Author: Metro Detroit Doula Services

Are you watching “9 Months That Made You”?

I will admit I watch a lot of TV. I watch it to unwind and relax, but I also use it to learn and discover new things. Recently I stumbled upon a PBS series called “9 Months That Made You.” I am one episode in and hooked!

Now I know by being a doula and childbirth educator that this show is right up my alley. I mean it is kind of like continuing education for my work! But if you are growing a human in your body currently, or did grow one, or know someone who grew one, or if you grew in someone’s body, then this show is a perfect fit!

So in the first episode they break down what it is like for a baby to grow beginning with the moment of conception. It then goes on to describe what happens in hours! And then days and weeks. The detailed things they discuss is amazing. How much of our lives that is determined by the processes in the first few weeks is astonishing!

Within the program different families from around the globe are highlighted to show their genetic differences. These differences are due to developmental things that can happen during the time period of growth that they are focused in on in the episode. The first episode even features a scientist studying living a long life and how it may be determined while you are still in the womb!

So yes I am a geek when it comes to science and babies. I can’t wait to finish the series. It really celebrates the variances in humanity. So if you are looking to add something to your queue and you are into learning check out this PBS series on Netflix. You can find out more about it here:
https://www.pbs.org/show/9-months-made-you/

I can’t wait to see what new information I learn next!

by Andrea Stainbrook

How to write a birth plan

Birth plans, birth wishes, birth preferences, or whatever you prefer to call it can be a useful tool. The work of going through what is important to you and your partner in your birth is likely the best part of creating a birth plan, no matter if you actually print it out.

Birth wishlists can be a great way to give the care team you are working with an idea of the ideal birth you hoped for. This way if paths stray from what you envisioned the staff can help keep it as close to your ideal as possible.

What you can include in your plan:

  • Basic information: your name, partner’s name or support person’s name, doula’s name, important phone numbers, your care provider’s name
  • Important items to know about the birthing person: allergies, or medical conditions the staff should be reminded of
  • Ideals for coping and what is important to you in early and active labor: After going through options in birth include those that really stand out to you as what you hope for in this birth.
  • Pushing preferences
  • Placenta plans: If choosing placenta encapsulation services it is a good idea to have this on your birth preferences sheet as a reminder. Also mentioning if you intend to use a cord blood banking service.
  • Cesarean birth preferences: items like clear drapes used, support people you want present, skin to skin if possible after birth.
  • Newborn care: erythromycin eye ointment, vitamin K, hepatitis B, circumcision/intact
  • Feeding preferences: it is nice to note if you are planning on breastfeeding, or formula feeding, or some combination

A smart idea is to write a long detailed plan for yourself that goes through all the options and ideals you have. Then that plan is for you. Trim and omit the unnecessary items to create a simpler plan to hand in to your birth staff. Creature comforts like dim lighting, do not need to be on your staff’s plan.

Pro-tips for birth plans

  • Keep it simple! Bullet points and simple statements to convey your wants is ideal. Also birth plans should not be so detailed you are telling your provider and staff how to do their job. Some plans simply state one item, for example “We would prefer open communication throughout the entire process.”
  • Be positive! Use phrases like “we prefer x,y,z” instead of “NO X,Y,Z!”
  • Thank the staff! Your care providers and nurses want you to have a lovely experience. They work hard and long shifts. Tell them how excited you are to be at that facility with the wonderful staff you have selected.
  • Make it fun! Say what?! If you can find a way to make it funny, or light, or cute in some way, the staff will enjoy reading it. Some clients in the past have made it sports themed, or added a funny comic. One couple made it look like a movie poster!

When making your birth wishes list explore all the things you envision or hope for. It is a great activity to get you thinking about the experience you’d like. A place you can learn about your birthing options is through a childbirth education course. Check out Metro Detroit Doula Service’s offerings today!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Guest blog: Moving with a growing family

When life changes, most people tend to make a move.  One reason moving occurs is usually because your family is growing.  So whether you are expecting your first child, or your fourth, your needs from a home will change too.   You have to think about what kind of childhood you envision your children to have. Size, budget and location are all important things when thinking about the future of your family.

