for the recovering postpartum parent. Nothing cold or raw is to be consumed.

In addition to a specific diet, the postpartum parent is also not allowed to touch cold water, or wash in water that has not been boiled with ginger skin and then cooled ready for use. They are not allowed to wash their hair as their pores and joints are said to be open following birth, and that would cause them to get chilled. They may not feel any ill-effects immediately, but the Chinese believe that it will cause arthritis and other problems in 20-30 years time.

In modern times, I have not looked after any Chinese postpartum parents that have followed this practice completely as they have found it very difficult not to shower, bath or wash their hair for a month! I usually advise them to ensure they have a hot shower/bath, and that their houses are adequately heated, and if washing their hair, to dry it immediately with a hairdryer.

I would like to share with you a tea that I make for my clients. It’s called red date tea. This is drunk throughout the day in place of water.The red dates (jujubes) are said to be warming and will replenish the heat that was lost in labour and birth. In addition, it is said that it is also good for replenishing and nourishing the blood, thus improving blood circulation. This can lead to better liver and digestive function, balance of inner body energy (Qi) and improved immunity. Goji berries are a known for their antioxidant qualities. How wonderful is that? You can get the ingredients from most Asian grocers or traditional Chinese medicine shops.

Before you make and drink this tea though, please check with you healthcare provider as there are some contraindications if you are taking certain medications. References for the ingredients of this tea are given at the end of this article.

Red Date Tea

15-20 red dates, stones removed

1/4 cup of dried longan

2 tbs of goji berries

6-8 cups of water

 

Put all ingredients in a bowl and soak for a minute or two then rinse in a colander.

Combine all ingredients and water in a medium – large pot.

Bring to boil, then simmer for up to 25 minutes.

You can add sugar to taste but I don’t for my clients, as the tea has a mildly sweet flavour from the dates, longan and goji berries.

The tea can be served with the ingredients or without. I personally like to serve it with the fruit as it’s pretty and also adds fibre with is beneficial, especially if my clients slightly constipated or have haemorrhoids!

Keep tea in a flask so it keeps hot and drink throughout the day.

Ginger, eggs and chicken feature large in the dishes that are eaten in the postpartum period. If you follow confinement practices strictly, a chicken a day should be consumed by the postpartum parent. Though this practice is difficult to adhere to.

With this in mind, I would like to share 2 simple dishes that I cook for my clients- ginger fried rice and chicken with ginger and sesame oil.

 

Ginger Fried Rice

1 cup cooked rice that has been cooled, or left over rice that has been stored in the fridge in a covered container overnight.

Thumb size piece of ginger- peeled, thinly sliced and julienned

1-2 spring onions, cleaned and sliced thinly on the diagonal.

1-2 eggs

1-2 tbs of cooking oil

1tbs sesame seed oil

1 tbs soy sauce- optional

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat wok/large fry pan over medium heat.

When oil is hot, fry ginger until it turns golden brown and is fragrant.

Break eggs and add to the pan, stirring as though making scrambled eggs.

When eggs are nearly cooked, add the green onions and fry for another minute.

Turn heat down a little, add the rice and stir continuously until rice is evenly heated and fried in the ginger, egg and onion mix- about 5 minutes.

Season with soy sauce if using, salt and pepper.

Turn heat off and drizzle sesame seed oil over and mix in.

Serve whilst still hot.

You can serve this as a side to the ginger chicken in sesame oil dish.

 

Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil

 

4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs- sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices

1 boneless and skinless chicken breast- sliced into 1/2 in thick slices

3 in ginger root, skinned, sliced thinly and julienned

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

2tbs dark soy sauce

1tsp cornstarch-optional

1 tbs Cooking oil

1tbs Chinese cooking rice wine

2tbs sesame oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Sesame seeds for garnishing- optional

 

Mix the dark soy sauce with the sliced chicken in a bowl, you can add a tsp of cornstarch to this mix if you wished.

Heat wok/ large fry pan over medium heat, add ginger.

Fry until fragrant, add minced garlic and stir, be careful not to burn the garlic.

