For Dads/Partners

Sex After Baby: A Guide to Comfortable Postpartum Sex

Written by Jillian Wood, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

When your provider gives you the go ahead for sex after baby (usually around six weeks and when postpartum bleeding has stopped), does that mean that you should feel ready? Nope. We want you to decide on your own watch. Your birth story, amount of healing, fatigue level, emotional readiness, or even just finding the time, all play a part. 

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Maybe you’ve been counting down the days until you can jump in the sack with your person again. But, that day is here and… I’m not ready!

Maybe your indefinite plan is to never have sex again… I just pushed out a human, thank you very much!

Getting back in the groove can take time and it is normal normal normal to have fears and reservations. 

What’s the hold up?

Here’s what other moms are saying:

“I’m scared that it will hurt.”

At first, I can’t promise you that it won’t be different. If you feel uncomfortable, listen to your body. You may have to stop before you’ve even begun and that is OK! Give yourself permission to just try again another day. Or, slow it down and spend some time with foreplay. Remember the lubrication. Hormonal changes in your body can lead to vaginal dryness, especially when breastfeeding. Take a minute to breathe and consciously relax your body from head-to-toe feeling that last bit of tension release. It may take patience and encouragement to convince your muscles and tissue to stretch. 

“I’m not feeling sexy.”

You’ve started viewing yourself as a milk-making-mom-machine. I promise you, your partner still thinks you’re sexy. Your body feels soft and your breasts are leaking. I promise you, your partner still thinks you’re sexy. To boost the mood, give each other a little massage with some awesome body oil. Sneak away while baby has a full belly and a fresh diaper. Or, try sex first thing in the morning after you’ve both had a few hours of consecutive sleep. If you’re worried about breastmilk mishaps, put on a supportive bra (maybe two) and tuck in a couple breast pads. Or just throw it out there, Hey honey, if my milk lets down, I may want to take a commercial break. 

“Reaching orgasm is impossible.”

Postpartum orgasm can be difficult to achieve. Inability to orgasm can be due to low pelvic tone, hormone changes, fatigue, stress, or all of the above. Psst (I’ll just set this right here)… researchers conclude that anywhere between 40-80% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. So, there’s that. To improve your pelvic tone, basic kegel exercise is a good place to start. For the sake of simplicity, be like Nike and Just Do It. When you find a few minutes of down time (in the shower, staring at the coffee pot, waiting in the car for 30 minutes in the parent-pickup line at preschool) alternate quick and slow pumps (try to hold for 10 seconds) ideally three times a day. You can’t screw this up. Don’t forget to contract the rectum as well. It can only help. 

Some women have to work quite hard to restore pelvic tone. If you are concerned about your difficulty with kegel exercise, incontinence, or inability to orgasm, call the birth center. Your body may need more than simple home exercises and some women benefit from the help of a physical therapist. 

7 Quick Tips for Comfortable Postpartum Sex:

  1. Share your fears and what you’re excited about. Maybe your partner is even worried about hurting you. Talk more about it. When that time comes, it will be more fun and less scary.
  2. What’s your birth control/family planning story? There will be time to talk options at the 6-week postpartum checkup.
  3. Put the lubrication at the bedside. Coconut oil is a perfect semi-solid natural option. If you’re using a condom, choose a water-soluble option instead. 
  4. Communicate your needs. Is one position more comfortable than another? Do you need to stop or slow it down? Tell your partner; It will build trust and be better for everyone. 
  5. Penetration isn’t recommended until after 6 weeks. This is due to increased risk of infection and the need for healing. But, if you are feeling sexual and it feels good, find your orgasm in other ways. 
  6. Remember that it will get easier. It will get better.
  7. Nothing embarrasses your midwife. If you are having problems in the bedroom, we hope that you won’t hesitate to reach out for help. 

Top 10 Things Every Dad Should Know

Congrats! Your baby has arrived! This is a very exciting time for both moms and dads. As life shifts into parenthood, there are many adjustments to be made! We have talked with dads and compiled a list of the Top 10 Things Every Dad Should Know.

Sleep: Some of the best advice is to sleep when your baby sleeps. You will find after a few days that two-hour naps all night is simply not enough. Take turns. Four or five hours of sleep will become an amazing amount of time and you will feel like Superman. This goes for your partner too. Remember to give her breaks and time to sleep in between nursing. You will lie around and cuddle with the baby and for the first couple of weeks will have energy for nothing else. This is normal!

Hormones: Just when you thought your partner was done with hormone changes because pregnancy is over, you will realize that there is a big hormonal shift that takes place postpartum. Her body is going through major changes. Be gentle with her. She may cry more. She may have a shorter fuse due to hormones and exhaustion. Make sure she is well fed during the day and give her a little extra love and patience.

Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is hard work! Especially the first two weeks. Expect your wife to need to talk about it. You may feel a little left out because this is something only your wife can do. You can support her by listening, making sure she has snacks and water, and getting her a good book to read during those long nursing sessions. If she has trouble with breastfeeding, offer support by setting up an appointment with a lactation consultant.

Poop: There is never too much you can say about poop.  You will talk about the color, the consistency, and how much poop there was during a diaper change. You will be proud of your baby pooping. You will Facebook about it. You will tweet about it. You will be covered in it.

Visitors: People are going to want to visit your new bundle of joy. During the first week, try to keep visitors to a minimum. If people do visit, make it your job to keep the visits about 15 minutes long. They may offer to help with meals, cleaning, dog-walking, babysitting older children, etc. Do not hesitate to say YES! And if they don’t offer, ask. These are some of the best gifts you will receive.

Your Baby: You’re baby won’t break. You will want to be gentle of course but babies are strong and made to be handled. It is completely normal for you to feel uncomfortable.  Go easy on yourself.  Sometimes it can take dads a little longer to bond with their new baby.

Friends: Once your partner has gotten settled in and you both have gotten rest and feel human again, remember to take some time for yourself. Go out with the guys for a couple of hours. Especially the ones that have been through this before! If your wife feels apprehensive about being alone organize a friend or family member to keep her company or just be there if she needs something.

Leaving the house as a family: This can be a little daunting and you will be surprised how long it takes to get out the door and you may feel like you are bring the whole house with you! Give yourself some extra time on those first few outings.

