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Trimming baby’s nails. Hard pass.

By Andrea Stainbrook

You stare down lovingly at your sweet bundle. Squishy and angelic. An angel with claws! It is always amazing to see how fast babies can grow their nails. Some come out of the womb with long nails. New babies may need a trim as often as every few days!

While looking at your sweet unsuspecting baby you are thinking, “Nope, not gonna do that. I don’t want to hurt him!” That’s totally ok… for a little bit. There are those little newborn mittens, or even baby socks you can put over your baby’s hands so that they don’t scratch themselves. Eventually though it needs to happen.

Step one: Deep breaths. You CAN DO THIS!

Step 2: Gather your tool of choice.

Clippers, scissors (nail scissors not your kitchen’s junk drawer scissors), or files. Clippers are the most commonly used. They sell mini ones perfect for tiny hands. Some even have magnifying glasses on them. Scissors are typically more expensive but those who prefer them like the control they have. The fear with either of those is accidentally cutting the baby. Files are known not to draw blood and people like that there is no cutting of any kind. Sometimes baby’s nails are soft though so files can be hard to use until their nails are hardened.

It is not a good idea to bite them off or tear them off. Taking off too much nail is easy to do and can lead to ingrown nails or discomfort.

Step 3: Take your time and pick a good moment of the day to trim your baby’s nails.

Some parents like to make this something they do together with their partner or helpful friend, as some babies like to squirm. It is not a bad idea to add it to a routine or schedule if you are following one. Perhaps add it onto bathtime, the bedtime routine, or even tack it on to playtime. “See baby? This is fun!”

You will learn that it is doable! It can be daunting at first because we never want to harm our little ones accidentally. With patience and practice it will become a breeze of a parenting task.

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……

Morning sickness…HELP!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Congrats! You peed on a stick and discovered you are pregnant! One of the most common and most talked about symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness.

Hello toilet my old friend.

WHAT IS MORNING SICKNESS?

Morning sickness is nausea in pregnancy. It is believed to be caused by pregnancy hormones and estrogen. Some lovingly refer to it as “all-day sickness.” Although there may be some whom experience nausea upon waking and it dissipates as the day goes on, others will have it happen at varying times in the day. Or all day. Approximately 70% of expecting mothers will experience some amount of nausea.

WHEN WILL MORNING SICKNESS BEGIN?

You may experience morning sickness as early as 4 – 8 weeks along. Some people will no longer feel the effects of morning sickness at around the 14 week mark. This can vary for everyone though.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY MORNING SICKNESS?

There are many remedies for trying to help ease the unpleasantness of morning sickness.

FOOD:

-Eat what sounds good and avoid foods that trigger the nausea.

-Foods high in protein like eggs are believed to be helpful at keeping nausea at bay longer.

-Other options that are good to eat: crackers, bread, fries and soda ( I call these “hangover foods”), sour candies, sucking on hard candies, ginger items like ginger ale or ginger candies, and all the plain foods (potatoes, rice, toast).

-Nibble on crackers first thing upon waking.

-Eat many small things throughout the day instead of big meals spread far apart.

-Avoid waiting too long to eat and getting dehydrated as those seem to make it worse.

OTHER REMEDIES:

-Can you keep yourself busy and your mind off of it? Some find distraction a helpful tool.

-A holistic approach is using an item like Sea Bands. These use acupressure to help curb the nausea.

TALK TO YOUR CARE PROVIDER:

-If the nausea isn’t subsiding or it is interfering with your daily life please reach out to your doctor or midwife. There are some medicines available to help. If you have extreme vomiting and/or nausea you could be diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarium and they will help devise a treatment plan right for you.

Hopefully the items mentioned above helps you tolerate morning sickness. It isn’t an easy thing to go through so be gentle on yourself, and hang in there!

5 anxiety reducing tips in pregnancy

by Andrea Stainbrook

It is normal to worry, or feel anxious in pregnancy. There is a lot happening. Your body is changing, as well as your life is changing! So many things to consider and think about. It can easily be overwhelming. For some you may already have a history with anxiety or have other stress factors compounding your feelings during pregnancy. Always be gentle with yourself.