Fry for about 30 seconds and then add the chicken, turning up the heat slightly. Cook the chicken, stir frying for about 5 minutes, add about 1/4-1/2 cup water, turn heat down and simmer until chicken is cooked through about another 15 minutes. Add the Chinese cooking wine, sesame oil, stir, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Be careful as the dark soy sauce may be salty enough. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using and serve! Bon Appetit!

I have used a photo from http://www.rasamalaysia.com as I can’t find a photo of my own for this dish, even though I have cooked it numerous times over the years!

 

I invite you to try cooking some of the dishes and making the red date tea. As I mentioned earlier, please consult your healthcare provider if you are taking regular medications before you start making the tea as there are some contraindications to certain medications. You don’t have to be postpartum to try them. It’s winter in Canada as I am writing this, and the warming red date tea would go down well on a snowy winter’s day.

Here are some links and resources if you would like to know more about the Chinese postpartum period.

Doing the month: Chinese postpartum practices

Article in MCN The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing · November 2006 DOI: 10.1097/00005721-200611000-00013 · Source: PubMed

https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/doing-month-confinement-and-convalescence-chinese-women-after-childbirth-1978-barbara-lk

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1913060/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/jujube#downsides

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longan

https://www.webmd.com/diet/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects

Soothing techniques for Colic

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The year was 1998. I had just given birth to my first child, Mitchell Alexander Jordan, born on the 2nd of June. I was a registered midwife in the UK and had been practising midwifery for 5 years. I thought it would be easy, I thought I knew all about newborns. I was mistaken!

Mitchell was a fussy baby. I don’t remember when the fuss started exactly, those first few weeks of parenthood passed in a blur. I know he was less than 6 weeks old, because the fussing and crying eased up after about 8 weeks.

We were told by doctors and friends back then that he had colic. He would scream and cry when he wasn’t carried, we could not put him down, he would not sleep on his own- we had a variety of sleeping surfaces for him. He had a Moses basket which is like a soft grass woven basket-like bassinet, a carry cot- which is like the bassinets that fit on top of your stroller carriage and he had a crib. For the first 6 weeks of his life, he co-slept with his parents, or no one would get any sleep at all. It was as though he needed to feel close to us. We had a futon mattress on top of a wooden bed frame, so it was a firm sleeping surface. He slept between us, whilst we perched on the edge of the mattress for fear of crushing him. We didn’t smoke or drink while he was sharing our bed, and the advice nowadays is to only have one adult bed-sharing with a baby.

During the day, he would fuss and cry, there didn’t seem to be any pattern, unlike some babies who would fuss and cry during the witching hour which was between the hours of 5pm till 9pm. This crying would go on and on, and we were almost at our wits end.

We tried everything to soothe him. He was well fed and growth checks would reveal that he was growing well- moving from the 50th percentile at birth to about 90th percentile by 4 weeks! We would sing to him, sway him in our arms, we would do squats in order to bounce him gently whilst carrying him- if I was doing this today, I would bounce him on a Swiss exercise ball. Well, I would bounce on the ball whilst carrying or wearing him. Friends who had babies before us, suggested Infacol- like the Ovol of today. The active ingredient being simethicone, which is not absorbed by baby’s gut but passed through, making the gas bubbles collate and therefore making it easier to pass- that was the claim. It was an over the counter medication specifically for colicky babies. We did give Mitchell some infacol, in fact he had a lot of it! We didn’t really know if it worked but we had to do something especially as all our other effort to soothe him did not seem to have any effect. Today, there is no real evidence that shows simethicone actually works!

What is colic? Back in 1998, we were told that it was a spasmodic pain that he was experiencing in his gut. It was possibly caused by gas. It did look like he was in pain, crying,arching his back at times, pulling his knees up to his chest. At times he was inconsolable, but at times he was not. Hence the term spasmodic.

Today, research and studies show that colic is not a medical condition as we don’t really know what causes it! It follows the rule of threes. According to The American family physician – a baby has colic if they cry for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week and lasts for more than 3 weeks in a well fed and otherwise healthy baby. (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0815/p735.html)

This fussiness and crying has no apparent cause and can be frustrating for parents, as most parents would want to know why their baby is crying in order to know how to soothe them.

