Comprehensive & Evidence-Based Childbirth Course from The Birth Hour
I’m so excited to announce The Birth Hour’s signature online childbirth course. Know Your Options is THE most comprehensive online childbirth course in existence! In this course, we will take you from the final weeks of pregnancy through postpartum and newborn care covering all of the evidence-based information for all types of birth, no matter what you are planning!
If you are worried about navigating today’s birth system have maybe had a bad birth experience where your power was taken away from you in the past, we want to help!
But, despite doing your research, you’re still feeling overwhelmed and unprepared and that’s OK. We have totally been there too. There is still time to prepare and we are confident that we can help you achieve an empowering birth. This is our expertise and passion!
IMAGINE WHAT YOUR BIRTH WOULD LOOK LIKE IF…
You didn’t have to choose between an unmedicated birth and a hospital birth.
You’re informed in every single decision you and your partner make.
You feel empowered to speak up when it comes to how you labor and birth your baby.
Because THAT is exactly what this course will do: It gives you options so you can choose where and how to give birth based on all of the most up-to-date evidence based information available coupled with learning to trust your instincts and make decisions based on what is right for YOU.
What exactly do we cover? 12 Incredible Evidence-Based Modules + Bi-Weekly Zoom Calls
Module 1: Pre-Labor
Intro to decision-making & advocacy in birth.
What is evidence-based care, intro into increasing your odds of getting family centered care.
Last Weeks of Pregnancy.
Cervical exams: what they are, what they do/don’t tell us, when they are useful and when they are not.
How to tell the difference between labor and false alarms.
Module 2: Planned Cesarean
Gentle or Family Centered Cesarean. What is it?
Questions to ask your doctor to make sure you’re on the same page (includes free download).
Video of Gentle Cesarean.
Module 3: Early Labor
Overview of labor, divided into stages and phases. Normal variations of length of each stage.
Early Labor Coping Strategies.
Spontaneous labor: When to call your provider
Module 4: Induction
Why might your labor be induced?
How is labor induced?
What are some risks of induction, and how can you improve your odds of your induction ending in a vaginal birth?
Risks of induction/cascade of intervention.
Module 5: Active Labor
How can you cope with active labor?
When should you leave for your birth location (or ask the midwife to come)?
What should you pack, whom should you invite to be there, and how will you make your wishes known in labor?
Typical interventions upon arrival at birth location.
Module 6: Transition
How will you cope with the most intense phase of labor?
What pain medication options do you have?
Why might you need a cesarean during labor, and how can you reduce your risk of needing one?
Module 7: Pushing
How can you reduce your risk of tearing?
What breathing techniques and positioning are helpful in pushing?
What happens if your baby needs help getting out?
How can you best advocate for your preferences during labor?
Module 8: Baby’s First Day
What interventions might be offered to your baby in the first hours of life?
Immediate newborn procedures.
Hep B & Circumcision.
What is going on with the birthing person before and after the birth of the placenta?
How can you get off to the best start with nursing?
Module 9: Postpartum Recovery
What are the signs that a parent may be experiencing mood & anxiety disorders?
What are the essentials to have on hand for recovery after birth?
How can you plan ahead and make those first few weeks after birth easier on yourself?
Giving yourself time to heal and knowing when to call for help.
Module 10: Establishing Nursing
How to establish a robust milk supply.
Positioning and latching theory.
What tips and tricks can you try to make nursing as comfortable as possible?
What signs can you look for to know when things are going well or when you need to call for help?
Module 11: Bottle Feeding
What if nursing doesn’t work, or you don’t want to do it at all?
Choosing a formula and Safe formula preparation.
What is the best way to bottle feed?
How do you choose which bottles to use?
How and how much to feed.
What is paced bottle feeding?
Module 12: Newborn Care Basics
Why might your baby cry, and how can you calm them?
How do you decide where your baby will sleep?
How do you get your baby to sleep?!?
Newborn hygiene: diapering, bathing, dressing, nail trimming, snot sucking, etc.
PLUS Bigger-than-a-Bonus: Beyond the Latch: pumping, bottle feeding, going back to paid work + keeping your baby fed
Then, we’ve got you covered when you’re going back to work with an additional six module Beyond the Latch Course that you will get completely free as part of enrollment in the Know Your Options Childbirth Course!