Give a call to that person who will just listen.

Here are our 5 tips to help lessen the anxiety you feel:

  1. Get your feelings out! Talk about it. And talk about it ideally with someone who won’t judge you and will just listen. Our doulas are trained in this and available to their clients. A good friend or family member can be a great listening ear as well. If you have a partner let them hear you. By speaking about your emotions you will begin to process them.
  2. Get moving! Find an exercise or activity that will let your mind wander away from the pressing worries. Exercise is known to be a mood booster overall and hopefully it can help you think more clearly. Finding a local pre-natal yoga class (or other pre-natal centered exercise class) can be a good option as you can meet others that may have similar feelings and have an understanding of what you are going through. Walking and running are good options as well! Get out and smell that fresh air.
  3. Take a birth class! Many times the fear of the unknown is scary. Often it can be the fear of childbirth itself. By learning more about it and what to expect you can reduce some of the anxiety you have surrounding it. We, at Metro Detroit Doula Services, offer birth classes monthly or will even teach you privately in the comfort of your own home. Knowledge is power, and in this case knowing more about it may bring some calm.
  4. Practice your breathing! Focusing on your breathing is a great tool for coping with anxiety as well as great practice for birth. Long slow deep breaths are ideal. Take a long breath in through your nose filling your lungs, then release it long, low, and slow. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  5. Discuss it with your doctor! It is always a great idea to keep your care provider in the loop with how you are mentally feeling. They will be the best tool to help you come up with tailored ways to address your anxiety, referrals to therapists, as well as know what is available to you if medication is the best path. If you cannot function through your normal daily life or you are having anxiety attacks please reach out to your doctor right away. They will be able to help you navigate your next steps.
A daily yoga practice can incorporate your breathing practice and exercise.

Hopefully you will see some improvement by implementing some of the tips above. It is OK to have worries and stresses. It is normal to need to process your fears. We don’t want those feelings to consume you though. Take care of yourself and give us a call if you need a listening ear!

What is your ultimate birth mix-tape?

by Andrea Stainbrook

One thing that can help you cope in labor is an environment around you that brings you comfort. Music is one factor that can really help our minds be calm, distracted, or energized even!

Ever go for a drive and a song comes on that takes you to a memory? You could almost smell the smells from that time! Our connection to music is powerful. Imagine getting into the zone and focusing on some tunes. That will certainly help distract you from some intense feelings of labor. Music is a wonderful sensory input.

No matter where you birth, hospital, birthing center, or at home you can play the music of your choice. Bring a portable Bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone.

Portable Bluetooth speakers are perfect for bringing with you. Don’t forget batteries or the charger cord for it as well!

Pro-tip: Create several playlists.

Labor has times that you need relaxing tunes, but it also may need some jams that are upbeat and uplifting. The rhythm of labor is similar to baby’s heart rate which averages between 110 and 160 beats per minute. Think Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around Comes Around,” which is about 150 bpm. So it is a good idea to make a few playlists.

Ideas for playlists:

  • One that can perk you up! Maybe even laugh!
  • One that is super relaxing and you could almost drift off to sleep listening to it.
  • Visualizations being repeated.
  • A mash up of all your favorites from a variety of artists and genres.

There is no right or wrong to what you should listen to. If it speaks to you and brings you comfort it is perfect! Also now is the time to pay full price for any streaming service. No one wants commercials when giving birth!

So when creating your mixes think about songs that give you the feels. If they trigger you to feel good that also helps with the hormone oxytocin being released, which is the hormone that causes your uterus to contract! This is all good news in keeping a labor moving! If you are having a planned Cesarean birth you can request for you music to be played or to wear ear buds during the birth if possible.

In my career I have heard a variety of styles that people enjoy in birth. From reggae, to 90s hits, to heavy metal, to rap, and everything in between. What will your mix be?

You matter too! Self-care with a newborn

by Andrea Stainbrook

Self-Care. Self-care seems to be a buzzword now of days. And for good reason! Life is busy, hectic, hard, and we often forget to check in with ourselves. Just like our cars, we all can eventually run out of gas and when we do it can be dark, sad, and lonely.

So life after giving birth is no different.