When thinking about your future home, you have to think about timing. Did you want to move into a home before you have children and grow into it, or did you want to buy a home after you have kids. No answer is right, it depends on your preference.   If you bought a home before kids, you will not have to worry about moving when you’re busy learning how to be parents.    It will give first time parents a sense of security and comfort while learning how to parent their new bundle of joy.

 If you chose to wait till after you have kids to move, you will have a better sense of how you parent and what is important to you as a parent.  Whether you value the school systems, open-concept floor plans to keep an eye on the kiddos or even storage space. You can get to know what your needs and desires are after having children to have a better idea of what your new home has to offer you before you buy.

Here are some important tips to remember when moving with your babies!

Before your make the move:  Stick to a routine. 

Do not let moving and packing get in the way of your regular routines. Create a moving calendar to achieve small goals when packing.  Take it day by day and try to spread out packing over a period of time instead of in a few days.   If you decide you want or have to pack up quickly, use childcare. When boxes and furniture are being carried in and out, keep the kids safe with trusted professionals or family members.

Pack a suitcase that will include your daily needs for at least 3-4 days.  This way you know where to access diapers, pacifiers, toys, clothes, food, and blankets.  It may take you a while to unpack or to find these things in boxes.  Utilize a suitcase to keep these important things in one area that is easily accessible. 

When you’re moving in: Unpack the child’s room first, so they have a safe place to sleep that feels familiar.

You’re going to want to have a safe space for your baby when unpacking is being done.  Small furniture pieces, and other tools will be in use during the first few days.  Parents are going to want to baby proof the home as soon as possible. Parents, learn about your new home as much as possible. Check windows, locks, alarms, secure dangerous things right away when unpacking such as cleaning products, medicines, and tools. You will also want to ensure that the flooring is safe as far as sharp staples or nails coming out of the carpet.

Now that you moved in: Enjoy your new life with your family. 

Get ready to watch your child grow and explore in the life that you envisioned for them.

Guest blog by Ariel Radtke, Real Estate Agent

Ariel is familiar with transitions and the challenges of family life while moving. She has a great energy and will help you along the way. Check out her website to learn more about Ariel and what she has to offer!
https://arielradtke.kw.com/

Gas, Constipation, & Hemorrhoids. All things poop in pregnancy.

Often people don’t share about their poop issues they experience in pregnancy. They can be all too real. Let’s dive in and learn about these common issues.

GAS

Blame the dog if you want but odds are you will be gassier in pregnancy. This can start early on and at any time. We can thank all this extra farting to the increased levels of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone actually causes the muscles of the digestive tract to relax. Because of this more gas can escape. On top of that, as your baby grows, the pressure in your abdomen also increases which adds to more gas being pushed out.

HOW CAN I HELP REDUCE THE GAS?

-Add more exercise to your daily activity. By doing this you can stimulate digestion and keep the gas moving.

-Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

-Avoid trigger foods. Some foods that can be triggering are: fatty & fried foods, beans, sprouts, broccoli and whole grains.

CONSTIPATION

Constipation can happen very early into pregnancy, and it is known to occur at any point and in any trimester. That pesky hormone progesterone relaxing our digestive tract muscles means that things move more slowly. For some their prenatal vitamins or iron supplements could be the culprit as well.

Pro-tip: Address constipation right away, don’t wait! This can help you avoid hemorrhoids from developing.

HOW CAN I HELP ALLEVIATE CONSTIPATION?

-By increasing your amount of daily exercise, you help keep your body functions moving.

-Increase your fiber consumption and drink lots of water.

Squatty potties help get you in a good pooping position.

-Talk to your care provider about your vitamins and if it is related.

HEMORRHOIDS

The dreaded hemorrhoids. These friends usually pop up in the last trimester. Hemorrhoids are simply swollen veins in your lower rectum. Good news is they usually resolve on their own some time after delivery. Between experiencing constipation and so much pressure on the rectum from your growing baby in your uterus, it can be common to experience hemorrhoids. Sometimes they can cause pain and/or itchiness. They can be internal or external around your anus.