This is an additional 6 Module Course designed to take the guesswork, worry, and stress out of maintaining your nursing relationship with your baby when you return to paid work.
We will help you:
Identify specific strategies for pumping, storing, thawing, and feeding human milk.
Troubleshoot ways to boost milk production.
Guide you in making plans with your employer, your baby’s caregiver, and your family.
Get organized with sample schedules and checklists.
Lifetime Access + MORE Bonuses!
Oh, and you get lifetime access to everything! I’ve actually already had a few mamas who are still in the trying to conceive phase sign up because they wanted to be sure to get in on the course while they can!
You’ll also get a thirty page Course Planner and Note-Taking Guide that you can print out to keep you and your partner on track throughout the course. All of the key takeaways from each lesson are included with space to jot down any questions you have along the way and make note of any essential info you want to remember down the road!
More than a dozen bonus downloads to help save you time along the way and get organized before going into labor—with everything from a hospital bag checklist to printouts for your fridge of who/when to call when in labor! After baby arrives, you’ll have even more invaluable bonuses as you prepare to soak up the 4th trimester with your new baby.
You’ve found out you’re pregnant and after the initial excitement (and sometimes shock!) wears off you start to wonder about all of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of pregnancy. Some of those ‘don’ts’ like soft cheese, lunch meat, and caffeine may have you a little perplexed but one thing that most people know for sure is that you have to be very careful about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
While giving up alcohol for nine months is a small price to pay to ensure a healthy start for your baby, it can be hard when you’re used to enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a long day or to mark a special occasion with friends.
We’ve tried quite a few non-alcoholic imitations here at The Birth Hour but have never felt confident recommending them because well, they just didn’t taste very good. This is where Surely comes in. Surely non-alcoholic wines actually taste like wine and they are delicious! Surely is made from natural ingredients and is low sugar and low calorie (30-45 calories per glass) which may be important to anyone who needs to monitor their blood glucose levels during pregnancy as well. Surely wines are also gluten-free and vegan friendly if those are important to you.
But the most standout feature of Surely is just how good it is and how much it tastes like real wine! It tastes like real wine because it is! Rather than bottle a poor wine imitation, Surely partnered with the finest winemakers in Northern California to make wine. Then, they use a dealcoholization process that removes the alcohol.
Surely spent nearly a year working with the best craft winemakers in California to make non-alcoholic wine that tastes amazing. They source grapes from premium California regions and carefully remove the alcohol to retain the natural aroma and flavor of the wine.
In addition to enjoying a glass of wine on the couch with your feet up at the end of the day, we especially love this option for special celebrations during your pregnancy. It would be so fun to have an assortment of Surely wines at your baby shower or take a bottle of sparkling rose on your babymoon to celebrate!
Birth Hour readers get 20% off + free shipping on all Surely products. Hurry, this is a limited-time deal that ends in 48 hours! Use code BIRTHHOUR at checkout to get your discount.
If you’re still skeptical, Surely offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all orders. If you don’t love it, they’ll refund you no questions asked. We can’t wait for you to try Surely wines and let us know what you think! Cheers!
Anti-Racist Baby(board book) – written by Ibram X. Kendi, a best selling anti-racist author and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, we are SO thrilled he wrote this must-have board book.
The Undefeated(picture book) – stunning poetry and illustrations highlight Black history and Black futures in this award-winning book. Understanding Black history is essential to understanding American history, and this book serves as a great tool for acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of African Americans.
Let the Children March(picture book) – there are a handful of books written about the thousands of African American children that protested (and got assaulted…and arrested) in 1963 inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This one is our favorite.
Read books that celebrate racial diversity
Littles and How They Grow (board book) – this story lists the sweet and abundant ways we give love to our children. Black illustrator AG Ford beautifully depicts families across race, gender, and age spectrums.
We Are Little Feminists: Hair(board book) – Little Feminist wrote this book specifically for families to talk about celebrating race & ethnicity at home. Photos of real families is accompanied by playful rhyming text that will make this a book your kids keep reaching for. Sold as a set of 3 on Amazon. Can be purchased separately on LittleFeminist.com/giftshop.
