Postpartum

Is it normal? | Wow! My boobs are huge!

And just like that you have a couple of large hard melons for breasts.

For some after giving birth their body changes from producing colostrum (the thick usually deeper in color, yellow or orange-ish first food your breasts produce) to breastmilk unbeknownst to you and your boobs. The first sign is “look honey there’s actual milk dripping from my nipples!” For others as their supply builds somewhere on or between day 2 and day 7 after birth you look down and cannot believe your eyes! Just when you thought they couldn’t get any bigger……

“WOW! My boobs are huge!”

They may get ginormous. They may feel hard. They may be really uncomfortable. This is known as breast engorgement. It is common and it is normal!

It can sometimes feel alarming to feel such heavy breasts. You feel like you are carrying around a couple of bowling balls!

Signs of breast engorgement:

Boobs that feel: Hard, warm, or overall uncomfortable.

The skin may feel tight and even be shiny.

-Some have felt like their breasts looked like very inflated balloons, melons, or balls.

So you determined yes, these breasts are engorged. Know its OK and there are things you can do to help it. For most this will pass in 24 hours. Sometimes it can last up to 10 days especially if not doing anything to prevent or help it.

What you can do to help:

Frequent feeding if you are nursing. One goal given by Le Leche League International is to breastfeed at least 10 times a day.

Ensure that when your baby is breastfeeding it has a proper latch. If your baby is not latched correctly it may not remove much milk from your breasts. This in turn tells your body to decrease the amount of milk it is making, which isn’t great for your supply.

Massage your breasts before a feed. Massage starting from up high near your collarbone and move downward to your nipples. Do this in a circular motion.

-Warm compresses. Applying heat 5-10 minutes before nursing can help ease some of the milk out and make for a less forceful letdown so your baby can latch on easier. It also often feels good. These are good to use if you are bottle feeding as well as it helps release some milk and reduce some of the fullness. Be mindful of these though as too much heat can cause more inflammation.

Using washcloths you can make a warm or cold compress. For a warm compress simply run it under hot water and wring it out before use. For a cold compress you can make an ice bath in a bowl and dip the towels in, then wring them out.

-Cold compresses. Doing cycles of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off can bring relief. It is not recommended to leave cold compresses on for an extended period of time. It is also a good idea to have a layer of cloth between the cold pack and your skin. One well loved product is Booby Tubes. They heat up or cool down!

Cold cabbage leaf compresses. These are recommended to be used with initial swelling but then to switch to other cold compresses once the swelling has reduced if you are continuing to nurse. It is believed that cabbage can reduce milk supply when overused. Simply place the cabbage in the fridge to chill it. Green cabbage typically doesn’t stain versus the red cabbage. Cut out the stem from the center of the leaves. This will help the leaves to fit nicely on your breasts. Place them on your breasts or secure them in place with a bra. Once they are wilted remove them. If not nursing you can use these more continuously to help dry up a supply. I know this one sounds weird but many swear by it to reduce swelling.

-Speak with your health care professional. If you are trying to dry up your supply and need relief from the engorgement there may be supplements or specific recommendations from your doctor or lactation consultant. Also if the pain is intolerable or you are concerned it is always a good idea to reach out to your care provider.

If you do have engorgement don’t panic! Follow some of the tips above to help you. Boobs are rather magical and do all sort of shifting and changing before and after birth!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Kelly Galle

Who doesn’t love a warm smile and someone always there to laugh with you or get real with you? This is Kelly Galle. Her compassion and heart for new families is huge. Take a moment to learn more about her!

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

I love “Moms on Call.” They have books based on the age of your child.  “The Contented Baby” basically taught me how to care for a baby.  I also love “Mama Natural” for pregnancy. 

Tell us about your family!

My husband and I have been married for 3 years. We have two black cats that I brought to the relationship. Then we adopted our miniature schnauzer, Eloise, in 2015. After Eloise we adopted our special needs dog, Tallulah Belle, in 2017. In 2018 we had our son, Harrison.       

