Family

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/

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?

 

The Fear of Giving Birth Again

“You have done this before.  You know what you are doing!”  Anyone who has given birth once and is now preparing to birth baby number 2, or 3, or 10 has probably heard someone say this.  Maybe you feel like, “Heck yeah I got this!”, or you maybe you want to reply, “Do I know what I’m doing?  Is it too late to back out?”

Just because you have given birth before does not mean you:

A) Know what to expect this time

B) Feel good about giving birth

C) You don’t need any help, or guidance

D) Are not nervous

Let me be the first to say it is perfectly OK to feel HOWEVER you are feeling about giving birth AGAIN.  Whether it is indeed excitement, or happiness, it is also OK if its not.  Perhaps you have fear of giving birth again.

No matter what you are feeling there are things to do to help you cope with birthing again.

  1. Make a birth plan.  This isn’t just for first time births.  You can perhaps even use what your previous birth was like to help you choose things you for sure know you want to happen again, and things you know you absolute do NOT want to repeat.
  2. Process your feelings.  As you are growing your baby and awaiting your due date it is a good idea to explore your feelings when you are ready. Talk to your partner or doula.  Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
  3. Take a Childbirth Education course.  Maybe you skipped this the first time.  Maybe you need a refresher.  It is always good to learn about as much of the unknown as you can so you can feel more confident.  If you take a group class you may even make friends with someone feeling just like you are!
  4. Surround yourself with positive support.  Your family, your partner, your care provider, your doula and your friends.  Try to keep positive people near you.  People who don’t dismiss your feelings but validate them.

It’s also normal to have your feelings change.  Every pregnant woman at some point or another takes a moment to think about what the upcoming birth may be like.  And with that comes some emotion.   Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your processing and feelings.

push birth labor

What can be cool about giving birth again is maybe you do have an idea of what it is like.  Some of the unknown may be known!  This may allow you to focus on other details.  You may have an idea of what helped you.  Use these to prepare for this next birth.  Use your previous experience as another tool in your tool-belt.

For example, “I thought having family in the waiting room would not bother me.  But I remember feeling bad that they were waiting so long out there.”  Use this as a tool to know you would prefer all excited family to wait for baby’s arrival at home until they are notified to come be with you.

No matter how you are feeling about birthing again, remember you are not alone and there is support to help you!

April the Giraffe | The Watched Pot… Stays in Labor?

It is amazing to witness a birth.  Seeing a human enter the world is a beautiful and spiritual thing.  Watching animals birth is equally awe-inspiring.  How they seem to just know exactly how to move and where to go.

Miss April the Giraffe is about to give birth.  She’s a Giraffe in New York anxiously awaiting her baby.  For the last month she is believed to give birth any day.

 

And the world is watching……….And still watching.

Good news is she likely doesn’t know it.

In labor it is common for people to be so excited and supportive to their loved ones they think they will get to watch the birth.  They may wait in a waiting room or hope to enter the labor room.  They could be at their own home waiting on updates and continue to text or call worried.

So when you birth who do you want watching?  It’s OK to do what you feel.  For some the idea of lots of close loved ones near by is reassuring.  For others it can create the feeling of “the watched pot never boils.”

giraffelegs

Typically in labor a woman will experience pain or intensity.  Which can be hard for others to see.  The woman may be coping well but all the loved one sees is suffering and wants it to end.  A laboring woman will have different levels of intensity at different points of the labor.  The mood of the room will change.  If the people in the room do not acknowledge that change it may become annoying or frustrating to the laboring woman. As well as anxious energy in the room can radiate to the laboring woman.  Ideally the room will radiate relaxation and calm.

Some find themselves feeling bad if the baby doesn’t come fast enough because all their family is waiting.  This can all lead to mind games.  The mind and body are very connected.

I personally thought I was OK with the number of people who attended my first birth in the beginning.  Which included some unplanned but caring loved ones.  Then my labor was long.  Long enough for the visitors there to dwindle down to who I originally thought would be at my birth.  And then… things picked back up and baby girl arrived.  I truly believe the added people watching and waiting played  a role.