Read biographies of people of color, beyond athletes and musicians
Think Big, Little One (board book) – Black author & illustrator Vashti Harrison (we love her so much) shines light on powerful women of color. Her simple introductions to visionaries from around the globe prove educational to adults and children alike.
Mae Among the Stars(picture book) – inspired by Mae Jemison, the first Black American to travel to space, this book encourages everyone to reach for the stars. Make sure to talk about racism with your kids when Mae’s white teacher discourages her dreams.
Enjoy fun fiction board books by Black authors about Black characters
Calling Dr. Zaza(board book) – your family is going to fall in love with Zaza, and (SCORE!) it’s a series. Showcase a strong, spunky, Black girl on your bookshelf! We picked this book to highlight because Zaza plays doctor in this story, and it leads to lots of fun imaginary play at home.
Baby Goes to Market (board book) – the routine task of grocery shopping becomes a colorful adventure filled with joy, and delicious treats! Enjoy counting along as Baby and Mama work their way through a bustling West African market together.
Baby Says (board book) – a board book remake of a classic, we love this tender sibling relationship filled with small annoyances and big love.
Read books about being bullied for being different
Sulwe (picture book) – a gorgeous tale about loving ALL of ourselves by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyongo.
The Proudest Blue(picture book) – Hijabi gold-medal Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad brings authenticity to her own story of wearing a hijab at school. A powerful reminder that something as simple as showing up in the world observing your faith and heritage requires incredible bravery.
May We Have Enough to Share (board book) – gorgeous photos all taken by Indigenous female photographers capture the spirit of gratitude.
Read books celebrating all family structures & genders
We Are Little Feminists: Families (board book) – with photos of real families and rhyming text, this board book showcases different families with one thing in common: love. Let your kiddos wonder about gender pronouns and expressions as they observe the people on each page.
Love Makes a Family (board book) – beautiful metaphors highlight the emotional love and labor caregivers pour into families. We love the diverse family constellations which even highlight singlet parents and elder caregivers.
Introducing Teddy (picture book) – we love how this book features gender identity and expression – it’s accessible to the toddlers and so heartwarming! Teddy and his friends show us what it looks like to be loved and accepted exactly as we are, regardless of gender, appearance or our favorite hobbies.
Books that celebrate all bodies and abilities
Lovely (picture book) – there are so many bodies and intersecting identities celebrated in this book, every time we read it we discover something new we love. Jess Hong uses sparse words like ‘black’ and ‘white’ and ‘fancy’ and ‘sporty’ to highlight how all of our bodies are lovely. We love how the illustrations challenge our expectations!
We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go (board book) – where are all the books featuring characters with disabilities as more than someone to pity or save? We have NO idea! So we published this book to feature as many kids with disabilities as possible moving in all sorts of ways.
This guest post was written by Brittany Murlas from Little Feminist Book Club. Hungry for more? Or want our help curating the best picks for your family? Join Little Feminist book club. Use code THEBIRTHHOUR for 15% off any Little Feminist subscription.
All three of our kids have attended Montessori or Montessori-based preschools and we love the minimalistic and practical approach to toys (or works), furniture, and daily rhythms. When we were planning to transition our one-year-old into a room that was more for him than an afterthought/sometimes guest room, I knew I wanted to bring in some of the Montessori designs I had come to love. I fell in love with the simple Montessori furniture from Sprout and partnered with them on this post. You can use the code birthhour for 10% off at Sprout.
6 Things to Consider when Designing a Montessori Bedroom for Baby
There are a few key elements when designing a Montessori room for your baby or toddler.
Montessori Floor Bed for Baby
While you can definitely just put a mattress on the floor, we decided to go with a beautiful, yet simple, natural wood bed frame that can grow with our baby. This bed from Sprout keeps him from rolling over the back side and then as he gets older you can flip it over and have it a little higher off the ground. We have a few furniture items from Sprout and my favorite thing about their products is how easy everything is to put together. I can put it together by myself without any tools and very quickly! Floor beds are a staple in Montessori because they encourage independence, allowing baby to get in and out of bed as needed.
