World Book Day Blog – Why reading to your baby is so very important

 

Today, April 23, 2018, is World Book Day, a worldwide celebration of books and reading. If you have a baby, you might already be reading to her. Or, maybe you haven’t started yet.

Reading to your children, starting in infancy, is so very important. Even the tiniest little babies can benefit from being read to daily. It’s NEVER too early to start reading to your baby!

baby book 2

In fact, starting the habit of daily (or nightly) reading with your baby sets your family up for a lifetime of reading. It also creates lasting memories and is bonding time.

Here are four ways reading to your baby is so very important. Read on:

Memories

Maybe you remember snuggling up to a parent or grandparent and reading a beloved story. If you are a reader yourself, thank your parents! You probably have fond memories of reading and being read to and starting a habit of reading to your baby will create new memories for your family to enjoy. Don’t forget to snap a selfie or two!

Language development

Reading to even the smallest of babies can help them develop language skills. It’s true! Studies show that children who are read to as infants have better brain development: They know more words and have improved math skills. Babies need to hear thousands of words every day; reading is one way to accomplish that goal.

A bonus of reading to babies: You can read anything you like? The news, your favorite book, the back of the cereal box. It’s all good. It’s the sharing of words and language skills that matter most.  And let’s face it, soon enough they’ll have preferences and you’ll be reading Goodnight Moon for the 11,468th time.

Baby book 1

Legacy

If you read to your baby, he will likely become a reader himself. Even if babies can’t understand the words, they begin to start understanding language by hearing you read. Your voice sets your child up to read independently one day. If you watch closely, you’ll probably see him responding to the rhythm and tone of your words. It also sets them up to think that reading is a fun, enjoyable activity.

Bonding

Reading a book can be a great way to calm your baby and have a relaxing moment together. Sometimes life can get so busy, but you can always sit down, cuddle your child and read for a few minutes to reconnect.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We love books and reading! Share your favorite book with us in the comments.

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Beth Smith

In this weeks blog, we introduce Beth!  Beth has joined our team as an experienced Labor doula.  We are so glad she’s with us.  She is well loved, fun, and super easy to talk to.  Keep reading to learn more about Beth.

What is your doula “path” story?
I began my journey as a teacher working with infants and families in a childcare setting.  Supporting new moms and babies was something that came naturally to me.  I completed my bachelors degree in early childhood education in 2004 at Rochester College.  I journeyed down the path of being a doula in 2005 after a friend suggested that I be present for the birth of her son as her labor support person.  After doing a little research about what a doula is and what one does, I joined my friend for her son’s birth.  It was truly amazing!  Afterwards I knew that being a doula was definitely my calling and I haven’t looked back.

My family is AWESOME!  I’ve been with my high school sweetheart since 1997.  We’ve since married and have the pleasure of raising 4 beautiful, spirited daughters.  We also have the luxury of having my mom live with us full time since her retirement.  Our pets include a Flemish Giant (a breed of rabbit) named Franklin and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Ladybug.

I love supporting women and families as they transition into parenthood.  There is nothing else more moving than supporting a new life’s entrance into the world. Being a part of a lifelong memory is something I feel honored to be a part of.  – Beth Smith


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

Top Pop amongst other things!  I love listening to music that you can sing and dance to. The 80’s, 90’s and today’s best music – I’ll listen to it all!  Things I have in my play list include: Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Radiohead, Muse, Pink, The Black Keys, Twenty One Pilots, and Luke Bryan (yes, even country).

What are some positive comments made by others about you?
That I have the ability to remain calm and serene in the face of chaos.

Caring, Warm, Confident

What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood.  It was a fast read, and quite entertaining.

What is your philosophy for birth & supporting women and their partners through labor?
I believe what families need most is nurturing and gentle support.  I believe that each labor and birth is a unique and miraculous experience and the emerging family is the center and focus of that experience.  While the course of labor and birth is unpredictable, each family should be able to choose for themselves how they would like to respond to it – where they feel safe, who they want to deliver their baby, who else they want with them and whether they want to use pain medications and other medical interventions.