Your Partner: There are many ways to help and make the ride smoother. Compliment and encourage her. She has just given birth and she wants to hear that you are proud of her. Give her breaks, even to do something as simple as taking a shower. Reassure her that she is doing a fantastic job. Bring her meals in bed, all of them. During postpartum rest is vital for her. During recovery and healing, her main job is making milk, breastfeeding and resting.

Housework & Chores: Keeping the house clean and laundry done will be a huge relief to your partner and even further allow her to rest. She will surely thank you for it!

Health Foundations Birth Center offers a comforting, supportive environment for both moms and dads during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Schedule a Tour and Information Session today!

Introducing Your Breastfed Baby to the Bottle

Baby Feeding on Bottle

Whether you will be returning to work after your maternity leave or would like to get your partner more involved in feeding your new babe, introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby can be a helpful, and sometimes tricky, endeavor. Many women like to have the option to have pumped milk available that a family member or caregiver can give the baby should they need a break, some extra sleep or happen to be away for more than a couple hours. Here are 5 helpful tips to introducing your breastfed baby to the bottle so that it’s a smooth and gentle transition for you both.

5 Tips to Introduce Your Breastfed Baby to the Bottle

  1. Timing is everything: Your midwife or lactation consultant will likely tell you that introducing any sort of bottle or artificial soother must be well-timed. Too early, and you run the risk of disrupting your newly established breastfeeding routine and too late, your babe may reject the bottle all together. The ideal time to introduce a bottle is between 4-6 weeks. That way, you will have already found your groove with breastfeeding and your baby will likely not experience any nipple confusion. 
  2. Choose a slow flow nipple: When picking out a bottle and nipple for your baby, choose one that most closely mimics the breast and allows for a slow flow of milk. Sucking from a bottle requires a different latch and tongue movement than suckling from the breast. A slow flow nipple will most closely replicate the experience of breastfeeding and allow baby to take his time eating. 
  3. Have your partner give the bottle: Getting a bottle from mom who usually breastfeeds can be confusing and frustrating for a little one. If possible, have your partner be the bottle aficionado. Even better yet, take the time that your partner is learning to bottle feed your baby and do something for yourself. Take a shower, take a nap, go for a walk or run an errand. Your baby is more likely to have a successful bottle feeding experience if they can’t smell mom and her milk nearby. 
  4. Take baby steps: Rather than having your partner or family member offer the bottle when your baby is hungry, try introducing it after they have breastfed. This way, they will not be frustrated as easily with the process and can explore the feel of the bottle without the pressure of needing to satiate their appetite. You don’t need to put a lot of breastmilk in the bottle, even starting with a half an ounce should suffice. If the milk is not freshly pumped, place the bottle in warm water to heat it prior to feeding. Baby may be more likely to accept a warm bottle versus milk that is directly from the refrigerator. 
  5. Encourage paced feeding: One of the challenges with bottle feeding is that we decide how much baby should drink rather than baby deciding. To most closely simulate the experience of breastfeeding, never force the nipple into baby’s mouth and simply allow him to decide how much he wishes to drink. Give baby breaks for burping and rest and switch sides from which you feed him as he would when breastfeeding. It’s also important to make sure your partner or the caregiver is able to recognize baby’s hungers cues so that he or she can feed baby when he’s hungry versus on a set schedule. 

Introducing bottle feeding does not have to be a stressful process if approached slowly, gently and with plenty of time for practice. If you have questions about the process of introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby or are pregnant and considering a natural birth in a homelike setting, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support you throughout your journey of motherhood.

Managing Visitors After Baby

Newborn Visitors

Nothing attracts well-meaning visitors like a brand new, adorable baby. Once the little one arrives, friends and family will be eager to meet your little one. Being prepared ahead of time for how you and your partner want to handle visitors once baby arrives will save you a great deal of stress and spare you some potentially uncomfortable conversations.  Here are 5 tips for managing doting friends and family once you bring your baby home.  

  1. Come up with a plan with your partner: These days/weeks following the birth of your baby are all about you, your baby, and your new family. You will not only be adjusting to caring for a newborn but also dealing with your own recovery and rapidly fluctuating postpartum hormones. It is important to be mindful of rest and nourishment. This is also a special time of bonding for you and your baby. Set those boundaries ahead of time and stick to them. There will be plenty of time for everyone to meet baby when the time is right!
  2. Accept help: When baby arrives, it is perfectly fine to ask for/accept help. Most people will offer- say yes! People often like to bring a meal, but don’t be afraid to ask for help with things like walking the dog, looking after your other children, or even holding the baby while you shower. Knowing that some of your daily chores are being taken care of allows you to focus on important things like resting and bonding with your new babe.
  3. Have your partner protect your space: Agree ahead of time that your partner will be the person to greet visitors and also gently nudge them once they have been there for a little while. A good amount of visiting time is about 15 minutes. Your partner can tactfully send people along their way when you need your rest, gently step in if your parents or in-laws are overstepping their bounds, and/or make suggestions as to how people can make themselves useful during their visit.
  4. Shamelessly ban sick visitors: There are few things as susceptible to germs and illness as a vulnerable newborn. There is no excuse for visitors showing up with a cough, the sniffles, a sore throat or even recovering from “food poisoning.” Let those mama bear instincts take hold and politely suggest that anyone who is not feeling 100 percent save their visit for a later date. It’s also okay to require that visitors wash their hands and use hand sanitizer before holding your baby. 
  5. Allow for plenty of alone time: A steady stream of visitors can be exhausting. You will likely already be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, working to establish your breastfeeding relationship and will be navigating life with your newest family member. Try to space your visitors out and limit the time they spend in order to allow plenty of time for you and your little family to bond. True friends and family will understand how sacred this special time is for you and your new family.

You should never feel the need to apologize for prioritizing and taking care of yourself and your new baby in the days and weeks following your delivery. Your baby. Your family. Your way.

For questions regarding prenatal or postpartum care, natural delivery or other women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife or for a tour of our Birth Center.

And Then There Were Three: Nurturing Your Relationship after Baby

Nurturing Relationship After Baby

Having a baby is a life changing transition for couples that can be filled with excitement, newness, awe, learning and exhaustion. Gone will be the days of leisurely Saturday mornings, spontaneous date nights, uninterrupted romantic evenings and sleep….yes, that will be gone for a while too. All these adjustments in combination with caring for a new baby can cause a strain on even the best of relationships. Here are some helpful tips on how to nurture your relationship while nurturing your newborn.

