BBH Dad

What Makes A Good Parent?

2 Comments 25 April 2012

What makes a good parent?

Likely, if you randomly ask 10 people from various walks of life, you’ll get 10 different answers.

Consider something for a moment…

There is a massive business in the “parenting advice” industry. Ask yourself, what was happening all the centuries before these manuals and guides hit the bookshelves?

Were there less good parents? I doubt it.

How interesting it’d be if we could travel back 150 years, and ask another random 10 parents from various walks of life the same question, “What makes a good parent?”

This leads me to the next question to consider, and this is the point I’m trying to make…

Does reading/consuming a lot of parenting books and materials make you a better parent?

Would be cool for you to leave a comment below. I’ll start.

Here’s my take on the question:

No.

Reading a lot of parenting books does NOT make you a better parent.

But (and this is a big ass but) …

I say that BUYING the parenting books DOES make you a better parent.

Yes, I said “buying the books will make you a better parent.”

Why is this? 

It’s intent.

I think intent is what makes a good parent.

If a parent is thinking about the content they need to consume to be a better parent, and follow through with the act of purchasing that content, then… perhaps just read the front and back cover, maybe skim through a couple chapters… I believe they are acquiring the intent and self awareness to be a better parent – even if they don’t actually read the entire book.

Intent makes all the difference.

It’s less about consuming the parenting books. It’s more about being self aware. When you spend an hour in Barnes & Noble in half lotus position reading or skimming through parenting books, and perhaps walk out with the one you think you’d benefit from most, you’re practicing self awareness – ironically, even if you don’t know you are.

It’s simply your intent to learn and grow as a parent that matters most. It’s this intent that pushes the needle in your favor toward being a better parent.

So, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t read all the parenting books, or keep up with all the parenting blogs, or comment on all the parenting Facebook pages. This is a new phenomenon.

Be hard on yourself if you don’t even bother to expose yourself to those books, blogs and voices that are truly making a difference.

Looking forward to your comments below.

*this post was inspired from a study in the book, Freakonomics

about the author:

Eric Walker is “BBH Dad” ’round these parts. He operates a stay at home “kitchen table” marketing business. Eric LOVES profitable “for purpose” marketing. He’ll be blogging more about your birth business. He wants birth practioners to get paid more for the work they do. He believes, as the birth movement grows, the marketing will have to mature. You can visit his personal blog here.

BBH Dad

The Morning Routine That Fosters Bonding and Balance For The Entire Family

8 Comments 16 October 2011

written by Eric Walker (BBH Dad)

It’s usually around 6:30 a.m. that Lucan wakes. Ella too.

Katie delivers Lucan over to my bed, which is separated from her bed by the co-sleeper. Or sometimes I just reach into the co-sleeper and scoop up my little man.

This is Ella’s special moment to have ‘mum-mums.’

Since night weening, she’s only given access to nursing right before bed, and first thing in the morning. This period of time in the morning between Katie and Ella is special.

Similarly, this has become a special time for me and Lucan.
 

 
 
My boy is wide-awake once he lands into my bed.

I peel back the curtains a few inches so a little bit of light can shine through. It isn’t much, but he lifts his head toward the light and smiles.

I peel off his night wear and wet diaper. He’s all bare. Then I cover him with a baby blanket and firmly run my hands the length of his entire body as if he has just fallen into a lake and needs the friction to prevent hypothermia.

He loves this.

He grunts and smiles. He stretches out his legs, and throws open his arms over his head. This is Dad and Lucan time.

It’s cool knowing that across the “co-sleeper divide,” Mom and Ella have their own special time too. Occasionally, I hear Ella giggle as I say something funny like Lucan-Bucan-Ducan. Or sometimes Lucan will toot, and I’ll say stinky. This always gets a laugh.
 
 
These first 15-20 minutes of our day have become a ritual, an important beginning of our day that we all cherish.

Upon reflection, here is why we feel it means so much to our family dynamic:
 

  1. This allows Katie (Mom) and Ella (older child) to have one on one time. We’ve found this to be much-needed. It’s a part of the transition process for everyone as a result of bringing a new child into the family.
  2.  

  3. This gives me (Dad) bonding time with the new child (Lucan). I’ve already noticed how much of a positive impact it has had on our relationship. Once the day gets started, I’m often deep into work. I might not reappear (despite working from home) until mid to late afternoon, and disappear again until dinner hours. This consistent bonding time is crucial for our relationship.
  4.  

  5. It also takes the pressure off of Mom (Katie), and helps preserve the closeness she has with Ella (older child). Ella still needs her Mom time. And Mom’s need all the support they can get ;-)
  6.  

