Holidays Strike, Make Them Suck!

When you read my post title, you may envision a mob of retail workers refusing to work post turkey dinner. I don't blame anyone for protesting against having to peel out of sweatpants and brave the butt end of holiday consumerism at it's finest. As Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, it reminds me of another type of striking that sits closer to the chest... literally.

A Nursing Strike is a refusal to breastfeed by a baby who is not otherwise ready to wean. There are a number of reasons a baby may begin to decline nursing including, but not limited to: mouth pain from teething; ear infection; stuffiness from illness or allergies; changes in milk due to medication, foods or pregnancy; change in daily routine.

For this post, I will focus on how a change in routine may disrupt your breastfeeding relationship. This is post could be many pages long on the subject but for brevity sake, and yours, I'll offer some helpful hints for avoiding the boob ban.

Holidays are a busy time of year- especially for new Parents. Everyone wants to visit with the new babe, and we as proud Mamas and Papas are keen to show off our sweet bundle. As we bustle about from party to party, travel home for the holidays, or host our own festivities routines become secondary to pleasing those around us. Perhaps baby's nighttime ritual is rushed, we decide to nurse baby in a different position for modesty or bottlefeed in an attempt to ease stress and let Great Aunt Hettie feed the baby.

Babies, though we may not always recognize it, enjoy consistency. They are constantly learning through understanding patterns of behavior. They are not exempt from becoming distracted by the holidays which may result in overstimulation and fussiness. Babies are also intuitive and can pick up on anxiety from parents. To avoid additional stress around the holidays for both you and baby, here are some helpful hints.

Remember that you have a new normal. Perhaps party crawling now interferes with baby's routine, and that's just fine. Find other ways to enjoy the holidays other than rushing from place to place.

Protect the nap schedule, for the both of you. If baby sleeps at certain times, schedule outings around that time. Sleeping when baby sleeps can help you feel more relaxed and prepared to take on the holidays.

Find a relaxing place to nurse, and use it as homebase. Many of us need a protected sanctuary to get away from it all. Finding a quiet spot to nurse, or even to regroup away from eyes and noise can help baby and mom stay connected. It also is a wonderful way to dodge unwanted advice.


Babywearing keeps baby close and out of other's hands. It's also a great way to nurse.

Your Partner is an Ally and Advocate Share your needs and expectations with your Partner explicitly and ask that he or she help you to establish boundaries with friends and family. For instance, if the baby is giving feeding cues, Partner brings the baby to Mama no matter who is holding her. Remember, by the time the baby is crying, she has already exhausted her cues and is frustrated. Getting a calm baby on the breast is much easier for all than latching on a ravenous anxious babe.

Learn to Say No This is a great word to learn early in Parenthood. If you feel that a task is too daunting or you simply prefer not to do something, offer an alternative or share that you're in a new phase in life and prefer not to do whatever is requested.

Keep your friends close, and your PITAs far Enjoy the holidays with those whom you love most and you can be yourself around. You have ten other months to deal with pains in the ass, and if you must in this holiday season, perhaps request a trust friend be your blocker from said annoyance.

Attend LLL meetings This is the perfect time of year to meet fellow nursing Mamas and learn from Leaders who have experience in nursing their own children. Visit www.lllofnc.org for schedules and locations

Revel in Your Awesomeness For many this is a time of renewal, birth and love. You have just experienced this in your own right. Take pride in your new family and know that your instincts are right and you have greater insight into your baby than anyone else on Earth.

Breastfeeding Rocks, Part 1


I am truly a novice when it comes to lactation counseling. I have nursed my own child, I have done coursework, but every single Doula client I have worked  with has taught me something profound. I will never be an expert, because there are always new discoveries about the wonders of breastfeeding and breastmilk- and I’m still learning the foundation work to boot!
Counseling is like being a milk sleuth- sometimes it’s straight forward, and other times support requires tackling a number of potential barriers. I take a holistic approach, offering encouragement ,my limited advice, and if need be, I refer out to specialists like an IBCLC. Collaborating with the Mother and her Healthcare Provider, I have been able to assist in some pretty awesome cases that have left me knowing that I have a hell of a lot more to learn.

The best way for me to learn is to summarize. I am reviewing my Lactation Consulting Training Coursework, and as I do so, I thought that my Blog Readers may find some tidbits interesting. Im going to begin posting under “Breastfeeding Rocks”, because, as a Lactating Woman, you are AMAZING.

First Installment: Your Milk is a Super Power
 
Disclaimer: I am not a biologist, a chemist, or any other type of "ist", so for those who are, forgive my rudimentary explanations.

