Blog

Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week in Plattsburgh

World Breastfeeding Week is the first week in August every year. It’s a week of raising awareness about breastfeeding and community supports for breastfeeding families.

There are many local activities planned to show support and raise awareness around breastfeeding resources in our community.

All this talk of breastfeeding celebration will have you thinking about contacting Brown Eyed Photography about scheduling a breastfeeding photography session. Don’t delay – because this phase of life is relatively short. (Says the mom who is nursing her last baby who is now a toddler.)  Whether we meet at the library, at a park, or at your house, your session will be unique to you.

Wherever you are in your journey, be proud. From the mom who is expecting her first baby and planning to breastfeed, to the mom who breastfed for a day, a month, a year, two years, or beyond – every thought of breastfeeding, every drop for your baby has had an impact – on your baby and on you!

Plattsburgh-World-Breastfeeding-Week

*Brown Eyed Photography will be at the Big Latch at CVPH on August 5, 2017.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Birth, Birth Resource

Birth Dictionary – all the terminology

For most, the world of birth is a mystery – until you’re in it! And then there’s a speedy learning curve.
Here’s a list of terms (a birth dictionary?) that are thrown around in the birth world to help with that learning curve!

maternity-photography-session-dandelion-field

Birth Dictionary

General Vocabulary

There are lots of words used as you enter the world of birth that may be brand new to you. Many in the birth world forget that the vocabulary they are using is not general knowledge in the non-birth-y world. Here are some of those words. Because information is power.

APGAR – this is an acronym that stands for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration
These five factors are rated on a scale of 0-2 and all the scores are added up to give you a total apgar score (so a 10 would be a perfect score). This assessment is done quickly by your medical team at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. This quick assessment is used by your medical team, to determine if your baby needs additional medical support. Any score above a 7 is seen as typical.

Breech – a breech baby refers to a baby who is not head down in the uterus before birth. A breech presentation occurs in approximately 4% of term babies. There are several options for attempting to turn a breech baby. Generally speaking, local practitioners will prefer to birth breech babies by cesarean. There is a provider at Alice Hyde in Malone, however, who will consider birthing breech babies vaginally.

Cervix – this is the opening at the bottom of the uterus, through which a baby is birthed.

Colostrum – the first milk that is made for the baby. This is high in nutrients and antibodies for new babies.

Contraction – the tightening of the uterus that moves the baby down into the birth canal and out into the world.

Crowning – when the baby’s head can be seen as it emerges from its mother.

Dilation – how open the cervix is to let the baby pass through. This is typically measured by a medical professional inserting their fingers into the mother’s vagina. 10 cm is considered fully dilated or opened and birth is imminent. The assessment shows a moment in time. This means a woman who is 5cm right now, may be 10cm in an hour, or 4cm in an hour. Dilation gives medical providers an indication of how labor is progressing.

EDD – Estimated Due Date, the date that falls 280 days (40 weeks) after the first day of your last menstrual period. The emphasis is on estimated. Only 5% of babies actually come on their due date. The average baby is born sometime between 38 and 42 weeks gestation – and that’s normal. To avoid feeling discouraged after your due date has passed and you still have no baby in your arms, it might be helpful to think of it as a “due month” or think of your due date as 42 weeks gestation – you won’t be sad when you birth “early”.

Effacement – As the baby drops further into the birth canal, the cervix becomes shorter and thinner, in preparation for dilation.

Fundus – this is the top of the uterus and can be felt from about 12 weeks gestation. Birth practitioners measure from the top of the pubic bone to the fundus. Starting around 20 weeks gestation, the height in centimeters tends to match how many weeks gestation you are (so a 20week uterus will tend to have a measurement of 20cm). It’s not an exact science, but gives an indication of the baby’s growth.  It’s also possible to measure your own funds at home.
After the second trimester, fundal height is not as accurate in measuring your gestation.

