A Letter to Non-Birthing Partners

by Jeremy Martin-Weber, Relationship and parenting coach and dad of 8

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this post is sponsored by The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide, available here and by Martin-Weber Relationship, Family, and Parenting Coaching, sign up for your free consult here.

 

A Letter to Non-Birthing Partners

 

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! Or have recently had a baby. Or maybe it was a long time ago. Whatever it is for you, congrats! Having a baby is a wonderful thing that changes you forever. Even as the non-birthing parent, there is a lot of change when you welcome a whole new entire human being into the world.

That’s a good thing! Not an easy thing but still a good thing. 

A lot of the time, energy, and focus has likely been lavished on your partner and the baby growing in their body. That’s understandable – growing babies is a big deal! You may feel unsure about your role in all this or how to best be engaged in caring for your new baby when they’re here, let alone before or even as they are being born. I’m no expert but I’ve been there myself, 8 times now. There’s always a learning curve to becoming a new parent. As the non-birthing partner expecting a new baby your role isn’t relegated to being on the side-lines, you have an active and important part to play.

In the partnered life, most responsibilities can be approached and divided between partners through a conversation based on each person’s strengths, interests, skills, talents, availability, and so on. It rarely comes down to who’s capable – most people are capable of handling most responsibilities – they may not want to, but they can. It’s completely possible to divvy up those responsibilities through conversation that leads to an agreement about who does what. 

There’s one area in particular where, for many, it simply can’t play out that way: growing, birthing, and breastfeeding babies. 

Typically, one partner does all that, and the other partner does… what? Puts the crib together? Smokes a cigar? 

Well, from one non-birthing partner to another, I can tell you that there are many ways for you to be involved that go beyond putting a crib together and maybe fertilizing an egg (or ovum, to be exact). 

For all the books and articles and even classes for the birthing parent, there’s not a lot for the non-birthing parent. So what exactly do you do? Besides wait for the kid to grow up and then you get to be the “fun parent?” (Hint: don’t do that, it won’t serve you, your partner, or your child well.)

What is the nonbirthing partner or dad role with a new baby?
The most important thing you can do is to regularly tell your partner that you want to be as involved as possible and then demonstrate that by being present, interested, curious, and active (that means taking the initiative and actually doing some stuff instead of waiting around to be invited or told what to do). Listen to your partner about what they actually need and want – don’t do something they don’t care for and expect appreciation and praise. The demands on them are massive, don’t make it even more. The biggest difference between you and your partner is that they don’t actually have a choice but to think about having a baby – their body is literally changing every day to make that possible. It serves as a constant reminder. And eventually, it’s not just their body that reminds them, it’s the little body inside their body that reminds them too! You, on the other hand, have a choice. And it comes down to the choice of being involved, or missing out, and it takes effort. Which, translated into your partner’s perspective means that they’re either going through this experience without you or together with you. Don’t wait. No matter how far along the pregnancy is or how old the baby is, it’s not too late to start demonstrating that you want to be involved – the longer you wait the harder it will be, so back to this: don’t wait. You don’t have to know everything. You don’t even have to know anything. You’ll figure it out together. Don’t expect your partner to manage you, you’re not an employee they have to work to direct, be a partner by being proactive.

Following is a list of some of the ways you can be more involved:

PREGNANCY

  • Don’t wait. Demonstrate that you want to be involved now, and every day. 
  • Tell your partner that you want to hear about what it’s like for them to be pregnant. 
  • Tell them that they’re not a nuisance for sharing about their aches and pains and the special parts. 
  • Massage them to help with the aches, but also for connection, and to help relax them. 
  • Get informed about pregnancy, birth, and babies beyond what your partner is willing to share. 
  • Don’t get cocky about what you think you know about growing a baby in your body. No matter how much you think you know, you still aren’t the one experiencing it in real time. 
  • Listen.
  • Be willing to talk about pregnancy, birth, and babies with your partner as often as they want to. It may feel like you’re talking about it all the time, and that’s all you two talk about anymore. GOOD. It won’t last forever, but your partner doesn’t get breaks from being pregnant, so you can deal too. 
  • As a matter of fact, don’t expect your partner to always be the one to bring it up. You go ahead and start that conversation too. Let your partner be the one to say that they want to talk about something else for once – they will, if they get a chance to talk about it enough. This demonstrates your invested interest in your partner, their experience, and the baby.
  • Be a more attentive partner. Offer to do more for your partner. 
  • Tell them they’re beautiful. 
  • Don’t forget romance – keep doing the stuff that reminds you of your love for each other. And it’s ok if that turns into talking about babies. It’s just the deal. 
  • As your partner gets closer to birth and things get harder for them to do, you do more of those things – unless your partner doesn’t want you to. 
  • Don’t coddle your partner, or treat them like they’re sick. Let them tell you when they need to do less. You can ask them about it, but don’t tell them what they can and can’t do. 
  • Talk about the birth. What they want. How you want to be involved. Discuss a birth plan together. 
  • Go to prenatal appointments with them whenever possible and rearrange your schedule to do so. 
  • When they start nesting, do all the things that they say need to be done in order for this baby to arrive in a safe space. It doesn’t matter if some of those things don’t make sense to you. They matter to your partner. 
  • Welcome all of your partner’s feelings. Listen and validate your partner’s experience. 
  • Pick out baby clothes together. 
  • Prepare for the birth together. 
  • Go to the birth classes. 
  • Go to the new baby classes. 
  • Talk with your partner about what you’re both looking forward to, what you fear, how you feel. 
  • Be more present. 
  • Your partner will need more time to be in their own head to sort out what they’re experiencing and how they feel about it, and just be in the moment. Do what you can to help make that happen – more responsibilities around the house, more cooking, meal planning, etc. 
  • If you smell bad to her because of what you eat, don’t eat that again until after the birth and don’t take it personally- pregnancy hormones can create the nose of a bloodhound. 

 

BIRTH

  • More than any other time in this experience of bringing a baby into the world, labor and birth needs to be all about your partner. Your job is to support your partner. 
  • Do everything you can to allow your partner to focus on the work their body is doing – in other words, minimize distractions, and don’t be a distraction. 
  • Let your partner call all the shots. 
  • Do what they say they need. 
  • Remind them of aspects of the Birth Plan as needed. 
  • Go to bat for them. If there needs to be a conversation about the Birth Plan or what your partner wants with a nurse/doctor/midwife or other birth attendant, you do it. Run interference when needed. 
  • Encourage your partner. 
  • Ask them if what you’re doing is what they need but don’t be needy about getting accolades that you’re doing the right thing.
  • Massage them when they need it. 
  • Keep your hand where they directed you to put it, and don’t move it! You’ll never put it back exactly where it was before. 
  • Tell them you love them. 
  • Say affirmations to them (you’ll want to have discussed them beforehand). 

 

NEW BABY

  • Support your birthing partner as they recover from birth. Encourage them to rest. Do everything you can for them so they feel like they can focus on their healing. 
  • Take on all of the household responsibilities, and it’s ok for the house to not be perfect. That doesn’t mean that it’s ok to just let the house go entirely. Dishes still need to be done. Laundry. Trash needs to go out. The house still needs to be clean, even if it’s messier. 
  • Spend time with your partner.
  • Bond with your baby as you change their diaper. 
  • Your partner gets to feed your baby – you get to enjoy watching them. At some point you may have more of a role in actively feeding but it usually takes WAY more work to pump than to nurse directly and you giving the baby a bottle could undermine lactation at first so just sit back and enjoy the bond your partner and the baby are developing through feeding.
  • Keep being attentive to what your partner needs – this will be a part of your bonding with the baby and your partner.
  • Go to baby well checks.
  • Hold your baby. 
  • Feel insecure about that, or other aspects of caring for a new baby? That’s normal. Ask your partner about it. You’ll become more comfortable and confident in time.
  • Talk about the birthing experience with your partner. Invite them to share what it was like for them, what they liked, didn’t like, what surprised them. 