You have this sweet little newborn. Sweet as a ripe juicy orange, yet demanding, and time consuming. So time consuming we put ourselves last. We are lucky to brush our teeth before 5 p.m. sometimes.

So try not to let things slide too far. Make sure everyday you find moments. MOMENTS. One small moment to yourself can mean a huge deal to your mental load. These moments can look like sneaking in a few pages of a good book while baby naps. Maybe even resting your own eyes.

When feasible set up support. DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP. Have a visitor or a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula? Let them tend to the baby for 30 minutes (or more) while you shower undisturbed! Or read a trashy magazine! Or fill in the blank here! Try to do something that doesn’t require any thought about anything else. Clear your head.

Have a goal each day to do at least one thing that is just FOR YOU.

Something that fills your bucket and makes you breathe a little easier.

Maybe you can squeeze in a relaxing bath when a helper is visiting!

Caring for others can cost us a lot sometimes. So check your receipt! Make sure there are some deposits going in! Take care of yourself and in turn you will be able to better care for your newborn.

Snack time tips for new parents

by Andrea Stainbrook

Snacking comes easy to many. For some it may even be hard to imagine that there may be day you need to be reminded to eat! Those days are called “after baby life.” That’s right! You have this beautiful new swaddled bundle that surprisingly takes up an enormous amount of energy and it may hit lunch time when you realize you haven’t even had a bite to eat yet! You need fuel.

Tricks for successful snacking when taking care of itty bitty humans:

  • Select food options that are easy to eat with ONE hand!
  • Overstock yourself with non-perishable snacks
  • Have your support people, like your Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, prepare and bring you tasty delights!
  • Buy the pre-cut fruit and veggies for less prep time
  • Leave snacks out and available so they are easy to grab

What are some easy snack time favorites for new moms and dads?

  • Fruits like grapes and apples are easy as they require no cutting
  • Cut-up veggies
  • yogurt
  • cheese sticks
  • crackers
  • popcorn
  • protein bars
  • avocado
  • nuts
  • lunch meat

If you want to jazz it up simply have some nut butters easily available and dip your fruit and veggies into some peanut or almond butter! If you really want to dress it up add a few chocolate chips on top! Check out a family favorite of “Celery Explosion!”

Bottom line keep it simple, keep them available. Being new parents is hard work and you need the energy from regular snacks to get you through the day!

What is continuous monitoring?

by Andrea Stainbrook

We all have visions of what being in labor and what being in the labor room will look like. We try to envision ourselves coping, and breathing. But what about the extra things that we may need. What does that even look like? One thing all people will need at the very least intermittently is monitoring. Some will need to be monitored continuously throughout the entire labor process.

Let’s dive into what continuous monitoring looks like in an average hospital setting!

Firstly why would you need continuous monitoring? Every care provider will proceed to their comfort level on how they feel they can best determine if you and baby are doing well. EFM or Electronic Fetal Monitoring, will help your doctor/midwife determine if baby is tolerating a contraction well. Here are some instances that are common to be monitored throughout the entire birth process:

  • The pregnancy is deemed high risk for any reason
  • When you arrive to the hospital and they do an initial assessment where something seen requires it (it could be a heartbeat tracing the care provider isn’t fond of, high blood pressure, to name a couple)
  • A medical intervention is being used or medical pain relief being administered

So you are told you need to be continuously monitored. What is the monitor and how does it work?

In the hospital room next to the bed there is always a little table or shelf. On that shelf sits the unit for the monitor.

There are wires that connect two separate pieces with belts to the monitor. One belt uses Doppler or ultrasound to measure the baby’s heart rate. The other is measuring the length and strength of the uterine contractions. The monitor unit will have a small screen and a printer that displays these tracings.



Monitoring was developed and is used to ensure that baby is doing well throughout the labor. Doctors and midwives use it as a tool to assess what is going on. With constant monitoring there are chances that care providers could change a course of care due to something they deem “non-reassuring.” It is always a good idea to discuss with your doctor or midwife how they like to proceed with monitoring and never feel you cannot ask questions.