HOW CAN I MAKE HEMORRHOIDS GO AWAY?

-Warm baths, or witch hazel soaks & witch hazel pads, can help.

-Being mindful not to stand or sit for too long of stretches.

-Medicated Tucks pads, Preparation H, or other over the counter remedies ease the pain and calms the itchiness.

-If they hang around after your baby is born and are causing a lot of discomfort it is good to talk to your doctor.

In a perfect world none of us would experience any of these, but odds are we will all likely cross paths with one or all of these in pregnancy. Doulas are never too shy to talk about these so never be afraid to give your doula a call!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Metro Detroit Doula Services

Let’s let go of mom guilt

by Andrea Stainbrook

Mom guilt. It is real. It exists. And it starts early! From the moment you discover you will be bringing a baby into this world it seems ways to feel guilty start creeping in. As a doula and a mother I hear about it at all different points of parenthood.

Are you eating the right foods? Are you exercising enough? Don’t do this. You should do this. “When I was pregnant I did this.” “You plan on using that?” “I would follow this parenting philosophy!” AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Social media, and well intentioned, friends and family can infiltrate your mind and you can begin doubting yourself and your decisions. When you once felt confident about a particular thing, you now wonder if you are messing this whole parenting gig up!

I don’t have a why. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we doubt our abilities to be wonderful loving parents? I do it too!

How can we stop it?

I wish I could shout from the rooftops to make us all believe in the fabulous parents we all really are. Even when we slip up, even when we aren’t the most patient, even when we choose the drive through over home cooked meals, we are excellent parents.

Let’s navigate this together. What are some things we can do to help reduce the guilt when we feel it come on. Here are some things I do.

Stop comparing ourselves to others. You truly need to do you. Most often we feel worse after a round of comparing ourselves to others.
I know I do. We tend to compare ourselves to someone we think has it all together, the images of perfection we see, or the mother we made up as the perfect mother. I will tell you a secret. NO ONE is absolutely perfect.

Focus on the good moments. Look at your day. Think of a moment that you are proud of. It doesn’t have to be an Earth shattering parenting moment. Sure maybe you wish you had a redo of the morning. But let that morning go and work on the moment you are in.

A bad moment doesn’t mean a bad day.

Try to remember ALL that you do day in and day out. Know that it is hard work and you are doing it! It may not be always glamorous but your child loves you for it.

Find your friends or talk to your partner. Reach out to your partner. Tell them how you are feeling. Ideally they will listen and stop the guilt spiral! They should raise you up and remind you of your awesomeness. If you don’t have a close inner circle of friends that lifts you up it’s time to seek them out. Friends that listen and don’t shame. Some have luck finding new friends at local parenting groups. You need someone in your life that you can get vulnerable with and they will simply support you and listen.

Real mom friends don’t let other mom friends stay stuck in a cycle of guilt.

When we catch our friends or family feeling guilt lets pull them up! Listen to them. Let them get it out. Then point out the positives. Remind them of their great qualities and remind them that we all go there sometimes.

Together, I believe we can all work hard on letting go of the mom guilt! Believe in yourself and your abilities, accept that you will make mistakes, and know you have support to remind you of how magical you really are!

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Yolonda Rabbani

Take a moment and learn all about Yolonda. This driven and thoughtful doula has a fire that burns bright and is dedicated to supporting families. We asked her, and she answered!

What is your doula path?

I believe I found my place as a doula by allowing the journey to organically unfold. A spark occurred while I was in college studying to become a healthcare professional. During my studies, I continued to come across current issues within women’s healthcare that I felt needed more attention. While I chose to continue my studies, I also decided to branch off here and there, attending lectures specifically related to obstetrics hosted by local colleges and healthcare provider networks such as DMC and Wayne State University. Not only was I learning a ton of information about women’s healthcare in today’s society, I was beginning to learn a great deal about myself. The application looked a bit like me, Yolonda, begging all female friends and family (and strangers) to take their reproductive health more seriously and encouraging them to be more engaged in the care that they receive.

