Your Baby's WHAT???
The vestibular system is the “vestibule” or “entryway” for learning into the brain. The vestibular system uses information from fluid in the inner ear to let us know the overall position of our body, whether or not we are moving, and if we are moving how quickly and in what direction.
At birth, with little of the necessary sensory input that is required to organize, develop and grow, your baby's vestibular system was largely undeveloped.
Ok, So What DOES the Vestibular System Do?
The vestibular system and its development is responsible for all balance, and balance, in turn, is responsible for all mobility: everything from lifting the head or arm, to rolling over, to sitting, and, especially, crawling and standing and walking. Additionally, the vestibular system develops muscle tone, because it teaches your baby which muscles to stabilize to keep his body balanced in different positions aiding in the development of good posture and coordination. Vestibular activity also helps head movement to become coordinated with eye movement, teaching your baby how to move his eyes while changing position. Research is showing that babies who have been given regular vestibular stimulation in the earliest years of life display improved brain and body development.
So How Can You Support the Development of Your Baby’s Vestibular System?
Well...that's the easy and fun part!
Always offer adequate head support and keep movements gentle for very young babies.
By being aware of the importance of early movement and position changes for vestibular development, we can take simple steps from the start that can make a big impact on our babies’ lifelong sensory processing skills. A strong vestibular system develops through movement, so keep your little one moving!
Find More Information:
Hannaford, Carla. (2005) Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head. Salt Lake City, Utah: Great River Books.
Karp, Harvey, M.D. (2002) The Happiest Baby On The Block. New York City, New York: Bantam Dell.
From my heart to yours,
A woman is not a goddess because she has had an all natural unmedicated home water birth. And a woman is not a goddess because she is able to successfully breastfeed her baby. A woman is a true goddess when she makes informed choices and decisions relating to her body and her baby; when her choices and decisions are supported by science, psychology, medicine, (both eastern & western), instinct and love; and when she has the courage and strength to defend her decisions and to be fiercely committed to her choices.
That said, a woman is a true goddess when she has the softness and sweetness to accept, respect and support women whose choices differ from her own. And lastly, a woman is a true goddess when she accepts, respects and supports her body and her baby when they aren't able to meet the expectations of the decisions and choices she has made. At which point, a true goddess must be prepared to graciously make a new plan and adapt to a new journey without self-judgement or shame.
A woman's journey into motherhood is one of the most monumental journeys of her life; a journey she will remember all her life. The decisions and choices a woman makes regarding how she brings her baby into this world will be the first she will make as a mother. One would never embark on a journey up the side of Mount Everest without knowing the risks involved, taking the necessary safety precautions and adequately preparing for that journey. So, when it comes to the birth journey...make a plan. To make a plan a woman must learn all she can. Education is empowerment. "When we know better, we do better"~ Maya Anjelou
Fortunately, we live in an age when we simply google "birth plan" and we get 982,000,000 results. And, of course, there is no end to advice from seemingly well intentioned family and friends. As Sarah J. Buckley MD makes clear in her illuminating book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mother, it is important for women to be able to "distinguish cultural disapproval from genuine risks when they evaluate birth choices" Bottom line: a woman must do her research so that she has the confidence to make informed choices and decisions about where she wants to give birth, whom she wants in attendance and what, (if any), medical interventions are acceptable to her. Once she is confident in her choices, she will feel empowered to defend her choices and justified to feel indignant when she is not supported and encouraged to give birth in whatever manner and wherever she feels is the most safe and comfortable place for her baby and herself.
All that said, things may not go according to plan. That is when a true goddess accepts, respects and adapts without self-judgement, self-recrimination or feelings of inadequacy or shame. At the end of the day the objective is to bring a healthy new soul into the world.
Now, giving birth is simply the first step into the sacred sisterhood of motherhood. Almost daily a mother will find herself confronted with situations when she may be tempted to judge and shame herself or another mother. Social media, replete with images of mamas that look like they’ve just stepped off the red carpet while breastfeeding a newborn, can quickly become a trigger for guilt, criticism and shame. This motherhood stuff is tough enough...mothers must strip away the internal and external judgement and respect & support one another. Let's lift each other up through education, compassion and respect. As that old African proverb goes...It take a village to raise a child. Let's create a village of true goddess mamas and happy and healthy children.
