Thursday, May 19, 2016

Welcome to Crafted Birth

Maternity_antique(1)
We offer comprehensive group Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, and Newborn Care classes in Western Massachusetts, and private classes anywhere in Western and Central Mass.


Please take a look at our current class schedule to find that class that is right for you. We also have a Resources page with great online and local resources for Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum Care, and Breastfeeding.


Thank you taking the time to prepare for your birth. I'm so excited you've found your way to Crafted Birth, and I hope to help you hand-make your best birth experience.

~ Mollie Hartford, CCE

Serving Adams, Agawam, Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Barre, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Blandford, Brookfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Cheshire, Chester, Chesterfield, Chicopee, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Dalton, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Erving,Florida, Gill, Goshen, Grandby, Grandville, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden, Hardwick, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Hinsdale, Holyoke, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Leverett, Leyden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Middlefield, Monroe, Monson, Montague, Monterey, Montgomery. New Braintree. New Salem, North Brookfield, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Peru, Petersham, Phillipston, Pittsfield, Plainfield, Richmond, Rowe, Royalston, Russell, Savoy, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Southwick, Springfield, Stockbridge, Sturbridge, Sunderland, Tolland, Tyringham, Ware, Warren, Warwick, Warwick, Washington, Wendell, West Brookfield, West Springfield, West Stockbridge, Westfield, Whately, Wilbraham, Williamsburg, Windsor, Worthington

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Giving and Small Business Saturday

As the holidays get closer and closer (and as my son's toy collection gets bigger and BIGGER!), more and more I appreciate gifts of experiences, education, and time with others (or just myself). There are so many wonderful small businesses in Western Massachusetts that provide pregnant women and new moms with body work, birth services, postpartum support, and family-friendly classes and events. Please consider supporting a local business this holiday season, and give a pregnant family or new momma a gift she can use to have fun and feel great.

Crafted Birth offers gift certificates good for group and private classes. Click the Add to Cart to pay with a credit card or bank withdrawal via Paypal. If you prefer to pay with cash or check, please email Mollie to arrange an in-person transaction. Mollie will mail you or the recipient a gift certificate printed with your message.


Available Certificates Price Purchase
Full 6-Week Childbirth Education Series $90.00
One Newborn Care or Breastfeeding Class $30.00
One Private 2-Hour Session $40.00
One Private 3-Hour Session $60.00
One Private 4-Hour Session $80.00
Custom Amount, good towards any Crafted Birth Class You Decide


Other Local Businesses you support this season ...

Birthing Mama Yoga (Amherst) - Prenatal Yoga Classes in Amherst, or sign up for the online holistic pregnancy program. Gift Certificates available.

Grow (Northampton) - a community educational center with classes, services, and a retail shop for families.

Second Chances Kids' Consignment Shop (Amherst) - The retail store offers children's clothing, maternity and nursing clothing, toys, baby equipment, books, and movies. Their community room hosts classes and playgroups every day.

Music Together for Valley Families (Amherst, Holyoke, Hadley) - Music Together is an internationally recognized music program for children from birth through age 7—and the grownups who love them. Gift Certificates available.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Childbirth Classes in Amherst, MA | Fall 2014 Schedule

(click here for Northampton schedule)

Fall 2014 Schedule - Amherst, MA

To sign up for classes, click here.

Series Description
This comprehensive Childbirth Education series covers all aspects of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. We focus on informed decision-making and evidence-based information, taking time to discuss the risks and benefits of all aspects of your birth preferences. This is not a "natural birth" or a "medicated birth" class series; rather we help you decide what kind of birth you want, guide you through the questions to ask yourself and your care provider, and give you the skills you need to achieve your birth experience. For details about class topics, please see our Class and Schedule page.

The class series runs for six weeks, followed by the Breastfeeding class and Infant Care class. Scheduling and billing these two classes separately provides flexibility and respect for all parents -- we won't make you sit through (or pay for) a breastfeeding class if you cannot or are choosing not to breastfeed, or attend a newborn care class if this is your second baby.

