Once again, KK is back in our lives. 🙂
I talked about KK briefly in a post about doulas and how she was a big big (BIG) help to us when Sam was born. Naturally with Jamie, I jumped at the chance to work with her again, and specifically asked for her with Marcia of Triangle Mothercare. While I’m sure Marcia’s doulas are all well-trained and highly capable, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to a contract if it wasn’t going to be KK. It is always a treat to have her here. Now I’m glad that Sam has taken to her too, even if we’re sure she doesn’t remember KK from way back when.
Apart from the physical help KK provides such as laundry, cooking (yummy yummy food!), picking up after Sam and of course, caring for Jamie so that I can get some rest, she takes time to teach me about newborn care. One of the things I love about her is that she’s always reading up to keep herself and her techniques current, and “experimenting” on her theories as well (which is what My Mommyology is all about if you think about it). Actually KK has a lot of subjects to experiment with since she does this all for a living and can refine her theories as she goes along. So I tend to believe her and do what she says.
Here are some of the lessons and tips she’s shared with me, both old (circa 2008) and new. I have my own opinions about some of them and feel free to share yours as well based on your own observations and experiences! (I will go ahead and divide this post into two parts so that we don’t risk information overload).
On Natural Rhythms. KK introduced the 90-minute Sleep Program book to me when I was having trouble with Sam’s sleep patterns, and as I’ve mentioned in my sleep-training posts it did help us a lot. KK operates around the babies’ natural rhythm to help you form a schedule that is doable for both the baby and the mom.
She says she has recently learned that newborns aren’t built with the 90-minute cycle yet, but actually start out with 30-minute cycles, that build to 45-minutes and then eventually get to 90-minutes as they reach 3-4 months. So the challenge, she tells me, is getting a full feeding into the awake period of the 30-minutes, as well as a diaper change before the newborn falls asleep again. Otherwise, another 30-minute cycle starts up and the baby may be tired but won’t be able to fall asleep, and that will result in major crying. Eventually she says by following their natural rhythms, you can “schedule” (the term is used loosely since we still have to be flexible as newborns aren’t robots) feedings every 2-3 hours and know that between that, it’s about helping them get to sleep.
On Breastfeeding. One of the primary roles a doula takes on is to first and foremost establish a good foundation for breastfeeding. I remember KK walking into the house three years ago with so much literature it made my Mommy mush brain (that’s what she fondly calls moms’ brains after they’ve given birth) spin. Eventually though, it all made sense. Here are some of the ones helpful to me:
- There is nothing that cannot be cured by breastmilk (sore cracked nipples, a clogged baby tearduct and dry lips are a few of them — I know this for a fact).
- Breastmilk trivia: KK told me about this experiment where they put two petri dishes of breastmilk, one as a control and the other inoculated with bacteria. After a certain amount of time, they discovered that both dishes were bacteria-free.
- To build the milk supply, use the first three weeks for the baby to feed exclusively from you (ie no bottle-feeding). If you need to pump, do it to express excess milk and keep the flow going but not to feed the baby just yet.
- Babies will drink about 30% more breastmilk from you than any pump can express.
- It’s important to shift the baby’s position during one full feeding on one side (from the traditional hold to the football hold for instance), so that you work all the milk ducts and they all continue to produce milk. The ducts that are working the hardest while feeding are the ones where the baby’s chin points towards. (Okay try to imagine this, and if you are breastfeeding try to observe it as well — the milk “let down” has a different sensation for both holds).
- When burping the baby, an option is to hold them on your right arm slightly upright and turned towards you. This gives their stomach a little bit more room to get the milk down and the air bubbles out and up, without much spit-up. Holding them upright as often as possible also prevents them from developing reflux.
There’s more to be learned from KK! Coming soon. 🙂