Favorite Show: This is Us
Favorite Vacation: We try to go to Topsail Beach, NC every other summer.  My family has also taken a liking to Grand Haven, MI.
Favorite Food: Pizza, anything with buffalo sauce and cake.
Favorite Hobby: Reading, Gardening, Crafting

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
What is this “day off” you are speaking of and where can I find it?  I enjoy keeping busy, starting my day at the gym before my kiddos are awake and sneaking a cup of coffee before they’ve started their day.  My dream “day off” would be sleeping in a bit, reading a good book in a quiet café, and getting a massage.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to clone myself so I can be in 2 places at one time.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

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

Why Doulas Are Just Like “Sadness”

Did you watch the Disney movie “Inside Out”?  There is one scene that as a doula resonates with me.   The character Sadness sits down next to Bing Bong after his magical rocket is lost forever.  Bing Bong is clearly upset.  Joy tries to cheer him up.  But Sadness… Sadness listens to him.  Just listens.   She sees him upset and starts with, “I’m sorry that they took your rocket.  They took something that you loved. It’s gone…..forever. ”  Then as Bing Bong opens up she asks questions about the fun he and Riley had on that rocket.   Sadness lets Bing Bong feel his feelings.  By letting him feel his sadness and talk about it she validated his feelings.  A warm embrace and then Bing Bong felt a little better and was able to continue the journey.  film (1)

This is important to doulas.  This is a role we strive to provide.  Not to be “Sadness” per se but to be support that hears you .  We don’t believe you should be a certain way, we just want you to be.  We do not tell you how to feel, we let you feel.

This transcends our doula life and is useful in all relationships.  Parenting, friendships, relatives.  Sadness has it right:

Listen.

Validate.

Support.

That movie has such great lessons to all ages on communication and emotions.  We thank Sadness for being her.  Let us support you and be your listening ear!

 

 

Families Experiencing Loss and Infertility | Resources

From the moment you get a positive test, your dreams and hopes for this new baby comes to life in thoughts of the future, planning, and expectation.  On the other side, you may never get a positive test, or you have had children and now it isn’t working; that all comes with it’s own weight of disappointment and discouragement.

Miscarriage, loss, and infertility are trying times for all families.  When we come face to face with our deepest feelings, it can actually be a lonely place and feel like no one can truly relate.  Many will try cheer you up, give positive spins on the situation and say well intentioned statements to you because they want to try to help you feel happy again.  However, dismissing or shoving away our feelings doesn’t help us deal with our pain.

Your feelings are real.

…they are valid, and it’s completely ok to have them, talk about them, & express them.  It’s all part of the process in coming through to the other side of the darkness.  Below you will find lists of helpful resources when going through such an event in the Metro Detroit area.

Bereavement/Loss/Miscarriage In-Person Groups/Websites –

Counselors –

  • Embracing Life Counseling – Laurette Lipman
  • Laurel Hicks

Books –

  • A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life is Expected to Be Brief by Amy Kuebelbeck
  • Celebrating Pregnancy Again: Restoring the lost joys of pregnancy after the loss of a child by Franchesca Cox
  • Not Pregnant by Cathie Quillet (Infertility)
  • Sufficient Grace by Kelley Gerken
  • Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss by Sherokee Ilse
  • I’ll Hold You In Heaven by Jack Hayford

Online support recommendations from fellow moms we know:

  • Resolve – The National Infertility Association
  • The Bump miscarriage/pregnancy loss board
  • Facebook group: Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss – 3.4K members
  • Metro Detroit Share

Grieving family members usually find it helpful to continue talking about the situation as much as needed, as often as needed and allowing themselves to feel the full range of their emotions.  It’s ok to be both happy and sad at the same time, there is nothing wrong in that.

It can also be healing to do something special to honor your baby like a dedicated memorial stone at the zoo, planting a tree, create a blog or a website, celebrating birthdays, holding on to mementos, also wearing pins, getting tattoos, or applying car stickers of remembrance can help to heal as well.

Sending out virtual hugs those of you in this spot, dealing with life’s unfairness and processing that our worlds will forever be changed or missing something.

If you have something you feel would be beneficial to add to the list above, please let us know by commenting below.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

If you have any questions or needs, we are here for you & will do our best to help.  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Six ways Daylight Savings Time changes after you become a parent

Remember Daylight Savings Time before parenting? It probably barely registered. Maybe you were tired for a day or something vague and unremarkable.

