What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

What’s the difference between a Cesarean birth and Vaginal birth?

There are a couple of differences when it comes to cesarean birth vs vaginal birth but they’re more similar than you think!

Some folks feel like they could be pregnant forever. They love their changing bodies, the sensation of their growing baby in their belly, and the fact that most rules don’t apply to pregnant people:)

Other folks, however, are planning an exit strategy for their small tenant for months before they finally make their arrival.

No matter how you feel about your pregnancy the fact of the matter is that your baby will have to come out eventually!

What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

There are two ways that your baby is going to be welcomed into the earth:

Cesarean birth:

An incision is made into the birthing person’s womb and the baby either makes its way out or is pulled out by a surgeon. This type of birth must take place at a hospital.

Vaginal birth:

The baby makes its way down the birth canal and is born out of the vagina. This type of birth can take place at a hospital or at home.

That’s it! Those are your options. Do you know what the coolest thing about both options is? THEY’RE BOTH BIRTH. One is not better than or lesser than the other.

They both require preparation. They both require knowledge and information. They’re both physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. They both are painful. They’re both accomplishments.

They both make you a parent.

I’ve never personally had a cesarean birth. I had two vaginal hospital births and two vaginal home births. For those of you who have experienced both types of birth, I would love to hear your take on the difference between the two!

Birth is birth is birth, my friends. Regardless of how you welcomed your little person into the world your body has done something absolutely incredibly amazingly awe-inspiring. You are an absolute wonder.

There is a whole lot to know about nipples! Here are 9 fascinating facts that you should know before you start breastfeeding!

9 surprising facts about nipples

Most people have at least one or two nipples.

There’s a natural progression in the fascination with nipples as we grow:

Childhood: I’m going to play with these things on my chest and repeatedly say the word nipple.

Pre-Adolescence: Everyone gets a Purple Nurple!

Early Adolescence: Nipples rising!!

Late Adolescence: I’m going to let other people play with these things on my chest.

Adulthood: WTF is coming out of there?

Nipples are fascinating. They’re a lot more than a little (or big) protrusion on your chest/breast. There are a few things you’ll learn for yourself along the way (like the many, many sensory receptors in the nipple) but there are a few things you may not know yet.

Here are some fascinating facts about nipples (you need to know before breastfeeding)

  1. Nipples are erogenous zones for a lot of folks. This means that nipple stimulation can often trigger a sexual arousal response. In fact, scientists have shown that stimulation of the nipples transmits to the brain the same way as from stimulation from the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. Just be careful…a little nipple play can get you into more trouble than you can imagine.
  2. Your nipples can change colour and shape in pregnancy. As your breasts grow and change your nipples do, as well.
  3. Your areola (the area surrounding your nipple) will likely get larger and darker throughout your pregnancy. This is so, and get ready for this, your baby can find your nipple easier!!! How amazing is that!
  4. Remember that first fun fact? Nipple stimulation to induce labour has been an idea that’s been floating around for quite some time. While some folks swear by it, there are others who say that it’s ineffective or causes labour contractions that are stronger than normal. ALWAYS talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider before doing anything to bring on labour (no matter how desperate you are or how many go-aheads you get in a Facebook group).
  5. There are lots of different types of nipples. They come in different shapes and sizes: flat, inverted, protruding, or unclassified. Some of these characteristics can make breastfeeding a little more challenging, so if you’re having difficulties it may be worthwhile to talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider, or lactation consultant to find out the best way to breastfeed with your nipple type.
  6. Nipple pain is normal…to a point. Breastfeeding shouldn’t cause a whole ton of pain, so again, if you’re experiencing pain that is intolerable you may need to source out some help.
  7. The average height of a nipple is 0.9 cm….unless you’ve breastfed 4 kids. Then, you’re likely carrying around nipples that resemble AA batteries.
  8. Trying to find the perfect lipstick? Your ideal match of lipstick is the colour of your nipple! Now, if only there was a way of figuring that out in the makeup store without being too obvious…
  9. Nipples can leak breastmilk without any extra help. While some folks require hand expression or a breast pump to extract milk, others experience a “free pour”. Using some good quality breast pads can reduce circle stains on the front of your shirt!

Do you have any other fascinating facts about nipples you think should be shared?

