Why a doula and a Nurse are needed for your birth team.

Hiring a Doula from a Nurse’s Perspective

I was a nurse for 7 years before I became a childbirth doula and educator. Hiring a Doula, or Labor Support, can be an investment. If your birth place is a hospital, the support from a nurse and your care provider (Midwife or OB) will be covered by insurance, though often a doula’s services aren’t (though some insurances are starting to reimburse couples!) So why should you consider paying extra money? Here are some reasons to hire a doula from a nurse’s perspective:

YOU ARE NOT THEIR ONLY PATIENT

Nurses often have more than one patient, and maybe even more than normal if they are short-staffed. Nurses constantly have to prioritize their time and if their other patient needs more support or medical care, she/he may not also be able to give you the support you need.

A doula on the other hand has you, her only client, and her job is to focus on you and your partner’s needs.

NURSES ARE BUSY 

Helping you cope with your labor, though it may be the most enjoyable part of a nurse’s job, it is not the only part of their job. In addition to multiple patients, they also need to assess, chart, assist co-workers, coordinate care and services with other staff, and keep care providers informed on their patients’ progress. They may also have other responsibilities that do not even involve patient care.
A doula is only busy with YOUR needs. I can’t speak for all nurses, but I know that I appreciated when my clients had someone at their bedside to support them. It gave me more time for my other responsibilities that their support person could not provide, such as giving medication, charting, assessing, calling their doctor . . .

THEY WANT TO CLOCK OUT ON TIME

Nurses work long hours and they want to clock out on time and get home to their families. You could be laboring for hours. They can end their shift with you laboring, but they can’t end it with unfinished charting. I have spent many days, in the past, staying late to finish charting after giving report to my relief nurse.
 Your doula does not have a shift, where many tasks in addition to patient care is required before leaving. She is there throughout your labor, birth, and initiating breastfeeding. This is my favorite part of being a doula. I get to be present with my client without worrying about all the other things I still need to do! My only job is to focus on the needs of my client and her partner – not the needs of the hospital, or the care provider, or finishing charting. I did not always get to do this as a nurse.

NURSES WORK IN SHIFTS

Most nurses work at least 12 hours per shift. So, depending on how long you labor for in the hospital, you can potentially have different nurses caring for you.
This is good because you want and need medical professionals that are well rested, so that they can provide the best care for you. However, it can also be distracting and disrupt your rhythm being introduced to a new nurse. Your new nurse will need to assess you and they may do some things differently than your previous nurse.
Your doula will be there once you tell her you need her, and she will remain throughout shift changes to help you refocus and decrease distractions. She will also be able to give your partner breaks, where a nurse may not have time to do this.

 THIS IS THEIR JOB, THIS IS YOUR BIRTH

Most likely, your nurse is a labor and delivery nurse because she loves women, birth, and babies. However, this is still her job. Though, they hope for you to have a great birth experience, they also have other responsibilities and loyalties. Nurses have a lot of medical and legal responsibility as medical professionals. As such, they need to follow hospital policy to keep their jobs and to protect themselves in the event of a lawsuit.
A doula is not a medical professional with the same liabilities as a nurse (as long as she stay within her scope of practice). Instead, she is a birth professional that understands birth and how to support women.

GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR BIRTH TEAM

A doula does not replace your supportive partner, care provider, nurse, birth photographer, family, or even friends that you want as part of your pregnancy/labor/birth/postpartum team. Instead, she is a great addition. A doula can help facilitate communication among your team, support your choices, aid in comfort, and provide needed information and resources. We each play an important role in your birth and hopefully your amazing birth experience!
I am a certified doula and childbirth and parenting educator. I practiced as a nurse 7 years before that. For more information about me and my services visit www.MYBirthandBaby.com
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Childbirth Education is for Dads too

8 Things M.Y. Husband Learned From Our Childbirth Classes

I had a long 21 hour labor and home birth. My husband was a great support, and I attribute a lot of his amazingness to us taking a comprehensive childbirth class! Before said class, he wanted to stand in the corner out-of-the-way, with the midwife and I telling him what to do. Even though this was my first pregnancy, I knew that plan was not going to work for me! Here are some things that our childbirth class taught my husband:

IMPORTANCE OF RESTING

It was around 10 o’clock at night. I had contracted for about an hour, and I told my husband that I was having contractions. He was watching TV, grabbed the remote, and said I should go to bed then (We were taught in our class that if labor started at night, then try to go to sleep). So like a good student; he wanted to follow that advice. Instead, I said “yeh, I don’t think that’s gonna happen”.

