Bellies, Birth, and Babies Birth Network
October 2019

Getting Your Ducks in a Row. Pregnancy Homework Pays Off

Birth Matters: October 2019

By Laura Maxson, LM

There is so much to learn about, plan for and decide on when expecting.  Parents-to-be and new parents can easily feel confused or overwhelmed.  Although it can seem like an eternity at times, pregnancy does go quickly when it comes to getting all your ducks in a row before baby arrives.  And who knew there were so many ducks.

Bellies, Birth, and Babies Birth Network
There is support for the biggest adventure, having a baby, at Bellies, Birth and Babies, where you join other mothers and learn about everything from compostable diapers to home birth and breast pumps.

Doing a little homework in pregnancy can save time and stress when baby is actually here and no matter how much planning is done in pregnancy, your baby will bring new questions. 

With so many items on the new parent to-do list, it’s nice to know so many can be checked off by attending a Bellies, Birth and Babies event.  Held twice a year these free events are geared toward answering questions and providing information and resources to new and expectant families.  Parents come with questions and leave feeling a little more prepared, not just with lists of resources, but with names and faces – real connections with those they’ve spoken with.   

Those attending Bellies, Birth and Babies often come in search of a practitioner – a yoga/fitness instructor, doula or childbirth instructor, for example.  Others are looking specifically for information or support around a certain topic such as postpartum care, labor coping skills or lactation support.  One of the best parts of the event, besides getting the information you were looking for, is finding out about all the resources you had no idea were out there.

Birth Network of Santa Cruz County created this event to get information to parents.  With the help of their professional members and others in the birth and parenting community they have created an event that brings everyone together.  Parents can walk in to a full afternoon of workshops, demos and conversations, or just pop in for the answer to a specific question and be on their way. 

Every family that attends receives a free ticket to the raffle of fabulous door prizes.  But the biggest prize of all often comes from talking with other parents.  It can be so helpful to listen to other parents and professionals discussing the needs of new babies (and their parents) with your own baby in arms.  It’s not unusual to start a list of additional questions for a person’s doctor or midwife after joining in the pain coping ideas for labor discussion.  

According to parents who attended past Bellies, Birth and Babies events, it is just the place to explore options and find resources.  When asked if they would recommend this event, past participants responded with a resounding, “yes.” Specifically: “Yes! Friendly and welcoming,” “Yes, it was fun and there are a variety of things to check out,” and “Yes even as a 2nd time mom, so helpful and so many resources.”

So many different kinds of resources are available. At the event, parents can:

Sign up for delivery of compostable diapers that are picked up after use and actually composted instead of going into the landfill.   

Do some shopping for nursing bras and pregnancy lingerie. And also schedule someone to come to the house with an assortment of nursing bras to try on once baby arrives.

Ask questions about selecting and installing a child safety seat.

Practice some hands-on infant massage techniques.

Check out baby carriers and get tips on using them.

Find out about homebirth options, including waterbirth, siblings in attendance and laboring safely at home.  

Learn about how to support pregnant and postpartum bodies through yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic, fitness classes and physical therapy.

Experience the support of a mini-pregnancy/baby singing circle.

See how a breastpump works and find out if you might need one (not everyone does!)

Explore some of the newest toys, diaper bags and other “must-haves” for new parents.

Ask about recommendations for helpful birth and parenting books or podcasts.

Most importantly parents can feel supported in this big work of preparing for and raising a family.  Connecting with other parents through classes, support groups, online resources and just simple conversations lightens the load.  It is a unique experience to be able to connect with professionals in a one-on-one situation.  Our community is so lucky to have so many wonderfully dedicated people working hard for parents in our community.

Getting prepared and organized as you can is an ongoing process.  Be like those mama ducks – take off, but keep checking… chances are you’re going to have to stop and line them all up again! 

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