Also, if anyone has found their perfect lipstick colour please share how you got it!

how to deal with your preteen

How to deal with your preteen

You suspect your kiddo is becoming a preteen. They’ve become more independent. Maybe they babysit? Perhaps they’re cooking meals? They’re probably spending time with friends and requesting a little more space.

Just when you think things are going to get easier (no more diapers, no more two year old tantrums) you get to deal with some good ol’ fashioned hormones.

You may notice that your kiddo is getting to be a bit more on the moody side these days. To be honest, it’s understandable. You know those times throughout the month when you’re unreasonably angry and sad and happy all at the same time? That’s how a preteen feels all the time right now.

These are some suggestions for how to deal with your preteen. Please remember that I’m no child psychologist or professional child development specialist, but these are what I find works based on experience.

A.sk your preteen if they want to talk

Sometimes it takes a little bit of prompting to get your preteen to talk to you. Definitely don’t push the matter, but opening up the opportunity may be just what they need to be able to get some stuff off of their chest.

H.ave open and honest conversation with them

If your preteen does decide that they’d like to talk be as open and honest with them as possible. They may share some things with you that you’re uncomfortable with; avoid being blatantly uncomfortable. You are their safe space. If you don’t think you can deal with uncomfortable conversation with your preteen try and find someone who may have an easier time.

H.ug them

Your kiddo NEEDS A HUG! Just the offer of a hug may be enough, but often times your preteen will be all over the chance of an embrace. Hold them until they let go- they’ll let you know when they’re done their hug.

H.ear what they’re saying to you

When your preteen is talking to you make sure you are actively listening. They’re trying to communicate with you about their experience the best that they can. Show them that you’re listening by paraphrasing what they’re saying and say it back to them.

Life as a preteen can be hard. Here are some suggestions to help make the transition into adulthood a little bit smoother!

O.ffer your own personal experience

You are your child’s idol (despite the angst currently being directed your way). When you can offer insight into your own personal experience of preteen life they get a little more assurance that a) you’re genuinely empathizing with them during their challenging time, and b) you’re a human being, and not just a parent.

R.emind them that this hormonal shift is normal

While you explain to your preteen that their daily mood swings and physical changes once happened to you, also explain that they happen to EVERYONE! Puberty is a shift that occurs at one point in everyone’s life. All of their feelings are totally normal!

M.aintain communication

Periodically ask if your child wants to chat and always mention that you’re available to talk at any time.

O.bserve

It can be easy to be overbearing when it comes to making sure your kiddo is doing alright. Instead of constantly asking them if they’re okay or offering hugs at every turn keep your eye on them. You know your child and can likely tell when they need a bit of extra TLC.

N.ecessitate breaks for yourself

Ooooh you’re starting to have a bit of sympathy towards your own parents, eh? Living with a preteen is no walk in the park (just ask your folks). You’ll be required to give a lot of yourself to your preteen in this time and it can be draining. Make sure you’re giving yourself some love and attention, too.

E.ncourage your preteen

This hormonal change is but a blip in life. Soon enough, your preteen will regulate and life will be easier. Keep letting them know that it’s going to be okay.

S.eek out resources

It’s probably been a while since you were a preteen, yes? It’s likely you’ve forgotten a lot about what it’s like to be a preteen and you may need to brush up on your latest preteen info. My go-to person for all things preteen is Sexual Health with Sam!

Life as a preteen, and life living with a preteen can be tumultuous. Using some of the “AHHORMONES” suggestions above you may be able to make it a little bit of a smoother transition for everyone.

What did you find helped you with your child?

There are a lot of truths about breastfeeding that we don't talk about. Nipple blisters and cracks are a couple of those things.

The truth about breastfeeding: Nipple blisters and cracks

You’ve just given birth. It’s entirely likely that you’re struggling to cough without being in immense pain or that you’re unable to pee without using a Peri-bottle to clean up.

Everything below your rib cage has been stretched out, torn up, and is inflicting a whole new sensation of pain that you’ve never experienced before.

Everything above your ribcage may be feeling a little tender at the moment, but the potential for pain that far surpasses anything during childbirth (thanks, Oxytocin) is lingering close by.

