September Lamaze Class Now Open for Registration!


The course will meet on September 10th from 9am-4pm and September 11th, from 9am to 2 pm. Schedule will be as follows:

September 10th, 9am-4pm: Biology of Birth, comfort techniques for labor

September 11th, 9am-2pm: Interventions, Early postpartum, breastfeeding

Group classes, $150 per couple. WIC discount available.

Private classes and refresher courses also available by appointment.

Go HERE to register:


Your Baby Didn’t Read the Book

If you’ve ever been to one of my Lamaze classes, then you know I cover a whole lot more than just birth in the last class. The reason I do so is because, while birth is an important part of your story as a mother and father, it’s not the end of the story. We spend a lot of time preparing for birth and breastfeeding, and not a lot of time preparing for the rest. Let’s be honest here, when my husband and I brought our first home, we stared at him sitting in his car seat and asked, “now what?”

Valid question, but the answer isn’t so simple, because every baby is different and every parent is different. My students often ask me, “What is the best sleep training method? What is the best way to breastfeed and work? What is the best discipline book?”

I can’t answer those questions, because even if I suggest a book, your baby won’t read it.

We do know that some things are better than others from the research:

  • When it comes to sleep training, the research shows that parents who get sleep are better parents than those who are sleep deprived. It also shows that graduated cry-it-out methods are as safe as other methods (though straight cry-it-out at a young age is still associated with temporary spikes in cortisol).
  • Breastfeeding shows some advantages over formula feeding, a difference that is more pronounced for preemies. Of course, if the choice is between formula or not getting fed at all (or getting fed any other species/type of milk), then formula comes out the clear winner.
  • Research shows that spanking is one of the least effective forms of discipline, but that not all children respond to gentle discipline or positive parenting principles.

But if you are debating between the Five S’s and the No-Cry Sleep Solution, I can’t tell you what to choose–it will largely depend on your lifestyle and the temperament of your baby. My eldest child responded to ZERO sleep training methods, even Cry-It Out. Trust me, we bought all the books and tried all the methods; he didn’t read the books, and insisted on being put to sleep in the Ergo for every nap and nighttime sleep. Our second child slept so well we didn’t have to sleep train him at all.


Two kids. Two very different personalities. Two very different parenting methods.

So what do you do when you have to make a decision about how to parent your child? Here are my tips (and don’t worry–your baby won’t read these either):

  1. Trust your gut. There is something to be said for parenting instincts. Ours told us not to put our oldest child down, and he turned out to have some pretty serious special needs that were mitigated by our early attachment parenting. Our gut told us to let our second figure it out on his own, and he was happier with the extra independence.
  2. Take care of yourself first. You can’t be a good parent if you are tired, depressed, or hungry. If breastfeeding is killing you, or sleep training is killing you, or YOU need a time out, take care of yourself.
  3. Do what works for you. There is no one right way to parent. Attachment Parent, Bring up Bebe, Tiger Mom, Soccer Mom–whatever works for you and your family. Just ditch the stuff that doesn’t work and don’t look back, and don’t let other people make you feel guilty for choosing the path that is right for your family.
  4. Don’t preach to or judge other parents. When you find what works for you, celebrate. But remember that your way isn’t the only way, and reserve judgment on other parents for doing it differently from you. I remember how it felt to be shamed for breastfeeding, and how it felt to be told we were doing sleep wrong for our first, and even how it feels when I get the side-eye for being strict with my extremely strong-willed toddler now. I don’t want to make another person feel that way, so I try to avoid it.

Because the truth is that all parents are flying by the seat of their pants, doing the best they can with the information they have applied to the individual traits of their children. Cut yourself some slack and take it one day at a time. You’ve got this!

Research-Based Info: Is it good?

Read the headlines and your newsfeed, and you might be alarmed at all of the conflicting studies and information out there. Tylenol is good for your baby–or is it? Babies should not be born until 39 weeks, 40 weeks, 44 weeks! Cry it out will damage your child forever, but maybe it won’t. And is roundup really in breastmilk? (Spoiler alert–no, it’s not.)

To understand what you are reading, you need to understand that journalists get it wrong all the time, and sometimes even self-titled “scientists” get it wrong, too. To start, watch this excellent summary by John Oliver:


Okay, sort of get it?