Your Milk is a living colloidal suspension of nearly 100,000 components, most of which cannot be replicated in artificial milk, aka, formula. Want to know why breastfed babies are typically healthier than their formula fed counterparts? Here are some cool facts about Breastmilk:

  • You have smart bomb in your boobs: Immunoglobulin, found in breastmilk, essentially identify a kill bacteria.
  • Holding the Cootie Hostage: Oligosaccharides, a carbohydrate, encapsulates a pathogen until it is shed from the baby’s body.
  • Cancer Commits Suicide: Alpha Lactalbumin can also cause cancer cells to turn on themselves .
  • Milk Starves out Bacteria! Lactoferrin is a protein that competes with E-Coli and other pathogens.
  • Reagan Cells: Lysozyme is an enzyme breaks down a bacterial cell wall! (if you get this than we share a birth decade)
  • Move Over Jamie Lee,  Colostrum is the original probiotic.  It establishes lactobacillus  and bifidus
  • What an Acid Trip! Lauric and Capric Acid provide protection against many bacteria, virus and protozoa including HIV, Herpes and Heliobacter. You can increase these acids from 3-4% to upwards of 25% by introducing coconut into your diet!
  • Size Does Matter The Thymus gland, the hub of the immune system of a breastfed baby grows twice as large as her formula fed counterpart.
  • That Slime does have a Purpose! Milk Mucins (that film you get when you drink milk) helps to bind viruses and stop them from replicating. It’s especially effective against rotavirus
  • From Sips to Shots: Protection continues throughout breastfeeding and your body generates roughly the same amount of these components in early and weaning milk- it just becomes more concentrated the less often you breastfeed.  
I am now humming “Your Body is a Wonderful Land”. Don’t Judge Me.

 

You are not alone!

"No one told me it would be this hard", a New Mom recently confided. She continued that she wouldn't have believed the stories anyhow- and how could she have even understood until she was in the thick of it? Soon after this conversation, a friend hosted a lively debate about putting your best face forward on social sites such as Facebook, and whether or not it is a disservice to the Mothering community at large.Some respondents contended that incessant cheerful posts simply set an unachievable standard for New Moms to aspire to, or more dangerously, it isolates those who are having a trying time. Others believed that it was essential to share the beauty of Motherhood in order to combat the media's portrayal of it, which, much like birth, is negative.

My friend, who is a seasoned Doula, and IBCLC did make a very good point that has had me thinking for the past few days : if we don't share the good with the bad, then why would anyone possibly reach out to us for help? I don't know about you, but that rings true to me. Someone has to have some street cred if I'm going to be venerable with them.

I truly believe that every Mother has a challenge that she must face. For some, it is a struggle with fertility;others, pregnancy; for many, it is facing the journey of birth. For some, it is breastfeeding or redefining ones self in Motherhood. There are so many variables that I could list, but the point is, we are fierce because we have met our challenge. Your challenge, though unique, is natural, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

This is where creating a Tribe is so beneficial. I joke that pregnancy and birth (or the grueling process of adoption) is our sorority hazing. Once you are in, you have access to generations of knowledge. It may take meeting a few groups, but eventually, you find a tribe where you can ask questions, feel validated, and most importantly, know that you are not weird, crazy, or bad.

Here are some nuggets from groups :

  • "If I were a hamster, I'd eat my young"a frazzled Mother exclaimed one afternoon. 
  • Keep expectations low for the first year and you'll be less disappointed in yourself.
  • The first bowel movement after birth usually hurts. Stool softeners are your friends.
  • One could be ready for sex right away, or it could take six months.
  • A Mother loves her kid, but may not like them all the time.
  • No one on Facebook is THAT perfect. Promise.
Finding A tribe can be awkward, yes. Here you are a grown woman and literally asking folks to be your friend. I felt like the playground was a pick up scene when I first had Cora. I'd scout out women, strike up a conversation, and see if there was chemistry. I can guarantee that  almost every other Mom is at that playground to socialize- especially if they have a newborn. Mothers are not taking babies with no head control or depth perception to story time for the babe's sake- they are looking for fellow Mamas.

Attending a La Leche League (www.lllofnc.org to find one near you) or a Moms group, is a lower pressure way to meet Mothers, as you can participate as little or as much in the conversations as you wish. The groups are designed for New Moms, and you can arrive in pjs, your kid can scream, your boobs can leak and no one will bat an eye.

A tribe can consist of two or ten, or twenty, or two hundred. It can be online, in a church or at a shop. 
We are social animals, and by nature, we need to connect. I know that I am a far better Mother because of my group of Friends. It takes a village to raise a child and to support a Mother. 

