I'm often asked for resources about vitamin D for breastfeeding babies. Since I’m a postpartum doula, I don’t give medical advice, but I do pass along resources and encourage my clients to discuss them with their pediatrician.
A few years ago a study came out about maternal versus infant supplement of vitamin D which concludes, “Maternal vitamin D supplementation with 6400 IU/day safely supplies breast milk with adequate vitamin D to satisfy her nursing infant’s requirement and offers an alternate strategy to direct infant supplementation.” That was great news for my clients, since giving a newborn supplemental drops can be messy and easy to forget.
While we know that vitamin D is important for growing babies, did you know that it is also important during pregnancy? If you are currently pregnant, especially if you live in a northern state like Michigan, it is important to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D3 in your prenatal supplements. As a postpartum doula, I serve the Metro Detroit area, so it’s important to me that my fellow Michiganders and my future clients are aware that for most of the year, we can’t get enough vitamin D into our bloodstream through sun exposure alone. We are too far north.
There are numerous reasons why adequate vitamin D is important during pregnancy. From improving pregnancy mood to increasing a pregnant mother’s chances of fighting off the flu, vitamin D levels matter. Now, researchers have found a new reason to make sure that our vitamin D levels are high enough during pregnancy.
A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that vitamin D-deficiency in expectant moms has a negative effect on the motor skill development and social development of their children that is noticeable by pre-school.
Researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Surrey found that when pregnant women had vitamin D levels lower than 50 nmol per liter of blood during pregnancy, their children were more likely to end up in the bottom 25th percentile in preschool developmental tests for gross and fine motor development. The researchers looked at data from more than 7,000 child-mother pairs and accounted for other variables. The study was done after earlier research in animal studies showed that neurocognitive delays were more common among vitamin D deficient animals’ offspring.
"The importance of vitamin D sufficiency should not be underestimated. It is well-known to be good for our musculoskeletal systems, but our research shows that if levels are low in expectant mothers, it can affect the development of their children in their early years of life,” Dr. Andrea Darling, lead author of the report wrote.
Many years ago, women were more inclined to consume cod liver oil, salmon, and sardines. If you are pregnant and haven’t thought about your vitamin D levels, I urge you to consider discussing testing and supplementing with your medical professional. If you know someone who is expecting, please pass this post along to them right away!
As new and expecting parents it can be challenging to stay up to date with the latest research. One of the benefits of working with a trained, and/or certified postpartum doula is that we do ongoing continuing education and pass that knowledge on to our clients. Since we are non-medical we don’t prescribe or diagnose but instead share information and resources so each client can make decisions that work best for their family.
If you are interested in learning more about working with my team in Metro Detroit, Michigan just fill out the contact form and I will send your more information. We are currently taking clients who are due in 2018.
What clients are saying about working with The After Baby Lady! Lisa S. from Birmingham, Michigan, shares, "Jill was my postpartum doula after the birth of my first son. Not really knowing what to expect or what kind of help I'd need, Jill was extremely flexible with her schedule. Also, as new mom, in the beginning I didn't always know what help I needed or how Jill could help me. Jill is so great in those situations because of her proactive attitude and many years of experience as a mom, she knows what you need even when you don't!"
As a postpartum doula, I’m here to help you communicate with the newborn you love. Hair tourniquet syndrome is almost certainly not going to happen to your child, but if it does, your baby will suffer less if you are aware of this condition.
It happens when a single strand of hair gets wrapped around an appendage like your baby’s toe and blocks the blood flow. It can also happen to fingers and genitalia. Scientists believe that it happens specifically when moist hair ends up wrapped around a digit. As the hair dries out, it shrinks and causes strangulation of the encircled toe, finger, or other appendage.
Sometimes caregivers can see a little swelling, but can’t see the hair. They assume there was a minor injury at first, but then quickly after, the finger becomes very swollen. It’s not the caregivers’ fault that they don’t realize it’s a hair constricting the blood flow. Even medical professionals miss the hair tourniquet syndrome diagnosis. According to research published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, when public health nurses were surveyed with a presentation of hair tourniquet syndrome, 45 percent of them said they would suspect that it was an injury that might suggest abuse! Meanwhile, 83 percent of child welfare workers said that they would suspect an injury suggestive of abuse! See, it doesn’t look like a hair is wrapped around a toe. The hair is beneath the swelling. It looks like a swollen toe and the infant is inconsolable!
