baby

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

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.

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!

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?

 

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.

 

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.

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!

 

 

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.