Group B Strep – A bacterial infection found in the vagina and/or anus of 25% of all healthy adult women and typically does not have any ill effect on its carrier. However, women who test positive for Group B Strep in pregnancy have a 1 in 200 chance of passing the infection to their baby, if the mother does not have the routine prevention protocol. The baby then has an increased chance of having symptoms, most commonly meningitis. If tested positive during pregnancy, the routine protocol is to administer iv antibiotics to the mother during labor. (For more information on how to avoid a positive Group B Strep result and to remedy an infection)

Lotus Birth – A lotus birth is when the umbilical cord is not cut. This means the placenta remains attached (via the umbilical cord) to the baby until it falls off naturally – usually around day 3 of life. This eases the transition process for the baby. (here’s some more information about the reasons for having a lotus birth and the logistics of managing a newborn with their placenta attached)

Meconium (Mec) – A baby’s poop for the first few days of life. Sometimes babies poop during the birthing process, and this may come out with the amniotic fluid. If the baby poops during labor, this could be a sign of distress.

Placenta – An organ grown during early pregnancy. This organ’s job is to nurture and grow the baby. The placenta is birthed after the baby.

Ring of Fire – The sensation a woman feels as her baby is crowning.

Station – how engaged into the pelvis the  baby is. At “0 Station” the baby is engaged in the pelvis (this can happen in the last month before birth, or in labor); “+5 Station is crowning.

Support People

Birth is a specific time in life and requires specific, knowledgeable support people. Here is a brief explanation of some of the birth experts you may find helpful.

Doula – a birth support person who typically is hired by the birthing person/couple and provides information, reassurance, comfort measures, and more during labor. This person generally provides some support before and after birth too. Postpartum doulas provide postpartum support.

Midwife – Someone trained to assist women during the childbirth phase of life. This is an ancient skill set that preceded the involvement of obstetricians and continues to thrive today. Midwives today serve women who have low-risk pregnancies and tend to be less interventive than obstetricians, who are trained surgeons. Midwives are also skilled at assisting women through life for female-specific medical care.

Obstetrician – A physician who is trained in surgery and general care of pregnant women.

Medical Procedures

While birth is not a medical event, it is often treated as such in our culture. For that reason, there are many possible medical procedures that may be recommended by your care provider. Here is a list of some of those procedures. Keep in mind that every procedure has risks and benefits and these factors warrant research while deciding to partake in a recommended procedure. Thinking through these before birth might be beneficial.

Cesarean Section – a surgical method of birthing a baby using an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.

Doppler – using continuous ultrasound (instead of pulsating like the traditional ultrasound), a doppler tracks a baby’s heart rate in utero during pregnancy and labor.

Electronic Fetal Monitoring – The baby’s heart rate is monitored using doppler technology. The mother’s contractions (strength and duration) is also monitored during electronic fetal monitoring. The results are recorded onto a printout that is typically reviewed approximately every thirty minutes by your medical provider. Continuos fetal monitoring requires you to remain in or near the bed as you are attached to the monitors. Sometimes there is a remote option that allows you to be detached from wires. (here’s more on this practice and its possible pros and cons)

Epidural – a drug given through a shot in the back that dulls pain in a localized area of the body (in the case of birth, typically from the lower half of your body). Epidurals contain drugs such as bupivacaine, lidocaine, and  chloroprocaine and are often combined with opioids or narcotics to decrease the amount of local anesthesia needed. Epidurals are typically administered around 5cm dilation. This is a popular form of pain relief in labor, perhaps because alternatives are not always offered (here’s more information about the use, administration, and pros and cons of choosing to use an epidural.)

Induction (medical)- The artificial initiation of labor.
If your cervix isn’t thinned/effaced, then this is the first step in induction. Readying the cervix may be done by using oral and topical medication (on your cervix) or a tiny balloon attached to a tube and placed next to your cervix and slowly filled with water, pressuring your cervix to open. If more time is available, a practitioner may start by “sweeping” or “stripping” your membranes. This procedure is done when the cervix is at least a little dilated and the practitioner reaches up into your cervix and separates the membrane from the bottom of your uterus. If you’re a few centimeters dilated, your practitioner may break your bag of water. And lastly, pitocin, a synthetic hormone, can be administered to strengthen contractions.
Sweeping membranes, breaking water, and pitocin may be used even after labor has begun, if it is decided that labor is not progressing as quickly or steadily as the practitioner would like.

Non Stress Test – Your baby’s heart rate, movement, and contractions are monitored for usually 20-60 minutes. Non stress tests (NST) can be recommended if you are past your due date or your pregnancy is high risk for some reason.

