My husband Addison was a spectator at our daughter Willow’s birth in the hospital. At our daughter Iris’s birth at home, he was a participant.
“Laboring with Willow”
He boiled pots of reserve water for the birthing tub. He assisted me into the tub when Iris was crowning, so I could have my desired water birth before she came quickly spiraling out. He held her skin to skin while I got cleaned up. He and Willowcut the umbilical cord after Iris’s first feed. Then our new little family climbed into bed, and Addison turned on the football game in the comfort of his own home.
The difference in his involvement and comfort between the births of our daughters has impacted the way in which he bonded with our girls. Addison and Willow totally adore one another, but their relationship has required some nurturing. Addison and Iris’s bond has been unshakeable from the start.
Given the opportunity, a mother bonds to her biological child through a beautiful orchestration of hormones throughout her pregnancy and especially immediately after birth and during breastfeeding. A father– while his testosterone levels dip to an all-time low after the birth of his child (which facilitates bonding)– generally requires a different effort.
And just as a mother’s relationship with her child is influenced by birth practices, so is a father’s or partner’s.
“What I offer is not to liberate or empower one gender,” Salmon writes on his website. “It is simply to empower the people who chose to bring a life into this world through love and selflessness.”
Salmon explains that there is rightfully a lot of focus on the mother throughout her pregnancy and birth, but not so much concern for the partner.
“It’s not fair to the partners because they don’t know what they could experience,” Salmon says.
A mother and her partner both have the potential to be positively transformed and empowered through the birth experience. When the mother and her partner revel in it together, they create a powerful team, ready to care for their baby and one another.
Like most doulas, Salmon provides emotional support for mothers. But Salmon also stresses the importance of making himself available to the partner so he or she may voice concerns and curiosity.
Preparation for this partnered birth begins with proper childbirth education classes, Salmon explains. He finds that when partners share this time to prepare for the arrival of their child, there is much more engagement between the two during labor and delivery and thereafter.
Brian The Birth Guy childbirth classes focus specifically on the goals of his clients. He works to instill confidence in even the most fearful and uncomfortable of expecting parents.
“I always challenge parents to look at the dark corners of birth, things they aren’t sure about,” he says. “When you go to the dark corner it’s always scary, but if you have a flashlight it’s a little less scary.”
Salmon’s interactions with expecting parents prompted him to take Healthy Children Project’s The Lactation Counselor Training Course.
In addition to his “dude-la” work, Salmon owns BabyVision Ultrasound, an imaging center where he sees around 200 patients a month.
Here, Salmon also has the opportunity to facilitate discussions about breastfeeding.
After taking the CLC training, Salmon now makes sure not to dry baby’s hands after birth. This way, she can track the amniotic scent on her hands to the similar scent excreted by mom’s Montgomery glands.
Discussion of the dangers of informal milk sharing in his CLC training has prompted Salmon to start free breastfeeding classes which began May 1.
At Project Baby Feed, Salmon will discuss the importance of breastfeeding, what’s in breastmilk and how breastfeeding works.
“What blows people away is that [human] milk is different at every feed,” he says. “People just don’t understand breastfeeding, but if I can get to them, I can get their palates wet and get them curious.”
An accessible and reliable education is so important for new mothers because too many moms hear breastfeeding horror stories from the people they admire most, he continues.
Salmon reminds us though that birth and lactation education isn’t exclusive to females or mothers.
“I would love to see more men get involved [in birth work,]” he says. “Some men get worried or nervous to get involved as birth professionals and doulas, but there is nothing wrong with that.”
Male concerns might include finances and alienation. The birth world is not always lucrative; men may also feel intimidated in a predominantly female field.
Salmon encourages males passionate about birth and breastfeeding to get involved because they have a unique opportunity to connect with dads and other partners.
Fortunately, Salmon confidently reports that he doesn’t struggle with challenges specific to being a male caregiver.
“It’s a matter of people being able to feel your heart and what your motive is,” Salmon says. “It’s about them knowing you’re there because you are really committed to them.”
And committed he is. When families pass through his imaging center and learn that their baby will be stillborn, Salmon offers doula services free of charge.
