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Articles by Mary Paliescheskey

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

numbers@rocketmail.com

Published in Mothering the Mother Newsletter

Care Assistance and nurturing for the new or experienced mother

 Cosleeping in light of U.S. Consumer Reports

 Bed Rest: The Art of Patience

 How to Get the Nursury Ready while on Bed Rest

 Birth Story: Michael Arrives

 May is National Doula Month

 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Women

 Relaxation Techniques

 Bed Rest

 

 


 

 

 

Co-sleeping in light of U.S. Consumer Reports

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

Co-sleeping is a parenting style that has been recommended by a variety of groups including William Sears, M.D., and attachment parenting followers. All over the world, parents sleep with their children. In the United States, many parents are choosing to return to the tradition of co-sleeping as a way to nurture their children through the night and encourage breastfeeding.

Attachment parenting led by William Sears, M.D. encourages co-sleeping because of its benefits: co-sleeping keeps babies secure, is good for breastfeeding, for strengthening the family bond, for raising secure and independent children which is good for the whole family.

Past research has shown that co-sleeping has benefits in reducing SIDS. Now this latest study seems to show that there is a fatal risk. This study is scary and shows over five hundred deaths. However, the study is flawed. The data is misleading and the press release plays on people’s fears. As in all choices, parents should study the available information, weigh the benefits and risks, understand the options and safety precautions, and make their own decisions.

The data from the study is shown in the table below. What the table doesn’t tell you is that the report analyzed death certificates. There is no baseline number of how many parents during that time period were co-sleeping. You cannot determine relative risk. It also doesn’t tell you that while there was an average of 64 deaths per year for co-sleeping, at the same time there 50 deaths per year due to cribs. Now to the main flaw. In an analysis of death certificates, you cannot determine any additional risk factors. The researchers had no information on how many parents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or anything else. The majority of deaths were related to equipment failure: pillows, headboards, wall space. All these have been recognized risks for years.

As in all things related to choices for your children, educate yourself. Read the release and Sears. Weigh the risks and follow your mind and heart, but always minimize the risk: no soft bedding, be sure about the wall and headboard. Maybe use a side car bassinet. Do not sleep with your baby if under the influence of alcohol or drugs, very ill, very tired, or use a waterbed.

It is unfortunate that this study was sensationalized. Co-sleeping is a way for some parents to spend extra time with their children. The majority of families have two working parents and night time is a time for many to rediscover each other.

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Bed Rest: The Art of Patience

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

Periodically, concerns for the course of a pregnancy require a mother to rest for her health and the safety of her child. Boredom is one of the hardest aspects of bed rest. Many women have to face the frustration of bed rest. Try to keep positive. Another woman who has experienced bed rest can be very helpful.

No one understands the frustrations and challenges better than someone who has been there. You can contact Sidelines, a national organization with newsletter and sample questions for provider. Contact California Representative, Carol Kennan at (626) 914-5252 or ckennan@earthlink.net or National Office at P. O Box 1808, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Telephone: (949) 497-2265.

You will not be able to keep your usual routine or fulfill your usual household responsibilities. Get yourself on a new schedule of approved activities: pay the bills, organize your family pictures, make lists for your helpers. Take every offer of help and have the list waiting. Change into regular clothes each day and put the pajamas away. Make lists of all the things you will need for the baby’s arrival. Keep a daily journal of your thoughts, frustrations and your hopes for your baby.

Your concerns for the baby and the overwhelming responsibilities can add stress to even a strong relationship. You have the stress of not being able to do as much as you want and he has the stress of having to do too much. Make dates with your partner. Spend time as a couple. Rent a movie and get take out. Picnic in the bed. Try to have some fun. Fun and laughter are always good medicine. It is very important to have partner support in bed rest. Take turns being strong; keep each other focused on the goal.

As the time in bed increases so does the frustration and this may result in 'bending the rules' or violating provider orders. While only you and your partner can decide what is ultimately best for you and your family, it is very important that you consider the consequences of your actions.

When you are tempted to 'cheat', I suggest a visit to a neonatal ICU. See what a 40%, 60%, 80% chance of living really means. If lucky, it means weeks, months of care. You start being a mother and father the day you decide on pregnancy. Sometimes it's hard to do what is best and bed rest is a real challenge.

The goal is a happy and healthy newborn. Focus on the goal and get in contact with a support group. Keep to the spirit and instructions of your provider. Get some outside help: a nanny, a house keeper, endless friends, or a doula. As in childbirth, a good support system is essential to surviving bed rest and keeping your positive attitude.

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How to Get the Nursury Ready While on Bed Rest

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

You no longer have to spend large amounts of time going from store to store looking for items for the nursery. There are catalogues (J.C. Penney and Sears are good places to start.) and Internet web sites to browse through. Whether or not you make your purchases there, they are worth a look. They all have product description and dimensions. Most web sites have consumer reports and recommendations from parents on what works. The best sites even have calendars and lists of the number and types of items you might consider purchasing.

In fact some items may not be in your local store. One item I really like is Bravado Designs Nursing bra. An excellent choice for the woman who cannot go to the store for a fitting. Each bra fits a broad range of sizes - due to their excellent design features. (1-800-590-7802) Another item not found locally is an excellent baby sling. The design has little ‘extra’ fabric so it truly is a hands free design. The New Native Baby Carrier. (800 646 1682)

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Michael Arrives

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

The birth of my third son was a combination birth. He started out slow and then shifted into a fast birth moving from 5 cm - 10 cm in three hours. For me, it was a confirmation about how a mother’s emotions and needs can affect the birth process.

