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Don’t Let Go

As I am laying in bed next to my 3-year old so that he will fall asleep I cant help but miss the days when he was an infant and wanted to cuddle with me all of the time. I reflect on how my baby boy isn’t a baby anymore and is growing up. As I start to maneuver my arm off of him and attempt my way out of the bed, a hand reaches over and grabs my arm and he says, “Mommy, don’t let go.”

I am reminded of one of those million times that people say to hold on to these moments because they don’t last. Each time they say that, I always smile, nod in agreement, and move on, because really it needs to speed up so I can finally get some sanity and peace, and maybe just get something done, right? At this moment I finally got it. I finally understood what they meant. My son wanted me next to him, not to let go, and to just be there in that moment. How much longer will he want that from me?

Each day my kids get older, and each day they need me less and less. Yes, that is something you hear everyday, and yes, I agree it gets really old and annoying after the 10th time hearing it, but think about who you hear it from. You hear this wisdom from those moms and dads that no longer have the little ones running around and remember what it is like for the time to fly by and possibly not appreciate all that you had in that moment.

Today is “No Housework Day”. What does this mean? It means take a step away from the day-to-day tasks, the “job” of motherhood, and really enjoy this day. Those who have a job they go to get vacation days or days off in some way. You deserve a day off. Maybe you still need to be a mom and a wife, but the laundry can wait, the dishes will be there tomorrow. Savor the time you have as a mom today and really enjoy just being with your kids or even just taking some time to do something that will take your mind off the day-to-day housework chores. Sit, and don’t let go.

Enjoy letting go today,

Amy

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If The Following Are True, A Doula Is For You

A Doula is a beneficial addition to your birth team if

any of the following things are true about yourself:

  • Birthing in a hospital, at a birth center, or at your home
  • Your care provider is a Obstetrician or Midwife
  • Planning a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section
  • Wanting an unmedicated birth or planning to use an epidural
  • Trying for a VBAC, anticipating an induction or completely unsure still
  • Low risk pregnancy or high risk pregnancy
  • Married, in a relationship, single mom, surrogate, or adoptive parent
  • Writing a birth plan or planning to simply go with the flow
  • You’re having just one baby or planning for multiples
  • This is your first, second, third, fourth or fifth baby
  • You desire to breastfeed or use formula to feed your baby
  • Working full time, part time or plan to stay home with your baby
  • Want to feel confident, supported, encouraged, educated, empowered, or validated

We believe there are many variables that determine what is best for you as you birth your baby.

Here at Coastal Doulas of Palm Beach we promise to always provide the exceptional care you need and want during this exciting time.

How ever you plan to birth your baby, we are here to provide the care you need along the way to feel confident in your choices and fully supported from start to finish.

We look foward to meeting you!  

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Imagine a Day

Take a minute and imagine having your very own Postpartum Doula for a day.

You are meant to be a mom.  There are often times as a new mom that leave you feeling like you were not meant to do this. It is too hard.  Your body is sore, you need your sleep, and you just don’t know how you are going to get through the day.  Every time you try to use the bathroom, sit down to eat, or rest on the edge of your bed for a moment, the baby starts screaming.  It’s almost like they have a sixth sense or something.  We promise you, you can do it.  What you may need though is the right tools to help things run a bit more smoothly.  Your attitude & perception of this parenting journey can be much more positive by having someone you know and trust walk through the early days and weeks providing guidance, assurance, expertise and support.

The postpartum period is often called “the fourth trimester” and having a doula come to help during this time is valuable in more ways than you may realize.  Your postpartum doula is there to help navigate this wonderful experience through all of the highs and lows that come with parenthood.  She is there to help you figure out how you can shower, make meals, keep up with laundry, and take care of yourself, all while also taking care of your beautiful newborn & the rest of your family.  Your doula is there to provide the opportunity for you to catch up on sleep without the guilt of feeling that you’re letting important things fall behind in the process.

