Colleen

Hospital Bag Essentials

I know it is hard not to pack everything JUST IN CASE you might need it, but trust me, it will be ok if you don’t bring it with you.  In light of the pandemic, hospitals and birth centers are trying to get you in and out to keep transmissions to a minimum, so PACK LIGHTLY.

I have packed 3 of my own bags and helped countless families prepare their bags as well so I think I have it down to a science. If you are early on in your pregnancy, file this blog post away and pull it up later, or print it out and check mark or cross things off as you put it in your bag.  Yes, rolling suitcases make transporting your stuff easier, but you can bring a duffle bag as well.  Pack in whatever you have around or borrow one, don’t go out and buy something new.

The place you deliver at is not a hotel so you will need to pack whatever makes you feel most comfortable being away from home. I realize that everyone has different routines and essentials, some do a lot, some do bare minimum, so I will include it all.  Travel size everything will be plenty.

You can pack your bag at any time, but it is important to have your hospital bag packed by 35 weeks, just in case your baby comes early.

TOILETRIES (this should be enough for mom and partner)

___Shampoo, conditioner or dry shampoo

___Body wash/Face wash/make up wipes

___Razor

___Toothbrush and toothpaste/mouthwash/dental floss

___Lotion

___Deodorant

___Chapstick/Make up

___Hair tyes/Scrunchies

___Comb/Brush

___Contact stuff/Glasses

CLOTHING (mom and partner)

___Robe/front opening shirt

___Comfy pj’s, (preferably a nursing top if available), easy access, partner basketball shorts

___Going home outfit, loose fitting, change of clothes for partner

___Swimwear if planning to be in water for delivery

___Flip flops/Shower shoes

___Nursing bra/nursing tank top

___Underwear if you prefer not to wear the stretchy mesh hospital one’s home

___Socks if your feet get cold

___Jacket or sweat shirt as it gets cold in the rooms

BABY

___Outfit for going home

___Picture outfit

___Swaddlers (or learn to swaddle from hospital RN/PCT)

___Diaper bag (put all important paperwork in) can stay in car until discharge

___Properly installed car seat (can stay in the car until discharge)

___If cooler outside, socks, hat and blanket to go outside

___Diapers and wipes should be provided at the hospital but can be prepacked in diaper bag

OTHER IDEAS

___Phone charger (long cords are nice)

___Camera/batteries/extension cord

___Tube of nipple cream (your choice); hospitals should have as well

___Breast pads (won’t likely need them but if using nipple cream, they will prevent staining your bra)

___Nursing pillow (mybrestfriend, bosom baby or boppy).  Can be nice to have to know how to use it at home however, the hospital or birthing suite has a ton of pillows.  Leave it in the car until you need it.

___Snacks/gum/Hard candies/honey sticks (great for energy)

FOR LABOR & DELIVERY (can be a separate bag or packed on top of other things)

___Pre register at place of birth PRIOR to delivery or bring in paperwork with you

___Birth plan

___Insurance card/ID

___Heat or cold packs

___Massage oils or lotions

___Massage tools

___Peanut or birth ball (call place of delivery and ask if they already have them if you want one)

___Playlist for labor and delivery

___Birth affirmations

Years working in a hospital as a postpartum nurse and doing home visits as a postpartum doula and lactation educator, I’ve seen it all in hospital bags.  Just remember, hospitals or birthing centers provide you with most of what you need, if you are curious, call and ask:

TMC-520-327-5461 (https://www.tmcaz.com/)
Banner University Medical Center-520-694-0111 (bannerhealth.com)
St. Joes 520-873-3000 (carondelet.org)
Northwest Women’s Center 520-742-9000 (healthiertucson.com)
BabyMoon Inn 602-314-7755 (https://babymooninn.com/tucson-birth-center/)

They will tell you what they provide for you in Labor and Delivery and on the Postpartum unit. A good rule of thumb should be if you don’t want it to get dirty, DON’T bring it to the hospital.

