Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Mothering in Israel

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me how it is to raise a baby in Israel. This question, along with some reading I've been doing on ethnopediatrics* got me thinking about how my mothering experiencing has been unique based on my location.

Here's a few things I've noticed:

  1. Sharing the News

    I first noticed a cultural difference in how Israelis approach pregnancy differently than Americans when it came to sharing the news. Most of my American friends paused for a second, sometimes asking personal questions (if the pregnancy was planned or if we were excited) before they expressed their excitement. Israelis, on the other hand, expressed instantaneous joy, almost as if the child in my womb was one of their own.

    Maybe this is because in the Judaic tradition, having children is considered to be a mitzvah or good deed, according to the Genesis 1:28 command to "Be Fruitful and Multiply." This is one of the most important mitzvot because without children in the earth, who would fulfill the law? No matter what was going on in our personal lives, having a baby was still celebrated as a good thing!


  2. Prenatal Appointments

    My OB/GYN, a Jewish immigrant from France, never took my weight and I never knew how effaced or dilated I was before I delivered. Sometimes I didn't feel quite as informed as some of my States-side friends who were expecting at the same time, but I think this helped me "live in denial" about when my labor was starting, as my Doula suggested, keeping all anxiety (positive or negative) low in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Whether this lack of technical info is an Israeli thing, or a French thing, I don't know. In a nation of immigrants, maybe its one in the same!


  3. Out and About

    In Israel, babies are everywhere! With a birth rate of 19.7 per every 1000 people as compared to America's 13.8, there literally are more babies over here. Even so, when I first moved here I was surprised to see very small babies, like 2 weeks old, around town. Since this was the norm in Jerusalem, and I had family in town, I was out and about soon after giving birth, too. You might remember seeing photos from this trip to the North when Aviel was two weeks old.

    Although seeing so many small babies around town was a point of culture shock for me in the beginning, it didn't occur to me that going out so soon after giving birth was a bit unusual until some of my American friends commented on staying in for months and hibernating with their newborns. Whether to stay in, or go out, and when to receive guests after a baby varies from culture to culture. Just recently a Korean friend shared with me that they don't receive guest, leave the house, or shower (traditionally) for three weeks!

    I don't know how I'll do baby number two. Being out so much presented some challenges when learning to nurse, but it was fun to be the mom on the streets with the tiny baby that everyone was admiring.


  4. Babywearing

    We live in an urban environment, on the third floor of a building that does not have an elevator. Babywearing is the most efficient means of travel and something I thoroughly enjoy. If I was in the States where the most common method of travel is by car, I don't know that I would have had the opportunity to embrace this as a mothering style the way I have in Israel! I've blogged about it here and here, so no need to reiterate things I've already said about the glorious benefits of carrying my baby!

  5. Nursing isn't Taboo

    The orthodox community is very modest, but its accepted that breastfeeding is best. Aviel has eaten in parks, malls, restaurants, buses, airports, under waterfalls, in deserts.... all over. And because Jerusalem has a very international population, I've noticed that my friends from other places are not opposed to nursing beyond the first year, practicing child led weaning. I don't know how long we'll go, but from the things I've learned from my international group of friends, it does have me thinking that going beyond Aviel's first birthday might not be such a bad idea.


  6. Its Hot!

    No HVAC here. This actually means a lot for how I care for the baby, whether its giving baths during the afternoon, or not dressing him in as many layers as babies who have different interior climate conditions. The area where its affected how I care for Aviel the most is in feedings. I nurse around the clock. I don't want him to get dehydrated, so he gets his milk whenever he wants it. On some hot days, that's about every 45 minutes. I'm all for cue-based feedings (aka feeding on demand) because I've seen the best results in Aviel's weight gain, keeping milk supply up, and building a strong attachment between the two of us when I'm responsive to his cues rather than feeding by the clock. Living with more of a direct awareness of Israel's climate has only increased my convictions about this. Aviel knows if he's thirsty in the summer heat, so I trust his indications!


  7. Less Baby Stuff

    We don't have a Target. We don't have a Walmart. We don't have a huge selection of baby gear. What we do have is usually pretty expensive, because its likely imported and has a VAT along with regular sales tax added to the price. Most of the baby gear we have around the house is borrowed from friends who have had toys and products shipped in from the US. The nice thing about this is that we get to test out products to decide whether or not its a worth while purchase. For example, several months ago we borrowed a Graco pack'n'play, which we loved, so we decided to buy one. We couldn't find a Graco anywhere around town, so be bought an Infanti version.