 

As you can see, there’s plenty to do to not only demonstrate that you want to be involved, but to actually BE involved and strengthen your connection with both your partner and your new baby. Do it. Jump in. Don’t wait. You won’t regret it. Nobody ever looks back and says they regret the time they spent loving their loved ones. This time and stage may be consuming in the moment but it really is so brief. Neglecting your role in this time is something you’ll never be able to undo and could damage your relationship with your partner. You matter in all this, don’t minimize the impact you have in this time by not fully being present and participating to connect with your partner and baby.

Martin-Weber Coaching

Jeremy Martin-Weber, relationship family, and parenting coach has been married to his wife Jessica Martin-Weber for 24 years and is the father of 8 children. His background includes music performance, teaching, non-profit director, mentor, and running a non-profit coffee shop. To support as many families in their relationship goals as is possible, Jeremy co-created We’re All Human Here and helps administrate The Leaky Boob in addition to his work as a relationship and family coach. For a free coaching consult, sign up here: https://bit.ly/3akaRR7.

Breastfeeding baby to sleep, bad habit or ok?

by Jessica Martin-WeberNaturepedic
this post made possible by Naturepedic Organic Mattresses for the whole family
Use the code “TLB15” for 15% off your cart at naturepedic.com. 

Fan Question: My baby keeps falling asleep while breastfeeding, am I making a bad habit?

You bring your tiny new human being to your chest and after a little awkward fumbling they are successfully latched as you marvel at their tiny perfection and they suck, drinking deeply of your milk. They settle into a steady rhythm and you feel them relax more fully into you, a relaxation that in 5-10 minutes is fully heavy sleepiness. By the time they’ve drained your breast your baby’s eyelids are closed, their arms and hands floppy, their lips and jaw slack, and a dribble of milk rolls down their cheek as they breathe deeply in sleep. 

Warm, soft, snuggled sleep.

Eight months later, the scene isn’t much different, they’re just longer and rounder. Ten months after that the routine continues. Maybe not every feed but often and maybe it is the only way they go down for a nap or bedtime.

For many little ones boob = sleep.

This may worry some as they hear from others that breastfeeding their baby to sleep is creating a bad habit, alarm that their child will never be able to sleep on their own if they do this, and dire warnings that the milk will damage the child’s teeth. On The Leaky Boob we frequently hear from those wondering if breastfeeding their baby to sleep is a bad thing, fears that this experience that happens so frequently for so many will doom them and their child.

I have good news!

According to pediatrician Dr. Arthur Lavin and coauthor of Baby and Toddler Sleep Solutions For Dummies, breastfeeding your little one asleep is totally fine. 

In a live interview I had with Dr. Lavin on The Leaky Boob Facebook Page (view here), he explained that there’s no concern with breastfeeding your nursling to sleep and it is actually quite normal that breastfeeding would lead to sleep. In fact, it’s a part of how the brain works! The portion of the brain that regulates feeding is closely related to regulating sleep and wakefulness and releases a hormone called orexin which is why we feel sleep when we have full tummies even as adults. This starts from birth. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin and dopamine in the brain which makes everyone involved feel sleepy. These hormones are a part of helping milk flow and contribute to bonding by making us relaxed, happy, and safe. It all combines to be a drowsy inducing cocktail of snuggles and feeding. What better way for baby to fall asleep?

For a newborn it just makes sense. Breastfeeding to sleep feels safe and the scent of the breasts and breastmilk is familiar, comforting, and warm. Being skin to skin is soothing and babies are programmed to want to be there, close and protected. Their food, safety, and everything they know is there. Cradled to your chest they can fill their tummy, get that relaxing hormone release, smell home, and be lulled to sleep to the sound of your heartbeat just like before they were born.

Breastfeeding your baby back to sleep at night helps protect your breastmilk supply while meeting their demanding nutritional needs. A baby’s growth rate for the first 4 months of their life is faster than it will ever be again (even teen boys don’t grow as fast!) and feeding frequently through the night not only ensures an adequate milk supply as it coincides with the time of day that the milk-making hormone prolactin is highest in the lactating parent’s brain, these feedings also provide a steady supply of calories for this rapid growth phase. Night-time feeds can be protective of breastmilk supply with higher prolactin levels at night and may make up to 20% of a baby’s total milk intake. Feeding to sleep is part of their growth strategy! (See this study for more info.)

Breastfeeding to sleep may continue long after birth as well, particularly around certain times of day as melatonin levels in breastmilk are higher in the evening and through the night. It’s no surprise that a year or even two years later your little one falls asleep best while at the breast. This may even contribute to a regular sleep rhythm for your child. (Read about melatonin in breastmilk here.)

But is it a bad habit?

According to Dr. Lavin, no. In our interview Dr. Lavin explained that just as adults can establish new sleep habits, so can babies and young children. If, at some point, breastfeeding to sleep isn’t working for you and your child, you can change it. Particularly with an older baby or toddler. If you want to night wean gently, check out our night weaning readiness checklist here.

So it’s totally natural to breastfeed your baby to sleep and it isn’t a bad habit but… what about their teeth? We’ve all heard of bottle-rot, won’t falling asleep with breastmilk be bad for their teeth?

Human milk isn’t going to cause human teeth to decay. Dr. Lavin shared with us that genetics and socio-economics have more of an impact on the development of cavities than breastfeeding to sleep. That doesn’t mean there’s no risk, it just means that the risk is pretty low and wiping or brushing the teeth after your child eats solid food or drinks anything other than breastmilk or water is adequate protection for your child’s teeth. It isn’t necessary to clean teeth after breastfeeding at night (don’t wake the baby!) if there has only been breastmilk or water since the teeth were last cleaned.

As always, it is important to practice safe sleep whether or not you are breastfeeding your baby to sleep. The AAP recommends that babies under 12 months should sleep alone on their back in a dedicated sleep space in the parent’s room, free of blankets, pillows, toys, and crib bumpers. While the AAP recommends against bedsharing it is better to prepare to practice safe bedsharing if there is a chance you will fall asleep with your baby rather than to accidentally sleep with your baby in an unsafe manner (i.e. falling asleep with baby in a chair, on the couch, in a recliner, etc.).

Breastfeeding your baby to sleep is a completely normal reality, particularly in the first few months. If at some point you desire to change that and establish different sleep habits, you can. No need to worry that it is a bad habit you’ll be stuck with or is causing problems later on down the road. If it is working for you and your baby, it’s not a problem at all. Happy breastfeeding and sweet dreams!

Protected: The New Baby Guide 2021 Edition (for Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Newborn)

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The New Baby Guide 2021 Edition (for Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Newborn)

Expecting? Have a new baby?

Thousands told us what they wanted in a pregnancy, newborn, postpartum, baby-feeding, baby-sleep, and baby-gear guide and everything they wished they had known before having their baby.

This is that guide.

Pregnant belly new baby gui

Listening to what our fans told us what every parent needed when expecting or had a new baby, we created first edition of The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide and it is the guide of our dreams. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what Kathleen McCue, PhD, CNM, IBCLC had to say about TLB’s guide:

“Single best guide currently available to new families. Honest, concise, informative and all around fun to read! Refreshing to have such a valuable resource by those truly in-the-know.”

At just $1.99, you can get your copy and support The Leaky Boob and see for yourself.

Not convinced? Keep scrolling for a preview of The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide.

 

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The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide is a resource for first-time-parents and new-parents-again with checklists, vital conversations to have for partners and with your health care provider, family, work place, and more. The guide provides information as a jumping off point of what collectively hundreds of parents shared they wish they had known before having a baby. With sections on pregnancy, newborn, postpartum, feeding, sleep, and gear, our guide covers the essentials of having a new baby.

Plus exclusive discount codes!

Ready to get your 2021 New Baby Guide?

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Tools such as our checklists, vital conversations, and product recommendations support you in making sure you have the important conversations and items you need for your new baby with expert information.

Get The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide here.

