Hi Mamma! Welcome to this weeks Motherhood Chats Unfiltered. We are so glad you're here! This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Hayley Oakes, a Los Angeles based midwife. She offers home birth and consultative care for planned hospital births in the area. Keep reading to hear what Hayley had to say!
Why did you pursue Midwifery?
With my background in psychology, I have always been fascinated with the mind and its expression of feeling, memory, and thought, specifically that of a child. In my late teens, I watched a documentary called What Babies Want, which explores the growing research in perinatal psychology – the consciousness of babies while in the womb! It was a formative film and the reason I studied psychology, became a doula, and later a midwife. I knew I wanted to be a part of the earliest phase of a person’s life and help make that transition to this world (and thus the experience of the birthing parent) as safe, nourishing, and the most positive experience as possible.
How long have you been practicing?
I have been licensed for 5 years.
What is the most important postpartum care advice you would offer?
Your body (bleeding, energy, mood, incision, laceration, etc.) will be your barometer of how much activity is safe for you. However, my general rule of thumb is the first week, lay in bed, even for meals and visitors. The second week, move to the couch. Also, it's safe to start doing small household activities. By the third week, slowly increase activity to about 20-60 min/day. Plan for and gather your support in the pregnancy so you can appropriately care for yourself and the baby in the early days and weeks postpartum.
How do you help moms overcome their birthing fears?
I strongly encourage expectant families to familiarize themselves with birth as much as possible -- the signs of labor, sights, smells, sounds, what's commonly said, the phases of labor, etc. This can come in the form of a childbirth preparation series, listening to birth story podcasts, and reading birth stories. This way it feels more like a collective wisdom you have inherited rather than feeling afraid of every new sensation.
What breastfeeding advice would you offer to new moms?
Breastfeeding is like labor - there can be challenges and unexpected twists and turns, moments when it stalls, and then also progresses. I would strongly encourage everyone to reach out to a lactation consultant within the first week of their baby's life. It's so incredibly helpful to have hands on support and/or reassurance everything is going well. This person can also weigh the baby to make sure they are getting enough and follow up with you in the following days and/or weeks. This is a lot more support than most pediatricians offer.
You can find Hayley on Instagram @heybales where she shares tips for expecting moms and birth. You can find out more information about her services on her website www.hayleyoakes.com. You can also listen to her podcast Milk Trails Podcast where she shares stories about out-of-hospital birth experiences to help reduce fear and misunderstanding around childbirth.