  7. Finally, our hunch is that this small daily ritual has contributed to the great relationship that is budding between Ella (older child) and Lucan (younger child). They’re off to a great start.
     
    Ella has begun initiating play, showing affection and asking for Lucan to be a participant during random family moments and outings. The rational is that since Ella is still receiving one on one time, we’re proactively defusing any resentment that may arise on her part as a result of sharing attention with her new sibling.

 

 
Your Thoughts?
If you have more than one child, what are your thoughts about this? What “rituals” have you formed that foster bonding and balance in your family?

Attachment Parenting, Babywearing, BBH Dad

Portable Car Seat and Baby Wearing Question for You (please comment a response)

42 Comments 28 March 2011

a guest post by the BBH Dad, Eric Walker

Ella and I were sitting across from one another eating a muffin at the cafe when I noticed a mother enter through the doors uncomfortably lugging her baby around in a portable car seat.

I bet it was a 15-pound car seat with a baby inside. The baby couldn’t have been more than three months old. I immediately asked myself, Why doesn’t she just hold her child?

Seriously, it looked ridiculous.

And I couldn’t figure it out. She looked miserable too, and with all the evidence that proves keeping your infant close is better, why do so many moms and dads make the choice the carry their babes around in a portable car seat carrier?

She was leaning to the side to carry the portable car seat with her forearm like carrying a purse. And with each step, her weight would shift to one side –as if she had a severe limp– and then she’d shift weight to the side that the carrier was on to increase the momentum, swinging the portable car seat to ease the the burden of it’s weight.

Again, why didn’t she ditch the portable car seat carrier and just pick up her child and hold him near?

I thought to myself. That would kill my back, my shoulders, and definitely my arm.

And for what? That baby was no where near her mama. She was getting jounced back and forth like a cradle with the bow about to break.

I turned to Katie and said, “I’m not so sure having the ability to lift your car seat out of its base from the backseat and propping it into a shopping cart or carry it around as if it were the uncomfortable tote at the airport is such a good idea.

That’s when she told me about baby wearing and attachment parenting.

I said “Oh” and asked if I could write a
short blog post about this topic and ask for opinions from the BBH community.

On the one hand, you have the ultimate portable car seat carrying parents, and I am whole-heartily NOT in favor of it.

I am all for parents simply picking their child up, and putting them in a carrier that is close to ones body, or a sling, or heck… even a blanket, and just carry the kid with your arms.

But I understand that there are all sorts of occasions where having a contraption like the portable car seat carrier might be helpful. I tried to put myself in your shoes, and came up with the following scenario that might warrant the use of a portable car seat.

When I drive my older child to preschool, instead of unbuckling my baby from her car seat while stopping my older child from jumping out of the car prematurely, and then having to deal with my baby crying from the change of position while walking the older one into preschool, I just unlatch and go. And then when coming back out to the car, and putting her back in the car seat again, which would mean buckling up, dealing with her crying (again) because of another change of position (twice in five minutes), I can just latch the car seat back in and be on my way — unscathed …etc, etc. You get to bypass the whole scenario in half the time and eliminate the crying by simply leaving the happy baby in the warm, cozy portable car seat and carry her around.

I might want that portable car seat carrier in a situation like that. I bet you can think of dozens of situations where the portable car seat carrier is VERY useful. Please do leave a comment for how you use it if you do use it at all. We want to hear from you.

But how much is too much?

I don’t think there is a wrong or a right. It’s a matter of preference. Which is why I want to hear from you. You know my preference, what’s yours?

Are you Pro portable car seat carrier? Are you Pro baby wearing? Maybe some place in the middle… either way, go ahead and leave your comment that describes your stance on this topic.

Attachment Parenting, Babywearing, BBH Dad, Birth Experience, Breastfeeding, Co-Sleeping/Bed-Sharing, Home Birth Advocacy, Home Birth Safety, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Navigating the Bring Birth Home Blog – A Road Map

2 Comments 26 October 2010

When you visit a blog, and you take a look around, one thing looks pretty familiar from site to site – the sidebar.

The sidebar was created to help us navigate a blog or website.

While the categories, popular posts, news feed subscriptions, and archives might do a good service, it can still be rather challenging to navigate the blog, especially if there have been a lot of posts.

I’ve recently noticed that there are some gems of articles hidden within the Bring Birth Home Blog.

I wonder if our readers are finding them…because sometimes they’re hiding behind the “Older Entries” button at the bottom of a section.

Let’s face it, who likes to click and click around a site, spending more time searching for a particular article than reading?

