Friday, June 29, 2012

Normal Birth? Understanding Fear In Birth? Babywearing?

Are you interested in any of these topics? 

Then you don't want to miss South Dakota Birth Matters' Annual East River Birth Conference being held here in Sioux Falls at Cross Pointe Baptist Church at 2201 S Marion Road on Saturday, July 7, 2012 with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m.. As one of the sponsors of the conference, Elegant Mommy will be there with a vendor booth, alongside many other birth and natural-living professionals and services - come out and see us! 

Although birth matters to everyone, this conference is especially geared toward families, and those who advocate for them, that are interested in learning about how to have the best birth possible.  The annual birth conference is one way that South Dakota Birth Matters educates families about evidence-based care and helps them prepare to navigate pregnancy and childbirth and all the choices and options they have available to them.

The rate of interventions in birth, such as cesarean sections, elective inductions, epidurals, electronic fetal monitoring, etc. has been greatly increasing over the last several decades.  While use of the technology in these interventions can be life-saving in certain medically necessary circumstances, overuse among low-risk mothers is leading to increased rates of birth related injuries, traumas, and deaths. In light of these trends, keynote speaker Vonda Gates will explore ways that families can optimize their likelihood for a normal physiologic birth and also why most mothers and babies experiencing a healthy pregnancy will benefit from normal birth.  Gates will also address cultural attitudes surrounding birth and how fear can affect birth outcomes.  

A baby wearing "style show" will feature safe ways to wear your baby and demonstrate ways babies should not be worn.  Healthy snacks will be provided and child care is available for those who pre-register.  The conference will also include a silent auction, a short Walk for Midwives and many informational vendor booths.  The conference will close with an opportunity for attendees to question a panel of birth professionals who advocate for normal birth.

A complete schedule and pre-registration information can be found at:

South Dakota Birth Matters has hosted an annual birth conference since 1993, enjoying such distinguished speakers as Michel Odent, Marsden Wagner and Henci Goer. South Dakota Birth Matters has also maintained a strong presence in the state legislature, helping to pass legislation to help expand and protect options for South Dakota Families. The consumer group has a mission to improve and expand all birth options for families in the state through education and legislation.

South Dakota Birth Matters believes that the period surrounding birth is a critical time for each family, because the way a child comes into the world sets the stage for their entire life. Optimizing the birth experience gives babies and their parents the best opportunity to thrive as families. Birth challenges can affect the success of breastfeeding and bonding and can result in long-term physical, financial, and emotional effects.

Vonda Gates, BSNc, has been a certified childbirth educator with International Childbirth Educator's Association (ICEA) since 1991.  She became one of the first 18 DONA certified doulas in the country in 1993.  As owner of Birth Basics, Vonda works on the west side of South Dakota to facilitate Black Hills families as they face the challenges of the childbearing year. 

Currently, Vonda enjoys working with the many talented women she meets as an approved trainer for the ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator and Doula certifying programs.  Vonda is the current chair for the ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator program and is a national trainer for Hug Your Baby (HUGS), a newborn parenting program.  Most recently Vonda was recognized by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) as a Mother-Friendly Nurse and enjoys promoting mother-friendly care for families choosing to birth in a hospital setting.  Vonda has also been a featured speaker at hospital sponsored birth conferences.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Time for Gratitude - It's Potty Time!

Porter started using the potty this week!!

I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting this is…well, actually….you probably already know J.

So, for quite awhile we (my husband and I) have been thinking that “he’s close”…”he’ll be going potty in the pot any day now”….but it wasn’t happening. We would have him sit on the pot, he would stand by the pot next to daddy….for a long time even – and he never even objected, but he would never go. Since he was content to sit and/or stand and wasn’t scared in any way, we were convinced he would start soon.

Days passed…

Weeks passed…

Months passed…

He still wouldn’t go.


Then pretty recently, something occurred to me. He really has a “I’m going to do this task on my own and when I decide I want to do it…not when someone tells me to” personality. A prime example was when he started walking. He was about 13 months old and got around really well and easily on his own. You know the stage, crawling, pulling up on things, and even climbing onto lower targets – like steps, step stools, etc. Well, I was reading a book to Vienna one night after baths and he was playing happily across the room and behind my back. I turned around to check on him somewhere in the middle of the book and the little turkey was walking across the room! Who knows how long he had been working on it on his own. He would never walk for Randall and I when we tried to help him, but on his own, he totally figured it all out. I shared my epiphany with Randall, and he totally agreed that he would just figure it out on his own one day.

