Introducing Louisiana Baby Company!

Introducing Louisiana Baby Company!

When I started Deep Waters Birth Services almost four years ago, I had a very modest vision for what the business would look like. Over the years, as I've served dozens and dozens of clients throughout Baton Rouge and now New Orleans, and as I've added training upon training to hone my skills and expertise to what my clients are wanting and needing, my vision began to change.

It opened. It grew. It expanded. 

You know how during the first trimester, you might still be able to squeeze into your normal jeans for a few weeks? You might use the rubber band trick, or a belly band to keep them up when you can no longer button or zip them. But there comes a point for nearly everyone where you just have to buy some maternity pants. They might feel a little too big at first, but you know they'll accommodate your beautiful form as your body expands to grow your baby.

Deep Waters Birth Services is like those non-maternity jeans that are just a little too snug! This name change from Deep Waters Birth Services to Louisiana Baby Company not only reflects the skills I've added these past four years, it also allows so much more room for the ideas I have swirling around in my head. Ideas that used to seem grandiose and unattainable now feel much closer and more tangible.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I'm constantly taking new trainings, constantly reading new books, constantly pursuing the ability to provide the very best care for my clients. In the coming months and years, I will be expanding the range of services I offer so my clients can experience continuity of care for whatever their perinatal needs may be. 

For now, the services remain Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, and Hypnobabies Classes. But stay tuned! I have lots of exciting things in the works that are so much more significant than a name change and beautiful new logo ;)

I am so excited to continue serving my amazing clients. This time, with room to grow.

Everyone deserves a song

Everyone deserves a song

It was very early in the morning on Easter Sunday. My plans were interrupted. I remember being irritated that the Hospital was keeping me from my wife. She was bleeding and it didn’t look good. I walked back and forth in the lobby aimlessly until they waved me through. The doctor didn’t have any emotion on his face. I felt numb. The baby didn’t make it. Our first pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage.

Pregnancy after miscarriage

Pregnancy after miscarriage

The loss of a child, regardless of age, is at the top of the list of the most painful of life experiences for most people.

We can tell it’s painful for us as a society based on how tough it is for us to discuss it. Our physicians sometimes even describe the loss as though it’s non-emotional and non-relational: chemical pregnancy, blighted ovum, etc. 

But miscarriages are far from non-emotional or non-relational. The moment a woman gets a positive pregnancy test result, she’s already envisioned her newborn baby grown through school and graduating college as an adult. It’s no wonder a miscarriage feels much more emotional and intense than simply a “chemical pregnancy." 

It’s also why previous a miscarriage (or several as is sometimes the case) make the next positive pregnancy test tough to trust or enjoy. Often women with previous losses have trouble accepting and settling into allowing themselves to be hopeful that this pregnancy will be different. As a therapist, I’ve worked with many women in just this situation. So how do we handle such a vulnerable moment? How do we make it through another pregnancy unsure of what will occur?

I believe the answer starts with a general good rule of thumb - allow yourself to authentically feel your way through your emotions.

Anxiety and fear are normal responses to pregnancy after miscarriage, but you don’t have to remain anxious and fearful throughout your pregnancy. Since anxiety and fear often come from not allowing ourselves to feel our emotions, the solution is to explore how we feel and work through the pain. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone.

Professional counselors are trained to provide the space and support you need in ways that help you process your pain so that you can feel relief and ultimately happiness and fulfillment. Friends and family play a large role in support, but they can’t replace the training, experience, and nature of working with a licensed counselor.

There is relief and freedom on the other side of fear and pain. Miscarriages are extremely emotional and painful. Processing this pain with a professional counselor can be very helpful in aiding this grieving process along.

If you or someone you know has experienced miscarriages and is having difficulty moving forward with hope, please have them reach out to me at www.kristencounsels.com

 

Kristen Machado, MA, LPC, NCC in New Orleans, LA

Kristen Machado is a life coach and licensed professional counselor living in New Orleans, LA. She earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. Over the last 7 years, she’s worked with hundreds of clients, helping them go from ugly cry to transformation one session at a time. You can learn more about Kristen by following her on Instagram (@kristencoaches) and checking out her website (www.kristencoaches.com).

The myth of the freezer stash

The myth of the freezer stash

One of the common questions I get as a birth professional and postpartum doula is, "When should I start pumping after my baby is born, and how much do I need to have saved?"

On FaceBook and in articles online, we see these women who have massive freezers full of thousands of ounces of pumped breastmilk. For some, that becomes the goal. However, most of the time, a giant freezer stash is not necessary. In fact, it may be problematic in some ways. 

Let's talk first about the potential problems with a massive freezer stash.

1. The mother very likely has an oversupply in order to produce so much extra milk on top of what her baby is eating. Many people would say, "That's awesome! It's better to have too much than not enough." However, as an over-producer myself, I know what unique challenges come with having too much breastmilk. 