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The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide gets real about aspects of having a new baby nobody ever talks about, like postpartum bleeding, normal newborn behavior, normal sleep, body changes in pregnancy and postpartum, difficulties with breastfeeding, postpartum mood disorders, and so much more.

Think TLB’s New Baby Guide is for you? Don’t miss it! Download your digital copy now.

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Practical must-know information, realistic expectations, and tips from the most experienced parents just like you, The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide shares what thousands of parents told us they wish they had known before having baby without overwhelming you with boring irrelevant information.

See why our guide has received rave reviews and get yours here today!

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The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide supports new parents in preparing for their new baby not only with information but with vital conversations and checklists of what is really important to prepare when having a new baby.

What do thousands wish they had known when having a new baby? Find out here.

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The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide can’t tell you the best products for you and your baby but we can tell you some of our favorites and why without overwhelming you with options.

Don’t miss out on our favorite products!

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Don’t wait, get your 2021 New Baby Guide here today!

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TLB’s First Ever Newborn and Postpartum Summit

Newborn and Postpartum Summit

A totally free event with say-it-like-it-is conversation about the newborn and postpartum stage featuring guest experts and The Leaky Boob’s New Baby Guide.

This completely free summit event is made possible by the generous support of GooseWaddle, My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Charlie Banana, Pura Stainless, Andaluz Waterbirth Center, Bets & Emy, Crane USA, and TWELVElittle.

Enter the giveaway at the end of this post before December 1st for your chance to win some of our favorite products from the sponsoring brands.

 

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Guest speakers:

Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant

Dominique Gallo, IBCLC, Doula

Sue Potts, CNM

Angela Campos, Child Injury Safety Expert, RN, CPST

Victoria Strong, CPST

Laura Brown, LE, CPST, Babywearing Educator, Postpartum Doula

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The summit featured 4 livestreams on The Leaky Boob Facebook Page, and they’re all gathered here for your convenience:

 

Newborn Behavior: Sleep and Feeding- The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit

The dreaded “is she a GOOD baby?” is almost always really about sleeping and feeding and crying. But are babies really even capable of being “bad?”

Is my baby supposed to do THAT? Is it ok he wants to feed ALL the time? Whoever said “sleep like a baby” hasn’t met my baby- will she ever sleep? Is that even normal?

What is normal anyway?

Down to earth, this first livestream in The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit debunks the “good baby/bad baby” myth with a realistic look at normal newborn behavior when it comes to sleep and feeding.

 

Postpartum Recovery and Healing- The Leaky Boob New Baby and Postpartum Summit

Why do they smash on your belly after you give birth? What’s with the no baths rule? Why does your bleeding change color?

Certified Nurse Midwife Sue Potts fills us in on the postpartum recovery process explaining what’s happening in our bodies, what we need to fully heal, and what to expect with your care provider.

The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit features 4 livestreams with different guests in one day taking an honest look at the newborn and postpartum period. Host and TLB founder Jessica Martin-Weber is joined by her best friend, Sue Potts, CNM to tell you about the wonders of perineal ice packs, what’s really behind the no baths rule, and more about postpartum healing and recovery.

 

 

Newborn Safety and Gear- The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit

Have you ever asked “is that safe?” What’s the most common injury for babies? How do you know you pick the right car seat? What hidden dangers am I missing to keep my baby safe?

Child Injury Prevention Expert, Angela Campos, RN, CPST and Baby Gear Concierge, Victoria Strong, CPST join host and TLB founder, Jessica Martin-Weber for The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit. Hear what safety products are worth investing in and get guidance in what baby products you really need, what’s nice to have, and what you can probably skip.

The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit features 4 livestreams with different guests in one day taking an honest look at the newborn and postpartum period. Host and TLB founder Jessica Martin-Weber is joined by two long-time Leakies and safety experts to discuss gear and safety for the Newborn.

 

 

 

What Postpartum is REALLY Like- The Leaky Boob New Baby and Postpartum Summit

The first pee and poop after having a baby… what’s it REALLY like? How long does the bleeding last? Did you know about the night sweats? Or why you may want to hold on to those maternity clothes long after giving birth?

Postpartum Doula Laura Brown is our special guest for an honest-to-goodness-hold-nothing-back discussion about what postpartum is REALLY like. Giving it to you like it is, you might just laugh so hard you’ll pee yourself.

The 4th livestream in The Leaky Boob Newborn and Postpartum Summit, host and TLB founder Jessica Martin-Weber is joined by Laura Brown with real-talk about our bodies and lives after having a baby. With 13 children between them plus many more they’ve supported through birth work, doula support, breastfeeding support, and more, Laura and Jessica draw from experience to be sure nothing about the postpartum period takes you by surprise.

 

If for some reason the videos aren’t playing for you here, you can follow these links to watch them on Facebook:

Newborn Behavior: Sleep and Feeding

Postpartum Recovery and Healing

Newborn Safety and Gear

What Postpartum is REALLY Like

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Here’s the giveaway! Ends December 1, 2020.

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Virtual Baby Shower Giveaway 2020

by Jessica Martin-Weber
This post made possible by GooseWaddle

When I was expecting my first baby I lived over a thousand miles from my parents and most of my friends and knew very few people where I lived. With a difficult pregnancy, I felt very isolated and alone during my pregnancy and in many ways cut off from those I knew and loved with the exception of my husband. Near the end of my pregnancy but early enough I could still travel, I was able to go to my parents for a baby shower but due to work schedules and financial constraints I had to go alone. I wanted desperately to share and celebrate our new baby with friends and family but obstacle after obstacle made that difficult to do all together. After I gave birth, my mother came and visited but there was never an opportunity for even some of the people in our lives to be together with us to enjoy our sweet girl.

Years later when I was expecting again, we were even farther from many of our friends and family. We had moved, many of them had moved, and there was a global crisis with the coronavirus pandemic that made traveling a dangerous option. The distance that separated us all was magnified by the pandemic. Thankfully, technology had created other ways to connect. Zoom, Facebook meet, and other platforms were used daily for school, work, and yes, even baby showers.

 

See our virtual baby shower planning guide here and get our free downloadable checklist to help you out!

 

Having a baby during a global crisis like a pandemic can be stressful, isolating, and an overwhelming experience. I struggled to hold onto my joy about my coming baby and grieved the loss of many aspects of having a new baby even as I was grateful I wasn’t grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID-19. Holding that tension of gratitude during what should be a happy time overshadowed by stress and uncertainty was difficult. My best friend who had been at my previous 3 births couldn’t make it here for this one, our family couldn’t travel, there would be no gathering and cake to introduce her to everyone, and no late pregnancy day out with friends. 

But we could FaceTime, Zoom call, and Facebook meet. 

 

Here’s a guide to help you be mindful on how you can introduce your new baby safely while social distancing. 

 

For many, in person get togethers are more challenging, pandemic or not. We move more often for education and work, our schedules are more busy, we have more community online than ever, and too often we are socially distanced from those we would share and celebrate major life events with. Including announcing, introducing, and celebrating our new family members.

 

(Are you social distancing and pregnant? Here’s what you need to know.)

 

From a virtual pregnancy announcement to a virtual baby shower, connecting with our people across time zones and distance isn’t only possible, it can be ideal. Whether you’re sharing with just a few close family members or a large circle of online friends there are so many possibilities. Your big kids can be virtually present for a prenatal appointment to hear the heartbeat or see belly mapping, your parents may join via FaceTime for an ultrasound, your best friend could help you craft your baby registry over Zoom, and your sister-in-law could throw you a baby shower… all from the other side of town or the other side of the world.

You can even invite people to your birth (up to you!) thanks to online streaming options- we did! 

 

(You can watch here.)

 

We’re throwing a virtual baby shower of our own… for everyone! We’ll show off our own new baby, share tips and planning resources, and have lots of gifts to give others thanks to some incredible sponsors that want to help us all have a virtually wonderful time celebrating our little ones. 

 

Looking for a fun way to virtually announce your pregnancy? See these ideas from My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.