Hopefully next time we will both try a little harder to heed this advice. We were both exhausted, and I remember waking him a couple of times while he was providing counter-pressure.

COUNTER-PRESSURE

Counter-pressure was amazing! I had a lot of back labor, since my son was in a posterior position. I’m not sure if we would have figured out this comfort measure without our class!

Comfort Measures

My husband applying counter-pressure

SET-UP MY BIRTH SPACE

Our instructor did not teach us specifically how to set up our birth space, but she did talk about creating a great birthing atmosphere, such as dim lights and music. He also knew not to bug me with the details and set-up the space, which was invaluable. This allowed me and baby to focus.

STAGES OF LABOR

My hubby is a Network Engineer (meaning he works with computers). He has no medical background and knew nothing about pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum until these classes. Knowing this information decreased his stress and allowed him to support me. Since these classes, he has also educated other men and women during conversations.

CALM

He was calm! Our classes provided us many opportunities to discuss how I deal with discomfort. He is usually a hover-er (You know – standing over you, staring and asking you every couple of seconds different annoying questions about what you need?) Well, that day he was not. He was calm, always touching me, and mostly quiet – He was just what I needed!

IMPORTANCE OF FOOD & DRINKS

He also knew to keep me hydrated. I was nauseous most of the labor, so I wouldn’t eat, but I still very thirsty. When you are in labor, you get so dry! Hydration helps a lot! After every contraction he made sure I sipped something.

IMPORTANCE OF A DOULA

We hemmed and hawed about hiring a doula most of my pregnancy once we learned that they existed. It is hard to anticipate your needs when you have never experienced labor or birth before. We decided not to hire a doula, instead we had my mom there for support. Though her behind the scenes role was helpful to my birth team, I needed more than that. My husband was an amazing support, but he had difficulty getting bathroom, rest, and food breaks because I needed continual support. After all the dust settled from our son’s birth, one of the first things my husband said was “we are hiring a doula next time”. He still reminds me of this when we discuss future pregnancies.

CONFIDENCE

Lastly, when I asked him what he gained from taking a childbirth class, he said “It gave me confidence in the birthing process. Birthing isn’t just go to the hospital, pop a kid out and go home. It is an experience of a lifetime. There is nothing like it!” To read my husband’s birth story click here.

Did you take a childbirth class? How did it help you and your partner? Comment below!

I am a doula, childbirth educator, parenting educator, nurse, and breastfeeding mother. I serve Lafayette, Eunice, Sunset, Opelousas, and surrounding areas. For more information about me and my services, visit www.MYBirthandBaby.com.

Benefits of your partner being at your birth.

5 Reasons Your Partner Needs to be at Your Birth!

I am a doula and childbirth educator in Lafayette, LA and the surrounding areas. I love birth. I am there to support and educate you. I know tons of tricks to help a laboring woman be more comfortable. However, I will never replace your partner. Here are some reasons why your partner is crucial to your positive birth experience:

KNOWLEDGE OF YOU

Your partner knows you intimately! They know how to motivate, calm, and comfort you. This ability will be very important during the intensity of labor! Additionally, he will be able to remind your birth team of your goals when they offer interventions.

PROTECTIVE

Most couples are very protective of each other. This is important because they can be your advocate while you are deeply in labor. Ideally, there comes a time when a laboring woman stays inside herself to focus on what her and baby need to do. During this time it is helpful if your partner answers questions as needed, and minimizes interruptions.

STRENGTH

Many men, not all, are simply stronger than women. They will be able to apply that extra pressure during a hip squeeze that may make all the difference in your comfort. He will also have an easier time supporting your weight while you are in different positions as well.