Side note: After reconnecting with old friends and learning that no one has it figured out, the Mother above felt a whole lot better and is growing confident in her Mothering. I, a Mother to a toddler, am now meeting my challenges as my daughter grows into a wonderfully stubborn opinionated child who refuses to poop anywhere but in her pants. I would venture to say that my Mother has similar challenges ( sans poop. I'm potty trained). You are not alone.


Comfort Measures Class This Week!

Comfort Measures, A Refresher Click Here to Register
Location: Triangle Physicians for Women
Cost :$50 per couple
Dates:
Thursday Oct 10, 6-8pm, 2 Spots Left!

 
Summary: This is a great supplementary class for those who have attended a childbirth program and wish to delve further into ways a Partner can assist Mom. It's also a perfect refresher for seasoned parents.

Returning to Work as a Breastfeeding Mother


Prepare for Returning to Work in Your New Role as Mother.

This Class is designed to help you build confidence in your ability to breastfeed and to assist you in laying a strong foundation for returning to work. Topics include:
  • Making the Most of Your Maternity Leave
  • Choosing a Pump
  • How and When to Pump or Hand Express
  • Milk Storage
  • Feeding Preparation for the Breastfed Baby
  • Finding the Right Caregiver
  • Transitioning Back to Work
  • Setting the Scene and Creating a Routine at Work

Saturday September 28th  1-3pm

Cary Pediatrics 1001 Crescent Green  Cary, NC 27518


Classes Start This Week!

I am excited to begin my second childbirth class at Triangle Physicians for Women in Cary. It's a great space and the Docs and Midwives there have been gracious to open their doors to my Students. You needn't be a patient there to attend these classes- all are welcome!

This Wednesday we will start the 5 Week Childbirth Guidance Program. This course covers prenatal comfort measures through postpartum care and breastfeeding. Classes run 6-8pm

Next Monday Parents are invited to attend a Breastfeeding Basics course from 6-8:30pm. This class is a great way to learn about expectations, best practices and to gain confidence in breastfeeding your Nursling and supporting the Mother.

What My Daughter has Taught Me.

Pregnancy and Parenthood are humbling. I have learned more about my body and psyche in the past three years than I have in thirty five. I have tested the limits of my pain tolerance, patience and sanity and have survived to tell this tale. As we embrace the preschool years, here are some of the most extraordinary lessons I have learned from my daughter, Cora.

Embrace the Moment Cora closed her eyes and smiled dreamily while I pushed her on the swing. "What are you thinking about?" I asked. "Im flying" she said as she flapped her wings. She was completely in the moment and enjoying the wind flowing through her hair.

Be Confident in Your Awesomeness When some compliments Cora, she agrees and thanks them. At what age did I lose my graciousness and resort to countering with self deprecation? There is a marked difference between being humble and being hostile towards yourself.

Forgive Quickly Whether it's a toddler tantrum or a pint sized spat with friends, Cora rolls with it and quickly moves on. There are no grudges. As a New Mother, I am thankful that she does not hold on to the mistakes I have made.

Wonder in Everyday Miracles There is nothing more amazing than viewing the world through the lenses of a child. Everything is new, and the mundane are extraordinary to a person who has lived on this earth for only a few years. The feel of moss, a carwash, or simple grocery store errand can be an adventure when I join Cora on her level of wonderment.

Goofiness  Laughter releases so many feel good hormones. When was the last time you laughed until you gasped? Cora will often dance around the house naked, or sing a silly song, or smear food on her face and simply revel in her own comedy. Many times her antics are enough to make me belly laugh, but there are other times that I'll partake in her ballet with dolls, running crazily down the beach or having a tickle fight with my family.

Common Sense that Eludes Me Now Sleep When You're Tired. Eat Until Your Full. Exercise Through Living Life.

A Doula's Bag


Here are a few of my favorite things to pack when headed to a birth. It has been pared down as the
years have gone on and my confidence in techniques has grown. It's amazing what you can do with with a pool noodle, tube sock and flat sheet. Read on!
                                                                                                   
Flax Sock- I fill a tube sock with flax seed, knot the top and place in the microwave for 15-30 sec. It's an excellent heating pad that stays warm for quite some time. It also smells it's counterpart, the rice sock.
 
