Birth Affirmations

Birth affirmations can be a great help and emotional boost in labor. I recommend my clients prepare birth affirmations before labor and display them around the house where they can be a focal point in the last days of pregnancy. For some moms, taking the time to actually hand write the affirmations can be a nice way to focus, meditate, pray and really take heart in the affirmation, plans and hopes you have for birth.

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These were my personal birth affirmations for my second daughters labor and birth. I had them hanging in the bathroom and next to my bed to read over and focus on in the last few weeks of pregnancy. When I was in early labor I grabbed them to bring to the birth center with me. I also had a few cards packed with affirmations for my husband to read to me after I was in active labor and knew my eyes would be closed most of the time.

Clients who prepare birth affirmations are encouraged to pack them & I'm happy to hang them up around your birth space so your partner and I know exactly what you would like to hear most in the trenches of labor.

There isn't a right or a wrong when it comes to birth affirmations. A couple of unique affirmations of choice I've heard throughout my years as a doula; "I'm going to kick labors butt!" and "This baby is going to slide out like 'buttah'"! I have a pinterest board dedicated to birth affimations, check it out and see what resonates with you!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a birth doula, professional belly binder and placenta encapsulator serving families in the North part of the Dallas Fort Worth area. She serves families in Denton, Cooke, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and Collin counties.

Doula Interview Questions

A doula is a professional support person that provides continuous emotional, physical and informational support to the birthing person or couple. A doulas presence has proven to improve birth outcomes for both mom and baby! Finding a doula that is the right fit for your family can seem like a daunting project. Most doulas offer a complementary interview in person or over the phone. Here are some questions you can ask to see if she is the doula for you!

How has your training prepared you to support me in my labor and birth? (Hospital, birth center, home birth? VBAC? Planned water birth? Twins/Multiples? etc)

Are you Certified? With who? 

Do you have to recertify yearly?

Tell me about your training?

Are you a member of any doula organizations?

Are you obtaining any continuing education? What additional education and skills have you obtained since training?

What are your doula fees? What do they include?

Do we meet before birth? How many times?

How do I communicate with you before birth? Are you available for questions?

What types of births have you attended? What unique or challenging experiences have you faced as you have supported clients?

Do you have reliable childcare?

How do I get in touch with you when I am in labor? Are you always on call?

What if I go into labor outside of your on-call time frame?

At what point in labor do you join me? Will you come to my house or meet me at the hospital/birth center?

How long will it take you to get to me when I am in labor?

How do you support the laboring mom?

How do you work with my husband/partner?

Have you worked with my provider/hospital?

I am planning a ______ birth. What questions would you suggest I ask my care provider to see if he/she will support my wishes.

Do you have any "black out dates" around my due date?

How many clients do you take a month?

Do you have a back up doula? Can I meet her?

How did you pick your back up doula?

Do you have an hourly clause in your contract?

Do you have any experience/training in breastfeeding instruction? Will you help me get baby latched after birth?

How long do you stay after the birth?

Do you make a postpartum visit? How many? Do you offer additional postpartum support?

These are just a few questions you might consider asking in a doula interview. At the end of the day, I believe that it matters most how you personally connect with the doula. If you feel on edge, or like you're being judged by the person you are interviewing - she isn't the doula for you! It should be a pretty easy connection and someone you look forward to seeing.

Check out this post for explanations on why some of these questions are important and how to get the most out of your doula interview!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a birth doula, professional belly binder and placenta encapsulator serving families in the North part of the Dallas Fort Worth area. She serves families in Denton, Cooke, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and Collin counties.

Interviewing Doulas: Why some questions matter!

Congratulations on your pregnancy and decision to hire a doula! It can be a daunting project to decide what to ask when interviewing doulas and finding the right one for you. Here is a peek behind the doula curtain to see why certain interview questions matter!

