Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Become a Birth Boot Camp Instructor?

As our first workshop approaches, we are getting so excited!  The Birth Boot Camp materials are amazing, easy to use and understand, and all original.  Indulge me as I tell you a bit more about what sets Birth Boot Camp apart from other childbirth education programs.

The Birth Boot Camp Instructor training workshops will be hands-on.  Most of the book-learning will be done before coming to the workshop and the Study Guide will be completed.  That will give us a chance to focus on learning the curriculum, how to run a class, take them through relaxation exercises, and ultimately, how to become a great Instructor. 

Just a reminder:  If you have given birth without medication and breastfed your baby for at least one year, you are invited to become a Birth Boot Camp Instructor.  Check out the requirements here.

The response towards the Student Field Manual has been awesome.   The Field Manual is laid out to supplement the weekly classes -- additional information and things to discuss between partners and care providers.  There are lots of reminders for partners, so they have a quick reference during labor. Each couple that takes a Birth Boot Camp class also receives the Breastfeeding Class:  The Ultimate MRE on DVD, taught by lactation consultant, Mellanie Sheppard. 

Sarah Clark (aka Mama Birth) and I wrote the Instructor's Manual and we are so proud of it!  It is so functional, providing Instructors with a detailed outline of the curriculum and games.   We have made teaching so easy!

Birth Boot Camp utilizes the technology available to us by using video and online classes. These are available to Instructors and students alike.  As part of their workshop fee, Instructors are given several supplemental video resources to use in their classes.  I've always enjoyed inviting visitors to class (doulas, chiropractors, etc.), so Birth Boot Camp created videos with various professionals answering a number of questions about their profession and how their services can help achieve a natural birth.  Instructors are encouraged to bring in local resources or use the Birth Boot Camp videos.  Other interesting topics include Babywearing and Cloth Diapering 101.  Instructors should use their discretion as to what videos/visitors their class would benefit.  Use just one video or use them all.

Instructors will also receive all the Birth Boot Camp birth videos with their workshop fee.  We anticipate updating videos periodically.

Birth Boot Camp created a website especially for Instructors. This is where they buy their Student Field Manuals, breastfeeding DVDs, and supplies to run their business.  It also provides links to stay current on the research and evidence as well as printables for the games.  We want Instructors to feel supported on their journey in helping other couples achieve a natural birth, and will foster that community through the Birth Boot Camp forums on the Instructor website. 

The workshops are filling up for September and November.  If you are interested, you do need to allow yourself plenty of time to complete the reading and the Study Guide.  You are encouraged to take notes as you do your reading, as the Final Exam (taken at the Workshop) is open note.  We recommend allowing 6-9 months to complete your reading and Study Guide.

We just posted the location of the workshops through 2013 on the website.  There has been interest in the workshops being held across the country, but we are not in a position to do that at this time.  We have a whole team of people involved in the training workshops and are not able to shuttle them across the country just yet.  Maybe one day.  In the meantime, Dallas-Ft. Worth is very easy to travel to, and we've tried to make it as affordable as possible. 

The application process is super easy.  Simply fill out your application.   After approval, pay your deposit (or full price for a discount), get your login for the Instructor website, download your Study Guide, and get to work!  Our certification team is awesome and is available for questions at

See you at the Workshop!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Breastfeeding In Tents

You've heard from Shannon before through bits and tidbits here.  You've seen her birth video.  She has grown to be a close friend -- my joke is that I talk to her about every 15 minutes!  She is probably the most clever person I know, as comes through in her writing.  She is in charge of marketing for Birth Boot Camp and I'm grateful to have her on the Board of Directors.

This week we were discussing Breastfeeding Tents that are starting to be used at a number of baby fairs and events.  Neither of us particularly like them.  Shannon wrote this post and summed it up nicely for my Banned From Baby Showers readers.  Enjoy.

I don't like Breastfeeding Tents. I kinda think they suck, actually.

Before you get riled, give me 4 minutes and then you can decide if it's worth the time to insist I be excommunicated from the crunchy mom club (I homebirth, ingest placenta and nursed until 3 --  my stripes are legit).

1) They are bad for breastfeeding moms. They imply you should nurse your baby in them.  In fact, I have been approached at an event while nursing and told there was a breastfeeding tent. I was sitting within eyesight of it. I didn't need to be told.  I have no desire to interrupt my conversation or relocate it somewhere I don't want to be.  Even if I see it as optional, the person who told me about the tent did not.  She thought I needed to be in the tent.

This makes the tent more offensive, in my opinion, than the controversial Hooter Hider, or nursing cover.  At least with a nursing cover, I have to pack it in my bag and make the choice to put it on my body.  A Breastfeeding Tent is kinda like having a stack of Hooter Hiders in the corner for "those" breastfeeders.  And empowering someone to walk up and hand me one.

2) They are offensive to moms who bottle-feed.   Do those moms not also deserve a special place to put their feet up and rest on a soft rocker while their baby eats?  Or should they just sit in the sun and suffer?  While I'm all about breastfeeding, I have no idea why the bottle feeding mom next to me made that choice, or if it was made for her.  She isn't a second-class mommy, she doesn't love her baby less and she shouldn't be excluded from the Tent of Happiness and Joy.  Oh wait, it's called a Breastfeeding Tent.  Bet she feels really great about going in there and mixing up a bottle. And if she fought really hard for a breastfeeding relationship and lost, she's gonna feel even better about herself after hanging out outside of the tent.

3) There is an easier way to still give moms a quiet place to nurse without alienating everyone. Just don't call it a darn breastfeeding tent. Call it a Baby Pit Stop, call it a Mommy Oasis, call it whatever you want -- just find a name that says it's a spot to feed and care for babies without shaming (by insinuating some moms should hide or others just plain aren't welcome there). I totally get that babies are distracted at some ages and mommies need to sit and look at what they are doing while nursing their baby. Some bottle-feeding babies are also distracted and need a quiet spot. If you are a super shy mom who is just getting started breastfeeding and REALLY needs the privacy you won't be comfortable in a small nylon tent where anyone could wander in anyway.

I'm not saying to banish the tent, just change the marketing a little. Go on, someone in your organization can come up with a catchy name.

P.S. One more thing - breastfeeding moms are not the only ones who need information on breastfeeding. The masses should be exposed to the breastfeeding propaganda. Otherwise you are just preaching to the choir. Sequestering the breastfeeding information within a tent only for certain people implies that breastfeeding is for an exclusive group.

It's not. Breastfeeding is something every mom should feel is accessible and attainable, and the marketing of those promoting it should reflect that.