These births hold a special place in his heart because their birth is the only time for them to care for their babies, he says.
Learn more about The Birth Guy and his services at http://thebirthguy.com/
Hi friends! I am Brian AKA The Birth Guy. I was honored when Brad Marmo asked me to become a blogger here. Brad asked me a question about breastfeeding and why babies don’t always go for it. Why sometimes pumping and bottle feeding are the only way some babies will even drink breast milk. I am a Doula, and Birth Mentor (if you are wondering why he asked me). There can be many reasons, so I will tell you how to do your best to not even get there!
Let’s just start at pregnancy. The number one reason that many families have problems with breastfeeding starts with education. It is so important to get help from a credible source that teaches the benefits of breastfeeding, how it works with the body, some red flags, and how the father or partner’s support is so incredibly important. Gentlemen (and ladies if you are reading this), SUPPORT is the name of the game!
New mothers often feel so worried and anxiety bound that they are stopping the natural flow of breastfeeding. Dad/partners job is to consistently remind her that she is doing an amazing job and making just what the baby needs. However, going in prepared makes it so much easier. Here are some things to know that will reduce stress:
1. Babies will generally not latch for about 1 hour and if you had drugs or an epidural, 2 hours. Skin to skin is a big thing at this phase. When baby is born they should immediately be on moms chest. They need to relax, cry, crawl, sleep, familiarize, and then latch. If this doesn’t happen, it’s a little tougher, but don’t you worry, I will tell you some other things to do if you do not get this long skin to skin time. Also during this time do not let them towel off babies mid fore arm and hand. We want it to smell like amniotic fluid. Why you ask? Because those bumps that popped out around moms nipples are called montgomery glands and they secrete an oily liquid that smells like amniotic fluid. Get it? They smell their hand and the nipple. That must be where they can suck and swallow. It is so awesome, right???
2. For the first 2-5 days mom may not have a milk supply in yet. That is ok! Mom is making small drops of colostrum and that is all the baby needs until her milk is in. Skin to skin helps get milk in more because baby will touch and stimulate the nipple which increases prolactin which then causes milk to be produced! This is a great time for you to be telling mom how amazing she is and she is doing exactly what she should be. The baby is great!
3. Birth plans are so necessary for successful breastfeeding because you can say “no nipples, pacifiers, or bottle feeding unless we approve it.”
Babies “GO WITH THE FLOW” and nipples that are on bottles let the milk out without much work, so babies want to stick with that and say “bye bye boobie”.
4. Knowing the benefits of breastfeeding before having your baby is very good because it keeps you focused on the purpose. For instance, did you know that each feed is custom tailored to your babies nutritional needs? No feed is the same. The babies saliva is analyzed and the body puts what is needed into that feed. WOW!!! Mom and baby both get reduced risk of certain cancers too. There are many more, but you get where I am going with this.
5. If you are going to feed you need to know when. First feeding cue is when the baby is sleeping and the eyes begin moving rapidly (REM sleep). That’s a good time to get the baby and have mom hold in a breastfeeding position. I like cross cradle for the first few feeds. Babies will also tighten their fists and smack their lips. If they begin crying, that is not so good for trying to latch. Let the baby fall back to sleep and get them at REM again.
6. Dad/partner should know the proper positioning and things to look for in a good latch. That is not so easy to explain on a blog. Call me if you want to skype and I will show you. 😉
7. Have mom take 90 seconds when she gets the baby in her arms before she latches. This is where I like the five senses to be used. Dad/partner should be caressing mom and she should look at the baby, smell the baby, feel the baby on her skin, kiss the baby, hear the baby, watch her breathing and the babies breathing…Then Latch! We are getting that oxytocin going that can really help. Oxytocin is the love hormone. If you look at my blog, I wrote all about it!
8. Last but not least, until mom is a latch champ, only you guys, baby, and maybe a professional should be in the room. No extra pressure for mom. That goes for home too. If there is someone that can make mom feel guilt, frustration, anger, or any negative feeling, they don’t belong there.
Phew. There really is so much more, but this is a great start. Here is a link to a video that can help out! “How Can A Dad Help During Breastfeeding??“
I am happy to answer any questions or help you guys out in any way. I hope this helps