comox valley birth doula

E is for Eye Ointment after Birth

Baby New rubbing eye.jpg

The administration of eye ointment to infants after birth (Erythromycin, to be precise) is an antibiotic treatment which is offered for infants at birth. This is one of a number of options you will discuss with your care provider in advance of or immediately after the birth of your baby. 

During childbirth classes and prenatal visits with clients, this is a topic that comes up often, and one that most families feel a little bit confused on. 

Is erythromycin an outdated practice, or a necessary safety precaution?

Our first answer: Have an open discussion with your care provider; this their area of expertise, and out of our scope to offer advice. Like with any option or intervention that you’re unsure about, one of things we always share with our clients during prenatal visits and classes, is to pull B.R.A.I.N. out of your back pocket to help you formulate questions and make an informed decision. 

In the meantime, what IS Erythromycin, and what is it being used for? 

Erythromycin is a prophylactic (a fancy term for: ‘preventative’), antibiotic treatment used to treat neonatal conjunctivitis (newborn eye infection contracted during delivery).  Eye infections are common and usually harmless, unless the infant has been exposed to an active, sexually transmitted infection, Chlamydia being the most prevalent. 

There is a risk of blindness to infants who are exposed to Chlamydia, and routine administration of prophylactic eye treatment has been used to reduce the incidence of severe complications from this kind of infection since the early 1800’s. 

While Erythromycin treatment has proved to reduce the development of infection due to exposure, it is not 100% effective, and comes with it’s own set of risks. Research is increasingly seeming to suggest that the benefit of this routine medication does not outweigh the potential risks associated with routine use. 

STI’s like Chlamydia are routinely screened during your prenatal care blood work. If you are unsure if you may be a carrier, ask your care provider to check that your blood work is up to date and discuss the safest options. 

We like this thorough explanation on Erythromycin, written by Evidence Based Birth. The Canadian Paediatric Society also put out this research article in 2015 that explains their stance on this issue. 

What did you decide for you infant - did you opt in our out of eye ointment, and why? 




I Won't Ask To Hold Your Baby

There are few things in life as precious as a sweet-smelling newborn snuggled up in your arms. The ‘baby stage’ has passed me by with alarming speed, and I occasionally long for the days of curling up with a frog-legged newborn, with a cock-eyed head to my chest, peacefully sleeping in a cozied up milk-coma. 

You’d think, given the field of work I’m in, that I get more than my share of baby-holding. While I’m fairly well versed in the act of holding, cuddling, swaddling, rocking and bouncing a newborn, it’s not always a usual part of a day in my life with a family. Whether after a birth, during a postpartum visit, or as a postpartum doula, holding babies is actually a lot more scarce than you’d think. 

Why? Because I won’t ask to hold your baby. 

It’s not that I don’t want to. Oh, I want to. But it’s simply not my job to assume that’s what you want or need from me. 


My job as your doula is to support you in the ways you need most, giving you the space to bond with your baby. 


Those precious hours after birth - those are your moments. That is your time as a family to revel in the miracle you’ve just welcomed into the world; to take in every quick breath your baby takes, to keep him warm and close; the place he wants to be most. 

The weeks postpartum, you may want to revel in every sleepy moment with baby. With visitors coming in to sneak in their cuddle, you may be longing to simply soak up these fleeting moments.  

And perhaps you gladly welcome an extra set of arms so that you can sneak in a nap or a shower, or a hands-free trip to the grocery store. Ok, let’s be honest…a solo trip to the bathroom might be a luxury experience at this point. While I am (more than) happy to provide this for the parents I work with, l also know that sometimes (often) the most valuable way I can support them is to keep the house tidy, prep a meal, do a few loads of laundry, or play with little sister. 

My greatest goal is to be there to give you exactly what you need, and that may not include your newborn, and that is absolutely fine by me.

What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag (and beyond..)

Countdown is on! Your baby's arrival could be days or weeks or just around the corner. It's time to get those bags packed and ready to fly out the door at a moments notice!

We've made a comprehensive list of the must-haves, might-wants, and definitely-don't-forget items that you'll want to bring with you to the hospital. Keep in mind that your stay at the hospital may be short and sweet, or longer than expected. Pack your bag however you feel comfortable leaving the house for a couple of days, and ease your mind by making arrangements, if necessary, to send someone home to retrieve any special belongings you might want or need. 

Get your downloadable PDF below: