Your Baby is Your Team Mate

 Your Baby Jax FL Doulas Birth

Your Baby is Your Team Mate

If I told you that your baby is your team mate would you believe me? Raise your hand if you just know that labor starts when your water breaks? Or raise your hand if you believe contractions start with a vengeance with no break. Or maybe you think that labor is intensely painful throughout the whole ordeal. Many people think that’s exactly how and when labor starts and how labor will be. No thanks to movies and popular TV shows, by the way!

Nod if you believe that the birthing person’s body is solely responsible for birth.

Huh? Who else would be responsible in the process? One hint: the uterine occupant. Your baby bean. It’s not all about you! (well, it is, but it isn’t). Your baby is your team mate! Yep, your baby is a team player in their pursuit to be born! This perspective can be encouraging, empowering, and even used as an affirmation in labor!

The mother and the baby have to work together.

There are various mechanisms by which the birthing person and baby work together, whether we, as a society, know it or not.  It’s probably why labor is so incredibly difficult to describe to many people or even to understand ourselves, sometimes. How cool is that? Totally rad, right?

How does this happen though?

Surfactant Release

When the baby’s lungs are fully developed, anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, their body will release a substance called surfactants into the parent’s body. Surfactants are necessary to keep the lungs inflated. Without them, we could not breathe. Premature babies often lack the necessary volume of surfactants. When the baby is ready though, their body will produce them and the molecules will disperse throughout the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and the mother’s uterus.  The pregnant body will miraculously recognize this compound. Then, the uterus will become agitated and begin to contract. Sometimes, the contractions will be small, light, and irregular if the cervix isn’t quite “favorable” and other times, the contractions will be full-force with the “textbook” pattern. Thus, labor begins.

Main Squeeze

During labor, the uterus contracts, or squeezes. At the same time, the baby will actively move downward and/or move into a more conducive position (face down).  Babies usually attempt to be in a positon called occiput anterior so that way they can tuck their chin and leave the pelvis rather smoothly.  They feel the uterus pushing them downwards, further into the vaginal canal. Your baby responds by using the stepping reflex they’ll will be born with that allows them to do the breast crawl. Many women can actually feel their babies subtle and not so subtle movements in labor as the twist, squirm, and step into the right position for them! Your baby is your team mate and will move until they crown and then spin to face upwards upon birth.

Fetal Ejection

As baby moves further downward and puts more pressure on the cervix, the weight of their head and body, and the amniotic sac if it hasn’t ruptured, will influence you to dilate and efface further. When the baby is as low as he/she can be, right before crowning, the pressure will activate the nerves and muscles within the pelvic floor. As your baby crowns, you and he/she will work together to push-you might even feel experience the uncontrollable ejection of your baby! This is what’s called the fetal ejection reflex; a reflex that allows your baby to be born without any active pushing Don’t worry, whether you experience that overwhelming sensation or not is irrelavant because your baby will still be born!

Knowing your baby is your team mate, you can prepare yourself and your birth team with some affirmations to share with baby in the throes of labor. It also helps to know this too, because when things seem to be taking their time or are otherwise frustrating, it can be reassuring to think about the baby also being an active participant.

If you’re curious to learn more about the labor and birth process check out The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class.

Birth is definitely a team effort, and the most important duo is you and your baby! Go team!

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit | Best Doulas in Jax FL

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit

Today we’re sharing with you 5 ways to hold it together instead of losing your shit! Pardon our potty-mouths for a moment while we get real! Feel free to use any of the following or anything that works in place of the potty word if it bothers you: mind, crap, control.

Childbirth (no matter your baby makes his/her entry) is hard. Parenting is hard. Marriage is hard.Damn, life is hard sometimes!

You can’t always change your circumstances, when you can you do, but you can learn some ways to hold it together and we’re going to help you because we want you to F.L.Y.! (FLY=first love yourself).