 

Thanks to GooseWaddle and our other sponsors for wanting to help make this time special for our family and yours and for helping us offer other virtual opportunities. Be looking for more info on the Virtual Newborn and Postpartum summit, a virtual breastfeeding class, supportive partner workshop, and more.

Join us for The Leaky Boob Virtual Baby Shower, Thursday, August 14, 2020, 11am Pacific.

 

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Our first listings to give away are products from our featured sponsor, GooseWaddle!

Five lucky winners will get the chance to win one of these products:

 

 

The Knit Blanket ($30) is a perfect welcome gift for a new baby. Designed in the softest fabrics it gets softer and softer with each use. Winner’s choice of lavender, pink, blue, white, or grey. Made with 100% Polyester and is 30″ x 40″

 

 

 

The Basil Bear Appliqué Baby Blanket ($45) is oh-so-soft and the perfect welcome gift for a new baby. Double sided featuring a little bear playing with a butterfly and a leafy green pattern on the other side. Designed in the softest pile fabric with just the right amount of fill – and sure to be the ooh-ahh item at the next shower! Made with 100% Polyester and is 2 ply 30″ x 40″

 

Elegantly designed 2 Pack Receiving Blanket ($40) in a lightweight jersey as soft as your favorite tee. Perfect for swaddling, nursing, warming, burping, wiping, tummy time or a carrier cover, as needed. The 2pk set features a character with sentimental saying and a coordinating allover pattern. Made with 100% Polyester jersey and dimensions are 30″ x 40″

 

 

Made with the softest silicone and natural oak wood this Teether ($25) is perfect for soothing those sore gums. An easy to fasten clasp this teether can be snapped to any bib or piece of clothing ensuring it is available when needed. Winner’s choice of lavender, pink, blue, or green. It’s total length comes to 7.5″ 

 

 

 

Our new bear plush just sits quietly… ready to snuggle! Our newest GooseWaddle Super Soft Plush Bear – Basil ($40) is super squishy soft and perfect for any nursery!  Designed with slim legs, easy to grab ears and embroidered features for safe playtime fun, our new bear plush sits quietly… ready to snuggle! Made with 100% polyester and it 15″ while sitting.

 

 

 

 

GooseWaddle is also offering a coupon to their whole site! Get 30% off by using their code: BABY

 

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Up next we have items from our friends at My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Pura Stainless, and Bets & Emy to give away but before we jump right in we want to take a moment and thank Andaluz Waterbirth Center for sponsoring this upcoming livestream. They’ve been here for me for the past two pregnancies and I can’t thank them enough for all that they’ve done for me!

 

To join us in celebrating all babies tune in for The Leaky Boob Virtual Baby Shower on Thursday, August 14, 2020, 11am Pacific.

 

 

 

 

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: 8 kits, 8 winners

 

 

 

The Rainbow Keepsake Kit ($44.99) includes a 13-15″ Heartbeat Animal of winners’ choice, an easy-to-use heart-shaped recorder, and a beautiful rainbow themed box. Customize your kit with a rainbow bow tie, rainbow tutu, or both for an extra special reveal. 

 

 

 

Pura Stainless: Gift Set, choice of 5 oz or 11 oz

 

The Kiki 50z Starter Set ($44.99) is recommended for infants 0-18 months old. This set contains two 5oz infant bottles with silicone sleeves and Slow-Flow Natural Vent Nipples™, plus additional components. Comes with an aqua color sleeve and winner’s choice of green, pink, or grey for the second bottle. 

 

 

The Kiki 11oz Starter Set ($49.99), recommended for infants between 3-18 months, includes two 11oz infant bottles with silicone sleeves and Medium-Flow Natural Vent Nipples™, plus additional components. Comes with an aqua color sleeve and winner’s choice of green, pink, or grey for the second bottle. 

 

 

 

 

Bets & Emy: 3 boxes of 720 Baby Wipes

 

 

Bets & Emy wipes contain just 99.9% water & 0.1% citrus extract, with no fragrances, oils or parabens. Winner will receive 3 boxes of 720 wipes (12 packs of 60 in each which is about $47 worth of Bets & Emy wipes). 

 

 

 

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Next up we have:

 

Crane: a Droplet Humidifier that includes a Vapor Pad Tray, and a Top Fill Humidifier

The Droplet Humidifier ($44.99) creates an ultrasonic cool mist which increases moisture in the air for easier breathing and a good night’s sleep. It’s capable of effectively humidifying small and medium rooms up to 500 square feet. And now it comes with a new feature, a Vapor Pad Tray!

The mist output of the Top Fill Humidifier ($69.99) runs for over 24-hours in a large size room and it works as a diffuser for essential oils and vapor liquids. Crane’s top fill ultrasonic cool mist humidifier and aromatherapy diffuser provides up to 500 sq. ft. of coverage and 24 hours of soothing moisture to help relieve the effects of dryness and congestion, helping you and your family to breathe easy and sleep through the night peacefully.

 

 

Überlube: 50 ml Bottle to each winner, 10 winners

High-end luxury lubricant. Instead of just being slippery, Überlube (50 ml bottle: $18) is designed to transfer sensation while reducing friction. It feels amazingly silky and performs as long as you’re using it. When Überlube stops being manipulated, it starts to dissipate, leaving skin soft and moisturized, never wet or sticky. 

 

 

Loloma: Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Nature’s Purest Moisturizer does more than just moisturize, this soothing Loloma ($32) is a lullaby in a lotion. Our naturally processed pure virgin coconut oil has a light scent and is refined with a highly absorbant texture that leaves your skin highly nourished and velvety smooth. Coconut oil is a total multi-tasker – add to a bath soak, apply it to your hair as a mask, or use it on your cuticles to replenish lost moisture from hand-washing. 100% organic, free of harmful chemicals, it’s coconut oil in its purest form. 

 

 

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And last but not least:

 

Contours Baby:

one Cocoon Buckle-Tie Carrier ($79.99), winner’s choice of 3 styles

 

 

Milkies, by Fairhaven Health:

Milkies Milk-Saver, Milkies Milk-Saver On-The-Go, and Milkies Milk Trays (total retail value: $66), 3 winners get all 3 products

 

 

 

Bamboobies:

Washable Nursing Pads and Drink Mixes: Energy Boost and Lactation Support (total retail value: $33), 3 winners get all 3 products

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ready For Your Virtual Baby Shower? Your Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide

by Lavinia Martin-Weber
This post made possible by GooseWaddle

(Join The Leaky Boob’s virtual baby shower here.)

In the midst of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, we’re finding our whole world shifting to being online… well, more than it already was before the stay-at-home orders were issued. But just because our physical social lives come to a grinding halt doesn’t mean our way of life does. 

And people are still making and having babies. 

So what now? You’re pregnant (congrats!), during a pandemic (oh crap), and you have to stay at home (*insert big sad face here*). Never fear, oh incredible child-bearing human, you can still have your baby shower and throw a party to introduce your baby to the world!

(Download our quick and easy guide to introducing baby safely with social distancing here.)

“But how?” you may ask.

Introducing: the internet! I may know nothing about being pregnant but I know how the internet works and I love a good party. And even when all this pandemic stuff is over (it will end at some point, right?), so many of us have pocket friends that live all over the world that can’t get together in person for a party that we need to have options. So let’s celebrate you and your little one with the rest of your friends online. 

Bring on the virtual baby shower!

(If you’re short on time and need to simplify even more, WebBabyShower is a website that will do a lot of these steps for you.)

Whether you’re organizing a meet and greet for your own baby (which is absolutely, TOTALLY fine to do- girl, throw yourself a party, appreciate yourself and celebrate your baby!) or throwing a baby shower for a friend, as with any party, you have to figure out the Big Four. The Big Four (I should trademark this) being the main four questions you have to ask yourself in order to plan a party: where, when, what, and who. It can be as casual and simple as you like or it can be a big involved shin-dig. Whatever works for you and your budget.

(Download our Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide and Checklist here.)