OXYTOCIN

This is probably the most important reason! Your partner can stimulate your oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone. Stimulating oxytocin will increase your contractions (helping your labor progress) and trigger more endorphin (this helps you cope with the sensation of pain) to be released. Your partner can help this hormone flow by hugging, being close, kissing, stimulating your nipples, holding your hand, or even sex (if you are trying to induce labor). So, for your partner to increase your love hormone, they need to be close! Your doula probably won’t get the same response . . .

SO WHY A DOULA THEN?

Your partner is going to do an awesome job supporting you! However, they may also need a break. Labors are often long. Your birth team will need to eat and go to the bathroom. However, you should not be left alone. If there is someone else besides your partner, he will be able to get breaks, while you continue to receive support. Or, you may need both people! Your partner can provide pressure while your doula gives you a massage, or vice versa.

Doulas understand birth. We have seen other women in labor and understand what is normal. We have successfully supported other women. Often your partner, unless in the medical field, does not have this knowledge or experience. Birth can be intimidating if you are not prepared (this is why a childbirth education class is also important!). A doula can reassure you of what is normal and how awesome both of you are doing!

A doula also provides answers to questions, resources, and support during pregnancy and postpartum as well, enhancing your overall experience!

 

How do you envision your partner helping you during labor? Comment below!

 

I am a certified Birth Boot Camp doula and childbirth educator, as well as a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. I practiced as a nurse for 7 years before becoming a birth worker. I’m also a wife, breastfeeding mother, and President of Louisiana Constituents for Safe Childbirth. I provide services in Lafayette, Eunice, Broussard, Youngsville, Sunset, Opelousas, Church Point, Ville Platte, and surrounding areas. For more information about me and my services, visit www.MYBirthandBaby.com

Birthing when the Unexpected Happens

Birthing Among the Unexpected

Birth can often be slow, calm, and uneventful – You know, besides the beautiful newborn that is born. However, like life, sometimes crazy or unexpected things happen while in labor. So, I asked some of my fellow Birth Boot Camp  instructors and doulas for their stories. Here are some of the stories they shared:

POWER OUTAGE

For me, it got a little dark during my home birth – literally. The power company decided to schedule a power outage while I was in labor. After a couple of hours, our midwife finally called the company and said, “We need the electricity back on, this is an emergency; we are having a home birth”. Within minutes of her call, the lights were back on. It wasn’t exactly an emergency, but my birth team appreciated being able to see again!

ANIMAL INVOLVEMENT

What do you get when you combine a birth, donkey, and a good Samaritan? You get the birth of Hailie’s fourth child, of course!

With my 4th baby, we got held up in traffic in a residential area. There was an injured donkey standing in the road. Yes, in a residential area. Some good Samaritans got it moved and called a vet down the street for help.” – Hailie Sue Wolfe of Abilene, TX

FLOODING

“I had a client whose midwife flooded the birth room and water was going down the hall. She was at a 10 and pushing and got in the tub anyway but had to get out and go to another tub because the 1″ of standing water was obviously unsafe for everyone.” – Caren Nugent of DFW, TX

I’m sure I would have just gotten in that tub also, if I had been that mom. However, I can’t imagine being a doula and wading through water to assist my client!

DAD’S CATCH

Sometimes, labor just progresses really well, and the Dad has the unexpected experience!

“At my first doula birth, the dad had a phobia about hospitals so he waited until the last second to come to the hospital. Less that 20 mins after he got there, as his wife was on her hands and knees, he accidentally caught his son. The nurse had stepped out and the doctor wasn’t there yet. It was just me, him, his mom and my client. His face was priceless. He was in shock.” – Stephanie Trosclair of Lafayette, LA

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN

And last, but not least . . .

“I delivered on a lobby floor, I had a client whose hubby’s appendix burst, one whose hubby fell and hit his head on the sink and got a concussion….power outages, tornado warnings where we evacuated to the hospital halls…” – Maria Pokluda of DFW, TX

Maria was one of my Birth Boot Camp DOULAS trainers, and has been to hundreds of births. So, I guess with experience, also comes the knowledge that the unexpected can definitely happen!

Did something crazy happen during your labor or birth? I would love to hear about it! Comment below!

