Rachels Journey.

I’m going to try something new, Reaching out to moms from the community and around, I want to know your breastfeeding stories.

E-mail them with photo to

My name is Rachel Gervais, I am 29 years old and I have two beautiful boys. I breastfed both children, however in very different ways.

In my mind, breastfeeding is the most natural and healthy choice for your child, I wanted to nurse my baby from day one; I wanted to provide my son with every ounce of liquid gold as possible. When I ended up having a C-section and a difficult recovery, I did not have the support of the nurses on shift and was too shy to ask for help. When I returned home I was blessed with nipple thrush, which is extremely painful when baby latches on. I spent many nights crying, feeling like I was doing my son wrong, that I couldn’t be a mom because I wasn’t able to breastfeed, I began pumping with many failed attempts of actual breastfeeding and although I only pumped for 6 months, it was the hardest and best decision of my life. I know that I provided him with all the liquid gold that I could. He is now a thriving almost 5 year old, full of spunk and love. Did I breastfeed him? NO! However I did give him my breast milk and that was important to me. Through this whole experience I was diagnosed with post partum depression, I believe the pumping helped me get through this tough time. Giving him breast milk wherever it may have come from was important to me.

Baby #2 comes along, this time I was determined to do it right!, Why I thought pumping wasn’t good enough, I will never know but with this baby I told myself I would ask for help, I would do this right!

It came natural, we had some latching issues but I asked for help from my doula, she was amazing, and that’s when my breastfeeding journey really started.

Rachel breastfeeds with help

I became obsessed with breastfeeding; I wanted the world to know that this was a natural and okay thing. That providing your children with breast milk from your breast was normal. It’s amazing the amount of people who do not want to see another woman breastfeeding. I will never understand but will continue to advocate for those who chose to breastfeed, in public or at home. I breastfed my second child for 15 months when he chose to self wean. During this time I breastfed in public, covered and not. I had many people stare but I kept my head up and knew I was making the world more aware of how natural breastfeeding is.

My son was even breastfed by another woman, a really close friend. I was out of town for a night and my son wouldn’t take the bottle, She picked him up and nursed and comforted him, I was very grateful that I had her there to provide him what he needed at that moment. When I tell people about this I get a lot of mixed emotions, however I know that it was the right thing to do because I was so far away.

At one point when I was nursing my little guy a woman told me that I should cover up because her nephew was staring at me. This really upset me, how can you show someone not to be shy or awkward about breastfeeding if we hide from it from our children. I kindly told her that I would not cover up because it was important for me to teach him that breastfeeding was normal and that he should never feel uncomfortable seeing someone breastfeed.

How do we change this mentality? How can we make people aware that breast are for feeding our children? If people chose to breastfeed it should be their choice weather they breastfeed covered or not, in public or not. It’s normal, natural and very rewarding! Would I breastfeed again? Of course! When I see woman breastfeeding, I smile or tell them they are doing a great job, we need to support each other not tear each other down.

Happy mama and child. Rachel breastfeeds contently

Have a journey to share….. Tell it here !

e-mail your journey to Subject (BestFed Journey) so I catch it. 🙂

Categories: Breastfeeding, C-Section, Labour And Delivery | Tags: , | Leave a comment

C-Section Birth

As seen in Home Grown – Parenting in the North

C-sections are getting a lot of publicity lately and with it we’ve seen a rise in the percentage of c-sections being performed in Canada. In recent statistics, Canada is seen to have almost 25% of women receiving a c-section to birth their babies. These statistics are not as frightening as they should be to most women. In the U.S., the statistics are closer to 1 in every 3 women receiving a c-section, however in the U.S. women have the ability to elect a c-section instead of having a natural birth. They call it Designer Birth, what a wonderful name for such an un-wonderful procedure. As you may know, many of the stars have done it, such as Victoria Beckham “To Posh to push” and Britney Spears.
If you do end up requiring a c-section, here is some information that may help you prepare for every situation. Please talk to your doctor about all the concerns that you may have.

C-Section Prevention
Before Labour:
Getting a breech baby to turn is easier than it sounds for some; here are two natural, proven methods to get your little peanut to do the 180:
Pelvic Tilts are common and most women know about these, these are more effective when done on the stairs (use the lower stairs and have your partner help you)
Moxibustion is a form of acupuncture. By lighting a moxi stick and holding it to your baby toe, this causes your uterus to contract helping baby turn.