 

Before we get to the boring technical stuff (like what platforms are available), let’s get to the fun part of party planning. The What, if you will, of the Big Four™ (if you want to skip to what video call platforms you can use, then scroll down to the bottom of this article). Themes! If a specific theme for a party isn’t your thing, more power to you, but I personally really enjoy having something to base my party around. My two personal favorite birthday parties were Renaissance knight themed, and Harry Potter Hogwarts feast themed, respectively. 

“But why do themes if it’s going to be virtual?” 

Good question and I’m glad you asked. When there’s nobody coming over to your house to celebrate, what’s the point in picking a theme for them to partake in and appreciate? I get it, and maybe it’s too much of a hassle, but I think it would be fun to decorate the background of your limited screen square or use a border or background theme related to the party theme. It can add variety and once it’s set up, it feels nice to be within the party space. I’d compare it to the same feeling as getting out of pajamas for a video chat or getting dressed up just because. It feels good! It sets the mood. It makes it feel special. It is FUN! It can uplift your spirits, something that definitely comes in handy if you’re trying to celebrate. If you’re blanking on what themes to incorporate into your baby shower, don’t worry, I did a lot of brainstorming. And if these theme ideas don’t work for you hopefully they inspire you to come up with one that does! 

  • Disney and/or Pixar: I love how general and specific with this one you could be. You could choose just Disney in general and theme your party like it’s the Disney parks themselves with an assortment of iconic Disney/Pixar characters. Or you could get super specific! A Toy Story theme, Disney Princess theme, Star Wars, the Marvel universe, Mickey and Friends themed, or any of your favorite Disney/Pixar stories! Dress up inspired by your favorite Disney character, wear Mickey ears, play iconic Disney tunes in the background, the Disney world is open to you! 
  • Studio Ghibli: Man oh man do I love me some Studio Ghibli. It’s another one of those theme ideas where you can do a general theme or hone in on a specific movie. You can pay homage to the general aesthetic of the Studio Ghibli movies (which I LOVE), or if you have a favorite movie you want to represent (like “My Neighbor Totoro”), you can just keep it to that. 
  • Doctor Who: For all you Doctor Who fans! I never actually got into the show (I know, my loss), but it’s still All The Rage™ (and I do love that the new “Doctor” is a woman). Dress up as your favorite doctor and turn your pen into that screwdriver thing one of them holds (I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect to the Doctors please don’t come for me Whovians).
  • Harry Potter: I had a Harry Potter party for my 18th birthday and it was awesome! Hung battery charged candles from my ceiling with fishing wire, dressed up in my Hogwarts House colors (I’m a Slytherin hehehe), and ate food inspired by the Hogwarts feast (which is a lot of boiled food as it turns out). Take a sorting test! Take bets as to which house your friends might be in! Drink firewhiskey and pumpkin juice! Hogwarts spirit!
  • Anime: Another one where you can be general and specific. Anime is a HUGE category. You could celebrate the classics (Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, Pokémon, etc) or pick a favorite to base your theme around! Cosplay your favorite character and geek out. And in case anyone was wondering, my favorite anime is Soul Eater, and yes I have cosplayed as the Thomson Sisters thank-you-very-much (Soul Eater is not appropriate for children as it has mature themes). 

Here I am with Earth Baby (top) and Lollie (bottom) when we cosplayed as the Thompson Sisters and Death the Kid at our city’s Comic Con in 2016.

  • Hello Kitty: Oh boy is the Hello Kitty fandom still HUGE. Another franchise I’m not that well-versed in, but I see it EVERYWHERE with its cute kitties, bunnies(?), and colors. Dig out all of your Hello Kitty merchandise and share your love for the cool cat with your friends and family. 
  • Toki Doki: I love Toki Doki. The characters are so adorable and creative! You can order the cute plushies or mystery mini characters for you and your friends to unwrap together. 
  • Astrology: This is less franchise/fandom-ish, but I personally really dig astrology and looking at zodiacs and natal charts. Although I’m not an adamant believer in horoscopes, I still think it’s fun to draw parallels in zodiac personality charts. Look up and read your and your friend’s natal charts, dress up as your zodiac animal and colors, make fun of stereotypes! (I am a flaming hot double Aries cheeto with Libra as my rising). I’m just talking about the zodiacs based off of Babylonian and Hellenistic astronomy because those are what I’m into, but don’t forget Chinese zodiacs and others! 
  • Nintendo: Can be a general theme to show love to all of the classic Nintendo games, or once again you can get specific. Dress up as your favorite Mario Brother character, or if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan like me, Zelda character. Play Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart online together, reminisce about the good ol’ days when Mario was a 2D scroller game. Oh, and you can play some of the iconic video game soundtracks in the background because let’s be honest, Nintendo games have KILLER original soundtracks. 
  • Classic Hollywood: Have all of your guests show up dressed inspired by their favorite classic hollywood movie. Like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, and more! Another one of those themes where you can play all those nostalgic soundtracks in the background, and maybe try to guess what movies they are from!
  • You can Theme by Era! Dress up as your favorite 20th century fashion era. Whether it be the Roaring 20s’, the Rockin’ 60s’, or the Alternative 90s’ have fun (and maybe pull from your own wardrobe)! Encourage your guests to costume up too. Play the iconic tunes of each era and play 90s’ kid trivia! 
  • Forest/space/beach, etc. Whether you go with a fantasy version or the real thing, transport your virtual gathering to anywhere in the world with a little decorating online and in real life.
  • And lastly, you can base your theme around DND or other RPG’s (Roleplayer Games). I’ve played DND once and honestly? I need a party to join because that one-shot session was all I needed to get HOOKED. Dress up as your character, take on their cannon accent, and play a session of DND with your friends. Don’t know how? Don’t worry, there’s tons of information on the internet on how to campaign (basically how to start a group and build a story). All the information online and HUGE fanbase may look daunting, but you’re likely to find a helpful fan who’ll be more than willing to assist you in your DND endeavors. It might even be someone you know! I had no clue my dad played DND when he was a child until about a year ago. 

 

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Food. Drinks. Gifts. Games. BAM let’s go. 

If I were to list all of the food, gifts, and games specific to each theme that you can easily (and affordably) send to your guests then this would be more of an overwhelming ride down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and not a helpful article. So instead I’ll fire off some new trendy and standard classic party ideas that can be applied to some, if not all of the themes listed. Otherwise, I’ll leave the Pinterest digging to you. 

FOOD – food is the only real reason I used to go to parties. Well that and I’m an extrovert. If I could get away with it, my guests wouldn’t be allowed at my parties without bringing something to munch on (that was when I could actually throw in-person parties). Humans love food, so how can we incorporate it into our virtual party? May I introduce to you: food delivery services. You may not be able to lay a spread in your party venue but you can have party treats delivered to your guests. It doesn’t have to be a lot but there are a range of options way beyond edible arrangements. Sure, there is DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates but those are EXPENSIVE. I’m talking companies who are ready to send you a big box of popcorn lollipops (sounds weird, but trust me, they are AH-MAHZING), a box of candy assortments, fruit bouquets, pretzel boxes, a DIY cookie decoration kit, or customized cookies (maybe with your baby’s name on them in the party theme? Just an idea.). I’m just going to list off some of my favorite cookie delivery companies I’ve discovered, because who doesn’t like cookies? (I’m very sorry if you don’t like cookies). 

I find the cookie decorating kits to be especially fun, even more so if you have a little one you want to keep still while you talk to your more mature friends. It’s also a nice set activity you can schedule into your party. If you haven’t noticed already, all of these were found in a quick and easy search on Etsy! I strongly suggest looking on Etsy for your foodie needs to support small businesses. And hopefully you can count on your product to not taste like a factory. 

