Birthowl’s natural childbirth


Advantages and Benefits of Breastfeeding
  1. Saves Lives. Currently there are 9 million infant deaths a year. Breastfeeding saves an estimated 6 million additional deaths from infectious disease alone.
  2. Provides Initial Immunization. Breastmilk, especially the first milk (colostrum), contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents that protect the infant against disease, especially diarrhoea. These are not present in animal milk or formula. Breastmilk also aids the development of the infant’s own immune system.
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  3. Prevents Diarrhoea / Diarrhea. Diarrhoea is the leading cause of death among infants in developing countries. Infants under two months of age who are not breastfed are 25 times as likely to die of diarrhea than infants exclusively breastfed. Continued breastfeeding during diarrhea reduces dehydration, severity, duration, and negative nutritional consequences of diarrhea.
  4. Provides Complete and Perfect Nutrition. Breastmilk is a perfect food that cannot be duplicated. It is more easily digested than any substitute, and it actually alters in composition to meet the changing nutritional needs of the growing infant. It provides all the nutrients and water needed by a healthy infant during the first 6 months of life. Formula or cow’s milk may be too dilute (which reduces its nutritional value) or too concentrated (so that it does not provide enough water), and the proportions of different nutrients are not ideal.
  5. Maximizes a Child’s Physical and Intellectual Potential. Malnutrition among infants up to six months of age can be virtually eradicated by the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. For young children beyond six months, breastmilk serves as the nutritional foundation to promote continued healthful growth. Premature infants fed breastmilk show higher developmental scores as toddlers and higher IQs as children than those not fed breastmilk.
  6. Promotes the Recovery of the Sick Child. Breastfeeding provides a nutritious, easily digestible food when a sick child loses appetite for other foods. When a child is ill or has diarrhea, breastfeeding helps prevent dehydration. Frequent breastfeeding also diminishes the risk of malnutrition and fosters catch-up growth following illness.
  7. Supports Food Security. Breastmilk provides total food security for an infant’s first six months. It maximizes food resources, both because it is naturally renewing, and because food that would otherwise be fed to an infant can be given to others. A mother’s milk supply adjusts to demand; only extremely malnourished mothers have a reduced capacity to breastfeed.
  8. Bonds Mother and Child. Breastfeeding immediately after delivery encourages the “bonding” of the mother to her infant, which has important emotional benefits for both and helps to secure the child’s place within the family. Breastfeeding provides physiological and psychological benefits for both mother and child. It creates emotional bonds, and has been known to reduce rates of infant abandonment.
  9. Helps Birth Spacing. In developing countries, exclusive breastfeeding reduces total potential fertility as much as all other modern contraceptive methods combined. Mothers who breastfeed usually have a longer period of infertility after giving birth than do mothers who do not breastfeed.
  10. Benefits Maternal Health. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of fatal postpartum hemorrhage, the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and of anemia. By spacing births, breastfeeding allows the mother to recuperate before she conceives again.
  11. Saves Money. Breastfeeding is among the most cost-effective of child survival interventions. Households save money; and institutions economize by reducing the need for bottles and formulas. By shortening mothers’ hospital stay, nations save foreign exchange. There are none of the expenses associated with feeding breastmilk substitutes (e.g. the costs of fuel, utensils, and special formulas, and of the mother’s time in formula preparation).
  12. Is Environment-friendly. Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution. Breastmilk is a naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping, or disposal.
  13. Breastfeeding is Clean. It does not require the use of bottles, nipples, water and formula which are easily contaminated with bacteria that can cause diarrhoea.
  14. Milk intolerance is very rare in infants who take only breastmilk.

http://www.rehydrate.org/breastfeed/index.html
Photo by Tony Ocado



THE CRITICAL SENSITIVE PERIOD
November 10, 2008, 2:37 am
Filed under: birth | Tags: , , , ,

Michel Odent on Mother & Baby separation:

Oxytocin is more than just the hormone responsible for uterine contractions. When it is injected into the brain of a mammal, even a male or virgin rat, it induces maternal behavior, i.e., the need to take care of pups. One of the greatest peaks of oxytocin a woman can have in her life is just after childbirth, if the birth has occurred without any intervention. It is also necessary for the “milk ejection reflex.” In fact, oxytocin is involved in any episode of sexual life, and both partners release oxytocin during intercourse. It is even involved in any aspect of love and friendship: when we share a meal with companions, we increase our levels of oxytocin.Morphine-like hormones, commonly called endorphins, also play important roles in the birth process. Up to the birth of the baby, both mother and fetus release their own endorphins, so that during the hour following birth they are still impregnated with opiates. It is well known that opiates induce a state of dependency. When mother and baby haven’t yet eliminated their endorphins and are close to each other, the beginning of a deep bond is created. In fact, when sexual partners are close to each other and impregnated with opiates, another kind of bonding may result that follows exactly the same model as the bonding between mother and baby.

