Check Out These Birth Books

By Amy Hammer

It doesn’t matter how far along you are or how many kids you have.  There is always new information coming out regarding pregnancy, labor help, birth prep – however you want to address it.  If you have found yourself wondering, what do I need to know about labor and delivery?… or what is happening to my body in labor?  There is a resource for you.

Tell your friends about these great birth book finds!

Pregnancy help can be found in all types of media.  You have choices with so many outlets in our digital world like podcasts, websites, etc… but some of you may want to simply hold a book in your hands while you soak in the experiences and knowledge to help you along this far-out journey!

Keep reading for our list of helpful books for birth:

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

  • This is a great book for support partners giving guidance on the ins and outs of labor. 
  • With it’s objective, factual approach it sheds light on all sides of birth, examining the risks, benefits, and alternatives – our B.R.A.I.N blog explains this more in depth – and presenting both sides of options including natural and medicinal alike. 
  • It finishes off with sections regarding the postpartum period.

Birthing From Within by Pam England

  • If you like art and lean a bit more toward the holistic or “crunchy” side of life, this book may be just the one for you. 
  • You will find positive birth stories galore! 
  • This book’s approach is about finding strength in birth, viewing birth as a self-discovery, and acceptance of your birth outcome however it needs to unfold. 
  • There is also highlight help for new parent and marriage adjustments after baby arrives.

Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland

  • It’s great to see what is happening inward as you grow outward!  As it says in it’s title this is a weekly reference guide with ideas for To-Do Lists as you move along in pregnancy. 
  • Genevieve also touches on how to form your birth-team, giving a shout-out to our certifying and training organization ProDoula
  • She also dives into nourishment, your environment, and a number of newborn topics. 
  • If you haven’t visited her resourceful website, check it out.

Birth Wisdom Yoga Remedies & Journal by Julia Piazza

  • Who doesn’t want to feel as comfortable they can in pregnancy?!  Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to create some peaceful space for you and baby. 
  • This book is introduced by both a midwife and an obstetrician, is broken into trimesters (including ailments & solutions), and provides you with 30- & 60-minute flows that you can do at home, when you can’t make it out to a class at Earthside Prenatal Yoga with our friend & fellow boss babe, Lori. 
  • We were also delighted to find pelvic health floor information highlighted, a great bonus one of our very own team members, Ashley Gammon would much appreciate.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

  • With 30+ years of experience, Ina May is extremely well known throughout the natural birth community and is a treasure chest of information with her focus on unmedicated birth. 
  • You will find absolute confidence in the physiological process of birth, a variety of topics including the best ways to work with your doctor, and a collection of positive birth stories throughout.

Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel

  • Many families prefer to be as natural as possible in delivery with an open mind to medical options when necessary. 
  • That means being in a hospital for delivery with all options available while having the support of a provider who views birth the same as you.  We can not stress the importance of this enough – it is more important than the distance to the hospital and the types of tiles on the walls. 
  • This book helps you to be proactive in pregnancy so that you don’t have to be reactive in labor, giving you the best of both worlds.

Dive into some of the best books on birth around!

It’s easy to pick one of these titles up, just throw it in your cart – a little holiday gift for yourself – while you are cruising on Amazon.  Go on!  You deserve it.  There may even be an audio version you can download to listen to while you are driving or getting things done around the house.  However, you do it – enjoy this adventure of growing your family.

Of course, there is a collection of other childbirth books out there.  If you have a favorite that wasn’t listed, we’d love hearing about it – please share it with us in the comments below or reach out to us for more information.

Car seat safety in a crash

by Andrea Stainbrook

In a snap things change forever.

Let’s get some candy on the way to the movies.  It’s a relaxing family day so seeing a new movie with a bucket of popcorn overflowing, ice slushies, and candy sounds just right.  We snag our favorites hop in the car and head towards the movie theater.  One left turn.  The car turns left, headlights glare, a horn honks, then BANG!

First thought: What happened? Is everyone alright?  I look back at the kids.  They are OK.  Second thought: Thank heavens I know my kids were in the best car seats for them and appropriately.   We are safe.  Just minor bumps and bruises.  Mainly scared and anxious about what just happened.  To be clear our accident wasn’t as severe as many are.  But it was severe enough to see the importance of all the safety features.

