Baby/Toddler & Parent
Enrichment Center

Norwell, MA & New for July 2024 … Pembroke, MA!


Hospital Visitors

by Stacey Stratton • April 11th, 2016

By Cheryl Donahue, LCCE, IBCLC, Med, HBB, and Stacey Stratton, CCCE, CD(DONA)

The birth of a newborn baby is exciting, scary, surreal, and can be overwhelming at times. You are trying to learn all about this new little person and your family and friends are excited and eager to welcome the baby. The anticipation is so tempting, when pregnancy is reaching the due date, to want to share your new baby with friends and family! However, stop and consider realistically what your immediate postpartum experience in the hospital will be like.

Birth is hard and exhausting on both you and your birth partner, whether you have medication or birth naturally! You will need time as new parent(s) to adjust to this new and sometimes scary phase of life. Many people will want to visit you either at home or in the hospital. Are all these visitors a good idea? Will you want visitors at all? How do you manage the sometimes overwhelming requests of visitors?

Follow these tips, and you’ll get through the first hours, days and weeks of well-wishers just fine!

1. Make a general announcement.
Send a quick text or email with a few details of your new baby and some pictures soon after birth, so that you can take some time for your new family. Specify in the message if sharing on social networks is appropriate or not.

2. Limit hospital visitors to your immediate family or only grandparents.
Give yourselves time right after birth to make the transition to being a parent. Although you have been a parent for the past nine months, actually seeing and holding this baby, now on the outside, can really overwhelm you. It is important to have an hour or two, as long as mom and baby are doing okay, to just be with your new baby, without interruption. Most of the newborn procedures such as weighing and measuring can wait. Just cuddle, kiss, and do lots of skin-to-skin in those first hours. Remember partners can and should hold baby skin-to-skin as well!
When you are all settled in your maternity room, it will be time to learn feeding techniques, diapering, responding to baby’s crying, and much more. Most insurances only cover hospital stays for 48 hours after a vaginal birth and 72 hours after a c-section birth. That is the only time you will have in the hospital to learn your baby and have the opportunity to gain confidence before you are on your own without those wonderful nurses to guide you and answer questions! Also, as the newly delivered mom, whether by C-section or vaginally, you will be sore and tired! Close your door, snuggle with your newborn, and get some rest.
If you would like to email or print our new baby visitor message, please do!

3. Use Your Nurses as Buffers.
Labor and Delivery and Postpartum Units are all locked units, so you will never be surprised by an unexpected visitor walking into your room. Ask your nurse to help manage the flow of visitors by asking if you are receiving visitors or informing your visitors that you need to rest right now. Request that any visitors only come between particular hours that are convenient for you. If you have guests who might overstay their welcome, ask the nurse to come after 15-30 minutes to tell those visitors you need to rest – doctor’s orders! Also, many hospitals are encouraging quiet times during the day in the postpartum unit, so use this to your advantage, and ask visitors to respect that quiet time.Over the Moon

4. Schedule visitors at home
If your partner is taking time off following the birth of baby, continue to limit visitors during that time. This allows you to adjust to your new normal, and gives you time to nap and get more practice in breastfeeding and, or caring for your new baby. Schedule visitors, especially those who haven’t had a chance to meet baby yet, for when your partner goes back to work. Sometimes mothers feel isolated at home with a new baby, and having friends and family visit during those times are a great way for her to reconnect and get additional support and companionship.

5. Remember you are not required to entertain your visitors
Yes, you have people coming into your home. They are coming to hold and meet baby and see how you both are doing. They really do not care that you have not cleaned your house recently. Do not pressure yourself to provide snacks or entertainment. Welcome them in your pajamas or sweats if you haven’t accomplished a shower that day. Better yet, have them hold the baby so you can shower!

6. Accept help if offered
Speaking of that shower, if anyone offers to help, say, “YES!” It can be really difficult to accept offers of help; especially if we are trying to prove to others (or ourselves) that we can manage these new parenting roles. If people are offering to help, they genuinely want to help. It will make both of you feel really good to accept that help. Using the app Lotsahelpinghands.com, you or a friend can even create a calendar for people to care for you by dropping off meals, doing some laundry, or walking the dog.

7. Lay out some ground rules for visiting
Let your visitors know how long the visit will be or word it so they will know you might need to have them leave sooner if baby or you needs a break, a rest, or to eat. Setting expectations early on can limit any hurt feelings later.

8. Keep reasonable expectations for yourself
You grew a baby and gave birth to this baby – that is impressive, hard work. No one expects you to bounce right back and be superwoman at this early part of your parenting journey. Give yourself permission to rest, learn, and enjoy your new baby. You deserve this time. Your baby deserves this time. Take it and cherish it!

Want to learn more about those first moments with your baby? Take one of our childbirth, breastfeeding or newborn care classes. We hope to see you there!

What To Pack For The Hospital

by Stacey Stratton • March 28th, 2016

The decision on what to pack for birth can be exciting and confusing, especially if this is your first trip to Labor and Delivery. Which bag should you bring? What should you put in it? When should you pack? Remember: as long as the expectant mother is in the car to go to the hospital on the birth day, you are doing great!

I’ve had three babies, in addition to teaching childbirth classes for over ten years, and am a birth doula. Honestly, many things you might want to pack will never see the walls of your delivery room or postpartum room. I can count the things I used in labor and birth on one hand and that includes many of my doula clients’ births, too.