It is thought that colic may be due to baby’s immature nervous system and that it’s all part of normal development. All babies go through this to a greater or lesser extent. (http://purplecrying.info/sub-pages/crying/what-is-colic.php). Most babies’ colic resolves by 12 weeks of age.

So what works to soothe your ‘colicky’ baby?

I like Ronald G Barr’s first principle of soothing which is, Some things work some of the time, but nothing works all of the time. We have to remember that infants are not like machines; they are not predictable, and they do not have an “on-off” switch for crying or for soothing.(http://purplecrying.info/sub-pages/soothing/common-features-and-principles-of-soothing.php)

So don’t beat yourself up if everything you try doesn’t seem to help. Or wonder why rocking your baby worked yesterday, but today it’s not helping at all.

Trying to recreate a womb like atmosphere for your baby will be soothing to them. Swaddling them firmly and safely, holding them close to you, baby wearing, swaying from side to side, shushing near their ear, sitting on a bouncy ball or doing squats whist holding your baby may help soothe them. These methods work because babies are reminded of a time of safety and contentment whilst still in their mothers’ womb where they were safe and had everything they needed.

Here are some other soothing methods :-

Wear your baby, in a wrap or sling, making sure that you are wearing your baby safely. Having baby close to you, and with their head against your chest and listening to your heart beat is soothing and comforting.

Take your baby for a car ride. The vibrations and motion will help soothe baby. Ensure your baby is in a rear facing car seat.

Rocking your baby in glider or rocking chair whilst holding them close to you is comforting. As is using a swing or baby bouncer that is age appropriate for your baby. Ensure you use the safety harness when placing your baby in a swing/bouncer.

Using white noise- either from a white noise machine, a vacuum cleaner, fan, extractor fan in the kitchen or hairdryer. These noises are soothing to baby as it mimics some of the noises that they constantly heard whilst in the uterus.

Sing to your baby, babies love being sung too, using a higher pitch also tends to comfort them.

Give baby a warm soothing bath. This will help calm them.

Breastfeed your baby if you are breastfeeding. The sucking will help release a hormone called cholecystokinin that is both soothing to baby and parent.

Use a pacifier, once again, the sucking will produce the same calming hormone.

Try putting baby skin to skin. Babies love being close to their parents, and skin to skin contact is comforting to them.

Making eye contact with you baby and talking to them calmly, even when they are fussing will tell your baby that you love them even when they are fussing and crying.

It may take a while for your baby to calm down. You may need to try all the methods mentioned above, to find one that works for your baby. Sometimes you may be unable to soothe your baby, but understanding that this is ok, will help you through these challenging times. Remember that if your baby is otherwise well and growing well, they sometimes fuss or cry inconsolably for no apparent reason. It’s part of their growth and development. It is important to remember that while many of these suggestions will work most of the time, nothing will work all of the time.

If the crying or fussing is getting too much for you, hand baby over to another adult to look after while you have a break. However, if there is no one at hand to help, place baby on a safe surface like their crib or bassinet, ensuring no harm will come to baby if you leave. Go into another room and have a short break and a few deep breaths before returning to baby. Sometimes babies who have been held and jiggled and cajoled in attempts to try to soothe them get a little overstimulated, and putting them down, may miraculously comfort them, and they stop crying.

We often use soothing techniques when babies are already fussing and crying. However, there is research that show that using these soothing measures prior to baby becoming fussy helps prevent the fussiness from happening, or at the very least makes the crying less severe.

This is the second principle of keeping babies calm; soothing can work preventively if the soothing activities are applied when the infant is not crying rather than just in response to crying.

Lastly, remember that colic issues will not last forever. At around 12 weeks, most babies would have have outgrown this phase of development and the inconsolable crying and fussiness comes to an end. Please consult your paediatrician if you are concerned or if your baby is fussing and crying because they are unwell or sick.

Disclaimer

This blog is written by a nurse, midwife and postpartum doula.