Organic Mattress for Baby
Another important aspect of the bed, for us, was having a non-toxic mattress. Conventional mattresses are filled with all kind of nasty ingredients that no one should be spending half of their day laying on! We decided on a twin mattress from My Green Mattress that is GOTS Certified organic and comes in a bunk size that is the perfect thickness for our floor bed! We also got their Organic Cotton Waterproof Protector because, well, accidents happen, but at the same time I didn’t want to cover our organic mattress with a mattress protector that wasn’t toxin-free as well.
I personally love having a comfortable mattress to lay down on when I’m in our little one’s room too! We still nurse before naps and bedtime and it’s so nice to cozy up together on a mattress that’s big enough for me too!
Play and Movement Space for Baby
We have a simple infant shelf, also from Sprout, in our baby’s room that is great for pulling up on and choosing his own toys to play with. We rotate out toys periodically to keep it interesting and prevent the shelf from being overwhelming with too many items. We always have blocks, some sort of puzzle toy, a stacking toy, books, and musical instruments (current favorite is a very loud drum!)
Finding high quality toys that will last a lifetime is important to us and we find that all three of our kids have enjoyed these items more than the flashing/noise-making toys that flood many store shelves. We are currently loving the quarterly subscription box of Montessori materials selected by age from Monti Kids. You can use the code BIRTHHOUR40 to save $40 + free shipping on your first Monti Kids order! Monti Kids provides Montessori subscription boxes and access to child development experts for children ages 0-3. Monti Kids subscription boxes come with toys and guidance in an easy to use program to give your baby the best education from birth.
Mirrors are a frequent component of Montessori spaces and a great addition to a bedroom. We have ours behind the play area so our baby can make silly faces and watch himself play. For a younger baby, many parents will put the mirror next to the bed or changing area so baby can see themself while laying down on the floor. An easy tip for getting a mirror (and what we did), is to use one of the giant mirrors that many home builders install in bathrooms. You can remove it and hang a mirror in the bathroom with a bit more character! Or check online for people giving away these old bathroom mirrors.
Dressing and Self Care Area
Allowing your child to choose their own clothes and dress themselves from an early age is one of my favorite Montessori ideas. Not only does it make life easier when you are avoiding battles over clothing but I love to watch the creative outfits that come together! Obviously with a one year old, their ability to dress themselves is limited but even at 14 months, our baby knows that hats go on his head, socks go on his feet, and pants go on his legs. He will pull clothing out of his child-size wardrobe and place them where he thinks they belong on his body and then we can help him actually get dressed.
I love our Alba wardrobe from Sprout because it is customizable— we can add and remove shelves and doors based on the stage our little one is at. Right now we use all of the shelves and left the door off of the hanging clothes side so that our baby can see his jackets and sweaters and grab one when we ask him if he’s ready to go outside!
Babies and Toddlers don’t benefit from a character-themed bedroom (it’s more for the adults, right?) and Montessori rooms tend to include neutral colors and natural materials without a lot of excess clutter. If you do add wall decor, make it something that’s safe to hang at their eye level so they can enjoy it—it’s their room after all! We actually have a couple of canvases that our older kids made for the baby’s room before he was born that I still need to lower to his level since I doubt he even knows they are there currently! One of our baby’s favorite things in his room is the sheepskin rug. It’s so soft and he will often crawl over to it just to roll around for a bit!
Creating a Montessori based room for your baby doesn’t have to be perfect! Have fun with the design elements but focus on keeping it simple! Less is more and it won’t always be a picture-perfect space (see below!) but the goal is for baby’s room to be a place that he (and you!) want to spend time and explore together!
Our sweet boy turned one last month and while we got a few gifts that have been huge gifts. We generally don’t buy much for our kids until they are older because they can easily be entertained by a spoon, a bucket, or a crumbled piece of paper but luckily we have friends and family that are in the know when it comes to all of the fun baby toys and our son has been loving a few things.
He’s 13 months and still not quite walking but man can he go when he pushing this thing around! We’ve tried quite a few and this one never tips backwards plus it’s a lot cute than many of the plastic ones I’ve seen.
This Hape piano collab with Baby Einstein is so cool! I love that it’s aesthetically pleasing but I mostly love the low volume setting! Our son loves to play with it and as he gets old there are even little music cards for him to practice playing tunes. So cute.