Family With Newborn
  1. Connect with each other every day: Even if it’s a 10 minute debrief about your day while reheating a freezer meal at 9:00 PM because that’s the first chance you’ve had for dinner, take the time to connect. Consider these ten minutes a team meeting in which you touch base with your favorite teammate in this crazy game of becoming a family. Taking time to listen to one another, show support, and offer a hug or encouraging words can revitalize you both for the next 24 hours.
  2. Make simple loving gestures: Whether it’s popping an extra bagel in the toaster oven when you make your breakfast for your partner, sending an unexpected loving text, or bringing home a favorite treat, little gestures in the trenches of new parenthood make a big difference. In all the excitement and exhaustion of the new baby, it’s nice to know your partner is still thinking of you too.
  3. Plan date nights: Date nights, like you once knew, may be hard to come by these days. However, a date does not have to involve a fancy restaurant or movie and can even be had in the comfort of your own home. Try trading off who will plan the date night and surprising each other with the plan for the evening. Get creative with staying home by doing things like pizza making, games, movie marathons, or maybe a fun project for your home together. And once you’re comfortable leaving baby for a couple hours with a family member or trusted sitter, go on a real date!
  4. Get intimate: And no, this does not have to mean sex. The postpartum period, particularly for women, can be a time of decreased libido. Between recovering from birth, fluctuating hormones and breastfeeding, many moms just want to sleep when their head finally hits the pillow at night. Intimacy can include cuddling on the couch, taking the time to kiss or hug throughout the day, holding hands while watching a TV show or more adult rated fun if you’re feeling up for it! It’s easy to let this aspect of your relationship slip when you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and unsexy. Do your best to keep the flame lit in little ways regularly. 
  5. Show appreciation for one another: Being new parents is often coupled with feeling like you are both constantly treading water. Between taking care of baby, keeping up with the housework, providing for the family, paying the bills, feeding the dog, keeping the refrigerator stocked and a dozen other necessary chores, it can often feel like a thankless job on both sides. Take the time to acknowledge everything your partner does on a daily basis to keep the family alive and well. A thank you and an acknowledgement of all the hard work from both parents can be just what we need to feel better at the end of a hard day. 
  6. Continue to support your partner’s interests and hobbies: Whether it’s a weekly yoga class, the fantasy football draft or simply a hot bubble bath with some yummy aroma therapy, allowing your partner time to take time for themselves will help them be a better parent and partner. We all need time to recharge, enjoy our hobbies and indulge a little bit and this is particularly important when you are adjusting to the major life transition of being a new parent.
  7. Communicate: Your partner should be your safe place where you can be vulnerable and share what you need and how you are feeling. Being a new parent, while one of the most amazing adjustments of your life, can also be quite overwhelming. Share your feelings, fears, victories and road bumps with your partner. Ask for help if you need it, or a hug, or advice. Being parents is like being teammates for the most special sport of your life. 

Don’t be distressed if your relationship seems to have taken a backseat since your baby has arrived. This is completely normal for couples as they navigate the overwhelming journey of parenthood. Just remember that this period of sleeplessness, newness and stress will pass and you will come out alive! The more that you and your partner can use this life changing transition to draw closer to one another and grow as parents and partners, the stronger you will come out in the end. 

For questions about pregnancy, natural birth, postpartum health and women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. 

Vasectomies - How Effective Are They & What To Expect

Vasectomy Explained

If you are planning for this pregnancy or your most recent babe to be your last, you are probably beginning to think about birth control options for the future. While there are many safe and simple contraceptive solutions for mom post baby, many couples decide that a vasectomy for dad makes the most sense for them. Vasectomies are a safe and effective PERMANENT solution if you are absolutely certain you will not want more children in the future. Here are the basics of the procedure along with some benefits and risks so that you and your partner can make an informed decision that works for your family.

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure for the male that offers a permanent solution for birth control. In the procedure, the doctor will clamp, cut and seal the vas deferens on each testicle preventing the sperm from mixing with semen when ejaculation occurs. Without sperm, the semen is unable to fertilize the egg and pregnancy cannot occur. Although the male will continue to produce sperm, the sperm will be absorbed back into the body rather than released during ejaculation.

How effective is a vasectomy at preventing pregnancy?

A vasectomy is an extremely effective form of birth control. The procedure is approximately 99.85 % effective with only 1-2 pregnancies occurring in every 1.000 cases. When failure does occur, it is usually because a back-up method of birth control was not used during the two months following the procedure when the sperm is clearing from the body via ejaculation or reabsorption. To ensure that an unplanned pregnancy does not occur, be sure to use a back-up method of contraception until your partner has a semen sample tested indicating a zero sperm count.

What to expect in and after the procedure:

A vasectomy is a quick procedure that only takes approximately 20-30 minutes and does not require general anesthesia. The doctor will clean and likely shave the area and then inject a local anesthetic to the scrotum. An IV with medication is often also given to make you sleepy and reduce anxiety levels.

Once the area is numb, the doctor will make two small incisions in the scrotum in which he will cut the vas deferens tubes and then tie, stitch or seal the ends together. The vas deferens is then placed back in the scrotum and dissolvable stiches are used to close the incisions.

Following the procedure, there will be numbness to the area for approximately 1-2 hours and possibly swelling and some discomfort for a few days. You will likely be able to return to work and your normal activities after 1-2 days and can resume having sex once the pain has subsided. You will also want to avoid lifting any heavy objects for about a week. For the first two months following the procedure, a back-up method of birth control is necessary while the sperm is cleared through ejaculation and reabsorption. It is important to remember that you CAN get pregnant during this time period. A back-up method of contraception should be used until your partner has received a sperm count test that equals zero.

Common questions and concerns:

Will having a vasectomy interfere with sex drive?

No. Vasectomies should not interfere with a man’s drive, erection, orgasm or ejaculation though he may experience a mild ache in the testicles with arousal in the months following the procedure.

Are there any risks associated with having a vasectomy?