#1 Use Your Breath

No, not to yell. Don’t hold it. Inhale and exhale slowly for about 5 minutes. Try to create a 2 to 1 ratio, exhaling for 4 counts and inhaling for 2. When you do this your heart rate slows, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles begin to relax. Guided meditations, simple affirmations, and stretching can help stress management.

#2 Visualize

Using visual imagery can be an effective way to create change within the body. Like a movie playing on the back of your eyelids you visualize whatever it is that brings your peace, joy, and positive energy. Leave the funk, crazy, outta control feeling right there in the water and visualize that shit washing away with the tide. Bye Bye!

#3 Take a Time Out

Yeah, they aren’t just for toddlers or football! Everyone can benefit from a time out and learning to take time outs can help you to F.L.Y.. Time outs can be taken in the bathroom while soaking in the tub! They can be taken the car while taking a drive singing as loud as humanly possible. They can even be taken in the back of the closet with the door locked and your favorite chocolate bar in hand!

#4 Phone a Frand!

Everyone needs a support system. Parents get other parents. We should all have that one friend who knows that sometimes we just need to vent. We just need an ear, someone to sympathize or empathize with us, and sometimes to kick us in the ass as tell us to get up and laugh that shit off!

#5 Say Yes or No Without Apology

Say yes as often as you can to your children and spouse instead of no. Ask yourself, how important it is to fight the “yes”. Equally, learn to say no without apology or regret. To your kids, your friends, hell even your partner sometimes. Simply learning to say “Yes” or to say “No” will give you more freedom and help you to hold your shit together a little easier! Don’t believe? Try it!

We know that these 5 ways to hold it together can work well most of the time, but if all else fails lose your shit!

Parents are human, we have temper tantrums too sometimes. We like to call them shit fits! Much like tantrums parents might stomp their feet, cry, or scream into a pillow. We get it! Who said losing your shit is ALWAYS” a bad thing? It’s wasn’t First Coast Doulas!

It happens and it’s okay from time to time. Blow steam, shake it off. First Coast Doulas wants to help you hold it together and see things run more smoothly for you. Our birth doulas, postpartum and newborn doulas are right alongside parents supporting them as they hold it together, navigate uncharted waters, and as they lose their shit!

Are you seeking the type of support empowering experiences are made of? Then contact us today to put a doula on your team, learn ways to manage labor pains, heal after birth naturally, and get more sleep!

Helping parents hold their shit together is kind of our thing!

My Baby Won’t Sleep, What Should I Do?

My Baby Won't Sleep Jax FL | Team Sleep Jax FL

My Baby Won’t Sleep, What Should I Do?

One of the first challenges parents face is how to get better sleep. I get emails daily, “Help! My baby won’t sleep, what should I do?” Healthy sleep habits are important! Sure, “Sleep when baby sleeps” they say! Who are “they” and do they actually have children? That could work for a first baby, but second and third babies means you’re likely being worn thin and your entire house may seem to be ruled by one, or maybe even two tiny humans.

Woah! Put the brakes on!

Parenting is hard enough! Doing it on little to no sleep is unreasonable. No one functions well or to their full potential when they aren’t well rested, including your baby bean! Healthy sleep habits are so important. For you, your children, and for the family unit as a whole. By learning and teaching your infant healthy sleep habits early on you are helping them master a life skill!

What an empowering opportunity that is!

From my baby won’t sleep to my baby is sleeping so much better?!

What a feeling!

Did you google, “My baby won’t sleep, what do I do?” Do you believe your baby should be sleeping longer through the night? Are you set on getting off to a great start early on? Do you just want to get more sleep while one of our team members works with your little one on healthy sleep practices? #TeamSleep_Jax is First Coast Doulas’ sleep solution for families in Jacksonville, Florida.

Team members of Team Sleep Jax are certified postpartum doulas who work with families at night specifically to help them get more sleep.