Pitocin (Pit) – (referred to above under inductions) is a synthetic hormone, imitating oxytocin. Oxytocin is naturally produced by your body as part of the hormone cocktail that encourages contractions and bonding, among other things. Pitocin is not exactly like oxytocin and does not provide all the same effects (such as the bonding effect). This drug is often added to the iv of a laboring woman, if labor is not progressing as quickly as the practioner would like. Pitocin speeds up labor and often leads to epidural use as the pitocin-induced contractions are much more intense than natural contractions.

pregnant-woman-leaning-against-brick-wall

 

baby feet wrapped in hospital blanket
Birth

4 Reasons to Include a Birth Photographer on Your Birth Team

As outgoing and friendly and chatty as I am in my regular life … when it comes to births, I crave disappearing into the background and documenting the birth story as it unfolds.

At its heart, I am a story teller. And there is no greater story, than that of your birth.

4 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer

newborn-baby-held-by-mother

  1. Birth is intense. It’s a lot to process in a relatively short amount of time. Images that show your story, are an incredible tool when processing your birth story.
  2. Those early memories fade quickly. It’s incredible. There’s so much. And the images captured by your birth photographer allow you to revisit memories you may have been unable to hold on to. For me, the last birth is the only one I had photographed. There are no words to describe how I felt the first time I saw the pictures from that birth. Most of them, I didn’t realize were being made while I was birthing. Those are the ones I am most thankful for.
  3. Birth is beautiful. It’s the loving support of a dedicated life-partner. The guidance of a competent doula. It’s the reassurance of an experienced care provider. The strength of a mom working her baby into the world. And the details that show the beauty in this place of birth. It’s the tender look a family member gives the birthing mom. The joyful expression when the mom finally sees her baby’s face. And it’s the tiny toes, curled into a small foot. All of this captured in beautiful imagery for you to treasure.
  4. Your support team needs to be present. This means that photography can’t be your partner’s job. Even if your partner happens to be a professional photographer.
    Behind a camera, composing, and creating beautiful images – some separation between the photographer and the scene is guaranteed. Physically, there is a camera between the photographer and the action and the photographer is invisible in the story. Mentally, the photographer is focusing on the technicalities of creating an image. Emotionally, the camera lessens the photographer’s ability to be engaged in the present.
    Birth photography requires a skill set not universally known among photographers. It requires extensive knowledge of the typical (and atypical) progression of birth and experience with working in low light situations.
    If your partner isn’t a professional photographer ….   it’s easy to forget where the camera is, never mind remember to take pictures when you’re in the process of birth.
    Your partner is part of the story. S/he will want to hold your hand. They need to bring you water. And s/he may need to whisper words of encouragement. Inevitably, they will prioritize holding their baby. They don’t need to be worried about capturing images.

 

With a dedication to storytelling and a passion for birth, I am honored to document your birth story. Due to the unpredictable nature of “scheduling” births, I take a limited number per month. So please let me know, as soon as possible, if you’d like me to document your birth!

newborn-baby-getting-examined

Birth Resource

Local Hospital Birth Options

newborn baby with umbillical cord still attached
While homebirths are on the rise, the majority of NY residents (~99% to be more precise) will choose to birth in a hospital. Even so, we generally seek out an environment that is as close to home as possible when it’s time to birth. Fortunately, our local hospital birth options recognize this and are proud of their recent strides towards making the hospital as comfortable as possible. Living in the North Country, our options are limited – but I went to go see three local hospital birth options and ask important questions about routine birth practices at the hospitals within driving distance of Plattsburgh (and without requiring a ferry ride!).

