The First 72 Hours

You’ve been planning and prepping for your babe’s arrival for months, but what about the days after? The labor and delivery finish line is really just the beginning.

The Golden Hour

During the first hour of a baby’s life, many biological and neurological wirings and firings take place, guided by an intricate combination of instinct, hormones and common sense. The placenta is delivered, the newborn quiets to the sound of mom’s coo, and often, breastfeeding is initiated.

This inaugural hour, dubbed “the golden hour,” is a crucial time for the new family members. “No matter how the labor and birth went—whether it was straightforward, short, long, emotionally trying, complicated, joyful, done in water or on land—when the golden hour is respected, it can be a magical time,” says Janine Stiles, CPM, of Mandala Midwifery Care in Minneapolis. “As a home birth midwife, during the first hour, I take seriously the balance between safety for both the birthing parent and baby and this precious time.”

Pokes, Prods and Procedures

Possible postnatal newborn procedures include:

  • Antibiotic ointment in the eyes, to protect against transmission of any STDs from the mother and certain unwanted bacteria found in the vagina and rectum.
  • Vitamin K injection, to address potential bleeding issues.
  • Blood tests.
  • Hearing test.
  • Weighing and measuring of baby.
  • The hepatitis B vaccination might be offered in the hospital, but not without consent and a liability waiver.
  • Circumcision will not be performed without parental consent, but should be researched and discussed in advance.

Helpful Versus Disruptive

During the first 72 hours, every new parent has direct access to a team of experts, whether she birthed at home, in a birth center or in a hospital. Take advantage of this valuable resource while it’s at your fingertips, remembering to voice all sorts of questions in between eating and sleeping.

Even if you feel confident breast- feeding, ask the lactation consultant to show you different holds and the proper latch. Ask her about thrush and diet and how to know whether baby is getting enough. (Answer: If she is content, pooping and peeing, she’s getting her fill.)

You’ve been planning and prepping for your babe’s arrival for months, but what about the days after? The labor and delivery finish line is really just the beginning.

The Golden Hour

During the first hour of a baby’s life, many biological and neurological wirings and firings take place, guided by an intricate combination of instinct, hormones and common sense. The placenta is delivered, the newborn quiets to the sound of mom’s coo, and often, breastfeeding is initiated.

This inaugural hour, dubbed “the golden hour,” is a crucial time for the new family members. “No matter how the labor and birth went—whether it was straightforward, short, long, emotionally trying, complicated, joyful, done in water or on land—when the golden hour is respected, it can be a magical time,” says Janine Stiles, CPM, of Mandala Midwifery Care in Minneapolis. “As a home birth midwife, during the first hour, I take seriously the balance between safety for both the birthing parent and baby and this precious time.”

Pokes, Prods and Procedures

Possible postnatal newborn procedures include:

  • Antibiotic ointment in the eyes, to protect against transmission of any STDs from the mother and certain unwanted bacteria found in the vagina and rectum.
  • Vitamin K injection, to address potential bleeding issues.
  • Blood tests.
  • Hearing test.
  • Weighing and measuring of baby.
  • The hepatitis B vaccination might be offered in the hospital, but not without consent and a liability waiver.
  • Circumcision will not be performed without parental consent, but should be researched and discussed in advance.

Helpful Versus Disruptive

During the first 72 hours, every new parent has direct access to a team of experts, whether she birthed at home, in a birth center or in a hospital. Take advantage of this valuable resource while it’s at your fingertips, remembering to voice all sorts of questions in between eating and sleeping.

Even if you feel confident breast- feeding, ask the lactation consultant to show you different holds and the proper latch. Ask her about thrush and diet and how to know whether baby is getting enough. (Answer: If she is content, pooping and peeing, she’s getting her fill.)