You need to take a look at yourself and what serves you.  What will you feel if your labor is long?  Are you comfortable asking people to leave?  Some say birth is as intimate as the act to create the baby.  Who do you want watching then?

So April, Good Luck sister!  You’ll do great!  I won’t be watching 😉

 

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Dana Lange

Dana Lange is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and wonderful human being!  We are thrilled she joined our team to bring safety and security to all of the families we serve.   She brings her knowledge and compassion with everyone she works with.  Read below to learn more about one of our favorite people!

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Dana Lange, CPST, with her family.

 

Tell us about your family. “My husband, Nate, is an introvert with a wicked sense of humor, and he makes us laugh every day. I always say that “he speaks Dana” because when I forget my words (which is fairly often) he will literally finish my sentences for me. Our kids, Hannah and Nathan, are both exhausting and incredible. Hannah loves science, reading, her teacher, and the Sims. Nathan loves to pretend to be bad guys from Star Wars, but I try not to worry about this too much since he also loves to cuddle with his mama every night.”

What are you reading now? “The Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.”

Trust your instincts and don’t get overwhelmed by the small stuff. Babies don’t need much to thrive and we all have it inside of us to do what’s best for our children. – Dana Lange

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why? “Super strength because car seats are heavy!”

When Dana isn’t busy checking car seats for proper installation and helping parents, you can find her working out at the gym with her new gym membership.  You may catch her listening to Hamilton: An American Musical Soundtrack or a RadioLab Podcast.  She also enjoys reading and blogging!

What is your “path” that lead you to your career? “My kids are the reason I do what I do. After my daughter was born I immersed myself in this whole new world of being a mom. One of the things that I found to be most interesting was car seats; I loved reading about them and considered myself to be fairly competent, so you can imagine my surprise when I went to a CPST and found out my own daughter’s car seat was installed incorrectly. The more research I did and the more eager to learn I became, so after 6 years of being an advocate I finally decided to become certified as a child passenger safety technician. I’m still learning every day and it’s an honor to be able to help families while fulfilling a passion.”

What is your favorite song to karaoke?   “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mixalot.

 

Meet Dana today!  Contact us to get a Car Seat Safety Check or sign up for her Car Seat Safety 101 class coming May 6th!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

 

 

My Postpartum Body

Guest Blog by: Marie Lang, Postpartum and Infant Care Doula & Postpartum Placenta Specialist

Even before I had kids, I’ve never really been happy about the way my body looked.  Every time I see pictures of myself from the past, I’m always surprised at how I wish my body still looked like that NOW, but at the time the photo was taken I was unhappy with the way I looked, because I always have been.

I wish I could talk to that girl and tell her how beautiful she is, and to enjoy the body she has in that moment.

I’m really not entirely sure why I’ve always had this negative self image.  My family and friends have always been supportive and loving of me, no matter what my body looked like.  I suppose it’s likely the portrayal of “healthy” female bodies in the media.

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-Pregnant with my first child <3

I became pregnant with my first child when I was 23 years old. This was the very first time in my life that I was happy with the way my body looked, oddly enough. Even though my belly was expanding exponentially to grow a baby, I was in absolute love with it.  All of the sudden I could celebrate my big belly and I felt absolutely radiant.  I gave birth to my son and the next 7 years were a very hard time.  I dove head first into motherhood and completely lost any sense of self in the process.  I became pregnant again with my daughter when I was 30, and again was able to love and embrace my pregnant curves.

Then Postpartum Depression happened.

The first two years of my daughter’s life were absolute hell.

How could I have so much love for my new little family when I hated myself so much?

Would I ever be comfortable in my own skin? Not only did I gain weight, but I didn’t recognize my postpartum body at all.

Pregnancy definitely changed my body in a way I wasn’t prepared for.

