Sunday, February 17, 2013

Babies Unit Resources and Guest Speaker

We had my awesome midwife, Cathy, come over and be a Guest Speaker for us. She brought some of her big Fetal Development charts, and a really cool model of a baby which you can put inside a uterus. It has an umbilical cord and a placenta you can snap it to, and then you put it inside an amniotic sac, then inside the uterus (sweater-like material with turtleneck-like cervix at one end, showing muscle banding on the outside). I wish I had a picture of it! So that was wonderful, and she showed us all her equipment and demonstrated for the children, on me, how it worked---stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, thermometer, urine test strips, Doppler heartbeat monitor, etc. They usually like to watch her work when she comes over for my prenatal visits, but this time they were free to ask ALL their questions and she let them work some of the equipment. They LOVED it.

Cathy also gave them a homework assignment to study the effects of Doppler/Ultrasound on the baby, and we learned many interesting things as we completed that assignment. Lots of conflicting information, which gave us a great opportunity to discuss evaluating the trustworthiness of sources, and how if you want to understand a subject better, you have to read LOTS of viewpoints about it and not just confine your reading to one or two sources (A couple of the more interesting links are here and here if you are interested).

One of my favorite books on childbirth is this one pictured here:
It's one of the only books I've ever found that shows home birth, and certainly the only one that strikes what I think is the right balance between being really weird or new-agey (I've seen a couple of those) and showing birth as a natural, non-scary, non-medical process that the whole family can participate in. The pictures and the tone are peaceful and beautiful.

My absolute favorite Baby book in the whole world, though---and the kids' favorite as well; we probably read this one EVERY DAY of the unit---is "Baby, Come Out!" It's about a baby that is so happy inside her mama that she refuses to come out, in spite of her whole family trying to persuade her. I think I partly love it because it reminds me so much of Junie's birth, but mostly I just love the charming illustrations and the story. It is so sweet and funny. I love it! We have our own copy and I want to buy a few more to give as gifts.

Here is a sweet video (low-res, but we liked it anyway) of baby animals that we watched one day

One day we studied all the infant reflexes. Then of course the children wanted to talk about adult reflexes, so I got out my drumsticks and showed them the knee-jerk reflex (I used to sit in back and practice making my knee jerk when I was bored during band class; I am very good at finding the correct tendon with my drumsticks:)) and they LOVED that. So we watched this video about how it works. A bit technical but we still found it interesting.

We found a few videos showing the infant reflexes (this one was pretty good) but nothing quite as comprehensive as we wanted. When we have the baby we will try to watch them in real life!

There are a million resources for showing fetal development---all those sites that promise to track your pregnancy week-by-week, etc. Here are a couple, but there are others.

This is an interesting video on how ultrasound works

We watched this movie (on DVD) for movie night. Sam and I had seen it before but the children hadn't. It's so cute! I love watching how similar babies are across cultures, even in spite of their totally different circumstances.

A couple more books about pregnancy/childbirth/babies:
This one is quite comprehensive (lots of good pictures; the text is largely too complex for children) and a good reference
We also liked this one (it contained some fun activity ideas too)

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