    Another benefit of not having as much "stuff" is that it keeps us close. We don't have Aviel off in a corner entertaining himself in an exersaucer (not that I think there's anything wrong with such toys... especially if Mama wants to take a shower!). He's usually with us, in our arms, in a wrap, or playing at our feet. As architect Mies van der Rohe said, "Less is more." Our lifestyle of play with Aviel is more simplistic and organic; and I like that.


There's so much more to share about doctor visits, and biblical sites! Check back in later as the list continues!

***

*Ethnopediatics is the study of how different cultures approach pregnancy, childbirth, and raising babies.

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When to Start Your Family
Start Your Family
Something Special (Part 1)

Monday, September 27, 2010

At the Sound of His Voice

I believe You are listening... I believe that You move at the sound of my voice...

Three years have passed since I first heard Misty Edwards sing that line from Dove's Eyes but today it pierced my heart.

"Do I really believe you move at the sound of my voice?" I asked the Lord.

I'm not always so sure that I do. Lately its felt like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling rather than penetrating the heavens.

"Do I really move the God of All?" I wondered.

***

Did you know Americans are amongst the slowest in the world to respond to their baby's cry? This is something I've learned since living in Israel, where total strangers will tell you to nurse your crying baby! In America, the delay is related to our cultural value of individualism. Leaving a baby cry is thought to help it foster self-reliance and independence; although, there is a body of research which indicates that a prompt response actually promotes a healthier sense of confidence in a child, long term.

In the six months that I've been mothering Aviel, as I've prayerfully taken in this information, as well as the chutzpah from fellow bus riders, the Lord has convicted me to be highly responsive to his sweet voice - and this has become a mission for me. When he cries, I do my best to soothe him. I want him to trust that when he calls, I'll answer. I want him to have a strong sense of security that I hear his voice....

that I hear his voice...

that I hear his voice... and respond.

Then the revelation hit:

I move at the sound of Aviel's voice.

All this time I have been wondering why this was so heavy on my heart. My assumption has been that it was all about growing a healthy Aviel; that there must be something about his character and personality that I would need to nurture through being responsive to his cry. I believe this to be true, but what surprised me is that the Lord also wanted to do a work of healing in me through this process. I went into the journey of parenting expecting the Lord to do a work of sanctification in my life, as I learn to selflessly care for my child at all hours of the day and night. But a work of knowing Him more intimately, healing doubts that he hears and answers my prayers, this is where I am awed and amazed by His goodness.

If my love for Aviel prompts me to move at the sound of his voice, how much greater does the Lord, whose love is perfect, move at the sound of my voice.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear... 1 John 4:18

And the Lord uses my little one to draw me to Himself.

I believe You are listening... I believe that You move at the sound of my voice...






Related Posts:
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Something Special Part 3 (Aviel's Birth Story)
Binding the Vanity of Creativity

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And the Trumpet Blows!

Well, this year its more like a rooster's crow thanks to our neighbor's new pet! No hard feelings, though. Its fun for Aviel to hear his cookoo ree coo. This is a Hebrew speaking rooster. That's what he says over here.

We just finished up the first of the fall High Holy Days, Rosh HaShana, or The Feast of Trumpets! Rosh HaShana is the Jewish New Year, and its celebrated over two days. Last year, I gave some of the biblical background for this feast. You can read about that here. As with all of the appointed times of the Lord, Rosh HaShana is a Shabbat, or two Shabbats, actually. This year those two Shabbats fell on a Thursday and Friday, and on top of that, we had our normal Saturday Shabbat. That's three Shabbats in a row! In Israel, that means for three days, all public transportation stopped, and all businesses were closed.

We take our rest seriously over here.

This year, we hosted Safta (grandma), and our lovely friends, the Ramirezes, for dinner in our home. We feasted on a special round Challah bread and customary apples and honey (symbolizing a sweet new year), before proceeding to the main course of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, and my Aunt June's Dump Cake for dessert. It was a sweet evening of fellowship! The wonderful religious* family that lives next door has a tradition of singing on Shabbat (these are different neighbors than the ones with the rooster). I fell asleep that night listening to their precious voices lifting up praises. May they one day know their Messiah.