The risk level for complications with a vasectomy is low. Should complications arise, they may include:

  • Infection at the site of the incision or inside the scrotum
  • Swelling or bruising caused by bleeding under the skin
  • Leaking sperm that creates a sperm granuloma
  • Inflammation of the vas deferens
  • Reconnection of the vas deferens resulting in the man being fertile again. (This is a very rare occurrence)
  • Some studies suggest that having a vasectomy may slightly increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Can the procedure be reversed if we change our minds? If you are thinking you might change your mind later about wanting more children, you should not be considering a vasectomy. Though a reversal may be possible, it is a complicated and difficult procedure that may or may not work and may not be covered by your insurance. Most doctors require a waiting period between the decision to have a vasectomy and the actual procedure to ensure that the patient is absolutely sure of their decision. If you are having second thoughts at any point leading up to the vasectomy, it’s best to opt for a less permanent form of birth control.

How does a vasectomy compare to tubal ligation for a woman?

A vasectomy is overall safer, less expensive and less invasive than tubal ligation. Both procedures have close to a 100 percent effectiveness rate. Vasectomies are a highly effective form of permanent contraception if your family has made the decision that it is complete. As with any form of permanent birth control, you will want to discuss this option thoroughly with your partner and ensure that no action is taken until you both feel absolutely certain about the decision. For all your questions about birth control options after baby, pregnancy and natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife or for a tour of our Birth Center.

For Dads Only: Bonding with Your Baby

Dad bonding with baby

If you’re a new dad or you are about to become a dad, you may be wondering what your role in your baby’s life will be. While many moms may feel the bond with their baby before they even arrive, for some dads it may take a little time and that’s okay! Your relationship with your baby is a unique and special one and it needs to be nurtured just as the bond does between mother and child. Here are some great ways you can ensure that you and your baby build a lasting and secure bond.

  1. Start before birth: Bonding with your baby can begin as early as when he’s still nestled cozily in the womb. Get involved with your partner’s pregnancy by attending her prenatal visits, taking prenatal classes, feeling baby kick and helping to prepare your nest for baby’s arrival. One way you can actually help your baby get to know you is by singing or reading to mom’s tummy. Somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks gestation, babies start to be able to hear outside voices with their little ears. This will help your baby connect with you once he is born as he will recognize the tones and patterns in your voice.
  2. Practice skin-to-skin care after birth: Kangaroo Care is not only hugely beneficial for mom and baby, but for dad and baby too. Infants who have skin-to-skin contact with their dad following birth and during infancy enjoy benefits such as better thermal regulation, reduced stress and less frequent crying. Also, dads who engage in this practice with their new babes report feeling more closely bonded compared to dads who do not.
  3. Get involved: Many dads may feel like it’s the mom and baby show those first few weeks of infancy, but really, dads are tremendously needed and can be invaluably helpful too! Help with the feedings by bringing baby to mom if she is breastfeeding and then offer to burp baby afterward. Have mom pump for a midnight bottle and be on night duty for special daddy and baby only bonding time. Use diaper changes as an opportunity to make loving eye contact and silly faces with your little one. There are many ways to help with a newborn that will not only give mom some rest but foster a closer connection between you and your baby.
  4. Wear your baby: There are a whole host of benefits to the practice of babywearing and they are not just for moms! Find a sling or carrier that you like, snuggle up to your little one and take a walk around the neighborhood or get stuff done around the house. Carriers are a great alternative to strollers as they allow for the benefits of physical closeness between baby and parent. They are also a great way to be hands-free so you can knock out some chores while cuddling with your babe. Check out this article for more tips on how to safely wear your baby.
  5. Take part in the bedtime routine: Whether it’s being the expert on bath time or choosing a special book that will be just for you and your little one, being part of the bedtime routine is a great way to bond with your baby. If your baby regularly nurses to sleep and needs mom to do the actual putting down at the end of the night, find ways to get involved in the preparation. Your baby will come to know and expect that special time with her dad and it will be a signal that the time to sleep is near. 
  6. Be a soother: Often when babies get upset, a dad’s knee-jerk reaction can be to hand her back to her mother. And if she’s hungry, this is the best solution. However, many times babies will cry for a variety of other reasons where dad can be just as helpful at providing a comforting snuggle as mom. If you’ve ruled out hunger as a possibility, try soothing techniques with your babe like rocking, swaying, swaddling, singing, shushing and bouncing. Often dads can be excellent soothers by just having a comforting voice and a rhythmic bounce. 
  7. Set aside special dad and baby playtime: Whether it’s an evening walk to the park, some silly time on the play mat or a nighttime snuggle with a favorite book, set aside time each day that is just for you and your baby. Not only will this give mom a chance to shower and grab a snack, it will create a predictable routine and special bonding time daily for you and your little one. Use your time together to engage with your baby by making silly faces, allowing him to study your expressions, telling him about your day, playing peekaboo or even giving infant massage a try. These are all fun ways that you and baby can build a lasting and secure bond.
Dad at birth

There are many great ways for dads to create their own special bond with their baby that will foster a mutually beneficial relationship. If you have a new infant at home and you are struggling to feel the connection, don’t worry, it will come. Give some of the above ideas a try and allow yourself time to explore the ways your relationship with your child will be special and unique. For questions about pregnancy, natural birth or postnatal care and infant bonding, please contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We’re here for you from conception to postpartum and beyond.

Father with newborn.jpg

15 Ways to Involve Your Partner in Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy with partner

When you are sporting a growing baby bump, you receive lots of attention from family, friends and even strangers. Everyone wants to know how far along you are, how you are feeling, and if you know what you are having. All the doting on the mom-to-be can leave dad wondering what his role is during the pregnancy and sometimes even feeling a little left out. If you want your partner to feel more involved in your pregnancy and are looking for ways to include him, check out these tips on ways to share the joys of your special journey. After all, you wouldn’t be where you are today without him.

1) Share your news together: Whether you get to make your announcement in person or choose to do a post on social media, be sure to include your partner in the excitement. Wait until you are both available to tell family and friends and tag him in any online announcements.

2) Invite him to your midwife/OB appointments: This seems like an obvious one, but let your partner in on the excitement of hearing the heartbeat and learning about baby’s development at your check-ups. He may not be able to make it to all of your appointments, but include him when you can.

3) Take parenting and childbirth classes together: When you are pregnant, there are many educational programs available to you and your spouse to prepare you for your baby’s arrival. Sign up for a birthing class, Infant CPR and First Aid and even a breastfeeding class together. The more informed Dad is, the more he will feel like part of your team.