With a newborn, there’s a good chance you and your baby have been up the majority of the night.  There is also a darn good chance you’ve only had 3 hours total of sleep, and it was probably in 30-45 minute increments.  As you greet the day once again, with little sleep under your belt, you may begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to get a shower or a much-needed nap.  Stack many sleepless nights like that in a row, and you may find being a new mom extra challenging.  It takes time to adjust while you recover and figure out life’s new routine.  In fact, forget even finding a routine in that state of mind, you’re just wondering if the engorgement in your breasts will ever subside.  Navigating through the normal daily challenges that come in those first weeks & months is what your postpartum doula is there for.

So what is it like to have a postpartum doula? Postpartum doulas are not nannies or babysitters. They are there to support YOU as the new mom in all that you need.  Maybe you just need a simple recharge that looks like a nice hot cup of coffee and a warm breakfast.  We know the value of these and many other little resetting experiences.  You deserve to be able to take a breath and have someone nearby who can reassure you that the way you feel  is normal and won’t last forever.  A postpartum doula can arrive in the morning, make you a cup of coffee, & cook breakfast while you nurse or feed your baby.  She then provides you the opportunity to enjoy your breakfast while it’s still hot while she burps & changes your baby’s diaper and then folds the pile of baby laundry that’s been sitting on the couch for the last 3 days.  Sometimes just the ability to take a nice deep breath in the morning is exactly what you need to make the day successful.

Your postpartum doula genuinely cares about you and your family.  She listens and offer encouragement through the struggles & tears.  She’s there to celebrate and share in the joys and parenting wins you experience.  She fiercely believes that you are the very best parent for your baby.  She helps answer those non-stop questions that are constantly running through your head.  How do you find the right bottle?  What is the best baby carrier?  How often should my baby eat and sleep?  Never will she judge decisions or choices you choose to make.  She will encourage you to be the mom you want to be as you navigate through and decide on your parenting philosphy.  There is not one right way.  There is your way, and that is what we think is the right way and what we choose to support.

Here’s just a glimpse into what a day with your postpartum doula can look like:

You are exhausted, but you know your doula will arrive soon. When she gets here for her shift she:

  • Greets you with a smile
  • Listens as you tell her all about the night you had
  • Takes the baby so you can go take time to shower and freshen up without worrying about your baby
  • Has a hot cup of coffee and a nice warm breakfast made for you at the table to sit down and enjoy
  • Has cleaned up the dishes, and the dishwasher has been emptied, and your baby is happy
  • Helps with the laundry that has been piling up for days because you just don’t have the time or energy
  • Changes the baby’s diaper when needed so you can continue to rest
  • Helps to prepare a snack for you
  • Lets you take a much-needed nap while taking care of the baby
  • Provides suggestions for you with any breastfeeding or bottle-feeding problems that you’re experiencing
  • She helps you figure out how to use the baby carrier
  • Has prepared you lunch & put dinner in the crockpot while you were snuggling your baby
  • Has most importantly, helped you to be able to TAKE CARE OF YOU!

The main job of a doula is to take care of the mom. As moms, we spend so much time caring for others that it’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves so that we can be the best moms we are called to be.  A doula is there for you in the transitional postpartum period to allow you the support you need to gain confidence in knowing that you are not alone, that you are an amazing mom and that you can do this!

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Mom Dating, It’s A Real Thing

Life after having a baby changes things, as I’m sure we can all agree. While you may stay close with your pre-kids friends, you may now find yourself seeking the friendship of other women who are in the same stage of life as you. But what do you do when your girlfriends either haven’t had kids yet or have older kids that are in a different stage? When this happens, it may be time to put yourself out there a bit.

I look back at the first playdate I had with my now best friend, and I just laugh, because it was a complete disaster! I was very pregnant with my second child and I had invited her over along with her 2 young kids. Our 2 years olds were playing so nicely in my son’s room and we were busy chatting and getting to know one another.