Adirondack Medical Center, Saranac Lake

Births per year: ~200
Water births: No*
Csection rate: 41% overall; primary 25%; repeat 15%**
VBACs: Not offered
Food during labor: no hospital policy, depends on the practitioner
Lactation consultant on staff: Yes
Doula on staff: No, but families are strongly encouraged to include a doula on their birth team
Visitor policy: 9am-9pm; limited to two visitors during labor

Adirondack-Health-Labor-and-Delivery (101 of 1)
The first thing you notice when you walk onto the labor and delivery floor at Adirondack Health, is that everyone is warm, welcoming, and the atmosphere is relaxed. The hospital embraces its small community hospital status. This allows the experience to be entirely personalized. Whenever I asked a question about eating during labor or how much movement women typically have in labor or any number of questions – the answer was “it depends” over and over again. The staff talked about how they are committed to working with women to meet their birth goals and preferences, so “it depends” on the birthing families needs and desires.
The obstetric care provided by the hospital is all hospital based. This means that you go to the hospital for your prenatal appointments and have likely met many of the labor and delivery staff by the time you arrive to birth your baby. And they know you and you know them. This also means that when you call the office, you get a nurse on the labor and delivery floor – not an answering service.
Throughout your pregnancy, the staff get to know you and work hard to accommodate your birth preferences.
Free childbirth/infant care classes are offered every-other-month. This is a four week series that covers childbirth, breastfeeding, infant care, and infant cpr.
The rooms are  home-y (hardwood floors, a good sized “dorm” refrigerator, private bathrooms, etc) and the room you birth in will be the room you stay in throughout your stay (a labor/delivery/recovery room) – if you haven’t experienced a hospital birth, this is a huge plus!
There is a small kitchen on the floor, that you and your partner are welcome to use.
While we’re talking about food – Adirondack Health works closely with local farmers and aims to source food as seasonally and locally as possible. Their experienced chef comes with unmatched skill and gives the hospital reason to be proud of the food served to their patients.
*While birthing in the water is not permitted, in deference to the hospital pediatric department, laboring in the jacuzzi tubs located in each room is encouraged.*
**Should you need a cesarean section, the labor and delivery floor has a committed operating room right on the floor – for minimal disruption. While the csection rate has been high historically at Adirondack Health, this rate is on a downward trend. The hospital is working actively to hire obstetricians who are interested in supporting the hospital’s goal of lowering their c-section rate. In the short term, this number will slowly decline as Adirondack Health is not set up to provide vbacs at this time.**
Natural births are encouraged, but epidurals are available upon request.
With two lactation consultants on staff, you’ll be sure to get a visit during your postpartum stay. These International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are available after you go home too – they are just a phone call away or you can always stop in. This service contributes to the 72% breastfeeding success rate last year.
Postpartum follow ups are usually done within the first few weeks after birth.
Serving birthing families in the Saranac Lake area for over 100 years, the hospital prides itself on its individualized care and its increasing commitment to supporting natural birth.
Bonus: The staff at Adirondack Health are very proud of the gorgeous lake views outside of their rooms, and with good reason!

Alice Hyde Medical Center, Malone

Births per year: 250
Water births: No*
Csection rate: Primary 7%; repeat 21%**
VBACs: Yes
Food during labor: depends on the practitioner, but the midwives are relaxed when it comes to eating while in labor
Lactation consultant on staff: Yes***
Doula on staff: No
Visitor policy: A support person is welcome, 24/7. Siblings are welcome morning to 9pm. Regular visiting hours are noon to 8:30pm

birth-photographer-maone

Alice Hyde Medical Center is everything wonderful about the North Country. Down to earth, unapologetic, and easy going. What this means is, their c-section statistic is incredibly low – but they just take that in stride, like it’s normal. They are emphatic about informing families of all the risks, benefits, and alternatives – empowering families to decide what path they want to take.
With four birth practitioners you’re sure to know all of the birth providers at Alice Hyde Medical Center, when you arrive in labor. Each room is a labor, delivery, and recovery room (and, if you didn’t read this above – this is a huge plus in my mind!). As a hospital-based practice, the two midwives and two obstetricians are the only care providers with hospital privileges at Alice Hyde. That means they all know you and you know all of them and they work closely with one another. You have ample opportunity to discuss your birth concerns and desires throughout your pregnancy during prenatal appointments. Each patient has a practitioner who is their primary care provider, but you are encouraged to meet each obstetrician and midwife during your pregnancy.
**Primary (first time) cesarean section rates at Alice Hyde are low. In large part, this can be attributed to equal representation of midwives and obstetricians at this hospital. An obstetric model that supports low interventions during birth is another factor. VBACs are available, but not many women are seeking out VBACs at Alice Hyde at this time. The medical staff stipulate who is eligible for a VBAC and VBAC births happen in the operating room.**
*While water births are not permitted, there are jacuzzi tubs available for relief during active labor.*
One Yale trained midwife had experience with nitrous oxide use for labor. As a result, very recently nitrous oxide has been added to a list of labor options for women birthing at Alice Hyde. Nitrous oxide is not available anywhere else locally.
Baths for the baby are routinely delayed 8-10 hours, to minimize disruption between the baby and family and encourage bonding.
Birth classes take place every other month and last approximately six hours on one day. This class includes extensive information about birth (including birth plans and labor management options), as well as infant cpr, newborn care, breastfeeding, and car seat safety. These classes are free and open to any expecting couple – no matter where they plan to give birth.
***Four of the maternity care nurses are certified lactation consultants. The schedule is arranged to ensure that at least one certified lactation consultant nurse is present during the day.
Bonus: One of the staff obstetricians will assist eligible couples in birthing twins and/or breech babies vaginally. Like during VBAC births, these births take place in the operating room.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Plattsburgh