Rebozo (You can also use a sheet) Rebozos and similar woven wraps are used in Mexico and counterpressure to belly sifting, the rebozo is invaluable to my job of keeping Mother's comfortable. I teach rebozo techniques in my Comfort Measures Classes.
elsewhere as a comfort measure in pregnancy, throughout labor, and then to carry the babe. From


Lotion- Preferably, non greasy and unscented. Massage on the hands and feet as well as the scalp (with fingers or a brush) can be quite relaxing. Be sure to keep scents at a minimum as it's most unfortunate if a Mama becomes nauseated by a smell and is covered in the offending odor!
 
Squishy Ball- I use a soft ball for many things- from counter pressure to having Mom hold it for stress clenching.


Karissa and Penny Simkin
TENS Unit (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). These electrodes are attached to the Mother's back and attached to a TENS Unit specifically made for labor. The sensation can be intermittent or pulsing and Mom controls the intensity of the stimulation.
 
A Noodle- Excellent  for rubbing the entire width if the back at the same time. Simply cut a pool noodle to size.
 


Personal Items
Sustenance-  A Mother is only as well supported as her labor crew. It's essential that the team is  well fed and watered. I bring granola bars, Gu shots, honey sticks and of course water and coconut water for hydration. The Gu Shots and honey sticks are for Mama. For the sake of my clients I also bring mouthwash and deodorant.

Tunes-When I gave birth, my playlist was left home. Luckily a good friend of mine had some music and I remember distinctly how much I enjoyed hearing Bob Marleys "Three Little Birds" just when I was in the thick of it. For that reason I bring my iPad with many Pandora stations!

There are some other items here and there, and of course, as a Doula, I have the essential birthing ball in my car, but the above mentioned are packed at the top of my bag. The most important thing that a Doula brings with her is her knowledge, experience and confidence in the Woman she is serving- the rest is bells and whistles.

September Classes

 

Comfort Measures, A Refresher
Date:Thursday Sept 12, 6-8pm
Summary: This is a great supplementary class for those who have attended a childbirth program and wish to delve further into ways a Partner can assist Mom. It's also a perfect refresher for seasoned parents.
 
Childbirth Guidance Program
Date:Wednesdays Sept 18-Oct 16, 6-8pm
Summary: This comprehensive course covers the emotional & physical aspects of the prenatal, birth and postpartum journey to Parenthood. Topics Include: Anatomy & Physiology of Pregnancy and Birth; Comfort Measures in the Third Trimester; Identifying Labor; Comfort Measures in Labor & Relaxation Techniques; Empowering the Partner; Interventions; Advocacy; Breastfeeding & Postpartum care. 
 
Breastfeeding Basics
Date: September 16, 6-8:30   
Class Topics Include:
Physiology and Anatomy of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Positions
Latching on Baby
Expectations in the Fourth Trimester
Feeding Cues, Knowing When and How Much a Baby Nurses
Avoiding Common "Booby Traps"
Nursing in Public
A Partner's Role in The Breastfeeding Relationship

 

Lamaze Membership Spotlight


 I was recently recognized by Lamaze and thought I'd share the interview. 
Membership Spotlight
Karissa Binkley, CD(DONA), CLC, LCCE 

How many years have you been teaching?  
I have been certified for two years and have sunk my teeth into teaching for the past year.

How, where, and what do you teach (families/consumers, other educators, other health care professionals)?
I had a diaper service and small space that was home to a number of childbirth professionals and educators, but we recently closed so that I could spend quality time with my daughter. I now teach at a number of practices including pediatrician and OBGYN offices. Though my main focus is to work with families, many of the offices have requested that practitioners attend my classes to learn the most updated info on birth and breastfeeding.

Where do you live? Cary, NC
What or who influences your teaching?
When I first became a Doula, I attended as many different childbirth classes as I could. Through observing several types of classes, I learned that Lamaze was most in line with my philosophy. I love that I have the freedom to write my own curriculum, and I pull from the many wonderful styles that I observed.

I have an amazing mentor, Ann Tumblin, who has patiently walked me through the process of becoming a Lamaze instructor. I truly believe in learning from other’s experiences and tapping into the knowledge of more experienced teachers.
I learned the importance of teaching a comprehensive class through my own birth experience. I had anticipated a homebirth, but was transferred for preeclampsia. I had many decisions to make in an unexpected environment, but was able to have an empowering birth because I understood that I had options and choices. I collaborated with my providers, and I felt that I owned my experience - I couldn’t have done that without having that education behind me and the advocate I had in my husband.
I learn the most from my students. I have four evaluations for my childbirth program: an initial, mid program, exit and postpartum survey. I gauge confidence throughout the perinatal period, and if I'm doing my job correctly, parents become more empowered with each survey. These questionnaires are online and anonymous so I ask for complete honesty, and I take this candor constructively in order to better my program. 
What is your goal as an educator?
I want to empower Mothers and Partners to embrace the awesomeness that is their journey to Parenthood. I provide evidence based information that allows them to decide what is right for their body and for their family. Sometimes we don’t know the route that this journey will take, and  I think it is vital to be honest about interventions and have frank discussions about what they may experience at the birth sites they have chosen. I am so happy when I hear that my students felt prepared, and that they could collaborate with their providers to have an empowering birth.