After 10 minutes of quiet we decided to check on them, only to discover they had snuck out of my son’s bedroom and were in my bathroom covered from HEAD-TO-TOE in bright green Irish Springs body wash. Oh, and let me also mention they had decorated the ENTIRE bathroom; mirror and all in the body wash.  Oh how I wish now that I had a picture of it all, lol.  Needless to say we were both mortified. Our green gooey children now realizing they were caught and started wailing at the top of their lungs. This only added to the chaos. Our darling angels had never done anything like this before, so of course we were both secretly blaming the other kid.  My kid of course would NEVER do such a thing on his own.  I fumbled around and said I’d clean everything up, while she grabbed her green gooey child, muttered “I’m sorry” and headed out the door. Thankfully neither of us let this disastrous first date end our friendship. 6 years later, all four of our kids are now the best friends just like their moms, and we can easily laugh about this first mom date fail.

If you’re still trying to find your group of friends, don’t give up! There are so many ways to find close friends to do life with. It may take a little extra effort & time on your part, just like it did when you were first dating. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mommy & me yoga, music or gymnastic class.
  • Local libraries often have story time and other activities designed for moms to bring their babies and meet other moms
  • Some local churches offer a MOPS program or women’s studies that cater to moms and typically provide childcare
  • Work out classes that allow you to bring your child(ren)
  • Local moms Meet Up network
  • Playgrounds – introduce yourself to another mom with a child around the same age
  • Local Facebook parenting groups
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The Valley of Wait

Guest Post from Taffney L.

Valley:

Noun – an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains, especially one following the course of a stream.

Noun – any place, period, or situation that is filled with fear, gloom, foreboding, or the like: the valley of despair.

When my husband and I decided to grow our family, we were living in the Valley of Wait.  Wait two weeks to see if this is finally our month.  Wait two weeks to try again.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

This valley was a very lonely and isolating place filled with feargloom, and foreboding.  No matter what we did, we just couldn’t make it up the mountain that was in front of us.  It seemed as though everyone around us climbed that mountain with such ease.  Yet we waited in the valley month after month.

Here is our story…

We tried for over two years to get pregnant.  This is not long compared to many, but it was long enough for me to know the pain of infertility.  After about a year of trying, we sought out a specialist and began testing.  We came to find out that we were dealing with male factor infertility.  However, I was technically the “patient” since I was the one to be pregnant.  The doctors prescribed pills and injections to help me release more eggs (more eggs, more chances).  We went through three rounds of Intrauterine Insemination (six inseminations).  All failed.  We were then told we would not get pregnant without In Vitro Fertilization.  Through lots of prayer and discussion, we decided we would not pursue IVF.  This was the hardest thing for me to accept.  Having to come to terms with the fact that we would not be parents was near impossible, but we felt that God did not want us to do anymore treatments.  He had other plans for us.  In December 2015, we found out we were pregnant with our miracle baby.  Our daughter is now 6 months old.

On days when the valley felt especially long, I was reminded that God has called me to be a strong warrior during the times of waiting.  He is my help and my shield.  I could let go of the fear, gloom, and foreboding and rejoice in Him.  I had hope, because I trust in His holy name. (Psalm 33:20-22) I trusted He would use this time of waiting for my good and His glory.

All that waiting sure wasn’t easy, but I look back and give thanks for my time spent in the valley of wait.  Now I can help other women as they navigate their own valley.

Everyone’s cause of infertility is different.  The treatments we do, or don’t do, are different.  Still, we all have the same desire for a child in our hearts.  During our time spent in the valley, I wished over and over I had someone to talk to and to ask questions.  I was thankful no one I knew was going through infertility, but that also made me feel even more isolated.  Now I am using our journey so that no other women feel alone.

If you have any questions about the infertility journey, are interested in a local infertility support group, or you just need to say “this is awful!” on the hard days, I would love to connect with you! Please email me at group.taffney@gmail.com.  And always remember that you are not alone in your valley of wait.

 – Taffney

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Choosing the Perfect Pediatrician

Prior to becoming a parent, one of the important decisions you will need to make, is to choose a pediatrician.  Upon first thought, you may think this is going to be an easy task, right?  Thanks to the internet you can look up local pediatricians in our area and find quite a lengthy list of options to choose from.  And if you ask on local Facebook moms groups for a pediatrician you’ll more than likely be given a long list of options as well.  The problem though, is that not all pediatricians are the same with the same ways of doing things.  Each one has a different personality and passion.  They all have different views and ways of handling things like vaccinations, antibiotics, introducing foods, & growth.  How far away from your home and/or work are they located?  What is there approach on breastfeeding and formula feeding?  Some practices provide a small staff of doctors which allows for more individualized care; while larger practices often provide more options for evening and weekend appointments.