But now, as a parent, you have little minions who rise with the roosters demanding food, fun and you, you, you to be awake, awake, awake. There’s not enough coffee in the world to save you now. Luckily, the vast majority of parents do end up surviving Daylight Savings Time, so don’t worry.

While you may or may not grab a nap, you can handle Daylight Savings Time like a boss this year. Just don’t forget to set your clocks ahead at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 11, 2018. Have fun springing forward.

To help you with the looooonnnngggg day ahead, here are six ways Daylight Savings Time changes after you become a parent. Read on:

Exhaustion

Maybe you felt a mild tiredness in your pre-parenting days after Daylight Savings Time. The delicate yawn, the extra cappuccino, sipped at brunch, the cozy afternoon nap. Ahh, yes. We remember. Those days are gone.

DST 1

Scheduling

Before your sweet little bundle, you probably had a vague bedtime or routine. But now, you likely live and breathe by the schedule. Naps, meals, bedtime: You need to stick with it. Daylight Savings Time blows that all up, leaving you back at square one.

Chaos

Let’s face it: You now know that an hour of sleep is priceless. And losing it can cause chaos in your home. When do we eat? When do we nap? WHO KNOWS? And overtired and cranky kids can be hard to deal with, especially if you are a new parent. Luckily, if you need overnight care, we can help so reach out!

Longest Day Ever

There are So. Many. Hours. to fill after Daylight Savings Time. Are there even that many episodes of Paw Patrol? Do you want to find out? Before kids, you probably used that extra hour to have a cocktail, or read a book. Nope. Those days are gone.

It lasts … and lasts

It generally takes about a week for your kids to adjust to Daylight Savings Time. Yes, we know. It isn’t fair. Before you had the tiny humans, you probably were tired for a day, maybe two. But it didn’t drag on and on…and on.

DST 3

Mo’ light = mo’ problems

With the days getting longer, you are likely to face an even greater push back at bedtime. Kids are smart: It’s still light out! We can’t possibly go to bed yet! This was never an issue for you before. You only had one person to put to bed: Yourself. And you were easy compared to these masters of negotiation.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We have young children too, so we’ll be in the trenches with all parents this weekend. May your coffee be strong, and your wi-fi signal stronger. We can do this!

 

 

 

The importance of writing down your birth story

Every mother has a unique birth story.

Whether your birth was perfect, less-than-ideal, calm, hectic, emotional or anticlimactic (hey, it happens!), the story of the day you became a mother is a tale you will tell over and over for the rest of your life.

It’s the story of the day you became a mom; a family. A day when you met that precious little baby who had been kicking you from within for nine months. When you found out what it’s like to hold love in your arms and how strong and brave you truly are. When you conquered fear, pain, stress and endured – to create and bring forth life.

birth blog pic 2

We love birth stories; it’s why we do what we do. We know how much of an honor it is to be a part of YOUR birth story and we love watching families being born.

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we believe writing down your birth story (even if you never show a soul) is something every mother (and perhaps partner – it’s so interesting to see each perspective) should do. It’s a part of your amazing journey.

Even if you aren’t a writer, putting words to paper about the day you met the love of your life is something we should all do. Not sure where to start or what to say? Luckily, you are the storyteller. This is your tale.

Whether it’s sad, funny, embarrassing, disappointing or joyful, it belongs to you. Your story MATTERS.

birth blog 3

Writing your story might be difficult but it can also be healing, cathartic and moving. It’s also a way for you to remember and capture this special time, creating something you will cherish for years to come. The details you think you’ll remember forever will fade over time.  It’s a part of your family history. One day, when your baby is having a baby, you might feel compelled to share it. Think of what a gift that will be.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We are honored to be a part of your wonderful birth story!

Three things you need to know about hiring overnight care

As a new parent, you might think you want to hire a night nurse, or perhaps someone told you to get a night nanny.

But did you know, a postpartum and infant care doula is that – and so much more! As postpartum and infant care doulas, we are trained and certified to care for your whole family.

It isn’t always easy to get the sleep you need with a new baby (or even an older child), but luckily, we can help. If you have ever wished for an extra set of hands at night – to comfort your newborn or soothe your toddler – that is what postpartum and infant care doulas do on an overnight shift.