We continue to relive the accident.  Every day the anxiety lessens a bit.  The accident is good for my children.  How so?  Lydia, my oldest, so badly wanted to just sit on the seat with no booster.  She recently switched to a small seat adjuster.  Now she wishes she could be the right size for a five point harness high back booster again.  We all see how vulnerable we all were in that moment.

I am fortunate.  I work with and am friends with a CPST, Child Passenger Safety Technician.   Dana Lange, who is on our Metro Detroit Doula Services team,  has helped me through every car seat purchase and placement.   Dana has said, “I hope your car seat is a waste of money.”  Meaning she hopes you are never in an instance to need one but she wants you to use them correctly for those moments that they are needed.   Thank goodness for car seats! Our youngest in the high back 5 point harness booster was the least injured.  Those car seats do their job.  My kids are 8.5 and 5.5.  These ages are less educated on appropriate seating than infants believe it or not.   I feel like many parents I know are always wondering:

When can my child switch to a  booster seat?

Is my child ready for just a seat belt?

What is the best brand?

Check out these graphics Dana created to answer your questions.

Booster SeatSeat Belt Ready

 

Safety does not have to mean the most expensive brand on the market.  Choose your budget, then choose the car seat that is needed for your child at the stage they are in that fits within that budget.  Remember that your child’s height and weight matter more than their age.   Also keep in mind that your child will likely be in a booster until ages 10-12.

Dana’s tips for when to use a booster:

There are 3 criteria –
1: Child fits weight and height requirement for specific booster
2: Child fits in the booster well, and
3: Child is mature enough to stay seated the entire trip (no bugging siblings, reaching for fallen toys, slumping over when sleeping, etc)
Dana’s tips for selecting a booster:
Features to look for:
1: Specific weight/height requirements that may be tailored to your child’s needs.
Examples:
  • If your child has a long torso, a higher height limit seat is good based on shoulder slots.
  • If you’re moving it between vehicles often, choose one that you can quickly and easily install properly. Maybe take the weight of the seat into consideration as well.

 

Car accidents are scary.  Taking comfort in having us all secured the best we knew how brings me some peace.   If you are not sure what your children need,  where to begin, or would like a car seat/booster check give us a call.  Dana will come to your home and guide you.

Be safe!

 

 

What’s love got to do with it?

by Andrea Stainbrook

Love and labor go to together.

Common questions doulas are asked are:

“How do I get labor started?”

“What keeps a labor going?”

“What can help me in labor?”

These are all fabulous questions.  Some are surprised to hear our answer for all of these questions is love.  What’s that?  Love?!  Yes.  Let’s break down love and labor.

Oxytocin is the “love hormone.”  It is the feel good hormone that your body releases during labor to keep your uterus contracting.  Do you know when else oxytocin is released?  Whenever you have that warm and fuzzy feeling.  You know when you watch a romantic comedy and we all see the plot, we all know how this ends, but you find yourself smiling and feeling nice anyway?  That is good ole’ oxytocin working.  Hugs feel nice,  sharing a meal with another, memories of favorite vacations, these all stir up that hormone.

So anything to release oxytocin in labor can help get a labor moving or started, and also help you through labor by making you feel good while it continues to progress.

You can use to this knowledge in the birth room.  The uterus needs to keep contracting to bring baby down.  If you have a partner you care deeply for they can be useful in labor to keep that oxytocin flowing.  Getting into positions where you are facing one another can help facilitate that exchange.   My favorite position is “8th Grade Slow Dancing.”   The birthing person can place their hands on the shoulders of their partner while the partner places their hands on the birthing person’s hips.  You both can sway and dance together during or through contractions.  You may giggle at first and that is OK because giggling is good too! Laughter releases the love-hormone.

Romantic love of a partner is just one form of love.  Other oxytocin inducing ideas:

  • Hang up photos of a vacation you truly enjoyed

Thinking about our favorite spots can make us smile.

  • Set out framed photos of your other children, or loved ones
  • Place favorite movie quotes around the room
  • Positive birth affirmations
  • Music that gives you the feels
  • Being told funny or heart warming stories

Love is such a wonderful thing!  As you can see it can play an integral part of your labor.  What other things do you think you can do during labor to keep the love hormone flowing?

 

Baby outings? Can I really shop with my baby?

By Andrea Stainbrook

An outing with your baby doesn’t have to be hard!