We spent the next three days resting, taking family walks around the neighborhood, spending time with friends, doing some creative writing, and trying out a few easy recipes from this blog. We like Shabbats to be days of worship and creativity, while we abstain from laborious household chores and daily work.

The atmosphere of Jerusalem has been one of joyful celebration. The three of us had a great three days of rest and feel ready to start a New Year!

Next Holy Day: Yom Kippur.


*In Israel, when we say "religious" it is in reference to orthodox Judaism. Our neighbors happen to be "Modern Orthodox."

Related Posts:
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Babywearing Around the House

Living in an urban environment, I wear Aviel out and about pretty much every day. Its much easier to wrap him up and catch the bus, than to get the stroller out, especially if I'm by myself. We also like to take a nice evening stroll before bedtime. I'll put him in the wrap and we'll walk to the gan (garden or playground), watch the kids play, swing a little, talk about things we see, then head home in a nice mellow state, nurse and go to sleep.

A few weeks ago with the 35 plus degree days (90's F) we were having, Aviel and I didn't get outside much. To keep up with the closeness we normally had when wearing him out and about, I started wearing him around the house much more than normal. It was a nice little routine shift - and one I've kept up since then.

One of things I've realized is that I can do some housework with him in the wrap, which takes some pressure off of getting so much done during his nap times. And it provides ample bonding time.

Aviel has helped me bake cupcakes and a Key Lime Pie.* He's helped me sweep the floor, make the bed, wash the non-sharp-dishes (we save the rest for Abba).....







And we discuss what we're doing, so he's taking in some nice vocabulary words. We talk about dust bunnies, the tart smell of limes, the blueness of the mixing bowl, the colorful stripes of the comforter, and how to make suds and bubbles. He sees ingredients mix, changes in colors and textures, and tasks get completed. He's learning as we go.

Its such sweet way to get chores completed. Sometimes it might take a little longer, but because we're together, the time doesn't matter as much as it does when he's playing by himself on the floor. He's happy, and so am I.

Then when he sleeps, I get to do some creative things that I couldn't do well while he was awake. Like writing this little blog post! ;)

***

*With a front carry, I won't do anything more with Aviel than mix ingredients that do not require the use of the stove or a mixer. We need to keep kitchen time safe!

And... Front facing carries are not ideal for long periods of time. Read this post about Crotch Dangling for more info!


***


Fun Resource:
Cooking With My Kid

Related Post:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Something Special (Part 3)

This is part of a 3 part series on Aviel's birth story. This particular entry is the actual story of his labor and delivery. I have "cast pearls" by sharing some personal information with the hope that other women will be encouraged by my testimony! If this makes you uncomfortable, stop here! Please don't forget to read Part 1 and Part 2.

***


My mom was sitting on the floor painting my toe nails and we were watching a movie together when it first started. She had just arrived, a few days prior, to help us celebrate the birth of our baby. We spent the earlier part of that day hiking through Jerusalem's Old City with Devin's mom, and I was feeling good, but tired, after a long day of walking.


At Temple Mount, 1 week before my due date, the day my labor started.


At first, I thought the tightening of my stomach was normal Braxton Hicks, but after an hour of watching the clock, and noticing that they were coming regularly, I wasn't so sure. It was now close to 10 pm on a Thrusday evening.

"Mama, I've been having Braxton Hicks at five minute intervals for the last hour."

"Hmmm... try laying on your side to see if they change." My mom replied. A mother of five - all natural births - I figured she knew a thing or two, so I rolled over.

No change. They just kept coming.

Sarah had advised us to "live in denial." One of the biggest mistakes first time moms make is rushing to the hospital too soon - before active labor has actually started. All of the excitement and adrenaline, combined with a change in environment can actually slow labor down, so its better to wait until its undeniable that active labor has been established.

With that in mind, I wasn't willing to let myself believe the labor had started until I was sure!

As the movie progressed, so did the tightening in my stomach. Still coming about five minutes a part, the feeling moved from the top of my belly, down to the bottom. Now my mom and I were pretty sure I was feeling contractions.

We had known of women who labored for days, so we still remained calm.

Devin arrived home from a meeting and I shared the news with him. We chatted for a minute about whether or not he should cancel his morning plans, but decided we'd just wait and see how things progressed. He went off to bed, and I went into the bathroom to do my pre-sleep beauty ritual. It was then that I noticed I had lost my mucus plug - more evidence that the baby was on the way!