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are trained to help with your family’s nighttime needs. Want to chat while you are nursing? Need help with a restless baby? Want someone there to support you or your partner? Want to get as much sleep as possible? We can do it all. We are chameleons, really: We can adapt and serve whatever your family’s nighttime needs are, tonight and tomorrow.

It’s a sacred trust to be supporting parents during their nighttime parenting journey, and we don’t take it lightly. We’re sharing three things you need to know about hiring a postpartum and infant care doula. Read on:

Who needs overnight care?

Really, any parent could likely use an extra set of hands from time to time, but most of our work is for new parents. We can work with newborns, multiples (twins and more!) and older siblings. We can tend to the baby while you soothe your older child. We can soothe the older child while you tend to baby. We can give baby a bottle so you can sleep all night, or we can bring baby to you if you are nursing. We can bring you what you need so your nighttime process is easy and swift – meaning you can get back to sleep as soon as possible.

Our goal is to support your family in whatever way you need. If you hit a wall with sleep, call us. We can help.

overnight care blog image 1

Where do we sleep?

A place for sleep must be provided, but really, we can rest just about anywhere (we don’t usually do too much sleeping!). A comfy couch and a cozy blanket work fine, as does an air mattress or – if you have it – a guest room. We rest when the baby rests. We also work to protect everyone’s boundaries and privacy needs by establishing trust. Working with you at night is a privilege. We know that. We do our best to make it supportive, easy and respectful.

What are your hours?

Generally, we can be at your home anytime, but most clients utilize our services from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. Upon arrival, we take time to talk about how things are going and how your baby (or older child) is doing. We make a plan on how we will handle the night and address any issues or concerns. It isn’t cookie-cutter. We adapt to what you need on that night.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

If you have been considering hiring overnight care, we’d love to chat. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

Tips To Get Through The Holiday Parties With A New Baby

As the holidays are upon us there are many opportunities for gatherings and parties.  These can be overwhelming to a new baby and it’s new parent.  Here are some tips to get through it:

 1) First determine if the outing is appropriate to you and your baby.

  • How old is baby?  Brand spanking new?  Has the cord fallen off and healed?  Did your doctor or midwife offer any suggestions when baby is ready to be out and about?
  • What about you?  Are you still healing and recovering?  Be gentle on yourself.  Even just sitting and chatting can be draining.  Decide if the activity will create too much stress.  Resting and healing can go a long way and you’ll feel better faster than if you do too much too fast.
  • Will your family or friends be helpful to you?  Sometimes these gatherings can be a time to get help with baby tasks and it is refreshing to get out of the house and talk to other adults you haven’t seen in a while.

 
christmas baby 
2) Prepare and pack all the things.

Assess how long you will likely be at the party and add some more time on to get there.  Then make a list of the the things you may need during that time.  Some are listed below:

  • Diaper change necessities
  • Feeding items: nursing cover, formula, bottles, etc.
  • Pacifier if being used
  • At least one extra outfit
  • Burp cloths
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Wrap/carrier- *Babywearing is great to keep baby close if you don’t want too many people touching your baby*

xmas dinner.png
 
3)  It is not selfish to focus on YOUR family and what you need.

If the holiday party feels like too much it is OK to pass or leave earlier than planned.  Don’t worry about upsetting Aunt Sally.  Your baby will be just as adorable the next time you see everyone!

  • Do what makes you feel the best
    • If visiting sounds fun, you feel healthy, baby is ready to go out, then go and enjoy!
    • If visiting sounds draining, you feel too tired or weak, allow yourself to stay home.  Your health matters most.

Metro Detroit Doula Services hopes your holiday season is filled with love.  Our Doula services make for lovely gift ideas!  Call us today 586-960-5993!  For more tips about life with babies check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

The Fear of Giving Birth Again

“You have done this before.  You know what you are doing!”  Anyone who has given birth once and is now preparing to birth baby number 2, or 3, or 10 has probably heard someone say this.  Maybe you feel like, “Heck yeah I got this!”, or you maybe you want to reply, “Do I know what I’m doing?  Is it too late to back out?”

Just because you have given birth before does not mean you:

A) Know what to expect this time

B) Feel good about giving birth

C) You don’t need any help, or guidance

D) Are not nervous

Let me be the first to say it is perfectly OK to feel HOWEVER you are feeling about giving birth AGAIN.  Whether it is indeed excitement, or happiness, it is also OK if its not.  Perhaps you have fear of giving birth again.