This blog does not take the place of the advice given by your paediatrician. It only covers colic like problems in infants who are otherwise healthy and are growing well with no prior conditions or concerns.

Labour and Childbirth… some of my thoughts

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I am a true believer in all women having the labours they want and want to experience, some want it all natural, with a doula, birth coach, midwife, whale music, water birth, hypnobirthing, some want all the drugs available, an epidural at the first contraction and some choose an elective caesarean section. One of my personal favourites was the Entonox or Gas and air as it was called in layman terms. I am not sure how widely used this is in Canada.

My role when I was a midwife was not to judge but to support what each individual client wants and needs. women also need to understand that sometimes, things don’t go to plan and many did come in with a birth plan.  Another one of my roles was to monitor the mother’s and baby’s wellbeing whilst in labour and watching the progress in labour, trying not to think about the medical model of labour, but keeping it tucked in the back of my mind. In my 6 years as a practising midwife in the UK, I have attended a variety of births, normal cephalic, high risk, breech presentation, premature labour, twins, quadruplets, the sad stillbirths the late terminations for abnormalities and many more… of course I did not experience everything and I still have a lot to learn when I gave midwifery up after my 2nd child was born and I felt I could not do a good job as a midwife as I was constantly sleep deprived and my children and family always came first. I felt I did not have much left to give women and their families going through such an amazing time, and so decided leave the profession. 

Childbirth is still something that can only be deemed normal in retrospect. We really cannot predict that everything will go as planned.  We sincerely hope that a normal and healthy pregnancy will result in a smooth labour and birth of a healthy baby but occasionally, babies do get distressed or labour does not progress for reasons like there may be cephalopelvic disproportion. It could even be something like the umbilical cord having wrapped itself inconveniently round the baby’s neck, the baby’s body, and the baby get distressed with each contraction. Whatever the cause, we don’t want these things to happen but they sometimes do. We have a duty to educate women about these possible events, not to scare them but to prepare them for things that may go awry. This way, if any of these events happen, then they will not be so traumatized or shocked and feel like the perfect labour and birth was denied them, or they were robbed of the wonderful experience of a normal birth.

I feel sometimes like my friend Katie Clinton puts childbirth is portrayed as the 2 extremes of the serene amazing natural birth (which does happen) and the horrific ones where everything appears to have gone wrong. In reality, most people fall in between these two extremes.

Finally, another friend has shared her experience of childbirth and parenthood, and I especially like the bit at the end where she says, I have had 12 years to experience being a mum, it’s not all about the labour or birth, it’s so much more.

LK Koay posted this on one of my posts

Suyin, fr young I saw how childbirth was being portrayed on tv and I grew up being afraid of all the pain, screaming and the propped up legs. To me, it’s painful, messy and unglamorous. I almost didn’t want kids! 

When I got pregnant, I cried. Tears of fear. When the 1st child’s due date loomed near, I told my doc n hubby that I want it as painless as possible n I wanted C-sect. 

On the day my water bag broke, the 1st request I made after the hospital settled me in a labour room was…. “where’s the anaesthetist? I don’t want to feel pain!”. When I realised the pain I felt wasn’t a stomach ache from wanting to visit the loo, I panicked even further that the most important person has yet to arrive! And I’m not talking abt the obstetrician! Anyway… overall birth experiences I had were wonderful. I felt almost no pain and I didn’t go thru what I saw depicted on tv. I had good birth experiences if you ask me. I wasn’t traumatised. I’m glad I did it the way I want, rather than what I should have done because others do it naturally to feel ‘how it feels like to be a mother’. I had so far 12 years to feel how it feels like to be mom anyway. 

Laid Back Breastfeeding AKA Biological Nurturing

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Recently I discussed this method of breastfeeding to a new mum who was having a few problems with obtaining a good latch resulting in sore nipples. She was pretty sceptical and because I was the only person amongst all the health care professionals she had encountered since the birth of her baby, including nurses and a lactation consultant, who had mentioned it she was mulling it over. In the meantime, I had suggested side feeding, which seemed to be the best bet for a good latch. After going to the 2nd Lactation Consultant a week later, who convinced her it was worth a go, she tried it whilst with the lactation consultant and found that it was a great way of getting the baby to latch. She came home, tried to replicate the experience and did not succeed, she went back to cross-cradle hold and side feeding. Baby was having the most success with a good latch in the lying sideways position.