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It is not only the mother who is releasing hormones during labor and delivery. During the last contractions, the fetus is also releasing a high level of hormones of the adrenaline family. One of the effects of this is that the baby is alert at birth, with eyes wide open and pupils dilated. Mothers are fascinated by the gaze of their newborn babies. It seems that this eye-to-eye contact is an important feature of the beginning of the mother-baby relationship, which probably helps the release of the love hormone, oxytocin. Both mother and baby are in a complex hormonal balance that will not last long and will never happen again. Physiologists today can interpret what ethologists have known for half a century by studying the behavior of animals: where the development of the capacity to love is concerned, there is a critical, sensitive period just after the birth.



Prenatal love
April 23, 2008, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

How to provide a prenatal environment that nurtures your growing baby.

By Thomas R. Verny with Pamela Weintraub

Where do we first experience the nascent emotions of love, rejection, anxiety, and joy? In the first school we ever attend—in our mother’s womb. Naturally, the student brings into this situation certain genetic endowments: intelligence, talents, and preferences. However, the teacher’s personality exerts a powerful influence on the result. Is she interested, patient, and knowledgeable? Does she spend time with the student? Does she like him, love him? Does she enjoy teaching? Is she happy, sad, or distracted? Is the classroom quiet or noisy, too hot or too cold, a place of calm and tranquility or a cauldron of stress?

Numerous lines of evidence and hundreds of research studies have convinced me that it makes a difference whether we are conceived in love or in hate, anxiety or violence. It makes a difference whether the mother desires to be pregnant and wants to have a child or whether that child is unwanted. It makes a difference whether or not the mother feels supported by family and friends, is free of addictions, lives in a stable, stress-free environment, and receives good prenatal care.

All these things matter enormously, not so much by themselves but as part of the ongoing education of the unborn child.

Nurturers and Managers
Having a baby is, for most people, an act of faith. It represents a belief in a better tomorrow, not just for themselves but for the world. But unless we actively improve our understanding and treatment of the unborn baby and the young child, that faith will go unrewarded because we may blindly pass on to our children the neurotic parenting we ourselves may have received. One key to parenting is flexibility. Those who can adapt to their baby’s wants and needs will be nurturing and responsive. Those who cannot change their lives to accommodate the child—who expect the baby to adapt to them instead of the other way around—may be too rigid and uninvolved to parent well.

These days that task is harder than ever, given the frequent necessity for both parents in a family to work. As parents who work, we delegate responsibilities—including the care of our children and our homes. To keep our lives afloat, to juggle all the elements, we tend to become as managerial in our private lives as we are in our jobs.

It is during pregnancy that parents—those who work as well as those who don’t—must create a balance for living. I urge both partners to examine their commitments and to create a plan for increasing their time away from work so they can spend more time at home with the baby.P



Baby massage illustrations

Postnatal Stimulation
Baby Massage

From Make Way for Baby.com

Preparation

Choose a moment in which you and your child are relaxed and calm. A half hour after the baby has eaten is recommended.

Be sure that the room temperature is warm (78 degrees Fahrenheit). Undress the baby completely, if the weather is cold or humid cover the areas of the baby’s body that are not being massaged.

Put the baby on a soft surface so your baby will feel comfortable and secure. Keep some little pillows handy.

It is a good idea to put some cream on your hands and rub them together so they will be soft and warm.

Basically the massage flows from the head to the toes. With soft and gentle touches you will work on the head, face, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach and legs.

While you massage your baby look tenderly at him/her. Doing this you stimulate all the senses of the baby and establish a more intense visual and tactile communication. Feel free to speak to your baby, do not inhibit yourself.

Remember that your touches should be tender do not make mechanic motions. Try to be flexible by not keeping a rigid routine.

