Postpartum

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

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!

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?

 

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

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

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

Record scratch.

Come again?

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

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

#1: It can help with postpartum recovery

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

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

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

#3: It’s not gross!

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

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

#4: It can boost milk production

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

Metro Detroit Doula Services

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

 

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

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

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

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

Erin & her sweetie John


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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite song to Karaoke to?

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

Metro Detroit Doula Services

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

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.

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Do you know the signs?

If you are pregnant, or if you have been pregnant before, you have probably heard of preeclampsia. It’s a condition that can occur during pregnancy and maybe you or someone you love had it.

Preeclampsia can be an extremely serious pregnancy condition that can happen at any time. There are usually warning signs, however, and moms-to-be who get regular prenatal care are generally screened for them at doctor visits.

So, what is it? It’s a hypertensive condition that affects mom AND baby and occurs in 5-8% of all pregnancies, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. It usually occurs after the 20-week mark of pregnancy and it can occur up to six weeks AFTER delivery. The foundation estimates that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy like preeclampsia cause 76,000 maternal and 500,000 fetal deaths annually.

It’s important to know the warning signs, even though some women with preeclampsia have no symptoms. To learn more, read on:

High blood pressure

One of the main signs of preeclampsia is high blood pressure. You can’t tell if you have high blood pressure; it has to be measured by a medical professional. That’s why it is so very important to have proper prenatal care.

pre e 1

Proteinuria

This is a fancy word for “protein in your pee.” And it’s also why your doctor has you pee in a cup during prenatal visits. Your doctor should be checking the protein levels in your urine during visits, to see if the level is changing.

Headaches and nausea

These can be common pregnancy symptoms OR they can be signs of preeclampsia. It’s hard to tell, right? If you have a migraine-like headache that lasts a long time or is exceptionally painful or changes in your vision, call your doctor.

Also, if you have vomiting that happens after the 20-week mark and comes on suddenly, call your OBGYN or midwife. It could be something as simple as food poisoning or a virus but it’s best to be checked out.

pre e 2

Swelling

Many women swell during pregnancy, especially in their feet and for the most part, this is an annoying and normal part of the experience. However, if you have swelling in other areas like your face or hands or excessive swelling in your feet, call your doctor.

Pain

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, especially as baby grows and moves. However, if you have stomach or shoulder pain that comes on suddenly, it could be a warning sign of preeclampsia.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We want you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy!

 

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!

 

 

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!