It was around this time that I was seeing a lot of the “Body Positive” movement on Facebook.  This is obviously a great message to send!  I saw all sorts of women of all shapes and sizes totally embracing their curves, or lack thereof, with no apologies!  While I understand the intent of this movement, it was actually very hurtful for me to see at the time.  When I saw women coming out and saying “I love my curves!”, all I could think to myself was, “But I don’t love my curves. I am not positive about anything right now.”  And then there were the people that were telling me “Look at what your body did! It grew and birthed two babies! You should marvel at what your body did and not be so hard on yourself!”

I know that those people were trying to be supportive and helpful, but now not only was I depressed about my body, I felt guilty that I couldn’t just get over it and love my body the way I was apparently supposed to.

Today, I have emerged out of the Postpartum Depression fog. I have lost a ton of weight and gained some back too. I have body positive days and I have body negative days. The negative days are still typically more frequent than the positive days, but I recognize that I am a work in progress. I don’t particularly love my body right now-and that’s OK. The important thing is that I love the person that I am, and not what I look like. I realize now that it’s OK for those to be separate things.

GWL 2017 fam

-Vacation this winter.

I can love myself while not necessarily loving the way I look. My self worth is not measured by my outward appearance. 

I am sharing my story so that people can see that this is normal. It is ok to be disappointed in your postpartum body. What’s important to understand is that no matter how you feel about your body, it does not define who you are.

**Metro Detroit Doula Services has Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas who can help with life after baby is here.  This helps ease the daily stresses and allows the family extra rest.  We now offer workshops and private classes focusing on restoring your core muscles and pelvic floor after pregnancy and childbirth. Contact us today for more information**

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Andrea Stainbrook

By Andrea Stainbrook , CEO & Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services

Andrea Stainbrook joined forces with Amy Hammer to create Metro Detroit Doula Services. Together their vision is to bring support without judgement during pregnancy, birth, and as a family after baby arrives.  Andrea is certified with ProDoula as a Labor Doula, pre-certified as a Postpartum Doula, and is currently working on her certification as a Childbirth Educator with ProDoula.

andreafamilydoula-5128

Andrea Stainbrook, Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services, Certified Labor Doula, Pre-Certified Postpartum Doula, and future Childbirth Educator

Tell us about your family!  “My husband Justin and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next summer.  We have 2 beautiful, full of energy, funny little girls; Lydia, 6, and Estelle, 3.   George and Jerry are our senior dogs who have been helping us clean under the kitchen table ever since the girls were born.”

What do you love about being a doula? “What I love is watching families grow and how they find strength they may never knew they had.”

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear? “Currently a lot of Sia.  My girls love Sia as much as I do.  You’ll also hear Thrice,  Dustin Kensrue’s solo stuff,  or Rilo Kiley when I get some time to choose as well.”

“As I grieved the loss of the birth I had hoped for, Andrea very easily adapted her support to meet my new needs.  She provided me with a listening ear, supportive words, and many suggestions that helped me emotionally prepare for a cesarean birth.” – Labor Doula Client

Give us 3 words that describe you.  “Fun.  Listener.  Caring.”

What are you reading now?  “Lots of  children’s books.  🙂  I would love to find time to read one of Mindy Kaling’s books or Jennifer Weiner’s latest.”

What’s your favorite show?   “I am very excited for the return of The Walking Dead!  That premiere episode was intense.   It’s shaping up to be a great season.”

What is your philosophy for birth & supporting women and their partners through labor?  “I believe in supporting each family without bias.  Whatever you want and see for your birth I will stand behind you.”

“Trust yourself and be easy on yourself.” -Andrea Stainbrook

Who is your role model?  “There are a few. Truly I am inspired by people who are 100% themselves and just go for it!  My partner Amy is my doula role model.  I’m blessed that we get to do this together.    My husband is a role model for parenting.  He’s so kind and patient.  It’s awesome to watch him with our girls.”

When Andrea gets a day off she enjoys family days together.  She loves baking or cooking her favorite food lasagna with help from her children.  They love lining the lasagna pan with the pasta and sauce!    She enjoys traveling all over Michigan and recently had a great vacation in Disney World!

If you could have a superpower what would it be? “To make everyone happy.  In a perfect world I would love to bring joy to everyone I meet!”