I am a Nurse, Doula, Childbirth & Parenting Educator. I serve the Acadiana area of Louisiana, including Lafayette and Eunice. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

Writing a Birth Plan

Why Every Couple Should Write a BIRTH PLAN

So, I’ve heard a lot of controversy on birth plans in the birth world lately. So, I thought I would contribute my 2 cents as well! A birth plan is similar to a 5 year plan – You know, that exercise that teachers make you do, so that you start thinking about your future . . . Yes, that! How so? Well, with a 5 year plan, you list your goals, research, and then plan the steps needed to achieve those goals. This is also true for a birth plan.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

First – What are your goals? This will guide you. Do you want an unmedicated vaginal birth? Repeat cesarean? Medicated vaginal birth?

HOW TO ACCOMPLISHING YOUR GOALS

Each couple’s goals will be different, and so will the steps to achieving them. For instance, if your goal is a vaginal birth, you may want minimal interventions, such as vaginal exams, inductions (unless medically necessary), breaking water, or even no epidural (or waiting until at least 6 cm until getting one). If you are afraid of tearing, you may decline an epidural, refuse an episiotomy, and specify a pushing position. If you are worried about infection, you may decide to do a home birth and refuse vaginal exams. These will be the bullet points that you include on your birth plan.

There are so many things to consider, and each woman’s birth plan will vary.

Also, keep it simple and try to limit it to a page. Paragraphs are hard to read quickly. Also, if it is more than a page, it will be hard for everyone to remember everything on it.

COMMUNICATION TOOL

The exercise of creating your birth plan should ideally be done with your partner, especially if they are going to be at your birth. This is a great bonding experience. You may discover that you both have different ideas of birth. Talk and listen to each other now, when you are not distracted by contractions!

So, you and your partner have envisioned and planned for your ideal birth. Now what? Communicate it! This is the most important part. Talk to your care provider. If their birth philosophy is not in alignment with yours, you may need to find a new care provider. Or, maybe your care provider may have some other suggestions. Labor is not the ideal time to have this discussion.

So, you and your care provider agree on your birth plan. Great! Now, share it with everyone else that will be a part of your birth – Doula, nurses, family, friends . . . If any of these people are not supportive of your plan, you may need to rethink their involvement. Negative energy can really mess up the birthing atmosphere.

A BIRTH PLAN IS NOT . . .

A birth plan is NOT a contract; it is more of a guide. You are not guaranteed this birth plan. Most medical professionals will try to respect the plan as much as possible.

However, it is important to know what your birth place’s policies are. If your birth place does not allow things on your plan, they likely will not be honored. Tour your birth place, and find these things out ahead of time. If they cannot meet your needs, is there another place that will?

Also, like life, things may change. Every woman’s birth follows its own path, and things may happen that you didn’t plan for.

FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT YOUR BIRTH EXPERIENCE

EDUCATION

Education is the most valuable tool you have when planning for a birth, and also when dealing with whatever may come your way. A comprehensive childbirth class is invaluable. Birth isn’t going the way you planned? That’s okay. With a comprehensive education, you will know what questions to ask, and be able to make an educated decision. YOU are in charge of YOUR birth!

CARE PROVIDER

Find a care provider that is respectful and supportive of your birthing goals. One care provider that was amazing for your best friend, may not be amazing for you. Every woman has different desires and goals, so not every care provider will be a good match for YOU. It is okay to switch care providers to find one that meets YOUR needs!

BIRTH PLACE

Each birth place will have different policies. Find one that fits your needs.

DOULA

An independent doula can help with and support any birth plan. Birth can be an emotional, intense, and wonderful time, especially with extra support. Like care providers and birth places, find a doula that matches your personality and needs.

Happy planning!

Did you write a birth plan? Did it help? Any tips for other couples? Leave your comments below!

I am a nurse, certified Birth Boot Camp Doula and Childbirth Educator, as well as a Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. I provide services in Acadiana area, including Lafayette & Eunice, LA. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby. Let’s start planning for an AMAZING birth!

What to do when your water breaks to start labor.

Your Water Broke! Now what?

Due to media and movies, many people envision labor starting with a gush of water and then a hectic ride to the hospital. For the majority of women, this isn’t the case. 8-10% of women’s membranes will rupture before labor starts, but for most it usually happens in active labor or when pushing.

WHAT DOES RUPTURE OF MEMBRANES MEAN?