You can find lists of questions to ask when interviewing doulas all over the internet and one of the first questions they recommend is how many births have you attended? A better question to ask is: How has your training prepared you to support me in my labor and birth? You might even ask a bit more about what their training was like and what it involved! Everyone has to attend their first few births, I have to say, I did an amazing job supporting my very first client! It is about so much more than numbers. A good training will have your doula ready to support you whether it is her first birth to attend or her twentieth! Your connection with your doula honestly matters more than the number of births she has attended. Do you feel comfortable and supported with her? That's what you should ask yourself!

Speaking of a good training - ask her if she is Certified? If so, with what organization? There are many doula training organizations out there! Some people pick a big name company or a smaller one that they connect with their ideology and philosophys. Sometimes you will have an uncertified doula tell you that she has decided to remain uncertified although she trained with xyz organization because she found their "scope of practice limiting". Honestly, if they found it limiting, they needed to find another organization that has a broader scope or one they agree with more and certify with them. Ask them what about that scope was limiting? Was it that they can't use essential oils? Is it because they aren't allowed to do cervical exams? (if your doula says she will do cervical exams RUN! that is not her job!)
You can be a great doula without being certified but here's why I advocate for certification - it holds the doula to a higher standard! If I was running around doing things I shouldn't (catching babies, acting unprofessional, not showing up to births etc) my clients can contact the 3 (yes 3!) organizations I hold certifications with and I would have someone to answer to. I get resources and materials from these organizations, I don't want to do something to ruin that relationship with my cert org because that's part of me staying in business! Doulas are not regulated (like midwives or doctors) so working with someone who has taken the time, expense and effort to maintain a certification is an indicator that you have found a professional, not someone doing this as a hobby.

Some other certification/training questions: Do you have to recertify yearly? (or did they get a lifetime stamp of approval regardless of how they practice?) Tell me about your training? (was it an in person hands on training or was it all distance education and books or a combination of both? There isn't a good or a bad here, just what fits their learning style best. If they've only attended a handful of births, is it important to you if they had hands on training?)

Ask about continuing education. A professional doula should always be working towards learning and growing, if her certification organization requires yearly recertification she will be working on something. This is also great for you! Continuing Education is when doulas pick up skills beyond the basics they learn at training. Accupressure, TENS, Massage, advanced situation training (ie bereavement doula), rebozo, spinning babies etc. These are just an example of things a doula can add to her tool belt to help you have a supported birth!

What unique or challenging experiences have you faced as you have supported clients? This is where the number of births comes into play, you can have a doula that has been to 50 births, but they all happen to be uncomplicated vaginal births. You can have a doula who has attended three and all three had a complication arise that has afforded the doula unique and invaluable experiences.

Some people ask how many children a doula has. That might be important to you, but I know doulas that do not have children and they are awesome at their job! Instead ask, Do you have reliable childcare? How long will it take you to get to me when I am in labor? Doulas who do this professionally have some awesome on call childcare options! When I take on a client I have a game plan of where my children can be dropped off at a moments notice for the 5 week on-call window, 24/7!

What is your birth philosophy? is a common interview question -  it isn't a bad question, but a better question would be if she can support you in your desired birth? (water birth, hospital birth, birth center birth, home birth, vbac, unique complication, c-section whether planned or emergent)

How do you work with my husband/partner? Doulas and dads should complement each other. A doula should not take a partners place (unless that's what the birthing person and partner want!). Sometimes I'm at an interview and a pregnant mother wants me to convince her husband that a doula is a good idea. Doulas love to talk about what we do and how we can help you have an awesome birth but please understand we can't make him do anything. I don't know the dynamics of your relationship and if he doesn't really want me there and it has been forced on him, it probably won't be the greatest birth environment when half of the birthing couple doesn't want the doula present. Hopefully after meeting a doula your partner is on board with a supported birthing experience!

Another frequent question is whether or not a doula has worked at your particular birth place or with that provider. I am in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, we have hundreds of care providers! While there are some providers I have worked with more than once, chances are I won't ever work with all of them! It still might be nice to know if the doula has worked with them, but don't put a lot of stock in that response! You should ask the doula instead, I am planning a ______ birth. What questions would you suggest I ask my care provider to see if he/she will support my wishes.