In my birth classes, I use real peer-reviewed research from real scientists that shows us a true picture of what is and is not healthy for you and your family. And if the research is unclear, or in its infancy, or needs replication, I share that too. It’s important not just to understand what studies say from a general standpoint, but also to understand the limitations and strengths of each study. Here is what I look for when I teach:

Peer review in a respected journal

This is where I start. If a study hasn’t been peer reviewed in a respected journal, it isn’t worth my time. Recently, a “study” came out linking autism and folate in pregnancy. guess what? Not only is the study a denial of many other replicated studies saying the exact opposite, but it hasn’t even been peer reviewed yet!  Researchers fight to get their work in journals, which means they are pretty competitive at shooting down unsound research when it is presented for journal inclusion. With peer review, the study is picked apart to be sure that it is worthy of publication. Also, beware: many journals sound legitimate, but are actually online “pay-to-play” journals. A colleague of my cousin once submitted random text to one of these journals, just to see what would happen, and it was published. Know which journals are accepted as real peer review journals before you cite the study.

Type of Study

The gold standard in research is what we call a double-blind controlled study, which means that we can narrow down what we are studying to only the factors we want to study. One example of poor control is the many studies that link IQ to breastfeeding; as it turns out, many parents who breastfeed also have higher levels of education, which begs the question: is it the fact that the baby was fed at the breast, or is it the fact that the baby comes from a line of higher IQ individuals? Also, in double-blind studies, the patient doesn’t know if they are receiving a regular course of action or an intervention. Naturally, this is hard to do in a situation like birth where a mom will likely know of any interventions.

However, the fact that good studies are hard to come by in this field doesn’t mean we can’t get some good data, so many birth and parenting related studies are retrospective looks at data. Beware studies that rely on the memory of patients (in law, we talked about how witnesses are–correctly–assumed to be unreliable), and beware any study that does not fully disclose or share methods. These are huge red flags.

Sample size and spread

Look, a study of 10 women in a single town in Australia (cough cough the fake roundup-in-breastmilk “study”) is probably not going to speak for the rest of the world. What you want is a representative sample that reflects a variety of environments and is big enough to draw real conclusions. This doesn’t mean the study has to involve millions, especially when we are talking about something like childbearing, which has many variables that are difficult to control. However, a good representation (people from a variety of backgrounds and location) is the best bet to ensure that the results aren’t the product of a particular locale, lifestyle, or medical philosophy.

Funding source/independent verification

Many research denialists love to point to this one as a serious problem in the research realm. Yes, if a major corporation is sponsoring the research, it deserves a closer look. In nearly all of these cases, however, the results are sent off for independent verification to help remove the bias behind a study. Of course researchers are biased–they put their heart and soul into whatever they are studying, and it’s no fun if you don’t discover something cool (after all, we are all human, here). BUT, independent verification by another party ensures that the data remains as neutral as possible. And don’t forget; this goes both ways.


The real truth-teller: replication. When the roundup-in-breastmilk study was replicated on a bigger scale with a broader sample under stringent controls, independently verified, AND peer-reviewed (the original research met none of these qualifications), guess what they found? Nothing. Not even a trace, not even amongst lactating mothers who mixed the chemical for a living. On the flip side, a detailed study on sleep training methods (not actually straight “Cry-It-Out as the journalists reported) was recently released, which showed no harm (and maybe some benefit) to babies who were sleep trained. This study, though it sounds like something new, is actually a replication of previous studies that have indicated no harm to children who have been sleep trained. The fact that this study replicated several previous studies is promising for parents who worry about getting good sleep. Every now and then, something new will pop up in replication–perhaps a new variant of something scientists had not considered, and that is exciting too! Contrary to popular belief, scientists actually like proving themselves wrong or discovering something new because it means the potential for more research!

That’s the end of my guide to research tonight. I hope it helps you understand the basis for research-based education and why my classes are structured based on Cochrane Database research; only studies that meet all of these guidelines make it into the Cochrane Database, which is the same pool of research used to make guidelines for a wide range of medical and professional fields.