Babies are squishy and adorable and well frankly a lot of work!  Normal outings like heading to the grocery store, or to shop for some new clothes can feel like daunting tasks.  I know I sometimes rather wait for my hubby to come home or ask grandma for help so I can do these tasks alone.

And while alone shopping is super fun at times it may not be practical to try to plan for every outing without our cute little tag-a-long.

Oh hey Mom great choice!

Babies can become a part of the mundane outings or the fun shopping days!

Here are tips for successful shopping days out!

Think ahead!  

  • Make a plan.
  • Limit where you will go for the day just in case baby isn’t up for it.  If you are prepared to only hit up  a store or two and not conquer a marathon of shopping you will be setting yourself up for success!
  • Prepare the best you can and remember keep your expectations low!

This cute face may make the outing even better!

Baby gear for outings!  

  • Bring with you whatever feeding items you need.  Whether it be bottles, or your breasts, or baby is old enough for snacks, kiddos get hungry.
  • Favorite toys are a must!  Anything to help with distraction.
  • Some people like those cute little shopping cart covers.  Sometimes you are able to attach toys to those.
  • Remember if baby is in it’s bucket car seat still always place it in the bottom of the shopping cart.

Where do we go?

  • Grocery store.  Bring a list!  Many grocers try to get the kids excited now with either finding the store’s mascot while you are there or offering free fruit.
  • Superstores.  (Or Book and Toy stores.)  Just want to get out and go somewhere?  Let your kiddo explore the toy or book aisles for fun.
  • To your local baby store!

Make it a fun day to remember!

Local Baby /Children Stores

These tips should help you as you venture out.  As a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula I have even become a part of these outings too and help parents feel more confident doing so.    Fill out our inquiry form if you rather shop with us!

Where do you think you will head first?

 

Five ways to practice gratitude in your family this month

In November, it’s easy to be grateful: For family, friends and food.

It comes naturally to practice gratitude during this month of Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean the gratefulness has to stop once November ends. A family gratitude practice is something that is easy to start in November and it’s a great idea to carry it over into the rest of the year.

We think once you start practicing daily gratitude, you and your family will find so many ways to celebrate life’s little blessings day in and day out.

Here are five ways to practice gratitude in your family this month (and every month, really!). Read on:

Be a role model

If you want grateful kids, you need to be a grateful parent. Little eyes and ears are watching you, so make a point to find something to be grateful for every day. The saying goes, “Not every day is a good day, but there is something good in every day.” When you find yourself getting overwhelmed or upset, try to find something good. A hot cup of coffee, a new pair of socks, a smooch from your partner.

Quality time

Everyone likes quality time and one on one attention, right? And that’s especially true for little kids. Take a few minutes each day to simply focus on your child and his or her unique skills, interests and needs. We know; you are busy. Maybe bedtime is a good time to reconnect. Ask your child to tell you one good thing about the day and then tell your child one good thing about your day!

Good deeds

Sometimes, we can get stuck in a cycle of stress and busyness, but marking aside time (especially during the holiday season) to do a good deed or a random act of kindness with your kids can make a big impact. It can be as simple as buying someone’s coffee in line behind you or feeding a parking meter. But when you show your children how to be kind and think of others – even strangers – it fosters a sense of gratitude and blessings in your family, too.

Write it down

If your children can’t write yet, that’s OK! Sometimes, keeping track of the blessings in our lives is a very visual way to see how good we have it – and that can spur gratefulness. You don’t have to do it every day, but try keeping a gratitude jar or journal this year with your kids and then look at it next November. We bet you’ll love going over all the fun memories!

Volunteer

If your children are old enough, consider volunteering your time this holiday season. This can be a great way to show older children a different side of life and let them share their gifts with others.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We wish you and your family a wonderful season of gratitude and blessings!

Five cute mom and baby Halloween costume ideas

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are turning and that means only one thing: It’s almost Halloween!
If you have a new little love this year, you might be wondering what to dress up as for Halloween. Having a baby at Halloween is a fun time and what’s cuter than a coordinating mom and baby Halloween costume idea? In our opinion, nothing.

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Here are five cute mom and baby Halloween costume ideas for you to try. Read on:

Farmer and piglet (or chick, or duck, or calf)

One of the cutest (and easiest!) mom and baby Halloween costume ideas is for mom to dress up as a farmer and baby to dress up as a farm animal. A farmer costume is pretty easy to pull off: Some jeans or overalls and a flannel, maybe add a hat, boots and a bandanna. Baby can be whatever adorable baby farm animal costume you want: A piglet, a calf, a chick. It’s up to you!