Inside the uterus, your baby is surrounded by the amniotic sac, which contains amniotic fluid. This provides the baby cushioning and protection from bacteria. Like a balloon, the sac, or membranes, surrounding the fluid can tear. If it is a small tear, you may notice some leaking. The membrane may even self heal. If there is a large tear, there may be a more noticeable gush of “water”. Your water breaking may not be obvious; some women question whether they peed on themselves before they realize that it is amniotic fluid.

If this happens before you are full-term (full-term is considered 39-41 weeks gestation by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG)), call your doctor and ask what they recommend.

The focus of this blog is a full-term, low-risk mother and her “water breaking” to start labor.

SO, NOW WHAT?

Take a breath.

Smile. You are in labor!

Put on a heavy pad or a Depends (adult diaper). You will continue to leak as you hydrate yourself.

Follow your labor plan. Is it in the middle of the night? Try to go back to sleep. Early labor can take a while and rest is important.

Are you well rested and want to get moving? Go for a walk.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

What color is the fluid? It should be clear, maybe with white specks in it. It should also be odorless, or with a slightly sweet smell. If this is not the case, call your care provider and notify them.

What does your care provider recommend if your water breaks? This is a great question to ask your care provider during a prenatal appointment. If you forget to ask beforehand, you can also call the office. The answer to this question will vary among providers.

CONCERN WHEN MEMBRANES RUPTURE

The biggest concern is infection. The amniotic sac creates a barrier, protecting the baby from infection. Once the water breaks, this protection is gone.

Evidence Based Birth has a great article that discusses Term Premature Rupture of Membranes that discusses the fears of care providers and the current research.

HOW TO MINIMIZE RISK

So how can you protect the baby after this barrier is gone?

Drink tons of water! Think gallons. This may be easier than you think. During labor women often get very thirsty, so keep the fluids coming! Coconut water and laborade (water, raw honey, and sea salt) are also great alternatives to water. The amniotic fluid will replenish itself. If you have a small leak, the amniotic sac may fill again if the tear repairs itself. If it is a large tear, the fluid might just drain back out – that’s okay. If the head is engaged in the pelvis, it will also block some of the amniotic fluid from exiting.

Take your temperature. If you decide to labor at home for a while, take your temperature regularly. 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever. Call your care provider. Usually if the increased temperature is due to infection, there will also be other signs such as increased heart rate of mom and/or baby, and smelly amniotic fluid.

Take only showers; no baths. Germs have an easier time traveling up the vaginal canal when you are soaking in water. If your water breaks in active labor, it is considered safe to take a bath without increasing risk of infection.

And, finally, the number 1 thing you can do is say NO to vaginal exams, or minimize them. It does not matter how careful medical staff are and that they use sterile gloves. When they do a cervical checks, bacteria is pushed from the vaginal tract up to the cervix (the opening to the uterus). The number of vaginal checks is linked to increased occurrence of infection.

Feel free to share this image on social media (including your own blog!)

SO, WHAT HAPPENS IF AN INFECTION DOES DEVELOP?

Medical personnel monitor you closely, regardless of your birth place. If you show signs of an infection, they usually suggest antibiotics.

They will often give the newborn antibiotics, as well, and observe him/her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after birth. If you do receive antibiotics, consider taking a probiotic to replenish your good bacteria.

If baby shows signs of distress during labor, such as the heart rate lowering at atypical times, or staying lower or higher than normal, they will likely suggest a cesarean if a vaginal birth isn’t imminent.

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS

Another factor to consider, is that the cushion is gone. Amniotic fluid provides cushioning for mom and baby. It is, also, easier for baby to get into a good position with the extra fluid to float in.

So, contractions may be intense sooner. Think about the comfort measures you learned in your childbirth class and use them! Also, if you hired a doula, call, and develop a game plan.

Also, if you are pregnant and reading this, start seeing a chiropractor. If possible, get a chiropractic adjustment during labor as well. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to improve fetal positioning. Ideally, find a chiropractor that has extra training and experience with pregnancy, like a Webster Certified chiropractor. To find a list of providers near you, http://icpa4kids.org is a great place to start. If you are in the Lafayette and Eunice, LA area, you can also contact me for suggestions.