If the baby wants to change position let them do so. Do not force your baby to keep a position, you can go back to these areas later on.

Technique

Pressure to use:
Close your eyes and press your eyelids. The pressure you should use is the same as pressing your eyelids without any discomfort.
In the small areas use your fingertips. In bigger areas use the palm of your hand. “Little strokes” mean to touch your baby’s skin gently and “massage” is to softly move the muscles under the skin.

Step by Step Description

The head:
Touch the forehead, temples and the base of the cranium
Eyebrows and eyelids
Nose
Cheeks
The area around the mouth
Ears and surrounding area

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Jaws:
The frontal part of the neck
(Remember doing this very gently)
Make small strokes and massage the posterior part of the neck with slow movements down to the shoulders.
Softly put both hands on his/her shoulders. Caress the baby from the neck to the shoulders in the direction of his chest.

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Shoulders and arms:
Form a ring with your fingers and thumb around your child’s arm. Begin to caress around the armpit and then go down along the arm. Be very careful when you arrive at the elbow, it is a very sensitive region. In the wrist you can gently practice turning motions using. Remember to take great care with all these motions.
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Stomach:
Massage the stomach in a circular way (the genitalia area is excluded from the massage). Caress the abdomen moving your hands clockwise beginning below the ribs.

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Legs:
Caress each leg with your whole hand, press gently on the thighs.  Slightly flex the legs and knees pressing the thighs gently against the body.
Heels and feet:
A foot massage is very relaxing. Begin by putting a soft pressure on each toe, then the foot and return to the toes again. Sometimes a foot massage can help reduce stomach pain. Caress gently all the toes. Apply circular movements at the heels.
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Back:
Turn your baby around.
Begin with large and slow movements that include head, neck, back and legs always in one direction.
Give your baby soft strokes on the shoulders and back and massaging with your fingertips with circular movements. Do not massage the spinal cord, only put your hands over it and let the baby feel the warm sensation. You can even make small circular movements on your baby’s back.
Put your hands at the top of the legs and  begin gently caressing while working your way down towards the foot.

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When you arrive to the feet start again from the top.  With soft and slow movements finish the massage starting once again at the head and back to the toes.

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REMEMBER:

  • Repeat these exercises when you want to have a few special moments with your baby.
  • Do them when you have adequate time for you and your child.
  • Do not feel impatient if the baby does not cooperate…simply  try again later.

Finally: There are many ways to express your love, this is ONLY ONE of them…



Building a Foundation for Compassionate Intelligence

by Diane GordonHow important is it for children to be exposed to nature? “Essential,” says Joann Lundgren, a long-time volunteer with the Foundation for Global
Community. “The earlier children connect with the natural world, the better for them and for society as a whole”

A parent, grandparent, former teacher and school principal, Lundgren heads a team from the Foundation which offers a course for parents and
teachers titled “Children and Nature.” Explains Lundgren: “Allowing the young child to experience the natural world is not just a nice thing to do.
It is vital. Children have a basic need to establish a deep emotional connection to the natural world. Until our society recognizes and finds a way
to honor this need, the future of our culture-and indeed, the future of all life-is endangered. Children who are denied the opportunity to bond with
the Earth are also denied the opportunity to develop a moral compass.

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“It is this kind of profound bonding, first with the family and then with the Earth, that ensures that the child by age fourteen will have established a
foundation for compassionate intelligence-an intelligence that has the well-being of all life as its guiding principle. It is our job as adults to ensure
that our children develop that bond.”

One of Lundgren’s inspirations to create the course came from the writings of The Magical Child. The word
“matrix” is the Latin word for womb or origins and is defined as “that within which something originates, forms, or develops.” In Pearce’s model
each matrix provides a safe secure environment, a source of learning. The first transition from the womb and into a new matrix happens at birth,
which is where the Children and Nature course begins.

gentlebirth.org

Photo by Etolene



Prenatal Influences

from “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child”
by Thomas Verny, M.D. with John Kelly

… at one time or another nearly every expectant mother senses that she and her unborn child are reacting to one another’s feelings. …

