Family

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!

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!

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.

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Diana Abdallah

We are pleased to introduce Diana!  Diana has joined MDDS as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula.  She is very active in the birth world supporting families physically and through her writing on Detroit Moms Blog, amongst other things.

She launched into family doula care after having had personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety herself.  Diana knows first hand the difficulties and challenges that many new families struggle with as they transition to their new normal.  She is motivated to improve the experiences of the new families she works with!  Read on to learn more about Diana.

All about her family: I’ve been married since 2009, to a supportive, loving, hard worker, and handsome husband Mike.  I’m a mom to a sweet, kind, and crazy boy, Vincent (aka Vinny), and newly rescued a fur-baby Goldendoodle, Noah.

I love getting amazing baby snuggles and connecting with families of all kinds. – Diana Abdallah

 


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

Bruno Mars (#mancrush)

What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?
I recommend kellymom.com for all breastfeeding questions/concerns and thewonderweeks.com for developmental mental leaps.

Passionate. Caring. Supportive.

What is your philosophy for parenting & supporting women and their families through their postpartum transition?
Unconditional support regardless of your parenting style and path.

Who is your role model? I am a bit torn between PINK and Ellen. (MDDS LOVES Ellen too!)

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families:
Schedule date nights, ASAP. Once you learn to get out without the baby in the early months it is easier than to start when they get bigger.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Diana supporting your new family!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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.

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 to 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
  • James Blundo, PLLC

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.