Tag Archives: postpartum

A Trend not Started by a Man whose Last Name is Sears…

by Iola  Kostrzewski

If you were to run into a mom in the 1800’s she would have probably had a baby on her back. Depending on the climate, the carrier the mom would have been using may have been made out of animal fur or a beautiful piece of fabric that the mom would have woven herself; or perhaps a fellow woman in the community may have given it as a gift. The gift-giver would have known from her own experience with her own children that the new mom would need it while she gathered food, cleaned a hide or just went for a walk.

Now fast forward to the 1900’s, lets travel to Japan…There you may have seen a mom wearing both her boys in what resembles a modern day Mei Tai, happy as can be carrying on with the day’s activities. In a village in French Guiana, you will find a mom holding a child on her hip breastfeeding as she herself is trying to finish her morning meal.  Today, you may see a mom wearing her baby in an Ergo as she shops at the mall, or a baby wrapped securely in a very pretty piece of fabric at an art fair. All of these are examples of babywearing, and all proof that babywearing is not a just a trend that started by a man whose last name is Sears.

Like all of these women depicted above, babywearing has been welcomed with open arms into my own family. It has become the norm since my oldest was three months and I traded in my Baby Bjorn for a Moby that was much more comfortable. When my mom saw me for the first time sporting my son in my wrap her words were, “You will spoil him like that! Put him down!” My mother in-law didn’t understand either, with the words “spoiled” and “pampered” being thrown around during our visits.

As much as I wanted to be upset with their comments and yell as loud as possible that “only food spoils, not my baby,” how could I? I understood that they were parents during the time when “baby trainers” were at the height of their popularity. They were told to not respond to every cry, that small babies will self soothe, and no matter what you do …. DO NOT HOLD BABY! So of course their responses are normal, because it’s what they were told.

Yet for me as a mother,  babywearing is way more than part of the attachment parenting style that my husband and I seem to have adopted as parents. You see, my carriers have all come in and saved the day. I think of them as little super heroes that I like to hoard. My ring sling has saved me from losing what I have left of my sanity by corralling in my toddler on days he finds the need to “help” with every chore I am trying to complete. My soft-structured carriers have stayed with me and paced the floors late at night, as I have tried to soothe a teething baby to sleep or lift the one whose feet have given out on him after he has run and run until he could run no more. My recent run-in with wrapping has taught me that it’s a great tool for a calming a toddler tantrum and gives great support for a nursing eight month old.

The women before me were smart. They knew this secret:  a happy baby was one who was with its mother. They had figured out that since baby was most likely breastfed, baby had to be with them, not to mention the dangers of leaving an unattended baby in the middle of the wilderness! They figured it out, and to this day many of their carriers are still being used with some small modern improvements. For that I am thankful, and I am pretty sure my children are too.

Need more proof? Grab a gold dollar coin and flip it over.  Apparently Sacagawea had a great time wearing her son as she led Lewis and Clark during their exploration of the west.

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Postpartum Doula Care: What to Expect

by Kathryn Orr, CD(DONA), LCCE

Are you wondering if you need postpartum doula support? Or if you should gift it to your sister, daughter, friend? Or maybe, what the heck is a postpartum doula? People often aren’t sure where the lines are drawn between birth doula care and postpartum doula care. So here I’ll outline four overarching ways that postpartum doulas care for families during the postpartum time (right after birth until about 3 months postpartum).

Mama Care
A postpartum doula is trained to care for mamas during the postpartum time, physically and emotionally.

Those of us who are also birth doulas have detailed knowledge of the physical healing process that takes place after birth, whether vaginal or cesarean. We can answer questions, recommend natural ways to enhance healing, and provide resources. Our training also includes breastfeeding support, so we can address common concerns about breast and nipple care. We’ll also assist with making sure you have access to nutritious food, whether that means answering questions, providing recipes, grocery shopping, or preparing meals.

A postpartum doula will also care for her client emotionally. We are trained in signs and symptoms of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and we work hard to make sure our clients are aware of them as well. We’re always there to provide a listening ear for whatever is on your mind. Postpartum can be an intense time, and a friendly listener never hurts.

Baby Care
Postpartum doulas love babies; it’s our job, and for many of us, it’s our passion as well. We are delighted to hold your baby so you can shower, sleep, or take a walk in peace.

We can also answer questions about the maze of baby options: Which baby carrier should I choose? How does this Moby wrap work? How do I give my tiny baby a bath? How do I file her nails? Is my mother in law right when she says I’m nursing my baby too much? Etc.! Your doula should be able to present you with the whole spectrum of options so you can choose what’s right for your family.

We’re also a resource for feeding support. We can address common breastfeeding concerns, and formula feeding concerns. We’ll provide referrals to specialists if needed – we have a network of wonderful birth professionals in our community so we know who will take good care of you!

Household Management
Your postpartum doula can handle the household tasks that you would normally handle. But when you have a new baby, that’s your full-time job. It’s amazing how one tiny baby (let alone two babies!) can take up 24 hours a day with her constant needs. Your doula will help you with: meal preparation, laundry, light tidying and organizing, emptying the dishwasher, running errands, and more. That way you can rest and snuggle your baby.

Non-Judgmental Support
I think this is the most unique aspect of the postpartum doula’s role. No one else in your postpartum life supports you in this way. Your doula has a deep knowledge base about all things postpartum, but she’s not emotionally involved in your life. She won’t give you her opinions or judge the choices you make. She’ll listen to you as much as you need, and share options and resources when appropriate. For many new parents, this is a huge relief! Especially if it’s your first time, it helps so much to hear, “You’re doing just fine.”


Kathryn Orr is a birth and postpartum doula and a Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator. She is expecting her first little one this summer. Read more about Kathryn at MotherBaby Doula Services

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