I know there have been a lot of threads about how to apprentice while raising young kids. But has anyone started an apprenticeship where the midwife allows the student to bring their young babies to appointments and births?
I have been in contact with a midwife and she has offered to be my preceptor and will allow me to bring my baby to all prenatals, pp visits and births. The only reason I am considering this is because my baby is so chill. She really just hangs out in the sling and never makes a big fuss. I just wonder how long that will last and how hard it will be with long labors. She doesnt have a very busy practice, between 1and 3 births a month. On day a week prenatals. And then pp visits after mom gives birth.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think you could give a mother full attention at a birth if you had your baby with you? (when I say baby, I mean -4-5 month old, not newborn that nurses ever hour)
For me, it would be easier with a newborn (who is mostly sleeping) than it would to be bring an older baby, who spends more time awake.
My own experience with this is that I brought my older two to work with me (individually) until they were each about eighteen months old back when I was a Breastfeeding Counselor at WIC. Given that experience, I think that I would only want to take a non-mobile baby to a birth or prenatal visits with me.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
I have done this. Bringing a babe of any age to prenatel visits has never been an issue. Bringing a babe to a birth worked well until about 4 mo then I had to stop. BY this point the babe was more aware of their surroundings and would wake up and cry or fuss if the birthing mama made louds noises during transition or something and the would not be as easily distracted as a younger babe. This has been my experience. Good luck.
You don't have to wean first, IMO. I have a 2 1/2 year old who still nurses 2x per day, and I attended my first birth last year as a student. She was about 16 months old. I started leaving her all day with dad for a schoolday when she was 8 months old. The key was to leave some food that she could eat, and then she could nurse when I got home. What if your partner or care provider could bring the baby while you're at the birth? Then take her back away after nursing? Births go either very fast or very slow. If it's very slow, then there's monitoring the mom from time to time, but then letting her labor in peace, go for a walk, etc. If the baby needs a better position, you might have her climb stairs. But it seems if it's not actual 2nd stage, take FHT, nurse the baby, take FHT again, nurse a little bit more, and then he/she could take the baby back home. And your baby wouldn't need to be in the mom's space unless she's pacing the house.
I had my third baby when I was ~18 months into my apprenticeship. I brought her with me to prenatal/postpartum visits for ~10-12 months, but not to births. I think it would have been fine taking her to births until she was 3-5 months old, but after that it would have been hard. I did take her to one birth that I did for a repeat doula client (having her first home birth, with a midwife other than my preceptor, and I was just there as support/photography--the midwife had her own assistant there). It was really hard. The client had become a friend, and was totally okay with the fact that I was constantly in-and-out checking on the baby, or that she was babbling quietly on my back in a carrier for part of the birth, but I wouldn't make that assumption about most clients.
I'm 37 weeks pregnant now, and still apprenticing with the same midwife that I was when I gave birth 2 years ago. We'll have a similar arrangement--I'll bring the baby to visits, but not births (with the exception of one repeat client who is due ~7-8 weeks after I am who asked me to come and bring the baby--I won't be officially "back" at that point). I'll start attending births in January/February.
As far as prenatals/postpartums, I'm sure it has a lot to do with your baby's personality/temperament. It was really easy for me to have my baby with me before she was mobile--she was always happy to nurse/be held, or sometimes to just lay on a blanket on the floor. When she started crawling, it was still all right--my preceptor's office is pretty child-friendly--but she did start "getting into stuff" at that point. Still, it wasn't much of a problem.
For me, she became considerably more difficult to take along when she started walking. If we had been at the office more, it wouldn't have been too bad, but we do home visits from 36 weeks on, and obviously not everyone's house was toddler-ready. It didn't seem to bother our clients too much, but I often felt like there was no point in me being there, since I gave most of my attention to chasing her around and trying to get her to stay out of cat food, or whatever.
I think you really have to just play it by ear, so to speak. My ideal set-up would be to take the baby to prenatals for the first year (maybe a tad longer if you were primarily in an office, rather than in homes) and to births for the first 4-or-so months. I would not want to do another birth with a 6+ month baby, especially if I had any "real" responsibility in terms of the birth.
ONe the other hand I loved the story about the midwife from like 200 years ago who would bring all her children with her to births and she had a LOT of children. That true story was in the last edition of Midwifery Today.