“Andrea was the best Postpartum Doula!  She was absolutely wonderful with my sweet baby girl and was so comforting to me as a new mama.  She made me feel like everything I was going through was normal and was so reassuring.” – Postpartum Doula Client

What is your favorite song to karaoke?  This is a tough one.  Hands down if I am karaoking with Amy (my co-owner) it would be “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” – Starship.  With my hubs I would probably say “Almost Paradise” (from Footloose) – Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.  But ya know a good Beyoncé song never hurts either!  (For the record my singing isn’t so amazing… but my entertainment value is there 😉 )

 

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today and have Andrea be a part of your birth team!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

Autumn Fun at Upland Hills Farm

Written by: Amy Hammer, co-owner of Metro Detroit Doula Services, Labor Doula, Postpartum Doula, and CPPS

Fall is upon us and in Michigan that means fun with the family at cider mills, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and farms to name a few.  Janice Rex-Weaver works at Upland Hills Farm in Oxford.  She does marketing and social media for the farm which has been open since 1960 and is still family run by the current Websters who met at summer camp as pre-teens.  Awwwww!  We decided to ask Janice a few questions so families could learn just exactly what wonderful opportunities Upland Hills Farm offers to its community.

hanging-plants

We asked Janice… What is your favorite thing about Upland Hills Farm?

“The fact that it has maintained an authentic farm experience for all these decades.  It was created to teach people where their food and fiber come from.   In addition to days when the public visits the farm, Upland Hills welcomes thousands of school children to the farm each year.  And for school districts that do not have field trip capabilities, UHF brings the farm to the school!  Kids are in complete awe when they see a cow in their gym!”

They have farm animals that you can visit of every kind… dairy cows (that children have the opportunity to milk), goats, sheep, pigs, horses, alpacas, mini-donkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, rabbits, even labrador retrievers!  The farm breeds them, which means you may be lucky enough to visit when the babies are little.  Many spring babies happen with cows and sheep.  This summer also brought kits (baby rabbits) and they are expecting a cria (baby alpaca) any day now.  It’s a baby boom!

Piglets are coming in October!

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Speaking of animals, we asked Janice for a funny animal story…

“Ok, this is perfect because this melds together my birthing education business with my love of farm life. I was showing a family around the farm who was interested in having their wedding there. One of our cows had just given birth to a calf and ………..wait for it………was eating her placenta. Ok, for those of us in the birth world we understand mammals do that, but I am sure for the bride it was a little shocking!”

How about that?!  Farm mammals instinctively understand the potential benefits of placenta consumption!

Along with the amazing farm animals, Upland Hills Farm offers many different programs throughout the year:

  • School Field Trips
  • School Assemblies
  • Summer Day Camp
  • Summer Sundays
  • Fall Harvest Festival
  • Harvest Moon Hayrides
  • Weddings & Private Parties
  • Downtown Rochester Farmers Market + CSA (community supported agriculture) share opportunity
Summer Day Camp is a huge offering the farm has.  Kids have the opportunity to just be kids, hanging out with animals and nature… choosing their own activities from farm chores, crafts, sports, nature walks & swamping, horseback riding and more. And their afternoons are spent swimming in a lake.  Who doesn’t love that?!

Fall brings popular upcoming events as well like the Fall Harvest Festival (Saturdays and Sundays in October) and Harvest Moon Hayrides (Friday and Saturday nights in October).

The Harvest Moon Hayride is a great non-haunted attraction.  It’s super chill and includes a hot beverage and a donut. People can also bring marshmallows/hotdogs and sticks if they want to roast by the bonfire or they can also just relax by the fire with their family.
There is something going on every season at Upland Hills Farm, so no matter when you decide to visit you are sure to enjoy it.  Go check them out – it’s worth the drive!  From 0-99 years of age, there is sure to be something fun for everyone.

Happy Fall!!

Thank you to Upland Hills Farm for all you do, also to Janice for your time and input!
For more information visit: www.uplandhillsfarm.com
481 Lake George Road, Oxford, Michigan 48370
248-628-1611

Don’t Forget Her.