Classes are ideal of pregnant women in their second or third trimester (if you are due VERY soon, please contact Mollie to discuss a private session). We encourage partners or other support people (a parent, friend, doula, etc.) to participate in classes, and we respect and welcome all family structures.


Location
7 Pomeroy Lane
Amherst, MA   01002


6-Week Series

Dates: Thursdays, October 16 through November 20, 6pm--8pm
Cost: $90.00 per couple
Classes (2 hours each):
  • Thursday October 16: Choosing Care, Anatomy and Physiology
  • Thursday October 23: Labor and Delivery
  • Thursday October 30: Pain Management
  • Thursday November 6: Common Interventions
  • Thursday November 13: Basic Newborn Care and Feeding
  • Thursday November 20: Postpartum Care 

Date: Thursday December 4, 6pm--8pm
Cost: With 6-Week Series, $25.00 per couple
            Without series, $30.00 per couple
Topics:
  • Anatomy of Nursing
  • Latch
  • Breastfeeding Positions
  • Common Problems and Solutions
  • Pumping and Bottle-Feeding Expressed Milk 

Newborn Care Class

Date: Thursday December 11, 6pm--8pm
Cost: With 6-Week Series, $25.00 per couple
            Without series, $30.00 per couple
Topics:
  • Newborn Anatomy
  • Bathing and Skin Care
  • Diapering
  • Calming and Swaddling
  • Sleep Safety
  • Car-Seats
  • Babywearing 

Questions about the class? Interested but would prefer a private session? Ready to sign up? Please contact Mollie today!


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Follow Crafted Birth on Facebook for updates and birth-related resources.

Serving Adams, Agawam, Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Barre, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Blandford, Brookfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Cheshire, Chester, Chesterfield, Chicopee, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Dalton, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Erving,Florida, Gill, Goshen, Grandby, Grandville, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden, Hardwick, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Hinsdale, Holyoke, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Leverett, Leyden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Middlefield, Monroe, Monson, Montague, Monterey, Montgomery. New Braintree. New Salem, North Brookfield, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Peru, Petersham, Phillipston, Pittsfield, Plainfield, Richmond, Rowe, Royalston, Russell, Savoy, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Southwick, Springfield, Stockbridge, Sturbridge, Sunderland, Tolland, Tyringham, Ware, Warren, Warwick, Warwick, Washington, Wendell, West Brookfield, West Springfield, West Stockbridge, Westfield, Whately, Wilbraham, Williamsburg, Windsor, Worthington

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family


La Leche League released a book about breastfeeding and bed-sharing. They suggest that it is the first infant sleep book directed solely to breastfeeding families. There is one thing I do love about very topic-specific books like these: they don't waste time apologizing. They don't need to spend any time on "Well, breastfeeding is best, so if you can ...", or "We're not making any judgement if you formula-feed, because every mother is different and every situation is different ...", blah blah blah. They jump right in with Given #1: You're breastfeeding, and breastfeeding is awesome. They assume you've already done your research and decided that breastfeeding matters to you. Because, really, are you going to reach out to La Leche League if you're dedicated to feeding with formula? Probably not.

The next "given" they talk about is an interesting one. The introduction describes how they started out writing the book intending to discuss ALL types of sleep arrangements including those where the baby sleeps alone, down the hall. But in combing through the research, they could not rationally make that suggestion, that bed-sharing showed such clear benefits to both mother and baby, the entire focus of the book shifted. Given #2: Bed-Sharing is awesome. (They also define "bed-sharing" in a scientific way, forgetting the too ambiguous term "co-sleeping".)

Getting those out of the way in the first few pages really set a great tone for the book. This is not a wishy-washy, "whatever works best for you" kind of book. It makes it clear that bed-sharing IS SAFE, and sleeping separately poses greater risks to the baby and to the mother-baby breastfeeding relationship.