Births per year: 1,000
Water births: no, but jet tubs are available during labor*
Csection rate: 32%
Vbac rate: Yes, 5%
Food during labor: at the discretion of the practitioner (clear liquids after any medication has been administered)
Lactation consultant on staff: Yes*
Doula on staff: No
Visitor policy: Siblings are welcome any time; four support people are permitted during labor

cvph-birth-photographer

The majority of babies born in Clinton County NY, are born in Plattsburgh at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital. Even so, CVPH is considered a small community hospital and offers a lot for its size. The hospital is served by two obstetric practices, Associates in OB/GYN and Lake Champlain OB/GYN. The two practices share on call rotations, meaning the provider attending your birth may come from your OB office, or may come from the other office.
Rooms are large, bright, and comfortable with ample space to move around. *All labor and delivery rooms come with access to a jet tub for labor relief, while you are med-free (so if you have pitocin to speed up labor or an epidural to manage discomfort, you will be unable to use the water).*
Skin-to-skin care is a priority at CVPH from the moment of birth. Babies are routinely placed on their mother’s chest and left uninterrupted for at least an hour, whenever possible. After this initial bonding time and the baby is weighed and measured. The family is moved to a cozy recovery room where they’ll stay for the remainder of their time at the hospital.
Birth classes are available in five-week blocks or as a two-day weekend course. This class covers nutrition, childbirth, postpartum care, and infant care. A separate breastfeeding class is offered monthly and designed for expecting parents.
Breastfeeding is an essential component of CVPH’s measure of success. With full time lactation consultants on staff, every single family will be seen daily during their stay – whether they choose to bottle feed or breastfeed. As a result, 80% of moms are breastfeeding when they leave the hospital. After their hospital stay, an outpatient lactation clinic is available as well as phone support.
Bonus: CVPH is the place where many families choose to birth and is the closest option for thousands of families. When you’re in labor – that shorter drive can be a big bonus!

Choosing your Birth Location

Every local hospital kindly shared this information with me and it was incredible to see the passion every hospital has for supporting families through their birth experiences.
When trying to choose the ideal location for you and your family when planning a birth, it’s wise to consult with friends who have recently birthed and your doula. They will have current insight into what each option offers and what location will best match your birthing goals. As a birthing family, you want to hire a birth team that best supports you.

 

Lifestyle Newborn

Happy Father’s Day from Brown Eyed Photography

Happy Father’s Day!

Through my photography, I get to meet many many fathers. Some are well versed in local kid events (playgroup at the oval, story hour at the library, the best playgrounds around, etc). A few are entrepreneurs. Others sit on non profit boards. Some play a musical instrument. Several raise chickens. Most live on coffee and air. As parents, some read every night to their children, some support their partner in birth, some babywear, and some bring their kids out on errands.
The thing they all have in common is that they are passionate for their families and are parenting and living in the best way they know how.

I’m so grateful to all the dads I have the privilege of working with and getting to know. They all add to the beauty of our community and it’s an honor to document them with their families.

Fathers Day

 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Thank you for allowing me to document your days as you move through this fathering journey <3

If you’re expecting a baby this summer, let me know! We’ll schedule that maternity session and get together on your baby’s birthday for some birth photography.