4) Brainstorm baby names together: One of the most fun parts of having a baby is getting to choose a name! Let your partner be involved in suggesting names and start a running list of your mutual favorites.

5) Register for baby gifts together: If you are both first time parents, you may be feeling in the dark about what you will need for your baby. Registering together and seeking some guidance from friends and family can help you both feel confident that you will have everything you need for your little one.

6) Plan your nursery together: Two brains are better than one when coming up with a creative and functional plan for your baby’s nursery. Get dad involved with painting, building furniture and any other tasks he may enjoy.

7) Write your birth plan together: Having a birth plan can help you both feel assured that your wishes will be respected during the process of labor and delivery. Your partner should be your biggest advocate during the birth and will feel much better prepared for the job if he’s involved in the planning.

8) Exercise together: Ever heard of sympathy weight gain? Developing a moderate exercise regimen that you can do together will help you both stay fit and healthy throughout the nine months. It also may be a while before you can exercise together again after baby arrives!

9) Consider having a couples’ shower: Long gone are the days where baby showers are exclusively gatherings for women. Many expectant parents are choosing to have couples’ showers where they can invite all of their friends and celebrate baby-to-be together.

10) Read parenting and birthing books together: Reading is a great way to get prepared for the life changing experience of having a baby. If he’s not interested in paging through What to Expect When You’re Expecting and other classics, try getting him a book that is specially geared towards dads like, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads.

11) Keep a journal for your baby: Whether it’s a blog, or a handwritten notebook, keep a record of your pregnancy together that you can later share with your little one. Include letters to your baby-to-be and pictures of mom and dad pre-baby. Your child is sure to get a kick out of this one day.

12) Cook freezer meals together: You’ve probably heard from friends who have kids that one important way to prepare for baby is to stock your freezer with meals that can be warmed up easily. Preparing healthy meals to keep you both going during the sleep deprivation can be a fun and useful activity to do together while you await the arrival of your baby. 

Great freezer meals: Eggplant Parmesan - Cottage Pie - Chicken Enchiladas

13) Have your partner pack their own bag: You probably know exactly what you need to bring to the birthing center or hospital on the day of your delivery but have you considered what your partner might need? Have him pack his own bag with a change of clothes, snacks and anything he can bring to support you or keep you entertained during labor. 

14) Communicate: Even though your body is the one carrying and birthing the baby, your husband likely has his own set of fears and excitement about the impending arrival. Be open about your own feelings and encourage him to do the same. Getting any anxiety about becoming parents out in the open can help everyone feel more supported. 

15) Nurture your relationship: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of pregnancy and having a baby. Don’t forget that your relationship preceded your pregnancy and still needs regular TLC. Take advantage of this child-free time to go on dates, be spontaneous, take a trip and focus on one another. Your relationship may take a backseat for a little while once your little one arrives and you’ll be thankful for this time you had together.In addition to getting your partner involved in the excitement of your pregnancy and preparing for baby, it’s also important to let him know how he can best support you. Communicate your needs to your partner and let him know how he can help. If he’s been uninvolved thus far, it may be because he doesn’t know how to help. Pregnancy is a journey to be experienced together and a time to strengthen your bond as teammates. At Health Foundations, we encourage not only your spouse but your whole family to be as involved as you would like them to be in your experience. For questions about this or any and all other pregnancy and birth related topics, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our beautiful Birth Center. We are here to help!

Pregnancy Classes

Eight Reasons to Wear Your Baby

babycarrierarticleBaby wearing is the experience of carrying your child in a sling or other carrier on your chest (and/or, as they get older, on your back). Baby carriers come in different materials and configurations, each with their benefits. Keeping a child close to you in a carrier is a natural practice utilized by people across time and cultures. There is something instinctual and natural about keeping babies close to our bodies in infancy. Baby wearing has many practical benefits but, more importantly, it offers a number of significant benefits for baby and caregiver. Here are eight benefits of carrying your baby in a carrier in his or her early days, months and even years.

  1. Baby wearing supports bonding.

When we wear baby close to us, we learn his cues and communications so intimately. This not only allows us to get to know our child, it helps us more effectively meet his or her needs, which will support bonding, ease the transition into parenthood, and so much more. Face to face orientation between baby and caregiver offers a powerful catalyst for bonding. Baby wearing can be great not only for mom and baby pairs, but also for dad (or other parent) and baby pairs, and babies and other caregivers, such as relatives. It gives others an opportunity to be close to and bond with baby.

  1. Baby wearing is good for baby’s physiological systems.

According to Dr. Sears, babywearing provides an external regulation system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of a baby adjusting to life outside the womb, where all systems were once in harmony and regulated for them. If you think about it, the baby in utero is lulled to sleep by the rhythmic movements of his mother as she walks or moves about during the day. The gentle pulsing sound of her heartbeat and her breath are familiar and constant rhythms throughout womb life and likely offer tremendous comfort and stability.

Bringing baby close to us in a carrier or just being held, reintroduces those powerful organizing environmental cues back into baby’s life—baby places her ear to mama’s chest and hears mama breathing, baby is lulled to sleep by papa’s heart beat as he carries about his morning routine, baby is soothed by the familiar rhythms of walking as mom and dad go for a neighborhood stroll. All of these regular rhythms not only comfort but also have an organizing effect on an infant’s naturally rhythmic physiological processes, such as sleeping and waking; breathing; eating, digestion and elimination; temperature; heart rate; and more.

  1. Carried and worn babies are happier and cry less.

Likely connected to the phenomenon above, babies who are carried and held often are less fussy, cry less, and seem more content than those who are put into devices (such as cribs, car seats, and bouncers) most of the time. According to one study in which routine baby wearing (3 or more hours of carrying per day) was compared to a control given no instructions on wearing baby, the babies held more often throughout the day cried over 40% less. Wearing or carrying baby close helps make them secure and content. Furthermore, colic and reflux can be reduced by the upright position of being held, which can make babies more comfortable (and thus happier).