With giggles and excitement I announced the news to Devin, who then called Sarah, and canceled his plans. Sarah encouraged me to sleep if I could, but to call if things started speeding up.

I went to bed and did actually sleep through most of the night, with light but regular contractions and hopeful expectations of holding my baby sometime that weekend.

The next morning, I woke up a little before 7 am. My contractions were still coming but they were more irregular than the night before. My mom made a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, grits and toast, and I took a shower to get ready for the big day. After about an hour, the contractions regulated again, at about 5 minutes apart. I labored using some of the methods Sarah taught us for about an hour before she arrived, around 9 am.

With my forehead pressed up against a column in our kitchen, I swayed my hips in a figure eight formation as the contractions would come on. Devin sat close by and shared sweet love stories with me.

"The first time we met, one of the first things I noticed about you was your beautiful long eyelashes..."

He had never told me that before. I felt so loved.

At this point, my mom excused herself to her bedroom because she said this seemed like such an intimate time for us.

After each contraction (which only lasts about a minute), I was at rest - a deep and peaceful rest.

Through our pre-natal appointments with Sarah, and some reading I had been doing in The Christian Childbirth Handbook (Jennifer van der Laan) I had learned that fear and anxiety makes a woman's body tense, causing contractions to be more painful, even slowing labor. And this is not just psychological - a real physical response takes place.

The adrenaline released from being afraid causes the direction of contraction to change from "top to bottom" to "around the sides" and can lead to the cervix closing. The amount of pain experienced during labor varies from woman to woman, and besides fear, is also related to other biological factors outside of her control, such as the position of the baby, or how the bag of waters is putting pressure on the cervix. Its a great mystery in so many ways.

Since I had heard the word of the Lord, "I have something special for you," and I had seen Him move financial mountains, blessing us through our wonderful friends, I had the faith to trust him to the end. I had reason to believe.

"For we who have believed enter that rest..." says Hebrews 4:3, and "the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His." (v. 10)

As much as being "unafraid" was up to me, I was choosing to trust. It also helped to have the support of my husband and our wonderful Doula. I felt very cared for, loved, and safe through out all stages of the labor. I was thankful that I felt such peace and rest, and I do believe this minimized the amount of pain I was feeling as I worked through each surge.

As the intensity of the contractions increased, Sarah helped me find positions to keep comfortable. We tried laboring on my knees backwards on a chair, rolling on my ottomans, and hanging and stretching on Devin, who continued to share sweet stories and offer encouragement. Sarah also brought a TENS machine - which I really enjoyed. This small device has little sticky pads that sent a light vibration into my back. I simply turned it up a little as a contraction was coming on, then turned it back down after the contraction was over.

I experienced a few contractions that nearly brought me to tears.

"That one made me want to cry." I remember saying to Devin with his arms around me during one of the times of rest in between. But the peace and calm continued.

Around this time, Sarah suggested that I sit in the shower for awhile. My mom brought in a plastic chair, and there I sat, letting the water run down my back. It was so relaxing and warm. Of all crazy thoughts, I remember wondering if the humidity was going to make my hair out of control looking in any photos taken, but then decided it was worth it!

After I got out of the shower, I noticed a little bit of a blood tinged drip. This is the only time while laboring at home that I felt anxious. Sarah assessed the situation and as soon as she confirmed that it was totally normal and just another indication that my labor was progressing as it should, I was able to be at peace again. It turns out that my waters had broken in the shower! Had I not had her expertise and confidence, I might not have remained so calm!

At this point, I noticed a change in the contractions. They were coming on stronger and much closer together. I got dressed and Devin loaded up the car with my mom and our friend, Jesse. Jesse, a trained EMT and Ambulance driver offered to drive us to the hospital several weeks before. He did a great job getting us there in record time!

Sarah suggested riding to the hospital backwards facing on my knees so I could move through the contractions. They were quite close together at this point, as I was experiencing transitional labor.

With the increased intensity, I wondered if I could make it. I wasn't sure anymore. Then I remembered that those very thoughts are common during transition and an indication that time for pushing is near.

"Devin, give me something..."

I wasn't asking for pain relief, but rather emotional relief.