Team Sleep Jax can:

  • listen to your concerns
  • validate your feelings through this process
  • teach you about safer sleep and more healthy sleep habits
  • show you some techniques and give tips
  • help you establish and implement routine and schedule
  • help you to teach your baby the life skill of sleep

Parents who are”at the end of their rope”, “out of ideas”, or who just want to get their babies and their family off to a great start are putting #TeamSleep_Jax on their home team. Together we’re creating more peaceful bedtimes and burning less midnight oil! If you want to learn more about the First Coast Doulas’ dream team we’d love to hear from you! We are happy to set up a complimentary phone consult to learn more about the challenges you’re facing and to match you with the right sleep package!

my baby won't sleep jax fl | Team Sleep Jax

 

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Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby Jax FL | Best Doulas Jax FL

Secrets to Having Great Sex when Your Baby Is Nearby

Are there really secrets to having great sex when your baby is nearby? In the beginning new parents sometimes feel disconnected from sex while others do not skip a beat. Both are completely normal, not everyone is ready to engage in sex again at the same time. As long as you aren’t staying in valley too long or taking risks with your health and body in those early weeks, where you fall on the scale is probably pretty normal! For most parents if you want to have time for sex you have to make time, and get creative! You might be wondering if having sex when your baby is nearby by is even possible, it totally is!

So let’s just get right down to business so you can get down to business! Sex is a normal, healthy part of life. It can give you a release that is healing and helpful. Sex can be centered on your partner with no interest in self-gratification too. Sex is about connection, not always about orgasms and thrills! You can learn so much about yourself and your partner during sex through open communication and a trust.

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #1:

Extra Nap or Nap Extended!

Routines and schedules are proven to be beneficial. Sometimes though it’s perfectly healthy to let go of the routine and be “spontaneous”. Let your baby take an extra nap or sleep another hour now and again and engage in some adult activity! It can break up the monotony and create little sparks here and there! Heck maybe even enjoy a glass of wine while you’re at it!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #2:

Room Divider for Room Sharing, not Sex Shaming!

For the room sharing parents, if “All Eyez on Me,” isn’t your thing don’t worry! You don’t need to be Tupac Shakur to feel the “Changes” that parenthood brings! [Cheesy rapper references used] Younger infants have exactly no idea what sex is, no remembrance of their parents bouncing and moaning, and there have been no studies to ever show it will have any effects on them whatsoever.

If your infants tiny eyes are making it hard for you or your partner to disconnect from the rational part of your brains, the neocortex, and slip into the primal, instinctual part of your brain, the Limbic system then a blind fold or room divider are cheap and easy ways to take eyes off your infant and connect with your partner!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #3:

Make Play time, “Playtime”!

As parents we are ALWAYS looking for ways to get a damn shower! Instead of engaging in playtime with your baby today or this hour, why not make shower time double duty?! Put baby in his/her rock n play or bouncer in the bathroom, grab your favorite water proof vibrator, or you know your partner if he/she is home, and jump in the shower! Great sex can happen alone too! A quickie in the shower while your baby plays safely in ear and eye shot from you can be exhilarating as well as refreshing! Double the pleasure!

First Coast Doulas knows you’re human. You have desires, and sometimes no desire! We know what it’s like to need time with your partner, alone! As postpartum doulas we help parents live the healthiest lives possible. Sex is important, kids are important, your marriage or partnership is important, and YOU are important!

At First Coast Doulas our brand is built on the motto, “First Love Yourself,” and we mean it! It’s ok to put your needs and desires first sometimes, your kids will have happier parents because of it; your family will be healthier because you loved yourself first!

Happy birth and parenting from the best doulas in Jax. FL

 

Birth Methods Suck

 birth methods suck | childbirth classes jax fl

Birth Methods Suck

I’m gonna come out and say it. Personally and professionally I feel that birth methods and childbirth education that focuses on a single “method” rather than the individuals needs/desires suck.  Their inflexibility notwithstanding, they generally come with top-secret, super miraculous teachings that all but guarantee you’ll have the best birth. Not only is this misleading, I believe it creates more problems than it seeks to solve, even if unintentionally.