For DRINKS, unfortunately there isn’t really a drink delivery option so let your guests decide what they’ll have. I’d encourage them to get creative and try to match the party’s theme, or send them a recipe for the drink you’ll be enjoying, or for the non-preggos put together a cocktail kit you send out ahead of time with mini-bottles. Etsy for the win again with these fabulous drinks:

Let’s talk PARTY FAVORS (personally my least favorite party thing to figure out because UGH that’s so many small things to plan and nobody wants a bunch of plastic junk). Once again, I’d recommend Etsy for a quick and easy party favor find that you can send out to your friends but there’s also Amazon and boutiques and you may be able to support a local-to–you business if they have an online store as well. If you’re doing some kind of food delivery then maybe skip the favors completely. Party favors aren’t necessary but if you really want to do something, keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be a lot. Be sure you work this stuff out at least a month in advance since all of it is counting on the mailing services in your area and where you order. You can get baby shower specific, or just search general party favor gifts. As I stated at the beginning of this article, I’ve never been pregnant and thus never have had my own child so the baby shower gifts were a little confusing to me. Scrolling through I was like… huh? But maybe it’ll make sense for you mamas and mamas to be. I did like the bath bomb, tea kits, and scrunchie party favors I found. Also don’t get shy with the DIY! Find bracelet making kits or temporary tattoo kits, those are fun and will keep you and your guests’ hands busy during the call. Still feeling uninspired about party favors? Take a dip into Pinterest. Not only will it give you something to do for an hour or two, but there’s a plethora of ideas in there!

Now GAMES. Personally, I’d count the DIY projects as a game, but if you want to get technical then I have a few other ideas for you and your virtual baby shower. If you don’t like them, that’s ok. Not everyone is as cool as me and gets what I get, Pinterest is your friend in this case. 

  • One word: T-R-I-V-I-A. I love me some good ol’ trivia. It sparks my competitive spirit and love for knowing things. You can make it specific to your theme too! If you’re having your classic baby shower theme, quiz your guests on pregnancy and birth (I’d win because do you even know my mom?), or if you have a theme like Disney, do a Disney trivia. I love how applicable trivia can be to different subjects and let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good trivia? 
  • Bingo is another game that’s pretty diverse in what theme you throw it in. You can make your own bingo, or easily find a bingo template or prepaid printable online.
  • If you’re still pregnant, take guesses on the birth date, first sign of labor, weight of baby, etc. If this is after baby has arrived, go with guesses on anything that hasn’t been shared publicly.
  • The Song Guessing Game. I don’t know if other people do this, but in my house we have this made up game where one person links up with our bluetooth speaker and plays a song (usually a soundtrack, but it can be anything!) and then we all try to guess what it’s from (in the case of a soundtrack, we try to guess the movie title). Whoever guesses it first gets to pick the next song. This game can go on for forever and it’s fairly simple and easy to pick up. You can dish out handicaps to those who seem to have an unfair advantage. Take my older sister for example, she regularly listens to soundtracks, way more than the rest of our family. So normally she has a 10-15 second handicap where she can’t guess the song to give others a chance (she’s a BEAST at this game, often guessing a track correctly by the first note/second). 

To keep your celebration flowing, CREATE AN AGENDA. A common agenda structure would be welcome/greeting, ice breaker game, game, food/gifts (guests eat while gifts are opened), game, remarks/well-wishes/new baby advice, goodbyes. 

Create a memento of the event with a digital guestbook or video with each guest pre-recording a video tribute. With screen sharing options on most platforms you can share the tribute with all the guests as part of the virtual babyshower. There are several apps available for these, I like mydigitalguestbook.com and tribute.co.

Let’s talk about BUDGET real quick (ew, I know). In these “unprecedented” times (I can’t wait for more “precedented” times again), money can be the last thing you want to think about… or spend. Which is totally reasonable. The good news is you CAN do a virtual party completely for free, which is great! You can also pull it off very low cost, or the sky is the limit. I actually think an upside to a virtual baby shower is that you’re spending less than you would for an actual party. I looked it up, and most in-person baby showers range between $300 – $1,000 having to take into account venue, decorations, catering/food, possibly having to Uber your drunk friend home, party favors, cake, drinks, and the like. When it’s all virtual, many of those things are null and void. So, if it’s feasible, allow yourself grace to buy all your friends party favors because in actuality, you’re probably spending less than you would’ve if the party was in-person. 

If you’re feeling in a particularly party throwing mood, you can create a small care package for each guest and ship them out once you have the RSVPs. Be sure to get the invitations out early enough to get responses back and have time to pack up and ship each party-in-a-box care package to your guests. With a care package style you can send homemade goodies too, printable game sheets (like the bingo cards), the fixings for a mocktail/cocktail, theme decorations, and more.

 

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Now we gotta invite people to this special baby shower you’re planning, here comes the Who and the When. We’re combining two of the Big Four™. Obviously, it’s going to be people you actually want there to celebrate this new baby, but how are you going to invite them? Thankfully, you don’t have to burn your hand trying to handwrite cute invitations (did people even do that before the pandemic?) because now it’s all ✨~virtual~✨. Here are three virtual invitation options that I found! 

  • The Evite we all know and love. I’m the most familiar with this one, and it makes things fairly easy and simple! Very user friendly. Also, it’s completely free (aside from upgrades, but meh, they still have a vast array of good options).
  • Paperless Post isn’t free, but its options are adorable. They do things based on coins, which is kinda like a store credit system. When you first sign up, you get 25 coins free. Clicking on the first baby shower invite option, it was 2 coins to use. From then on there are various upgrades to choose from (using coins) that can spruce up your invitation. 
  • Smilebox is free with a basic plan. The basic plan includes unlimited cards to choose from and you can share your invite on Twitter. With Smilebox premium ($2.99 a month) you’re granted the option to share on FaceBook as well as Twitter, sharing by email, adding your own music, unlimited storage and backup for drafts, and removing the watermark. From what I’ve seen, they also have a wide display of cards to choose from. 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INVITATION

  1. Details on the date and time of your live event
  2. A link to join the group or meeting
  3. A link to your registry with a ship-to address

Don’t forget to send event reminders closer to the date! 

Let there be PRESENTS!

(Get the softest blankets ever like the one in our images here, sweet plushies, beautiful wood teethers, bibs, and more at goosewaddle.com.)

You can always make your celebration a gift-less party or invite guests to make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization in your honor. But babies need stuff and people LOVE to give baby gifts, so be sure to create a registry or if you’re hosting for someone else, have them create a registry and include that information in the invitations (along with an out so people don’t feel like they HAVE to get you a gift to join the party). Go virtual shopping and build your wishlist of items you want and/or need to prepare for this new baby. Here are a few websites so you can do it all from your couch in your pajamas. 

  • Babylist: from what I’ve briefly explored, this website is super user friendly and pretty much the luxury registry experience! It has easy ready-for-you buttons to different websites to get started on your list including Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Walmart, and others. I know my mom has used it and loves it because you can add items from multiple different shops including small businesses, Etsy, and register for things like a doula, prenatal massage, and having meals delivered. 
  • Target: if you look up “Target registry” it’ll pull up a page ready to help you build your wishlist. Also seems super user friendly but you’re limited to, well, Target.
  • BuyBuyBaby: They have a 20% off deal on their product when you register! On top of having their own website of product, you can create your wishlist on their site and add other brands in it to share with your friends and family. 

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Now time for the Where. Obviously, in terms of an actual physical location for your virtual baby shower this may be the best part: HOME! You don’t even have to put on pants if you don’t want to (just be sure to remember that if you’re going to stand up on camera because that could make your party awkward REAL FAST). But what about the where on the internet? We have a plethora of options (and it’s not just Zoom, who else here is tired of Zoom and can’t think of it as a fun thing anymore?). 

Cisco Webex

Personally, Cisco Webex is my favorite platform for a multi-person facetime. For the host, you have to create an account, download a plugin for Cisco Webex, start a meeting with the BIG green button, and invite your friends via email! For the guests, it’s even more simple: click the big green button they get via the host’s email invitation and BOOM, they’re ready to party. No installing any plugins on their end, and it works across any mobile device or video system. With the FREE Webex plan, yes free, you can have meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, screen sharing, and a personal room, and there’s no point in time where the free plan stops for you. 

