Friday, October 01, 2010

Lamaze/ICEA Conference part 1

I'm exhausted from a full day of conference-going, plus running back to the hotel room to help with meals, naps, and bedtime. I'm very grateful that my little sister was able to come and help watch the kids so I can go to the conference.

Penny Simkin spoke at the opening plenary session about "tipping points" in birth practices and childbirth education. She identified two phases in the recent past: the 25 years of childbirth education (1960s-mid 1980s), the next 25 years (mid-1980s-now), and talked about possible tipping points at this moment, when medical interventions rates are higher than ever and when fewer and fewer parents are attending childbirth classes.

My sister brought the kids for a visit during the mid-morning break. They got lots of goodies from the vendors in the exhibit hall: pens, notepads, stickers, keychains, body product samples, measuring tapes, etc. Dio loved all of the treats and kept hollering for more.

I attended a breakout session by Lisa Gartin about "Uniting for Normal Birth: Even in the Hospital?!" She was a lively, engaging speaker and had me chuckling at several points. I wished we'd had more time to discuss practical suggestions for helping normal birth happen in a hospital setting...and happen without a huge crazy uphill battle. Sure, women *can* achieve a normal, physiological birth in a hospital, but it doesn't just unfold easily (as it generally does in an out-of-hospital setting). Instead, women have to go to crazy lengths to advocate for themselves to be able to give birth without a great deal of interference.

After lunch, I went to a presentation on how to implement the Baby-Friendly initiative by Eileen DiFrisco and Karen Goodman, nurses at NYU Medical Center. Their hospital is very close to finally receiving its Baby-Friendly designation, and they discussed the 8-year journey of how to plan for and implement Baby-Friendly practices in a very busy maternity center that does over 4,000 births per year. Their facility has some unique physical facility challenges. For example, there are 36 MotherBaby (aka postpartum) rooms, only 4 of which are private. The rest are semi-private shared rooms that measure 10x15 feet. That's 10x15 feet for 2 moms, 2 babies, and 2 partners! My bedroom is that size; I can't imagine having 6 people in there, plus visitors, and recovering from giving birth. The rooms have no bathrooms; you have to walk down the hall to the shared bathroom. The MotherBaby unit is also several floors away from L&D. So different from my local hospital, which does about 300 a year and has 6 LDRP units. I wouldn't want to give birth there, of course, but the nearby hospital that is becoming Baby-Friendly has much the same setup with 4 LDRPs and about the same number of births.

Today's final presentation was the keynote session on Social Media. It was a panel with Amy Romano, Robin Elise Weiss, Beverly Robertson, and Amber Naslund. Most of the information wasn't new to me (using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms) but many of the attendees are from an earlier generation not as conversant with these tools. I was hoping to catch up more with Amy Romano, but she's leaving early tomorrow to get back to a midwifery conference.

I also spoke with several vendors & exhibitors and am really excited about some of the things they have to offer. I'll be posting more detailed reviews, but for now here are some highlights:
  • If you're a childbirth educator, you can receive a Consider Cloth Kit for an amazing price. You'll receive 5-7 complete cloth diapering systems--a mixture of fitteds, prefolds, AIOs, pockets, etc--from various well-known cloth diaper companies.
  • I've been wanting to test & review breast pumps, especially after my baby arrives, and the representative from Lansinoh seemed very interested in sending me one to review.
  • Infant Massage DVD from Stark Productions (and they have a breastfeeding DVD currently in production)
  • Calmoseptine Ointment (which I discovered at last year's Lamaze Conference and love love love)
  • And I totally fell in love with Mamamor Dolls...I hope to save up for one so I can review it here! (and then give it to Zari for her birthday present)


  1. I agree--the MamAmore Dolls are AMAZING. I would love to get one for my daughter too! Thanks for sharing about your conference.

    Jenn H.

  2. very nice to get the feel of the conference and hear about your sessions, how to juggle kiddos, and network. I feel like I am there with you (sort of). Thanks Rixa! This is a really helpful, practical review of a good conference.

  3. Thank you for including my dolls in your blog, it was a pleasure meeting you at the conference! I am sure we'll be in touch very soon!


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