Having a Baby During Covid

When I found out I was pregnant with my third child in January of 2020, I, nor the rest of the world, anticipated the global pandemic that was underway and would soon uproot our lives. Once the CDC started quickly releasing guidelines for social distancing and additional safety for higher-risk groups, including pregnant women, I became a prisoner of my tiny midtown apartment with two extroverted small children (who were not fans of excessive hand washing) and a full-time job. My husband was working away from our home even more than usual in an attempt to keep things afloat. Like so many others, I felt lost and panicked every day trying to manage both roles under the same roof, leaving much of my second trimester unnoticed with everything else requiring constant attention. My focus was on my kids’ well-being and whatever task I could try to accomplish in 15-minute spurts at a time. It was rough on my mental health to say the least.

At that time vaccination was an obvious discussion but far off in the future. Hospitals were adjusting their operations drastically in an effort to maintain safety, which unfortunately affected the maternity wards as well. I started hearing horrible stories on social media of protocols that made me very uncomfortable.

I was just shy of 32 weeks at this point and knew my state of Georgia had limited resources for at-home midwifery and doula services. However, my home city had a birth center called The Atlanta Birth Center (ABC). I was immensely grateful to be in a place that was solely concerned with birthing women. There would be no other types of patients present, and the focus would remain on protecting the integrity of me meeting my baby for the first time. That was my why. It was almost all about meeting her and doing everything within my power that felt right to protect that moment.

When I found out I was pregnant with my third child in January of 2020, I, nor the rest of the world, anticipated the global pandemic that was underway and would soon uproot our lives. Once the CDC started quickly releasing guidelines for social distancing and additional safety for higher-risk groups, including pregnant women, I became a prisoner of my tiny midtown apartment with two extroverted small children (who were not fans of excessive hand washing) and a full-time job. My husband was working away from our home even more than usual in an attempt to keep things afloat. Like so many others, I felt lost and panicked every day trying to manage both roles under the same roof, leaving much of my second trimester unnoticed with everything else requiring constant attention. My focus was on my kids’ well-being and whatever task I could try to accomplish in 15-minute spurts at a time. It was rough on my mental health to say the least.

At that time vaccination was an obvious discussion but far off in the future. Hospitals were adjusting their operations drastically in an effort to maintain safety, which unfortunately affected the maternity wards as well. I started hearing horrible stories on social media of protocols that made me very uncomfortable.

I was just shy of 32 weeks at this point and knew my state of Georgia had limited resources for at-home midwifery and doula services. However, my home city had a birth center called The Atlanta Birth Center (ABC). I was immensely grateful to be in a place that was solely concerned with birthing women. There would be no other types of patients present, and the focus would remain on protecting the integrity of me meeting my baby for the first time. That was my why. It was almost all about meeting her and doing everything within my power that felt right to protect that moment.

Elvie vs. Willow: Best Hands-Free Breast Pump 2021

Hands-free pumps are all the rage and a welcomed change for multitasking moms looking to ditch the daily seated pumping sessions. Here’s a look at the current top models and things to consider before you buy.

Breast Pump Price

Both Willow and Elvie breast pump double sets run for about $500. However, you can purchase either a single ($279 list price) or double pump with the Elvie, but only have the option to buy a double with Willow. Both accept FSA/HSA funds and both ship for free.

Milk Storage Capacity

The Elvie comes with reusable 5-ounce bottles that can be stored in the fridge or freezer. It does not allow for disposable bags, meaning if you plan to store large quantities, you’ll have to buy separate storage bags and plan to transfer the milk after each session. The Willow allows mom to pump directly into disposable bags or a reusable container.

Rechargeable Battery

The only time you’ll need an outlet with a hands-free pump is for charging. In this instance, both models take about two hours to reach a full charge.

Breast Shield Sizes

The Elvie comes with 24mm and 28mm shields (often called flanges), and a pack of 21mm shields can be purchased separately. Willow offers 21mm (with the reusable container), 24mm and 27mm.

Suction Level

As a whole, both models are closed systems and offer seven different intensity levels of suction, but Willow operates using the first three levels in the stimulation phase, and then allows for the remaining levels post-expression.