In the same way it’s important to find a doctor or midwife during your pregnancy that aligns with what’s most important to you; it’s just as important to choose a pediatrician that aligns with how you plan to parent.  There are many decisions as parents that you will have to make that not everyone is going to agree with, and THAT’S OKAY.  Guess what, you will never please everyone….you just won’t.  Do your research, talk to your partner and make decisions based off of your own convictions and beliefs.  Then choose a pediatrician who respects you as a parents and most closely aligns with what you need and what’s important to you.  We’ve created this list of questions to use in your quest for the perfect pediatrician.

Click here to download your Pediatrician Questionnaire now.

Helping you navigate through these choices, as you discover your parenting philosophy is something we love to do.  As always, we are here to support you on this parenthood journey and if we can help don’t be afraid to ask.

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The Truth About “Eating For Two”

The moment happens, you find out your pregnant, and it is almost immediately that cravings begin to occur. Since you are pregnant you are eating for two, right? As much as we have heard this, and would love this to be the case, it is actually not completely true. During the first two trimesters, our body requires the same amount of energy from food as we normally consume in our non-pregnant state. The “Eating for Two” mindset is easy to embrace because it feels like a great excuse, until we have to pay the cost later. It is certainly one of the main causes for excessive weight gain in pregnancy, and adds to the challenging battle to lose the pregnancy weight because you are shedding a firm mindset as well as fat.

Finding out you are pregnant usually starts with incredible excitement, followed by the first trimester exhaustion. Eating starts to become just something to do, and because we are going to gain weight anyways, why not enjoy it, right? For example, I remember my first; all I wanted was cheeseburgers and French fries. I literally could eat a triple cheeseburger a large fry and still want that again for the next meal. Looking back, I cringe, but that was my reality. Then with the subsequent pregnancies came pizza, Mexican food, and M&M’s by the Costco bag full. Yes, we will have cravings, and yes our taste buds will change – just like our sense of smell. We don’t have to completely deny those cravings, we just need to shed the lie of eating for two. So how can we still be healthy, and take care of our body and the baby growing inside us at the same time?

When we eat too excessively and gain too much weight we are at risk for hypertension, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. None of this is to scare you, because you should enjoy life, especially your pregnancy. The reality is that pregnancy can be exhausting and sometimes a good junk food meal is a much needed pick me up, and a little oasis of happiness, right? But, just like when we are not pregnant, too much of a good thing is still too much, and our post-pregnancy self will thank us for not piling on excessive recovery time.

So let’s look again at a basic truth – we need to eat. Eating is what will keep you and your baby healthy through these 40 weeks. But what can you do to stay healthy, and still enjoy this time?

  • Eat healthy meals that are able to balance the tastes you crave with the fuel you need.
  • Stay active – go for a walk if that is all you can do, but keep moving.
  • Watch your food portions.
  • Limit high fat and sugary foods. Please notice the word “limit”. It does not say “don’t eat…” or “stay away from…”. We all need a treat, and a plan that keeps mama bear away from a treat is a plan that will fail.

In your third trimester, especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you need to prepare your body for labor. Much preparing is focused on the positions, and stretching, and getting your body physically ready for labor, and that is good. But did you know that before anyone runs a marathon, they eat for the race. This means that labor is just that – labor. It is work. Preparing your meals so that the food you are feeding yourself will give you the energy needed for this marathon. Eating foods that have good carbohydrates will help give you energy. Foods with good healthy fats and proteins will help you to not crash in the middle of the day and keep your energy levels up so that throughout the labor process you have a good amount of strength. Eat during this time to fuel your body.

All of this info is a general guideline to help inform you. There is definitely a way to dial it in more specifically and develop a plan to accomplish for your pregnancy a good balance of joy and discipline. The big thing here is that you enjoy this special time and take care of yourself and that growing baby.