I liked the layout of the book (and not just getting the "givens" out of the way right off the bat). The first chapter is, not kidding, two pages long. It is basically a 1-sheet for "I need to get some GD sleep right effing now" ... a "I'm tired as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" cheat sheet. This is brilliant. How many of us have dragged our tired selves (and our tired babies) to the bookstore to find a solution -- any solution -- that will get everyone to sleep better TONIGHT? And in that state, I don't have time to read through a 450-page book (cause this book is pretty long). I need that cheat-sheet. It covers the very basics of the "Safe Sleep Seven", their criteria for bed-sharing:

If a mother is:
1. A non-smoker
2. Sober
3. Breastfeeding

And her baby is:
4. Healthy
5. On his back
6. Lightly dressed and unswaddled

And they:
7. Share a safe surface

Then the baby’s risk of SIDS is no greater than in a crib, and any breathing hazards have been hugely reduced.


The next page is the emergency "make your bed a safe surface tonight" guide, including having your partner and pets sleep somewhere else, remove everything except your pillow, the fitted sheet, a top sheet, and a light blanket, and place baby in the middle of the bed on his back. They make it clear that they'll get into more detail in Chapter 2, but for now, get some sleep. I love this. It's so real, and acknowledges the desperation many parents feel when they haven't slept in days (and this theme of desperation and real-life dilemmas came up a few times, which was refreshing).

Chapter 2 covers these criteria in more detail. They cover nearly all the nitty-gritty details you need to set up your bed-sharing safely -- mom is sober, non-smoker, and breastfeeding; baby is full-term and on his back; and bed is a bed (not a sofa or a chair) with no big blankets, cords, or gaps. Presumably, if you meet all these criteria, you'll be fine. If you've got more time (or are reading this book before the baby comes), the following chapters go into tremendous detail about the mother-baby dyad, "normal" sleep patterns for adults and babies, different arrangements for naps and nights, and infant personalities (and how that translates to calming and sleep).

Chapters 13 through 17 go through the baby's development and how that affects sleeping and nursing -- these chapters were chocked full of great, practical tips for calming babies, setting up patterns, and getting adult things done. I wished these chapters had been earlier in the book, maybe before the chapters detailing sleep gadgets (and why they're all terrible), and specific parenting situations like working outside the house, adopting, etc.

Interestingly, the chapters on Sleep Training and SIDS and Suffocation were at the very end of the book. Readers (including me) may have preferred them to be earlier, since these are big, real-life topics that come up most often: "She cries unless she's in your bed? You've just got to let her cry-it-out and she'll get the hang of sleeping alone" and "But the APP says a baby in your bed will die of SIDS. I don't know why, but that's what they say. Don't do it." But these chapters HAD to be at the end, because everything we learned throughout the whole book led up to these arguments. We needed to learn what normal sleep behavior looked like and what safe bed-sharing looked like BEFORE tackling sleep training and SIDS.

I especially appreciated how SIDS and suffocation were addressed, because they were addressed separately. The main issue in bed-sharing recommendations is that they combine SIDS and suffocation risks (or confuse the two), so parents don't know what they're protecting their child from. The authors separate these issues in a clear and concise way. Any baby is at risk for suffocation (which includes smothering, entrapment, strangulation, and choking), and we CAN prevent it by removing soft bedding, pillows, toys, wires and cords, ribbons and ties, and small objects from the baby's sleeping area, making sure the parents are sober (or not taking any sedative medications), and keeping other children and pets separated from the baby's sleep space. They also handle the discussion of SIDS -- which is an incredibly frightening topic -- with tact, making it clear that only vulnerable babies (with an underlying cardiorespiratory or brainstem problem) in that vulnerable time period (0-6 months) who are exposed to outside stressors (smoking, stomach sleeping, etc.) are at risk for SIDS. They lay out the four biggest risk factors (smoking, stomach-sleeping, unattended sleeping, and formula-feeding), hit on the other correlations (overheating, prenatal care, obesity, etc.), and address other popular theories and (off-gassing of mattresses). I finished that chapter with a much calmer and straightforward understanding of the real risks of SIDS and the real ways we can prevent it -- even when we can't detect which babies are "vulnerable".