Well, we were right. One evening last week after baths I was mixing up a concoction to put on a rash he had. He was running around sans clothing or dipe, and I told him to go sit on the pot while I finished mixing it up. Well, he didn’t want to, but Vienna – being the ever so helpful (and forceful) big sister she is – “helped” him go into the bathroom, and then shut him in so he wouldn’t escape. Yes, she’s definitely my little helper – ha! I actually even told her to leave him alone, but apparently she got him in there without too many objections from him and he decided to sit down on his own accord.

About 2 minutes later I was just finishing mixing up the natural rash cream/gel/stuff, and I heard some whoops and hollers coming from the bathroom. About 10 seconds later, I had two extremely excited kiddos jumping and dancing around me and telling me “you’ve gotta come see this!!” So, I went. What I found in the little potty chair was SO exciting! Yep, he had gone, and with no help from me. So, we all did a little dance around the bathroom, had a mini-potty-party, texted daddy who was at work, called grandma and grandpa, and called it a day.

The next day I decided to just see how he did in his big boy underwear. He only completely missed it 2 times all day. The rest of the time he caught it and finished in the pot….the following day he only dribbled one time and has been good ever since! WooHoo!! No more diapers, just some pull-ups at night (I’m in the process of making him some, but unfortunately I missed the boat on it a bit and we’ve had to go disposable for a bit L - oh, well. Such is life I guess).

Anyway, today I’m SUPER grateful that we are officially DONE with dipes until we have another babe some day! Woot!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happiest Baby - Dr. Harvey Karp Giveaway

NCM Fathom, Happiest Baby on the Block and BabyCenter are excited to bring America’s top pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, and his revolutionary parenting techniques to movie theaters nationwide in a Live One Night Event on Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 PM in Parents Night Out with The Happiest Baby and The Happiest Toddler Starring Dr. Harvey Karp.

Learn more about this event and purchase tickets here. You can find which theaters near you are hosting this event here, because you *definitely* don't want to miss this!

Because of this great event, we are also pleased to offer you the following Happiest Baby prize pack GIVEAWAY! You can enter through Friday, June 22. One lucky winner will be emailed within 48 hours of the end of the drawing.

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Childbirth Professional Day - Meet Suzanna Hardin

What is your Childbirth Profession?
I am a doula and a natural childbirth educator

Describe your profession and why someone would want to choose your profession for support in pregnancy and/or childbirth. 
I have found that as a birth advocate for the last 10 years of my life that I am constantly amazed and impressed at the power of a pregnant and laboring mother. Families who choose a doula or myself as their support person are normally looking for someone who is informed, supportive, compassionate, personable and intuitive during the birth process. The more births I attend the more I realize that we are connected in so many ways and that birth experience change us, positive birth stories are such an encouragement to families.

Why did you get started in your profession?
I had wanted to be a doula long before I actually became one.  I filled that need by reading as much about birth as I could wrap my head around.  I have been a practicing doula for 3 years.  It is such a (pardon my pun) labor of love.

In detail, what is your personal childbirth philosophy?
Birth support is one of those life events that I believe that we as doulas have to be purposed for, to attend, and befriend. The passion I have for the natural process of birth, in my mind, is a gift from God. Fear surrounding birth is something that is prevalent in our country, and this natural process is really done best when the mother is supported, loved and empowered to embrace the natural progression of the birth process. I believe with my whole heart that we as women are capable of having babies, and that most of the battle is allowing our bodies to take over and to shut our minds off. This creative process, birth, cannot be taught but must be experienced.

If you could tell all pregnant women in the world something, what would it be?
I would say, first of all, make sure you implicitly trust your doctor or midwife with your physical and emotional needs during your pregnancy and birth. Trust your instincts – it is never too late to find someone who really supports your wishes. Read and listen to positive birth stories, practice relaxation daily (or take a natural childbirth class), and of course hire a doula!

How long have you been in your profession? Are you certified? If yes, by who? 
I have been attending births for three years and I am DONA trained and ICEA postpartum trained. I decided to forgo the certification process for my doula career although I have met and exceeded all of the requirements. My time and money are being spent on obtaining my credentials through ICEA for childbirth education.  I love the ICEA philosophy on childbirth, “The freedom of decision based on knowledge of alternatives”.

Do you have a business name? How can people contact you for pregnancy and childbirth support?  
My business name is Natural Progression Birth Services and I have a page on Facebook and a blog, and all of my contact information are listed on those sights.