Pain in childbirth: we all know about that. We talk about it freely. We see it in movies. However, nobody talks about the pain you might feel after childbirth. Healing from birth, uterine contractions, and hip pains are often present once you’ve delivered baby, but what about breastfeeding?

First things first, this post is not meant to deter you from breastfeeding. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. This post is simply meant to prepare you for possible outcomes and how to prevent them!

I breastfed four babies for a total of many years, and I experienced a gamete of complications from blisters, to blocked ducts, to mastitis. My least favourite of all those experiences was cracked, blistered nipples, so that’s what we’re going to chat about here!

There are a lot of truths about breastfeeding that we don't talk about. Nipple blisters and cracks are a couple of those things.

First of all, this is a big, huge, massive reminder:

THIS IS A LEARNING PROCESS. You and your baby are learning how to breastfeed. Try to take a deep breath and give yourself grace and patience.

Okay, onto scary nipple blister talk.

A nipple blister is on the nipple or areola and is usually caused by a latch that is not quite correct. When baby’s mouth is not covering the correct amount of area on the areola their tongue and roof of their mouth pinches the nipple causing a blister. Cracks are developed the same way.

These nipple blisters and cracking can be no thang for some folks, but for others (like your old pal here) it can be absolutely excruciating.

Here are some steps for if you’re experiencing pain caused by nipple blisters and cracks:

(Hey, big ol’ P.S. here: I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice. This is me sharing my experience and course of action for nipple blisters.)

  1. Keep breastfeeding. This will pass.
  2. Make sure you have a proper latch. This is a great video on how to get that latch. If you’re still struggling to get comfortable contact your local La Leche League, public health unit, or lactation consultant.
  3. Don’t pop that blister. It’s tempting, I know, but it’ll hurt a lot more in the long run. It’s best to leave it be. Plus, it probably looks pretty gnarly, so whenever your partner is complaining about ANYTHING you can just whip it out. You’ll be surprised how quickly the whining stops.
  4. Take a breastfeeding friendly pain relief medication. Goodness gracious, you’ve been through a lot. A little relief you deserve!
  5. Try different positions. Lay down. Football hold. Cradle hold. You may find some comfort in a different position as there won’t be so much friction on just one side.
  6. Go topless. Perhaps it’s wise to not do this in public, but when you’re at home try and get as much air to your nipples as possible. Also, when you’re done nursing express some breastmilk and let it dry on the nipple blister.
  7. If you’re concerned or the blister won’t go away go see your doctor. You have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your babe.

I’ll tell ya: this can be a real mental challenge. I remember giving myself pep talks before nursing my baby when I had cracked, blistered nipples. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to demand sympathy from anyone and everyone around you. (P.S. Feel free to message me on Facebook anytime with this request. I will happily offer you some commiseration.)

kids candy

The only candy you can’t sneak is Pop Rocks

This is a guest post by the hilarious Camille Atebe!

I love my kids. Really, I do. But their candy eating policies are complete bullshit.

You see, my kids are hoarders. Cherishers. Lingerers. They get a bag of candy and they ration themselves like total lunatics.

“Eat your candy,” I tell them, eyeing their stash greedily. You see, I’ve eaten all of mine already, plus gobbled down the mom tax that they gave up all too easily.

“No, that’s okay. I’ll save it for later.” Who are these creatures, I wonder. What foreign, sugar-averse womb did they crawl from, because surely it wasn’t mine.

Then they put their bags of precious sugary gold aside, and walk away.

I wait. I swear I do. I buy more candy for myself and I wait. Days go by. Weeks. Months sometimes. And I ask them, are you gonna eat that? Yes, they say. They take one small piece, close up the bag and walk away. I seethe, inwardly.

This is torture. I’m pretty sure the international courts would have something to say about it.

So, like any human, I cave.

I eat the candy.

It was clearly not wanted, the children never really intended to eat it. It may as well be eaten by someone who will truly appreciate it. And after all, I’m old. These children are young, they have their lives ahead of them, they need to stay healthy. But children have some sort of weird sixth sense, and as soon as I’ve eaten it, they find their sweet tooth and now remember that they have a candy stash and get all hurt and recriminating when they discover the stash gone.

So I have developed a strategy. A solid, foolproof strategy.