The "Bedsharing Controversies" chapter was interesting, but really only relevant to professionals, since I'm not sure most moms care about research methodology or financial influences. Also the references index was 22 pages long, in size 6 font, which made my heart happy.

The main problem I had this with book was one that I have found in other LLL publications (and at meetings, sometimes). While the un-apologetic "just nurse the baby to sleep" advice was refreshing (and backed up with scientific discussion of hormones), the authors did not always fully address the real life issue that comes up in different family dynamics -- namely, Dad (or other non-breastfeeding caregiver) putting the baby down to sleep. Partners are only mentioned in context of "My husband doesn't want the baby in our bed" or "Partner can hold baby while you take a nap". There is a brief mention of "nudging" child to fall asleep without mom, but only after her is a toddler. And even then, when suggesting "substitutions" such as extra stories or a later bedtime, they negate the premise by stating "On the other hand, are you substituting something that actually takes more time and energy than just nursing?" (p. 188) In answer to the question about traveling without the baby for a business trip, they suggest taking the baby with you, instead of figuring out how baby can be cared for by dad. The tear-sheet for daycare providers was helpful -- suggesting a bottle and lots of rocking for the breastfed, bed-sharing baby -- but the chapter about working outside the house and having the child in daycare spends more time emphasizing how babies in daycare are at greater risk of SIDS and how their stress hormones may stay elevated through preschool if they go to daycare. Bottom line: it's best to delay it as long as you can. While this is probably the best evidence-based advice they can give, it's not exactly practical, and probably only serves to create more anxiety for mom.

I feel like LLL often falls back on the "just nurse the baby, and everything will be fine" argument, when sometimes that is just not practically going to happen. I was surprised that this book ignored the very real question of "but what if I want my partner to put the baby to sleep?", since the rest of the book responds to similar, popular questions (e.g. "My MIL says he's never leave our bed" or "Will co-sleeping ruin my sex-life?") with real suggestions ("try saying this" and "see if you can move baby to the pack n play after she falls asleep"). Additionally, the authors make a wonderful case for realistic policy recommendations -- since the majority of breastfeeding mothers ARE going to fall asleep with their babies, let's make it safe. Why can't we extend that logic: since the majority of mothers ARE going to leave the house someday, let's give some practical tips for someone else putting this breast-fed child to sleep.

Overall this is a great book to have on the shelf, and a great read for any breastfeeding parent. Even if you do not PLAN to bed-share, it's worth a look. Studies show that 60-75% of mothers will bring baby into bed with them at some point, even if they didn't plan to bed-share. One study found that 44% of mothers who nurse on sofas or recliners fall asleep there, which is not safe. Odds are you'll end up nursing your baby in bed -- why not make it safe now, just in case?

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Like what you've read? Pregnant and looking for a class in Western/Central Massachusetts?
Check out our current class schedule here.

Questions? I'm never very far away from my email.
Follow Crafted Birth on Facebook for updates and birth-related resources.
Serving Adams, Agawam, Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Barre, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Blandford, Brookfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Cheshire, Chester, Chesterfield, Chicopee, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Dalton, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Erving,Florida, Gill, Goshen, Grandby, Grandville, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden, Hardwick, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Hinsdale, Holyoke, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Leverett, Leyden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Middlefield, Monroe, Monson, Montague, Monterey, Montgomery. New Braintree. New Salem, North Brookfield, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Peru, Petersham, Phillipston, Pittsfield, Plainfield, Richmond, Rowe, Royalston, Russell, Savoy, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Southwick, Springfield, Stockbridge, Sturbridge, Sunderland, Tolland, Tyringham, Ware, Warren, Warwick, Warwick, Washington, Wendell, West Brookfield, West Springfield, West Stockbridge, Westfield, Whately, Wilbraham, Williamsburg, Windsor, Worthington

