postpartum

D is for Dad's - Adjusting to Fatherhood

Jace Pierson reflects on the wonderful + overwhelming adjustment into fatherhood, and his advice to other dads on how to survive, support, and savour each moment. 

When my wife was pregnant I forgot to imagine what it going to be like once this tiny human would join us. There was a lot of fun stuff like shopping, planning and pintrest-ing. Prepare yourself to spend some money! But as much as we planned, we found that we were heavily uninformed and unprepared. We had little in the way of friends with kids to ask, so making a birth plan became an intense few months of research. The first year has been a whirlwind of wonderful and overwhelming, so let me share a bit of my experience with you….

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Once our amazing baby girl was born, Meal planning quickly became the bane of our existence. It always seemed like we just ate but now we were h-angry at each other again. We ate a lot of take-out for the first while. (that's how I got this epic dad bod and mildly depleted savings). 

Sleep patterns were out the window and stress coping and memory becomes difficult when you're always tired and h-angry. And guess what? There are no more time outs, it's 1st down with 6 months to go!  It was overwhelming at times, but the amazing parts truly outweigh the hard times; like that first smile, and the pure joy of making your little one laugh for the first time. (I recommend tickles)! You start to see things in a whole new light: your kids light, and it’s almost as though you too are seeing it for the first time. 

For the year to follow the birth of my daughter I saw my wife more than the years she was not pregnant. Yet I found myself distanced and I missed her very much even though we were always together. As a husband, I found this to be one of the greatest challenges; I love my wife beyond belief and I live for time we spend together. 

As men when faced with difficult times, we tend to put our heads down focus elsewhere and push through until it’s over. Those first months of parenthood are no different.

 

If I could offer any advice to new dads its to stay present, and stay the course. 

 

Your child might not want that much to do with you for the first while and demand the attention of your partner, and that's okay. So what are you supposed to do? 

It’s your job to be there for mom; she needs you to be present, to be attentive, to fill in the gaps of what she no longer has the time or energy to do; this was the best advice I got from a good friend and I pass it unto you. 

Get your hands dirty! I have heard a few dads complain about changing their kids' diapers, how gross it is "I have a bad gag reflex and cant handle it". It’s time to MAN up friend (or should I say wo-man up, mom just birthed a human. If it comes down to who is tougher... She is). With the exception of breast feedings your roll and responsibilities are as equals.

Does this change when mom goes back to work? Sort of. 

Now that my wife is back at work, we are continually striving to find the balance between being a parent and maintaining our former life. Some days it works, and other days are a just a mess. It's constant growth, and as long as the communication stays open and you continue to have each other’s back, you will make it through in one piece.

Good luck & Have fun, it does go fast!

Jace is a father and husband, passionate about his family, friends, and the beautiful community of the Comox Valley that he calls home. Jace works as an advisor with Sunlife Financial, and is a warm and enthusiastic resource for individuals and families exploring their options for investments, education saving plans, and much more.

For more information you can visit his website, or contact him directly at jace.pierson@sunlife.com.

 

A is for Alcohol - Can I Breastfeed and Bottom's Up?

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Because this question gets asked OFTEN. 

Most of us should know by now that alcohol in pregnancy is a big ol' 'nope'. The research and evidence tells us that anything but abstaining from your favourite alcoholic bevy is the way to go. 

But the more common questions we get is: 

 

Can I drink while I breastfeed? How much? Will it harm my baby? Should I pump and dump my milk? 

 

Parameters for alcohol consumption and breastfeeding seem be a bit less clear, but the current discussion suggests that the transfer of alcohol to baby through breastfeeding is minimal. “Two glasses a day” is a typical guideline given for safe consumption (breastfeeding or not, more than about 1-2 6oz glasses of alcohol is detrimental to your health), and the research seems to suggest that there is minimal transfer or impact on the infant. The information available also seems to agree that there is no need to express and dispose of your milk, and nursing as usual is typically recommended. The benefit of baby receiving your breastmilk seems to be greater than any minuscule amount of alcohol that may pass through your milk. 

The most important issue when it comes to alcohol consumption is keeping your coherence and mental state in check. The primary caregiver of an infant should be able to safely care for that infant without being compromised by the consumption of alcohol or other state-altering substances or medications.

It is especially important that you do not bed-share under any circumstances if either parent is under the influence of alcohol. This poses a significant risk for the infant, and baby should be kept in it’s own crib if either parent has had significant alcohol consumption. 

Is a post birth celebratory glass or two an acceptable option after your birth? Check out the articles below, speak with your doctor, and decide for yourself. The available information seems to suggest that you can safely enjoy snuggling up this fall with a blanket, a good movie, and your favourite glass of wine.

Safe Sleep & the Breastfed Baby and Alcohol and Breastfeeding 

See Jack Newman's Facebook post about alcohol and breastfeeding here. 

*This information should not be taken as medical advice, and does not replace the advise of your primary care provider on the safety of alcohol consumption and breastfeeding.*

- Andrea 

So, You Just Had a Baby

It is such a strange but liberating feeling to go from heavily pregnant, to holding your baby in your arms. Suddenly you’re no longer unevenly balanced from carrying a constant, heavy load in front of your body. You're FREE! I’ve always thought it was a bit like taking off skates after you’ve been on the ice for a couple of hours…you know that feeling? It’s a sweet sigh of relief. (I might tie my skates too tight.)

This new freedom might come with some feelings of sadness, but mostly you're enjoying the ease of being able to move, walk, bend, or tie your shoes! And as the early days pass, the busyness builds: the piles of laundry, the  meals needing to be cooked, the dishes needing to be washed, the floors needing to be swept, the toddler needing to be pushed on the swing, and the list goes on, and on. 

But try, if you can, to take a breath, take a break, put the lists down and the aspirations aside, and slow your pace for just this brief space in time. And not because, “you’ll never get this time back”, and “these days will pass you by”; do it for you; do it for your healing; do it for your body, mind, and soul. 

 

You’ve just accomplished a major physical feat, and not just for one or two laborious days, but for 9, long months. I encourage families to try and block out at least two weeks; two weeks of rest, two weeks of zero obligations, two weeks of rooming in, laying low, and gently adjusting. Why? : 

You’re going through an intense, hormonal shift. You’re body is re-regulating it’s hormones. Your emotions might be a bit unstable, your mood might shift, your whole internal endocrine system is adjusting to this life on the outside. 

You’re producing a food supply and learning to use your body to feed a baby; nourishing food, rest, and time, are all necessary pieces to this process. 

You’ve become a whole new unit; perhaps two has become three, or four, or more. Let that sink in a while.

You’re running on a lot less sleep, with much greater demands; you’re everything to one small person, don’t undermine all that you give and do by just being what your baby needs. 

The dinners can be made by someone else. The laundry and dishes will be there tomorrow. The eager visitors can lend a hand. Your loving partner can carry the load for a while. Honour you, relish this time, hold this space for a while, the rest of it can wait. 

{Also - we know a few great doulas that can lend a hand with each and every one of these things, and it’s one of our favourite things to do.}

- Andrea