Monday, May 23, 2011

Midwifery Quotes

For Midwives and Mums the world over.  I love searching the internet to find some inspirational quotes to use, not only for midwives but also for mums and mums to be. 

These I found from the "Birthing without fear" website.
     "Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear."
- Jane Weideman

     "We’ve put birth in the same category with illness and disease and it’s never belonged here. Birth is naturally safe, but we’ve allowed it to be taken over by the medical community."
Carla Hartley, founder of Trust Birth and the Ancient Midwifery Institute

 I love this one, we have this quote on the front of our induction diary on delivery suite

     "Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn’t dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line."
~ Gloria Lemay

"The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power. "
~ Heather McCue

This is another quote that I just love and I feel humbled at the strength of women. 
     "You are a midwife, assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening rather than what you think ought to be happening. If you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge. When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: “We did it ourselves!”
- From The Tao Te Ching

     "Women’s strongest feelings [in terms of their birthings], positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers."
-Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin

a link to where I got these quotes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger - where is my article?

Blogger went down for a long time yesterday, when it came up to I cannot see the article I put up on the 10th May.

Since I cannot contact Blogger, it appears the article has been lost forever.  My apologies to anyone who cannot find the article from my facebook link.  My fault for not saving the article to my hard drive instead of relying on blogger to autosave.

Lesson learned. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Witches, Wise Women and Midwives

I have always been interested in the history of midwifery, what happened to the midwife or wise woman as she was known, the hedgerow healer whose knowledge of herbs and healing was profound. She tended to administer to the poor and treated everyone from cradle to grave.

Her knowledge was handed down to her apprenctice by word of mouth, rather than the written word because she was usually illiterate.  Many of my sister's were persecuted, tortured and accused of witchcraft.  They, along with many other innocent men, women and children were drowned or burned at the stake, simply because they had knowledge of effective herbal remedies. 

These valuable herbal remedies were lost forever if she was unable to pass her information on to her apprentice.  Those centuries became known as the "Burning Times."   

The Malleus Maleficarum was a treatise first published in 1487 in Germany, the authors of this 'guide' belonged to the Inquisitors who worked for the Catholic Church accused midwives of infanticide, cannabolism, making men impotent and, as women were weak in faith they were susceptible to the devils temptations.  They ordained that only "men could heal" and, that the worst of all was the "midwife."

These were times of great hysteria and fear, people would accuse their neighbour, relative, some elderly lady who owned a cat to get the witchfinders or inquisitors off their back.  Those wise women who escaped the inquisitors had to either stop practising herbal lore for fear of being found out, they left to go to another part of the country where there were no iinquisitors or, at great risk to themselves, they continued their practice underground.  

     "By changing men into beasts by their magic, procuring abortions, offering children to the devils, besides other animals and fruits of the earth with which they work much harm." 
                                                                                                          (Malleus Malificarum, 1487)

The male doctor entered the domain of the female.  


Ehrenreich, B., English, D.  (2010).  Witches, Midwives and Nurses (2nd ed).  New York:Feminist Press

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why is my baby jaundiced?

Physiological Jaundice
Most healthy newborn babies become jaundiced (yellow) around about day three or day four, we call it physiological jaundice. It usually appears on the face and trunk of your baby's body. The reason for this, is because your baby is now breathing air and no longer requires the excess red blood cells that (carries oxygenated blood) he needed while he was in your womb.  The baby's liver begins to break down those excess blood cells and the jaundice manifests itself through the skin in the form of a yellow pigment.  The jaundice begins to fade gradually over a period of 10 days and does not cause any harm.  

The advice we give is to let your baby feed at the breast for as long as he wants, that way the sufficient quantities of breastmilk will help your baby eliminate the jaundice from his body.  

Breast milk Jaundice
Some babies can develop breastmilk jaundice which is not harmful, in fact, breast milk jaundice can develop later than 10 days after birth and continue for as long as two to three months.  The cause of breast milk jaundice is not known and there is no reason why breast feeding should be discontinued. If the jaundice persists beyond two weeks, your midwife may do a blood test to check your baby's bilirubin levels and seek the advice from a paediatrician.