Sometimes, no one thinks to remove socks when their baby won’t stop crying. Fingers are exposed for longer durations of the day, but socks often hide the little toes. According to a paper published in Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, one cause of hair getting wrapped around toes leading to this painful condition might be washing baby socks without turning them inside out.
That’s why I’m writing this blog post. It’s not to scare you. This condition is very rare, but it does happen, and there may be a way to reduce the chances that it can happen to a baby you love. The preventative method is so simple. Besides keeping an eye on loose hairs within in your baby’s grasp or on the baby’s clothing, the researchers now suggest that all caregivers be informed about hair tourniquet syndrome and that risks can be reduced by turning socks inside out before laundering.
Additionally, research indicates that postpartum mothers, like my clients in the Metro Detroit area, should be aware that after pregnancy, women may experience some hair loss. I’d suggest you check to make sure that there are no stray hairs entangled between the fingers and toes. Any mittens, socks or footed pajamas should be turned inside out before being washed.
Maybe the age-old infant bonding game of the 10 little piggies every day serves multiple purposes, whether we knew it or not! Please pass this blog post along to anyone you know with a new baby and let us know if this has ever happened to a little one you know!
As postpartum doulas our goal isn't ever to worry parents but to help keep them educated about their wonderful new babies. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of hiring a postpartum doula read our FAQ's and contact us to set up a free consultation.
I’ve been teaching about caring for newborn babies at Babies R Us for more than four years! Both at their Sterling Heights, and Auburn Hills locations. In that time, I’ve seen expecting parents become more and more savvy about caring for their little ones, and I’m asked really great questions every month! One of the concepts that I’ve always taught has become more mainstream - it’s skin to skin time between parents and their babies (also known as Kangaroo Care).
Skin to skin time is one of, if not the most powerful way to lower a newborn’s stress levels and increase bonding. I’ve heard other experts share, “Touch is a baby’s first language,” and I wholeheartedly agree! One of the best ways to get to know your new baby is to hold them close and spend time together. All you need for skin to skin time is a bare chest, and a naked baby in only a diaper.
New research has confirmed that newborns experience lasting effects from the way they are touched during their earliest postnatal experiences. These new scientific findings provide strong supporting evidence to explain the biological purpose behind why mothers often report to their doulas, “Right after birth, I felt the strongest desire to keep my baby near me.”
Of course, midwives, doulas and other birth advocates have strongly supported immediate skin-to-skin care and early breastfeeding whenever possible.
All around the modern world, obstetricians have begun recognizing the importance of skin-to-skin care as well. “All babies need a period of skin to skin cuddling after the birth to adjust to the outside world,” advisory literature from Birmingham Women’s Hospital states, but this latest research is so noteworthy, that it needs to be spread around.
Nathalie Maitre of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and her colleagues measured the brain responses of 125 infants, including premature infants, in order to determine the importance of gentle touch on a newborn’s sensory development.
This study and its implications are welcomed by the gentle birth, gentle parenting and doula community. Parents have a right to know what they discovered. According to Science Daily, the latest findings have “particular implications for the care received by the 15 million infants born prematurely each year, who often must spend extended periods of time in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).”
For this new research, the team used a soft EEG to examine infants’ brain responses to gentle touch. The new research showed that babies respond to touch more readily when they are allowed gentle contact with adults in the early neonatal period. Babies who endured more painful medical procedures were heartbreakingly less likely to respond to gentle touch later during the remainder of their measured infancy … even if the babies were given pain medications and sugar to alleviate the discomfort of the procedures before undergoing them!
“Building on these results, we showed that, when controlling for prematurity and analgesics, supportive experiences (e.g., breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care) are associated with stronger brain responses, whereas painful experiences (e.g., skin punctures, tube insertions) are associated with reduced brain responses to the same touch stimuli. Our results shed crucial insights into the mechanisms through which common early perinatal experiences may shape the somatosensory scaffolding of later perceptual, cognitive, and social development.”
Maitre said that gentle touch is so important to a neonate that, "When parents cannot do this, hospitals may want to consider occupational and physical therapists to provide a carefully planned touch experience, sometimes missing from a hospital setting."
Remember, this research follows an earlier publication from Oxford University that disclosed that, although doctors once believed that babies’ brains were too underdeveloped to feel pain, MRI scans revealed that newborns’ brains “light up” on an MRI in much the same way adult brains do when exposed to mild pain.