Breastfeeding

Eleven Local Breastfeeding Resources (plus calendar of local events)

Breastfeeding makes sense for many families. It’s kind of funny to imagine before you have a baby, but then it just happens.
Kind of.
There’s challenges in the beginning as you get to know your baby and your baby gets to know you.
And sometimes questions come up throughout your breastfeeding journey – is my baby getting enough? are they getting too much? is this a clogged duct? my baby seems gassy? can I take this medication? etc.
What’s really exciting, is that in the last couple of years, the local breastfeeding resources have increased dramatically!
breastfeeding-in-plattsburgh

Eleven Local Breastfeeding Resources

  1. La Leche League – an international resource started in the 50s by a group of radical (for the time) moms (because they breastfed), la leche league aims to support mothers around the world in their breastfeeding endeavors, through mother-to-mother connections and to promote breastfeeding in general. La Leche League is able to do this through a network of volunteers that facilitate local chapters. Our local La Leche League chapter has been active for many years and meets in Plattsburgh at Family Connections. These meetings take place the first Mondaay of the month at 7pm and the third Friday of the month at 10am. All are welcome. Come pregnant with your questions and prepare to be enveloped into a warm group of women ready to encourage you as you begin your journey. Come with your tiny baby, with spit up on your shoulder and tears in your eyes, and be prepared for friendships to blossom as you sit next to another mom, who looks just as frazzled. Come with your toddler, who you’re not sure if you’re ready to wean. All are welcome.
  2. The Library – that’s right. Our local library system has a growing collection of breastfeeding related books. Here’s a search query to get you started. Feel free to inter-library loan any that interest you (you can even request them from your regular local library). They’ll get in touch when your books are ready to be picked up. No need to go searching through the library (or multiple libraries!) for these reads. There’s no time for that!
  3. Nature’s Way Cafe – A group of women meet, with the helpful guidance of a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or Certified Lactation Consultant, to talk breastfeeding at Plattsburgh House of Prayer on Broad Street. These meetings are casual but informational. Meetings take place the second Tuesday of the month from 9:30-11:00 and the fourth Thursday of the month from 5pm to 7pm. All are welcome.
  4. CVPH’s Lacation Program – this resource includes International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who are available from 10-4pm, Monday through Saturday by appointment only. This service is open to anyone who is interested in stopping in for troubleshooting breastfeeding challenges – whether you’re baby was born a week ago, a year ago, or beyond. A lactation consultant is available for a free consult by phone and can be reached at 518-562-7142.
  5. The Pediatrician – We have three local pediatricians: Plattsburgh Pediatrics, Plattsburgh Primary Care, and Mountain View Pediatrics. We are fortunate that all three have received New York States Breastfeeding Friendly Practice Designation. All three have Certified Lactation Consultants on staff and are adept at supporting breastfeeding families.
  6. Child Care – Just like pediatrician offices can receive a New York State Breastfeeding Friendly Practice Designation, so can child care centers an homes. Currently, the only child care option with this designation in Clinton County is the YMCA Bright Beginnings Children’s Center.
  7. Clinton County Health Department – The local health department offers peer-to-peer counselors and Certified Lactation Consultants on staff to offer in -person or phone support at their clinic or at a home visit.
  8. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – This program is available for income-eligible families providing nutritional support for those with children under 5 years old. A big part of nutrition is breastfeeding. WIC supports breastfeeding families with their on-staff Certified Lactation Consultants and their International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
  9. Keep Calm, Nurse On! -Clinton County – A few years ago, a local mom noticed that she was feeling alone in her breastfeeding journey. She started noticing that friends and acquaintences were breastfeeding but also feeling alone. So she started a local Facebook group. And watched it grow and grow. It’s now an active supportive group of local women who love to meet up in person.
    (Due to some concerning join requests, this group has been set to ‘secret’. Feel free to shoot me a message, if you’d like to be added. Or you can attend a local LLL or Nature’s Way meeting and someone will get you in!)
  10. Healthy Families – Behavioral Health Services North has a home visiting program that includes Certified Lactation Consultants who provide home visits (a huge bonus in those early days, especially!). They can be reached at 518-563-8206 x145
  11. Brown Eyed Photography – After weeks, months, or years of breastfeeding, it’s hard to imagine a time when you aren’t your child’s best source of nutrition. But sooner or later, you’ll move on to new and different phases of your relationship. Before this precious time is over, do yourself a favor, and schedule a professional photo shoot to document this time.