June and July Lamaze Birth Classes

Just a quick update to let everyone know about our June and July Lamaze classes, held in Athens, OH. We have an exciting one-day birth workshop in June and a full weekend Lamaze class scheduled in July! Register soon–spots are filling up fast!


This is an intensive one-day course to help you hit all the topics, while I give you some tools to complete your learning at home!

June 18, 9am until about 5 or 6 pm. We will work through lunch, so pack something yummy or feel free to grab a slice from Avalanche!

JULY 2016 LAMAZE CLASS!  The 12-hour class will meet:

Saturday, July 30, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm

Sunday, July 31, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm

Recent ACOG Updates You Should Know

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the overseeing body for most of maternity care here in the USA, and this spring brought about a few new updates (and re-emphasizing some old ones as well). As an educated birth services customer, you should know some of the professional guidelines that currently stand for expectant mothers. These new additions are on the heels of recent changes a couple of years ago that encourage birth professionals to be more patient with the length of labor and pushing, all to help reduce our country’s too-high cesarean rates. So here they are

1. No elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks.

This change is largely due to efforts form the March of Dimes, which has tried very hard to stop the arrival of pre-term babies simply by letting them gestate longer. With the current accuracy of early ultrasounds, it is rarely necessary to induce before 39 weeks, except in the case of certain medical conditions. As a side note, research shows that a suspected large baby is NOT a medically indicated reason for induction or cesarean delivery

2. No elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries between 39 weeks and 41 weeks unless the cervix is deemed favorable.

Again, we know that the research shows that it is best to let labor begin on its own, and an unfavorable cervix (one not ready for labor) is not very likely to open up, even with a medical induction. Unless there are medical issues present, it is best to let that baby grow a little bit longer! And again, a suspected large baby is NOT a medically indicated reason for induction or cesarean delivery.

3. No prenatal ultrasounds for non-medical purposes, for example, solely for keepsake videos and pictures.

This recommendation has come about largely due to a booming business of for-profit 4-D ultrasound centers, which promise glimpses of your baby to come. However, the research of long-term results from ultrasound use is still in its infancy (it has been a common prenatal practice for less than a generation), and the risks are still not fully known. Though ultrasounds for viability and anatomy analysis are considered safe, extra ultrasounds “just for fun” should be avoided.

4. No routine activity restriction or bed rest during pregnancy for any indication.

The research has been behind this recommendation for a while now, and it is great that ACOG has finally caught on. Even with some of the common risks of movement, research shows that bed rest during pregnancy has no statistically significant benefits, and may even increase risks in some areas. If your care provider suggests bed rest for an indication, this is a good time to ask questions and understand what the research says about your particular health risk and bed rest.

So that’s it. What new recommendation are you most excited about?

March Birth Class and Movie Night!

Hello all!

March is a fun month for Cradled in Joy Birth and Parenting Education–we have a one-day birth workshop and a fun movie night from GroVia coming up.

Birth Workshop

March 19th, 8am-5pm

This is a new format for busy families who need to learn about birth and comfort tools as efficiently as possible. This workshop runs all day and covers the Lamaze 6 healthy birth practices, labor and birth biology, natural birth comfort techniques, interventions, breastfeeding, and the first hour after birth!  Pack a lunch and join us for an intensive, fun-filled day that prepares you for meeting your baby!

Movie Night

March 19th, 6:30 pm

Come in your pajamas and enjoy a family-friendly movie and popcorn. Those of you who cloth diaper, I will have some information about using cloth at night available, and as always, I will be open for questions! I will also have sneak peeks of the new swim diapers, ONE colors, and zippered wet bag prints to see! Be sure to RSVP at the Event page:

New From GroVia1936031_964990446871492_4441889712170812973_n.png

Don’t forget all the exciting new things that will be available from GroVia on March 14th!

Applications open for Healthy Baby Home Party!


Just wanted to let you know that you can sign up for a free party kit from Seventh Generation!  The Healthy Baby Home Party is designed to introduce you and your friends to non-toxic and baby-safe household cleaning products and more. Applications are now open as part of the Generation Good program, so read on to learn more!

I sign up to host this every year because there is always so much to learn and so many cool products out there that can keep our babies safer!