"I didn't understand why it was so important for things in the house to match until I started watching you paint. Then I realized this was something deep in your heart as an artist....."

His words brought a sense of calm to my being.

A minute of rest, then one powerful contraction. Sarah offered some encouragement, "That contraction has come and gone. You never have to feel it again."

I took a deep breath, and just as she had explained about my body's ability to cope, the next one was much easier.

We arrived at the hospital around 11 am. Getting out of the car and onto the hospital bed that they wheeled me in on was a little difficult. The times of rest were so short that it was hard to move.

I rode into the exam room on my knees, where I was checked by a midwife and found to be 10 centimeters dilated! We were all surprised that my labor had progressed so quickly, but excited that we would soon be meeting our baby!

In the delivery room, it was standard procedure to connect me to an IV. My veins are small, so the nurse had some trouble. She apologized for hurting me to which I giggled, "Its Ok, its not the worst thing I've felt today!"

Then my delivery room doctor and midwife arrived.

In Sarah's words,

They are both so impressed with how Callie is coping, staying on top of powerful surges and seeming to enjoy herself in the experience too! She keeps her sense of humor and there's a lovely atmosphere in the room. Everyone who walks in the room enjoys being there, and some midwives come just for a look at this amazingly calm mother and her unmedicated, first birth.


It blessed me to read that when Sarah first sent her version of our birth story. I felt so much of the Lord's presence with me while I labored, and it encourages me to know that that peace wasn't just my hormones or imagination, but it really did set Aviel's birth apart in a way that was a noticeable blessing to others.

I was given an hour to "wait the baby down" before I began pushing.

During that time, I did some light exhale pushing as my body was indicating. It was incredible to feel the baby moving down. Sometimes it was uncomfortable, which Devin was aware of because he said my eyes would get "really big!" That discomfort was easily relieved through pushing. At this point I knew it was worth it to have made it through without pain medication. I was at work, I could feel what I was doing, and it was productive!

Some women are able to push the baby out fairly quickly. My own experience was much more slow. The hospital had a policy to only allow laboring mothers to push for two hours before having an assisted delivery with suction. For two hours, I pushed and pushed. My contractions were actually slowing down, but my doctor had confidence that I could do it. He didn't want me to have an "operative birth" (with suction) so he suggested giving me a low dose of pitocin to increase the intensity of the contractions again.

In hindsight, I probably should have tried changing positions, but I had so much peace at the time that I was just sort of going with the flow of things. After the pitocin kicked in, I was able to work with my contractions again and push the baby with more force.

As the baby was crowing, my midwife made an observation!

"He's a gingy with curly hair."

Watching in a mirror, I could see his head emerging, but I couldn't tell what color his hair was! Nor did I understand how she could either!

The doctor was concerned for some molding to his head since he had been in the birth canal for quite some time. I wasn't quite getting the stretch to push him out, so he gave me a small incision (later only requiring two stitches). On the next push, the baby's head emerged and he slid right out!

RELIEF!

There he was, our little Aviel, ginger hair and all! His little arms flew open wide and his legs tucked in a froggy position. He let out a small cry and they laid him on my stomach.

He was (and still is) the most beautiful little person I had ever seen in my entire life.





We requested that the cord finish pulsating before it was clamped to allow the oxygen rich blood that was squeezed into the placenta during the birthing process to be pumped back into his body - a practice known as delayed cord clamping. This is a fairly new (yet ancient) practice in newborn care, but one that we felt very peaceful about after researching and praying through which procedures we desired for the baby. It also seemed like a much more organic alternative to cord blood banking. The pulsating only took about five minutes, then Devin cut the cord.

One procedure we had an option to refuse by Israeli law is Prophylactic Eye Treatment. This is eye drops administered to prevent the spread of infections from the mother that could cause blindness. Its wonderful that we have this technology; however, the infections that this treatment prevents against are mostly STDs. Being committed to sexual purity and remaining virgins until marriage, the irritation and blurred vision accompanying the eye drops seemed unnecessary for our little one. *





After the cord was cute, Devin accompanied the baby and midwife to the other side of the room for weight and measurements. Meanwhile, the doctor delivered the placenta and gave me a few stitches. Aviel scored 9 and 10 on his APGAR and weighed in at 3.295 kilos or about 7lbs 4 oz. Excellent stats for any baby, much less one whose mother developed Gestation Diabetes.