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Oh, you'll have to wean immediately"

**This is a personal story, and is not meant to substitute medical advice. Rather it is an example of weighing risks and benefits, gathering evidence-based information, and coming to a care decision in conjunction with medical professionals.**



In December of 2012, I went for a routine checkup with my Primary Care Physician. My son was 20 months old, and in true mother-of-a-toddler fashion, I was exhausted. I worked full-time outside the house, was still nursing a few times a day when we were home, and spending my free time chasing this very mobile child around our New York City neighborhood. Overall I felt fine, though it had been a rough year. The previous January, when the kiddo was about 10 months old, we ALL got a horrible stomach bug, which left me about 11 pounds lighter. Normally, vomiting- and diarrhea-related weight loss comes right back after you get better, but for me it stayed off. Awesome! I attributed it to the kid learning to walk, still nursing on-demand, still pumping during the day, and generally not stopping to take a breath. Ever. Then over the next few months, I had several recurring throat infections -- not strep, just a nasty tonsil infection that kept coming back. They would get so swollen that I couldn't eat, and FIVE times in FOUR months I put myself on a liquid diet for at least 2 days each (and bought stock in Jamba Juice). Each time, there went another 4 or 5 pounds. By the fall, I was down 35 pounds from that January starting point. I didn't complain, because it had been so (relatively) easy! I was eating everything in sight, and STILL maintaining this "normal" weight -- because according to the BMI, I was right on track.

So I see my PCP, who doesn't comment on my weight loss (I find out later that they had lost my chart, containing the previous year's check-up info, so she didn't have the numbers from a year ago, and therefore didn't notice I had lost 35 pounds). She said I looked great, and would see me again in a year. "And don't forget to get your blood work done downstairs", she said over her shoulder as she hustled from the exam room.
Routine blood work -- I'm pretty used to it, and didn't expect any sort of follow up (since my doc doesn't follow up ... are you noticing a pattern?). But a few days later I get a call from her office: "Mollie, it's Dr. F. Something came up on your blood work, call me back immediately. Here's my cell number."
[insert panic attack here]
So I call her back on her cell number, which she answers while in the room with another patient (what?!)
Dr. F: "I can't talk right now I'm with a patient"
Me: "But you made it sound like this in an emergency!"
Dr. F: "Well, it's serious, but I can't talk right now. I'll call you back when I'm done here."
Me: [panic for the next 5 hours]
At 6:00pm or so she calls me back, from her cell phone, while walking ON THE STREET (oh, she's so fired).
Dr. F: "Your TSH is nearly 0, so you need to see an endocrinoogist right away."
Me: "Wait, what does that even mean?"
Dr. F: "It means there's a problem with your thyroid, and you need to see an endocrinologist right away."
Me: "But what kind of problem?"
Dr. F: "I can't really get into that right now. If you want to know more, just Google it."

...

... oh, she is SO FIRED!!!

After a few minutes of a combined panic attack over probably having some sort of thyroid cancer and sheer rage over my PCP telling me to GOOGLE MY SYMPTOMS, I get a hold of an endocrinologist who can see me in a few days.
[In the meantime, I also do what any good daughter does -- I call my dad, who happens to be a PCP, who assures me that it's almost definitely not cancer, to NOT GOOGLE ANYTHING, and to have a glass of wine and chill out -- I am not going to keel over between now and my appointment on Tuesday. Love you, dad.]