App Features

Universal features include the ability to power your pump on or off, adjust the intensity of suction strength during pumping, track your output for current sessions and see your overall production overtime for each breast.

Customer Support

Both company websites offer extensive FAQs and troubleshooting content to help you quickly find the answers or solutions to questions or problems that might pop up.

Hands-free pumps are all the rage and a welcomed change for multitasking moms looking to ditch the daily seated pumping sessions. Here’s a look at the current top models and things to consider before you buy.

Breast Pump Price
Both Willow and Elvie breast pump double sets run for about $500. However, you can purchase either a single ($279 list price) or double pump with the Elvie, but only have the option to buy a double with Willow. Both accept FSA/HSA funds and both ship for free.

Milk Storage Capacity
The Elvie comes with reusable 5-ounce bottles that can be stored in the fridge or freezer. It does not allow for disposable bags, meaning if you plan to store large quantities, you’ll have to buy separate storage bags and plan to transfer the milk after each session. The Willow allows mom to pump directly into disposable bags or a reusable container.

Rechargeable Battery
The only time you’ll need an outlet with a hands-free pump is for charging. In this instance, both models take about two hours to reach a full charge.

Breast Shield Sizes
The Elvie comes with 24mm and 28mm shields (often called flanges), and a pack of 21mm shields can be purchased separately. Willow offers 21mm (with the reusable container), 24mm and 27mm.

Suction Level
As a whole, both models are closed systems and offer seven different intensity levels of suction, but Willow operates using the first three levels in the stimulation phase, and then allows for the remaining levels post-expression.

App Features
Universal features include the ability to power your pump on or off, adjust the intensity of suction strength during pumping, track your output for current sessions and see your overall production overtime for each breast.

Customer Support
Both company websites offer extensive FAQs and troubleshooting content to help you quickly find the answers or solutions to questions or problems that might pop up.

Coronavirus and Pregnant Women: Healthcare Advice Amid the Pandemic

We have answers to some important FAQs on expecting during COVID-19.

Q: What changes can I expect from my prenatal appointments, and how will the virus impact my hospital labor and delivery?

During this unprecedented time, the goal of the CDC and all health care workers is to maximize safety for patients (especially pregnant women), their babies and families. Here are many practices that have been adopted in order to reduce higher risk situations and provide care in the safest way in each trimester; these have been adjusted based on the evolving science and current COVID-19 infection rates in the community.
Most importantly, check with your midwife or health care provider’s office about their current processes for care throughout your pregnancy.

Q: How can I best protect my newborn during COVID-19? I’m nervous about handling visitors, necessary errands and what happens if I get sick myself.

Make a list of questions to ask at each appointment with your baby’s care provider. They will know the evolving science regarding coronavirus, and will have the most up-to-date recommendations for safe parenting at this time. If you chose to forego vaccination during your pregnancy, arrange to be vaccinated following the birth of your baby for maximum protection of you and your newborn. Vaccination while lactating is safe. The COVID restrictions that we’ve all become accustomed to and help to maximize our safety will help protect your newborn, too.

We have answers to some important FAQs on expecting during COVID-19.

Q: What changes can I expect from my prenatal appointments, and how will the virus impact my hospital labor and delivery?

During this unprecedented time, the goal of the CDC and all health care workers is to maximize safety for patients (especially pregnant women), their babies and families. Here are many practices that have been adopted in order to reduce higher risk situations and provide care in the safest way in each trimester; these have been adjusted based on the evolving science and current COVID-19 infection rates in the community.
Most importantly, check with your midwife or health care provider’s office about their current processes for care throughout your pregnancy.

Q: How can I best protect my newborn during COVID-19? I’m nervous about handling visitors, necessary errands and what happens if I get sick myself.

Make a list of questions to ask at each appointment with your baby’s care provider. They will know the evolving science regarding coronavirus, and will have the most up-to-date recommendations for safe parenting at this time. If you chose to forego vaccination during your pregnancy, arrange to be vaccinated following the birth of your baby for maximum protection of you and your newborn. Vaccination while lactating is safe. The COVID restrictions that we’ve all become accustomed to and help to maximize our safety will help protect your newborn, too.