Birth, like life, often does not go according to plan. However, you can still have an AMAZING birth!

Did your labor start with a gush? What did you do? Comment below!

I am a registered nurse, and certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor & Doula in the Lafayette and Eunice, LA areas. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

8 Inexpensive Activities for Winter Time

8 Fun Activities for the Winter

It’s December, and even though it doesn’t quite feel like winter in Louisiana yet; it’s coming. It’s easy to get in a rut, and not carve out couple or family time in our hectic lives, but it’s so important! Here are some fun inexpensive activities to try this winter:

SLEDDING

I realize that Louisiana does not get many opportunities for sledding, but for all my northern friends – sledding is inexpensive and fun.

I grew up in Maine, so this was a common activity during my childhood. Find a hill and a sled (snow tube, tray, round saucers, anything that will glide on the snow) and go! It was a bonus when we got older and were able to use snowmobiles to get back to the top of the hill!

VISIT A FARM

Visiting a farm can be a lot of fun. Many farms have hay rides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches available during the Fall and Winter times. These are usually only a few bucks per person, and is a great opportunity to burn a little child’s energy, or a way to have romantic cuddle time with your partner.

Pumpkin Picking

My son picking out his pumpkin at a pumpkin patch.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

One of my annual memories as a kid was my parents loading us kids in the car and driving around looking at all the prettily decorated houses. We would all comment in unison “OOOOOO AHHHHH”. Cost – Gas.

Or if you are able to spend a little more money, you can go somewhere that is decorated with lights for the holidays. My husband and I we have a tradition of looking at lights every winter, since our second date. It’s a great opportunity to hold hands, drink hot chocolate, and talk. When we lived in the New Orleans area, we went to Celebration in the Oaks; now that we are in Lafayette, we go to Noel Acadien au Village.

BOOK STORE

My family loves to read, so we often went to a bookstore just to chill out. We all went to our interested sections, found some books, and then found comfy chairs to peruse the books. My husband and I even did this when we were dating.

MUSEUMS

Go learn about something different, such as history or the arts. In the last few months, my husband and I have been to The National WW II Museum in New Orleans and the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. There will be different options depending on where you live. If nothing else, it will give something for the two of you to talk about.

BOWLING/INDOOR MINI-GOLF

I tend to forget about bowling and mini-golf, but have so much fun when I do it! Bonus, it’s indoors, so it’ll be warm. Many of them also have junk food and archade games which can also be fun. These activities may cost a little more than the other suggestions. But they are a lot of fun, burn energy (if you bring the kids), and is indoors (which can be really important when it’s cold outside).

ROAST MARSHMALLOWS & HOT COCOA

I love cold nights when I’m in fleece pajamas and we simply make hot cocoa, cookies, or even roast marshmallows. If you have a fire pit, you can roast the marshmallows outside, but this is also possible inside as well. These ingredients can also be inexpensive and delicious.

FONDUE

Want to eat more than marshmallows? Fondue is fun for all ages! You don’t need a fancy fondue pot either. Just use your pots, and heat up different sauces such as cheese, chocolate, caramel, marshmallows, or whatever else you desire. Then skewer your favorite meat, fruit, and veggies, and dip! If this is just for two, light some candles and play some music. If it’s for the whole family, lay down a blanket picnic style, sit in a circle and enjoy!

There you have it. 8 ways to spend time as a family or as a couple without breaking the bank. Since it’s often cold in the winter, you can also check out 5 Postpartum Date Night Ideas: Without Ever Leaving Your House.

Have fun!

What do you and your family do for fun? Leave your comments below!

I am a doula and teach childbirth and parenting classes in the Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana areas. For more information and me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

All a Pregnant Woman Wants for Christmas

7 Perfect Gifts for a Pregnant Woman

Looking for that PERFECT gift for your soon-to-be mom friend or family member?

Often we think about getting something cute for the baby, while that is nice and appreciated, moms actually have many more pressing needs during this time; and they are often quite pricey!

So, what do pregnant women want for Christmas? I asked some veteran (been there done that) moms, and here is what they said:

MATERNITY CLOTHES

Maternity clothing was one reason I loved being pregnant. The clothing is so soft and stretchy to accommodate your frequently changing body.