Where do you practice?
I am normally willing travel a 2 hour radius from Brookings South Dakota. I have been happy to attend births in Minnesota and South Dakota. However, by some lucky chance I have attended births in South Carolina, and Arizona this past year.  I really love my profession and the people I meet at such a miraculous time in their lives.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Giveaway - Bamboobies!!

It's time for a giveaway again!!

We have FIVE sets of Bamboobies up for grabs!

Entry is super-easy using the form below, so, get to it!!

Winners will be drawn at random on the 22nd, and the they will be emailed.

Good luck!!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Great Deals, Anyone?

Who likes good deals???

If you do, make sure to sign up for our mailing list!!

We are beginning a new "twice a month" newsletter and event schedule so that our followers can be up to date on the latest and greatest information on classes, events, and specials that are happening at the store and at Educated Mommy.

"So, what are these deals you speak of?"

Well, let me tell you. Along with the newsletters and event schedules we send out, readers will get *exclusive* deals! We will be including coupons and coupon codes for online orders for great things! Make sure to sign up, though, because you will only receive these deals if you are on our mailing list!!

Sign up HERE


Friday, June 15, 2012

Playful Dad, Happy Child

Dads often interact with their children differently than moms, and researchers are finding this leads to the development of different competencies for a child, especially in the area of social relationships.

Researchers for the Harvard Study of Adult Development spent ~75 years researching what makes people happy.  The consistent finding was that more than anything else, a person’s successful friendships was the best predictor for happiness.  Successful friendships are more likely if a child has a developed Emotional Intelligence (EQ). One proven way that EQ is developed – especially for a baby – is through play with dad.

Many believe that this influence comes from the way that dad plays with baby.  Typically, Dads:
o   are more playful, engaging in more emotionally and physically exciting activities than mom
o   talk less and touch more
o   engage in more rough-and-tumble play: bouncing, jumping, tickling
o   often make up more unusual and distinctive games

Such rollercoaster horseplay allows a child to experience big emotions such as fear or excitement.  During this time, the child looks to dad for affirmation of safety and begins to learn how to read another person’s (Dad’s) emotional signals – which is key to developing EQ.  Then, when it is time to settle down, the child learns how to recover from those big emotions and calm down.  Such self-regulation is another significant component of developing EQ.  Higher EQ means more successful friendships, which means an overall happier life.

So, a word to dads:
You matter and the way you interact with your child matters…a lot!  To make the most of your influence, consider the following research:

Children do best in terms of peer relationships and academic achievement when dads:
  • Find ways to consciously and playfully bond with baby during daily tasks like bathing, diapering and dressing
  • Engage their child in physical play that is “non-coercive and non-directive” – keeping the tone of interactions positive and allowing their child to “take part in directing the course of play”
  • Validate their child’s feelings, not dismissing or disapproving of them
  • Praise their child’s accomplishments
  • Avoid criticism, humiliation, derogation, emotional coldness, and intrusiveness
  • Provide guidance to their child on how to handle difficult emotions

And, a word to moms:
Moms, we are the gatekeepers to dad’s involvement with baby.   We have the power to encourage it or discourage it.  As other women come to our aid after baby comes, let’s be sure they don’t crowd out dad’s bonding with baby.  If dad is having a hard time soothing baby or connecting with a child – it may just mean he needs more time without our intervention to develop his own style of relating to baby.  And it may go without saying, but dad is less likely to be involved if we are critical of his quality of care instead of appreciative.  Dads will not parent like us…and in most cases, that is a good thing.

For source information and a deeper understanding how to develop your child’s EQ, check out: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by Dr. John Gottman.

Melissa Chaplin is a fellow mama who helps others close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.  You can reach her at


Melissa Chaplin, ACC © 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Low Milk Supply

For our La Leche League (LLL) post this month, I just took an excerpt from 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' by La Leche League International. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it, along with attending a breastfeeding support group...whether it be LLL, Educated Mommy's 'Milk Monologues', or another group you have locally.

Don't forget that Educated Mommy hosts the Sioux Falls monthly LLL meeting at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday (the second Thursday of the month), and *also* hosts the new Milk Monologues group every Thursday morning at 9:30!

Anyway, I hope you find this excerpt helpful for minimizing your low milk supply!