From my heart to yours,
8 Self-Care Tips for New Moms....
Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is the belief that you are worthy of a healthy and joyful life. Self-care is fueled by self-love, self-worth and self-advocacy. As a mother, you are acutely attuned to your baby's cries, but please honor and tend to your own cries for self-care. Here are a just a few self care tips...(in no particular order)
1. Sleep when your baby sleeps! #1 on my list for reason. You hear it all the time, but it takes discipline to actually do it! Tending to your babies needs throughout the day and night is exhausting! Taking naps and going to bed early is not an indulgence it is a necessity!
2. Stay hydrated and plan for nourishing meals. Keep a glass of water by your side all day long- especially if you are breastfeeding. Plan your meals for each week and make large casseroles and soups that can be easily warmed up. Sit down at a table for at least one meal a day.
3. Buy some postpartum clothes. You may be months away from fitting into those skinny jeans, so consider investing in a new sweater or two or a cute dress and some stretchy leggings. It's amazing what a little retail therapy can do to lift the spirit.
4. Get out of the house! Getting out and spending time with friends and family is good for the soul and will help you feel like yourself again. Maybe find a mom group in your area. Having a "mommy community" lightens the load of motherhood and gives you a safe welcoming place to share joys and woes.
5. Give yourself a treat! Get a *massage or a manicure or any treatment that makes you feel special. Seriously, do it! I know it may be hard to time feedings and get out the door, but you deserve a little pampering. Remember you work hard and you are worth it!
6. Exercise. After you receive the go-ahead from your doctor find ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine. A great way to do that is to find ways to exercise with your baby. Get out for walks, join a baby & me yoga class, (if you are reading this blog you likely have) or take an hour for yourself to hit the gym…whatever you like! Just do it! Don’t worry about exercising to get your body back, (9 months on, 9 months off…quite possibly more), but exercise for your mood. The benefits are real and proven.
7. Get ready for the day. Getting ready for the day really helps to avoid the blues. There may be days when you may not see anyone and it would be so easy to stay sloppy all day, but it’s not good for your mood. Take a nice hot shower, blow dry your hair & get dressed….even if you’re not going to see anyone all day.
8. Establish a routine. I know some people love schedules and some don’t, but in my humble opinion a routine or a schedule is super helpful in maintaining sanity as a new mom. Find a routine that works for you and your family and stick with it. Everyone will benefit and eventually you will be able to take more time for yourself because you’ll know your baby’s schedule.
*If you are looking for a great place to get a prenatal or regular massage, check out Soma Studios: They offer therapeutic massage, prenatal massage & even infant massage. They just opened a brand new studio location in Kits! https://somastudios.ca/massage-therapy-rmt/
From my heart to yours...
What is OCC? When your baby is born approximately 1/3 of your baby's blood is outside your baby's body. That blood is still pulsating through your baby's umbilical cord and the placenta. This blood is rich in iron and oxygenated red blood cells, rich in immune supporting white blood cells and rich in stem cells. When that blood has had a chance to travel back into your baby's body it is the optimal time to clamp and cut your baby's umbilical cord.
How long does it take? Well, that varies; however, on average it takes 3-5 minutes for most of your baby's blood to return to your baby's body. That said, some opt to wait until the placenta has been fully delivered before severing the cord. A simple guideline is to "wait for white". Wait for your baby's umbilical cord to turn limp and white.
There is currently a social media campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of optimal cord cutting #waitforwhite.
What are the benefits? There are immediate and long term benefits for waiting to sever your baby's umbilical cord. Three that stand out for me are:
Fun Fact: We are the only mammals that routinely sever the umbilical cord as soon as our babies are born.
As always, I encourage you to do your own research."When we know better we do better"~ Maya Anjelou.
From my heart to yours...
Here are just a few resources to start with:
Have you given your baby the daily recommended dose of Vitamin "T"? Never heard of it? Well, Vitamin "T", (which stands for touch), is also known as either loving touch or baby massage and it is vital to your baby's physical and emotional well being. Why is it so important? Well, the skin is the largest organ of the body and we know that when your baby is touched, Nerve Growth Factors are produced causing more development of nerve nets in your baby's nervous system. Additionally, touch stimulates your baby's developing circulatory system-it improves blood circulation thereby helping to awaken your baby's senses and muscles.
Loving Touch not only positively stimulates your baby's nervous and circulatory systems, it aids in digestion, reduces stress hormones, and improves your baby's immune function.
Combine loving touch while gazing into your baby's beautiful eyes and singing a familiar song to your baby and you are providing your baby with a beautiful multi-sensory experience that will help your baby feel safe, secure, and loved. So, give your baby a healthy dose of Vitamin T every day!
From my heart to yours...