Lobster and chef

This one is cute and funny! Get your baby a lobster costume and you dress as a chef. If you want even more of a giggle, put baby in a big silver pot for pictures.

Bank robber and bag of cash

If your tiny bundle is still all curled up and would fit in a bag, why not add a money sign and dress up as a bank robber? Chances are she’ll sleep through trick or treat or that Halloween party and in this costume, she’ll be snuggly warm and cozy.

Superheroes

For this one, you can go matchy-matchy (meaning you both dress as Wonder Woman, for example) or you can coordinate, meaning mom (or dad) is Batman and baby is Robin. You could also do an Incredibles theme, since that movie was popular this year, if you have a Baby Jack lookalike.

Witch and black cat

This Halloween costume is simply adorable. Mom gets a witch costume and baby gets dressed up as her black cat. Who doesn’t love a cuddly kitten to snuggle as you stir up a spooky potion or two?

 

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Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we hope you and your family have a safe and fun Halloween!

Four benefits of taking a childbirth education class

If you are entering the last months of your pregnancy, or starting to process what it may be like to give birth, you might be wondering if you need to enroll in a childbirth education class.

After all, it’s 2018. Anything you need to know you can find on the Internet, right?

Wrong!

Well, sort of.

You can find a lot of great information about childbirth on the Internet but the trouble is, you have to sift through a lot of bad – and even dangerous – information first. And who has time for that, what with a nursery to decorate, baby clothes to buy and ice cream to eat?

Taking a childbirth education class is a great way to prepare for birth and baby and taking it from a trained, caring and knowledgeable person is even better. At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are proud to offer childbirth education classes that prepare parents-to-be with real talk. There’s no question we haven’t heard and we give you the facts in a supportive environment.

Here are four benefits of taking a childbirth education class. Read on:

Confidence

When was the last time you did something totally new and different without a little preparation? Childbirth is one of those things that you can talk about with people who have been through it and leave feeling…maybe not so good. But taking a childbirth class from an open and honest instructor can have the opposite effect – and boost your confidence!

newborn blog image

Options

Often times in birth you feel out of control and as though things are happening to you.  Learn your choices, and options regarding common interventions, and paths in birth.  Understanding the routine – and not so routine – things that can happen during birth from a trained professional can make all the difference in achieving the birth you want.

Preparedness

Coping through labor is always the goal.  Learning techniques that will manage the pain and fear of birth will ultimately leave you the best prepared you can be.

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Bonding

Taking a childbirth education class with your partner is a great way to spend some one-on-one time bonding and preparing for baby. You both can get your questions answered in a safe and caring environment and leave feeling prepared and on the same page.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We’d love to help you choose the right childbirth education class! Check us out online today.

 

Four reasons it’s a good idea to consume your placenta!

If you are pregnant, you might be planning lots of things: The nursery, whether to breastfeed, bottle feed or both, or what type of stroller to buy.

You should add one more thing to your list: Whether or not to have your placenta processed into capsules for consumption and have tincture made.

Record scratch.

Come again?

Yes, we said process your placenta! As doulas, we know it might seem strange to recommend doing anything with your placenta – heck, if you’ve had a baby before, you might have not even SEEN your placenta after giving birth. But we firmly believe in the potential benefits of placenta consumption (aka placentophagia) and guess what? We are trained in safely encapsulating YOUR placenta using our No-Doubt Policy, so we can assist and handle all of the details after your amazing birth.

So why should you consider utilizing your placenta in this way? We have four good reasons. Read on:

#1: It can help with postpartum recovery

Studies have shown that placentophagia can help balance hormones and curb postpartum depression. It can also help tone and contract your uterus AND be used like a supplement to get back the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients lost during pregnancy and birth.

#2: We are the only mammals that don’t routinely do it

Every other mammal – dogs, cats, donkeys, whales – eat their placenta after birth. There’s got to be a natural and healthy reason for that, right? The animal kingdom is seldom wrong.

#3: It’s not gross!

A properly encapsulated placenta isn’t gross. It’s just like swallowing a pill or vitamin. You don’t have to do it yourself: We can help! We have extensive training in the proper handling and care of your placenta, so you can rest assured it’ll be done correctly and safely.

