We sat down with Integrative Health Specialist, Jeremy Quinby to talk about his work. He offered up some real good advice for new parents as well as how we can come together as health care providers to better support our communities and patients.
What do you feel is the most important thing families can do to prepare for parenthood?
Build a village.
Outside of immediate family members, who will be an important part of the 'village,' it is important to find out about the kinds of pediatric care available. After deciding who will be delivering your baby and where, finding a pediatrician/midwife who's views on infant care you agree with, ideally one that takes the kind of insurance you have is a great first step. Beyond that, there are numerous specialists who can be valuable support for you to help with your birth experience, and help you, your baby, and your family's health and wellness. This specialists include but are not limited to:
-acupuncturists (stress reduction/labor preparation)
-la leche league and other nursing/parenting support groups (often free)
-infant craniosacral therapists
-postpartum therapy/counseling services
-postpartum support groups (often free)
While some of these may seem like "high level" care, their support can reduce later well-visits, hospitalizations, and long-term health complications in the child, stress on parents/couples, and the family as a whole. The stress of a sick or challenging baby can start a cycle that is often hard to recover from. These specialists can have a huge impact on minimizing these stresses. It is important to find, and ideally, make contact with any of these specialists long before the birth in case you run into a challenge and are in need of support. This task is much harder in a stressed, sleep-deprived state.
ES: How do you support families?
JQ: I work with children of all ages, as well as parents. Most of the babies I see range from 3 days of age to 2 months old and are having feeding, digestive challenges, torticollis, or suffering from stressful deliveries or time spent in NICU. I treat children with a host of health issues from ENT challenges to sensory processing and behavioral struggles. In all situations, I first treat what I find in the body as it relates to the craniosacral system, which I often find helps break the patterned response cycle often originating from a stress response or physiological challenge, that has set off the autonomic response. I refer parents to other resources or health practitioners who may be better suited to the situation. I often treat the whole families, as needed, when I feel the family's balance has been affected by the stressful stage with the child.
ES: What kinds of challenges do you see the most within your practice?
JQ: My biggest struggle is not being able to coordinate care with traditional health care providers. They are the first line of treatment, in most cases, and too often I see babies and children who are not being referred to me or other health care professionals when the situation clearly warrants it. There is a lot of 'wait and see' in newborn care and I think this could be improved by more collaboration with someone like me, a lactation specialist, OT, etc. I have many times seen one treatment immediately improve a child's situation in matter of days, which, from the parents perspective, alleviates a lot of stress and helps them be better parents and care providers. It may also make a huge difference long term to the child
ES: How can we do better as a community in helping new parents?
JQ: As health care providers, I think we need to raise more awareness of the kinds of services available to parents. I have found in my practice that offering free workshops with other pediatric and family health professionals is a great way for parents to gather resources, meet care providers in their community, ask questions, and educate themselves to make more informed decisions. Ideally, these workshops are for parents-to-be, or parents of newborns, but any stage of parenting can benefit. It is also important for those of us in the health field to get a chance to listen to parents in a situation outside of treatment because I believe it gives us a better sense of the kind of resources and information that are truly needed, as well as where gaps in care still exist.
Thank you Jeremy! What do you all think? How do you think we can better support new families? What were your experiences?