Postpartum doulas see firsthand the importance of skin-to-skin care and gentle touch, but it’s exciting when science swoops in and validates our experiences. My favorite postpartum shifts are with new parents snuggle up in a cozy spot for some skin-to-skin time with their baby or twins, or triplets and I get some laundry done, organize the nursery, make a yummy snack for them, and keep their water bottle nice and full. I really do have the best career in the world. I get to nurture families so they have more time for bonding and relaxation.
If you’d like to learn more about working with The After Baby Lady Postpartum Doula Services as your postpartum doula please contact us soon! Our calendar tends to fill up quickly, and we are most often hired during pregnancy so you’ll know you have the support you want after birth.
New parents often wonder, “Is this ‘normal’?"
As a postpartum doula, I love to help normalize all the strange, and wonderful behaviors that your newborn may exhibit. A few common questions I get are, “Is it normal for my baby to be noisy when they sleep? My baby looks away when I talk to him/her, is that normal? My baby cries a lot, or a little, is that normal?” Normalizing this new experience of parenting is a powerful part of my support as a postpartum doula. I believe all babies are “good babies” no matter how much they sleep or cry. I also believe that knowing what is 'normal' or average can be helpful for parents to have realistic expectations.
A massive meta-analysis involving nearly 8700 babies shows that babies cry more in certain countries than in other regions around the globe. As it turns out, British babies, Canadian babies, and Italian babies cry more than babies in other areas of the world. Though Professor Dieter Wolke from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick didn’t explain why, he did manage to formulate the world’s very first universal charts for the so-called “normal amount” of crying that babies exhibit during their first 12 weeks of life.
The meta-analysis also included babies from Germany, Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Wolke was able to calculate the average length of time that babies cried and fussed during each twenty-four hour period of the first twelve weeks of their lives in different countries around the world.
As it turns out, of the countries sampled, the average length of time that babies spend crying each day during the first two years after birth was two hours! (Of course, I’d like to think that with increased postpartum doula assistance, that global average could one day be lower.) The amount that babies cry is the highest when babies are six-weeks old. Eventually the crying wanes to an average of one hour and ten minutes each day when babies are twelve-weeks old.
Remember though, this is just an average. Some babies, believe it or not, cried as little as one-half-hour per day, according to the meta-analysis. Meanwhile, other babies cried over five hours each day.
Wolke reported that babies from Germany, Denmark and Japan cried the least. Science Daily broke down the results:
“Babies cry the most in the UK, Italy, Canada, and the Netherlands -- and the lowest levels of crying were found in Denmark, Germany and Japan.
“The highest levels of colic -- defined as crying more than 3 hours a day for at least 3 days a week in a baby- were found in the UK (28% of infants at 1-2 weeks), Canada (34.1% at 3-4 weeks of age) and Italy (20.9% at 8-9 weeks of age).
“In contrast, lowest colic rates were reported in Denmark (5.5% at 3-4 weeks) and Germany (6.7% at 3-4 weeks).”
Until now, the definition of colic and excessive crying was gauged against data from the middle of last century. With all of the changes of modern life though, Professor Wolke set out to discover the new normal. He also stressed that we might be able to examine the countries where crying is less frequent and determine what we might change to reduce the amount of time babies spend unhappy.
“Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life -- there are large but normal variations. We may learn more from looking at cultures where there is less crying and whether this may be due to parenting or other factors relating to pregnancy experiences or genetics,” he said.
The meta-analysis was completed by searching literature published in Medline, PsycINFO, and Embase. In all, 5687 articles were reviewed and 28 diary studies were deemed suitable for inclusion in this meta-analysis.
How do you feel about redefining how much crying is normal for babies?
Does your baby cry a lot? If you would like some help with your baby’s fussiness, consider contacting a postpartum doula in your area. If you live in Birmingham, Troy or other areas around Metro Detroit, Michigan, and would like some help, please complete this contact form. Postpartum Doula services include helping you learn soothing techniques, newborn cues, babywearing education, and breastfeeding/feeding help.
One of the most frequent questions I get about working as a postpartum doula is "What IS a Postpartum Doula?"
Many people associate the term "postpartum" with postpartum depression. I've even heard the two terms used interchangeably as in, "I have postpartum." The actual meaning of the term "postpartum" is the time after a woman has a baby. It's a time period. Experts disagree on exactly how long that time period lasts.