Some people believe that placenta consumption can help moms who plan to nurse with healthy milk production. There are a variety of anecdotal stories in support of this, it really can’t hurt to try!

#4: It can boost milk production

Some people believe that placenta consumption can help moms who plan to nurse with healthy milk production. There are a variety of anecdotal stories in support of this, it really can’t hurt to try!

Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we pride ourselves on taking care of women before birth, after birth and every step of the way on this path called motherhood. If you have questions about placenta encapsulation, we’ve got answers.

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Erin Hendrickson

Erin is new to the Metro Detroit area and is ready to support families of all types!  She is one of our newest Labor doulas and will do even more.  We are so glad she’s with us!  She is energetic, caring, and ready to change the world.  Keep reading to learn more about Erin!

What do you love about being a doula?
I love being a doula because seeing women feel empowered and confident makes me feel good!  Being able to help women and being there to support their family during the most life changing event is liberating.

I have been dating my boyfriend John for four years now. We recently moved from Grand Rapids to the Metro Detroit area after John graduated from college and landed his dream job at DTE.  Together we have three cats and they are seriously like our children!  They are the nicest cats you’ll ever meet.
– Erin

Erin & her sweetie John


What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?

I have really been enjoying listening to parenting pod casts.  The Birth Hour is one that I currently have been listening to.  I also really like reading ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin.  There are so many wonderful empowering stories in this book and some great birthing tips as well!

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

In the summer I love to do anything and everything outdoors. I love going to the beach and going for walks.  I love bike rides and fishing too.  One thing I wish I did more of is going camping!so that will be my goal for this summer.  I also love exploring, especially living in a new area.  I hope to do a lot of that coming soon.  In the winter I enjoy reading a book or cuddling with my fur babies and watching movies or TV.

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

That’s tough.  If I could try all the superpowers out for one day, I think I’d appreciate that!  Otherwise, if I had to pick one I think I’d say water breathing.  I would love to go into the ocean and swim as far down as I could and see what strange creatures that are living down there.  At the same time I’d choose invisibility so I wouldn’t get eaten.

What is your favorite song to Karaoke to?

The most recent song I did karaoke to is ‘DoReMi’ from sound of music. I will sing to anything at anytime, I love it!

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Erin as part of your support team!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Your birth space matters – why you should surround yourself with people who support you

Think about the people in your life who love and support you unconditionally. Who would be there for you, with your best interests at heart, in a crisis. In a time of joy. In a time of sorrow.

Hopefully, you have a handful of people in your life who fill that role. Human beings need each other for love, support and friendship and that is always very apparent during life’s transitions – like giving birth.

Birth is a transformative experience that can have a lasting impact on your life. And your birth space matters greatly. Who you have with you in your birth space is an important decision and sometimes, it isn’t easy.

Some people in your life may want to be in your birth space, but they may not always be a good fit. Maybe your mom makes you nervous, or your mother-in-law rubs you the wrong way. Families are excited to be present with a new life enters the world, but that presence may not be the best thing for the parents-to-be.

A birth space that feels off, is stressful or has other issues can impact a woman’s ability to labor. Feeling relaxed, safe and supported is the best way to give birth and who you surround yourself during the process is crucial to a good experience.

Here are some tips for creating a relaxing and supportive birth space:

Hire a doula

Of course, we ARE doulas so we fully believe that hiring a doula for your birth is one of the best ways to achieve the kind of birth you want and deserve. We are there to solely support and advocate for you and your partner. We can make sure your wishes are carried out and that you are fully able to concentrate on delivering your baby. We are trained, experienced and knowledgeable and we don’t have any issue telling pushy family members to back off (in a nice way, of course!).

Talk to your partner

Have a frank and open discussion about your needs in a birth space is a healthy way to set expectations and boundaries. Also, after you have a baby, those expectations and boundaries become even more important as you bond and grow with your new baby. Becoming a family of three (or more!) is a big transition and it should be all about you in the first few weeks. Having these talks now – before baby arrives – is a great decision.

Talk to your health care provider

If you are having a hospital birth, it’s a good idea to talk to your provider about who can and will be in your room as you labor. It’s different at every hospital and sometimes, there can be multiple nurses, medical students and other staff present. It’s OK to say no to these things and set the tone for a peaceful birth with as few interruptions as possible.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are honored to help create relaxing, safe and supportive birth spaces for our clients. Contact us today if you have questions or concerns.