6 Reasons to Give Birth at a Birth Center

Cheyenne, birth center, baby chick, newborn, out of hospital birth, natural birth, postpartum

6 Reasons to Give Birth at a Birth Center

While pregnant with my first baby I did a lot of research into a hospital birth vs. a home birth. I already knew I wasn’t that comfortable with the hospital option (just watch The Business of Being Born and you’ll see why), but I also had some hesitation about having a baby at home (and my husband was vehemently opposed to that idea). We didn’t realize until we started doing our homework that a third option was available to us: the Birth Center.

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All images taken by Fresh Light Photography

What is a birth center?

A birth center is a “home-like facility existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth” staffed by midwives, nurse-midwives and/or obstetricians. Birth centers provide “family-centered care for healthy women before, during, and after normal pregnancy, labor, and birth.”

For my husband and me, the birth center was the middle ground we were seeking when it came to where I was going to have our baby. Since I was 100% against the hospital (unless necessary, of course) and he was 100% against our home, when we discovered the birth center, we knew we’d found our solution for a natural, comfortable (as possible . . .I mean, it is labor after all!), and intervention-free labor and delivery experience. Here are some of the main reasons why I chose to have a birth center birth for each of my babies.

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1. Midwives vs. Doctors

In my experience, there is a stark difference in the level of care provided by a midwife versus that of an OB/GYN. In most cases, the OB/GYN is rushed and brief during most of the pre-natal visits. He does the necessary check-up items of each pre-natal visit while answering any questions you may have. The entirety of the visit lasts for maybe 10-15 minutes (after you waited around for your appointment to start for at least 30). At the main event, the OB/GYN often doesn’t even enter the room until you are crowning, so most of the hard work of coaching and supporting you is done by one or two nurses you’ve likely never met in your life. On the other hand, midwives take far more time during your appointment to discuss any and every thing you have questions or concerns about. They also take the time to help you familiarize yourself with your baby and your body as it grows (my midwives helped me feel my baby through my belly to determine whether I was feeling a head or a bottom). During labor, the midwife is by your side the entire time. She is a coach and a mentor and a friend. She guides you through the process and recognizes cues such as changes in breathing and/or moaning to help you understand what is happening to your body when it is happening. The midwife experience is a truly personalized, intimate experience that often turns in to a friendship.

2. Cost

There’s also a big difference in the cost of having a baby when you choose a birth center over a hospital. In most cases (and it always depends on whether your insurance will cover a birth center), having a baby at a birth center costs about a third of what it would cost to have a baby in a hospital. I had the unfortunate experience of having to pay for both with my first child since I spent 40 hours laboring at the birth center before I transferred to the hospital where I ended up delivering her. Seeing the difference between the bills from the birth center and those from the hospital was astounding.

3. More Autonomy

At a birth center, there is also less pressure to consent to treatments you do not want for you or your soon-to-be-born child (more on this later). During the last weeks of your pregnancy, the midwife will sit down and talk to you about all of the treatments or procedures that are available to you and she will tell you why each treatment is offered and answer any questions you may have about it. With a doctor, it is rare that he would sit down and discuss the pros and cons of these treatments; rather, they tell you what is typically done, all the good reasons for having it done, and encourage you sign the papers for consent. I am the kind of person that needs to know ALL THE THINGS about a subject before I consent to it. I can’t just trust that it’s okay because it’s “the norm.” So being able to go over all the treatment options and have an educated discussion about each of them with my midwife was important to me.

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4. Fewer (Unnecessary) Medical Interventions

Giving birth at a hospital means that you are more likely than not to be subject to numerous interventions, most of which are usually completely unnecessary for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. According to the National Birth Center Study II, “[a]lmost all women (87%) who labor in hospitals undergo continuous electronic fetal monitoring, 80% receive intravenous fluids, 47% have labor artificially accelerated with medications, and 43% of first-time moms have labor artificially induced.” Moreover, women who have their babies in a hospital have a four times greater chance of having a c-section. As stated in the study, “[t]here is strong evidence that routine use of these practices, when carried out without medical indications, has few benefits and many potential harms for healthy mothers and babies.”