So Tuesday comes and I go to see the endocrinologist, Dr. B., who is supposed to be very good, though lacking in "bedside manner" -- whatever, I just want to know what's wrong with me. He takes one look at my chart, one look at me, and says, "You have Graves disease." Short explanation -- it's an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid -- making it churn out thyroid hormone -- and breaks the "thermostat" in your body that tells the thyroid when to turn on and off -- therefore letting the thyroid churn out hormones to its heart's content. This turns up your metabolism (hello, weight loss), can cause jittery-ness and shaking (which I figured was just from drinking a lot of coffee, cause I'm exhausted from working full time raising a toddler), and fatigue -- not general lethargy, but exhaustion from being turned up to 11 24-hours a day (which, duh, I'm a working mom, isn't that just called 'life'?).  He tells me he's prescribing Methimazole to suppress the thryoid. At this point, I'm trying to keep my head on straight and remember my Informed Decision-Making Questions. "Is this an emergency?", "Why is this being prescribed?", "What are the risks?", "Are there any alternatives?"
We talk through everything, and as he's about to send me home he asks "Oh, and you're not pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon, right?"
"No, we're good with the one we have for now," I say, laughing, thinking that now baby-making is the last thing on my mind. "But I am still nursing."

"Oh," he says, "You'll have to wean immediately."

Now, as difficult as that postpartum year-and-a-half had been, breastfeeding was probably the only thing that had been easy. One teeny tiny latch issue in the 2nd week, a weird vasospasm thing at 8 months, but otherwise we were golden. My life pretty much revolved around nursing, even now at 20 months. It was home. It was grounding. It was his way of checking in, of saying "Hi Mummy," and "Good morning, I missed you". It was Our Time. I wasn't going to let that go without a fight.

"Is there another option?" We discussed the other thyroid-suppressing drug, which is safer for babies but has more serious and more common side-effects for mom. "Are you sure it's necessary to wean?" Dr. B pulls out the Physician's Desk Reference, and looks it up. "Yeah, it says it's not safe with breastfeeding, I'm sorry." He sends me out the door with an Rx in my hand and a hole in my heart.

Luckily, there are a few things in life that get me mama-bear fired up: my kid, anyone's birth, and anyone's breastfeeding relationship. I call my husband and say, "I'm not taking this Rx until I get a second opinion. Dad said I wasn't going to keel over waiting for my appointment, I'm not going to keel over in the next day or two waiting for more information."

I call the pediatrician and leave a message.

I email Rebecca, my doula-friend from college, who had just finished her IBCLC. She calls me back with her copy of "Medications and Mother's Milk", and we talk through what it says -- that Methimazole has not been shown to have any impact on the infant's thyroid function up to 20 mg daily dose. And my son is not an infant anymore, is not getting all his nutrition from breastmilk anymore, and his more mature system can handle medications better than an infant's.

I go on KellyMom.com, which sends me to LactMed, which shows me the studies done on breastfed babies and mothers on Methimazole. There is also a link to the AAP list of approved drugs, which includes Methimazole (though as a Class C drug, it's in the "Probably Compatible" category). The KellyMom article also explains why the Physician's Desk Reference (and the FDA) said it wasn't safe. (Hint: it has to do with lawyers.)

I call the Infant Risk Hotline, and a lovely women with a delicious Texas accent talks to me about dosage and half-life.

I'm feeling so much better ... until the pediatrician calls me back. I get the on-call doc, Dr. R. I've already had one bad experience with her, when she told me to wean the baby at 15 weeks because he had teeth (wrong).
Me: "I've just been diagnosed with Graves Disease, and the endocrinologist put me on Methimazole, but I'm breastfeeding, and I just wanted to che--"
Dr. R [interrupting] "Oh, you'll have to wean immediately."
Me: [deep breath] "Ok, but I've spoken to a few other people and the data seems to say that the dosage--"
Dr. R: "No, if you take this medication while breastfeeding you'll damage the baby's thyroid."
[now, notice I haven't actually told her the dosage yet, and there was no pause when she would have looked up any of this information]
Me: "Ok, but I just spoke to an LC, called the Infant Risk hotline, and checked on LactMed, and they all say a dose up to 20 mg a day is fine for infants, and I figured since he's almost two--"
Dr. R: "Well, it seems to me that you're going to do it anyway, regardless of what I tell you, so I guess it's up to you if you want to risk damaging your baby."