“I was happy to receive gift cards for maternity clothes! They are expensive. And let’s be honest, by the end of the holiday season my clothes start to feel especially snug. New ones are a blessing!” – Hailie Sue Wolfe, Abilene, TX

I also loved belly bands. They can help women transition from pre-pregnancy clothes to maternity clothes. I loved them because they kept my pants up; and I didn’t get that annoying chaffing on my legs from pulling up my pants all day!

ACCESSORIES

How about accessories- because you can still wear them when you gained 40 pounds. Scarfs are your friend.” – Sarah Naomi Clark, Ukiah, CA

Sometimes putting together an outfit can be frustrating when you are pregnant. Accessories are great because you can still fit in them regardless of your size. Some other possibilities are purses, jewelry, and belts.

MASSAGE

I had a relatively comfortable pregnancy, and I contribute much of that to   regular massages and chiropractic care throughout my pregnancy.

Pregnant women spend so much time thinking and caring for their growing little one. Christmas can be a time to help mom pamper herself with a much-needed massage. Her loved ones can either plan a get-away or give her a spa gift card. Either way, she’s going to love it!” – Cameo Sherman, Bowie and Annapolis, MD

For partners, you can also offer to give a massage yourself.

“I’m pretty sure one of my clients would tell you that me teaching her husband a few ways to relieve pregnancy pain on her back was the best Christmas gift she got.” – Brooke Harralson, Fort Worth, TX

PAMPERING

Along with a massage, women enjoy other types of pampering, such as manicures, pedicures (it’s hard to reach your feet late in pregnancy), and relaxing baths.

They may also need tools that help them care for themselves better, such as special pillows for sleeping or birth balls.

“Pregnant women might like a nice yoga ball for Christmas since it makes sitting so much more comfortable. Some Epsom salts for the bath would help ease the aches and pains of pregnancy too!” – Brooke Harralson, Fort Worth, TX

EDUCATION

Even as a nurse, I had much to learn in my short 9 months of pregnancy. Comprehensive childbirth education classes were a game changer for me and my husband. He was so supportive during my labor and birth! It is also a great opportunity for the couple to bond every week. These classes can be a little bit pricey, so this is a great gift to split with a few friends!

Books are also a great gift. My mother gave me the The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding while I was pregnant; I still use it as a reference. Many books from the Dr. Sears Library are also good, such as The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth.

BIRTH PROFESSIONAL FUND

 

There are many professionals that can make a huge impact on a woman’s pregnancy and birth experience, but the cost can really add up.

“I always wished people would donate to my home birth fund. I.e. Pay my midwife fund. Also doula, prenatal massage, chiropractor, postpartum massage and chiropractic adjustment.” – Kristi Keen, Sugar Land, TX

A doula is a birth professional, not a medical professional, that helps couples navigate pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. A doula works with the partner in supporting the mother continuously during labor.

POSTPARTUM

The postpartum period can be an intense time for new parents. The good news is there are many ways to help.

“I wish I could have gotten a gift card for a maid service. I also wished for an ergobaby carrier and one of those woven wraps with the music notes.” – Kristi Keen, Sugar Land, TX

Babywearing is a great way to recreate the womb, comfort baby, promote bonding, and give back mom the use of her hands. Other gifts that can help postpartum are gift certificates for massage, chiropractors, and restaurants.

So, put down that cute onesie, and consider one of these gifts instead. Her, her family, and their budget will thank you! Merry Christmas!

Have other gift suggestions? Comment below!

I teach childbirth and parenting classes, and provide doula services, in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana and the surrounding areas. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

 

 

4 Ways to get Things Done with a Baby.

4 Hacks for Getting Things Done With Baby

It can be hard to complete tasks on your to-do-list when you have children. Here are some ideas that may allow you to check a few things off your list:

BABYWEAR

Babywearing is a great way to meet both mom and baby’s needs. Babywearing is a way to recreate the womb; it provides warmth, bonding, and closeness, while also giving the wearer the use of their hands. The material used can be cute as well.

BOUNCER

In the newborn days, when I wanted to take a shower, I would nurse my son and then put him in a bouncer in the bathroom with me. He was safe, I could hear him, and I could take a shower – a win-win!