At a birth center, none of these interventions are used. Fetal monitoring is done by way of a handheld fetal doppler and is checked at regular intervals. There are no intravenous fluids, no medications, and no induction. Women are allowed to labor on their own time and in their own way. One major benefit of laboring in a birth center is the ability of the mom to eat and drink during labor and to labor in any position she deems necessary (whereas in the hospital 60% of women are not allowed to eat or drink, 76% are restricted to bed, and 92% give birth lying on their backs). Additionally, many birth centers offer laboring mothers the option of laboring and/or delivering their baby in water, which many women have called the “natural epidural.”

Finally, for those moms who have chosen not to vaccinate their children, or those who are still doing their research and haven’t made a firm decision, having a baby in a birth center allows the new family to choose whether or not to allow such interventions such as eye ointment, the vitamin K shot, vaccinations, and the heel prick test to their newborn. In a hospital, certain of these interventions are required by law and the others are very strongly encouraged, whether the parents have had the chance to educate themselves on them or not.

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5. All the Comforts of Home

Anyone who has ever visited or been admitted to the hospital knows how uncomfortable they can be. The beds are small and lumpy, there are nurses going in and out of the room constantly, you usually end up with needles in your hands and arms, the lighting is anything but soft and the atmosphere is less than homey.

In a birth center, your room is very much like a bedroom. The bed is large and soft, usually with real sheets and fluffy pillows, the lighting is soft and low, music is playing if you want it to be, and your midwife is the only one poking and prodding you and it’s usually not very often. You are allowed to walk when you need to, eat when you need to, and labor in any position you need to. If you want to get in the shower, feel free. If you want to labor in the warm tub, sink in. The entire goal of a birth center is to make you feel as comfortable as if you were in your own home.

One concern I hear often when discussing having a baby in a birth center is that the soon-to-be mom (and dad too) are worried that if something were to happen, they wouldn’t be at a hospital with doctors and equipment and medicine. I understand this concern as my husband and I, too, had it. Fortunately, most birth centers are very close to, if not already in, a hospital. For those birth centers that are not already in a hospital, a woman can be transferred to a hospital very quickly if she chooses to or if it is medically necessary. However, needing to be transferred to a hospital is a rare occurrence. According to the National Birth Center Study II, 84% of women who choose to have their baby in a birth center indeed had them there. Those women who did transfer from a birth center to a hospital did so for non-emergency reasons (such as prolonged labor). Less than 1% of the women in the study were transferred for emergency reasons.

I personally have experience with a transfer from a birth center to a hospital. As I mentioned before, I labored for 40 hours at a birth center with my first baby. I had gotten stuck at 7cm and my baby was acynclitic (she was trying to come out with her head cocked to one side). Despite all of our best efforts to get her back in the right position, she, being stubborn like her mama, declined. After so many hours of no sleep, little to eat, and a LOT of physical exertion and pain on my part, I made the choice to be transferred to the hospital simply so that I could get an epidural in an effort to achieve my goal of having my baby vaginally. By the time we got to the hospital, my sweet, stubborn girl had shifted her position and I was at 9cm. A few hours later, she was indeed delivered vaginally and she was healthy, fat, and happy. It was not the birth scenario I wanted for her or I, but it was what I needed to do at the time and I am thankful that I was able to easily transfer to the hospital.

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6. The Postpartum Experience

The minutes and hours after a baby is born is a crucial time for mama and baby to begin to form their incredible bond. There are many things done in the hospital within those first crucial minutes that can interrupt that important bonding time as well as physically impact the health and well-being of the child. In my experience (and I’ve experience both settings), the postpartum experience in a birth center is light-years better than that of the hospital.

In most hospitals (although many hospitals are moving toward being more baby friendly these days), in the minutes after a baby is born, he or she immediately has its umbilical cord clamped and cut, he/she is vigorously rubbed down with clean cloths and wrapped in a tight coil of blankets with his/her head covered in a knit hat. While this pretty common practice doesn’t seem so bad at first glance, there are a number of ways it either disrupts the mother-child bonding experience or potentially negatively impacts the optimal health of the baby.