When should you be concerned?
With the exception of breast milk jaundice, in the case of physiological jaundice, the jaundice will gradually fade and disappear around 10 days.  Your baby will remain alert when awake and breast feed on demand.  A healthy newborn baby will gain weight and have at least six wet nappies in 24 hours, although it will be difficult to tell if your baby has a wet nappy if he has opened his/her bowels.  Your baby's stools will change colour from the thick black meconium (produced for the first three days) becoming lighter, and usually by the third or fourth day are a yellow/brown colour.

If the jaundice (yellow colouration) becomes deeper and covers more of the baby's skin or white (sclera) of the eyes become yellow and your baby's behaviour changes from being very alert as he was in the first few days, to becoming sleepy and not very interested in feeding, it is important that you seek advice from your midwife.  Your midwife can perform a blood test on your baby that records the serum bilirubin (yellow pigment) in the blood and its a way to check if your baby requires treatment.

If your baby becomes jaundiced within 24 hours of birth, you must inform your midwife immediately.
Always seek the advice from your midwife or well child provider if you have any concerns about your baby.

I hope Le Leche wont mind that I took this picture from their website, just thought it was awesome :-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

I am a new Nana

Thank you to Graham and Sophie for making me a very proud Nana and to gorgeous baby Luke :-) I am so filled with love for you all and to my daughter Lynda, for keeping me updatedWe cant wait to see you all.xxxxx

Ouch - Sore nipples

Having a baby can often be very tiring and when you are tired it is even more important to ensure that your baby is correctly positioned and latched at the breast to prevent sore nipples.  Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby and for first time mums and also mums who are breastfeeding for the first time, it can be pretty tough going for the first week to ten days when breastfeeding is becoming established.

Firslty, your comfort is important.  If you are comfortable and relaxed then it will be easier for you.  Pillows or cushions to support your back when feeding, some mums use a pillow under their baby when he/she is laying across the abdomen. Or, you can use a pillow when feeding in the 'rugby ball' position.  It is entirely upto you what position you chose, the main thing is your comfort.  When you are going to feed, have your water/juice close to hand so you can drink while baby is feeding and it is good for you to drink at least one glass an hour (when awake) as breastfeeding can make you quite thirsty.

Correct positioning

  • Tummy to tummy.  In other words your baby's tummy towards your tummy.
  • Baby's mouth at the same level as your breast, so baby is not trying to reach up to the breast or turn his neck trying to get there.
  • Your baby's body is curled around your body like a banana.
  • If your breasts are large, you can use a rolled up flannel under your breast to raise it up slightly.
 Correct latching

  • Nose to hose.  Your baby's nose aimed towards your nipple.  This encourages him/her to open their mouth wide, very similar to a baby bird in the nest, who is waiting with a wide open beak for mummy bird to put the food in its mouth.
  • When you see your baby's mouth open wide, then you can latch your baby onto the dark area of the breast (areola) and not the nipple.  
We do not recommend that you detach your baby, however, if there is sorness and pain when your baby feeds, he may not be on properly, in which case, use a clean little finger (short nails) inbetween his gums and break that suction.  Never ever pull a baby off the nipple - OUCH! Their jaws are very powerful and pulling your baby off can cause more pain and damage.  Do not be afraid to break that suction and detach him if you are hurting.

Mums ask about nipple balms.  Some of them can be soothing initially but the best thing to do is ensure that baby is latched correctly. You can expose your nipples to the air to airdry and sooth and you can also use some of your colostrum on the affected area to help heal.  

You are just awesome and we are here to help and support you as you go through your journey.

Seek the advice from your midwife/lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group.   This link has some great articles and advice.  We are very lucky at Whangarei hospital because we have a lactation consultant and educators, along with a drop-in breastfeeding support centre. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A labour drink

Curtesy of Nicole who very kindly sent me this energising labour drink.  Thank you Nicole :-)

 1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 crushed calcium tablet
1 Litre of water

Anecdotically, calcium is said to help with the pain of labour, although I have not actually researched this.