When I visited the next day and we we talking about how things went with the IBCLC, she said that she wanted to give the laid back method another go, and would I help her to achieve this. I said of course I could and we set on an adventure, baby, mum, dad and I. We undressed baby, placed baby on mum and watched in amazement as baby made her way to the breast. She had some assistance from mum who placed her within the vicinity of a nipple and she appeared to do the rest. How wonderful, baby led breastfeeding and attachment. Admittedly mum had to be careful that baby did not clamp down too hard on the healing nipples, by directing the breast towards baby’s wide open mouth, but it was minimal assistance as opposed to having had to bring baby to her breast as in all the other positions and methods that had been used previously. Mum too felt more relaxed and comfortable, bringing her arm down to support baby’s head as in a modified cradle position. Mum said the laid back position she was in also reduced the back and shoulder strain she had experienced previously in the more traditional feeding positions. Success.

The first time I heard about biological nurturing was when I attended  CAPPA lactation educator’s training, being delivered by Attie Sandink IBCLC extrodinaire. I had been a midwife in the UK and practised for 6 years, till the year 2000 and a nurse after that until 2009, and never once had I heard about laid back breastfeeding.  The DVDs were amazing to watch but to see it for oneself live is the best thing ever. For this I can thank my current clients. Dr S Colson brought this method to us and we should teach all new mums about it.

Here is a link to an article by By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA about biological nurturing. 

https://breastfeedingusa.org/content/article/some-ins-and-outs-laid-back-breastfeeding

 Here’s a link to Suzanne Coulson’s video on Biological Nurturing

http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

Yet another link to Dr S Colson’s work and words

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/biologicalnurturing.asp

Lactation Cookies Doing the Doula Style

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I decided to make some of these for the mum I am looking after at the moment, as baby wasn’t putting on weight and the IBCLC diagnosed a problem with mum’s milk supply.  I got the main gist of the recipe from Housepoet’s Famous Lactation Boosting Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Flaxseed cookies… but added my own twist to it as this is what I normally do to recipes.  I  tend to alter recipes to suit my needs and I decided to add some dried apricots and cranberries to the recipe as dried apricots are a good source of iron.  I also did this because I wasn’t sure how the brewer’s yeast would taste as I had smelled it and wanted something to mask the rather distinct flavour it may give.  I had made some choc chip, oatmeal and cranberry cookies for this mum before and she really liked them so thought the cranberries would be a good idea to add.  Dark chocolate is also a good source of iron but I am not sure how much dark chocolate there is in the semi-sweet dark choc chips. In addition, I also altered the amount of flour used to make a softer cookie.

So, my lactation cookies contains all the vital milk producing ingredients… oatmeal, flaxseed meal, brewers yeast but also has a few lovely tasting bits in them.

Lactation Cookies Doing the Doula Style (makes about 80 small cookies)

1 cup butter, you can use margarine if wished

1 coup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

4 tbsp water

2 tbsp flaxseed meal ( available from health food shops and bulk barn, I went to bulk barn)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 and 3/4 cup flour, or if using wholemeal 1 and 1/4 cups

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

3 cups rolled oats, I used thick cut

1 cup choc chips

2 oz dried apricots, snipped into small bits

1/2 cup dried and sweetened cranberries

2 tbsps brewers yeast. No substitutions, has to be brewers yeast. Be generous and I got this from bulk barn too

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Mix together the flaxseed meal and water and set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well, add the flaxseed meal mixture and vanilla. Beat well. Whisk together the dry ingredients except the oatmeal, chic chips and dried fruit. Add dried ingredients to butter mix, stir in oats, chic chips and dried fruit.

Drop cookie size blobs onto baking sheet, I used 2 teaspoons to do this, cookies will expand a bit due to baking powder. Bake 8-12 minutes depending on size of cookies.