By: Andrea Stainbrook, Doula & Co-Owner of Metro Detroit Doula Services

 

Babies.  They are so adorable.  When a new one comes it is so fun to shower him with gifts.  Baby toys, bottles, don’t even get me started with all the cute outfit options.  Watch out Buy Buy Baby and local boutiques.  I love baby things.

Our society loves babies too.  When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and especially after baby’s arrival the main focus is baby.  And baby deserves a LOT of focus.  But so does someone else.

 

Don’t forget her.

Don’t forget the person whose whole life shifted months ago.  The woman who tolerated nausea.   The woman who worried for 9 months.   The woman who had back aches, mood swings, and is simply always exhausted.   This person birthed a human, after growing that human.   That woman is healing, recovering, and no longer recognizes her life.

Call her by her name.  She may not know where she begins and baby ends anymore.  She may not know when she will be herself again.  It may feel as if she is no longer an individual.  She loves her baby.  She wants you to love her baby.  But she wants you to love her too.

Love her as the woman she is.  Strong.  Beautiful.  Capable.  Love her for her interests.  She still has her own interests.  Don’t forget that.

As a doula I have some ideas for you to do when visiting a new mom.  Aside from coming when the new family says, not staying long and helping by bringing a meal:

Bring something for HER.  For the woman who just gave birth.  Acknowledge her.

LISTEN.  Let the conversation go where it needs to.  But follow her lead.  Listen to what she needs and wants to talk about.

New moms are at a huge transition and adjustment.  No matter how easy or hard the adjustment goes every woman at one point may feel overwhelmed and consumed by this new life.  They may feel they are no longer who they were.   They may feel they don’t even know themselves.  They may feel no one notices them.   These women are still the women that love Game of Thrones, or a good glass of wine.  Value them as they are.  Of course they are a new mom and that is amazing,  but don’t discount them as an individual.

So shower your friend’s new baby with Sophie the Giraffe, and Betsey Johnson’s new line of baby wear, and also shower your friend with your friendship.  Bring her favorite Biggby coffee and always remember to remember her.

 

 

Don’t forget your B.R.A.I.N.

By: Andrea Stainbrook

Decisions.  Parenting (as well as life in general) seems comprised of decision after decision.  It starts in pregnancy and will continue.  Some are easy, most are not.  You want to make a well thought out choice.  What to do when you are at a crossroads?  As a doula I remind my clients to use their brain.  Well that one and this one – B.R.A.I.N..

This acronym is handy when making all of life’s decisions.   Think about being in labor perhaps, a truly difficult time to make decisions.  Things are going along much like you expected and then something comes up.   You don’t know what to do and you feel like you need to make a decision.   You and your partner can look to your doula and she will walk you through B.R.A.I.N.:

Brain Graphic with Instinct Corrected

This tool is useful in so many situations.

Taking a moment to walk through and weigh out everything involved will likely lead you in a clear direction and will certainly make you feel more confident about your choice.  When you are presented with a choice you are not sure about you can turn to your doula.  She can help you answer what the benefits and risks are.  You can discuss the alternatives with her.  She will ask you what your intuition is telling you and how you are feeling about it. Your doula will always remind you to ask, “What if I do nothing?”   (Often waiting and revisiting the option later is okay to do.)  Then you and your partner can discuss together and decide which option suits you.

Many times we are comparing apples to apples.  There aren’t always clear choices.  With your doula to listen and guide you with this tool you will know that the decision made was yours.  Being active as part of the decision making process is a positive step to a more satisfying birth experience.

This also comes in handy in all of life’s decisions.  Maybe you are deciding on a color for the nursery; Blue Grey or Green Grey?  Maybe you are at the vet and deciding on care for your puppy.  Use B.R.A.I.N.!

So whether you are pregnant, in labor and it pertains to your health,  dealing with a parenting choice, or you just don’t know where to go for dinner tonight…just use your B.R.A.I.N.!