Like most breastfeeding moms in my generation I learned the three basic breastfeeding positions: cradle hold, football hold, and side-lying. Because I liked to get as much sleep as possible, some of these positions got adapted, especially at night, to a more laid-back position where the baby was supported on or across my body. With the twins, I adopted this laid-back position most of the time as I needed all the help I could get keeping two babies latched at the same time. Imagine my surprise and “Aha” moment years later when I learned about “Natural” or “Laid Back” breastfeeding – using gravity-assisted positions to help newborns and mamas get an easier start.
This excellent article explains this concept so well. Take a look and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I am convinced the reason I had no problems nursing my twin sons was that I adopted these principles out of necessity.
Last weekend I attended the first birthday party of one of my doula babies. I remember the details of his birth so clearly it hardly seems possible that a year has passed. This milestone reminds me of others. My first “official” doula baby – the first birth I attended after my training – is now 2-1/2 years old. The OB didn’t make it for his birth, but there was a great nurse who pulled on her gloves and calmly caught him. My first grandson, whose birth I was especially privileged to attend since it was my son’s wife who was laboring, is almost eight. He now has a little brother – he arrived just as I pulled into the hospital’s parking structure – who will be five in another month. Their new baby brother arrives some time in January. January also heralds the 29th anniversary of the very first birth I witnessed. My sister-in-law had a much longer labor than I had experienced just five months earlier. At one point as she was tapping out her labor rhythm in the rocking chair her baby’s heart rate plummeted suddenly and sharply. Our doctor moved quickly to get her into a position with her head lower than her body and baby stabilized quickly. When she was born we could clearly see what had caused the sudden deceleration. My niece had a true knot in her cord!
From that first birth to the ones for which I am currently on call, I continue to learn something new with each birth I witness, from each labor which I have the privilege to attend. Labors do not always go the way I wish. Sometimes there are “knots” in the form of medical situations or unhelpful attendants or extra long, hard labors. But whatever the outcome, each birth day ushers in a milestone – the first day of a brand new lifetime of possibilities.