Do you have any "black out dates" around my due date? This is a great way to also learn about their back up doula! Doulas are people too and sometimes we need to go out of town or attend a wedding etc. There's about a 3% chance of going into labor on any given day, so the chances of you laboring on the day(s) that your doula isn't available are slim but she should have a solid back up relationship regardless of black out dates! If your doula does have a black out date, ask if you can meet the back up doula if you'd like!

Do you have an hourly clause in your contract? Hourly clauses work a couple of different ways: Some doulas charge a base rate for their services and if your labor exceeds a certain number of hours an hourly fee begins to retain your labor support. Sometimes it's 12, 15, or 18 hours of labor support that is built into the existing fee and hourly labor support varies but it's anywhere from $12-$20/hour. I do not charge more based on the length of your labor nor do any doulas that I have a back up relationship with!

Most doulas have a clause in their contract about bringing in a back up (if needed) if labor goes beyond a certain number of hours. For example, 15 hours, if your doula is with you for 15 hours she reserves the right to bring in a back up doula to relieve her and bring in fresh awesome support for you (so she can get some rest! We're pretty awesome but we're not super human! Trust me, you want a rested doula). Check to see if you are responsible for paying the back up doula or if that is covered in your fee.

These are just a few questions you might consider asking in a doula interview. At the end of the day, I believe that it matters most how you personally connect with the doula. If you feel on edge, or like you're being judged by the person you are interviewing - she isn't the doula for you! It should be a pretty easy connection and someone you look forward to seeing.

Check out this post for a more complete list of doula interview questions!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a birth doula, professional belly binder and placenta encapsulator serving families in the North part of the Dallas Fort Worth area. She serves families in Denton, Cooke, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and Collin counties.

 

 

 

 

 

Packing for Birth - A Doulas Advice

If you are in your third trimester, chances are you're wondering what you should pack for the hospital! There are lots of lists and ideas out there but here are some of my favorite recommendations.

My best tip for parents packing their bags is to pack in more than one bag. I recommend packing a Labor and Delivery bag and a Postpartum Bag. This helps reduce the amount of stuff you are hauling in while you're in labor. It also makes it easier to find that tiny tube of chapstick you really want but your partner can't find based on you directions between contractions (but don't worry, as your Doula - I've got you covered with an extra tube of chapstick!)

What you pack really depends on your personality. Moms show up with a couple of these items while others show up with this plus so much more! Do what makes you feel comfortable!

PACKING FOr Labor and delivery

For mom:

  • Birth plan: You should have the copy your provider has signed off on plus 2 more copies (one for your chart, one for nursery and one to hang in your L&D room)
  • Birth Affirmations (for my doula clients, pack these along with your birth plan in your booklet I gave you for me to quickly access in triage to hang up around the delivery room!)
  • Flip Flops (that you don't mind getting wet in the shower)
  • Your own pillow (in double pillow cases to keep it clean): labor and delivery beds aren't comfortable, this can help some.
  • Echinacea tincture or vitamin C for immune support
  • Chapstick
  • Suckers or your favorite candy to suck on
  • Snacks or honey if your food intake is restricted in the hospital
  • Hair ties
  • Toothbrush
  • A labor gown if you want to wear your own clothes
  • packing supplies and a cooler for your placenta if you plan on keeping it
  • Swim top or extra sports bra if you would like to have something on in the tub/shower
  • Unopened bottle of Olive Oil for perineal massage (if this is something you want, we can talk more about this with birth plans and ask your provider if this is something they routinely do and if so what do they use? Many hospitals only provide a jelly lubricant)
  • Relaxation Materials - music, essential oils and diffusers, birth ball, rebozo, massage oil and tools. (For doula clients, I've got you covered! We will talk about what's in my bag at your prenatal appointment.)
  • Depends Underwear - either your water has broken or it will break, this will contain the leaking!

for your partner:

  • Jacket - it gets cold and mom usually prefers this, labor is hard work!
  • Toiletries - labor may be long, you'll want to freshen up! (my client's husband most forgotten thing? toothbrush and paste!)
  • Swim trunks
  • change of clothes
  • snacks and money for cafeteria
  • cell phone and chargers
  • camera

packing for postpartum:

  • Pillow for Dad
  • 2 sets of clothes for Dad
  • 2 pair comfortable pajamas with nursing access
  • robe
  • nursing bra
  • breast pads
  • comfortable going home clothes (you will likely be the size you were at 6 months pregnant)
  • Toiletries (I recommend splurging on nice or fun shower stuff, nothing feels better than the first shower postpartum, treat yourself - you deserve it!)
  • Depends Underwear (these are great postpartum at home or if you don't like the hospital mesh underwear.)

packing for baby:

  • coconut oil (this is actually for mom and baby - it makes a great nipple cream, healthier than lanolin and makes wiping meconium off baby's bottom so much easier!)
  • blanket
  • newborn clothes
  • diapers if you prefer cloth, the hospital will provide disposable if that is your preference
  • infant car seat
  • baby book for footprints

if you are birthing at a birth center -

If you are birthing out of hospital at a birth center, you should also consider what you are going to eat after baby comes. You need something hearty with protein! A frozen casserole that you pop in the oven as soon as you get to the birth center is a great idea that works for any time of the day (just make sure it gets put in the oven so you don't have to wait on it!)! Crock pot soups are another great option.

Different birth centers ask you to bring different things, you may also need to bring items like a fish net or certain delivery supplies. You will likely get a packing list around 36 weeks - just make sure to check it closely!

nOTES FOR FAMILIES LOCAL TO dENTON, tEXAS (AND LIKELY WHERE YOU ARE BIRTHING TOO):

A note for families delivering at Denton Presbyterian Hospital or Flower Mound Presbyterian Hospital. The cafeteria closes at 7:30 and after hours there aren't many options for food (cold cut sandwiches and chips etc) so you may want to pack some good snacks for Dad and Mom after the birth! Depending on when you give birth there are options outside of the hospital but the choices are slim late at night!

If you aren't birthing in Denton or Flower Mound, call your hospital or ask on your Labor and Delivery tour what the cafeteria hours are, they can be unusual, especially on weekends!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a certified birth doula serving families in Dallas, Fort Worth Texas including Denton, Fort Worth, Keller, Lewisville, Flower Mound, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Prosper, Aubrey and the surrounding areas.

TENS unit for Labor

I currently include the TENS unit in the price of all of my doula packages. After training to use the TENS with my clients I realized how wonderful this tool was and how helpful it is in birth! I couldn't imagine not using every tool I have at my disposal to help my clients achieve the birth that they desire. It seemed silly to me to deny a client this option just because they didn't know how helpful it would be and they didn't rent it or choose a package that included it before labor. 

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I am excited to offer TENS unit rentals for doula clients! This is a non-pharmaceutical option to help bring pain relief in labor! 

What is a TENS? 

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a hand-held devise that connects via wires to 4 special stickers/pads attached to the laboring woman's back. The electrical pulses go just below the skin to stimulate the nerves. 

How does the TENS create pain relief? 

The TENS unit provides pain relief in two ways. The consistent nerve stimulation creates an increase in endorphins and that helps to reduce your perception of pain. It also works through what we call Gate Control - the nerve fibers in your body that carry pain receptors are smaller and slower "highways to the brain" than those that carry the touch receptors that the TENS unit stimulates. It is kind of like touching a hot stove, you knew you touched it because you felt your hand touch a hard object. You knew intellectually that it was hot and you should react and you have lifted your hand off before your brain has registered that it hurts. With the TENS unit, your brain recognizes the contractions but is previously occupied with the stimulation the TENS unit is providing and it reduces your perception of the intensity of the contraction. 

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I have a TENS unit that my chiropractor gave me, can I just use this instead? 