While researching for one of my finals, which turned into an opportunity for me to do research for something I actually cared about, I came across an article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The article shared statistics regarding the birth outcomes for women who gave birth with the support of a doula, opposed to women who did not. There was no question about it, having a doula decreased the potential for many invasive as well as non-invasive interventions. Not only improving the overall experience for the mother and her baby but significantly reducing the infant mortality rates, which at that time (~ 2010) was 44% in the community that I now live in.

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

NPR or BBC news, or some classic rock, R&B or gospel song from the early 90’s/80’s, maybe a little TuPac.

3 words that describe Yolonda:

Positive, Inspiring, Truthful

I’ve always known deep inside that my place is in women’s care. I can also say that my love for supporting women of all groups grows exponentially with each new client. Childbirth, to me at least, is a sort of rite of passage. I feel like you become part of a tribe of very, very strong women. Transitioning into motherhood comes with many uncertainties, and can be scary even with the support of family and friends. As a doula, I’m able to provide the additional support needed to ensure that every client I work with feels empowered.

What are you reading now?

I have a few books going at the time; The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson (Love this book!), Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure, and A Course in Miracles by Dr. Helen Schuman.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Learning life lessons the first go-round. That should totally be a superpower, it would save us so much time.

Who is your role model?

I have a few, and who they are tends to change as I continue to mature. I totally love Randy Patterson, co-founder of ProDoula. I can definitely relate to her personal story. The fact that she is confidently and unapologetically her best self is very encouraging to me who, as a young woman was taught to suppress those things that made me different.

The many midwives and female obstetricians who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from.

My celebrity role model right now is Jennifer Lewis! I just read her book!

This is a bit different, but one of the closest people to me, my cousin and friend Karissa Holmes. It’s a long story but she has been a huge driving force when I felt my weakest. She really helped me get it together and was an example herself of how to work through some really tough challenges.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

Just having a day where I can do whatever I want, even if it’s nothing, is “a favorite thing”, if that makes any sense (smile).

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families?

When dealing with the inevitable unsolicited advice, It’s ok to do what’s best for you (and your family), be confident while doing just that!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite song to karaoke?

Even Flow by Pearl Jam, a classic and a great song!

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today to have Yolonda be your doula!

How to Induce Labor Naturally

by Andrea Stainbrook

For many pregnant women there comes a point where you are ready to be done being pregnant. You want to meet your baby! Sometimes it is out of eagerness, or sometimes it’s because you have been past your due date…for a while. Sometimes your doctor lets you know a medical induction will be happening soon so you want to do everything in your power to coerce this baby to come on its own if you can. Whatever the reason we are all in search of safe things we can do try to and convince our babies to emerge.

First off before doing anything that may be known to cause labor you should check in with your care provider. They will advise you if the option you want to do is a good fit for you.

The number one thing to do is to get oxytocin flowing.

Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.” This hormone is important as it plays a huge role in labor. It causes your uterus to contract! So releasing this hormone is a good way for a body to potentially go into labor.

5 Ways to Stimulate Oxytocin

  1. RELAX- Being chill creates a perfect, comfortable environment for oxytocin to be released. If you are tense, anxious, or fearful you may release adrenaline which will actually counter the oxytocin.
  2. SEXY TIME- Orgasms release a burst of oxytocin. So getting in the mood will help your body get in the mood to give birth. If your partner is a male, the sperm acts as a cervical ripener which is a bonus. Even just simply being romantic helps. Watch your wedding video, or reminisce about the day you first met.
  3. NIPPLE STIMULATION- Our bodies release oxytocin when a baby latches to nurse. By stimulating our nipples we can get our body to react in a way that is similar to when a baby is trying to feed. The trick here is having someone else stimulate your nipples. Breast pumps can be used, or a partner can hand express your breasts to simulate that body sensation of nursing your baby.
  4. MASSAGE- Relaxing into a massage is a good way to get that love hormone flowing. Whether a partner or a friend is willing to help or you go to a massage therapist, the results should be a more relaxed mood and oxytocin release.
  5. FEEL GOOD ACTIVITY- Watch a silly rom-com that makes you smile! Cuddle with your partner! Cuddle your older kiddo! Take a stroll in nature. LAUGH.

