Thursday, February 27, 2014

Babies Need their Mamas

So...have you all seen this video?

Take the minute-fifteen to watch it.

It is one of the most precious and telling videos ever. No matter how a baby is birthed, they NEED their mamas. Immediately. Not 10 minutes later. Not 30 minutes later. And certainly not 2+ hours later. They want and need the comfort, sound, smell, and safety of their mommies right away after entering the world.

She is the only thing baby has ever known. She is baby's everything.

I would really like to see more hospitals going to immediate skin-to-skin following a cesarean birth. This sweet baby says it all as he cries every time he's pulled away from mama.

If you are pregnant, start talking with your provider now about the hospital's after-birth practices. Make SURE that your baby will be right with you, skin-to-skin, immediately after birth for as long as you feel necessary (even in the event of a cesarean). If you aren't available for whatever reason, make sure dad knows that he's next up and baby should be tucked in to his shirt!

Babies simply need their mamas. If mama isn't available, daddy will make an excellent 2nd choice.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Childbirth Professional Day - Meet Hannah Parker

What is your Childbirth Profession?
I am a professional birth photographer and pursuing my DONA certification to become a certified birth doula.
Describe your profession and why someone would want to choose your profession for support in pregnancy and/or childbirth.
Doulas are the helper of a laboring woman (and her partner!) both physically and emotionally. I chose to hire a doula for both of my pregnancies because I wanted the constant support that usually isn’t available with an OB or Midwife alone. Doulas don’t leave your side throughout labor, and are there to give back rubs, encourage, get water, run the bath, and offer moral support. One of the points that really made my mind for me was that a doula is one of the only people with you at the hospital who YOU have hired and chosen. As a doula, I care for a woman during her labor and delivery. It is my passion to help you have the empowering birth experience you are seeking.
Why did you get started in your profession?
I’ve always been interested in birth since my first experience with it as a child. I choose to dive into becoming a DONA certified doula after two years of professionally photographing birth. I love every aspect of birth and it is my passion to be with a laboring woman as she becomes a mother, for the first, or fifteenth time. It gives me energy to be able to help a woman become more comfortable, or confident in her laboring experience. My personal experience with doulas has been so positive, both through my own labors and the labors of mothers I’ve photographed. I am so excited to join the ranks of these giving women.
In detail, what is your personal childbirth philosophy?
I believe that childbirth is totally natural and normal. Women have been doing it since the dawn of time and we instinctively KNOW how to birth our babies. I want every mother to labor and birth the way that SHE feels the most empowered. Each birth and labor is different with different demands and needs. It would be ideal to me if every woman walks away from her birthing experience not only becoming a mother, but feeling like she accomplished something incredible in bringing a new life into the world. I want women to be empowered.

If you could tell all pregnant women in the world something, what would it be?
I would tell them to trust their instincts, and educate themselves on labor and delivery. Don’t necessarily take all the advice you hear, but become wise from your own experiences and education.

How long have you been in your profession? Are you certified? If yes, by who?
I am at the beginning of my certification journey. I am working through DONA International and hope to be certified midway through 2014!
Do you have a business name? How can people contact you for pregnancy and childbirth support?
My business name is Fresh Love Photography & Birth Services and my facebook page My website is If for some reason these links don’t work, you can always email me at or call at 605.940.6952

Where do you practice?
I am based in Sioux Falls and am open to traveling up to 45 minutes to be with you during your labor and delivery.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nature's Vaccine for the Newborn

So....if you didn't know already, we support breastfeeding here at Elegant Mommy.

There are many many reasons that we are so passionate about promoting the vast and beautiful reasons for an extended breastfeeding relationship with your little ones, but one of the most important is the health benefits for your sweet baby. Breastmilk, and particularly colostrum (the very first milk your baby gets from you) is SO important in establishing a healthy immune system for your baby.

In this excerpt from the "Womanly Art of Breastfeeding", La Leche League talks specifically about colostrum:

La Leche League's long time medical advisor, Dr Herbert Ratner, coined a phrase that aptly describes human milk's unique anti-infective qualities - "nature's vaccine for the newborn." Your milk contains unique substances that help to explain why breastfed babies are healthier. Thirty years of research on the immunology of breastfeeding has revealed a rich array of protective substances that fight bacteria and viruses and keep baby from getting seriously sick.

Your infant arrives in the world with a supply of protective proteins called antibodies that come to him from your blood via the placenta. The antibodies, which are also known as immunoglobulins, have been manufactured b your immune system in response to infections that you have been exposed to. These include some of the common contagious diseases of childhood and the everyday household germs found in your environment. While the immunity you have to these diseases is lifelong, the immunity which is passed on to your unborn baby in the form of immunoglobulins, known as IgG, gives him only temporary protection until his own immune system begins to develop.

The first milk from your breast, which is called colostrum, is low in fat and carbohydrates, and high in protein. It is exceptionally easy to digest, and it contains many living cells that defend the newborn against a number of potentially harmful agents. The immunoglobulins and other substances in colostrum take over from the placenta and continue on with the job of protecting the baby.

