Providing Professional Doula Services to Families in Greenwich, Westchester and NYC

breastfeeding

Weaning can be a nightmare! 

There are a ton of tips and tricks for moms out there that want to wean their babies of breastfeeding, however it's up to the individual to choose what's best. Some methods take a little longer, and every mother and childs weaning experience is unique to them. 

Weaning doesn't end the bond between a baby and its mother, it just the begins a new chapter.

Wondering more about weaning and how to wean your baby off of breast milk

The American Pregnancy Association reccommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to one year and slowly introducing solids in addition to breast milk around the 6 month mark. Weaning off the breast might be sooner or later depending on your preferences and parenting style, there's no pressure, you get to decide what's best. YOU and only YOU! 

How can I tell if my baby is...Read more

Our doula certification organization, ProDoula, challenged us to write a blog about a children's book that teaches a life lesson. 

 

The point of many children's books is to teach a life lesson so we thought long and hard about the lesson we wanted to reinforce with this post.

 

We wanted to write about something important and meaningful that would connect deeply with people's insides (quite literally).

 

We wanted to share a message that was written to appeal to children but one that adults could identify with also. 

 

After much mental 'constipation' we settled on 'Everyone Poops' authored and illustrated by Taro Gomi.

 

The story is simple, direct and without boundaries but what is the life lesson 'behind' it?

 

The first lesson is obvious: 

A one-hump camel makes a one-hump poop. And a two-hump camel makes a two-hump poop. (just kidding, if only life's lessons were so simple...)

The real life lesson is right in the title...

'Everyone Poops'. 

Everyone does a lot of things.

 

The lesson in this book is that we are all the same. We all function the same. Our bodies are designed to do certain things and that we must not feel shame or...Read more

 

We were madly in love and I had just birthed our baby about a week and a half prior. The oxytocin was flowing like crazy and our new little family was blissfully bonding.

I remember my husband sitting with me while I was breastfeeding. He would stare lovingly at our little girl and I, while she and I tried to figure out the intimacy and awkwardness of early breastfeeding. He would stroke her feet, chuckle at her tiny gulping sounds and offer her his finger for her tight fisted grip.

Although he knew that I was the only one who could offer our daughter nourishment, there was a part of him that wanted to share in that closeness. He wanted to feed our baby. He was so cautious of not interfering with our process, but he really wanted to feed our baby.

One summer afternoon, when our daughter was barely 2 weeks old, she was ready to nurse. I took her into the bedroom where I could stretch out and be more comfortable. My husband followed me into the bedroom. Before I could get settled, he took off his shirt and sat on the bed with his back against the headboard. He opened his legs and asked me to sit in front of him with the baby in my arms and my back to him.

I laid the baby on the bed in front of me and I took off my top, exposing my breasts to nurse her. He asked me to lean back against him. He reached his left arm around me and supported our baby and he nestled his chin on my left shoulder. As he brought his right arm around me, he...Read more

 

Breasts are a crazy thing and breastfeeding, as normal as they say it is, can be equally crazy (at least, in the beginning). Just the realization that our breasts have the ability to PRODUCE MILK, is mind blowing when we stop to think about it!

As a Doula, I have wrapped my hands around many a breast!

I have stimulated the nipples of women to help kick start uterine contractions.

I have stimulated nipples to augment labor and to help slow bleeding post delivery.

I have hand-expressed colostrum to entice a newborn to latch and I have initiated sprays of milk out of the breasts of my clients in evidence and validation that they ARE providing nourishment to their children.

So why are we so weird about our breasts? OK, maybe the question should be, why am I so weird about MY breasts and maybe, just maybe, there are one or two other women who can identify with me.

I always have been weird about them. I just never liked them. I have gained and lost weight enough times that the integrity of my breast tissue seems to have melted…. or so it seems to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not shy or modest or anything like that. I mean if I liked them, I would flaunt them. You might even see me on the back of a Harley Davidson, topless at some bike rally in South Dakota or something. I simply don’t like them.

However, these bad boys have served me (and my husband and children) well! I know the feel of a good push up...Read more

So there we were, huddled together at the table in her dimly lit kitchen. It was a freezing cold winter morning in January and this mom was desperate.

The baby was finally asleep. She spoke about frustration, anxiety, and ever-present, relentless exhaustion.

The sleep deprivation is the hardest thing, she says, because nothing else is good if you are bone weary all the time. It seems like the baby’s piercing cry is non-stop.

She is sick of trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations. She feels like such a failure. No one else seems to have problems with their babies like she does.

Earlier problems made nursing more complicated and down right difficult.

She doesn’t enjoy the baby.

She just can’t go on like this.

She even considered ending her maternity leave early. She wanted to get back to work, where she knew she was successful, and hire someone else to raise her child, someone better at it than she was.

This story is not unfamiliar. Fortunately, in many cases, family and friends can provide a support system for these new parents. They can lend sympathetic ears, help take household chores off your shoulders, and care for older siblings.