How do you use Lamaze resources to support you as an educator?
Students receive the Lamaze Guide, and my syllabus outlines the chapters and pages of what we are learning each week. I couple the healthy birth practice videos with thought provoking questions. The Cochrane library is invaluable in teaching classes- it is more for me than for students, as it builds my confidence in knowing that what I am teaching is valid.

How could you suggest other members receive maximum value from Lamaze?
Get to know fellow LCCE Educators in your area! I have recently started a Perinatal Educator group and it’s lovely to share teaching techniques and resources. I use many of the handouts and teaching ideas from the Lamaze website - the formats are attractive and informative.

When you’re not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?                   
I have an amazing network of girlfriends that I am blessed to spend my weekdays with as I stay home with my daughter. On weekends my husband and I turn off the tv, tune out the world and take advantage of the many parks in our area. I carve out personal time to run, read and knit. All three, along with my Words with Friends obsession keep me happy! 


Comfort Measures Class This Saturday

 
Join us Saturday, August 17th from 2-4pm
This two hour class will focus on empowering the Partner to comfort the Mother in labor.
Partners will learn how to identify the stages of labor,  when to administer physical and emotional comfort techniques, and how to effectively offer emotional support. This hands on workshop is an excellent supplement to traditional childbirth classes and as a refresher for the seasoned parents. Register Here.

What is this #### business?

I'm old school. I write letters in cursive... and I send them with a stamp. I took typing lessons in middle school... on a typewriter. I like my phone to have a handset. I prefer my mentor's old posters from the 80's to PowerPoint. My 83 year old Grandfather eclipsed me in coolness when he friended me on Facebook. I simply choose the lower tech approach to life.

Before you deem me a curmudgeon, I'll share that I love research . I may prefer that my books have pages rather than pixels, but I embrace change. There are so many wonderful journals about the perinatal period and these published studies are discovering topics about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that allow us to better understand ourselves and our babies. I want to share these articles with you, so I have ushered myself into the world of Twitter to post this fantastic info. I may also post factoids for levity along the way.

You have already joined my Twitter page you say? And years ago? Yes, well, I was having FB posts automatically uploaded, so you'll find lots of random info on my feed, and I haven't the patience to delete. From here on out though, it's intentional info. I ask that you please share you finds as well. And... once I figure out what this hashtag business is all about I may actually be getting somewhere!  Follow me at https://twitter.com/thebirthingnest and I'll write #thebirthingnest for good measure to see what that does!

Childbirth Program Begins this Wednesday

A new Childbirth Guidance Program starts this Wednesday, July 17th. This six week program will meet 6-8:30pm at Triangle Physicians for Women in Cary. Mothers and Partners do not need to be patients of the practice to attend. This perinatal course will cover the physical and emotional changes in pregnancy, physiology of labor, advocacy, interventions,  comfort measures and breastfeeding. The goal of this program is to empower the Mother and Partner in their journey to Parenthood and to provide education so that they may create a collaborative relationship their care providers.  Registration ends Monday! Click here to learn more.


The Birthing Nest Partners with Triangle Physicians for Women

 Beginning this Summer, Karissa will be offering a variety of Perinatal classes at Triangle Physicians for Women.

Cary Pediatrics Sponsors Free Breastfeeding Class



Free Breastfeeding Basics Class
THIS SATURDAY June 22 10-Noon
 
Cary Pediatrics is Sponsoring a Breastfeeding Basics Class free of charge. To attend, simply call (919) 467-3211 to register. This is an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge and confidence in the breastfeeding process and meet some of the faces of Cary, Apex and Fuquay Pediatrics.
5 Week Childbirth Guidance Program Starts May 29th!



Wednesdays 6-9 pm 
Breastfeeding And Postpartum Class Included!

The End of an Era

Four years ago at this time I was driving around The Triangle in my Mini Cooper drumming up business for my new diaper service. I had a handful of  customers and and enjoyed my days of visiting new mamas. The diaper service was my gateway to affording to follow my dreams of being a Doula. I knew that it would take years to build my experience and reputation, so my income would have to come from elsewhere while I worked on my craft.