That is why I have created this post - to create a clear and easy to follow road map, (think of it as a list of the Chapters at the beginning of a book!) for you to navigate the Bring Birth Home Blog all the easier. Now you’ll know just what you’re getting under each category.

Bookmark this post to get back to!

Why Birth Experience Matters Series

Description: A ten part series that describe exactly why birth experience matters to both mom and baby. The first half of the series tackles Birth Management and Intervention. The second is all about Creating a Peaceful Birth Experience.

Part One

Part Two

Pregnancy

The BBH Dad

Home Birth Safety

Home Birth Advocacy

Breastfeeding

Babywearing

Bedsharing/Co-sleeping

Motherhood

BBH Video Blog

The Bring Birth Home Store

Have you purchased any BBH logo merchandise? Or maybe you need some supplies for birth or just after birth? We have partnered with Mama Goddess Birth Shop to bring you nursing supplies and home birth kits!

Good Reads & Movies

I will be adding to this post as more articles are added! (and as I organize some of the messiness within this blog!)

BBH Dad

Why I Advocate for the Dad and Doula Relationship

9 Comments 01 July 2010

by Eric Walker

Hey Dads, I want to tell you about the best partnership besides your significant other that you can possibly make.

No, it’s not with the loser ex-high school buddy who wants to buy you that extra shot of whiskey at the bar you wished you wouldn’t have stepped into.

I’m talking about the relationship I encourage you to have with your doula.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a home birth or if you are having a hospital or birth center birth. Your doula will be your best friend.

What is a doula? 

Doula is a Greek word that means “a woman who serves.” She is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

She understands the needs of a woman during a labor and is there to support her through the process both emotionally and physically.

Before I begin to list all the reasons why the doula and dad relationship is so important and beneficial for dads, I have a confession to make…

I wasn’t exactly sure what our doula was going to do at our home birth. Let’s just chalk that up to inexperience and naivety. Because once our doula arrived and participated at our home birth, we couldn’t have done it without her. No joke!

Keep reading to learn about the most significant factors that our doula contributed toward our home birth, and in particular, how it benefits Dad.

How many of you dads enjoy giving your significant other a back rub?

If you’re anything like me, I rather remove an ingrown toe nail. I’m not particularly good at rubbing backs, and it takes a lot of energy and effort.

(But during Katie’s pregnancy I was sure to step up my game and change my attitude about the rubs)

Nonetheless, Katie labored for 24 hours, and the most intensive time period was from midnight to 7 a.m.

All the practice I had during our natural birth class couldn’t replace the expertice of doula’s hands. When I rubbed Katie’s lower back, she later told me it offered no relief.

Our doula knew exactly where to put her hands and instantly releived pain through counter pressure.

Katie said she could practically read her mind. She refers to this moment as pure magic.

This allowed me to be more “cheerleader” and “encourager” and for the most part I left the counter-pressure-relieving rubs to our doula. Nice!

Can you imagine me -Dad- saying to Katie during the intensity of labor, “Um… honey… why don’t you try a different position for labor. I think sitting on the toilet might be better. Here now, let me walk you over there and get you set up properly.”

Hah. Yeah right.

First of all, I would never think of that. Second of all, my influence during labor is about 0 out of 10.

So, what I found amazing, and tremendously helpful was the influence and expertise of our doula.

Any of the her suggestions to move or try different labor positions made Katie more comfortable. They also continued the forward progress of labor.

Only an experienced doula can acquire this kind of wisdom.

For example, as a first time mom, Katie would have never thought of sitting backwards on the toilet with a pillow to lean on to rest. That was our doula’s suggestion, and it worked! Katie made it through some of her toughest contractions that way.

Similarly, our doula knew when to leave Katie alone, and also when to instruct the rest of us when to leave her alone.

Birth wisdom!

This one is my favorite… Our doula worked with our our midwife and together they were like a dream team.

Seriously, if I could award a Gold Medal for successful birth coaching, I would have given them one.

They couldn’t have been more in sync during Katie’s labor.

Around 2 a.m. I needed to crash for an hour or two.

Our doula relieved me so I could sleep. She provided me the opportunity to rest. This proved to be super important so I could have the birth experience during the home stretch of labor.

Super bonus here… Our doula brought along her own oils and when Katie was tired, she rubbed them on her belly and spoke encouraging words.

It’s pretty magical to witness the wisdom of an experienced doula helping along the woman you love…

And knowing that it all leads toward the successful delivery of the most precious piece of cargo you’ll ever bring into your arms.

Put that into perspective!

Lastly, but just as important, our doula always had something encouraging to say. Her energy was great.