Devin brought the baby over to me saying, "I told you you'd have have my head! My big old head. I'm sorry, it's my fault it was so long, Sweetie. You did so well! I was like, 'Oh look at that little head (because of the molding) but then the rest came out and I was like, 'Woah! How did that fit in there?'"

We celebrated with chocolate croissants and sweet tea, two treats I had been fasting during the last trimester to help regulate my sugar, while we cuddled with the baby who was making his first attempts at nursing.



Sarah left us to bond with our baby, thanking us for a allowing her to be part of a "particularly beautiful birth." Then the Grandmas came in to visit. They met their new grandson with joy.



After they left, I took a shower in the delivery room while Devin held little Aviel. We then headed to the recovery room, just in time for shabbat, where we blessed to be able to room in with Aviel. He never left my side the entire time we were in the hospital. All blood work, screening tests, and injections were administered in our room. It was such a blessing to have him with me. Devin and I changed all of his diapers, I nursed when he seemed hungry (though it too a few weeks to figure out to feed him!), and we were always present for any procedures administer.**

Since I had Gestational Diabetes, Aviel had regular sugar tests while we recovered. After one of the tests, our nurse commented, "Are you sure you even had diabetes? His sugar is perfect." Praise the Lord!



The next morning I woke up feeling so sore from all the pushing! My back, arms, and thighs ached, but I also had this incredible feeling of "I can do anything now!" This surge of confidence that greatly contributed to a wonderful postpartum recovery, is something I might have missed out on if I would have chosen an epidural, which blocks so many of the good hormones a women experiences during a natural birth. No women should ever feel guilty or condemned for going that route by choice or necessity, but I can't testify enough to how incredible it was to make it through the birth without it!

We spent one more night in the hospital before bringing our sweet bundle of joy to his new home, and embarking on the wonderful journey of parenthood!

*** Epilogue ***


When I think back to that day, words come to mind such as joy, peace, trust, confidence, sweet, romantic, strength, support, rest..... And often when sharing the story, I always find myself saying, "It was one of the sweetest days of my life!"

Childbirth is an incredible experience. On Sarah's blog she states:

First babies, babies after a traumatic previous experience, home births, epidural births, quick births, long drawn out births and cesareans- all births can be a beautiful event when the mother and father feel safe and supported, and have the knowledge to understand their own specific miracle.


Its not about a text book perfect natural birth. My own birth was in a hosptial, and not 100% intervention free (remember my small episiotomy and low dose of pitocin) but it was still one of the most amazing days of my life. I believe so much of it had to do with the tremendous support I felt, going in knowledgeable, and the tons of prayer surrounding the day.

If you are an expecting mother reading this, I have such a huge heart to encourage you to know that your experience of childbirth can be just as blessed for you - and even more so! Your story will not be like mine, but the Lord will be with you and He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask for think. (Eph 3:20).

The Lord really did give me something special. He gave me a romantic day with my husband, and a beautiful memory of childbirth. But the most special gift of all, He gave me my precious baby who has taught me more about His unconditional love than I've ever known, Aviel David Mitchell.



Lord, thank you for giving me something so special. Thank you for my beautiful family, Devin and Aviel, and the sweet day of our little one's birth. Thank you for being a promise keeping God for your own name's sake. I ask that you would bless each woman who reads this with an anointing to bring forth life as you intended. I ask that You would open closed wombs, bring bodies into proper order for healthy pregnancies and childbirths, and that You would speak courage, rest and perfect love in to fearful hearts. May the day of childbirth be one full joy and shalom. B'Shem Yeshua (In Jesus Name).

Amen.


***


*Neither Devin nor I are healthcare professionals. We made our own personal choices about newborn care based on prayerfully discerning the information we gathered, along with our own medical histories. Please only let this be a starting point for investigating these options with your healthcare provider on your own! And don't forget that if you can't refuse a procedure, you might be able to delay it for several hours!

**In the case that rooming in was not available, or if the baby needed to be removed from my room for procedures, we had an option to request that Devin accompany the baby into the nursery. This was never necessary for us, but it is something expecting moms can investigate!

Take some time to read Sarah's blog post Don't Bathe that New Born!, where she makes a case for delaying the baby's first bath. This is something we discussed, but in the end decided to bathe him because of visitors! Since there could be some real benefits in the delay, I thought I'd pass on the info!

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