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Three Things I Would Do Differently

Kristi Ramey holds a child up and smiles at him!

Kristi Ramey writing in today! As a veteran mom (my youngest "baby" is 27), I've had a lot of time to learn, grow, and adjust. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say! It's easier now, to see the things I wish we had done differently. especially when it comes to my birth and postpartum experiences. It wasn't all bad, as I wrote about HERE. Given my profession as an IBCLC, cranial sacral therapist, and postpartum doula, there have been plenty of opportunities to share my experiences with women all over the country-and today, that includes you!

So here are three things I would do differently (if I could go back in time):

1. Take A Birth Class Outside The Hospital Setting

While there are some incredible hospital birth classes out there, we like the freedom and curriculum flexibility a private childbirth education class offers.

Things we recommend looking for in a good childbirth ed class:

-A long Q&A session

-Thorough overview of undisturbed, physiological birth

-Tips for creating a birth plan (or a template included in your class intake forms)

-The entire spectrum of pain relief options, and their pros and cons

-Helpful ways your birth team or partner can communicate and interact with you during labor

-What to expect immediately after birth and how to navigate that

-Some information on the benefits breastfeeding and some tips for establishing it from the beginning

What were the most helpful things YOU learned during your childbirth ed class? Let us know below-maybe we will add it our class! :)

2. Learn A Little As You Go

It's overwhelming to be presented with a million decisions during birth, immediately after birth, and those first few weeks with a new baby. And it basically never stops. Whew! It's too much for a mom to learn it ALL in the middle of that decision making process, and so if I could go back, I would make an effort to slooooowly immerse myself in the choices and options BEFORE arriving at the decision window.

Obviously, some things you simply need to address in the moment. Most things, however, can be learned about ahead of time and adjusted as you learn more. Yes, I said adjusted, because that's what you do as you learn new information and understand a subject better- you adjust! It is OK to not have it all figured out, but we want to "keep moving forward" and "grow as we go".

Some common topics we see parents navigate early on are:

-Birth location and plan

-Circumcision or religious observances

-Vaccine schedules

-Choosing a pediatrician (who do you feel works the best WITH you and your child)

-Sleep scheduling and location

-Breastfeeding (at the breast or through pumping), bottle, or a combo

-Time period for mom staying home with baby

-Boundaries with family members helping out

-Daycare or nanny options

-"Childproofing" the house

What were some discussions that surprised you the first time around? How did you navigate that?

3. Make My Own Community

Humans aren't made to do this alone. A huge part of me finding my own voice as a mother was finding a community of women. They cheered for me and educated me, all while we lived life together.

Don't get us wrong-there are times you will feel alone in this gig. Times when things-and people-are entirely out of your control. Those are very, very challenging situations. If you're reading this and not in a good spot with friends or family close by-I am sorry and it truly is as hard as it feels. But I bet you are going a WONDERFUL job and we are rooting for you here at Richmond Birth and Baby. ❤️

IN GENERAL, I love to encourage new moms to prioritize some sort of community. Maybe that's family, church or hobby connections, people who are in your neighborhood/close by, or maybe a combination of those things! It can be helpful to have women of all ages in this group, because each age range brings a unique knowledge base and sense of energy to the group! All this to have options! It doesn't really matter how it works out, just find the people and groups that resonate with you, your goals in life, and what you want to see in the future-especially in regard to raising your child(ren). Find the people who will celebrate with you, mourn with you, brainstorm with you, and have fun with you (and your family).

Is it easy? No. Is it worth it. Absolutely!

Do you feel like you have folks in your corner? How did you build that community for your family?

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