What Is It That Every Head of Midwifery Should Re-Learn?

He calls it the ‘shy hormone’, that quirky French genius, who’s steadfast commitment to celebrating a woman’s innate birthing brilliance has been a constant inspiration to me through out my career.

Most obstetricians I have worked with probably only consider it when ‘labour dystocia’ is present! The hormone with the mostest when it comes to allowing the birthing process to move forward to an empowering climax…is oxytocin.

We know a lot about what encourages oxytocin to be present in a woman’s body in abundance, just as we understand what can inhibit its flow.

A list of oxy-pro factors:

Being warm
Being private
Not talking
Feeling safe and loved
Dark environments
Familiar places
Deep relaxation

A list of oxy-antagonist:

Unfamiliar places
Tense body postures
Being inhibited regarding movement
Bright lights
Answering questions
Chit chat

That’s right, both lists are not exhaustive, you can add to them because you get the idea. Now think about arriving at hospital, knowing that your birthing is under way……..and suddenly it becomes VERY clear why the use of ‘synthetic’ oxytocin is on the increase (more about that in a longer post later).

Knowing these basic things about how our bodies have worked for thousands of years should inform our behaviour right? Hey, evolution is no slouch when it comes to efficacy!

Midwives knowing this CAN make a MASSIVE difference, birthing partners deeply understanding these ‘facts’ will know how to behave around their loved ones, I find a sense of hope rises up in me when I consider how simple it will be to facilitate ‘wickedly’ enriching birth experiences.

Men: when the woman you love is being taken over by an oxytocin fuelled trip,you are going to become an adrenalin factory! Why? Because when we were hunter gathers she needed protecting. She still DOES!

The difference now is that ‘fighting’ or ‘fleeing’ is not an option. Being present, as a protective ‘force-field’ of lovingkindness is your job, understanding what’s going on will help.


Breast Feeding, Sex And The Taste Of Milk

Blokes: No whinging about not being able to hold and suck her breasts, They are not yours.

If your child is to grow to his/her potential they are going to need to drink long from them, that’s what they are for.

You need to understand how the physiology of milk production works so you can support her as she breast feeds.

You never know the taste of her milk might turn you on who knows, I hope so. But if not, settle for other kinds of foreplay like cleaning the house.


Safe Sleep

Supporting Breastfeeding

Here’s what our babies have always “expected” at night:

  • ATTENTIVE, SOBER ADULTS: Even in your sleep, you normally know where your baby is just as you know where your bed edge is. Alcohol and certain medications alter awareness during sleep and increase the risk of suffocation.
  • CLEAN AIR: A smoking parent greatly increases the risk of SIDS. (Smoking during pregnancy increases risk even more.)
  • BACK SLEEPING: Stomach sleeping on a flat, horizontal surface increases the risk of suffocation and SIDS unless the surface is a parent’s chest.
  • A GAP-FREE SURFACE: And reasonable airspace, to avoid suffocation risk.
  • BREASTFEEDING: Bottle-feeding behaviors increase suffocation risk. Breastfeeding to sleep is normal and healthy.
  • HUMAN MILK: Formula-fed babies are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS. Suffocation and other risks rise with formula-feeding as well.
  • FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT: A swaddled baby can’t protect his airway…

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Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Supporting Breastfeeding

Most Canadian mothers want to breastfeed their babies, but many end up weaning sooner than they’d planned.  Here are some tips from La Leche League Canada to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals:

  1. Frequent nursing in the early weeks helps to establish your milk production. Watch for your baby’s “I’m hungry” cues – which may be sucking on his hands, smacking his lips, nuzzling your shoulder or cheek, or fussing a little.  Don’t wait until he’s crying or he may not nurse well.
  1. Let baby nurse as long as she wants to at each feeding. Your milk changes throughout the feeding, and only your baby knows when she’s had all she needs.  No need to look at the clock – just watch your baby!
  1. If you find your nipples are sore, ask for help. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt! Often a simple change in positioning can help, but there can be other…

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The Purpose of Life Is Life Itself.

The purpose of Life is Life itself. There is Nothing to find and Nothing that ‘needs’ doing.

Waking up to this ‘meaningless’ Life, relieves us of any sense of obligation to search.

The quest for ‘Life’s purpose’ can become a hiding place for the Ego.

The ‘paper person’ I have come to imagine that I am is just a collection of repetitive thinking/feeling patterns, with no purpose beyond the one I am making up.

Phew, take a chill pill, stare Death in the face, and in ‘It’s’ eyes notice the Deep Nothingness of Your true Identity.

The purpose of Life is Life itself.


Numbered Ordinary Days

‘Teach me to number my days so I might have a heart of wisdom’. Psalms

Having a brush with our mortality has a way of waking us up to the loveliness of the ordinary.

People die on ‘ordinary days ‘ suck the marrow out of this ‘ordinary day’, and if it’s your last you will have tasted life fully.