Within months, our business grew to levels we hadn't anticipated. The Mini Cooper was no longer a viable option and we searched for a home to launder our thousands of diapers. After an exhaustive search, we put down roots in Grace Park. Our humble little space was born.

Throughout this time, I began serving women free of charge in exchange for evaluations and suggestions on how I could better my skills as a Doula. I am so thankful to these Families for allowing a new Doula to enter their sacred space and attend the most intimate of moments. Because of them, I knew I was on the right path.

As I went from home to home delivering diapers, I was invited in, and many times a two hour diaper run would take an entire day! These New Moms craved outside stimulation, and sometimes I was their only adult conversation for the entire day. Something had to be done I thought.We needed a community.

Now let me honest, this was not entirely altruistic. I knew that in the near future I'd be having my own children, and I knew what kind of support I wanted and whom I wanted to be surrounded by. So, I developed The Diapering Doula boutique- which was less of a boutique, and more of a meeting space for Mothers.


Our weekly New Moms groups, hosted by Tina Sherman, swelled to capacity. We brought LLL into the fold, as well as a number of other non profits. The space became a soft place to land for many women, and village grew.

As the years went by, I became more confident as a Doula. I credit many women for this transformation. Jessica Altemara fielding calls from me in the wee hours of the morning when I struggled on how to best support a stalled labor. Jamie Jackson kindly welcomed me into her Hypnobabies classes so that I could learn about her education model. Ann Tumblin was a constant support, and still is, a wonderful mentor. Julie McBurney, aside from just being a fabulous friend, shared her knowledge of Reiki with me. Erin Luben guided me in writing a dynamic Lamaze curriculum. Truly, the list is endless. The seasoned Doulas of the Triangle Community are what helped me become the Doula I am today.

Then it was my turn! I was pregnant! I had my very own village already set up, and I have to say, that that is the only reason I was sane at all. My friends Jennifer and Milli talked me through hyperemesis, and I could have never had the blissful postpartum I had without the love and generocity of Samantha Dunn who ran my business whilst I enjoyed my new family.

While high on postpartum hormones, I returned to work and had extraordinary expectations for myself. The boutique was busy, the diaper service better than ever, and I finally had street cred as a Doula with the new baby I had fiercely birthed. I found great pride in breastfeeding and my passion for supporting other nursing moms was afire. We soon began having milk drives, and to date, we have rehomed over 6,000 oz of milk to babies in need!


Then... Cora became mobile. Oy Vey! There was just no getting around the fact that I couldn't have it all... at least all at once. My husband and I sat down and decided that our priorities lay with me being with Cora and so our boutique was closed. The diaper service marched on.

In April of last year, we opened The Family Nest, a consortium of women-owned businesses dedicated to the well being of Triangle Families. I began attending births after a years hiatus, and started teaching childbirth guidance programs. The Family Nest had good intentions of serving others, and it served its purpose for burgeoning businesses, but it proved to be difficult to maintain, so it's season ended this Spring.

Last year I decided to spend more time focusing on lactation support. After having attended many births, and having one myself that didn't go as planned, I realized something: though birth is at times unpredictable, for the majority of Mothers, breastfeeding can be a success. Breastfeeding offers a sense of control (to a point) and can heal old wounds and birth trauma. Nursing is natural, yes, but it's a learned behavior, and we are far removed from the days that we sat at the knees of our breastfeeding sisters and aunts and learned from them.

I began implementing longer and longer breastfeeding sessions into my childbirth classes, to the point that was teaching three hour courses. It was a sign. This winter I earned my CLC thanks to many donations from friends and family, and I hope to sit for the IBCLC exam in the future.

The diaper service has always been a great constant throughout this process. I am very grateful to the families that we have served. It is with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I am announcing at we are no longer accepting new clients and are allowing our current customers to expire.

I have a great hope that someone will step forward so that I may pass the torch. This business has huge potential and is perfect for a family who needs flexibility. Should we not rehome the service, we will allow its season to end gracefully and with excellent service to our customers.

Thank you for allowing my family to flourish. Thank you for supporting me as I found my way as a Doula. I am sucessful because of this community, and I will continue to serve birthing Mothers and follow my passion for childbirth education and lactation support.

Mothers Day

Me and The Future Sister
 
Motherhood. For many, it's a sorority easily joined, and for others, it's challenging. All pledges are legacies, having come into this world from the prior generation of sisters. I joke that the best club in the world has the hardest hazing. Labor is work. It is painful. But, it is also cleansing, and when a woman steps through it, her every fiber imbues strength and valor.