Here are some reasons that you will or may need a c-section:

Hard Indicators. These are indicators that a C-Section is most likely unavoidable.
Health Problems of the mother including but not limited to:
Severe Toxemia,
Uncontrollable Diabetes
Heart Condition
Back/Hip Problems
Placenta Previa or Placenta Abruption
Prolapsed Cord
Transverse Position
Active genital herpes and/or HIV/AIDS

Soft Indicators. These are indicators that a c-section may be ordered, but not necessarily needed.
Repeat C-Section – This is the #1 reason for c-sections, however in most cases you do not need a repeat c-section.
Failure to progress
Cephalopelvic Disproportion
Fetal Distress
Breech Baby

Preparing for a C-Section

There are many reasons that you could know that you are going to have a c-section. What you need to understand when going in for a c-section is that it is a major abdominal surgery. It is not to be taken lightly. You will need more emotional and physical support than a woman who is having a natural birth.

When you go in for a c-section you are required to stay anywhere from 3-5 days, therefore you will need a lot more in your suitcase. Also, different hospitals have different rules, some will have an area for your husband/partner/support person to stay the night, while others do not allow anyone to stay past visiting hours.  If your hospital does allow for a support person to stay the night, then remember to pack some extras for them too.

For Yourself:

Lots of underwear – Look for the granny panties that are tight and come right up to your rib cage with a good hold. This will hold your stomach in place after the c-section and will help you feel a little more mobile. This is not the time for those sexy little panties.

Clothing – Choose clothing that is loose in the waist. Pack a few of your husband’s shirts and sweatpants. Your incision will likely bleed for a few days, so pack things that you don’t mind getting stained.

Books – Bring something that you will enjoy reading while baby sleeps. Even though you may not find the time to read, having the option is comfort enough.

Nursing Bras & Breast Pads – Bring a few. Who knows when your milk will come in, and you don’t have a washing machine to wash the ones you have. Get inexpensive sleeping nursing bras at Walmart, these are great for the first few days and slide aside easily. Pack half a box of breast pads.

Slippers and Bath Robe – Bring a cozy robe and a comfortable pair of slippers that slip on and off quickly.

A nice going home Outfit – Pack something nice but comfortable. Remember baggy is key.


Everyone recovers differently; some may take a few weeks, while others may take a few months. Have your partner do research and find ways that they can help you recover. Recovery with a c-section is more difficult than a natural birth by far, but there are so many things that you can do to make your recovery easier.

Hire A Postpartum Doula. A postpartum doula will help you with your little daily routines, you need to discuss with her what she is willing and not willing to do to help you after your baby is born. Some postpartum Doulas will cook meals, tidy house, help you with breastfeeding and run errands for you.

Deal With Your Pain. Take the pain medications that the nurses give you, usually Tylenol 3’s. Remember to keep up with the dosage that the doctor has prescribed so that you will be taking them before the pain comes back. You will not win an award for not taking the pain medications, there is a time and place for medication and this is it. Being a new mom with all the hormones and emotional changed is hard enough, there is no need to have to deal with unnecessary pain.

Stool Softeners And Fibre. Back in the day, you could not leave the hospital until you had had your first bowel movement. Now most hospitals will let you leave sooner. Most women admit to holding in that bowel movement because they are afraid to push, afraid that their incision will come apart, or simply because it hurts too much. Your incision will not come apart.

Let That Gas Go! This really is a big one, as a lot of the pain you get when you are in recovery is from gas from the air that got trapped inside you. This gas will come out, and it really can hurt when trapped inside. Don’t be afraid of farting either.

Drink Lots Of Water.

Light Exercise. Such as walking and even lifting your own baby. Don’t try to get rid of your “baby weight” right away, it’s not worth tearing or hurting yourself; the weight will come off when it’s good and ready.

Breastfeed. Breastfeeding has many great benefits, not only for your baby but also for you. When your baby nurses, it helps shrink your uterus, it also helps you lose that “baby weight”. Unlike a mother who has given birth vaginally, you will not be able to do as much with yourself to lose the weight, so breastfeeding can be even more beneficial for you.

Eat Yogurt And Take Probiotics. When you have a c-section you are given antibiotics, this may make you more susceptible to a yeast infection in you, and thrush and a yeast infection in your baby. Getting your daily dose of probiotics will help prevent the over growth of the candida bacteria in your and your baby’s system. Also, ask your local pharmacy or naturopath about probiotics for your baby.

Sleep. We’ve all heard ‘sleep when baby is sleeping’, however when you have had a c-section, the pain may be too much to handle sleep. Use pillows to prop you to an incline to help you sleep. Also, ask for help to get baby to you when it is time to feed. Every time you get up to retrieve baby yourself, you’re causing pain and making it harder to fall back to sleep.
If you have had a c-section, your risk of postpartum depression is higher. Please review symptom of postpartum depression with your partner after the baby is born. Ask your partner to get you help if you display any of the symptoms.
Now that you’ve had a c-section will you have to have another?  Studies are proving that VBAC (Vaginal birth after Cesarian Section) may be a better option. Watch for next month’s article featuring VBAC Births.