Look at those matching pineapple shirts! <3

What do you love about being a doula?

I love that I can be a part of someone’s life during such a special and unique time. I feel honored that families let me in their home and trust me with the thing(s) that matter most to them. 

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families.

In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, “hold on to your butts!”

But seriously being a new parent can be really hard. It’s OK to not be OK. But remember your well-being still matters. It’s OK to ask for help. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say. 

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

You would hear a true crime podcast. I’m obsessed with true crime. I really like Wine and Crime and True Crime Garage. 

What are you reading now?

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

What’s your favorite show/movie, vacation, food, hobby?

I love Parks and Rec. I just saw the movie Dumplin’ and I loved it. My favorite vacation was to Belize.  My favorite food is chips and salsa. And I love cleaning, like really love it. 

Who is your role model? 

Rose from Golden Girls or David from Schitts Creek.

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

I don’t think parents have a day off. But I’m a homebody so I like to be with my family, order takeout and watch Netflix. 

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

I would astro-project  because I feel like I could get a lot done while also sleeping. Controlling the weather would be great too. 

What is your favorite song to karaoke?

I don’t karaoke because I care about my fellow humans. But I guess “Wherever, Whenever” by Shakira because I love Shakira’s hair. 

Call us today to ask about Kelly being your Postpartum & Infant Care Doula for your family! We think her curls are up there with Shakira’s 🙂

586-960-5993 or info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Kate Nagle

Kate is a special human brought to Earth to share her laughter and comfort with new families. Metro Detroit Doula Services could not be any happier to have her with us on our team. Learn more about her now!

What is your path to becoming a doula?

I became a doula after having one during the birth of my daughter. I had always known I wanted one, but I had never considered becoming one myself. After MJ was born, I explained the job to several people who pointed out that they thought I might be good at it. So I decided to jump in with both feet, no turning back!

Tell us about your family!

I am married to my lovely wife Marie and we have one 10 month old daughter, MJ. She was conceived through IVF, using my wife’s eggs and my uterus!

Marie (left), Kate, and MJ!

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading The Game of Thrones. Because apparently I enjoy being super late to every party.

I love watching and supporting people as they navigate the first few weeks and months of parenthood whether it is their first time, or their seventh. It is such a crazy journey, and I love being part of the ride. Everyone needs a supportive, listening ear in their court, especially when going through a major life transition.

What do you love to do in your spare time?

When I have free time, which is pretty much during nap time, I love to sew. I just got a new sewing machine, so I have been breaking it in by sewing dresses for my daughter!

What is your philosophy for parenting & supporting families through their transition?

My philosophy is, when it comes to my clients, I have no philosophy besides support, support, support! I take the time to learn about their philosophies, because that is what is important. I then make sure that I do whatever I can to support them and ease their transition into a larger family.

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families:

My best advice is to trust your instincts. And when the unsolicited advice comes too hard and fast and frequent? Let it flow in one ear and out the other. And when that advice gets too overwhelming, talk to your doula!

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

Either the latest Broadway cast recording (currently the Anastasia cast recording) or country

What is your favorite song to karaoke?  

Summer Nights from Grease

Call us today to ask for Kate to be on your team!


Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Carolyn Katchka

Carolyn is a lovely addition to our team! She always has the brightest smile and truly cares about the families she works with. After many years of being a nanny, babysitting, working in daycare, and raising her own children the path of becoming a doula is a perfect fit! So let’s learn more about Carolyn!

Tell us about your family:

I’m married to my husband Case and we have 2 young sons, Jaxson and Gavin. We also have a dog and 2 cats!

Give us 3 words that describe you:

Empathetic. Supportive. Kind.

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

Relaxing with my family, we like to go outside and play, having game night and snuggling up to watch movies.

What is your philosophy for parenting &
supporting families through their transition?