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is another video meeting platform (duh) known for its exceptional security (way more than Zoom’s). Fully secure, very easy, and once again: your friends don’t need to register to get into the room! Just send them the link and they are IN, baby! Jitsi Meet also has an audio feature where you can recognize who’s talking and blow up their feed so they are featured in the meeting/party. There is a session recording option as well if you really want to keep the meeting for later reminiscing. After the meeting is over, the recording will be downloaded into Dropbox just for you. Jitsi Meet can integrate with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365 (I have no clue what Slack or Office 365 are, but if you’re more tech savvy than I am, which is 100% possible, this may mean something to you). With up to 75 possible guests (though 35 is the recommended amount for quality), the host can kick out anyone who’s annoying them or they accidentally invited because they forgot they were ghosting that one guest. Only downside that I can tell is that you CAN’T set up the room beforehand, unlike Zoom where you can schedule a room to be up at a specific time. With Jitsi Meet, the host has to make the room live themselves at their preferred time and then invite their guests. And oh, did I mention it’s free?

Skype 

Another option is Skype, but even compared to Zoom it wouldn’t be my go-to choice. Recently, in light of the coronavirus lockdown, Skype has released a new feature called Meet Now that allows hosts to set up and share free meetings without having the Skype app downloaded for all parties involved. The host just has to go through the Skype website to set it up. Similar to a few other platforms we’ve been looking at, Skype also has an option to record and download sessions after they are ended. It’s totally free to host video conferences (or if you’re a gamer like me: parties), more secure than Zoom, and you can have up to 50 people in a party. Which depending on your social circle, can seem small or just enough. My favorite feature of Skype? I like it’s “incoming call” jingle. Not sure why, but it can keep me groovin’ for a while. 

Zoom

And lastly, we have Zoom. I know, I know, I was trying to give you other options in substitution of Zoom, but hear me out. It’s boring, and bland, and everyone’s sick of it BUT it does have a wait room, a feature I actually really appreciate. There were calls of concern about Zoom’s security after hackers figured out how to get into activated parties and drop less-than-savory videos into the feed, but Zoom has since then made their platform more secure. Complete with passwords to get in and wait rooms. Before someone can join a Zoom call, the host has to approve of them dropping in. While they are waiting for approval, the guest is put in a virtual wait room where they can test their microphone, speaker, and video feed. This is another video conference app that allows the host to record and download the session for the archives if they want to. If the session is being recorded, any guest who hops into the meeting will hear a small announcement that the session is being recorded, just to give them a heads up. Zoom has a basic free plan where you can have up to 100 guests in a meeting with the basic features we all know and love. But with a few paid upgrades, you can have a party with up to 1,000 participants (why you’d want that, I don’t know. Sounds absolutely chaotic). Honestly, I actually like Zoom. I use it weekly for my telehealth therapy session, which is something that I personally need during this pandemic (I could write a whole other article about why I advocate for therapy as a 19 year old). 

If you’re going with Zoom, check out these virtual baby shower bundles from Babylist that includes digital invite event header, custom Zoom backgrounds, themed printable games, and thank you cards. They even have 10 free fun virtual backgrounds with a step-by-step guide to install and use them.

That’s all I have for you today! It’s been a pleasure and honor to start you on your path to your virtual baby shower. I hope I’ve inspired you to make the most of your virtual baby shower. Once again, CONGRATS to the new little human! I hope you and your child are healthy and the birthing process goes smoothly. I may not be a mother, but I know new life is beautiful and I love babies. The possibilities are endless for you and your virtual baby shower and I wish you all the best. 

 

Yours truly, 

Lavinia (AKA Storyteller, AKA the second oldest, AKA Jessica The Leaky Boob’s daughter)

Protected: BB8’s Birth – LIVE

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Will I Livestream My Next Birth?

A letter from Jessica Martin-Weber, founder of The Leaky Boob, mom of 7 with baby no. 8 on the way, and two-time birth live-streamer. 
Find the short answer here.

 

I love this photo. It was just as we got home from a midwife appointment this past week and the first beautiful day we’d had in a while. My husband knit that top for me and I genuinely felt relaxed and pretty for the first time in months after nothing but good news during the appointment. I have struggled to stay connected to the joy of having a new baby as financial and COVID-19 stress has felt crushing. But I was happy here, full of joy and relief. Like I could celebrate a little. Coronavirus meant no maternity pics, no outings with my partner to get ready for the baby, no going to the store even to get a new outfit just for this little one (a ritual I’ve had with each of our babies). COVID-19 took those things and this was as good of a maternity photo sesh as I am going to get with this baby (and not bad, right? He took it on my iPhone and I love it.)

But right, what you’re really wanting to know: will I livestream BB8’s birth?

In 2012 I livestreamed the birth of my 6th baby onto The Leaky Boob website. Then, in 2017 we did it again with our 7th baby. We’ve had a lot of questions about if we’re going to do that again with this one.

My intent with livestreaming both of those births was to normalize birth and show how birth can be different from the mainstream media’s most common depictions.

You can read more about that decision by clicking here.

I have been on the fence about doing so again since getting the positive pregnancy test this time. After sharing 2 very different births with the world in real time and opening myself and my family up in that incredibly vulnerable way, I wasn’t sure I was up for doing so again. But then I’d think about how each of my births have been drastically different and I want to normalize birth in all the ways it occurs.

Indecision haunted me. I’d change my mind on an almost daily basis.

Then COVID-19.

I was too overwhelmed to even think about having a baby let alone livestreaming the birth. Putting any energy into thinking about it was the last thing on my list of priorities so I didn’t.

We announced the pregnancy at the end of March when I started showing.

Several people sent me messages thanking us for sharing our last two births, detailing how watching me birth gave them courage for their own births. How sharing my births with their own children helped them prepare their children for the birth of a sibling. Opened up about how there was healing for them in watching my births. And more. It was moving and inspiring. Still is.

I began to entertain the idea again.

The first birth we livestreamed in 2012 wasn’t a distraction for me but in 2017 concerns about camera position, technical difficulties, and other issues would pull me out of my brain space for labor and birth. Concerned about that happening again, we brainstormed options to be sure it wasn’t intrusive to the birth experience should we choose to livestream BB8’s birth. We talked with friends and our midwives, polled our monthly supporters on Patreon, and considered different ideas.

When people would ask I’ve either avoided answering or responded with a vague “we’re taking a wait and see approach.”

And here we are. Honestly, I thought I’d have given birth by now and the decision would be made for me in some way. But here I am still pregnant and somehow in a place to really think about it more over the last week. (No I’m not going to share how far along I am or my due date, I never do.)

Yes, the plan is that we will be livestreaming this birth.

But we’ve decided that the work and effort that goes into doing so, the risk we take putting ourselves out there like that, the incredible vulnerability and exposure of our family, home, my body, etc. has to give back to us too. Things have changed drastically and thanks to COVID-19 I won’t get any kind of paid maternity leave… not even a little. I fully expect to work the day after I give birth because, well, life.

We’ve shared 2 births freely, dealt with the trolls that come with that, provided free education for millions in doing so, and opened ourselves to all kinds of questioning and second guessing. It is invasive long after the birth but also beautiful and powerful long after too. I’ve never regretted livestreaming our births even when some aspects of doing so fatigued me.

Those births remain up and accessible for free for anyone that would care to view them.

You can watch the 2012 video by clicking here
And you can watch the 2017 video by clicking here

With all that in mind, this time we will be putting the birth behind a paywall. There will be two different ways to participate in viewing the birth: Patreon supporters (who also receive accesses to exclusive content and will be the first to see birth photos, etc.) and one-time-donation access.

If you are a member of The Leaky Boob/We’re All Human Here circle of support on Patreon, you will have access to the birth livestream (with two static cameras set up in the two main spaces we will use for labor and birth). An email will be sent out automatically to our supporters once I’m in labor with the private access link and directions as well as a post in the private access Patreon. Our two eldest daughters will be live blogging the labor and birth in a chat window on the private link as well and our 19yo will be doing short livestreams directly to The Leaky Boob Facebook with little glimpses of what’s going on and interviews with her sisters and the midwives throughout the labor.