Another Hape toy that combines music with pounding (always a win!) is this toy. He loves to take the xylophone in and out and push the balls through. It’s getting lots of play time around here.
I also got him this drum for Christmas. It’s a little pricier than others on amazon but I read all of the reviews and I think this one will hold up best. Lots of people were saying their kids even used it as a little stool to sit on!
You can never go wrong with blocks. We have a few sets that have lasted over the years and still get played with by all three of our kids (ages 8, 6, and 1). We love these and these (easy for little hands to stack because they fit together) and we just got these for his birthday and they’ve been great too!
Babies love balls, you can go to literally any store and find some good options but I particularly love these because they are great for sensory play as well.
We’ve collected a good amount of nice quality wooden toys over the years and a few of my favorite places for these are Haba, Hape, and Melissa & Doug. You can also find really special one locally or on Etsy.
You can’t go wrong with buying books because again, babies don’t care too much about what they get and the parents will love you for freshening up their bedtime reading selection. For young babies we love these books that are impossible to destroy—seriously baby can chew on them, sit on them, bathe with them and they will be fine! We also love these board books.
Age Specific Play sets
There are also a couple of great subscription type toy sets for babies and toddlers that are awesome because little ones don’t need a bunch of toys at once! I’m a huge fan of MontiKids (BIRTHHOUR40 for $40 off) and Lovevery! You can even ask for gift cards from these companies!
This past year I had the amazing privilege of getting to work with Heather Gallagher to document our family from the end of my pregnancy through baby’s first birthday. I love that Heather offers this “year in the life” photography package because it focuses more on how the whole family changes and grows over a year rather than the more typical baby milestone photo packages I’d seen before. We have two older children and this year was HUGE for them in terms of changes and I’m so grateful to have these priceless images to remember our whole family unit over the course of the year that we welcomed baby number three into the fold.
If you are in the Austin area, I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). She also travels for photo sessions from time to time!
Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or following her on Instagram @lifesaspectrum.
Our first photo session was a maternity photo shoot at the Austin Public Library which is one of our favorite places to explore together. The kids quickly became comfortable with Heather and were up to their typical silly antics.
The next time we saw Heather was for the birth! She arrived just 40 minutes or so before baby was born and probably would’ve missed it if she hadn’t had the foresight to be hanging around the area ‘just in case’ which I’m forever grateful for! Birth photos are the most beautiful images in the world and I look back at mine often. It can be hard to remember the details when you’re in “laborland” and having all of the little moments captured is not only really special but has also helped me in the processing of my birth story.
Postpartum Photo Session
Heather came back a few days later for a Postpartum shoot which really captures our big kids and how they were changing as they stepped into their new roles.
Two Months Old Photo Session
We had another photo shoot when baby was about 2 months old and It’s really special because we actually ended up moving soon after so I love having these images in the home that he was born in.
6 Months Old Photo Session
When baby was six months old, we had a photo session at our new home and I also got to model some of my sweet friend Hailey’s breastfeeding clothes from Chapter Goods. This are definitely my most favorite photos of nursing which is such a huge part of my journey as a mother and feels extra tender this time since we don’t plan to have any more babies.
9 Months Old at our Favorite Brewery
This is one of my favorite sessions which is so funny because it was actually pretty short and really casual! My kids were in a great mood and we were all in our happy place: Jester King Brewery in Austin.
One Year Old Birthday Photo Session
We finished our year together with Heather capturing baby’s 1st Birthday party! Of course I love all of the images but more than that, it was so nice to not have to worry about where my phone was so I could be taking pictures as well and I am in way more of the photos than I would’ve been as well. I think it helped keep everyone else off of their phones as well especially when it came time for the smash cake—I noticed that everyone didn’t do the typical thing of all trying to film this moment because they knew Heather had it covered.
It’s so surreal to have more than a year captured of our family and putting together this blog post was so much fun as I went back through all of the images. It was defiitely hard to pick my favorites and I’m sure my favorites will change over time! I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a year in the life of our little family! If you are in the Austin area, I highly recommend Heather Gallagher not only for this year-in-the-life package but for any of your photography needs (especially birth photography!). Heather is also a full spectrum doula which you can learn more about by reaching out to her at email@example.com or following her on Instagram @lifesaspectrum. Thank you Heather!!!