  1. Carried and worn babies learn more.

When babies are not exerting their energy on crying and fussing, they are able to devote more energy into taking in and learning from their environments. Research shows that babies who are carried show enhanced visual and auditory alertness and spend more time in the quiet alert state in which they are best able to interact with their environment. Carried babies also have the opportunity to see more and experience more varied environmental stimulus at an adult’s chest level than they would if they were on the ground or in a device. Carried babies are intimately involved in their caregiver’s world and learn what human life is all about from a young age.

  1. Carried and worn babies develop social skills

Along those same lines, being at an adult’s chest level, babies get an opportunity to pay close attention to the subtle non verbal language used by their caregivers and by others in their shared environment. They begin to learn how social interaction works, what cues are used for different feelings and needs, and the whole dance of human social life. Carried babies also get more opportunity to observe and learn verbal language as well. Research has found that carried babies experience enhanced speech development. Many report that carried babies seem to be more tuned into and attentive toward the world around them.

  1. Baby wearing is convenient.

Babies can nap in a sling or just be with you during their waking hours, happily carried about in a soft carrier. With your hands free, you can still attend to and be close to your baby while taking care of your life responsibilities and doing things you enjoy. You don’t have to be distracted by a baby monitor or constantly stop to soothe or check in with baby. Many mamas exercise with baby in a carrier, socialize with friends or family, get household chores done, and so much more with a baby in a carrier.

  1. Carrying baby in a carrier (versus car seat) is better for parent or caregiver’s body 

Sure there may be some times when baby falls asleep right before you get somewhere and leaving baby in the car seat means more rest for them while you go about your business. However, making a habit of leaving baby in the car seat can deprive you and your baby of the benefits of close physical proximity. More than this, carrying around a car seat is not easy on a caregiver’s body. Having that much weight outside your center of gravity is hard on the body and can cause or exacerbate physical pains and stresses. This is not ideal for the healing postpartum body. Holding baby close, in a carrier for example, is easier because there is no extra weight of the car seat and baby is much closer to your center of gravity, making it easier on the body to carry this additional weight.

  1. Baby wearing is economical.

Baby carriers can run from $10-20 (used—or free!) up to about $100 or so. This is typically far less than the cost of strollers, baby bouncers, and other devices meant to hold baby. Baby carriers often last a long time and can be used from a the newborn stage into toddlerhood.

These are just some of the many great reasons to keep baby close in infancy. If you choose to use a baby carrier, do some research into the different kinds, ask others for recommendations, and try them out to see what works best for you (many parents have different preferences in style. Make sure to follow safety recommendations as well to keep baby safe while in a carrier. Enjoy these precious times with baby.

Infant Massage: How To

babymassageAs we mentioned last week in a post on the benefits of infant massage, this special activity with baby can be a great bonding tool with myriad benefits to both babies and their caregivers. While no special training is required to offer healthy touch to a baby, here is some additional information on how to give infant massage.

When to massage

For young babies, it can be ideal to offer a massage when your baby is in a quiet yet alert state. You may want to avoid the time just after a feeding or when baby is sleepy.

Setting the scene

Lay a soft towel or blanket on the bed or floor where you will offer the massage. You may also wish to sit on the floor (or bed) with the soles of your feet together and knees apart, forming a diamond shape with your legs. Drape the blanket over your feet and between your knees. Undress baby down to the diaper and place him or her on the blanket, head toward your feet, facing you.

You can use massage oil in a non-breakable container. Almond oil or coconut oil work well for many babies, but you may wish to test the oil on a small spot on baby's skin and wait a day to ensure they aren’t irritated by the oil.

Beginning

Start with a gentle stroke from baby's head to toes. If baby stiffens up, cries, or becomes irritable, switch to another area of the body or end the massage for time being. If s/he responds well, start gently massaging his/her body. Here are some techniques for each body area.  Note: their is not one particular "right" order of body areas to massage.  You may choose to work from trunk to extremities, or the opposite, or massage in any order that feels right.

Tummy

  1. Hold your hands palms toward you, fingers pointing in (wrists bent), so the edge of your pinky can move across your baby's belly. Starting at the base of the rib cage, stroke down with one hand, then the other, continuing one after the other.
  2. Massage her belly with your fingertips in a circular, clockwise motion.
  3. Do the "I Love U" stroke: Trace the letter I down your baby's left side. Then trace an inverted L, moving across the belly along the base of her ribs from your left to right and then down. Trace an inverted U, stroking from low on the baby's right side (your left), up and around the navel, and down the left side (your right).
  4. Walk your fingers around baby’s navel, clockwise.
  5. Hold baby’s knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward the belly. Rotate baby's hips around a couple times to the right. (Great for expelling gas. 

Note: Avoid massaging tummy if the umbilical cord site hasn't completely healed.

Head and Face 

  1. Cradle your baby's head with both hands, gently massage the scalp with your fingertips, as if you're shampooing. (Avoid the fontanel, the soft spot on top of baby's head.)
  2. Massage her ears between your thumb and index finger.
  3. Trace a heart shape on baby's face, bringing your hands together at his/her chin.
  4. Place your thumbs between your baby's eyebrows, and stroke outward.
  5. Stroke from the bridge of the nose out over the cheeks.
  6. Using your fingertips, massage the jaw hinge in small circles.

Chest

  1. Place both hands on baby's chest and stroke outward from sternum to shoulders.
  2. Beginning at the sternum, trace a heart shape bringing both hands up to the shoulders, then down and back together.
  3. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally from one side of your baby's hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to her hip.

Arms

  1. Hold her wrist with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape around baby's upper arm; make long strokes from her shoulder down to her wrist
  2. With each hand grasping her arm, one right above the other, stroke down from shoulder to wrist with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were gently wringing out a towel.
  3. Massage baby’s palms, moving thumb over thumb from heel of the hand to the fingers.
  4. Stroke down from the wrist to fingertips on the back or front of the hand. Gently squeeze and pull each finger.
  5. Roll her arm between both your hands.

Legs

  1. Hold the ankle with one hand and hold your other hand in a C-shape, thumb down, around your baby's upper thigh. Stroke from thigh down to foot, skipping over the knee joint.
  2. With your hands grasping the leg at the thigh, one right above the other, stroke down from hip to foot with both hands rotating in opposite directions, as if you were wringing out a towel.
  3. On the sole of her foot, use a thumb-over-thumb motion to massage from heel to toes.
  4. Use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of the foot from heel to toes.
  5. Stroke the top of the foot. Gently squeeze and pull each toe.
  6. Roll each leg between your hands, as if you're rolling dough.

