Monday, March 31, 2014


There's all of this fuss going around about how photo-shopped images set a too high standard for beauty and Barbie should look more natural. It got me thinking - where do our children really learn these standards?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Share The Love {A Birth Circle Topic}

Sibling Bonding

A lot of parents are nervous for the arrival of a new baby. They wonder how their toddlers will adjust and how they will adjust. One option is to hire a postpartum doula; she comes in to "mother the mother". A postpartum doula brings the support you need to cherish your children, nurture yourself, and perhaps allow you 40 days of rest. She helps with small tasks around the home, assists with older siblings, family bonding, and more, all while helping your incorporate the parenting style you desire into your growing family.

Sibling bonding is an essential part of introducing a new baby into your home. So how can we best facilitate a stronger bond between our toddlers and newborn? 
Introducing a new baby into the family begins with pregnancy and is carried on after the birth with language - "Our Baby". Using terminology that includes your toddler, even giving him some stake, creates a bond of caring and protectiveness and can subdue the jealousy factor immensely. 

Including your toddler while nursing is also a great way to form bonding, including using sticker charts - let them give you a star each time your nurse! Or change the baby's socks. I loved to place a pair of socks at the other end of the room and play Red Light, Green Light with my tyke while I nursed; and when he got to the socks, he brought them over, played This Little Piggy on his brother, and put the socks on him. 

For other great activities, check out -

The Nursling and The Tyke

Don't forget to address factors such as how long/if your toddler is weaned. If your toddler has not been away from the breast for long, she may desire to reestablish that connection with you once the baby is born. The La Leche League can offer great support for tandem nursing and is also a great place to allow your toddler to see babies nursing. This is helpful for all toddlers, whether they need to see it and gain understanding of what to expect or whether the experience may allow them to understand that your breasts are not only for them but that 'all' babies nurse.

Other Birth Circle Topics:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Inspiring Change

March 8, 2014 is International Women's Day and this year's theme is Inspiring Change.

Birth is a transformational time in a woman's life; not only is a baby born, a mother is born as well. This time is one that should be empowering but many women in America are experiencing birth in ways that make them feel self-doubt, defeat, confusion and sadness.
Is birth traumatic? 
How can we change these outcomes?

By changing the way we view birth.

In my post Say What You Mean, I discuss what has become "normal birth" in our society: induction

Yesterday, I was listening to a frustrated mother speak, and she said
I don't understand why we have to fight so hard for a normal birth!
And it hit me, because what she wants, a natural, intervention free birth, is not normal! She finds herself fighting because she is going against the grain of modern technology and desiring a biologically normal childbirth. While Nils Bergman, MD was working as a mission doctor in Zimbabwe he observed
I was seeing the real biology of Homo sapiens at work, and that what I had learned at medical school was a result of modern culture equipped with amazing technology, but no understanding of human biology
....Read more 

Is all of this technology helping us or hurting us? And what about your epidural? Why is it that we so often hear women refer to this drug as belonging to them.  Women don't take ownership of Tylenol, yet too often, be it from pop culture or whatever, women are staking claim to this method of pain relief without noting other options nor the risks of it, and we are still not claiming our births.  

This year's theme for International Women's Day is "Inspiring Change" promoting equality for women. Being in charge of our birth experiences is the foundation we set for our daughters in equality. As a doula, a recurring theme I see is women asking permission to do something while laboring and giving birth. This paradigm places women beneath their care providers, taking away the magnificence and empowerment of giving birth. You, woman, are strong and in charge of your body and your birth! Any care provider you choose to enlist is working for you. Birth is a human rights issue and it belongs to women. Take charge of your health, your body,  your birth. I encourage you to not ask permission but discuss your desires. 
This is your Journey of Life, make your own informed choices about birth and know that it is not only within your power to do so, it is your right! 

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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