Categories: C-Section, Health Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparing For a VBAC

As seen in Home Grown – Parenting in the North

Bellies & Babies: VBAC

The term VBAC -Vaginal birth after cesarian – was coined by Nancy Wainer Cohen

Benefits of a VBAC
reduces blood loss;
reduces injury and risk of infection;
eliminates complications associated with surgery;
require a shorter hospital stay;
more rapid recovery; and
less painful recovery

**Nearly Eighty Percent of women who try for a VBAC have a successful VBAC delivery.
**VBAC trials were statistically safer for mothers, and just as safe for babies.

If your previous birth was a c-section, depending on the reason for the c-section, you may feel as if you were cheated out of the labour process. You now find yourself pregnant with your second (or third…) baby and are wondering if it’s possible to have a vaginal delivery this time around.

To begin, let’s debunk some of those c-section myths:

C-sections are safer than vaginal birth – This is the worst myth of them all, All studies support that the safest way to deliver a baby is by vaginal birth. “The more cesarians a woman has, the more the risks to her increase.” – Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to childbirth.

C-sections cause less trauma for the baby Statistics report that babies born via c-section are more likely to have respiratory problems and spend more time in the NICU.  Babies born via c-section are also more likely to have a harder time breastfeeding,

You need a C-section because your baby has the cord wrapped around its neck – approximately one third of babies are born with the cord around their neck, it is rare that the cord is too tight or short that it will actually cause harm to the baby.

For more c-section myth busting, be sure to read Your Best Birth, By Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.

So, your two options are have a repeat C-section or plan a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section). Some of the reasons that you may choose a VBAC delivery.

Planning A Larger Family. If you are planning on having more children, a VBAC is a better option as with each delivery the risks decrease, where as the risks increase with each subsequent c-sections delivery.

Emotional Closure. For some woman, having a c-section feels like you failed, or like your body failed you. To have a VBAC can provide great emotional closure. You get to participate in the birth of your baby, rather than have a procedure done to you. You will be able to hold your baby right away and breastfeed sooner than you would if you had had a c-section.

Recovery Time. With a vaginal birth you will have a shorter hospital stay. You avoid the major abdominal surgery which will help your energy and stamina. The pain associated with vaginal birth is way less even if you do tear your perineum.

Less Complications, and Lower Risk of Infection. You are less likely to get an infection and risk major blood loss (you can lose up to 1 liter of blood during a normal c-section) However if the VBAC fails and baby must be delivered via c-section you have a greater chance of infection than if baby was delivered via planned repeat c-section. Please discuss this with your care provider.

Chances of a Successful VBAC
VBAC chances are affected by a few things, a major one being the care provider that you choose. Studies show that obstetricians have a lower rate of VBAC success, while family doctors have a higher rate of VBAC success and midwives have the highest rate of VBAC success. These findings may be due to the different practice style between the different care providers.

Other factors that need to be taken into account are:
Maternal Age – as your age increases statistics show that the chances of having a successful VBAC decrease)
Gestation Age – according to statistics you have the highest chance of a successful VBAC if the baby is born between gestation weeks 37-41 Before or after that the chances are significantly decreased
Number of previous c-sections – the more c-sections had previously, the less likely a successful VBAC.
Health Concerns (Diabetes, Blood pressure etc.)
Location of Birth (home, hospital, birthing center) – Home births have the highest success rate of VBAC, this may be due to the hospital staff’s need to intervene.
Drugs and interventions used during labour – the use of interventions to induce or augment labour, as well as the use of drugs to numb the pain of labour, can decrease the chance of a successful VBAC
Doulas – statistics show that births attended by a doula have lower c-section rates and lower a VBAC failure rate.

Preparing for a VBAC

Visualize your birth, this helps you plan your birth, take control over what you want.
Join Facebook or other online VBAC groups, talk to other mothers who have successfully had a VBAC.
Know your body.
Avoid any medical induction of labour.
Stay active.
Be prepared. If a c-section is necessary, be prepared to deal with it when the time comes, however don’t dwell on this during your pregnancy.
Talk to your care provider, let him/her know your fears/concerns, and what your wishes for your birth are.
Write a birth plan
Hire a doula

Feel Free to leave your thoughts on this article.

Categories: C-Section, Labour And Delivery, VBAC | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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