Third Time’s the Charmer: The Birth Story of Theo

I probably should’ve known something was up when I found myself scrubbing the bathroom floor with my go-to bathroom cleaner (baby wipes) at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday, December 30. I was 37 weeks and one day along in my third pregnancy.

I had been sort of nesting—buying enough groceries to feed a family of 90, taking lots of bump pictures for preservation and posterity, putting up a pack-and-play in the guest room—for the majority of my pregnancy this third time around. I finished cleaning, ignored several strong Braxton Hicks because I always have strong Braxton Hicks from about 20 weeks onward.

I went upstairs to lie down, and right as my head hit the pillow—BOOM—a gush of fluid. Could it be? A broken water of my very own? My husband Simon was at the foot of the bed, and he confirmed my suspicion … totally broken.

My contractions were picking up, and I continued to leak fluid. But I wasn’t in any real pain, and I most definitely wasn’t in any sort of active labor. We debated going back to the mall to do more walking but then remembered that we were paying a sitter and decided to go straight to the hospital. I got all gowned up and checked in and checked by a nice nurse who declared me to be an exciting 2 centimeters. I think my uterus got performance anxiety because the contractions tapered off and all but disappeared.

There was a lot of confusion as to what doctor to call for orders, so after an eternity of popsicle eating and texting the sitter, I finally got started on Pitocin around 6 p.m.

I probably should’ve known something was up when I found myself scrubbing the bathroom floor with my go-to bathroom cleaner (baby wipes) at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday, December 30. I was 37 weeks and one day along in my third pregnancy.

I had been sort of nesting—buying enough groceries to feed a family of 90, taking lots of bump pictures for preservation and posterity, putting up a pack-and-play in the guest room—for the majority of my pregnancy this third time around. I finished cleaning, ignored several strong Braxton Hicks because I always have strong Braxton Hicks from about 20 weeks onward.

I went upstairs to lie down, and right as my head hit the pillow—BOOM—a gush of fluid. Could it be? A broken water of my very own? My husband Simon was at the foot of the bed, and he confirmed my suspicion … totally broken.

My contractions were picking up, and I continued to leak fluid. But I wasn’t in any real pain, and I most definitely wasn’t in any sort of active labor. We debated going back to the mall to do more walking but then remembered that we were paying a sitter and decided to go straight to the hospital. I got all gowned up and checked in and checked by a nice nurse who declared me to be an exciting 2 centimeters. I think my uterus got performance anxiety because the contractions tapered off and all but disappeared.

There was a lot of confusion as to what doctor to call for orders, so after an eternity of popsicle eating and texting the sitter, I finally got started on Pitocin around 6 p.m.

Who Doesn’t Love Freebies?

Baby gear, nursing supplies, goodie boxes and more. Claim $500 in FREE Gifts Now!

Who Doesn’t Love Freebies?

Baby gear, nursing supplies, goodie boxes and more. Claim $500 in FREE Gifts Now!

Online Nursery Design Tools

Maybe you’re like some of us and it’s been years since you’ve dabbled in decorating. Sure you’ve rearranged the living room to accommodate your new sectional or finally finished that gallery wall, but now you have a whole new person coming into the mix who deserves a sweet designated spot in your home. Creating a stylish space for your baby boy or baby girl can be both exciting and overwhelming. If screenshotting pics of room decor on Etsy is more your thing than picking up Sherwin-Williams swatches, you’re not alone.

Luckily there are online resources to help you execute the balance between fun and functionality. Even if the biggest change you’re planning to make is a new coat of paint or small diy project, you can virtually plan out your choices so that the end result is just what you envisioned for your baby’s nursery. (And super helpful for an expecting mama with a limited lifting capacity.) It’s kind of like playing with a dollhouse, but in an elevated big-girl way! Here are some of the coolest (and free!) tools we’ve found for planning your nursery design.