*Interested in becoming an asset to the incredible list of breastfeeding resources we have locally? CVPH is hosting a Certified Lactation Consultant training in September!*

Breastfeeding Resources Online

Sometimes we need breastfeeding answers NOW. We can’t wait for the next support group meeting, or even morning when we could call a LL leader or a lactation consultant, or wait for an answer from the fb group… Here’s a list of websites that are my go-to when a breastfeeding question or concern arises and I want answers.

  1. Kelly Mom – This resource has been available for at least a decade and continues to grow and evolve as the go-to online resource for all your breastfeeding questions. Pregnancy and parenting information is also available.
  2. The Leaky Boob – Definitely an internet rabbit hole came happen here, with a bright and airy website design stocked full of breastfeeding-related articles and information. With seven years in existence, there’s a ton of interesting articles and posts for your reference.
  3. Ask Dr. Sears – The family behind the attachment parenting movement, where breastfeeding is paramount, is also a wealth of info around breastfeeding.

breastfeeding-events-calendar

 

 

Birth

Happy Mother’s Day from Brown Eyed Photography

Happy Mother’s Day!

As the face behind the camera for Brown Eyed Photography, I get to meet many many mothers. Some visit the library every week. A few are entrepreneurs. Others sit on non profit boards. Some play a musical instrument. Several raise chickens. Most live on coffee and air. As parents, some read every night to their children, some birth at home, some had csections, some cosleep, and some love pushing a stroller.
The thing they all have in common is that they are passionate for their families and are parenting and living in the best way they know how.

I’m so grateful to all the mother’s I have the privilege of working with and getting to know. They all add to the beauty of our community and it’s an honor to document them with their families.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!

girl holding out bouquet of flowers

Thank you for allowing me the honor of documenting your lives. The births, the babies, the families <3

Birth

CVPH VBAC Birth :: Brown Eyed Photography

Rachel and Jacob have two births under their belt and showed their experience, research, and commitment when they were ready to birth their third baby. They knew the vbac rate for the local hospital is low, but it wasn’t their first vbac either. A VBAC Birth at CVPH was doable.

Successful VBAC Birth at CVPH

So they did what you do when you want a vbac and are birthing at a hospital with a low vbac rate …. they stayed with family near the hospital and waited as long as possible to go to the hospital. They arrived in active labor and it wasn’t long before Rachel was pushing. She chose her ideal pushing position on the floor, on all fours – a common birthing position, in my experience, for those birthing their third baby. After a move to the bed, with the help from the nurses, baby Hazel was born.

CVPH VBAC Birth
vbac birth at cvph
Big Sisters … meet your Baby Sister

Rachel and Jacob knew they wanted it to be just them at the birth. If birth happened in the middle of the night, they would wait to have the grandparents bring their older girls to meet the baby. That was the plan. But sometimes plans don’t go the way we assume and Rachel was ready to introduce her big girls to their baby sister within an hour of Hazel’s arrival. And it was love at first exciting sight! They were a little quiet and uncertain, but their grins gave them away.

siblings meet their newborn sister

newborn at cvph in plattsburgh

Birth Photography at CVPH in Plattsburgh

Birth Photography is a way to hold your memories so you can process the experience later. It’s always intense and vibrant in the moment. In the days, weeks, months, and years that follow, these images will be so fun to look back on.
When you’re ready to book me to document your birth, let me know!

Birth Resource

5 Reasons to Write Down Your Birth Preferences

pregnant belly with striped grey shirt

As a Plattsburgh Birth Photographer, I have the privilege of documenting a variety of birth stories. Some families choose to birth at home with a midwife and some choose to birth at the hospital. And birth is amazing and powerful and inevitable.