Back

Place baby on tummy horizontally in front of you, or lay baby across your outstretched legs. Keep baby’s hands in front of him/her, not at the sides.

  1. With both of your hands on baby's back, move each hand back and forth (keeping them going in opposite directions) from the base of the neck to her buttocks.
  2. Hold your baby's bottom with one hand and use the other to make long strokes from the neck down to the bottom.
  3. Using your fingertips, massage in small circles down one side of baby's spine and up the other. Avoid pressing on the spine directly.
  4. Massage the shoulders with small circular motions.
  5. Massage the bottom with big circular motions.
  6. Holding your fingers like a rake, stroke down her back.

Other infant massage tips:

  • Make strokes gentle but firm, and not ticklish.
  • Build massage into your baby's daily schedule.
  • Follow baby's signals about when to stop. A massage can last anywhere from a few minutes to as much as 30 minutes, depending on baby’s moods.
  • Enjoy this precious time with your beloved little one.

Hormonal Changes in Fatherhood

While many of us are well aware of hormonal changes and their effects in pregnancy and new motherhood; we don’t often hear of the physiological effects a man’s body undergoes as he becomes a father.  But doesn’t he just “supply his genetic material” and mom does the rest?  No, fatherhood actually changes a man’s physiology too.  And these changes indicate the biological importance of active fathering. DadKissingNewborn Research shows that a man’s testosterone levels are significantly affected by fatherhood; and—even more striking—by the quality of his interactions with his child.

A large study showed that men’s testosterone levels decrease with fatherhood.  For the 600 men in the study, testosterone was measured at the age of 21 when the men were single, and again nearly five years later.  Those who had become fathers in the 4.5 years between check ups had higher baseline testosterone (T) levels compared to those not partnered with children by the second check up. However, the testosterone levels of partnered fathers declined significantly more (2 times more) than the non-fathers, suggesting fatherhood lowers testosterone levels (this even when natural age-related testosterone declines are accounted for).

What’s even more fascinating is that the men who spent three or more hours with their children each day—playing, feeding, bathing, diaper changing, reading or dressing them—had even lower levels of testosterone compared to fathers less involved in care.

Now, many men believe that more testosterone is better, so before getting bummed about these findings, let’s talk about the benefits in this hormonal change of fatherhood.

Lower testosterone levels increase the likelihood that men will remain committed to their family and be involved in a care taking role with children.  This study shows that women are not the only ones biologically adapted to caring for offspring.  It indicates that men are biologically adapted toward an active care taking role within the family system.

“A dad with lower testosterone is maybe a little more sensitive to cues from his child, and maybe he’s a little less sensitive to cues from a woman he meets at a restaurant,” said Peter Gray, a University of Nevada anthropologist who has conducted research on fatherhood and testosterone.

Lower testosterone levels exhibited in fathers are significant but subtle in the big scheme of things.  Researchers note that these fatherhood hormone “drops” are not enough to affect libido, sperm counts, muscle mass, voice range, body hair distribution/amounts, or all those other characteristics of the human man.

Lower testosterone may also provide some protection against disease.  Studies show that higher lifetime testosterone levels increase the risk of prostate cancer, suggesting that fathers in committed fathering roles might have lower long-term exposure to testosterone and thus a lowered risk of prostate cancer.

This study shows that human males have adapted to have similar hormonal systems to other animal in which the males care for young, such as some birds and primates.

Sources:

Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males

In Study, Fatherhood Leads to Drop in Testosterone (New York Times)

Partners at Birth

DadKissingNewbornMany partners find themselves in completely uncharted territory when it comes to what to expect with maternity care as well as labor and childbirth. Here we hope to offer some insight and no-nonsense advice for mastering and navigating pregnancy and out of hospital birth.  We have collected the most frequently asked questions to which partners-to-be want answers.

For further reading, Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner and Rose St. John's Fathers at Birth are two excellent books among those catered to birth partners.  Many childbirth education classes offer great information and support to fathers/partners attending birth (we offer a class specifically for families planning to birth with us!).

What? My wife/partner wants to have the baby where? Is it safe to have my baby out-of-hospital?

If your partner is a normal, healthy pregnant woman, the answer is YES. Research shows that having a baby in a birthing center or at home with a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is as safe as, and in some cases, safer than, having your baby in a hospital.

If we have our baby at home...isn’t it messy?

On average we fill one to two kitchen sized trash bags with trash from the birth. We use the same disposable pads that are used in the hospital to catch any fluids. Our midwives do a great job of cleaning up after the birth and start a load of laundry for you before we leave. When all is said and done you would never even know a birth happened in your home.

What about cost? Is it expensive to have a baby at home or in a birthing center?

We offer a package price for your prenatal, labor & delivery, and postpartum care that is often less expensive than choosing other birthing options. We also offer a billing service that files your insurance claim for you after the birth of your baby. Remember, this is the only time you and your partner are going to experience this birth, and sometimes it's worth paying more to get the birth you want. 

I am scared I will pass out at the sight of blood. Have you ever had a partner keel over?

We have never had a dad pass out.*** Normally you are so involved in what is going on that you don’t have time to get faint. For dads who think it is a possibility, we have you stay near your partner’s head and focus on supporting her through each contraction. If you do pass out, we are there to help and you will have a memorable birth story to tell your little one as they get older!

***Actually, this is not true anymore! One of our dear dads passed out twice at a recent birth!  We assure you this is not a common experience however!

How will I know what my partner wants me to do when she is in labor?

It is important to talk with your partner about her expectations for you at the birth as well as what role you would like to play. The more the two of you have talked, the easier it will be to meet those expectations in labor and have the birth experience both of you envision. At Health Foundations, partners can be as involved in the birth process as they want. Some options to consider include helping catch the baby and cutting the cord. Or if you’d prefer to leave all that to the professionals, that is fine too.

OK really...how long is it going to be?

Labor often involves a lot of waiting. The average birth lasts approximately twelve hours. You might spend several hours rubbing her back, counting to ten, offering her water, and supporting her in whatever position she choses to labor in.

Is there an instruction manual to tell me what I need to know and should be doing?

