You don't have to be a so-called granola-crunching, pachouli-wearing, baby-wearing kinda of a mom to want to do all-natural foods for your baby, to have a home birth, to decide on delayed vaccines for your child, breastfeed for one month or two years, or make any or all of these choices from conception until your child is 18 and goes to college. (I used to think I was pretty progressive, but there are definitely some 'alternative' birth and child-rearing attitudes that are just not for me. And that's totally OK! And why they are called alternative is totally confusing anyway. Who's to say what's normal or alternative? Every family is different and we should all be able and supported in making positive choices in our lives. But that's all for another blog, hahaha!)
I wanted to expand on the fact that there are SO MANY 'alternative' (and I'll borrow that word again, as most of the below groups and companies use it in their descriptions, anyway) birthing, parenting and child-related companies and practitioners throughout Monmouth County and the Shore region. (Please see the links throughout what I write below!)
Many of you know I had two natural childbirths in the past three years, assisted by the AMAZING midwives at The Center for Women in Avon (they also have a location in Brick). Can't speak enough about them, but in general I am happy there are so many midwives in NJ (some affiliated with hospitals like JSUMC -- like the Center for Women, and some doing home-births without hospital affiliations).
I just got an email from the ladies at Jersey Shore Dar La Luz -- a fab resource for home birthing, breast feeding, natural eating/childrearing choices, etc. (From their website: Dar a Luz Network is a non-profit organization providing education and support to all pregnant women and new moms.) I haven't been to a lot of meetings, but they're definitely a great bunch of moms (plus you can bring your kids and have snacks at their meetings, which used to be in Belmar but post-Sandy they are now in Manahawkin at Natural Beginnings, a child/baby-friendly space at 75 Main Street, Manasquan. Meetings are once a month.
There's an informational meeting/presentation coming up in Little Silver on June 7th ($10pp) -- at 6pm at The Nest ("a space for pregnant women and new moms to be pampered and prepared for life with a new baby.") It's being billed as "An open conversation with four women on the forefront of the health revolution, sharing the latest thinking about pregnancy, childbirth, and our children’s health. They will be joined by local advocates and practitioners who will share expertise and local knowledge." You can check out their event online, and there also will be similar events in North Jersey and NYC (Upper East Side) -- but space is limited for those, too.
The event is sponsored by Nuture Parenting, "a vibrant global community of authors, bloggers, scientists, physicians, practitioners, therapists, advocates, and parents. We support parents of all colors, sorts, and stripes (gay, straight, single, disabled, able-bodied, adoptive, childless) as they journey through family planning, infertility, pregnancy, childbirth, infancy, childhood, and beyond."
Also....Here are some other alternative, natural companies assisting women in pregnancy, birth, parenting, and beyond.
**Monmouth County has 2 Holistic Moms Groups -- one for east and west. You can also find many of the abovementioned groups and companies on Facebook, too (i.e. https://www.facebook.com/HolisticMomsNetworkMonmouthCountyNJ).
**There are a few breastfeeding support groups locally, too. The Lactation Lady runs the Busom Buddies group that meets every Wednesday in Colts Neck.
**La Leche League International has a few chapters in Monmouth County (I loved the one I went to for a few months, run by an awesome mom, Batya).
**Take a Birth Survey at the NJ Birth Network.
**ICAN of NJ is the Cesarean Awareness and VBAC Support Group folks doing great things locally. You can find out more info here, too, about monthly meetings.
**And don't forget JSUMC's weekly Breastfeeding Support Group, held every Thursday from 1-3pm at the auditorium space near the Brennan entrance. Run by an awesome nurse and community health/lactation consultant, this is an invaluable, free resource courtesy of Meridian and JSUMC (you can also get free valet parking if you bring in your ticket to be stamped at the meeting). JSUMC has The Center for Breastfeeding as part of its BabyFriendly Hospital Designation. Experts can provide outpatient services like
- General assessment of mother and baby for breastfeeding management
- Evaluation of breast milk intake during feeding
- Feeding strategies to support successful lactation
- Assistance with establishing good milk supply
- Assistance with breastfeeding premature babies or multiple births
- Managing sore nipples and other sources of breast discomfort during feedings
- Evaluation of low/slow weight gain in baby
- Preparation for return to work – pumping management
- Re-establishing milk supply/ breastfeeding after interruption
- Treatment of engorgement, plugged duct, thrush or mastitis
Info on the Center for Breastfeeding at Jersey Shore University Medical Center can be found here. Or, appointments can be made by calling the Breastfeeding Warmline at 732-776-3329.
Finally, the Monmouth/Ocean Breastfeeding Consortium has an amazing directory of providers, services, and lactation help available here