No, probably not. TENS are not made the same. Some stimulate the muscles rather than the nerves. Not all of them are set up to change settings like you need to in labor to meet the demands your body needs with the contractions. The TENS unit I exclusively use with doula clients is imported from the U.K. where TENS units are commonplace in hospitals as an alternative to epidurals (they don't use epidurals routinely) and the mother is able to control the intensity for upper back from lower back, left and right so it is exactly what she needs at that moment! These units also have different settings to change the pattern of the stimulation pulses. With other TENS units it's recommended that you turn them off and on to create a similar effect... what a hassle! 

Benefits of using a TENS unit

  • You maintain your mobility, you aren't attached to the bed to use it! It can be used in any location (not water, it is electric) so it's a great option for laboring at home, birth center or hospital birth! 
  • It does not have side effects! Just about every other thing that you might receive for pain relief has a side effect of some form (even seemingly benign things like a bag of IV fluids!) so this is a great low-risk option! 
  • You can take it off or put it on at any point in labor. It's a no obligation option! Research does show that it is most effective when used in early labor and then throughout but it's beneficial regardless. Unlike any intravenous drugs or epidural, there is a wearing off period where you have to wait for the drugs to leave your system. This isn't the case with the TENS. When you take it off, it's done. 
  • In a study regarding the use of a TENS in labor, the majority of women who used one in labor said they would do it again in a future labor! 
  • It can be effective for back labor! This is a big deal considering even epidurals are not always and effective pain relief option for back labor! 
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What else should I know?

  • You should not use a TENS unit before 37 weeks of pregnancy (unless you're already in active labor).
  • It can't be used in the water, so if you're planning a water birth it has to come off before you go into the tub. It is still fine to use it when you aren't in the water! 
  • It doesn't completely take away labor pains, this is just something to help - another coping tool. Some women report that they didn't realize how much it was helping until they took it off, so they asked to have it back! 
  • You cannot use it if you have epilepsy or a seizure disorder. You cannot use it if you have very high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia. 
  • You cannot use it if you have a heart arrhythmia or a pacemaker

 

I teach all my clients the ins and outs of the TENS unit at one of our prenatal visits so you aren't learning the device when you are in labor. Let me know if you have any questions! 

 

 

Rebekah Lewis provides birth doula services and postpartum belly binding in the North Texas area including Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Krum, Aubrey, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Coppell, Highland Village, North Fort Worth, Keller, McKinney, and surrounding areas.

Breastfeeding Support in Denton, Texas

Denton is a great place to have a baby and raise a family! If you are looking for breastfeeding support we have some wonderful resources.

Every Tuesday at 10:30 Presbyterian Hospital of Denton hosts a breastfeeding support group. This is free and open to the public. This is a great way to get quick questions answered and see a lactation counselor for a minute or two to troubleshoot any problems you may be facing. You can find more information here.

If you are needing more help and support than what a quick visit with a lactation counselor can provide, I recommend calling Cherish Lactation. Susan and Catharine (a mother-daughter duo!) are hands down amazing and the best breastfeeding resource in Denton! One of them will come to your home and help with your breastfeeding and make a long term plan to meet your breastfeeding goals! 

Cherish Lactation also hosts a once-monthly support group at the North Branch Library. They meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 10:00 am. The meeting room is located next to the childrens section to the left after you enter.

My Favorite Birth Books

I am frequently asked what books I recommend for expecting mommas. Here are some of my favorites! For those who are my clients, the books I have an ** by I have in my lending library and you are welcome to borrow them!

** The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

** Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

The Business of Being Born by Riki Lake and Abby Epstein

This isn't a book, but it is a huge part of the out of hospital birth and natural birth movement in the United States right now and I love it! It and the sequel (More Business of Being Born - 4 parts) can be found on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video usually.

** The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

** What to Expect when your wife is Expanding

I debated putting this one on the list. It is certainly a bit irreverent but my husband found it hilarious and was a great conversation starter for the two of us when we were expecting our first baby. I wouldn't suggest it be the only thing your partner read as you prepare for birth, but it isn't bad!

