Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Covid 19 and A Shift in Support

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So beautiful yet capable of causing havoc in the human body. The SARS-CoV-2, or SARS Coronavirus -2.

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We are currently in a state of emergency in Ontario in response to the Covid 19 worldwide pandemic. Many countries are on lockdown, with their borders closed in an effort to control the pandemic. This has been in effect since the beginning of March, and Ontario announced these measures on March 13th, 2020.  Luckily for me, it was a week after I had returned from Malaysia, and it did not affect my return much apart from my flights being rescheduled, route changed and delays at Vancouver airport on my last leg home to Toronto.

My father passed away on February 19th, 2020 and I had to return to Malaysia at short notice, as the funeral was arranged for the 22nd of February. I had 4 days to get home, well actually 3 as Malaysia is ahead by 13 hours. It takes about 2.5 days to fly home, due to the time difference. To my amazement, I was able to get a flight on the same day that I heard about my dad’s passing. My mum called at 3am, crying on the phone, and my mind just went into autopilot. My dad’s death was unexpected and sudden. Yes, he was ill with dementia that had progressed to dysphagia and he had to be tube fed, but I was planning on visiting them in June, 2020.  Anyway, I had booked my ticket at the normal price by 5am. I was pleasantly shocked. By 12 pm, I was at Pearson International and my flight for Kuala Lumpur via Hong Kong was at 2pm. The airport was quiet, almost deserted. At the boarding gate there appeared to be only a handful of passengers waiting. We boarded quickly, the plane was virtually empty- 2 passengers in business class and another 20 something in coach! We all had 3 seats to ourselves to stretch out on.  It was a weird experience and an omen about what was about to transpire.

Moving on to the present, I am providing doula and sleep coaching  support virtually, as the government of Ontario could not say if we were essential workers in view of the lockdown. I am supporting one family in person in a “nanny” capacity at the moment. I have been supporting them since January, and both my clients and I are practising strict social distancing, with minimal outings for essentials that we cannot get on line or delivered to out front doors. We have masks and gloves for when we do have to go out.  I do not use PPE when supporting them. I do wash my hands a lot, and my phone gets zapped in the phone soap (https://www.phonesoap.com/products/phonesoap-3-phone-uv-sanitizer) to kill off any bugs when I enter their home.

How does virtual postpartum doula support work? Usually being present physically to help out new parents with breastfeeding support, meal prep and light housework, reassurance, maintaining the calm, I now had to do this virtually. Of course, the meal prep, housekeeping and other chores could not be fulfilled and went out the window. Technology has definitely helped with the other roles, having me at the end of the phone when clients needed questions answered was vital. I am also able to observe breastfeeds via video calls ie face time, messenger to WhatsApp calls.

Here is what I offer virtually   https://www.cherryblossomdoulas.ca/virtual-postpartum-services/

I am hoping to be able to train postpartum doulas again later in the year, when the government tells me I can resume training. In the meantime, there are quite a few CAPPA faculty members who are offering virtual trainings, mostly in the US. I have decided not to carry out any virtual trainings at the present time as the Association of Ontario Doulas will only accept doulas who attended an in person training as members. Membership with the AOD is vital for a newly trained doula, it connects the new doulas with other doulas, and crucially, gives them the opportunity to purchase liability and general commercial liability insurance at a discounted price. They have also secured a group pricing for medical insurance if members need it.  CAPPA has been in touch with the AOD and we are waiting for their reply as to whether they will approve our virtual training platform for getting membership for new doulas trained this way.

I currently have no availability for in person support for the rest of the year, and possibly into next year. I do have colleagues that I work closely with and the doulas I have trained in the past that may have availability, so please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any support. I am also doing a virtual New Parent 101 webinar in conjunction with Thornhill Doulas and Petra Nobel. This  is a 3 hour course that covers all things newborn baby, new parents, tips and tricks, baby and parent sleep and a lot more. Learn more from the link below.

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That’s all from me for now. I think I will talk about sleep in my next blog. Keep safe everyone, even if lock down rules are loosened and more services and facilities are allowed to open. Be cautious, wash your hands, wear a mask if you have to go shopping, stay healthy, and don’t forget to breathe…. when it all becomes overwhelming, stop and take a deep belly breath, and sigh it out in a loud ahhhhhhh and repeat until calmness returns.

 

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!

 

 

 

A new testimonial

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I have been a postpartum doula  based in Thornhill for the last year. After practising as a nurse and a midwife in the UK for 19 years, we took a leap of faith as a family and moved to Trinidad and Tobago to work and live for 2 years. We had a wonderful 10 months out there before we were told we were being transferred to Toronto, Canada. Another move, another adventure.

I was hoping to be able to nurse here in Canada but for various reasons this was not meant to be.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to try out a few occupations I have often wondered about.  In my nursing days, when things got me down at work, usually due to stresses from workload, staff shortages and disagreeable managers, I would say to myself… “I should just go and stack shelves in Sainsbury’s than deal with all this stress!”  Now was my chance. I could venture outside nursing and see how non nurses fared.  I did a short stint working at a McDonald’s 5 minutes walk away from home, working the dreaded night shift. Then found a job at a local pharmacy who were willing to take me on as a pharmacy assistant, even though I had no previous pharmacy or retail experience. They provided me on the job training. It helped that I was a nurse prescriber as I knew mostly what all the drugs and medications were for.  This lead to another pharmacy job which I am just about to leave after being there for 2 years.

The work I was doing was ok, it paid just above minimal wage, provided me with a little job satisfaction but something was missing. I was missing out the caring element. I did care for the customers at the pharmacy, but closer personal care that you get from  being in the caring profession was missing from my life. I had to find something else that would fill this gap. I have a wealth of knowledge and skills that were under-utilized, and I wanted to to change this.

I scoured through the internet, talked to some friends who were nurses and midwives in the UK but were now  doing something else here in Canada and wondered what I could do. Being very interested in women’s health and the promotion of breastfeeding, I stumbled on the profession of the Doula. I thought I could possibly do that, it would let me use my skills in a non-clinical way and better still be supporting mums and their families with a precious new addition to their lives.

I researched the various doula trainings available and decided to train with CAPPA. I was familiar with them as I had been a volunteer at the Mamatoto Birthing Centre in Trinidad, and they were a worldwide recognized organization, plus I loved their ‘Vision’ and philosophy. The rest is history and now I am about to embark on being a postpartum doula full- time.

This brings me back to my title. I have created a web site to support my doula business and to promote it, how much that is happening, I don’t really know, but I had wanted to tweak a few things on it and discovered that one of my recent clients had posted a testimonial on there for me.  And here it is…..

“My husband and I are the type of people who like to do everything ourselves. But when my second daughter arrived with a big appetite and a distaste for sleeping, it finally became apparent that we needed some professional help. It really eased our minds after learning about Su Yin’s background in nursing and midwifery. We were overjoyed that she turned out to be a warm, easy-going and knowledgeable person whom both my children adore. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to have her in our children’s lives.”
Qin
Second time mom
I have been meaning to blog about my doing the doula and now seemed like a good time to share this positive testimonial.  My website address is :-
My Facebook page is
If you’re a tweeter, my twitter username is @doulasuyin