Congratulations again, you are almost there! I am excited to hear how your delivery goes and once you get home and settled in, feel free to call as you get started on your motherhood, parenting and breastfeeding journey.  I’d be honored to help you as you transition and grow with your new family member. For more information or to contact me directly http://www.yourfamilysjourney.com/contact-us/

Grumpaloffagus

One of my favorite memories with my girls, when they were little, was reading to them. We’d snuggle in nightly to read and read and re read the same books over and over.  Certain books were chosen for me to read and others for my husband to read and most of the time we were NOT allowed to read each other’s books.  Apparently we read differently! 

The older they got, the closer they would watch the pages, pointing to things on the pages, turning the pages or say a word that they recognized.  Reading to your children is super important for so many reasons: language acquisition, learning sounds, words and languages, stimulates curiosity and aids in brain development just to name a few.  Plus, it is a great time to bond with your child.

Children’s book coming soon

When a former client reached out to let me know she had written and illustrated a new book, I had to know more.  Meet the author of Grumpaloffagus, Kristin Gundenkauf.

Q.  Kristin, congratulations on this amazing accomplishment!  Who was your inspiration to write this new book?

A. My main inspiration for Grumpaloffagus is my 18-month old daughter, Aria, but she is only one of many that inspired the book. I have been involved youth for a long time, on top of having many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. They are all so unique and inspiring – I could write book for ages based on their experiences.

Q.  Who is Grumpaloffagus?  What does he represent?

A. Grumpaloffagus is a kid dinosaur that experiences many different forms of grumpiness – from simple things like being hungry and tired, to more complex emotions like being embarrassed, scared or frustrated. Though Grumpaloffagus, for me, is Aria, Grumpaloffagus is anyone – yes, even grown-ups – who get grumpy from time to time.

Q. What message are you hoping to convey in your story?

A. This book is all about understanding why we get grumpy so we can work through those feelings. Grumpaloffagus, aside from being silly and fun, is meant to help facilitate discussions between parents and their little ones. When we get grumpy, we can easily get stuck in a vacuum of negative thoughts and feelings. What doesn’t help is the fact that, as a culture, we tend to associate shame and failure with feeling upset. Even as an adult I find I get grumpy from time to time, only I have context, words, and experience to try and work through it.

For children, without context and an understanding that we all get grumpy from time to time, it can be quite difficult and emotionally draining when those feelings of grumpiness arise. So, if we understand we are all grumpaloffaguses from time to time, we can then be empowered to conquer those negative feelings. 

Who is this book for?

Q.  What is the age range for readers?

A. The intended age range is 3-7, or preschool to second grade. However, since it is intended as a mechanism for self-reflection, it can work for a broader range. Surprisingly, I have found myself referencing Grumpaloffagus when I have gotten frustrated, so I think the content translates to various ages!

Q. When will the book be released and where can we buy it?

A.  The book will be available for purchase on Amazon by October 15. It will be released under my name, Kristin Gudenkauf. You can follow my publishing site, Baby Rex Productions, on Facebook for updates.  https://www.facebook.com/BabyRexProd

Q.  Is there anything else you want to share with us?

A. I hope this book helps your little ones better understand their feelings and help them to find what works for them in moving past those hard emotions. My favorite thing about this book is that it creates a safe-space for kids to feel what they feel, trigger self-reflection, and work through it – and, hopefully, that is a skill set that will benefit them into adulthood.

Thank you Kristin!

Happy reading, creating memories and gaining a better understanding of your children’s inner GRUMP:) For more tips, head on over to read my blog posts at http://www.yourfamilysjourney.com/doula-blog/ or visit my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/YourFamilysJourney

Wait, is it Normal if My Breastfed Newborn Goes a Few Days Without Pooping?