Cradled In Joy Birth Services does not receive compensation for posting about this party, but we do hope to host one for those of you who can’t host one of your own, so you can learn more about your parenting and home care options! I also regularly receive items for free to review and share through Generation Good!

What is a Healthy Baby Home Party? Seventh Generation’s Healthy Baby Home Parties are fun and informative for you and your guests, and together you will create a healthy environment for your families! And of course, the most fun of all is the opportunity to get together and talk about your kids and the things that matter to you most.

The Healthy Baby Home Party kit contains educational information from non-profit partner Healthy Child Healthy World, a fun party game to help you share tips, and products and coupons from Seventh Generation, bobble, Zarbee’s Naturals, and other brands.


Hosts and guests will also be invited to join us in asking our U.S. Senators to reform chemical policy. For more information on our perspective, visit:

What is the Application Process?

  • All applicants must be members of Generation Good first.  Sign up at
  • Accept the Healthy Baby Home Party Application offer on your Generation Good dashboard and complete the application.
  • Applicants will be notified in mid August on whether or not they have been selected to host a party via an email to the email address assigned to their Generation Good member profile.
  • All selected applicants will then be asked to confirm their participation by accepting the Healthy Baby Home Party Mission and confirming their shipping address before they are sent the Healthy Baby Home Party Kit.Each selected host will then receive a free party kit in the mail. We ask that all parties are held in August/September. For full Terms and Conditions:

5 Things That Change After Baby

Your Body

I’m just going to start with the elephant in the room here. Almost no one goes home from the hospital in pre-pregnancy jeans. Heck, most moms I know don’t get into pre-pregnancy jeans until closer to 6 months, or in some cases until breastfeeding is over. Your body just took nine months to grow a watermelon-sized package, it’s going to take 9 months to get back down to size.

And spoiler alert: even when you get back to pre-pregnancy weight, your body won’t be the same shape. Even Heidi Klum and Beyonce and Angelina Jolie have different bodies. Your ribs and hips literally change position. Your resources are re-distributed. And every mom has stretch marks. Consider them your badge of awesomeness.


That’s a 10 lb baby in there. Folks, there’s no going back to the original packaging.


Anyone who utters the words “your baby can/should sleep through the night at X months/years” is–pardon my French– full of shit. Babies and children are biologically wired to be close to you and wake frequently. In fact, researchers have recently discovered that frequent night wakings are actually a sign of a healthier baby; a waking baby has a lower risk of SIDS.

There is a whole industry out there that wants to sell you books and special swaddles and sound machines and tools to get your baby to sleep. A few babies do respond to these methods. Many don’t. The best thing to do is to get rest when you can, stock up on coffee, and understand that in 10 years you will STILL be losing sleep–for totally different reasons.


Sleep: The Elusive Mistress. Luckily I caught a snapshot in the wild.


That’s right; I went there. Sex after baby is different for many reasons:

  1. Your doctor will tell you no sex for at least six weeks so your cervix can close and heal
  2. You may be touched out from all the nursing and snuggling
  3. You may experience vaginal dryness thanks to breastfeeding hormones
  4. You may experience a drop in libido, again thanks to breastfeeding hormones
  5. You may be too tired (see above) to even think about sex
  6. Your bed may be invaded by a tiny human being

Since your partnership is important here’s some help:

  1. Follow your doctor’s orders
  2. Ask your partner to take some burps, diaper changes, and snuggles with the baby
  3. Use lubricant
  4. Communicate your needs to your partner
  5. Drink coffee
  6. Consider finding a new place to DTD or even a different time of day

We’re just happy to sit down for a few minutes.

Love Language

What you do to show love to your partner, and what you appreciate in return, may change once you have a baby. That’s because things like personal space and chores just don’t happen when you have a human being to raise. Be prepared to adapt and change in your relationship and communicate with each other about your needs regularly. None of us are mind readers, especially when the game changes.


The man has a point.


Yeah, I know you are thinking that your baby will just adapt to your schedule and you’ll just strap him or her in the carrier and be on your way. To some extent, this does work until baby is on the move, but you can’t account for things that make baby sensitive to outings. Teething, illness, changes in routine, and even good old separation anxiety will rear their ugly heads at some time or another (or, pretty much constantly in the first 18 months), and trust me, everyone will be happier when you are flexible.