  1. Design with Friends
    This 3D-rendering tool lets you customize furniture, doors, wall coverings, floors, windows, trim and paint color to create an instant arrangement.
  2. Pottery Barn Kids Design Crew
    You can choose your room’s layout from a template and tailor the shape based on your own measurements. Add doors, windows, a fireplace, even plants!
  3. Pinterest
    OK, we know it’s not groundbreaking, but we still have to give a shoutout to this tried-(and tried)-and-true inspo board. You won’t land here to design the layout of your nursery, but it’s a great launching pad.

Maybe you’re like some of us and it’s been years since you’ve dabbled in decorating. Sure you’ve rearranged the living room to accommodate your new sectional or finally finished that gallery wall, but now you have a whole new person coming into the mix who deserves a sweet designated spot in your home. Creating a stylish space for your baby boy or baby girl can be both exciting and overwhelming. If screenshotting pics of room decor on Etsy is more your thing than picking up Sherwin-Williams swatches, you’re not alone.

Luckily there are online resources to help you execute the balance between fun and functionality. Even if the biggest change you’re planning to make is a new coat of paint or small diy project, you can virtually plan out your choices so that the end result is just what you envisioned for your baby’s nursery. (And super helpful for an expecting mama with a limited lifting capacity.) It’s kind of like playing with a dollhouse, but in an elevated big-girl way! Here are some of the coolest (and free!) tools we’ve found for planning your nursery design.

  1. Design with Friends
    This 3D-rendering tool lets you customize furniture, doors, wall coverings, floors, windows, trim and paint color to create an instant arrangement.
  2. Pottery Barn Kids Design Crew
    You can choose your room’s layout from a template and tailor the shape based on your own measurements. Add doors, windows, a fireplace, even plants!
  3. Pinterest
    OK, we know it’s not groundbreaking, but we still have to give a shoutout to this tried-(and tried)-and-true inspo board. You won’t land here to design the layout of your nursery, but it’s a great launching pad.

Top 25 Pregnancy Must-Haves for Moms-to-Be

25 pregnancy must-haves for moms-to-be, Pregnancy & Newborn

25 pregnancy must-haves for moms-to-be, Pregnancy & NewbornAs your pregnancy progresses and your body changes shape, you may find yourself needing new things to make life easier. A good pair of jeans that accommodates your bump and something to relieve morning sickness, to name a few.

On top of advice and support, it may seem like your list of pregnancy must-haves is endless. But each woman (and pregnancy) is different, so do some research and opt in only for those items that really speak to you.

From maternity wear and heartburn relief tea to compression socks and stretch mark oil, we’ve created this list of our favorite essentials to help you navigate your nine months with a baby on board.

Poor Circulation During Pregnancy: Understanding The Signs and Risks

Circulation during pregnancy

It should come as no surprise that pregnancy affects your blood flow. Your blood cells are practically running an obstacle course these days, weaving in and around displaced organs and a swollen, growing uterus. Virtually all pregnant women can expect to have a few circulatory complaints, but taking precautions and monitoring your health in each trimester can help you avoid any serious blood-related complications.

In a healthy non-pregnant person, the blood makes an easy, continuous circuit, flowing from the heart to the rest of the body via arteries, then back to the heart through the veins. This is an involuntary process which many of us take for granted … until we become pregnant and the internal road map adjusts. Suddenly, there’s a lot more traffic! Blood volume increases dramatically (by nearly 50 percent) during pregnancy, and the blood cells are asked to perform new tasks: namely, filtering through the placenta to deliver the nutrients baby needs and take away the waste left behind.

Edema: Excess fluid collects in your tissue, causing swelling, especially in the ankles and feet. The majority of pregnant women experience some edema during pregnancy (most commonly in the third trimester) due to increased water retention and blood flow changes. Note that edema is different from normal pregnancy weight gain.
Dizziness: There are many causes of occasional lightheadedness and dizziness during each trimester of pregnancy. One of them is low blood pressure.