Birth Preferences

Anticipating birth can be exciting but also nerve wracking. Taking time to think through your birth preferences has many advantages – even if you never actually show it to your birth team. Just the process of researching and writing down your preferences can be empowering. There are so many unknowns when planning for birth – and that is what makes it unnerving. And birth is one of those things that you can plan for, but in the end, it is what it is. This doesn’t mean it’s not important to be informed. Information is power, and with that power, you can increase the chances dramatically of having the birth you feel is best (hiring a doula also increases this chance and your doula will want to know your birth preferences).

Reasons to Write Down Your Birth Preferences

  1. To be informed – this exercise forces you to research your options. You can research by reading birth related books, confering with other moms – including your own, taking birth education classes, search the internet… the more research you do, the more terminology you’ll be aware of in the birthing world. That means when decisions are being discussed while you’re laboring, you’ll have a better understanding of what is going on. This through different birth situations and what your preference would be in each. Consider alternatives. Research the risks and benefits of various routines and procedures. Familiarize yourself with standard protocols and your place of birth. Learn how a birthing body works (it does!).
  2. To open a conversation with your birth partner – birth is likely all new to your partner too. Discussing your birth preferences allows you both to process ahead of time, what your preferences are, so you don’t have to in the heat of the moment. This also allows your birth partner to be on the same page as you so s/he is able to advocate and ask appropriate questions if needed. This empowers your birth partner with knowledge – not only about birth and protocols – but also your preferences.
  3. To give encourage a discussion with your birth provider – the passion birth providers have is often unmatched. The hours are long and unpredictable and yet these incredible individuals show up to support families in their birthing season. They are skilled and competent at what they do. They have likely experienced many many births. Over time, they will have developed systems and protocols that they have found to be effective. This is your one birth experience as the finale to this pregnancy. While your provider will have positive intentions, their systems and protocols may not be in line with your birth preferences. By thinking through what you’d like your birth experience to entail, you are able to ask specific questions of your provider to ensure you are a good fit. Consider your birth provider as one of your tools when researching your birth preferences. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience! Ask their opinion on induction or delayed cord clamping or water birth or wearing a hospital gown or eating while in labor… or whatever you’re interested in including in your birth plan.
  4.  To empower you – People often say: “as long as the mom and baby are healthy, everyone is happy”. Yes, that’s important. Obviously. But there’s more to the birth experience than healthy humans. This is a pivotal rite of passage for a family. The way a woman was respected (or not) during this time has life-long implications on her and her parenting. The ability to speak up and voice your preferences empowers your experience – even when birth progresses in a way you didn’t anticipate or desire. You still have a voice because you are informed. Through this process you will learn that you are a “client” seeking a “service”, you are not a patient who needs to be obedient.
  5. To be clear about your preferences – every birth, family, and woman is different. Whether you’d prefer an epidural, a home birth, a c-section, an induction , or any mix of any of that and more … articulating your birth preferences allows your provider to best support you and your birth goals.

 

After all the work of birth, you’ll hold that baby in your arms and know that you had the best birth possible for you and your baby. Your preferences are important. Knowing them allows you to be empowered throughout your birth experience, even if your birth is turned on its head.
I’d love to support you work through your birth preferences. Feel free to reach out while researching and processing your birth plans!

Lifestyle Newborn

Lifestyle Newborn Photography :: Baby Wallace

After documenting my sister’s pregnant belly over Christmas in the Adirondacks and the first few days of parenthood in the hospital, I was able to act as postpartum doula – everyone should have one of these! – and took time to grab my camera as often as possible to provide lifestyle newborn photography, documenting Wally’s early days.

Documenting the Changes

Baby’s grow so fast in those first few weeks: their details mature and their bodies uncurl. I made it my job (or one of them) to document Wally in his environment … and capture my sister’s in hers. A baby getting to know the world around him and a woman adjusting to her new role as a mother. They both came out of those first few weeks glowing. My sister is completely in love with this creature she birthed (she spent as much time as possible snuggling with her baby and staring at him, memorizing this new person). And he slowly uncurled and showed his beautiful blue eyes and approximately 3,404 different expressions.
lifestyle newborn photography

baby-photographer-plattsburgh

As a mom (and now and aunt!) I can tell you that a lifestyle newborn photography session is an incredible gift to your future self and family. At six months old, these images of Wally are already treasured! He’s changed so much already. Look at how little he was!!