A Broken Record (scratched CD?)

After all of these years of helping families birth their precious babies….I have found that there are times that I feel like a broken record. (for those of you reading this who are too young, let me update that saying – I feel like a scratched CD). There are certain things that I have found that I have to say to nearly every client…

1. You can not over-feed a breastfed baby – Yes, this is true. You can not over-feed a breastfed baby! You CAN over-feed a bottlefed baby, however! Newborns have a number of reflexes that are normal and healthy; things like grasping your finger when you put it into their hands or throwing their arms out in a “startle” when they feel like they are falling. The reflexes are part of the primal brain and not an action they are choosing to do. One of those reflexes is a suckling reflex – you can initiate this reflex by stimulating or pressing on the back of the roof of the baby’s mouth. When a baby breastfeeds, they CHOOSE to turn their head, open their mouth, draw the nipple into their mouth, and suckle for every bit of milk they get. If you push a bottle into their mouth it will stimulate that reflex and the baby will suckle EVEN WHEN NOT HUNGRY. Ever seen a mom wriggling the bottle nipple into a  baby’s closed mouth? She’s over-feeding that baby. A breastfed baby, however, CAN NOT BE OVER-FED! There is no such thing, so if baby wants to nurse, let them nurse!

2. You will know when you are in labor – and yes, you will know when to push. Do you know when you are hungry? Do you know when you have to go pee? Pooh? Do you know when you are ill? Do you know when you need sleep? Don’t roll your eyes at me….I’m serious! Do you or did you know when these things happened? Of course – and you will know when you are in labor and you will know when it is time to push because your body will tell you – just like it always has.

3. Just take each one (contraction) as it comes. The ultimate question I get asked…how much longer before the baby is out. I know that when you are in labor it seems like you want to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, you want to see the finish line in front of you so that you know that the race has almost ended….the problem is that if you focus on that end-game, you are likely to stumble. You need to look at the ground in front of you and focus on each step you’re taking – don’t try and find the end because you won’t see it until you are almost on top of it! In other words…if the baby’s not crowning then you know you have one more contraction to do, so focus on that one contraction then we will re-evaluate and see if you have one more to go through. Many many more women request epidurals due to FEAR OF WHAT’S TO COME than do because of the pain of the moment!! They can do *here* and *now*…but they get scared of “what’s to come”…how much longer, how much more intense. Stay in the moment!!!

4. Enjoy being pregnant! I know you’re excited about having your baby, but you can spend so much time looking forward to the next event that you squander the joy of where you are now! I see parents do the same thing their first baby’s first year – they are so excited to see them roll over/crawl/walk/etc, that they kind of “miss out” on the joy of them being itty bitty. Enjoy NOW…tomorrow will come, but you only get today once! Enjoy being pregnant with this baby – you can enjoy looking into their eyes and holding them in your arms once they are here, but you can’t enjoy being pregnant with this baby ever again for the rest of your life!

5. THANK YOU! Thank you for the gift you have given me of allowing me to come along this wonderful journey with you! Thank you for letting me get to know your baby while still nestled in your womb, for allowing me to celebrate your growing baby-bump of a belly, for trusting me through the most intense and vulnerable moment of your life, and for giving me the complete ecstasy of being present as your baby gets their first glimpse at this big world and calls out, “I’m here!” Thank you for memories that will make me smile for the rest of my life and fills my soul with joy. Thank you….


  1. Kelli wrote:

    Number 3 is so important for me and so true. The only time I came close to panic was when I was thinking I can do this now but not all night, this is too intense for active labor just starting oh no! Um in retrospect I was getting pushy, if I had paid attention to that fact it may have been easier to stay calm, but catching my reflection in the mirror and tellnig her to relax did the trick along with knowing if it did last long at least the pool would be ready. And thank you Stephanie for being oh so deserving of the trust you are given. Thank you thank you thank you!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  2. Brealin wrote:

    I was nodding my head the whole time! Another great post Stephanie! And thank you for being the wonderful midwife you are!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Tracie wrote:

    I love all of these points but #4 really hits home with me right now because I loved my last pregnancy but it feels like it slipped by so quickly and now I miss it. I’m going to have to force myself to stop reading your posts—they make me want to be pregnant again and my baby is only 7 weeks old! 🙂

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  4. Julie Westover wrote:

    You’re the sweetest broken record I’ve ever met!!! My husband & family thank you for the knowledge and grace you share. You are wonderful.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Sara wrote:

    I started to argue with the “you’ll know when you’re in labor” comment, because I at first thought that I didn’t “know” until the end.

    Now that I think about it, though, I did know, as soon as it started. I just didn’t TRUST my body…I trusted the books that I read that said first-time moms have longer labors typically, and that “early labor” is mild and lasts for hours, and that you should wait until contractions get too strong to talk through to leave for the hospital. I trusted the books over what my body was saying- ‘you’re in labor already, geez. I’m making it easy on you, just believe me!’

    just so funny…

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  6. Amy Lynn Drorbaugh wrote:

    I’m totally getting a henna belly with the next one.

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

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