TAKE BATHS TOGETHER

Now that my son is almost 18 months, my husband and I give our son a bath or shower at the same time we take one. This saves time and our backs and knees. Reaching over the tub can be rough on your body! It helps that he LOVES baths and anything involving water, and often whines to get in the tub if he sees us taking a shower without him.

INVOLVE THEM

I try to get most of my cleaning done when my son is awake, so that I can work during nap-time. This can be hard because he likes to be all over me when I’m doing anything. So, I started involving him. This is beneficial for many reasons – It distracts him, builds his self-esteem because he has a purpose, he’s included instead of ignored, trained to do chores for when he is developmentally able to do them solo, burns energy, and allows me to get chores done while keeping my sanity. It does take a little longer than it would by myself, but what doesn’t? Almost everything takes longer with children.

Overall, though, I feel it takes less time because I don’t have to frequently stop what I’m doing while he is trying to get my attention. At almost 18 months, my son is able to open, push, carry, and pick up most things. Some chores my son helps with are feeding the animals (we have cats, dogs, and horses), vacuuming, sweeping, laundry, and picking up toys.

Grandfather and Grandson Working on the Farm

My son helping his grandfather feed the horses.

How do you get things done with your little one? Leave your comments below!

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana. I am also a doula, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering mother. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.

5 Reasons Everything Takes Longer with a Baby

5 Reasons Families are Often Late

Getting ready with a child automatically increases the time it takes to get ready. If you don’t have kids, it may be hard to understand why it takes so long when they are so little.

Before I had my son, I only needed 45 minutes to get ready. As mentioned in Singlehood to Parenthood, I now usually have to allot 2 hours of “getting ready” time. Here are some reasons why EVERYTHING (except personal time) takes longer when trying to head out the door:

FEEDING BABY

Babies need to eat, and they eat more frequently than us.

My son is now almost 18 months, so I do think this has gotten easier, but man those newborn days were rough! My getting ready routine consisted of nursing baby for 45 minutes, hoping he would fall asleep, take a 5 minute shower, comfort baby while trying to get dressed, change baby’s diaper, and breastfeed again. This doesn’t account for any surprises (A.K.A. vomiting, poop . . .).

If your child is formula fed, this also takes more time. You have to mix the formula, heat it (if you do that), and feed baby. There is also the extra step of packing bottles and more formula.

Additionally, depending on how long your travel time may be, some parents have to stop along the way to feed their baby again. Those darn cute little stomachs . . .

CLEANING BABY

In the newborn phase, they poop a lot! Most families go through 8-12 diapers a day to keep baby’s bum dry. Babies also often spit up, which can mean cleaning up the mess, and changing yours and your baby’s clothes, depending on how bad. This can happen at any time.Often right before you are trying to walk out the door.

CARSEAT

The carseat situation has been more of a new thing for me. As a newborn I brought my son almost anywhere, but now that he is an active almost 18 month old, I sometimes need people to watch him while I teach classes or have certain appointments. So, I often have to reinstall the carseat into my babysitter’s vehicle. I’ve gotten pretty efficient, but still, you have to factor that 5-10 minutes in your travel time.

MULTITASKING

I even noticed that my husband started taking longer to get ready, especially during the newborn phase. He found it difficult to multitask while watching the baby, so he often sat with or held the baby while I was getting ready. Problem is, at some point he needs to also get ready. If we both take turns, it takes twice as long. This is when parenting starts getting creative!

CONSTANT MESS

The constant mess has gotten worse as my son has gotten older. It’s great that he can entertain himself while I get ready, however, that often equals Tupperware, shoes, toys, and whatever else he finds being scattered along the floor. When I am ready to go, I try to make a quick circular sweep picking up the toys, but I have to be fast, or he’ll find more as I am doing that!

There you have it, just a few reasons why THAT family is ALWAYS LATE! Give them some love and grace because parenting littles is hard and at least they were brave enough to venture out!

Why are you often late? Comment below!

I teach parenting and childbirth classes in Lafayette and Eunice, Louisiana. I am also a doula, breastfeeding and cloth diapering mother. For more information about me and my services, visit M.Y. Birth & Baby.