As the Jacksonville community and as previous First Coast Doulas clients know, we believe there is no one right or wrong way to birth or parent. Why would we believe there is one “right” way to approach childbirth education and coping with birth or parenthood?

We only argue that pineapple does go on pizza!

One of the biggest problems with specific childbirth education or birth methods I see is in their lack of flexibility and how that translates into real-world application.

If you have a stringent process or step-by-step “how-to”  for learning something that is completely unique and dependent on the person, their circumstances, etc.  how do you accommodate for individual and large-scale changes? While the information regarding the biology of pregnancy and childbirth are fact-based, and thus, simple enough to teach, the information dealing with helping people wade through those facts, their options, and their effects is entirely based on the individual family’s needs, goals, and values.

These birth methods employ a precise way to learn and apply that learning in handling pregnancy and birth with no room for deviation by the student or by updated hospital or care provider policy. Meaning, a method easily becomes too dogmatic and not realistic for our humanity of shifting expectations and requirements.

So what happens when a person learns a birth method in the hopes and anticipations that it will totally, or at the least, mostly work and then it doesn’t?

Well, unfortunately, they’re left with no Plan B and only a few ways in which they can deal. This is especially true the more obscure and branded the method is since oftentimes, the education component is lacking and the method built up hopes and dreams by the very nature of its superiority and its uniqueness.

While the birthing person may logically know what a contraction is, they may not know why and how it happens nor do they know all the various ways in which to alleviate the pain associated with them. They were counting on that one thing that no longer serves them.  Which leads to my last point…

Disappointment and guilt.

Parents become wrecked with guilt when their birth experience ends up disappointing, or worse, became traumatic. Parents feel guilty that they failed at the method; the one tried-and-true answer that has worked for everyone else, everywhere (or at least, that is what it feels like). They feel guilty that they invested time, money, and confidence. They feel guilty that they didn’t do it “the right way”.

This is even more pronounced when the birth plan is drastically changed from a stringent list, and it’s not fair.

It’s not fair because this guilt is unwarranted and can be prevented with comprehensive education that inspires expectant parents to fully understand the birth process, to learn multiple ways to deal, to explore all their options, and to make a Plan A and Plan B, and even maybe a Plan C.  Will it prevent feeling disappointment? No, nothing can ever be 100% and that is the point here. But, when you give yourself flexibility and adaptable ways to approach something as unpredictable as birth, you are increasing your chances of feeling successful, and thus, less guilty.

The solution is to put your family’s individual needs first and be a prepared parent!

Learn a bit of biology and birth physiology. Learn about effective communication and relationship building with your providers and birth team. Learn about the multitude of ways to deal with anxiety, fear, and pain. Learn about ways to research options and about differing techniques used in decision-making.

Skip the birth methods and focus on putting together all the pieces in a way that works for you! Remember there really is no right or wrong way, only different ways!

 

You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

you're a rock star | best doulas in jax florida

You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

We’ve got to get something off our chests.  It’s a secret that shouldn’t be. It’s something that doesn’t, for some reason, get said enough or only gets said when the “right” conditions are met.  And it’s a shame.

You’re a Rock Star! Yes, YOU!

Birthing a baby and parenting said baby until they run your refrigerator out the door, is hard work no matter what. Even for us folk who seem to be floating on cloud 9 in the best breeze, there are days that are just hard. And you’re a rock star for showing up.  Giving birth to this tiny human is also an incredible feat, no matter the mode of delivery.

Society at large seems to place a higher value on certain types of birth though.

We’ve even noticed that the professionals with whom so many new parents place their trust have demonstrated public preference to birth and are biased in what they deem worthy of public merriment. As care providers and professional support persons in a position of authority, this behavior implicitly ascribes a morality to this value and as such, shames different choices and outcomes. And while it may be unintentional, many parents end up feeling like shit about their birth.