First, delayed cord clamping is fast becoming the recommended standard over the more traditional method of clamping and cutting right away. Delayed cord cutting offers a great many benefits to the baby, including higher birth weight, better early hemoglobin concentration, and increased iron reserves. While the general consensus among most professionals is to let the cord pulsate for one to three minutes post-delivery, many midwives subscribe to the rule of cutting the cord only after it has stopped pulsing entirely, which could take much longer than 3 minutes.

Delaying the rub-down or the bath of a newly born baby is also a better for the health of the baby than an immediate clean up. The sticky white coating of vernix that covers a newborn is excellent at protecting newborn skin and helping it to adapt to the outside world. It also helps stop water loss through the skin, it aides in temperature regulation, and it helps boost the immunity of the child. Vernix continues to protect the new baby for as long as it stays on the skin. By rubbing the vernix off the baby’s skin as soon as he is born, the baby loses many of its incredible benefits. Delaying the cleaning and/or washing of the baby’s skin for as long as possible will do the child a world of good.

Also, wrapping the baby tightly in blankets before handing baby to mom interrupts the very important act of “kangaroo care,” or skin-to-skin time. Kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby, naked or with only a diaper, against the bare chest of a parent, usually the mother, for an extended period of time. The benefits of kangaroo care to a baby include stabilized heart rate, stabilized breathing, improved oxygen saturation, more rapid weight gain, more restful periods of sleep and decreased crying, among other things. Done right after the birth, kangaroo care offers the added benefit of encouraging immediate breastfeeding.

Finally, one benefit of using a birth center over a hospital that many people don’t think about is the postpartum support that the midwife offers to new mothers that an OB/GYN does not or cannot offer. After the birth of my first child, as I started experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, I mentioned my symptoms to the doctor who delivered my daughter at my 6-week check up. He readily admitted to me that he was not as well educated or equipped to diagnose and treat postpartum depression and suggested I go to my general doctor or a psychiatrist for further diagnosis. As disappointed as I was to hear this, I appreciated his candor and I went to my midwife to ask for her advice. She was able to offer me the resources I needed to find a solution to my postpartum depression (we tried many natural methods that often work for many women, but in the end we agreed that I needed to see my general practitioner for a prescription for anti-depressants). My midwife was also able to offer invaluable insight and advice when I had issues breastfeeding and was able to connect me with an amazing lactation consultant who could further help me.

While hospital birth is still the norm for women in the U.S., that does not always make it the best choice. Alternative options, such as home birth or birth centers, are steadily becoming more widely known and available choices. It is so important for moms and their significant others to research the pros and cons of each available option so that they may make an educated and informed decision. The birth of a baby is such an exciting, but also a stressful, time. Being comfortable in your decision on where to have your birth experience helps to take some of that stress away so that you can better enjoy the crazy, wonderful journey.

About the Author /

Cheyenne is an attorney, writer, speaker and blogger with a slight obsession for home decor, red wine, and good coffee. Cheyenne’s blog, Sense & Serendipity, focuses on inspiring others to create a home well loved and a life well lived. Cheyenne lives in San Marcos, Texas with her two children, Aislin and Hawkins.