** Birthing from Within

** Hypnobirthing, the Morgan Method

If you're considering hypnobirthing as your preparation for childbirth, let me know!

** The Healthy Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears

** The Birth Partner

** Belly Laughs

Again with the internal debate on what to include on the list... I wouldn't recommend it as your only read by any means, but it's a fun book while you're expecting!

 

VBAC Books

In addition to the other books I have suggested, if you are considering or planning on a vaginal birth after cesarean I suggest these books specifically about VBAC.

** Cut, Stapled, Mended: When one woman reclaimed her body and gave birth on her own terms after cesarean by Roanna Rosewood

This book is exactly what the title would lead you to believe, it is about Roanna's journey to VBAC after a cesarean birth. This is one of the books I read as I trained to become a doula and I love it!

Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America by Theresa Morris

This book examines the exponential increase of cesarean birth in the United States and looks at the reasons for this trend in birth.

Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

In 100% honesty, I haven't read this one yet - but it comes very highly recommended by my friends who have prepared for a vaginal birth after cesarean.

 

Some of the links to products may be affiliate links. This just means that if you make a purchase from one of these links I may receive a small percentage of your purchase. It does not cost you extra.

Pumping & Building a Stash: Products and Tips for stay-at-home-moms

For moms who aren't returning to work - building up a milk stash

For mom's who don't need a lot of milk to return to work at 6 or 8 weeks (etc) I recommend not pumping until they are at least 6 weeks postpartum. Pumping becomes a full time job if you do it often with cleaning all the pump parts and the time commitment it takes. Breastmilk supply is a supply-and-demand process. If at three weeks postpartum you start pumping, your body is going to be over-producing milk and that's a recipe for engorgement and mastitis if you're not careful! Here are a few tips and tricks I've learned & clients usually find helpful!

If you are returning to work or will need to be away from baby (or just want to bottle feed in addition to breastfeeding!) these are still great tips, but I'll have a separate post for you soon! 

Milk Savers - Your "Breast-Friend"

ha, ha. Awful joke I know. There are a couple of different kinds of these. These will collect milk for you while you do absolutely nothing, just whatever you would normally drip into a breast-pad, you can gather to turn into a bottle for baby at a later date!  

Shells: I love the shell ones for the early days postpartum. It prevents friction on your nipples when you can barely stand to have a shirt touching you, much less a bra. They are also awesome at allowing air to get to your nipples to reduce the chance of developing an infection while your supply is regulating and everything seems to be getting soaked in breast milk. (link to shell here)  If you have flat nipples, shells are a *must* and you really need to start wearing them before baby comes! They will absolutely collect milk that you drip during the day but the base where milk will pool and collect isn't very deep and can spill out easily as you bend over (so still wear breast pads!).

Milk Savers: The same spilling situation can happen with the milk savers, but they are deeper so less likely if emptied regularly. (link to milk savers here) You could absolutely just buy one of these products (I'm all for buying less, good quality gear!) but some people find the milk savers to be bulky - it's really just a personal preference thing! 

Milk Savers Collector.jpg

Clients: Let me know if you think you might have flat nipples at a prenatal (I promise, this won't be awkward to bring up... I bet I also openly recommend sex at some point in our conversations!) and we can talk about ways to set yourself up for breastfeeding success! 

Use a silicone breast "pump" to start your stash

I say "pump" because I don't think these would actually be effective at draining your breast as your primary pump. They are however wonderful to compress, attach to the breast you aren't feeding from and collect whatever let-down flow comes. It's a freezer stash with almost no work! You can start doing this as early postpartum as you would like. 

 

You can find a Silicone Breast Pump here. 

 

Store parts in the refrigerator

You can store pump parts in a gallon zip lock bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours between sterilizations. I would still give them a good rinse in the sink to keep the fat in the milk from coating the parts and making them hard to clean, but this will cut down on the time commitment you're making when pumping so you only have to wash and sterilize once a day! For working moms or moms that are needing to pump often, I recommend having two sets of pump parts so that one can be cleaned and drying on the rack while you have another set to use.