I went to lunch with my husband and doula. We talked of many things. Laughed at the cashiers at the store who had asked me my due date and paled when I said a week ago. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was in labor. They sure rushed me out fast with just that small bit of information. Talked of my last birth and it’s difficulty. How labor started the day after my husband and I talked over my fear of stepping through the door of birth again. Talked over how we weren’t in the same place. We were more secure and grounded now. How since I was in this labor, I found that it was very true; Starting from a grounded place is much easier than finding it when you don’t feel it.

We took the children on some walks. We had dinner and put the children to bed- a regular kind of day.

Then labor started to intensify. Emotionally, I was concerned about how my 18 month old would be with grandma. He doesn’t see her very often and I was worried that he might have a tough time with my husband and my absence. So no surprise that my labor was slow until bedtime. I needed them asleep so I could let go. The worry was gone. At the same time, my little one had a time to be born and his own needs, so when I let go- he came fast.

We arrived at the hospital at 9 PM. I was at 5 cm. I was complete at midnight and my little one was born at 12:24 AM.

I did very little activity at the hospital. A few walks around the halls, a shower, neck and shoulder massages. All with husband on one side and doula on the other. I needed very little from them this time-just the knowledge that they were there. But by 11PM I was in bed. Sometimes when labor is progressing so rapidly, you want it to slow down. I had no desire to go ANY faster.

The hospital left us to bond for three hours. I actually sent dear husband to ask to be moved to postpartum. I was ready to settle into my room. My other boys arrived at 6:30 AM after a quick breakfast to meet their new brother with polaroids in hand. It was a beautiful experience.

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May is National Doula Month

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

DO you know what a doula can do for you?

  • Discuss birth options
  • Guidance for birth plans
  • Information about local community resources
  • Comfort measures during pregnancy and labor
  • VBAC support
  • Available by phone to answer your questions
  • Available for emotional support during pregnancy
  • Assistance in creating a positive, personal birthing environment
  • Continuous emotional support during labor and delivery

Do you know what research has shown about doulas?

43% increase Natural Vaginal Delivery

(no medication or assistance)

50% decrease in ceasarean rate

60% decrease in epidural requests

30% decrease in pain medication

25% decrease in the duration of labor

Unfortunately, birth in our culture has become a time that the family must accommodate many strangers. The doula meets with you during pregnancy and stays through your entire labor and delivery; a constant in a sea of change.

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BBenefits of Breastfeeding for Women

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous. There are benefits for both mother and infant.

The benefits for baby include ideal nutrition, antibody protection, appropriate intestinal flora, increased jaw and eye muscle development, and increased health and wellbeing. Most breastfed babies are used to a variety of tastes (due to the changing composition of breastmilk). This may help with less fussy eating later in life and there's a lot to be said for ending problems before they start.

It is inexpensive to breastfeed. It saves you both time and money. There are no bottles to wash or formula to buy (check the prices). When baby is hungry, the food is ready and at the right temperature.

In addition, there are benefits for mother as well: reduction in the rate of ovarian and breast cancers, increased weight loss, and delaying the return of menses. Hormonal balance is maintained. Breastfeeding promotes the bonding of mother and infant.

That doesn't mean a mother and infant who are not breastfed have problems bonding. It's just easier with hormonal assistance. As in all things, you must decide what is best for you. For some women, breastfeeding may be impacted by recovery from abuse or medications needed to maintain health. Only you know what is best for your family. Trust your decisions.

Breastfeeding promotes maternal self-care. It is very hard to over-extend yourself if you need to sit several times a day (okay many times a day) and feed your baby. It's a beautiful time to spend with your child.

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Relaxation Techniques

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

Relaxation is the key to handling the increasing intensity of labor. After a contraction has passed, it is very important to let the tension go. Holding tension or anticipating the arrival of the next contraction takes a lot of energy. It can make labor seem more intense and difficult.

Practice relaxation techniques before labor. Deep slow breaths for as long as possible during labor will help keep you relaxed and focused.

Several relaxation techniques are commonly used in labor: Deep Breathing, Visualization, Meditation, Music, Subdued Lighting, Shower or tub, and Massage. However, your choices are not limited to these. If something isn't working for you, then try something else. Other options could include aromatherapy, accupuncture, or anything else that provides you comfort and relaxes you.

The most important element in relaxation is creating a safe and supportive environment for yourself. A sense of safety is very important in labor. If you feel insecure in your surroundings, your body will produce stress hormones that will inhibit the natural process of labor. Relaxation is secondary to a feeling of security and support.

After you feel safe, you can then relax in your birth. Relaxation is the feeling of trust in the birth process. The tools that you use to reach that state are your choice.

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Bed Rest

by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

Periodically, concerns for the course of a pregnancy require a mother to rest for her health and the safety of her child. As the time in bed increases so does the frustration and this may result in 'bending the rules' or violating provider orders. While only you and your partner can decide what is ultimately best for you and your family, it is very important that you consider the consequences of your actions.

Your time in bed is very confining, frustrating, boring, etc. It is very important to have partner support in bed rest. Take turns being strong; keep each other focused on the goal.

When you are tempted to 'cheat', I suggest a visit to a neonatal ICU. See what a 40%, 60%, 80% chance of living really means. If lucky, it means weeks, months of care. You start being a mother and father the day you decide on pregnancy. Sometimes it's hard to do what is best and bed rest is a real challenge.

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