The first three to four months is my area of expertise. Not only am I an expert caring for and teaching about new babies, I am also trained and certified to care for the whole family, especially the new mother.
As a mother myself, I know how valuable the experience of being cared for was to me. It's an honor to provide that care to other women.
Nancy contacted me when her baby was three weeks old. She shared her thoughts with me in this testimonial.
"Jill was a tremendous help to me, and a wonderfully calming presence in our home. As a first-time mom, I'd read so many books and loaded up on parenting theories prior to giving birth.
There was so much conflicting information that I was left confused and exhausted when my 3-week old wouldn't stop crying. Jill empowered me to step away from the "expert" advice and parent based on my instincts.
She also gave me amazing tools to calm my baby. Most of all, she was a great listener and really helped me feel confident as a new parent.
After just a few sessions I was enjoying my baby daughter instead of being intimidated by her. Jill also helped around the house, even without me asking--she'd make our bed and re-stock supplies, etc...
I would highly recommend Jill! On top of being a great post-partum doula, she's a wonderful person that would benefit any home."
Thank you so much Nancy for explaining how my services helped you go from exhausted to enjoying life! You are an amazing mother and I'm so glad working with me empowered you. That is always my goal!
I aim to educate, empower, and nurture new parents.
Click here to learn more about becoming a postpartum doula. I'm offering training in Lansing, Michigan and Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2016.
The early days of parenting are intense. I love the word intense because in using one word you can include the wonderful, amazing, overwhelming experience of having a new baby at home.
Often, as our friends and family adjust to our new role, they want to offer us advice and information. This advice may fall short of being helpful because we are all unique individuals.
Let's use the topic of sleep as an example. This is a top concern for expecting parents. I understand. I felt the same way when I was expecting my first baby! It felt like everyone who noticed I was pregnant would warn me about how awful sleep would be after I had my baby.
We could have this conversation about pretty much anything that has to do with your baby. When our favorite people, or even strangers, give us well meaning advice it usually makes us feel worse instead of better. What a bummer!
Picture this - You are outside with your 5 year old and teaching her how to ride a bike. Your awesome kiddo almost has this bike riding thing figured out! You see improvements from the day before, you are excited to keep working on these new skills. Then, a neighbor walks up and tells you how she taught her child. The neighbor explains that her child knew how to ride his bike at 3! So you try it her way, and both you and your child are uncomfortable. You've lost the momentum you had earlier in the day. You start to wonder if maybe you are teaching your child the wrong way? Now you have doubts, maybe you google "teaching your child how to ride a bike," all this when before you were interrupted you were feeling pretty good about your child's progress.
BOOM! I call what your neighbor did an Advice Bomb. The advice, although offered to help, actually undermines your own parenting. Hearing that someone else did something differently when you are figuring it out often adds to your own insecurities and worries.
A great strategy I share with clients is to imagine a Rainbow Shield. This Rainbow Shield comes to your rescue when an Advice Bomb drops. Use this imaginary shield and instead of advice all you hear is "I love you!"
Let's put the Rainbow Shield into action...
A mom in a mother's group tell you how her week old twins were sleeping through the night. Ta da! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Now you can smile and think of how much you are loved!
Your mother in law shares that when she was a new mom she just put her babies in bed and they slept like hibernating bears. Boom! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Your mother in law thinks you are an awesome mom!
All of us reach milestones at different times. There are norms for learning how to crawl, learning to read, riding a bike, and many other milestones. Sleep is the same.
Since we are using sleep as an example of how the Rainbow Shield works to destroy Advice Bombs I'd like to note that most people aren't around newborns much. Our well meaning friends, family, and strangers most likely don't remember what the early days of sleep were really like for their babies. I have four kids and if I'm honest, it's hard to remember much of anything from those early days of parenting. It's all a blur.
As a postpartum doula, I offer information, strategies, and evidence based information to parents. Not advice. If you have a questions for me I want to help you figure out how to answer it yourself. I will help you gain confidence in your intuition, and your parenting skills. After all, this is your baby, and you know your baby best.
Read about how I offered support to a new family in Clinton Twp, Michigan, in my recent post - Clinton Twp Parents recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Share the unwanted advice you've received in the comments so other parents don't feel alone in their experience.
Happy New Year!
One of my recent clients gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a testimonial! I don't know if there is anything better than hearing from someone you've worked with and having them say beautiful things about the time you spent together. Even her husband shared his thoughts! He said that hiring a postpartum doula and a wedding planner is similar. We both try to decrease your stress, and increase your enjoyment! Great analogy!