They are hair elastics, chapstick, snacks, and a camera. Why those four things? Well…first, ladies if you have any length to your hair, it is going to bug you and you will want it out of your face quickly and efficiently. Messy bun, quick pony – all good. Second, your lips will be dry with all of that amazing, calming, labor breathing you are doing. Third, snacks. While most hospitals will let most moms eat during labor (check your hospital’s guidelines), many times the snacks are for the partners. They get hungry too, and having snacks on hand will avoid any Snickers-type commercial scenarios. Finally, your camera will be one of the most important things you pack. Everyone wants to see your new baby and you will want the memories of this life-changing moment. How personal you get with your pictures (or how low the camera goes) is totally up to you. Your birth, your memories. Just be sure to check with your hospital regarding any rules on picture taking. Most hospitals ask you to not take pictures of staff or others without permission. Also, some do not allow videos of the actual birth or cesarean surgery itself.

So is that all you need? No, there are other things you should pack, but your labor bag should be the size of carry-on luggage, not a suitcase to go all around the world. You will be amazed at all the things you need to bring home after baby is born. Now let’s get packing!

    1. Toiletries: For both mom and her partner. While hospitals have many things, in case you forget them, you will want your own toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, etc. For the moms, bring some toiletries that make you feel pampered. No better time to feel pampered than after having a baby. Include hair elastics and chapstick in this category.
    2. Pillows: At least 2 for mom and maybe 1 or 2 for her partner. Hospitals have a huge supply of pillows, but they are waterproof and kind of flat. They are great for putting between your knees, or behind your back. Save your pillows for mom to rest her head on.
    3. Clothes to labor in: There is no requirement to wear the hospital gown, though it does have its own natural ventilation in the back. Wear clothes you are comfortable in, such as a sports bra, shorts, underwear, t-shirts, or skirt. These clothes might get messy, but they can all be washed in the washing machine. Labor in whatever you want, even if that is nothing at all.
    4. Clothes to go home in and wear during your postpartum stay. Plan on wearing clothes that fit from around your seventh month or so. Stretchy, comfy clothes are the best to pack.
    5. Clothes for your partner: Many partners stay with mom through their entire stay in maternity. A fresh pair of underwear and a new shirt can make any tired partner feel better.
    6. Clothes for baby: While baby is in the hospital, she will wear a diaper, a long-sleeved onesie, a hat, and a blanket; however, they will need to go home in something. Pick out something special for that day that is also weather appropriate. Many moms are able to recollect exactly what their baby came home in, and many save that outfit for years. Pack a blanket to put over them for the ride home, too. Its great for winter or air conditioning on the ride home.
    7. Snacks: No Snickers moments here! Pack snacks for in between meal times at the hospital and those late nights. You have earned them!
    8. Devices and chargers: We love our phones and technology! Phones, laptops, cameras, iPods, are all great things to pack. Many phones also are your cameras, so make sure you packed that charger.
    9. Distractions: This could include tools for labor (tennis balls, massage oil), but also for keeping busy during downtime (magazines, movies, music, crossword puzzles.) Don’t go overboard. Many people pack a lot, and never take them out.
    10. Car Seat: This is essential to bringing your new baby home, but it can stay in the car until the day everyone is discharged to come home.

You are now packed and loaded! Remember that what you pack isn’t the most important thing-what you are bringing home is, and that is what you will remember the most.

Partners, you have everything you need to support mom – you love her and know her the best. You will be the best thing she brings to the hospital!

To learn more, take one of our childbirth classes, newborn care classes, or our online childbirth class.


Why Take A Childbirth Class?

by Stacey Stratton • February 15th, 2016

You’re pregnant! Congratulations! With pregnancy come a lot of new feelings, sensations, and questions.

There are so many ways to get information these days: books, the web, friends, and your healthcare provider. Many expecting women ask why they should take a childbirth class if they can just Google it or ask their best friend who just had a baby. There are great benefits to taking a childbirth class.

1. An actual, live person who is an expert in childbirth
New Arrival Educators has certified childbirth educators leading their classes. Many of the educators have additional education and certifications as well. A certified childbirth educator has taken in-person trainings, read several books, researched topics for a written report, taken a test, signed an agreement to remain in a scope of practice, and agrees to stay current with evidence-based practices through continuing education. With a combined total of almost 100 years of experience teaching childbirth and parenting classes, New Arrival Educators are experts in the field.

2. Answers for your questions
Taking a childbirth class gives you the opportunity to ask questions, any question. No question is too embarrassing, too weird, or too silly to ask. This is your opportunity to ask your most important question and get an educated, non-biased answer. Every now and then, there is a question that your childbirth educator does not have an answer to, but rest assured she will find the answer and get back to you!

3. Get your partner involved
Moms get to experience the joys and challenges of pregnancy firsthand. Everything from nausea to those first fluttering movements of baby is experienced first by mom. Your childbirth class gives your partner the opportunity to experience an important part of the process. It gives them the opportunity to ask questions, discover ways to support you throughout labor and birth, and helps to reduce any fears they may be having.

4. Builds confidence and makes you powerful
Discovering ways to reduce anxiety and gain knowledge are extremely important for expecting families. There are so many new things to learn on your parenting journey, and with that, there is sometimes anxiety and fear. Knowledge about the process and knowing your options will make you a powerful parent who is able to make the best decisions for your family, while reducing your fear about the unknown. The ability to relax and trust your body in the labor process will assist you in an easier labor, and help you to enjoy the process as well.

5. Best use of your time

Busy is an understatement for many of us. Many expecting families feel that they do not have time for a childbirth class. We understand that, and have designed our classes to fit busy schedules. Our classes are designed for you to get a lot of information in a short period of time, with the ability to get more answers even after your class has ended. Taking a Saturday and becoming prepared for a variety of situations is so much better than having to quickly and frantically gather information, while working with con

tractions, and not having time to process that information in a timely manner.

Share with us your favorite part of your childbirth class, something you learned that surprised you, or some advice that you really took to heart. We look forward to hearing from you!

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