  • The fetus can see, hear, experience, taste, and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero (that is, in the uterus — before birth). Most profoundly, he can feel — not with an adult’s sophistication, but feel nonetheless.
  • A corollary to this discovery is that what a child feels and perceives begins shaping his attitudes and expectations about himself. Whether he ultimately sees himself and, hence, acts as a happy or sad, aggressive or meek, secure or anxiety-ridden person depends, in part, on the messages he gets about himself in the womb.
  • The chief source of those shaping messages is the child’s mother. This does not mean every fleeting worry, doubt or anxiety a woman has rebounds on her child. What matters are deep persistent patterns of feeling. Chronic anxiety or a wrenching ambivalence about motherhood can leave a deep scar on an unborn child’s personality. On the other hand, such life-enhancing emotions as joy, elation and anticipation can contribute significantly to the emotional development of a healthy child.
  • New research is also beginning to focus much more on the father’s feelings. Until recently his emotions were disregarded. Our latest studies indicate that this view is dangerously wrong. They show that how a man feels about his wife and unborn child is one of the single most important factors in determining the success of a pregnancy. …



Homebirth- how to convince friends and relatives

Question: My sister and I were discussing childbirth. She is very influenced by her friend, a nurse, to have an intrusive, medicalized birth. What kind of resources can I share with her to show her that a natural childbirth is a wonderful and safe birth choice?

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Dr. Michel Odent: You might first explain to your sister and her friend that a natural childbirth is not a choice. This term can only be used in retrospect, when a woman has given birth without any drug and without any intervention. The environment where you give birth is the real choice. You must explain that your main objective is safety and that according to common sense an easy birth is safer than a difficult birth. So your priority is to make the birth as easy as possible thanks to an environment that can satisfy your basic needs when you are in labor.

Your basic needs are easy to explain in the current scientific context. Physiologists, scientists who study the body functions, tell us that adrenaline (the emergency hormone we release in particular when we are scared or when we are cold) makes difficult the release of oxytocin, the hormone necessary for effective uterine contractions. You can explain that you release a lot of adrenaline when you are in an unfamiliar and clinical environment. You can add that, in contrast, you can imagine yourself giving birth in a familiar environment, with – for example – nobody else around than an experienced, motherly, low profile and silent midwife knitting in a corner. It is probable that in such an environment your body will work well.

The second aspect of the safety preoccupation is: what to do if there is something wrong? In the age of the safe c-section and widespread cell-phones, there is usually an easy answer to this question, which should always be the second one.

Many health professionals need to learn to think in terms of ‘ratio of benefits to risks’. Where out of hospital births are concerned, they immediately ask: ‘what will you do if…’ instead of asking first: ‘how to make the birth as easy as possible’.

You are asking what kind of resources you can share. You might share data about the Dutch birth statistics. In Holland, where 82% of the midwives are independent primary care givers, about 31% of the births occur at home, and an autonomous midwife attends many of the hospital births. The rates of c-sections are around 10% for the whole country and more than 90% of the laboring women do not need an epidural anesthesia. The birth outcomes are much better than in the USA (number of babies alive and healthy at birth).

Do not recommend books about ‘natural childbirth’ because they are usually written for the converted. Instead you might suggest updated books focusing on one of the main aspects of industrialized childbirth, such as ‘The Caesarean. Free Association Books 2004’. In order to help your sister and friend to learn to think long term, you might indicate the ‘Primal Health Research Data Base‘ that is specialized in studies exploring the long term consequences of what happened at the beginning of our life. It appears that the way we are born has life long consequences and that, today, in spite of the safe caesarean, we have good reasons to try to rediscover the basic needs of women in labor and of newborn babies.

Michel Odent, M.D.

For several decades Michel Odent has been instrumental in influencing the history of childbirth and health research. As a practitioner he developed the maternity unit at Pithiviers Hospital in France in the 1960s and ’70s. He is familiarly known as the obstetrician who introduced the concept of birthing pools and home-like birthing rooms. His approach has been featured in eminent medical journals such as Lancet, and in TV documentaries such as the BBC film Birth Reborn. With six midwives he was in charge of about one thousand births a year and could achieve ideal statistics with low rates of intervention. After his hospital career he practiced home birth.

As a researcher he founded the Primal Health Research Center in London (UK), which focuses upon the long term consequences of early experiences. An overview of the Primal Health Research Data Bank clearly indicates that health is shaped during the primal period (from conception until the first birthday). It also suggests that the way we are born has long term consequences in terms of sociability, aggressiveness or, otherwise speaking, capacity to love.

Photo by Pierre-Olivier Mazoyer