That, and you will find a 4:30 mealtime at restaurants is the dream, and a 9:30 bedtime is not early enough! Just own it.


And just wait until you have two of them. Navigating multiple schedules, potty training, and nights when neither wants to sleep (aka “taking turns” goes right out the window).

What kinds of changes have YOU noticed in your life since having children?


Cloth Diaper Care Quick Troubleshooting

Worried about how to care for your cloth? Do you have leaks? Stink? A little bit of troubleshooting can help!  I made a quick guide to cloth care with bullet points. Some day I hope to expand upon each of these topics in longer posts, but if you need to know anything right now, this should help!

Proper care goes a long way

  • Store used diapers in open container—closed containers trap odor and make it worse!
  • Wash at least every two days. The longer it sits, the more it stinks.
  • Always use a cloth-diaper safe crème or ointment on baby’s bum (no petroleum) to protect your diapers and keep them from becoming waterproof! If you use a petroleum-based cream, you will have to scrub the area with Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush to get it out!
  • Keep your laundry routine simple. One cold pre-rinse, followed by a warm or hot wash and an extra rinse is all you need. Use the full amount of a good strong detergent like Tide and your diapers should be fine. Complicated routines and not enough detergent cause extra wear and stink.
  • Never dry shells in the dryer—air drying helps protect the elastics and keeps them waterproof for longer

Absorbency and leaks

  • How is the fit? Be sure to check your brand’s website for fit instructions, and GroVia actually has several videos on fit for each style of diaper. Generally, there should be no gaps when you lift up baby’s legs and the diaper should fit snugly around the waist, with the rise falling right at the hips. Extra fabric from snapped down rises should be folded upward. You can always hop onto GroVia Families and crowd-source your flip as well!
  • How many times did you prep? All diapers (even no-prep) gain absorbency with continued use and washing. Cotton and hemp diapers should be prepped a MINIMUM of 6 times before use, and if you are using a diaper for nighttime, 10 washes is your best bet.
  • Change more often. Cloth diapers are not meant to last all day like disposables, and that is a good thing (keeps the ick away from baby) most kids will need changed AT LEAST every 1.5 -2 hours. Newborns may need changes as often as every hour.
  • Add more absorbency. The truth is, some babies pee a lot, which means you may need to add a booster or even an extra prefold for absorbency. Just keep fiddling with it until you find the right combination, and remember that things change as baby gets older!
  • Try different fabrics. Synthetics are more absorbent than cotton, which means you may wish to try a cotton-covered microfiber or something like that to get better absorbency!

Odors and other issues

PROPER STORAGE and CARE—remember, open air container and washing every two days is the best way to avoid funk

Barnyard or ammonia smell—probably ammonia build-up. Do a regular wash, followed by mighty bubbles treatment. If the odor persists, do the routine again, followed by a hot wash with a quarter cup bleach. This should be done very infrequently since bleach can wear diapers down!

Fish smell, repelling issues, other odors: Probably mineral build-up. Do a regular wash with RLR. If smell persists, do again followed by hot wash with quarter cup bleach. (Again, use bleach rarely!)


New Name, More Programming

Some of you may have noticed that Cradled in Joy Birth Services has recently changed our name to Cradled in Joy Birth and Parenting Education. It’s a small tweak, but reflects the growing and changing nature of our website. For those of you who have been with us for a while, you know that our website is a referral source for a wide range of services connected to birth and parenting. We are excited to welcome Julie Gladney to our site as our preferred IBCLC (board-certified lactation consultant), and can’t wait for her to meet each and every one of you and share her wisdom!

In addition, Jackie and Rachel are offering a different array of services as well. Both of us love our doula work, but have increasing demands in other areas of our lives that require us to offer doula services on a very limited basis. But when one door closes, another opens, and that couldn’t be more true with us!

Rachel is working her way through additional trainings and seminars to offer an even broader range of educational services. In addition to Lamaze Birth Classes, Cloth Diaper Education, and Placenta Encapsulation, Rachel is training to learn more about infant massage, postpartum rehabilitation, baby wearing, and mother care in the coming months. Stay tuned to see how these trainings will help us to offer even more to the Athens birth and parenting community!