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We want our kids to be strong, independent, self-reliant, and successful. They learn quickly what they can get away with. Teaching them kindness and a good work ethic from the beginning goes a long way. ❤️⁠ Put the hard work in now and watch them bloom into a strong and independent adult later. 💪
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But, what many moms agree on is that once it’s done, you kinda forget about all the stress that came along with it. Kinda like pregnancy and giving birth —you just sort of forget about it all until you do it all over again.⁠ 🤪⁠
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Here are five things I wish I had known about potty training before I jumped into it with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Because, if I had known these things, I think I would have been a bit more laid back about the whole thing! {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ 💕⁠
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When I had my first baby, everyone told me to enjoy the newborn stage because it goes fast, and I would miss it. But I was so exhausted and overwhelmed I didn’t believe them. 😴 While I was living through it, it felt like it took forever!⁠
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If you are there now or about to enter this stage, it’s a yummy, delicious, snuggly stage. But for me, it has always been one of the harder ones, every time I go through it. So I see and feel you, mama! It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Hold tight, though, because it doesn’t last forever.⁠
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I've been asked so many questions by men about fatherhood. So I figured I'd drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon-to-be-Dads. Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup. If mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder "what is there for me to do?" Here are my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.⁠
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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
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Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠ Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠
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1️⃣ Look for signs of readiness:⁠
- Diaper dry for at least 1-2 hours.⁠
- Pulling at their diaper when its wet or soiled.⁠
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Potty training is much quicker if your child is showing the above signs, but you can start before this.⁠
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2️⃣ What you will need to buy:⁠
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- Steps⁠
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3️⃣ Getting yourself and your child prepared:⁠
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- Practice pulling pants or shorts up and down.⁠
- Look on YouTube with your child at some potty training stories (e.g. 'I Want My Potty' and 'Pirate Pete's Potty')⁠
- Involve your child in choosing and buying everything you need - choosing character-themed underwear is usually very exciting!⁠
- Sit your child on the potty at every diaper change, first thing in the morning and just before bed to get them used to sitting on the toilet.⁠
- Teach your child the correct vocabulary or signs needed to communicate when they need to go potty.⁠
- Make sure you have plenty of spare clothes.⁠
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4️⃣ Let's get toilet trained:⁠
- Get your child to choose a pair of underwear and put them on.⁠
- Talk to them about using the toilet and communicating when they need to pee or poo. You can sit them on the toilet at this point if you wish.⁠
- Take your child to the toilet every 15/20 minutes. Say "let's go to the potty" rather than asking "do you want to go to the toilet" - if you ask, they are likely to say no! Also, look for signs like moving from side-to-side or hiding. These are normal signs that they might need to go potty.⁠
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(Continue reading in the comments!)
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“You are my reason.⁠ ⁠ You are the reason I “You are my reason.⁠
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You are the reason I get up each morning.⁠
Even though my eyelids are as heavy as a five-ton truck.⁠
Even though all I want is to sleep in, a coffee and breakfast in bed.⁠
You are more important.⁠
You need me.⁠
For you, I would do anything.⁠
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You are the reason I am finally comfortable in my own skin.⁠
Even though I am a size bigger than I used to be.⁠
Even though my boobs cannot be described as 'perky'⁠
You relied on my body.⁠
You gave it purpose.⁠
For you, I will always love it.⁠
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You are the reason I now know the importance of patience.⁠
Even though I sometimes miss the fast-paced life.⁠
Even though I still get frustrated when I feel inefficient.⁠
You need me to go at your pace.⁠
You are the priority right now.⁠
For you, I slow down.⁠
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You are the reason I worry more than ever.⁠
Even though I know it won't change anything.⁠
Even though it's not your fault.⁠
You are precious.⁠
You are vulnerable.⁠
For you, I will worry forever.⁠
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You are the reason I am now filled with gratitude.⁠
Even though I get sad when things do not go my way.⁠
Even though I sometimes lose sight of what I have.⁠
You are my constant reminder that I am blessed.⁠
You are the light at the end of every tunnel.⁠
For you, everything is worth it.⁠
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You are the reason that my heart is full.⁠
Even though I am grateful for our life before you.⁠
You have shown me a love like no other.⁠
You are remarkable.⁠
For you, my heart explodes.⁠
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You are my reason." ❤️ Words by @hangingwiththeheaphys 💕⁠
We love birth stories and hearing all the details We love birth stories and hearing all the details about how each baby was born. What’s your baby’s birth story? 👶❤️