...

Oh, she's ALSO SO FIRED!!!

Anyway, I get an email from the endocrinologist the next day, saying my additional lab work came back, it's definitely Graves Disease, and 20mg is a good dose. I reply "Thank you very much, and by the way, I've reached out to a few people regarding breastfeeding and Methimazole, and the data suggests that a 20 mg dose is considered fine for infants (I'm linking to the site below so you can see), so I am comfortable continuing breastfeeding my toddler. Just wanted you to know, and should we need to increase the dose at any point, we can revisit."

He replied with, "Ok."


My son self-weaned just after his second birthday, so only a few months after my diagnosis. Some may hear this story and say, "Well, it was only a few months more, was it really worth getting so upset about it?" Yes, yes it was. We weaned in the gentlest way I can imagine, because neither of use really noticed until it was over. One day he stopped asking for "boo-boos" when I got home from work. A few weeks later he stopped asked for it at bedtime. A few weeks later he stopped asking for it in the morning. And then we were done. Imagine if I had had to take it away from him, without any notice, when he wasn't ready? When I wasn't ready. On top of dealing with a disease I didn't know I had, realizing that these symptoms were NOT just "motherhood" intensified, do you really want to throw in "Now you're not allowed to comfort your child in the way that works best for both of you?" No thank you.

A few months later I wrote to every doctor in the Pediatrician's office, including Dr. R., detailing my encounter, and encouraging them to invest in some time in breastfeeding education for those doctors who need it. I included all the resources I could think of, including LactMed. The next time my child was sick, I specifically asked which doctor was on-call, and when it was Dr. R., I respectfully asked to be connected with someone else, because I did not feel comfortable with her treating my child. I fired Dr. F., and still intend to write a letter to the practice about the "google" incident. I hope that Dr. B. looks for more resources next time he makes recommendations to lactating women, though I understand that it's not his specialty. I can only hope that more women know their options and are not afraid to ask those questions and get other opinions. It's not only our right but our RESPONSIBILITY as patients to make sure we understand our course of treatment, give our doctors all the information we can, and ask the questions and do the research to come to an informed decision about our care. We are the ones who have to live with the consequences after our treatment is done, not the doctor.


**This is a personal story, and is not meant to substitute medical advice. Rather it is an example of weighing risks and benefits, gathering evidence-based information, and coming to a care decision in conjunction with medical professionals.**



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Like what you've read? Pregnant and looking for a class in Western/Central Massachusetts?
Check out our current class schedule here.

Questions? I'm never very far away from my email.

Follow Crafted Birth on Facebook for updates and birth-related resources.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Maternal Health Community Calendar

In an effort to keep families aware of the many resources available to them in the Pioneer Valley, I am attempting to add as many as I can to this calendar. You'll notice the MotherWoman support group schedule is here, along with local breastfeeding group meetings. I'll keep adding as I find them!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy Fall! | Childbirth Classes in Western Massachusetts

Happy Fall, everyone! From my home office I see a few leaves starting to change, the thermometer dipping lower, and the neighborhood kiddos (including mine! What?!) heading off to school for a new year. We have a busy few months ahead!

Overlapping Childbirth Ed Series
This fall we have THREE, overlapping, Six-Week Childbirth Ed series scheduled. This allows parents a little more flexibility in choosing a series, and should they need to miss a day, they can easily make up the class in another session before their baby arrives.

  • Session 1 (Northampton): Saturdays, September 27 through November 1, 10am--12pm
  • Session 2 (Amherst): Thursdays, October 16 through November 20, 6pm--8pm
  • Session 3 (Northampton): Saturdays, November 8 through December 20, 10am--12pm (no class Sat 11/29 – Happy Thanksgiving!)