An over-supply can mean problems for the baby, such as gassiness, choking due to trouble handling the fast flow of milk, fussiness (to put it mildly) at the breast, green and foamy bowel movements, and spitting up.

It can also cause problems for the mom, including sore nipples, constant leaking, breasts that always feel full and heavy, plugged ducts, and mastitis.

2. If the baby is fed bottles from the freezer stash and the mother does not then pump, or if the baby is "topped up" after breastfeeding sessions with the freezer stash milk, this can lead to a drastic decrease in the mother's milk supply. Breastmilk supply is a demand-supply system, so if the demand decreases because the baby is being fed from the freezer stash, the supply will decrease accordingly. This can undermine the breastfeeding mother's long-term goals if her goals are to continue breastfeeding for the first year. 

3. If a mother is not able to achieve a full deep freezer full of milk, she may feel like she has failed and is not capable of providing for her baby, even if her baby is growing happily! Just last week, I talked with a brand new mom who was afraid that she wasn't doing things correctly because she only had around 50 ounces of milk stored up so far. That's actually more than enough, and her baby is growing perfectly! 

Now, let's talk about what might be a more balanced approach to pumping and saving breastmilk. 

Disclaimer: the tips below only apply when nursing is going really well and there are no concerns about sufficient supply or the baby's growth. If you have concerns, please contact an IBCLC or breastfeeding counselor. I have lots of recommended care providers, so please feel free to reach out if you need a breastfeeding specialist.

For the first week or two, if all is going well and the baby is nursing and growing fine, there is no need to pump. Sometime around week 3 would be an ideal time to start a pumping routine. Once or twice a day, choose a time to add a pumping session. You can choose to pump after your baby nurses, or at a time when they're sleeping and won't wake up to eat for at least an hour or two.

Pump for around 10-20 minutes at each sitting. If your milk is still flowing after that point, you don't need to keep going until empty! This would just trigger your body to produce more and more milk, thinking it has two or more babies to feed. 

After a few days, you should have plenty of milk saved up in order to be able to leave the baby with a sitter for several hours so you can get a massage, go for a solo walk, or spend time with your partner. Just remember to pump close to the same time that the baby is having a bottle so that you don't go more than 3 hours between pumping or nursing sessions.

If your goal is to return to work and be able to feed your baby pumped breastmilk, you only need 1-1.5 ounces for every hour you'll be away from your baby. Then while you're at work, pump the milk for the next day's bottles. 

If your goal is to be able to take a weekend trip away from the baby, you can figure for an average of 20-30 ounces per day. Then, again, pump while you're away to maintain your supply and replenish your stored milk.

 

I hope this has helped shed some light on why it's not necessary to have thousands of ounces stored up in order for someone to successfully feed their baby. For the first few weeks, relax and get comfortable with breastfeeding. It should get easier and easier, especially after the first 6 weeks. Then you can focus on adding to your stored milk!

It's OK to be a grey parent

It's OK to be a grey parent

Grey is all the rage these days: from home decor to fashion accessories to books about the many different shades of the color.

However, one area where grey isn't all too welcome is parenting. We're expected to parent in an all-or-nothing, black or white universe, fully committed to one philosophy, technique, sleep environment, feeding method, or disciplinary theory.

"If you're breastfeeding, you can't use a pacifier. If you like wearing your babies, you can't sleep train them. If you do baby-led weaning, you can't use store-bought purees."

In parenting, as in life, things are very rarely black and white. Yes, it's wonderful when you find a parenting philosophy that resonates with you, especially when it helps you to find support from other like-minded parents. However, it can be oversimplified to categorize certain parenting tools as "good" and others as "bad". For one thing, a system or choice that might work really well for one family would possibly not work for another family. Secondly, labeling certain choices as "bad" will "otherize" parents who are making that choice for their family.

This judgment that we pass on other parents who make choices that don't go along with our own parenting philosophy can lead to internalized self-judgment if we ever come to a place where we need to make a similar choice for our children. For example, a parent who highly values feeding their baby breastmilk and judges those who feed their babies formula is apt to be much less at peace if they ever need to give their baby formula, either by necessity or choice. 

Out of all of the choices we have, there may be a few that would work equally well. This is not to say that these decisions shouldn't be taken seriously, or that we shouldn't decide on our own family's values to guide our decisions. But there are only a few really, really bad isolated choices that can traumatize a child. The rest might be a toss-up! We need to give ourselves the grace and permission to change plans when one or more items in the set of parenting guidelines to which we've ascribed isn't working for us. It's not a slippery slope to get rid of a tool that is no longer serving you.

It's really wonderful to be able to consider all of the different theories and parenting styles, pick and choose the best of the best from each style, and build a pot-luck of tools that work for your family. Don't be afraid to consider a parenting choice that doesn't seem to align with the philosophy of your other parenting choices. Embrace the grey spaces so you can parent in full-color!