Or as many call it, Kangaroo care.
While it is becoming more of a regular in many birthing facilities, there are still many reasons why it is important and why putting it into your birth plan is a good thing to do!
What is kangaroo care?
Just as it sounds, it is holding baby against your bare chest. Typically with a blanket over baby's body to help keep them warm.
It was first introduced regularly in the NICU (it is even considered safe and beneficial in most instances to do while attached to most machines), but now is a pretty regular practice during a birth.
Some people are even able to do it before leaving the OR during a cesarean.
Why kangaroo care?
Body temperature control.
Heart rate and breathing regulation.
Encourages breast milk production.
Why wouldn't you?
Medical issues with birthing person or baby.
Want or need to decrease or eliminate breast milk supply.
You don't want to.
You are planning to sleep, under the influence, or drowsy.
Kangaroo care is an amazing choice and option for most families.
In many instances, even if the birthing person isn't able to do it immediately,
a partner or family member can also help and fill in any time!
It is an excellent way for
new parents to bond with their baby,
even if they aren't the parent doing the feeding.
If you haven't heard by now, mommy wars are a real thing.
Everything from your son's penis to choosing a cesarean or an epidural.
Shaming and persecution.
Isolation and judgement.
It seems everything about being pregnant and being a parent brings on judgement.
You can't turn your head without someone commenting
"You're huge! You have twins in there?"
"Why are you giving them a bottle?"
While we search for our connections with other parents in the isolating early days of motherhood, we enter the forums online: looking to connect, to find answers, and to maybe validate our feelings.
Some, sadly most, are faced with a hard truth...
Judgement comes without warning there too.
A simple post of "why isn't my baby sleeping through the night yet?" can make sparks fly with judgement ranging from sleeping arrangements, sleep training methods, and every personal parenting choice you've made up to this point.
(I mean "it is all your fault you let them come into your bed that one time, so now you've screwed them for life!")
Judgement doesn't stop online, even in public...
"Why aren't you baby wearing?"
"You haven't lost any weight since you had the baby?"
"You should cover up!"
It never seems to end.
We all have our opinions, sadly they typically come out in the form of judgement.
This is why we go above and beyond to ensure we our nonjudgemental!
Our birth doulas won't try to talk you into or out of anything.
Our postpartum doulas aren't going to talk you into or out of anything.
We support you.
You are an adult.
You know your family, yourself, and your child the best!
While we are the experts in normal, we won't try telling you what to do.
The evidence sometimes isn't what you want or what you need to do for you and your family and we know that.
We answer questions and support your thoughts ,feelings, and choices on what you feel is the best.
We can help you by asking questions to get to those conclusions,
but this isn't our life.
We support you, without judgement.
Have a baby.
It'll be fun, they say...
It is all fun and games until you are peeing every time you sneeze
or every time someone says something too funny!
Not to mention jumping on a trampoline is a thing of the past...
Pregnancy and postpartum incontinence is the butt of many jokes and facebook memes,
but it is really frustrating and can be super embarrassing.
So, why exactly does it happen?
The main reason is because your pelvic floor muscles have taken a beating. Even if you have a cesarean, your muscles have stretched and held up quite a lot of extra weight and pressure for a long 9 months. Those muscles that typically help you start and stop the urine flow are just not what and where and how they used to be.
Hormones and your uterus shrinking back down, putting direct pressure onto your bladder can play a big factor as well.
So, what in the world can you do?
We've probably all heard of kegals by this point, but if not it is the exercising/ tensing of your pelvic floor muscles. Like stated above, incontinence is caused by loss of pelvic floor control and strength, these directly target those muscles to help get them into shape.
We probably all know what squats are as well. They help work the pelvic floor muscles in a different way than kegals do and are a perfect compliment. Just ensure you google some good form videos and are doing them properly!
Drink more water.
While it sounds counter intuitive, drinking less only makes you vulnerable to dehydration and UTIs, it doesn't help.
Panty liners and pads.
A lot of the time a small panty liner will be enough to take care of the little bit of a leak you may have, but if not some thin pads are a good option as well. There are so many super trim options out there at this point, no one will ever know and they are super fast absorbing.
Cross you legs.
While this isn't a long term fix, it does help in the moment.
Don't wait until you feel you really have to urinate. Set a timer on your phone and try going every 30-45 minutes and start spreading it out further and further each day. Sometimes we just have to retrain our bodies to help the physical connection.
Talk to your doctor.
They are your best starting off place for what may work more long term if it is an ongoing issue and also may have some treatments, ideas, and options for you.
Seek out a pelvic floor specialist.
Pelvic floor specialists used to only be used for serious issues, but more and more we are realizing what an amazing asset they are to every person post birth! If you don't know one ask your doctor for a referral, they can give you some of the best advice and tips and help you out with targeted exercises.
There's no quick fix for it.
There are medications out there that can help as well,
but once again, your best first line of defense is talking with your care provider about options and ideas.
It happens to nearly every person postpartum and while it may happen at the most inconvenient times,
it isn't just you and you're not alone in the struggle to cough without needing to be on the toilet every time!
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Doula trainer, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!