YES, it is completely normal! Newborn poop can be a mystery as it changes. It is hard to wrap your mind around your baby not pooping anywhere from 4-8 times a day, especially when you feel like all you do is change diapers in those first few days and weeks.  Some newborns poop with every feed, while others only go a couple times a day.  Every baby is different.  Again, it is completely normal for your baby, who has been pooping several times a day to move to only go a few times a week.

WHY does that happen and WHERE does that poop go?

Great questions. “Newborn babies often poop after every feeding, about 6 times per day.  In the first few weeks after delivery your baby’s intestines are maturing and becoming more efficient at extracting nutrition from breast milk or formula.  As their intestines get better at digesting food, the time between bowel movements gets longer and longer.  Before you know it you have a two-month-old that is going several days without dirtying their diaper. If your baby has blood in his or her stool, persistent crying, fever, or isn’t feeding normally, you need to seek medical care. ” https://childrensmd.org/browse-by-age-group/newborn-infants/long-can-baby-go-without-pooping/#:~:text=Breastfed%20babies%2C%20especially%20if%20they,babies%20are%20almost%20never%20constipated.

Diaper output is one way to help parents feel assured that your baby is having his or her needs met since we can’t measure how much breast milk they are getting from your breasts. Your newborns first poop is called meconium, the dark green or black tar like substance for the first few days after delivery.  This slowly transitions as your milk comes in and turns into a mustard seed like runny consistence but can vary from brown to yellow green, this too is NORMAL.

Charts and Visual




Days 1-3
First 6 weeks                       
BreastfedNewborn will pass meconium by 24-48 hours after birth. It will change to a green-yellow color by day 4.Runny, yellow stool. Expect at least 3 bowel movements per day, but may be up to 4-12 for some babies. After this, baby may only poop every few days. 
Formula-fedNewborn will pass meconium by 24-48 hours after birth. It will change to a green-yellow color by day 4.Light brown or greenish stool. Expect at least 1-4 bowel movements per day. After the first month, baby may only pass stool every other day. 
https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/how-often-should-a-newborn-poop#by-age

Always chat with your pediatrician or health care provider if you have concerns or something seems out of the ordinary with your newborns bowel movements.  If your baby is pooping only once a day in the first few weeks, this can be a sign that they are not getting enough to eat. Unless your health care provider suggests, do NOT give your baby water or juice if you think they are constipated.

There can be a variety of changes in your babies poop based on what you, as their parent are eating, if you are introducing formula, solids or if they are having a sensitivity or allergy to any of the above.  Rest assured, know that your breast milk provides everything your baby needs, so nothing goes to waste! If you would like even more helpful hints to read about, check out my blog page at http://www.yourfamilysjourney.com/doula-blog/

Dear Mom and Dad: a reassuring love letter from baby

I am finally here. You have waited 10 long months to meet me. Here is my love letter to you:

Parenting is HARD.  We know becoming a parent can be SCARY and OVERWHELMING yet JOYOUS and EXCITING all at the same time.  We don’t come with a book of instructions or a HOW TO manual.  Some days you take 3 steps forward and then 12 backwards. Just when you think you figure us out, we change things up for you. We too, are learning. 

We cry because we can. Sometimes we burp, lots of times we fart.  Peeing on you when you put a fresh diaper on us, is a game we LOVE to play. We love to sleep during the day and keep you up all night. Wrapped in your arms or laying on your chest makes us feel safe and secure. Smelling your skin, hearing your heart beat and listening to your voice calms us down.  Cuddle us lots, that is our favorite.

We know we can be confusing at times.  It is hard when you don’t have all the answers and some days you just wing it. You are exhausted and your hormones are making you feel weird all over. Be patient with us and just continue to love us unconditionally.