The same access will be available (without the access to the exclusive content also available on our Patreon) for those who make a donation for a “ticket” here.

Want to contribute for someone else to be able to view but is unable to due to financial hardship? See here.

I understand some will be disappointed that we are making the birth livestream paid access only, please know I have weighed this heavily. The cost to be able to livestream (and have it not crash our website, etc.) and the time investment (last time I spent days and days after the birth cleaning up troll comments and that was 3 different people moderating them during the birth too) is enough to give us pause as it is. The reality that we are giving so much of ourselves for free at a time when there’s been a huge shift in our family’s income is one we can’t dismiss.

I hope you can understand. I love birth, I love educating and advocating for families, I love making resources accessible. These are deep passions of mine. Sadly, these deep passions don’t pay so well but they do require a lot from me and from my family. I need this to give back and in a way that is going to make a difference for my family as well.

At the moment, if you want to be sure you do not miss the birth livestream, you will need to be a member of The Leaky Boob/We’re All Human Here Patreon here (with additional exclusive content- birth photos will be released on Patreon first, etc.), or make a one time gift back to TLB (suggested minimum donation of $12) here. My desire is to support everyone who wants my support in their pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding journeys and beyond, I just need that to also support my family.

If you are not already a member of The Leaky Boob circle of support Patreon and you want to be sure you don’t miss out on the birth, join by clicking here.

I am looking forward to sharing another birth with you. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

With all of my heart and deepest gratitude,

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, The Leaky Boob and We’re All Human Here Co-Founder

 

Several have asked for a way to make a direct gift as a way to give back for the support of The Leaky Boob (without getting access to BB8’s live-streamed birth)  For those who would like to give a direct gift with no fees taken out:

Venmo is Jessica Martin-Weber
Paypal is ochantelle@yahoo.com

Please know that there is no obligation or expectation that anyone do so and I am committed to keeping The Leaky Boob free of charge in supporting families.

Looking for more support? Sign up for our emails here and join our private group here.

You, Your Baby, Breastfeeding, and COVID-19

by Jessica Martin-Weber

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The Leaky Boob is committed to providing free information, support, and community. You can be a part of making that possible by joining our circle of support. Any amount makes a difference.

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Breastfeeding Coronavirus Hand Washing

 

Friends, your baby has the right to breastfeed if that is what you were planning to do, want to do, and are able to do.

Not even COVID-19 should stop that from happening.

Even if you test positive for coronavirus.

Even if a health care provider insists that you should be separated from your baby for your baby’s health.

Overwhelmingly, evidence supports that if you are well enough to hold your baby, you are well enough to breastfeed even when you test positive for COVID-19.

(If you are not well enough to hold your baby, you still deserve to be supported in breastfeeding- see here as to how that can be possible).

 

** See this collection of resources of research on breastfeeding and COVID-19, what you need to know, what health care providers need to know, how you can advocate for you and your baby and more. We will be adding to it as materials become available.**

 

We’ve heard from a number of families who are being told they have to separate from their baby at the time of birth if they test positive. Even if they are not symptomatic. Even if they are able to mask and care for their baby following the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the CDC (in the USA), and other major health organizations.

After giving birth is an incredibly vulnerable time and it can be difficult to advocate for yourself and your baby in the immediate hours and days following your baby’s birth. Having a plan and communicating that with your health care team and support person can go a long way in making that easier. Being aware of current recommendations and evidence-based practices as well as being informed on your birth facility’s protocols will allow you to better advocate for you and your baby.

The following is for those in the USA who are COVID-19 positive and physically able to provide care and breastfeed their baby. 

Communicate your wishes to breastfeed even if you are CV19+ with your health care provider BEFORE giving birth if possible and request that it be included in your chart even if you do not test positive. It may be helpful to reference the WHO and CDC recommendations (included in the document linked here) and request that they be included in your chart as well. For example ask that something like this be charted:

“Patient has communicated that breastfeeding is a priority according to the recommendations of the CDC and WHO and requests lactation support regardless of patient’s COVID-19 status at time of birth.”

Current recommendations from the World Health Organization encourage breastfeeding and skin-to-skin when the lactating parent is COVID-19 as the best available protection for the infant with the parent wearing a mask and practicing good hand hygiene (and doing so for the chest area as well).

 

Breastfeeding when COVID-19 positive

 

Current recommendations from the CDC are vague at best, conflicting and confusing at worst. Hospitals are given quite a bit of autonomy in determining their protocols and there’s a wide range of interpretations of the CDC recommendations. Key in their recommendations (updated as of May 20, 2020) is this: “…the risks and benefits of temporary separation of the mother from her baby should be discussed with the mother by the healthcare team, and decisions about temporary separation should be made in accordance with the mother’s wishes.”

So what do you do if you give birth, are COVID-19 positive, and are told that separation from your infant is mandatory?

First, remember that nobody can take your baby from you without your permission without reasonable cause. You have the right to refuse to comply with protocols and practices with which you do not agree or understand. You have the right and responsibility to understand what is being recommended for the health of your child and the evidence for those recommendations. You have the right and responsibility to ask questions until you are satisfied and have the understanding you need. You have the right and responsibility to make fully informed consent in the health care decisions of you and your child. You have the right to make decisions about your child’s health care without bullying, coercion, or threats.

If you are told that your health care facility’s protocols require separation and no direct breastfeeding (pumping only), ask to speak to your child’s doctor directly, tell them you want to work together with them for the health and well-being of your new baby, that you want to understand exactly what is being recommended and why, and inquire why the WHO recommendations are not being followed. 

Listen respectfully as they explain.

Then communicate clearly that you wish to follow current evidence-based recommendations to breastfeed directly and will practice good hand and chest hygiene and wear a mask but that it is your intent to breastfeed your baby according to the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding and COVID-19 positive status. 

If you are told that the institution does not follow the WHO recommendations, you may want to point out that the CDC clearly states “…decisions about temporary separation should be made in accordance with the mother’s wishes.”

If you are again told separation is mandatory, you may find it helpful to say that you appreciate their concern for you and your child’s well-being but that you do not consent to separation based on current evidence-based recommendations to breastfeed.

If you are told that they will call CPS, you may want to state: “I would like it charted that you, Doctor/Nurse _____________ have said that CPS would be called on me if I followed the recommendations from the WHO and CDC regarding separation of the breastfeeding pair in the case of CV19+ status and that this institution would not support me in following current evidence-based recommendations regarding breastfeeding during the coronavirus pandemic.” Asking for this to be in our chart is protective for both you and the health care team. Documentation is very important. Maintaining your own documentation is also important should things escalate. Hopefully that won’t be the case but it is wise to be prepared.

If things continue to escalate, it may be time to reach out to seek legal counsel.

As much as this is a vulnerable time and there’s a lot happening in the body postpartum, as much as possible, remaining calm and non-combative is helpful. Keep in mind that information is changing rapidly and protocols are often decided by hospital administration rather than the actual care providers. The majority of healthcare professionals are just trying to help others as best they know how and may have been given no say in the hospital policies. Attacking them rarely is beneficial and could cost you an influential ally.

 

 

You and your baby should be together and evidence supports that. Should you find yourself dealing with a situation of mandatory separation at birth due to COVID-19 status, please know that all evidence supports that you and your baby should be together, have skin-to-skin, and breastfeed. You are the best person to advocate for your baby and your baby needs to be with you.

For an ever growing list of resources and information on breastfeeding and COVID-19 including studies, health organization recommendations, and more, please see this list. We will be adding resources as they become available so check back frequently.

 

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If this resource was helpful for you, consider helping The Leaky Boob by giving back. Help us keep our information, support, and resources free by becoming a patron and get access to exclusive content just for our supporters. Join here today.

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Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of wereallhumanhere.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 23 years.