Pumping Bra Hack 

If/When you decide you're ready to pull out the big double-electric breast pump you will quickly find that it's a two handed process. Mom's often don't have one hand to spare, much less two so a pumping bra can be handy. Not everyone is a fan of pumping bras or a fan of their price tag. Here is a link to a genius pump bra hack on pinterest! This is how I pumped when I went back to work full time after my first! While you're in Pinterest land - this is my breastfeeding board and it has lots of great tips and videos about latches! 

On the topic of bras... when you're purchasing nursing bras - do not get a bra with an underwire. For some unknown reason Motherhood sells these bras with underwires but that can often lead to clogged ducts and mastitis because of the pressure it puts on your breasts. 

Other Tips & Tricks

Cloth breast pads are so much softer than the disposable ones so they're perfect in the beginning! Brand matters with the disposable ones (in my opinion). I'm not a big name-brand gal, but I loved the Lansinoh breast pads. There were other brands I could stand, but those are by far my favorites. There are samples and small packages, so start with a small sampling of each brand and pick which one fits you best! 

If you have a sore on your breast, a little bit of breast milk can help heal it up! It has great antibacterial properties in it! 

Lanolin is recommended by well, just about everyone... and it's great... but so is coconut oil - and that's food based, has natural antimicrobial/antibiotic properties and is my first pick in nipple "creams". If you do find yourself needing Lanolin (I did, you wouldn't be alone!), a little goes a long ways! And it's kind of greasy, so you will want to make sure you're wearing nursing pads to protect your bra and shirt. 

Chamomile tea bags on sore nipples can help reduce swelling. Just dip them in some hot water and squeeze out the excess water (you still want them wet, test on the inside of your wrist, make sure it's not too hot!) Apply and remove as the heat diminishes, you don't want to leave the wet bags against your nipples too long. 

Breastfeeding in Public

You will at some point find yourself needing to feed babe in public. Some of us are a whip-it-out kind of mom and don't mind who notices you feeding your baby, others would prefer a cover and then many fall in the middle. My kids hated the breastfeeding cover. They're hot natured and the covers are hot! I would end up more exposed than if I just didn't use the cover at all when my child would suddenly rip it aside to look at the world going by.  If you use what I call the Two-Shirt trick, you can breastfeed discretely without a cover. 

Under whatever t-shirt you're wearing (because let's just face it, you aren't going to be wearing a dress for a long time... you have to practically undress to breastfeed in many dresses...) just wear a nursing cami. This is a link to some, Target also has a great selection. You just want to make sure it has those same clips to drop the side down as your nursing bras. The cami stays down, your t-shirt comes up and you're only exposing your nipple and a small bit of breast for baby to feed. Practice at home in front of a mirror, you'll be a pro in no time! I can walk around stores feeding and talking to people and many don't even realize what I'm doing! 

Pro-Tip: You can breastfeed in baby carriers and wraps. It might take some figuring out how it will work for you. Many times you'll have to adjust the fit to bring baby down to your breast, but the carrier often provides lots of privacy and no one will know you're feeding unless they are very much in your personal space! Personally, I have had luck breastfeeding while baby-wearing in an Ergo, ring-sling, Moby Wrap and k'tan

 

I hope that some of these tips are helpful to you in your breastfeeding and pumping journey! 

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that if you clicked an affiliate link and make a purchase I might receive a small commission. These products are things I recommend regardless of potential commission and all opinions are my own. 

Rebekah Lewis provides birth doula and postpartum belly binding services in the North Texas area including Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Krum, Aubrey, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Coppell, Highland Village, North Fort Worth, Keller, McKinney, and surrounding areas. 

 

Labor Script: Imagery - Journey to the Center of the Womb

Imagine that you are breathing directly into the womb -- where your baby floats in a private sea of crystal-clear water. After a few minutes, imagine that the breath you take in is a soft white light. 