A knowledgeable postpartum doula can do all of this and more. She can demonstrate specific techniques and positions to comfort your baby. An experienced postpartum doula can also help parents work through issues of crying and sleeplessness. She can look at your...Read more

Even When it Makes You Feel Like a Failure!

I’m a doula.  I know a lot about breastfeeding.  I know how to help a baby latch shortly after birth, I can answer any question you have, I could fill pages and pages writing advice for different scenarios and concerns.

What I can’t do… is make enough breastmilk to sustain my [rather robust] children.  I had milk supply issues with all three of my children.  I knew EXACTLY what to do to fix it – I had given this advice, I had coached women through these solutions and I had seen it ALL WORK… for them. 

With my first child, you might say I was completely oblivious, but not for a lack of knowledge – I had all the information, but I trusted my instincts and believed that everything was, and would be, GREAT.  We slept, we ate, we smiled. 

Pregnant with baby #2, I began to reflect on my experience with Mia.  With a bit more experience as a doula, I realized that I had low milk supply.  DUH!  What an idiot, I kept thinking… I’m a doula and I didn’t realize that I hadn’t been making enough milk.  It hit me like a ton of bricks – I felt like a fool, I had walked around all this time with a stupid, naïve smile on my face.  I felt like a fake and a phony – had I tricked everyone and myself into thinking I knew what I was doing, as a mother AND as a doula?  How could I have been so stupid?!  NOT AGAIN, I decided!  I knew the problem, I knew the solution and I was going to fix it.  My complete and utter...Read more

The short answer is YES!

Your milk comes in stages, three to be exact.  The first stage is colostrum, next is transitional milk and finally mature milk. 

For many women the first sign of pregnancy is sore breasts.  The soreness comes when the milk glands start doing their job early in the first trimester. Most woman start producing colostrum in their second trimester, although for some, colostrum may begin to appear just after birth. 

Transitional milk is high-protein breast milk. A woman will start producing this about three to six days after the birth of the baby. This will happen by the baby stimulating the breast, regularly, at least every two to three hours. A woman will typically see an increase in the amount of milk she is producing, as well as a heavy-ness and increase in the size of her breast. 

The mature milk contains more fat and less protein.  You can expect that to start about 10 to 15 days after the birth. 

This initial two weeks of breastfeeding can be extremely challenging for both mom and baby.

Flat or inverted nipples can be one of those challenges. A flat or inverted nipple doesn’t mean that you won't be able to successfully breastfeed! It just means that you may need some extra support from a lactation consultant, or a postpartum doula. Engorgement is also a common challenge during the first two weeks. This is due to extra blood and lymph fluids in the breast tissue. Things to look out for are...Read more

I wanted a baby more than anything on Earth and was fortunate enough to have one. The second I laid eyes on her I knew we were one. The sun rose and set on this baby and I was madly in love with her (I still am). I looked at her with total fascination. If I could climb inside of her and see the world through her eyes I would have. I loved to share something new with her and watch her understand it. I talked to her and asked her opinion about things before the world or anyone in it had a chance to sway her in any direction. She was intuitive and unbelievably wise beyond her years. We were bonded like ET and Elliot.

And then it happened….

I got pregnant. Someone else was growing inside me. I was terrified! I loved Erica so much, I couldn’t imagine being able to love another person as much as I loved her and I wasn’t going to “cheat” on her with ANY other baby.

My solution…. Denial. Ignore it. Don’t think about it and maybe I won’t have to deal with it.

As you can imagine, that worked for about 40 weeks and then my labor began. I labored comfortably throughout the day and in the evening, Erica went to spend the night at Grammy’s. My labor hit the “go to the hospital mark”, 5-1-1. (contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for at least 1 hour) They “checked” me, I was 1cm dialated, they laughed at me and sent me home. A few hours later, I went back, I was fully dialated, terrified and I pushed my baby out. Retrospectively, a doula would have...Read more

This blog post inspired by Ty Patterson

Do you say the word vagina? Do you cringe when you say it? Do you teach your kids to say it? Do you call it something else? A cutesy name to avoid saying the real word?

Why so much stigma around this magnificent piece of our anatomy???

I said to Ty, (my 16 year old daughter) "what should I blog about today?" Her response? “VAGINAS! Talk about vaginas, mom. People are so weird about saying it and they talk about it like it’s so gross but it’s responsible for bringing beauty into the world!”

After struggling with low to no self-esteem for the first 20 years of my life I began the process of developing a healthy self esteem. It wasn’t easy, in fact it sucked and I never thought I would be capable of it, but with a ton of help and a desperate commitment, I did it. I knew that my focus when I had children of my own would be developing their self esteem. That would be my number one priority. With that, anything else was possible and I knew that first hand. I instilled upon my daughters the most positive blessing of all. That they were normal and perfect in EVERY way! That their bodies were beautiful and their opinions mattered!

Raising these girls has been so healing for me. When I was a teenager I couldn’t brush my hair without screaming I hate you when I looked in the mirror. No one told me I was attractive, no one said I was normal and no one ever said I was perfect. I felt weird and alone and I...Read more

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