-Amy

**Amy Bender is part of our team here at Coastal Doulas and she teaches our classes on nutrition, as well as individual meal planning and prenatal nutrition counseling to help keep your body in optimal function for the amazing race that you are about to run.  If you would like more information on our nutritional support, please contact us here for more information.**

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Why is a Birth Plan So Important?

Excitement – that wonderful emotion a couple feels when they learn they’re pregnant and expecting a child. Imagination starts mobilizing… there’s a nursery to decorate and cute baby clothes to buy.  As the day of your precious baby’s arrival approaches, the days are filled with prenatal classes, registering at the hospital of choice, and having baby showers. It’s a crazy time full of new things!  One thing that is commonly forgotten in this mix of emotions and to-do lists is to establish a birth plan.

So many women have an image in their mind of the birth experience they are working towards, this idea can often be formed by what is seen on TV or in the movies. There’s often an idealized view of how everything is going to go, and it is so easy to neglect making a plan to see the vision through. The birth plan is kind of like a the cool headed GPS that helps keeps the trip on track even when detours come.  Birth is so unpredictable and detours are very often inevitable.

A birth plan is an excellent communication tool between you and your OB/Midwife, Doula, & Partner. It is a written plan of your preference that you have created prior to labor.  This allows you an opportunity to communicate your desires & goals adequately with your birth team.  By writing a birth plan, you are also educating yourself on the birth process and the procedures you may encounter as you labor and birth your baby. It is a tool to help you understand your preferences so that you are prepared when the time comes.  This planning time also allows you to envision your birth experience the way you desire it to look as you navigate the twists and turns along the way.

Having a birth plan helps you feel more ownership and control in your birth process. Are there sounds you want to hear (or not hear), smells you want to smell (or not smell), positions that you want to labor in, etc. This is a plan where you indicate what your preferences are for induction of labor, the use pain management (or not) or even for planned c-sections.  You can include how you desire your baby to be handled after delivery and your preferences on immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, etc.

Keeping in mind that this is a plan and plans don’t always go as we want them to. Think of a road trip to New York from Florida. We have planned our route, our hotels along the way, and where we will stop for gas.  We can plan everything to the minute, but roadwork, and/or accidents on the highway could result in a detour we weren’t expecting. We will still get to our destination, but it may take us a different way than we anticipated.  Birth plans have some detours and exits along the way that may be different from what you desired.  Flexibility is important, but having the plan in place allows your birth team to know your desires and to help you stay on course as much as possible.

Communication is key.  Once you have researched and written your birth plan, don’t forget the most important part: to go over it with your provider.  Discussing it with your doctor or midwife helps ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to labor.

We understand that the idea of writing a birth plan can be overwhelming.   We offer Childbirth Education classes and Birth Planning Sessions in both private and group settings and Doula support to help guide you through this process.  We really want to see you have the birth you envision and we are here to help.

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Options for Swaddling My Baby

To swaddle or not to swaddle is one of the many questions new parents face after their baby is born. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done safely and correctly, swaddling can be a beneficial method to help soothe newborns and encourage sleep.  The latest AAP guidelines for swaddling can be found here.

This information is all good and helpful, but choosing what type of swaddle to use can be a feat in and of itself. There are so many options!   Do you use a simple blanket or purchase a pre-made swaddle?  Do you wrap the arms or leave them free?  How do you keep your Houdini baby from escaping?  And what about when it’s time to transition out of a swaddle; then what?  Over the years we’ve found ourselves using many types of swaddles & blankets with out clients.  We’ve narrowed down the options to share our top 4 favorites in hopes of making the decision a little easier for you.

Most, if not all of these swaddles can also be found on Amazon.  Is anyone else as obsessed with Amazon Prime as I am?!?  HELLO CONVENIENCE 🙂

1) aden and anais swaddle blankets

If you are one that prefers using a good old fashion blanket instead of a premade swaddle, you should definitely give the muslim blankets from aden and anais a try. Their swaddle blankets are large, lightweight and perfect for swaddling your baby.  They also are multifunctional and can be used to lay your baby on, shade the stroller on a sunny day or double as a cover up while breastfeeding.  There are so many cute, stylish designs to choose from as well, so good luck with that!