As you continue to breath in, imagine that light filling the womb, surrounding your baby with vitality and health - giving energy. Do this for a minute or so.

Now imagine that the light that fills the womb is beginning to radiate outward in all directions. Let it fill your body with a radiant glow. Keep breathing the light in and breathing out everything that you don't need. any tension, any thoughts that get in your way.

Imagine that the light leads you inside the womb and that you have come to explore.

This is your baby's cradle - warm, snug and secure - where baby is nourished in your being. 

Imagine the baby in their own private sea of crystal - clear water, all enclosed by the warm cavern of the strong membranous sac, cushioned and protected. 

The baby's eyes are closed peacefully, the fingernails and toenails are growing. Every now and then the baby kicks tiny feet against the uterus. 

You and your baby are one, right now. Imagine that you are breathing in harmony with your baby. Let yourself go into a deeper more relaxed state. Take a moment to appreciate your baby's home. Notice the beautiful umbilical cord that connects the baby to the placenta. Through this cord, your baby receives everything needed to grow and be perfect. 

Acknowledge that as your baby is growing, your body is changing in preparation for birth without your having to do anything about it.

The muscular uterus holds your baby gently and lovingly as it prepares for the powerful contractions that will massage your baby for his/her first breath and urge him/her out when your baby is ready.

The cervix is becoming soft and stretchy. It is not ready to open yet, but when your baby is ready it will open a gateway. 

Acknowledge further that your whole being is preparing for parenthood and let yourself relax more deeply, at peace with the sureness of that knowledge. 

Mentally thank your body for the miracle it is now working and will continue to work. Take a deep breath, slowly count to five, stretching gently and open your eyes. 

Labor Script: Relaxation

Close your eyes. Take a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose, exhaling through slightly parted lips. As you begin to relax, let your breathing become just a little deeper and a little slower without straining in any way. 

Now tighten the muscles of your left arm and hand, clenching your fist, hold for a few seconds, feel the tension. Tighten the muscles of your right arm and hand, clenching your fist. Hold for a few seconds, feel the tension. Release, letting your arm and hand go limp. Feel the relaxation. Tell yourself: my arms and hands are heavy and warm.

For the next few minutes, each time you tense a muscle group, feel the tension. Each time you release, take a few seconds to feel the relaxation. 

Tighten the muscles of your left leg and foot, curling the toes. Release, letting your leg and foot go limp. Tighten the muscles of your right leg and foot, curling the toes. Release letting your leg and foot go limp. Tell yourself: my legs and feet are heavy and warm.

Squeeze your buttocks together tightly. Release.

Draw up the muscles of your pelvic floor (as if you were trying to hold back from urinating). Release

Tighten your abdominal muscles, drawing in your belly as if you were trying to touch your backbone with your abdominal wall. Release. Feel your abdomen relax completely.

Observe your breathing, calm and regular. Tell yourself, my uterus and pelvic organs are warm, comfortable and relaxed. 

Arch your back slightly. Release, letting the muscles of your back sink into the surface on which you are lying. 

Tighten your shoulders by pushing them back as if you were trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Release, letting your shoulders fall limp.

Tighten the muscles of your neck by arching the neck slightly as if you were trying to look up. Release, letting your neck go limp. Now say, The muscles of my back and neck are warm and relaxed.

Clench your teeth together, tightening the muscles of your jaw. Release. Tell yourself: my jaw muscles are loose and relaxed. 

Squint your eyes. Release, letting the eyelids fall heavy and tell yourself, my eyelids are heavy and relaxed. Furrow your brow as if you were worried about something. Release, letting the space between the eyes feel as if it were getting wider. With the next breath out - say: my forehead is cool. 

Now, take a few deep breaths, letting your breathing become a little slower, a little deeper than usual, without straining in any way.  Let your awareness travel though your entire body from head to toe, releasing any additional tension you may find on the out-breath. 

Tell yourself: Because I am relaxed, I can labor and give birth better.