The concentration of immune factors in human milk is at its highest in colostrum, the first milk. This provides yet another reason for putting baby to your breast as soon as possible after birth.. No other fluid - glucose, water, tea, formula - comes close to being as good for your baby in the early days as colostrum.

As the days of breastfeeding go by, and colostrum gives way to mature milk, the concentration of antibodies in your milk decreases. Although fewer of these immunities are found in each milliliter of milk, the amount of milk your baby takes is increasing, so he is still getting plenty of immunological protection against many organisms, both viral and bacterial. Even past your baby's first birthday, there are significant amounts of protective factors in your milk. Their concentration actually increases during weaning.

If you are new to breastfeeding, will be soon, or are an experienced nursing mama, we want to make sure you know about our breastfeeding support opportunities at Educated Mommy.
  • Every Wednesday at 1 pm you can join Alicia Fonder, IBCLC, for Milk Monologues where you can get help with nursing, newborn care, and weigh your baby
  • The Second Thursday of every month (TODAY!!) at 6:30 pm, join our Breastfeeding Support Group where you can get helpful hints, tips, and support to help you all the way through your breastfeeding relationship
We'll see you soon - happy nursing!



La Leche League International (1997). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Sixth Revised Edition. New York: Penguin Group.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm In the Mood for Love....

...Simply because you're near me

Can't you just hear Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, or Louis Armstrong singing these words? They are oh, so familiar, aren't they?

Today, I'm definitely in the mood for love.

And no, not just love from my husband, either ;).

I'm in the mood for love from my kids. Yes, they love me every day, but I really want to *notice* the way they love me. I mean, I'm working on consciously showing them my love for them by listening when they talk to me, stopping whatever I'm doing and pay attention to them, spending lots of time snuggling, reading, and just being together.

But what about the way they show me love? Am I really noticing?

Right now as I'm typing this, my sweet Vienna is doing my hair. She is just playing with some fun things she got for her birthday, but by making me "beautiful", she is definitely showing me her love for me. You know, I remember playing with my mom's and grandmas' hair too. It was SO awesome! I just loved combing it, creating "beautiful" new hairstyles, and playing salon. One time in particular I remember doing my grandma's hair in a particularly fantastic new 'do. My uncle said "Wow! That looks better than when she goes to the beauty parlor!" Ha! I'm sure it didn't, but that definitely made me feel super special and like I did a wonderful thing for her.

So, by letting me show my love to her, my grandma made me feel loved in return.

It's kind of cool how that cycle goes.

By accepting and noticing the love our kids show us (or husbands, or anyone), we make them feel loved and special in return!

My sweet son Porter shows me love by crawling on my lap and snuggling. And you know what? It's mutually beneficial! He loves on me, I love on him, and we both are comforted by each other in one fell swoop. Kinda cool, huh?

So....I'm in the mood for love....and I'm going to do my darndest to recognize it when it's being shown to me!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Parenting "KnowItAlls"

We all have them in our lives.

Maybe were one once.

They are out there, and pretty much no matter who you are, you will deal with them in some way or another. A parenting-knowitall.

I admit. I used to be one {hangs head in shame}. I used to be the friend who thought I knew it all about parenting, and who used to think "holy cow, I can't believe she just did *that* to her kid(s)!" Though I rarely said anything, I was pretty high-and-mighty in my own mind.

"I will NEVER do THAT when I have kids"

"I will NEVER say THAT to my kids"

"I will ALWAYS be THAT to and for my kids"

Yep. I knew it all.


Now that I have kids of my own and they are growing up, I feel like I've had my fair share of "knowitalls" to deal with. Sometimes their advice is solicited, but more often than not, it's given to me whether or not I've asked for it, let alone want it. I have several people in my life who are very happy to tell me what they think about things that I've chosen as our kids' mom, or decisions that my husband and I have chosen as their parents. Most of the time I've been able to just let it go - roll off my back - don't worry about it.

Other times not so much.

There's been a couple things that have been said to me recently that I'm really not ok with - they've been more like "scoldings" in fact. Things that are really nobody's business but mine and my husband's. The kids are ours. Nobody else's. I know the kids better than anyone on the face of the planet. I know them better than my family, better than my friends, and certainly better than some stranger who's never met them.

My husband and I have made decisions for our kids mostly based on our parenting views based on how we were raised (both the good and the bad taken into account), research, and most importantly our gut instincts. I believe that God gave instincts specifically related to our kids, and if you follow that instinct you won't go wrong. One piece of advice I wish I had gotten sooner was to follow that instinct. We wouldn't have made nearly so many mistakes along the way if we had followed it.

So, to anyone out there who gives me unwanted parenting "advice/scolding me for practices that we choose", here's what I want you to know: You can medicate, discipline, love, punish, train, school, and spend time with your child however you want to. I won't tell you otherwise unless you ask me. I appreciate the respect from you to do the same.

Do you have some parenting-knowitalls in your life? Feel free to vent/share your stories in comments!