Everyone is trying to be the best parent they can be. I view all parents in the best light and bring nothing but non-judgmental support to the table when working with families. My goal is to help provide some relief to families in an amazing time that can be a very overwhelming, beautiful, exhausting, and an emotional roller-coaster.

What is your favorite vacation?

My family LOVES to go camping and going down rivers in Northern Michigan.

What is your best advice for new/expecting families?

Try to go in with no expectations of what kind of parent you think you or your partner will be, how you think your baby will be, or rushing how soon you think they should be doing something. Always follow your gut, parental intuition is a POWERFUL thing. Ask for advice if you need help or opinions and brush them off if they’re unsolicited or are not helpful.

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

Typically Rock music!

We are so excited and proud to have Carolyn on the Metro Detroit Doula Services team! Contact us today to request to meet her and have her be a part of your care!

End of the school year feelings

It is that time. The time when months of routine, schedule, and learning come to an end. It is the end of the school year. Whether you are cheering as a parent or anxious at the idea of adjusting to summer, no matter the feelings all of them are valid and its OK. For some the shift brings some stress as it is a new adjustment. For some it is seamless and easy.

For me I am mostly feeling excited.

There will be some challenges to adjust to I am sure. I work from home a lot. Figuring out those hours again that I can focus on work while we are all home together will be an adjustment.

But my kids are still little. They grow so fast and I swear by each day their independence increases with leaps and bounds. I want to enjoy the moments. And for the record I will focus on moments. I know I will hear, “Mom, I am bored.” “Mom can we do this? That? What about this?” I know my patience will shorten and some days I will be irritated. That is life as a parent.

But there will be days of snuggles, and sun, and play.

I will rub sunblock onto their creamy soft skin. I will get to judge them on their underwater handstands. 10’s seem to be the best answer every time! I will cut up fresh fruit to enjoy in the blistering sun. I will ride my bike alongside them setting goals to go on farther, longer, rides this summer. I will wipe dripping melted popsicle off their cheeks. I will veg out with them and watch their favorite shows. I will pop popcorn over the stove for family movie nights. I will sit out back and watch them play with the neighborhood kids. I will roast marshmallows and make smores over the bonfire. Limit 2 kids! OK maybe 3! We will read together, we will draw. We will run through the sprinkler and slide down the slip-n-slide. I will let them stay up late and sleep-in in the morning. I will have mornings of homemade pancake breakfasts, and others of quick cereal.

I want to embrace this summer. We may never get around to making those cute summer bucket lists. We may not spend enough time outside. We may have lazy days. We may have boring days. We may have busy days. But we will do them together.

As the school bus makes its final stop for the year I may cry. Tears of joy that we get a little time more together. Tears of “I can’t believe how much and how fast they are growing.” Then I will offer my hand to my girls, see if I get to hold one of theirs one last time home. Then we will embark on our remarkable summer.

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

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!

New Mom in Metro Detroit Seeking Friend

by Andrea Stainbrook

Hello! I am a new mom looking for a friend, likely another new mom, to share this journey with. While taking a break from my busy work life, I am now busy being a parent to young children. Instead of waking up early to squeeze in some gym time, I am up early squeezing diaper cream on a fresh angry rash.

I am looking for someone who is good at patching together stories over the phone that are broken up between calming hungry cries and hollerin’ “gentle hands on the doggie’s tail!” I like to do outings and am open to playdates, or perusing Target while pushing our strollers.

I am over all the judgement and guilt online and looking for real life connection. Can we just be real with each other as we are doing our best to be the best we can? I will pour us each some tea and we can just share what our days are.

I love getting brunch but with the baby it is sometimes easier to get it delivered. Let’s get together and order meals in!

Let’s face it, motherhood can be lonely sometimes. Let’s be friends!

Becoming a mom is a wonderful but tough job! What would your “friend ad” say? Go on try it….New Mom Seeking……

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?