I love to share what my clients say about working with me. Since not everyone is familiar with working with a postpartum doula, I think it is best to hear from clients who have worked with me about their experience.
Mary in Royal Oak shares,
"A good friend of mine recommended Jill to my husband and I. At first I was skeptical because I thought that maybe having a postpartum doula meant that I, "couldn't handle" being a new mom.
Thank you so much Mary for sharing your experience with me! I love that your husband compares hiring a wedding planner, with hiring a postpartum doula! I am so glad to know that he went from thinking that hiring me was an "extra expense" to sharing what I do with others. Give him a big high five from me.
You perfectly explained so many of my goals as a postpartum doula.
I wonder what else postpartum doulas and wedding planners have in common? If you think of something, share it in the comments!
If you would like to read about products my clients loved in 2015 read Top 5 Favorite Products for Parents with New Babies!
Mary shared a beautiful photo of her and her baby taken by Courtney Sprague Photography.
Baby Gear New Parents I've Worked with Love!
I see so many new products every year in my work with new families as a postpartum doula. Some of these are favorites of mine as well, others were new to me but I can see why my client's love them.
Soft, and re-usable Bamboobies breast pads where a favorite for many of my clients.
There are lots of wonderful swaddle blankets on the market today but these are a consistent favorite! The designs are fun and gender neutral. The bamboo fabric is delicate and soft. I've also seen these used as a nursing cover or cute scarf!
There are SO MANY great bottles out there, and not every bottle works well for every baby. This specialty feeding system is for "infants with the following conditions – cleft lip/palate, oro-neuromotor dysfunctions, congenital heart disease, common or rare syndromic sequences and/or craniofacial anomalies," according to the Dr. Brown's website. I've had the pleasure of working with babies with some of these conditions and this bottle is very helpful and easy to use!
I'm a huge fan of The Moby Wrap company and products! I often wear my client's babies in a wrap while mom/dad is sleeping, showering, or taking a break. Once my clients see how much I am able to do with their baby snug in the Moby Wrap they want me to teach them how to use it too! Using a wrap is especially helpful for mothers of multiple babies. Babywearing with any product is wonderful for parents and babies! I highly suggest you try it out!
Modern Natural Baby is a local store in Metro Detroit, Michigan, that offers great cloth diapering options and classes. They created the display window pictured above. It's pretty amazing to see the difference cloth diapers can make on the environment. I used disposables myself since I didn't know anything about cloth diapers as a young mom. Now that I've watched several clients use a system of washing, and seen all the cute cloth diapers available I can see why people choose this option.
Thank you for reading this Top 5 list of products my client's loved this year. I'd love to hear about the products you loved as a new parent! Comment below!
Learn more about how I support new parents as a postpartum doula in this recent blog post Clinton Township Parents Recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Clinton Township family
One of my favorite parts of being a postpartum doula is that my job changes with every family I support. This wonderful family in Clinton Township was grateful for the information I could share, and my availability both in person and via text or email. Having access to evidence based information and knowing which professional to turn through my postpartum doula services was important to them. Not everyone knows that this is a valuable part of hiring a postpartum doula! Offering access to the latest research and the best professionals in the area is so helpful to new parents.
I want to thank Irina for taking the time to share her thoughts about working with me. She shares,
Jill Reiter was a fantastic postpartum doula for us and we highly, highly recommend her services! We had our first child last September and she was there for us during this very exciting, challenging, stressful, and wonderful time of our life.
As always, it is my pleasure to support parents as they navigate the early days and weeks of parenting.
To read more from parents around Metro Detroit, Michigan about working with me as their postpartum doula, CLICK HERE.
Do you want to hire The After Baby Lady to support you in the early days of parenting? Let's connect!
Niki Collis Photography took this gorgeous photo and the family gave me permission to share it. To work with Niki Collis check out her website!
Royal Oak, Michigan, Mom Shares about the Early Days of Parenting
Each client I work with is very special to me. New mothers choose me to be a part of their support system and I am so grateful to be a part of their early days of parenting!
Lesley hired me as her postpartum doula while she was still pregnant. That makes the interview so much easier! When you interview me during pregnancy, I am available to offer suggestions about common questions parents have about what to do to get ready for their baby.
Royal Oak, Michigan is such a great place to work, and I am so glad I got to spend more time there while working with Lesley and her family.
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446