Are there alternatives? Yes! Intermittent monitoring is most common for low risk pregnancies. That means the laboring person would be connected to the EFM as described above for a short period every hour or so just to see how baby is handling the contractions. Once everything is deemed OK you are disconnected. You can always ask if this is an option, or at what point it could become an option if you were told continuous monitoring is preferred. There are also wireless monitors or telemetry monitors that allow the sensors to be secured to the belly without any wires connecting you to a machine! Some can even get wet and allow continuous monitoring even in the water! Every hospital will be equipped with different kinds and amounts of these so ask at your hospital tour, your next appointment, or even when you arrive on the big day if these are available.

So physically is it a bummer to be monitored? Some would say for mobility reasons it is a downside. If you have to be connected to the beside monitor the wires still let you move around but you are limited. You will have space near the bed and on the bed. Don’t fret though! You can still get into lots of positions and allow yourself movement. Also they are not a perfect fit. As baby/babies move and as you move the best spots to pick up the readings may move too. So one common talked about downside is sometimes there is a need to readjust where they are placed often. So your nurse will keep readjusting the monitor throughout the labor. For some the bands themselves may be uncomfortable. Don’t hesitate to ask for help adjusting the bands to a more comfy position.

Monitoring throughout labor is a reality for some. Now you have an idea of what that may actually look like!

Five reasons to join a parenting group after you have a baby

The first few weeks (or months) of adjusting to parenthood can be overwhelming. It can also be isolating.

But, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! In this day and age, there are so many options for new parents to socialize – both in person and online.

A parenting group can be a real life-saver when it comes to the critical adjustment period after a baby arrives. There are many benefits to seeking out and joining a parenting group, even if you are an introvert.

Here are five reasons to join a parenting group after you have a baby. Read on:

Friendship

There are few friendships like new mom (or dad!) friendships. Transitioning to parenthood isn’t always easy, and we’ve found that a listening ear or two can really help you feel less isolated and alone.

Advice

While not everyone parents the same, sometimes, it’s refreshing and good to hear from others about their parenting journey. Of course, you can also seek out a like-minded parenting group: There are groups for parents who spend time in the NICU, who plan to practice attachment parenting, single parents. The list is endless.

Social time

Babies don’t keep, as the saying goes and at some point, you will likely want your child to get some social time and make a few friends of his or her own. Parenting groups are great for that, because chances are, you will find parents with children the same age and developmental stage as your own.

Support

Let’s face it: You need people who understand what you are going through and who will be there for you on those days when you are tired and frustrated. In addition to emotional support many groups will bring you meals if you are ill, help with childcare and more.

Fun

A group of parents and babies: What could be more fun! Most parenting groups can help you not only with the daily grind of being a mom or dad but they can also make it LESS of a grind. Even if you are chatting online or texting, knowing you can turn to your friends for a laugh, a play date or just a quick chat makes this whole gig a lot more enjoyable.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We have a great online community of parents. We are adding community meetings to our calendar in 2019. Check us out on Facebook!

Easy slime for a super fun time!

by Andrea Stainbrook


Easy and safe slime recipes can turn a boring afternoon into a fun one full of memories!

Kids love slime. There seems to be a slime wave sweeping the nation! It is actually a fabulous toy for so many ages. From younger toddlers to middle schoolers!

Making this concoction can be a learning opportunity too! It’s a great way to talk about science. You could formulate experiments! What will it stick to? How far does it stretch? Making and playing with slime is a wonderful tactile experience. Kids love to use their hands to explore and the feeling of slime is an interesting one to say the least.

The slime recipe I like to follow is one without anything harsh. Borax is a common ingredient in many and can be irritating to skin. When looking for directions on how to make easy and safe slime you can find our favorite here on Elmer’s website.

My kids like to experiment and seem to be experts at eyeballing the perfect amounts to make their slime. So don’t worry if your measurements aren’t perfect!

Click here to watch Lydia & Estelle make slime!

Simple Slime Ingredients:

-Washable glue

-Baking soda

-Contact solution

Other items that can add to the fun:

-Food dye

-Glow in the dark glue

-Glitter or glitter glue

-Foam beads

Pro-tip: If slime gets on your clothes or furniture try using vinegar to remove it!

So the next time you need an activity to spice up your day think about making an easy slime recipe with your little ones!