It can be pretty nerve-wracking to know your partner expects you to help her get through labor when you haven't got a clue what it will be like or how to help. Our best advice is to attend a childbirth preparation class with your partner. Childbirth classes will help teach you how to work as a team, give you pain coping techniques to help coach her through contractions and give you an idea of what to expect. In addition have put together a few universal tips:

  • A laboring woman is always right.
  • Don’t ask a woman questions during a contraction. She will be annoyed with you.
  • Most women do not appreciate jokes when they are in labor.
  • Most women do not like their bellies touched during a contraction.
  • Don’t go to sleep unless she gives you the OK. She is working hard and has to stay awake. She will expect the same from you.
  • If something helps her during contractions (like rubbing her back), start it as soon as the contraction begins. Starting half way through a contraction is not helpful.
  • Laboring women are sometimes only able to get their thoughts across in one or two words and are often very direct in labor. If she tells you to STOP doing something stop. If she tells you to do something, do it right away.
  • She needs encouragement. Tell her she is strong and doing a good job.

My partner keeps talking about having a doula at the birth. Isn’t having our midwife and her assistant enough?

The pressure of being a super-coach in labor is taken away when you have a doula. A doula’s role is not to replace the dad or partner but to allow them to be involved in the birth at a level that is comfortable for them. The support a dad or partner can provide is irreplaceable. It is not fair, however, to expect them to retain every technique taught in their childbirth class. It is like asking someone who has never watched or played a football game to coach Monday Night Football with only a brief training session and a playbook. Parents who use doulas can shift the burden of remembering details from childbirth class and their birth plan onto the doula's shoulders. They are free to follow their instincts and let the doula guide them when they need it.

What should I do after the birth?

  • Tell your partner you love and are proud of her.
  • Some dads give their partner flowers or a special gift to commemorate the special event.
  • Help her care for the baby. You can't nurse the baby, but you can hold the baby so she can sleep. Arrange for someone else to help so you can both get some rest.
  • Hold the baby so she is able to take a shower.
  • Watch for signs of unusual sadness that might indicate postpartum depression.

 

Ten Tips for Partners at Birth

dad at birth 2While we tend to focus on preparing mama for birth, it is also essential that papas, partners or any other labor supporters to feel prepared.  While it would take the length of a book (or more) to fully prepare papas and partners for the birth experience, here are ten quick and easy essentials to keep in mind. 1.  Be responsive to your partner’s cues and protect her space.  Follow her lead.  Do what you can to ensure she is feeling safe and supported.  Keep the lights dim, the room quiet and the atmosphere calm.

2.  Minimize questions, distractions, and instructions (from yourself and others) especially during contractions.  Don’t take silence personally, it is probably a sign that she is going inside and focusing on the monumental task she is undertaking.  Silence is often a really good sign.

3.  Help her to be comfortable.  Suggest position changes regularly.  Observe her alignment and support her head, torso, low back, arms, hips, knees, and feet as needed.  Keep her warm, but offer ice packs or a cool cloth if she gets too warm.  Use comfort techniques you’ve learned together before the birth.

4.  Maintain your center and your stability.  Find your own breath.  Tend to yourself so that you can tend to her.  Do so discreetly so it doesn’t serve as a distraction.

5.  Take her to the bathroom hourly.

6.  Help her keep the pitch of her voice low and monitor her facial and physical tension.  Help her relax.

7.  Give her encouragement and tell her you love her.  You might even kiss if it feels right.  Feelings of love from mama help her release oxytocin, which can help with labor.

8.  If her breathing gets rapid, shallow and panicked, model a slow, even, deeper breath for her.  Maybe try to make eye contact with her as you do this, it can help to ground her.

9.  Keep her hydrated and nourished.  Offer regular sips of water (you can do so without words).  Offer labor snacks in early and active labor.

10. Help her maintain her rhythm.  Let her find what works best for her and find ways to support her there until its time for her rhythm to change again.

What other advice would you give to papas and partners for labor & birth?

Fall Events with Dudes Becoming Dads Group

Our friends over at Dudes Becoming Dads would like to spread the word about some great events they are planning in the next month or so.  Ladies, please tell your partners...partners, consider joining this fun, laid-back group of guys.  The first event is for the whole family...the second is just for dudes! Both are hosted by Jeff Hellenbrand

Grill Out at Minnehaha Park (family event)

grill

When: Sunday September 29th @ 1pm

We're squeezing in one more grill-out this Fall. Bring the family, something for the grill, drinks and maybe a dish to share. Feel free to bring a frisbee, football, bocce ball set, etc. so we can have some fun. And it's Fall, so dress in layers.  Call Jeff on his cell phone when you get there for directions to where we end up exactly. And if you park in the lot, don't forget to pay. See you there!

LEARN MORE AND RSVP HERE

Drinks at Pizza Luce in Saint Paul (Dads only)

When: Friday October 18th @ 7pm This one is just for the fellas. We'll grab some cold beers and have ourselves a great time.

LEARN MORE AND RSVP HERE.  

Calling all new and expecting Dads! New Dad's Group

Gals, encourage your partners to consider this fantastic new Dad's Group forming in the Cities for expecting and new papas.  Their first meet up is THIS Friday August 9th at 7:30 at Psycho Suzi's.  

Here is what organizer Jeff Hellenbrand had to share with us about this awesome new group:

There are several groups in the Cities for expecting mothers, but I couldn't find any equivalent for guys. As an expecting father, most of my friends do not have kids yet. Instead of boring my friends with all of the details and anxieties of the pregnancy and birth, I decided to create a meetup group just for new and expecting dads.

What makes this group awesome is that we have no agenda. It's an excuse for new and expecting dads to meet, hang out and have fun. We're guys. So we talk a lot about work, music and sports. But we also end up talking about pregnancy and fatherhood. And I think that's a conversation that's too important to not be having. But none of us wants to feel like we have to talk about that stuff or that we can't talk about something else when we feel like it. Anybody who considers himself a new or expecting dad is welcome.
Our next meetup is coming up fast! Since this is our first meeting for most of the guys, I wanted to have something fun and low-key.
We're meeting at Psycho Suzi's on Friday, August 9 at 7:30pm. Here's the link to the event: http://www.meetup.com/Dudes-Becoming-Dads/events/130418752/
It's important that guys RSVP for this one (preferably early next week) so a large enough space can be reserved at Suzi's.