I knew everything there was to know about Motherhood until I became one. Now Im clearly a member, because Im mildly clueless (apparently my brain was ushered out with the placenta) My life is navigated by the whims of a two year old, and a pot (or two) of java each day .  Forget The Peace Corps; Motherhood is the hardest job you'll ever love!

The sisterhood. I am grateful for those who have come before us and revel in those little women who will one day proceed us. My fellow Mamas rock, and because of them I keep my sanity in the midst of life's upheavals, or my toddlers meltdowns at Target. I have a soft place to land. I have a shoulder to lean on. I have a group that I can be completely myself where candor is appreciated.

I have lived in dozens of places throughout my life, and I am so thankful to put down roots in the Triangle. Six years ago this week we bought our house and decided this was where I'd rush. My ceremony was four years later when I gave birth to Cora. I am now on the welcoming committee and am so grateful that I have the opportunity to share our sorority with others.

I hope that should my daughter decide to have children, she will find her sorority, her tribe, her troupe and there she can revel in how strong, smart and beautiful she is. Happy Mother's Day Sisters.
 
(PS, I was not in a sorority, so apologies if my metaphors were wrong!)





May and June Class Schedule

 

Karissa Offers a Variety of Breastfeeding and Childbirth Courses. This is the Spring Course Schedule for May and June at The Family Nest 4109 Grace Park Drive, Morrisville.





6 Week Childbirth Guidance Program, Click Here to Reserve
Wednesdays, May 22-June 26 6-8:30pm
$229 per Couple, includes The Lamaze Guide and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

Topics Include:Anatomy and Physiology of Pregnancy and Birth; Comfort Measures in the Third Trimester; Identifying Labor; Comfort Measures in Labor and Relaxation Techniques; Empowering the Partner; Interventions and Advocacy; Breastfeeding and Expectations after Baby.


 
Comfort Measures in Labor, Click Here to Reserve
Friday, May 31 6:30-8:30pm
Friday, June 21 6:30-8:30pm
$50 per Couple, This is a great supplementary class for those who have attended a childbirth program and wish to delve further into ways a Partner can assist Mom. It's also a perfect refresher for seasoned parents.





Breastfeeding, Mama and Partner Class, Click Here to Reserve
Saturday May 25 1-4pm
Saturday June 22 1-4pm
Cost $75 per Couple , Includes The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Topics include: anatomy and physiology of breastfeeding; initation of breastfeeding; breastfed baby norms; latching on and positioning; common "booby traps"; pumping basics; expectations in the first weeks; Partners and Babies


Breastfeeding Basics, Click Here to Reserve
Friday May 17 6:30-8:30pm
Friday June 14 6:30-8:30
Cost $50 per Couple, Includes The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 
Topics include: anatomy and physiology of breastfeeding; initation of breastfeeding; breastfed baby norms; latching on and positioning; common "booby traps"
 

Lactation Cookies

I rarely follow recipes and throw a little of this and a smidgen of that into a bowl and hope for the best. I am not known for my baking skills; however, I do know a good cookie when I taste one, so I tried to recreate my random cookie success and note it. Voile- this non baker has her own recipe!

I recently presented these- still warm from the oven- galactagogue goodies to a workshop of Ladies- approved and second! They are easy, full of milk making ingredients and they are yummy.  Here's the scoop:

What You'll Need
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Flax Meal
1.5 Cups Unbleached Flour
1/2 Sugar
1/4 Brown Sugar
1 tbs Baking Soda
2 tbs Cinnamon
1/2 tbs Nutmeg
1.5 Cups Chocolate Chips
1.5 Cups Pecans
1 Cup Raisins
1 tbs Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Can Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Cup Black Strap Molasses

Preheat oven to 350f. Mix all dry and all liquid ingredients separately and then combine. Drop a spoon full of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets and place in oven 12-14 minutes until mildly firm to the touch. Enjoy!

Birth Beach Weekend

Last weekend, I attended a Passion for Birth workshop on Topsail Island. My mentor, and dear friend, Ann Tumblin, sets the bar high when it comes to setting the stage for wonderfully innovative classes, and nothing tops the view from her classroom.

 
This is the second CBE workshop that I have attended with Passion for Birth, and I got just as much out of it this time as I did the first time around. The students who were at this particular event were exceptionally interesting and entertaining, and our backgrounds varied from working with a teens, to hospital instructors, to those just getting started. Each person brought something unique to the program, and I have to admit, I took notes and just might have to steal some ideas from these Ladies for my own classes.
 