Dads, don’t ever be afraid of a doula taking your place during labor and birth. No one can take your place. A doula has a very special role all her own. And hiring the right doula and midwife for your home birth is like assembling a team. A birth team.

BBH Dad

How the Role of Men as Natural Birth Advocates Positively Affected Our Home Birth Experience

2 Comments 24 June 2010

by Eric Walker

To tell this home birth story, you first have to know there are strong male home birth advocates in the world today, working to normalize birth and give power back to women.

This post will highlight two of those men and how they influenced our home birth experience.

One such man is Marsden Wagner, former director or the World Health Organization (Women and children’s health) and author of Born in the USA.

The other male figure featured in today’s post is Michel Odent, French obstetrician who in 1970 introduced a home birth like room in maternity wards. Odent also founded the Primal Health Research Centre and Database, has written 11 books and been featured in several documentaries.

Both of these men are terrific and outspoken advocates of natural birth for the sake of natural process and positive experience as well as see a need to drastically lower the rate of unnecessary medical interventions.

The point of this home birth story is to tell it from a dad’s perspective, and convey the following perspective:

  • home birth labor, and labor in general, can have its fun moments. I mean that in the most literal sense – actual fun i.e. laughter.
  • the importance of an experienced midwife and doula, and how they can keep a helpful “birth pace.”
  • how your own home is most conducive for important moments of silence and privacy.

Marsden Wagner is a passionate man.

He’s outspoken, and noted as saying in the video clip above, “If you really want a humanized birth, the best thing you can do is to get the hell out of the hospital.”

In video we were watching (not the one above), he was talking about the power of women.

And in this video, he passionately referring to the moments when he witnessed the raw power of a woman. He said point blank, “I saw the power of a women…<dramatic pause> and it scared the shit out of me.”

In another scene, (was it Orgasmic Birth or The Business of Being Born? I can’t remember…) Michel Odent was talking about oxytocin, which is a natural hormone released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and vagina during labor.

He talks about the importance of this natural hormone during labor, how it acts as a drug, providing a euphoric feeling to mothers as they are about to or are giving birth.

Well, we couldn’t help but giggle at his heavy French accent, for whatever reason, each time he said “the oxytocin…”

So let’s fast forward the scene during our home birth

It’s like two or three in the morning. We’re at home in the thick of our home birth. Katie’s contractions have slowed.

Our midwife and doula are silently sitting across the room with one another. Katie’s Mom and Grandma are both sleeping. It’s a moment just between Katie and me.

Katie is sitting on the birth ball slowly rotating around in her night gown. I am across from her on the couch. We’re intermittently holding hands or I’m rubbing her shoulders.

Katie starts to get giggly, perhaps a little punchy. She’d made it through intense contractions like a champ.

Suddenly she starts to imitate Michel Odent.

We’re both laughing hysterically, as she mimics, “maybe it’s the oxytocin! The oxxxxxxeeeeeyyyytoooociiinnnn!”

This went on for a few moments and we all got in some laughs – doula included who had been played that part in the movie during our childbirth education class.

Then I get called over to the kitchen by our midwife.

“Eric,” she says softly, “I think Katie is losing her focus. Let’s get her back on track.” She asked me to remind Katie that we need to keep the contractions “moving.” She needed to return her focus inward toward breathing and movement to help stimulate her contractions.

I obliged. And that was one of many important turning points (and lessons) that occurred during the 24 hours of laboring we experienced.

It wasn’t much longer that Katie left us all to walk up and down the stairs. She then went to be alone in the bathroom where she labored in the quiet, all by herself in the privacy of candle light and her own birthing experience.

In the quiet space by herself, we heard through her influx of moans and chanting that the intensity of labor pick up again.

Here’s the point of this story.

  • Home birth can be fun, which is to say that there is the comfort of home. Nothing can replace your personal place of familiarity and closeness.
  • Our midwife was instrumental when she needed to be. When she didn’t need to be, she was quiet, observant and let the process of labor be what it was. Along with our doula, we worked together as a team.
  • In that moment when Katie and I were laughing, they let it be what it was until they felt the need to connect with me so I could prompt Katie’s focus back to labor. This kept the “birth pace.”
  • Katie had multiple birth stations and birth places set up around the house. The downstairs bathroom was her alone place, an area where she went by herself to do “her thing.” At home, we have such control to create multiple environments because you have the entire house (not just a room).

Thanks to both Marsden and Michel for impacting our lives so positively. You hold a special place in our hearts and memories.

Now I’m one heck of a natural (home) birth advocate. Glad to be among good company.

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