I made about 80 cookies with this recipe.

They tasted quite nice, soft and slightly chewy. I was generous with the yeast and so my normal food tasters weren’t too keen on them but the mum I gave them too really likes them. So, now to see if they work!

 

 

 

Baby Whisperer Part 2

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This name was given to me by 2 sets of parents recently. I happen to turn up for work and their babies just happen to be going through a fractious phase. I step in, say hello, and offer to have baby and, voila… baby calms down and quietens.  The parents stare at me in disbelief and awe, which I am almost unaware of. Then they say, “What did you do?” Or, “How did you do that?”  In all honesty, I don’t know myself, but I have some theories to explain what is happening.  I am penning this right of the top of my head and it’s by no means evidence based. It may be interesting to explore the evidence in support some of my techniques for settling babies… I guess that will be in Baby Whisperer Part 3.

The early days of parenthood are wonderful and amazing times. It can also be a time of stress and these precious miracles called babies are very adept at feeling the stress their parents feel.  So, my theory is that when I take over from them, being the calm, confident postpartum doula that I am, the babies sense this too, and calms down, as the stress around them has been removed.

Once the babies are clam and quiet, stop crying and fussing, the stress levels in their parents drop too, so that when I hand the babies back to them, all is calm and great.

Now, in the back of my mind, I see a potential drawback. I want to empower my clients to become confident parents. I don’t want to be the only one who can calm their fractious baby. So, I explain to them about the stresses of the early days of parenthood and discuss ways of dealing with these stresses and anxieties. It’s a huge learning curve becoming a parent for the first time and of course they are going to be anxious and have a lot of concerns and questions.

Why do babies cry?  Babies cry primarily because it’s their only means of communicating with us until they learn how to talk.  And it is our duty as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ parents to decipher what that crying means. They are trying to communicate to us that they may be hungry, they may have  wet or soiled their diaper, they may have gas or they may have been startled. It may even be too quiet for them.  They are not used to being left alone, after all, they have spent the last 40 weeks in their mother’s uterus listening to the swishing, pulsating of the placenta and their mother’s heartbeat. Not to mention all that borborygmi! They can also hear mum’s voice and that of others all through their watery world of amniotic fluid.

And so they are born. All of a sudden their noisy world becomes a relatively quiet one. It must take a bit of getting used to. Maybe this is why white noise machines seem to be a must thing to have these days, though I must admit I did not have one for my children. I co-slept with them, and I guess that having us close to them comforted them enough to negate the need for any white noise.

So, in order to calm a baby, go through the list of why she/he may be crying, one by one until you solve the mystery. Eventually, you’ll get used to baby’s cries and reactions, and discover the reason fairly easily. In the early days though, going through the list mentally in your head may help. If baby is rooting – opening her mouth as though searching for a breast – feed her. If she has been fed, and is not settling, burp her, check her diaper and maybe check if she needs topping up.  Swaddling is going out of fashion and there have been some recent recommendations by the Ontario Nurses Association advising against swaddling.  The following link is just one write-up of many written about the new guidelines.

http://www.canadapress.org/health/2014/03/05/new-guidelines-reopen-great-swaddling-debate/

Bearing this in mind, I do not advise my clients to swaddle their babies, if they decide to do so, I advise them of the risks so they can make their own informed decision.

In conclusion, I don’t think I am a baby whisperer nor do I profess to be one. I am an enabler and educator. There are many ways of settling a baby and it may seem like a mystery but if you go through the possible reasons as to why a baby may be unhappy, you’ll soon discover the cause and solve the problem. It’s all about learning,  learning to be confident parents and babies learning to communicate with their parents.

 

 

You’re the baby whisperer!

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Just a quick entry as I am due at work in 8 minutes. Just wanted to pen this down and write more about this later when I have a bit more time. I have been called this twice by clients recently… It’s a great compliment but I tell my clients that it’s not what I set out to be!  And if indeed I am a baby whisperer than I will impart these skills to my clients so they too become their baby’s baby whisperer.

Anyhow, will return to this in due course… more to follow. Got to dash now.