(We didnt have anyone to take pictures for us, and I wanted us all included)
 
I love teaching, and I love changing up my curriculum- it insures that I never get bored, my students enjoy themselves, and the content remains up to date. I also find new games for my classes- so beware- I have new props in my teaching chest that will be sure to dazzle, or at the very least elicit a chuckle.
 
 


Empowering The Mother in a Cesarean Birth


This is a wonderful video that I encourage Mothers and Partners to view. Birth can be powerful even if the journey changes route. Discuss with your doctors and share with others who may be planning a necessary Cesarean Birth.

One Day Intensive Childbirth Class

It's Not Too Late!

1 Day Childbirth Class  May 4 10am-4pm

This one day intensive course covers the physiology of labor, comfort measures, interventions and advocacy. $149 includes class, handouts and The Lamaze Guide.
To sign up for this course, please click here
 
"As a partner, this class was exactly what I was looking for and needed. Karissa's gift of teaching from the heart through her craft certainly reassured us from the first hour to the last." Alex S.

Webinar- Getting the Most Out of Your Hospital Tour

Do I Need to Take a Hospital Tour?
 

This is a question many first time parents ask. There are different options depending on where you are giving birth -- virtual, group or private tour. The hospital tour is an optimal time to find out how your desired birth fits into the hospitals policies and procedures.

During this one hour webcast you will gain insight on the questions to ask- and important things to think about which will show the impact that taking a hospital tour can have on your labor and deliver experience, and help teach you effective tips for getting the most out of your hospital tour. Get answers to some important questions with expert presenter, Allison Walsh, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.

Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and presenter, Allison Walsh will:

  • Identify the importance of taking a hospital tour before the big moment arrives
  • Provide tips on preventing the mad scramble
  • Identify the key issues to explore when on your tour
  • Provide tips to learn about hospital and provider policy on labor support, mobility, nutrition, comfort measures, breastfeeding and many more
Click Here to Reserve Your Online Spot!

A Personal Testimonal to Extended Breastfeeding

I am often asked in class why anyone would want to continue breastfeeding after 6 months or a year. I understand this question, and can empathize with the "weird" factor that some students have alluded to. Before having children, toddlers are a species onto themselves- long gone are the they days of the immobile cherub. Now replaced with a walking, talking opinionated kiddo, and it's hard to imagine that they are still babies, and need not only the comfort, but the wonderful benefits of nursing.

This week was a shining example of why extended breastfeeding is so healthy and helpful. Our household was not immune to the norovirus visiting the Triangle. Matt and I were sidelined with chills, muscle pain, horrid abdominal cramps and dehydration. Throughout this excruciating illness, I continued to nurse Cora. Why?

Breast milk is miraculous. My two year old does not have a full functioning immune system just yet, and as my body fought these nasty cooties, it synthesized antibodies which were shared with Cora in my breast milk. How cool is that?

What's cooler? Mama doesn't have to be sick to produce power milk. Did you know that if baby is exposed to a bacteria or virus and nurses, Mom will produce antibodies that are ready for her baby by the next breastfeeding session?


Beyond the health benefits, nursing is also a wonderful respite to a high energy day. Taking a few moments to just hold one another and relax from a day of play and adventure sweet in itself. Extended breastfeeding is good for the mind, body and soul.



Breastfeeding Workshop for Doulas

As a New CLC, I have found benefit in knowing more in depth ways to support and educate woman on breastfeeding- that is why I will be hosting a class with Laura Nance this Summer.
 
20 Hour Lactation Course
August 22,23, 24 9-4pm
 
Join CAPPA Faculty Laura Nance in this fun and practical course to educate about and support breastfeeding to the public. This is the first step to becoming a Certified Lactation Educator with CAPPA.Click Here for Further Details

TENS Unit Cert. Sept. 20th

I have enjoyed using the TENs unit for years and want to share this device with other Doulas!

Touch for Birth Advanced Doula Workshop!

I am so proud to have the opportunity to offer this fantastic workshop to our Triangle Doula Community!
 
 

Happy Doula Week

 
Of course I would be wishing my fellow Doulas a Happy World Doula Week belatedly! It has been days full of beautiful births and wonderful meetings with Families, and I can think of no better way to celebrate!

I am personally thankful for the Doulas that attended my birth with Cora. These remarkable women comforted me, protected my space and empowered my husband to advocate. I love you Tina, Julie and Sammy D!

One Day Childbirth Class

 
Sunday, March 3 10-4pm

This is a six hour class that briefly covers: anatomy and physiology of labor and birth; comfort measures; interventions; advocacy. This course is a great refresher for seasoned parents or as a supplemental to a more traditional chilbirth course.