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Your Child's Stomach Pain and Headaches Could Be A Your Child's Stomach Pain and Headaches Could Be Anxiety⁠ 💔
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Have you noticed that your child is complaining of stomach pain and headaches? Or perhaps they seem tired and irritable despite getting the correct amount of sleep? Perhaps these things are simply coincidental, but maybe they’re not. Did you know that even children suffer from anxiety disorder? In fact, the most common mental health condition in children is anxiety disorder. If you are sensing that there may be something else going on, keep reading. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's personal journey with child anxiety disorder.⁠}⁠
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Article by: Katie Gibbons⁠
📷: @lisa.boettcher
Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠ .⁠ Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠
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Few of life’s events can have you bursting at the seams as much as “we’re making a human!” will. Sharing this news with those you love, like, or just tolerate, has become easier and more instantaneous than ever with the advent of social media. These days, most moms-to-be want to share their pregnancy announcement with as many people as possible . . . and the cuter idea the better!⁠
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Here are some fun and unique pregnancy announcement ideas for you to share your incredible news. Whether you like to use humor, romance, or a sweet surprise, these ideas are some of the most picture-worthy around!⁠ ⁠{Click 🔗 in bio to see the pregnancy announcement ideas!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
📷: @karissakayabbott
Pretty sure my mouth and nose are covered too. 😑😂⁠
📷: @thedecentmother
I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are s I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are so many AMAZING benefits for the mother and child. But you know what I am an even bigger advocate for? A mother's well-being -- her physical, emotional, and mental health!!⁠
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Sometimes we make plans and God laughs. Some of us plan to breastfeed our babies for 3 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years. Some of us meet our goals and some of us don't. (🙋‍♀️ My goal was to reach a year and made it 7 months.) Breastfeeding can be a lot more challenging than many of us expect. There can be complications along the way, the baby could have allergies, and sometimes breastfeeding or pumping can take an immense toll on a mother's mental health.⁠
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It is my firm belief that we must care for and support the new mother just as much as we care for and support the new child. 💕 While I feel there is so much value in breast milk, in my opinion, if it compromises the health of the mother, it is not worth it. As long as the baby is being fed, cared for, and loved, that is all that matters. And for the mother to grow and thrive in her new role as a parent to continue caring for her child, she needs to do what she feels is best for herself and her family. Sometimes that is not breastfeeding or pumping.⁠
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No matter your feeding experience or preference, you are a good mother. Whether your choice was made by you or made for you, you must do what is right for you and your baby. Your health (mentally, physically, emotionally) matters. ❤️
Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Be Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Being a Working Mom⁠ 😬⁠
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Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom of small children is a lot like being the CEO of a corporation. But without anyone working under you and without receiving payment for your efforts. Kinda crazy when you think of it like that, huh?⁠
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I smile as I write this, but that feeling was sometimes true for me. Of course, there are different ways to frame our choices as mothers. Such as looking at stay-at-home-motherhood through the lens of sheer fulfillment that comes from spending quality time with your kids and teaching them the ways of life. For me, what I eventually realized after my second child was born was that I needed to create a lifestyle that filled in the gaps where I felt something was missing. Specifically, I needed someone to help me manage my kids and my household. And I needed to be earning some money myself.⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's story!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @thegoddessher⁠
CC: @herholisticpath
Pretty much what summer is going to be like. 🤦‍♀️😑⁠
📷: @realamericandadass
Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ 👶⁠
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In the womb, babies love when you move and walk around because it rocks them to sleep. 🤰💤 When they are born into a cold and bright world, all of that change is a shock to the system! 😱 This is why babies love being cuddled and rocked by you. Your warmth, your scent, and that motion calms them and makes them feel right at home. However, it's unrealistic to think that any parent can constantly rock and bounce their baby. Your arms, shoulders, and upper back will ache! 😫 This is why baby swings and baby bouncers are a thing and why many parents swear by them. 👍 But what are the best baby swings and baby bouncers on the market? 🤔 We are sharing our favorites -- also known as our Chick Picks! -- so that you can look at the best ones and determine which is the right one for your baby. 😍 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
📷: @_aalina
Wishing that your day looked a little like this. 💙⁠ Someday soon we will all be united. 🙏
Dad giving a bottle to his baby, and a bottle to his baby, and a bottle to his baby. 🍼😂 We love dads!!⁠
📷: @nicolemacklephoto
Cheers to the good fathers. Today is your day. We Cheers to the good fathers. Today is your day. We don't thank you enough for everything you do every day for your family. You are appreciated more than you know by your partners and children. We hope today you feel that love and gratitude.⁠
Happy Father's Day! 💙