If it seems that your supply is not meeting your baby's needs, then it is important to determine what is interfering with your production of milk. The following factors can cause or contribute to a lessened milk supply:

  • Supplementing. Supplementing with even an occasional bottle of formula, juice, or water can interfere with a mother's milk supply. Supplements fill up the baby and cause him to wait longer for the next feeding, thereby decreasing his sucking at the breast. The more formula he gets one day, the less milk the mother's body will make the following day. Supplementing causes a mother's breasts to produce less, not more.
  • Nipple Confusion. A baby can become confused by the use of any artificial nipple, as it requires a different type of sucking. If your baby is not sucking properly at the breast, he will not be able to stimulate your breasts to produce enough milk.
  • Pacifiers. Some babies are willing to meet their sucking needs with a pacifier, which may significantly reduce their sucking time at the breast. Pacifiers can also lead to nipple confusion.
  • Using Nipple Shields. Nipple shields worn during feedings interfere with the impulses to the brain that normally come from a baby sucking directly on his mother's nipples. The milk secretion and let-down of the milk is slowed down - directly affecting the amount of milk the baby receives. Nipple shields can also lead to nipple confusion.
  • Scheduled Feedings. Delaying the baby's feedings until the clock dictates a certain amount of time has passed can interfere with the supply and demand system of milk production. Feeding on demand usually assures an adequate supply.
  • Placid, Sleepy Baby. Some babies sleep most of the time and nurse only infrequently and for short periods. If this describes your baby, and if he is having few wet or soiled diapers and not gaining weight, it is important for you to awaken him regularly, stimulate him with gentle handling, and encourage him to nurse at least every two hours. You'll need to decide how often he should nurse, until he learns for himself how to get enough to eat.
  • Cutting back on the Length of Feedings. Long nursings can help assure an adequate milk supply. Cutting them short can prevent your supply from increasing as your baby's needs increase. Also, the fat content of the milk increases later in a feeding. On the other hand, a baby who nurses almost continually and never seems satisfied may not be sucking correctly. A baby who is satisfied will end the feeding when he is full.
  • Offering Only One Breast per Feeding. After the milk is established, some mothers prefer to nurse at only one breast per feeding if baby is gaining well. If you are working to increase your supply, use both breasts, but don't limit baby's sucking time at the first breast.

Monday, June 11, 2012


We all have one...

Our children all have one...

Whether your dad was your biological, step, adopted, grandpa, an uncle, or neighbor from down the street, I pray that he was your first love and hero.

Let's celebrate all the wonderful dads in our life!!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Meet Mr Elegant Mommy (aka Corey Gaddis)

Since June is the month where fathers, dads, and daddies are honored, I thought it would be fun for us to meet some of the "Misters of Elegant Mommy" (and our readers/followers), and get their thoughts on being a daddy. We focus so much on everything "mommy" (obviously - I mean, "Mommy" is in our name after all - ha!) that this month I really want to put some focus on the daddies out there...after all, they are SUCH an important part of our families!

So without further ado, let's see what the Mr Elegant Mommy has to say about daddy-hood.

Had you always wanted to be a daddy? Why?
Yes I always wanted to be a daddy. The sight of a dad doing things with his children has always brought a smile to my face. I have so many memories of just dad and I working on cars together, and I really wanted to be able to make those kinds of memories with kids of my own.

How did you feel when your first child was born?
When we first learned about Shelly being pregnant I wanted to tell the world! I remember telling my parents and my mom being so excited! We lost my mom 6 weeks to the day before Patrick was born. The birth was a very happy and scary time in my life. I am close to dad but was so much closer to my mom – particularly for emotional things. She was the one I turned to with life's challenges. I remember the night Patrick was born and leaving the room to go out and talk to dad. I told him I wished mom was here and he said, “She is”. I have a daily reminder of mom in Patrick. RIP mom.

What is the greatest thing about being a daddy?
The greatest thing about being a dad, I would say, is both knowing that your kids are dependent on you but also observing how they are their own selves. Watching them accomplish things on their own and seeing the joy in their faces when they do is priceless.

What is the most challenging thing about being a daddy?
The most challenging thing about being a dad, I would say, is knowing when your kids need you and when they just need to be an individual. I am a natural fix-it guy, so when my kids are trying to do something I want to do it for them. Having the self control to stand back and let them be themselves is hard.

If you could give any advice to daddies-to-be, what would it be?
Never, ever lose sight in your kids from before they are born ‘til the day you die. At almost 40 I still look up to my dad and cherish the times with him because life is too short to not. We are all on borrowed time and when God says our last breath is taken there is nothing anyone can say or do to stop the clock. There are so many days that I wish I could just talk to mom and I can't, so say what you need to today and not tomorrow. Never stop telling your kids you love them and always kiss them good bye!