Family

Newborn Sleep Guidelines

It is always a good idea to stay up to date on current recommendations. The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, has specific guidelines for safe sleep practices.

Placing babies (through one year old) on their back to sleep is the most current recommendation for safe sleep. Room sharing is considered ideal for the first six months. This means having your baby on a firm sleep surface, i.e. crib or bassinet, laying on its back somewhere in the room with you the parent. Swaddling your baby is just fine! Keep loose items and bedding away from your baby.

Many babies like to be swaddled.

Sleeping in a Rock n’ Play Sleeper is not safe and the item has been recalled.

Here are some recommended links and articles from the AAP:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/child_death_review/Pages/Safe-Sleep.aspx

https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/

Our Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas stay current with the recommendations set forth by the AAP and follow their guidelines when caring for your baby. If you have more questions or concerns reach out to your pediatrician.

Dogs and bringing home baby

I remember when we got our oldest dog, George. My husband and I were young and had just moved across the country from Michigan to Arizona. Together we walked through the aisles of the shelter looking in every kennel. From barking faces, jumping paws, and puppy dog eyes we noticed him. Curled up and looking at us like, “I know right? These other dogs are loud!” There was George.

We took him for a walk outside and he was perfect. Chill, medium-sized with a funky tail that looked like it never fully grew. We were smitten and that was it. We took him home.

We quickly added a basset hound, Jerry, to our family as well. He was the sweetest and had the deepest howl.

Years passed and we discovered our first baby was on its way! With these two pups and the new pregnancy also came feelings of, “what will it look like to have a baby and the dogs?” “Will my dogs get along with the baby?” “How will I take care of everyone?”

Having a baby shifts your whole world period. Every aspect of your what you consider part of your daily life before your child arrives is affected. So it is normal to be concerned about your fur-babies as well. It is OK to process your feelings on the changes about to happen. And it is realistic to worry about your pet’s transition and adjustment as well.

So set your dog up for success!

While you are still pregnant you can have some of the baby items out and around. This way they visually start seeing their surroundings change. If you have a dog that doesn’t roll with change much (some dogs will bark at the furniture after you moved it) this may be an important step. Baby gear tends to appear in every room!

You can try to have your dog get familiar with your baby’s smell even before you arrive home. Have a visitor take the newborn hat or receiving blanket that your newborn has been in home to your dogs. Let them smell and inspect it.

Set up positive associations with your baby!

Have treat bowls throughout the house, especially near places where you will be lounging with your baby often. When your dog comes near your baby give them a treat!

BABY = GOOD

Did your baby kick your dog on accident when it stretched out its leg? Doggy gets some cheese! A nice high reward!

Have care in place for your pet.

Once you are home you may want to hire a dog walker, schedule extra doggy day care visits, or take advantage of helpful friends and family to give your dog extra love and exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog. On top of that your attention is now split so they get some extra cuddles in.

Life after baby is an adjustment. This means for the WHOLE family including your dogs. Most dogs are loving, understanding, and adjust just fine. Some even seem to take on a protective role over your baby. It’s beautiful to watch your children grow and become dog lovers themselves. There is something so magical about the relationship we have with our pets, and its awesome to share that with our babies.

Written by Andrea Stainbrook

Are you watching “9 Months That Made You”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Andrea Stainbrook

Guest blog: Moving with a growing family

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

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

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

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

Before your make the move:  Stick to a routine. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest blog by Ariel Radtke, Real Estate Agent

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

Let’s let go of mom guilt

by Andrea Stainbrook

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

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

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

How can we stop it?

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

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

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

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

A bad moment doesn’t mean a bad day.

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

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

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

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

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

The benefits of a pacifier

by Andrea Stainbrook

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

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

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

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

The benefits of pacifier use:

Reduced risk of SIDS up to one year of age.

Calms the baby

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

Baby’s pulse slows

Strengthens the baby’s sucking ability

Reduces crying

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

Pro-tip:

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

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

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

Metro Detroit Doula Services

Contact us to learn more!

(Resource 1, Resource 2)

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

by Andrea Stainbrook

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

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

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

The first year means you became a parent.

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

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

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?