What ME, your baby, want you to know. In no particular order:

  • FIRST, you are doing a great job!
  • SECOND, it is ok to doubt yourself and mess up, you are not expected to have all the answers, no one does
  • THIRD, set boundaries with family and friends & don’t be afraid to say “NO”
  • FOURTH, don’t compare yourself to any other parents or me to any other kids, I am one of a kind
  • FIFTH, if one trick doesn’t work, try another one. I am not a one size fits all baby
  • SIXTH, take a nap when you can, sleep is hard to come by at first
  • SEVEN, Don’t be afraid to ASK for help. You are not alone
  • EIGHT, don’t forget to take care of you, YOU are important and I NEED you to be OK!
  • NINE, don’t google stuff, EVER
  • TEN, I LOVE YOU

Teamwork makes the dream work! Ask for help when you need it, hire Colleen (http://www.yourfamilysjourney.com).  We can all use some TLC sometimes, so take care of yourself.  YOU are enough! Remember, we don’t need everything, all the BIG fancy gear, we just need your love and attention.  Together WE GOT THIS!

Love, your sweet baby. 

Skin to skin contact: fun facts for parents and baby

Starting immediately after delivery, if your baby is healthy, parents can provide skin to skin contact. If your baby is born premature and taken to the NICU, the staff will allow you to place your baby on your bare chest when he or she is able. Being home during this pandemic has allowed me time to do a lot of online learning, take courses and deepen my understanding on a lot of topics. I love learning things that will make me a better professional and help the families I support.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily skin to skin sessions throughout the baby’s first 3 months. To receive ALL the important benefits, mom and baby need to stay skin-to-skin for 60 uninterrupted minutes.

The numerous benefits have been greatly researched and reported on throughout the years. Do you know where “kangaroo care” or “kangaroo mother care” originated from? “Skin-to-skin contact for the littlest of babies started in 1979, when neotatologists Edgar Rey and Hector Martinez, in Bogotá, Colombia, found themselves without enough incubators to care for all the premature babies in their hospital. Instead, they put the tiny babies on their mothers’ bodies and wrapped them in cloth carriers to keep them warm. The babies thrived, and the doctors named their technique, which also included breastfeeding and early discharge, the Kangaroo Mother Method.” (https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/kangaroo-mother-care)

Benefits for baby

-regulates baby’s heart rate and breathing

-keeps baby’s temperature stable

-stabilizes blood sugar

-stimulates the vagus nerve to aid in digestion

-helps babies cry less and deal with pain

-moves mother’s bacteria on to baby=more resistance to infection

-helps initiate breastfeeding

-aids sleep cycles (babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer)

Benefits for mothers

-increased milk production by stimulating prolactin

-lowers moms risk of postpartum mood disorders

-creates a strong connection between mom and baby with the release of oxytocin

-faster recovery from vaginal or cesearan delivery

-reduction in the release of stress hormones

For partners, they already know your voice, so your chest is the next best spot for them to get to know you better, feel and smell your skin and feel safe and secure. Kangaroo care can be beneficial for creating connections with adoptive parents, siblings, grandparents, friends or whoever you feel comfortable with snuggling your baby.

I was also reminded that kangaroo care is FREE, sets the stage for brain development, there are no side effects and it is readily accessible for anyone to partake in. Kangaroo can be beneficial for creating connections with birth parents, adoptive parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.Moms, dads, partners, siblings, grandparents, friends, whoever you feel comfortable with snuggling your baby.

The benefits of skin to skin are powerful for all involved. Since there is no specific age range to stop, snuggle away and enjoy the benefits. For more helpful information, facts and support check out www.yourfamilysjourney.com

Tips and tricks for when the next baby arrives (Part 2)

Sibling introduction and expected behaviors

Your next baby has arrived and now it is time to introduce your children. Sibling introduction can be an overwhelming encounter, but it is also a beautiful sight to behold. Some parents choose to do it in the hospital while others wait till they get home.  When not during a pandemic with limited visitors, talk with them about what they would prefer. If they are too young, make your best guess.

[Read more…] about Tips and tricks for when the next baby arrives (Part 2)

Due to COVID 19, Colleen will only be providing virtual in home support.

Feel free to call, text or email her for virtual support in the comfort, safety & security of your home. You are not alone!