Circulation during pregnancyIt should come as no surprise that pregnancy affects your blood flow. Your blood cells are practically running an obstacle course these days, weaving in and around displaced organs and a swollen, growing uterus. Virtually all pregnant women can expect to have a few circulatory complaints, but taking precautions and monitoring your health in each trimester can help you avoid any serious blood-related complications.

In a healthy non-pregnant person, the blood makes an easy, continuous circuit, flowing from the heart to the rest of the body via arteries, then back to the heart through the veins. This is an involuntary process which many of us take for granted … until we become pregnant and the internal road map adjusts. Suddenly, there’s a lot more traffic! Blood volume increases dramatically (by nearly 50 percent) during pregnancy, and the blood cells are asked to perform new tasks: namely, filtering through the placenta to deliver the nutrients baby needs and take away the waste left behind.

Edema: Excess fluid collects in your tissue, causing swelling, especially in the ankles and feet. The majority of pregnant women experience some edema during pregnancy (most commonly in the third trimester) due to increased water retention and blood flow changes. Note that edema is different from normal pregnancy weight gain.
Dizziness: There are many causes of occasional lightheadedness and dizziness during each trimester of pregnancy. One of them is low blood pressure.

Feel the Adrenaline: The Birth of Rush (Birth Story)

Our handsome little man decided to grace us with his presence at 36 weeks and 6 days. I had gone in for a health care appointment on Tuesday and had very little change in my check in comparison to the prior week. had surpassed the more concerning early delivery timeframe and I had indications I was going to be pregnant longer. Everyone on my medical team, and really everyone in general, expected that I would deliver early and likely even earlier than with my last pregnancy. Here I was, having anticipated already delivering my bundle of joy and reframing my mindset to think I could actually be pregnant for three more weeks. And then it happened. The contractions began on Wednesday, November 8.

I was mentally prepared for this delivery to go FAST. My daughter Sylvie came so quickly that I just expected I would arrive, be nearly fully dilated with no time to even contemplate an epidural, and our beautiful bundle of joy would arrive. But, of course I was wrong. When the nurse first checked me upon arrival, I was only 4 centimeters dilated; 0.5 of a centimeter more than I was when they checked my cervix the day before. To provide a reference, when I arrived with Sylvie + contracting a little less often, I was 7 cm! I couldn’t believe I was only 4 with such painful, consistent and close contractions. The nurse was very encouraging about the stat – reaffirming that things can start slow, but again my anticipation was the complete opposite. She did also notice that I had some extra blood upon check. This had not started before arrival at the hospital. She left the room to get supplies to get an IV started and I got up to go to the bathroom. What happened next really shook me.

Our handsome little man decided to grace us with his presence at 36 weeks and 6 days. I had gone in for a health care appointment on Tuesday and had very little change in my check in comparison to the prior week. had surpassed the more concerning early delivery timeframe and I had indications I was going to be pregnant longer. Everyone on my medical team, and really everyone in general, expected that I would deliver early and likely even earlier than with my last pregnancy. Here I was, having anticipated already delivering my bundle of joy and reframing my mindset to think I could actually be pregnant for three more weeks. And then it happened. The contractions began on Wednesday, November 8.

I was mentally prepared for this delivery to go FAST. My daughter Sylvie came so quickly that I just expected I would arrive, be nearly fully dilated with no time to even contemplate an epidural, and our beautiful bundle of joy would arrive. But, of course I was wrong. When the nurse first checked me upon arrival, I was only 4 centimeters dilated; 0.5 of a centimeter more than I was when they checked my cervix the day before. To provide a reference, when I arrived with Sylvie + contracting a little less often, I was 7 cm! I couldn’t believe I was only 4 with such painful, consistent and close contractions. The nurse was very encouraging about the stat – reaffirming that things can start slow, but again my anticipation was the complete opposite. She did also notice that I had some extra blood upon check. This had not started before arrival at the hospital. She left the room to get supplies to get an IV started and I got up to go to the bathroom. What happened next really shook me.