No matter what you are feeling there are things to do to help you cope with birthing again.

  1. Make a birth plan.  This isn’t just for first time births.  You can perhaps even use what your previous birth was like to help you choose things you for sure know you want to happen again, and things you know you absolute do NOT want to repeat.
  2. Process your feelings.  As you are growing your baby and awaiting your due date it is a good idea to explore your feelings when you are ready. Talk to your partner or doula.  Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
  3. Take a Childbirth Education course.  Maybe you skipped this the first time.  Maybe you need a refresher.  It is always good to learn about as much of the unknown as you can so you can feel more confident.  If you take a group class you may even make friends with someone feeling just like you are!
  4. Surround yourself with positive support.  Your family, your partner, your care provider, your doula and your friends.  Try to keep positive people near you.  People who don’t dismiss your feelings but validate them.

It’s also normal to have your feelings change.  Every pregnant woman at some point or another takes a moment to think about what the upcoming birth may be like.  And with that comes some emotion.   Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your processing and feelings.

push birth labor

What can be cool about giving birth again is maybe you do have an idea of what it is like.  Some of the unknown may be known!  This may allow you to focus on other details.  You may have an idea of what helped you.  Use these to prepare for this next birth.  Use your previous experience as another tool in your tool-belt.

For example, “I thought having family in the waiting room would not bother me.  But I remember feeling bad that they were waiting so long out there.”  Use this as a tool to know you would prefer all excited family to wait for baby’s arrival at home until they are notified to come be with you.

No matter how you are feeling about birthing again, remember you are not alone and there is support to help you!

How Will I Know? | Early Signs of Labor

The weeks of pregnancy are coming and going.  Soon you find yourself nearing the end of gestation.  You are close to your estimated due date. Every pregnant person wonders how will I know if I am in labor?  Ask around and you are sure to hear the advice of, “you’ll just know.”   How helpful is that?

The main thing about early labor signs is that they are not always an absolute guarantee that labor is beginning.  Some things like water breaking means baby needs to come, but others could happen and you have days or dare I say weeks before baby actually arrives.

This list below will give you an idea of what to look for and notice.  Take note that some of these will happen before labor begins, and some will happen during labor.

 

1) Lightening- No, not talking about the weather but when baby moves down into the pelvis.  You may feel able to breathe easier.  This is because as baby drops down it is no longer pressing up on your diaphragm and lungs.  You may notice more pelvic pressure as well since baby is lower and now pressing in that area.  

 

2) Bloody Show and/or Loss of the Mucus Plug The opening to the cervix is actually protected by the mucus plug.  This keeps the bacteria out while you are pregnant.  It isn’t so much of a cork but a long and stringy plug.  You may notice more discharge that can be gooey or not.  Sometimes it will be blood tinged.  That is known as bloody show.  These are both signs of cervical change!

 

3) Nesting- Did you wake up with an urge to get things in order?  Can’t get settled until X,Y, or Z is done?  Do you feel energized to get these all accomplished NOW?!  Then you may be nesting.  A sense of urgency to complete things coupled with the actual energy to do them are classic nesting signs.  

nesting image.png

Packing your hospital bag?  Checking things off a list?  These are common nesting items!

 

4) Contractions- A low aching sensation, or period like cramps coming and going, may be the beginning of contractions.  In early labor they can be pretty spread out (even as far at 20 to 30 mins apart).   If you notice a pattern setting in try timing them.  They will gradually get longer, stronger, and closer together as your uterus is working to bring baby down.   Longer, stronger, and closer together contractions are one difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and labor.  

 

5) Water Breaking- At some point your body will cause your membranes to rupture.   For some women this will be the start of labor.  Very few women will feel a dramatic gush like the movies.  Much more likely, you won’t know if you peed yourself or your water broke.  It can feel like a gush or a constant trickle.  If the fluid leaking is odorless it may be amniotic fluid.  Take note of the color of the fluid, odor, how much fluid leaked or is leaking, and the time of the water breaking.  Update your care provider on this information.  

If you are experiencing some of these baby may be coming very soon.  While you are waiting for one of these signs rest, hydrate, and enjoy the last days of pregnancy!