As soon as the stash is put away, I begin to sneak some, one piece at a time. It requires superhuman will power, but I manage it. So when I remind them, they have a bit, see that the stash has dwindled, and think that it is their doing. When they see me chewing and ask what I’m eating, I say carrots (when chomping hard candies) or figs (when chewing up gummy candies) and they go off on their way, none the wiser.

It was a great plan. It worked for a while. Then, I flew too close to the sun and got burned. I should have known, it stands to reason, but I have a degenerative brain disease called three kids and I didn’t even think about the ramifications of my actions.

I reached into the candy stash (leftover Halloween candy. In MARCH). Grabbed one of my favourites- Pop Rocks. Emptied the pouch into my mouth, hid the package in the middle of the garbage, and went about my business.

Enter child. “What are you eating?”

There are a lot of things that we can successfully hide from our children, but eating their Pop Rocks isn't one of them!

Quizzical look. “Um, carrots don’t make that noise.”

“Carrots. Want some?”

“Yeah they do.”

“You aren’t even chewing. I can hear them popping.” Goes to check candy stash. “Mooooooom! I was saving those!”

For what!? I want to defend myself, point out the idiocy of saving candy until it’s past its best before date (which, btw, is so hard to do but my kids manage it.)

But, with a mouth full of exploding strawberry flavoured sugar, it’s hard to find the moral high ground. All I can do is open my mouth next to the kid’s ear and drive them away with disgust. Then console myself with some gummy worms and start chopping carrots for my weird and wonderful spawn.


shaving pubic hair before birth

Should you shave your pubic hair before giving birth?

Remember 70’s porn?

I do.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Sam, you don’t look like you were born after 1995 which is way after the 70’s.” This is mostly true.

When my gal pals invited me over to a no-parent sleepover in my mid-teens we found a stash of porn hidden in a closet (we were looking extensively for alcohol after our shared bottle of Malibu had worn off). We awkwardly giggled as our inexperienced adolescent selves tried not to seem too interested while still trying to take it all in. To make light of a somewhat uncomfortable situation I asked: “why does the hot woman have a furry animal growing on her crotch.” I knew it was pubic hair, but I certainly hadn’t seen it at its full potential as it was in this retro porno.

Growing up since around 1995 I’ve noticed that folks with a vagina have been encouraged to keep themselves rather well groomed. Mainstream depictions of babes wearing eeny-weeny teensy-weensy bikinis and lingerie show no signs of any pubic hair and have led many of us to believe that this is the normal way of maintaining our nether regions.

People talk to me about their vaginas. This may be in part to the countless blog posts I’ve written about vaginas, or perhaps because I’ve had many conversations like this:

Kid: Taking 19 hours to choose between ordering Mac n’ Cheese and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Me: “I pushed you out of my vagina in less time than you’re taking right now…”

Waiter: “Ma’am, would you like to see the wine menu…?”

Do you need to shave your pubic hair before you give birth? Well, there may before a few things to think about before taking the leap!

Working as a Postpartum Doula and being part of the birthy community for quite some time now I’ve had more than a few folks ask me if they need to do any maintenance on their pubic hair before they give birth. I’ve never actually caught a baby, but in my experience being a patient of numerous OBGYNs and Midwives I’ve NEVER been asked to shave. Once upon a misinformed, highly patriarchal time folks were shaved before strapped down to deliver their baby (this is also around the same time women were clinically masturbated to cure hysteria...so….), but times have changed.

It’s an entirely personal choice if you want to do some trimming before you give birth. There are a few suggestions I could make, though:

-Try waxing if you choose to do some tidying. Shaving an area you can’t see isn’t the easiest or safest task imaginable.

-Don’t do any servicing close to your Estimated Due Date. You’re going to have enough discomfort after you welcome your wee one into the world-you don’t need razor burn on top of that! In fact, having broken skin (razor burn) when you’re delivering makes you susceptible for infection.

-If you don’t plan on trimming or maintaining your pubic area understand that NOBODY will say anything about it when you’re strutting your sexy stuff at the pool or beach. Trust me.

-Avoid billboards and advertisements of smooth-skinned, cleanly shaven beauties and try your hand at some good ol‘ fashioned 70’s porn bush!

If you’re concerned about your hairy situation talk with your healthcare provider. As with everything with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life be informed and know your rights!