2) Woombie

The Original Woombie especially, is a favorite of ours for its’ simplicity.  Lay your baby in it, snap, zip it up and you’re done.  I would even go as far as to say it’s almost impossible for your baby to wiggle their arms free while in the Woombie.  Anyone who has ever gotten up repeatedly to re-swaddle their baby in the middle of the night will understand the awesomeness of this.  The stretchy knit material allows plenty of room for your baby to naturally move around while also helping them feel snug and secure.  There are also several transitional options available depending on the individual needs of your baby.

3) Halo Swaddle & Sleepsacks

Whether you’re looking for something for your 2 week old, 2 month old or even 2 year old; Halo has swaddle and sleepsack options for every age.  Their swaddles can be used with both arms secured or with 1 or both arms free.  You also have the ability to keep the top part secure and simply undo the bottom half.  This is especially helpful for the middle-of-the-night diaper changes when you want to keep your baby as drowsy and undisturbed as possible.

4) Merlin Magic Sleepsuit

The Merlin Magic Sleepsuit is specifically designed to use once your baby is ready to transition out of being swaddled; often around 3 months of age. This transitional suit helps your baby to still feel cozy while minimizing their startle reflex and twitching that happens during sleep that often wakes them up.   The sleepsuit comes in 2 different sizes and is available in cotton and microfleece options.  This transitional suit provides you the parent with an alternative to discontinuing swaddling cold turkey.

HAPPY SLEEPING!

Maybe you have another favorite swaddle that you use.  We would love to hear your favorite and why you love it so much

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Peacefully Birthed

Guest Post from Michelle B.

I was always skeptical of those women you see in the birth videos that say that they had an orgasmic birth or a pain free birth. I had a very difficult first birth, but I didn’t hate women who had an easy birth! I wanted to find out what I could do to improve the experience…I decided that I would not let my difficult first birth experience dictate my next birth. I set out on a journey to empower and educate myself on how I could have a calm, focused birth with our second.

I contacted my doula to ask her advice on how to approach birth in a new way. She mentioned hypnobirth classes would be an excellent option for me.  I looked up the benefits of hypnobirth and decided to enroll in classes after seeing all of these amazing benefits.

I truly enjoyed the Hypnobirth classes, as they gave me time to relax, and connect with my baby. After the 5 week course concluded, I CONTINUED daily to do the relaxation exercises on the Rainbow Relaxation CD and my confidence built that a beautiful birth was within grasp. Hypnobirth allowed me to release any fear I had. The Marie Mongan Hypnobirth Method visualization exercises taught me to fully relax and embrace the birth process.

I worked out at the gym around 10:30 pm then at 2:30 am I felt the strong waves (contractions) signaling my baby girl was making her way into the world. At 3:30 am I went to the kitchen to make my toddler’s lunch and lay out her school stuff. By 4:30 am I needed to head back to my bed room to relax and get in the zone to manage my contractions. It was intense, but by using the positions I had learned in class, and the relaxation exercises I had practiced daily, I was able to get focus on the pressure and NOT the pain. Thanks to my preparation I felt in control. By 6:00 am the baby’s head was out and I was calmly instructing my husband to get ready to catch. At 6:17 am our beautiful baby girl made her way into the world peacefully, calmly, easily without drugs or intervention. Best moment of my life, laying in my bed, in the dark, cuddling my new baby girl.
I had a hard first birth, and I did not use Hypnobirth.  I had a beautiful, peaceful second birth thanks to Hypnobirth, staying in much better physical shape and chiropractic adjustments.  Hypnobirth can be effective for women to relax and embrace the bringing a child into the world. It enables you to have a peaceful state of mind throughout labor and deliver WHEREVER AND HOWEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DELIVER YOUR SWEET BABY.

http://www.ihelpmoms.com/blog/how-a-pain-free-birth-is-possible/