 

“I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. I did all the things. I took an eight week childbirth class, hired a well-known doula, read articles, and I joined a moms group for women who were and had birthed narturally. In the end it was just me, all alone. Noone cheering me on and telling me, ‘You’re a rock star’, or ‘You rocked your birth’ after a 12 hour labor turned cesarean. I was heart broken, it would have just felt good to know others saw how hard I tried. Instead I felt like I let my doula and closest friends down.”

 

Our birth experiences shape us, whether we like it or not. How we feel as we enter parenthood matters! Words matter! Hearing, “You’re a rockstar” matters, and not hearing it matters too!

When the most popular doctor, midwife, or doula in town always posts and shares the “best” births on their social media platforms, and you notice that they always say, “Congrats to this Rock Star mama who had an non-medicated vaginal birth” but doesn’t mention the rock star parents who labored for hours and chose to pursue relief via pharmaceuticals, or the parent who chose a cesarean birth from the get-go, it hurts.

We get it.

We hear you.

Having a “natural” birth (which is a misnomer, by the way) is definitely something to be proud of and it is worth celebration. No doubt, at all. But choosing an epidural or opting for cesarean birth is an equally valid choice and one that deserves the same frequency and intensity of accolades.

This isn’t simply a matter of target market or ideal patients/clients on the part of the midwives or other birth professionals in regards to their statements/behavior online and off, because

a). not all of their patients/clients want the same things for their birth that the provider wants

b.) a provider and/or doula shouldn’t necessarily “want” anything other than a healthy, safe, and happy experience and outcome to begin

c.) they are all held in esteem in the greater health community and because of this, have influence and

d.) even if, by some chance, all their clients/patients did want a completely drug-free/intervention-free, vaginal birth, there will always be some who, for their safety and health, cannot and will not birth as originally intended.

The consequences from feeling like one “failed” at birth are very real and entirely damaging.

Not to mention, it isn’t a test to pass. By saving our “You’re a rock star” for specific people, we are effectively setting people up to believe that birth is a test of their abilities and ultimately, of their parental devotion and/or suitability. By always exclusively referring to these “mamas” (another issue for another day), we do a disservice to all those parents who need and want validation and…shared joy in their hard work.  Because let’s be clear here: non-medicated vaginal birth is hard. Medicated vaginal birth is hard. Cesarean birth is hard. Birth is hard.  So what are we saying?

There is no right or wrong way!

YOU’RE A ROCK STAR. With capital letters.  Unequivocally.  All day, every day!

P.S we recommend surrounding yourself with people who will tell you you’re a rock star without any strings. It doesn’t have to be us-we just want nothing more than your fully knowing your power.

Authored by: Heather Horrell and Elizabeth Luke

Is My Baby Normal?

Is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL

Is My Baby Normal

Babies do all sorts of seemingly oddish things. Things that’ll leave you wondering, is my baby normal? Sometimes their movements and reflexes can look scary to those who haven’t been around newborns or who aren’t well-versed in their behaviors. We noticed that when we work with new parents, we almost always get asked, “my baby does ________, is my baby normal?”

Common baby behavior includes evolutionarily-base reflexes. These can seem frightening and sometimes funny too (shhhh). We delve into each of these ahead and explain why your baby isn’t an actual alien life form.

Rooting is a reflex that helps your baby, well, root.

What does that mean? It means that this adaptation allows your baby to seek out and find a nipple. They’ll turn their heads side to side, lifting their necks, with their eyes closed.  It’s actually an early indicator of hunger, shortly before they cry and scream emerge.  When they root, they’ll sniff you if you are holding them! If they are by themselves or in a bassinet, you might notice that they put their whole fist in their mouths!

Tonic Neck reflex is a much more subtle reflex.

Fencing or Tonic Neck reflex is when your little one looks like he/she is the “On guard” position when they lie on their back. Some may describe the baby as looking like a little fencer! It serves as an important clue to their neurological development.  For instance, if your baby is never or always in this position, or continues this reflex past six months, it’s important to mention it to the pediatrician.

Is My Baby Normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL
Fencing or Tonic Neck reflex

The Startle or Moro reflex is simultaneously intriguing and funny.