If you are feeling good, relaxing the best you can, and releasing oxytocin, you are setting yourself up for labor to begin. Stressing out raises cortisol levels and adrenaline. These fight the hormones that make it easier for labor to start. A relaxed body is one that wants to go into labor.

Other labor inducing ideas:

Getting up and moving is believed to be helpful. It causes your pelvis to move and open. This helps the baby navigate its way down and perhaps baby gets the message to begin labor. Walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, and doing some squats are ok things to try. Swimming is great to alleviate the gravitational pull on your belly. Dancing is a fabulous way to incorporate movement and release the love hormone at the same time! Turn on some music, sing along, and go to town!

Some may use food as a means to start labor. Some of these have scientific backing and some have anecdotal backing. These are good to again mention to your care provider as each provider has their own lines of thinking about these.

  • Dates (These have some science that shows it helps ripen the cervix when consuming 6 a day for 4 weeks.)
  • Pineapple (No official studies exist on eating fresh pineapple per se but it contains an enzyme believed to soften the cervix.)
  • Eggplant or Spicy Foods (The idea is these upset your digestive system, which then can upset your uterus and cause it to contract.)
  • Bananas (The thought process behind these are to help you maintain proper potassium levels so that your muscles contract normally.)
  • Thyme tea (Is thought to bring on uterine contractions.)
  • Red raspberry leaf tea (Although there is currently no scientific evidence supporting it as an induction method is believed to help tone the uterus.)
  • Licorice root (Real licorice, not the candy 😉 , contains the chemical
    glycyrrhizin. This chemical may increase the production of prostaglandins.)

Another option is trying holistic care. Acupressure points can be used. Some massage therapists may be trained in this knowledge. Regular chiropractic visits with a Webster Technique trained chiropractor can help keep your pelvis aligned and your baby in a good position.

As you are waiting for the big day of the birth of your baby you may want to try some of these. Bottom line do what feels good to you and only do as much as you want to do. Doing all the things doesn’t necessarily increase your chances. Only your baby will truly decide when the perfect time is.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

World Doula Week

by Andrea Stainbrook

Spring is here and that means it’s also time to celebrate Doulas! World Doula Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the doulas you know and love. This year for World Doula Week let’s start with doula definitions.

First, let’s answer a question we are asked often: what is a doula?

A doula is someone who brings confidence and comfort to families.

We are non-medical in scope, and are experts in birth and early parenthood. Doulas are there for families in pregnancy, during birth, and after baby arrives. Through education, emotional support, or physical support we help bring calm to the chaos of this transitional time.

Let’s talk the difference in Labor Doulas and Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas. Although our role is always to attuning to the needs of the family we are serving, that can look different before and after your babies arrive.

Labor Doulas

Labor Doulas are available to you once you hire them. Answering questions, listening to your feelings, and being a walking B.R.A.I.N. acronym as you navigate decisions. (What is B.R.A.I.N.?) In birth they are by your side offering comfort measures and always cheering you on. They join the birth team and add a layer of continuous support. Metro Detroit Doula Services’ Doulas support all types of births.

Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas

Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas join you once your baby or babies are here. Imagine arriving home from the hospital with your new bundle and having another set of hands to help you get things settled in. Following the philosophies that you have for parenting, Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas help you develop a rhythm as you navigate life as a parent. They help during the day or the night. That’s right….the night! They stay overnight and tend to the baby to bring you rest.

Ultimately as doulas our mission is for families to feel stronger and feel comfort. Need a doula in your life? Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today.

The benefits of a pacifier

by Andrea Stainbrook

There are so many decisions to make regarding caring for your baby. You as the parent truly know what makes the most sense to you and what you are comfortable with. One tool getting a bad rap lately are pacifiers. When parents find themselves using them some don’t want to admit it even! While yes everything has benefits and risks, it seems the benefits of pacifiers aren’t really be talked about anymore. So let’s dive in!