For detailed class topics and to sign up, please visit http://craftedbirth.blogspot.com/p/class-schedule.html


More frequent Breastfeeding and Newborn Care Classes
It is SO important to prepare for breastfeeding and newborn care – the “most natural thing in the world” takes A LOT of practice! To give parents a little more flexibility and more opportunity for mother AND her support people to attend, we have FIVE Breastfeeding classes and FIVE Newborn Care classes scheduled through the end of the year. Northampton classes will be held on the first and third Sunday of each month, and the Amherst classes will follow the 6-Week Childbirth Ed series.

Breastfeeding Classes
  • Sunday, September 7, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Sunday, October 5, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Sunday, November 2, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Thursday, December 4, 6pm--8pm (Amherst)
  • Sunday, December 7, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Sunday, September 21, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Sunday, October 19, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Sunday, November 16, 10am--12pm (NoHo)
  • Thursday, December 11, 6pm--8pm (Amherst)
  • Sunday, December 21, 10am--12pm (NoHo)

For detailed class topics and to sign up, please visit http://craftedbirth.blogspot.com/p/class-schedule.html


More Local Events

Meet the Doula Days
Before you meet your baby, meet the Doulas! Learn about doula support during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. Get answers to your questions, learn about your options, and meet some wonderful women doing amazing birth work in our community. Also, great door prizes and snacks! Organized by the Green River Doula Network.
  • Sunday, September 21, 3:00—5:00pm – Grow, 3rd floor Thornes Marketplace 150 Main Street, Northampton
  • Sunday, October 19, 1:00—3:00pm – Baystate Franklin Medical Center, 3rd Floor OB Classroom, 164 High Street, Greenfield
  • Saturday, November 1, 3:00—5:00pm – Simple Diaper & Linen, 418 Dwight Street, Holyoke


Promoting Maternal and Infant Mental Health: The MotherWoman Community Based Perinatal Support Model©
Tuesday, September 30, 9:30am—12:30pm
Baystate Education Center, 361 Whitney Ave, Holyoke MA

I am so excited to be attending this free class. Learn how to implement a community based perinatal support model by bringing together all levels of care providers for woman, children and families, across local health systems and the community. (Limited seats available. Pre-registration is required.)


“Thank You Day” at Second Chances Kids’ Consignment Shop – 15% Off!
Wednesday, October 1 – All Day
7 Pomeroy Lane, Amherst, MA

As a special thank you to all our local families (new AND old), Second Chances is holding a special Thank You Day with Simple Diaper and Linen, Crafted Birth, and Birthing Mama Yoga. Mention any of these local businesses and receive 15% off of your purchase on October 1. Also join us for mini informational sessions that evening:


October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
Pregnancy and infant loss affects more families than you probably realize. There are many wonderful resources, both local and national, to help families process their experience and to help friends and loved-ones give the support that is needed.
  • Empty Arms Bereavement Support: Support for families experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss in Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont, and Connecticut. They offer phone and email support, as well local support groups and in-hospital volunteers.   http://www.emptyarmsbereavement.org/   
  • StillBirthday: A global network whose mission is to validate a pregnancy loss as the birth, and death, that it is, and to fill the chasm between the moment darkness falls and when resources are discovered. Includes local listings of doulas, photographers, or volunteers trained to help parents navigate pregnancy loss.  http://www.stillbirthday.com/2011/07/25/massachusetts-resources/
  • NICU Helping Hans/Angel Gowns: a Texas-based community organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive support programs and resources to parents of premature infants. They also organize “Angel Gowns”, a program where wedding dresses are made into gowns for babies who have died. For more information, to request a gown for a local family or hospital, or to donate a wedding dress for the cause, please visit http://www.nicuhelpinghands.org/angel-gowns/

As always, please check out Facebook.com/CraftedBirth for more local events and resources.

Have a wonderful day!

Best,

Mollie Hartford, CCE

Crafted Birth