Let’s start out by talking the real negatives of pacifier use. It seems a common belief with those trying to nurse is that you should not introduce a pacifier. Have you heard of “nipple confusion?” Did you know this doesn’t exist?! Babies can develop flow preferences (milk that comes out easily of a bottle nipple but the baby has to work hard at the mother’s breast), but they aren’t confused. In regards to breastfeeding, pacifiers may damage a nursing relationship in instances where the pacifier is being used to replace a feeding or to delay feedings. In these cases you may cause a reduction in the amount of milk being produced because the baby isn’t stimulating the breasts.

Other negatives of pacifier use can include an increased risk of ear infections in babies older than 6 months, and/or orthodontic problems with babies 18 months and older who suck for more than 4-6 hours daily.

So those are the risks. Why would you use a pacifier? Some babies simply have an insatiable need to suck. Many babies want to suck for non-nutritive reasons. It can be soothing to them. But did you ever think about the benefits? That’s right, pacifiers can be good!

The benefits of pacifier use:

Reduced risk of SIDS up to one year of age.

Calms the baby

In premature babies comfort sucking has been linked to shorter NICU stays

Baby’s pulse slows

Strengthens the baby’s sucking ability

Reduces crying

Many parents want all the tools to help them soothe their babies. Pacifiers are simply one tool.

Pro-tip:

Introduce the pacifier during a time when the baby is content. Most of us try to offer the pacifier to our babies when they are upset and inconsolable. If you were upset and someone kept shoving this rubber thing in your mouth you would be like, “what are you doing? Get that away!!!” What if every time you were were upset someone shoved that rubber thing in your mouth? You would associate that rubber object with your frustration.

Instead when your baby seems happy gently introduce the pacifier. First stroke your baby’s cheek with it. Then try rubbing it along its lips. You can even talk upbeat to your baby while you do this. While your baby is still happy barely insert the pacifier into your baby’s mouth. If your baby is in the mood to suck she will likely suck it right into her mouth and give it a go! Keep introducing the pacifier during these content times to get your baby used to it as a tool. The next time she is upset and you offer the pacifier after these introductions, she will likely be happy to use this tool to settle her need to suck!

All tools and items we use to care for our little ones come with pros and cons. Pacifiers can be good and have their own set of benefits.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

Contact us to learn more!

(Resource 1, Resource 2)

It’s their birthday and I’ll cry if I want to

by Andrea Stainbrook

1 year. When your baby turns one there is a roller coaster of emotions. Often we feel happy. What a thing to celebrate! One orbit around the sun completed! But sometimes it feels bittersweet and brings you to tears.

Babies do so many milestones in that first year. Sitting up. Crawling. Eating. Some may walk. First smile. First laugh. First poopy blow out. So many moments to cherish!

The first year is also has its hard moments. Take time to congratulate yourself on getting through the more difficult parts. Some nights your were surely more awake than blissfully asleep dreaming. Sometimes your baby cried. Just cried. And all you could do was hold her close and let your warmth hopefully calm her. You put baby first and yourself second often. Normal, and totally ok. But that means you likely spent some days in pajamas…the same pajamas you wore yesterday.

The first year means you became a parent.

You know what it is like to be able to burst into tears just thinking about the love for your baby. You know what it is like to be selfless and altruistic. You know what is it like to see hope and joy for new life. You know so many more children songs than ever before. Those suckers get stuck in repeat in your brain, don’t they? “Baby shark do do do do do do!” You understand your kiddo so much more than anyone else. You hear their language and understand their needs. You are a superhero. And your baby loves you more than anything. You are your baby’s world.

The days are long but the years are short. This sentence likely speaks volumes to you. So as you celebrate one marvelous year of life with your favorite little human, let yourself feel. Feel the happiness, or cry if you want to. No matter what you’re feeling it can be fun to dream up a fantastic celebration or maybe simply snuggle close as a family. Happy birthday to your baby! Now go embrace that sweetie pie and dream of the next year ahead!