When you make a loud noise or sudden movement, like unswaddling, your baby will throw his/her hands upwards and their body will jolt. Sometimes, though, it seems to happen when the house is as quiet as a library. This particular reflex is another leftover evolutionary adaptation as it helped our prehistoric ancestors respond to danger.  Notice how their hands grasp while they move their arms upwards?  Since we are primates, this ensured that the baby would hold very tightly to the mother as she escaped danger.  Speaking of grasping…

The Grasp or Palmer reflex works in conjunction with the Moro, but is important on its own.

If you put your finger on the palm of your baby’s hand, he/she will instinctively close their hand around yours. This is one of the cutest, most enjoyable reflexes a parent, family member, or caregiver can expereince. This serves to keep them safe as discussed above, but it also is the beginning of fine motor development.

is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL
Grasp of Palmer reflex

The Plantar or Babinski reflex refers are associated with the feet of the newborn.

Just as the Palmer reflex is a reaction of the fingers curling to grab, the Plantar, or Babinski, reflex is the foot’s way of responding to stimuli and helps the body to begin developing gross motor skills. Stroke your finger along the sole of their feet, right under the toes and you’ll see some extreme monkey ability!

Sometimes, parents will notice that their baby’s eyes are rolling into the back of their head!

This is really common and completely normal. As babies come out of or are going into a deep sleep, their state of consciousness is shifting and thus, their eyes will roll under their eyelids. Sometimes, their eyelids open a little and you see all the eye movement. (Generally speaking, there is no need to worry, but like anything, if you’re concerned call a medical provider.)

While we’re on the subject of beautiful baby eyes I want to also mention that if your baby’s may appear crossed from time to time. That can be normal too. It usually always straightens out by the baby’s first birthday. Talk with your pediatrician if you are concerned, but at each well-check they will examine your baby’s eyes to make sure they are developing correctly!

Periodic Breathing

Have you ever noticed that your baby, particularly when asleep, will start breathing short, little breaths like gasps and they’ll whimper? Well, this is another scary newborn event, which is also completely normal! Babies have immature respiratory systems and this is their body’s way of strengthening and regulating oxygen intake (similar to yawning releasing carbon dioxide).  They may whimper and make sounds during this bout of Periodic Breathing, but baby should not however, appear to be struggling to breathe or stop breathing altogether.

You’ll find yourself time and time again wondering, is my baby normal? As you grow as a parent, you’ll begin to wonder, “what is normal anyway?” Then, you’ll begin to differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior. It’s always good to know that some of the strangest baby happenings are absolutely normal.  And if you are still anxious, well, your pediatrician is only a phone call away!

 

The Difference between a Nanny and a Postpartum Doula

nanny and postpartum doula | best doulas in Jax

The Difference between a Nanny and a Postpartum Doula

I was in the store the other day with my daughter when the conversation came up. You know, “what do you do for a living?” I actually really love talking about what I do and what First Coast Doulas brings to the shores of Jacksonville! So, I responded with a smile and an enthusiastic, “I’m a postpartum doula!” *Crickets* “A wha????” After briefly explaining what I do and how we help new parents, he nodded with an expression of understanding and said, “So, you’re a nanny!” Uh, no.“Not exactly. Not at all, really” I responded. There are actually differences between a nanny and a postpartum doula.

“What’s the difference between a nanny and a postpartum doula then?” he asked with genuine curiosity.

And I proceeded to explain while I love nannies, I and the postpartum doulas here at First Coast Doulas, are not nannies. Our services are similar for sure, but our primary functions differ tremendously. I went on to explain.

“…Elizabeth fed me and gave me a hug when I cried and never brought it back up. She understood. She helped me understand what I was going through and even helped my husband understand me a little better. I hope Elizabeth is around when I have my second baby because I don’t want to do it without her.” ~ Danielle M. Jax., FL

So, what’s the difference between a nanny and a postpartum doula?

A nanny is there solely for the baby and kids.

They are there to attend to their needs such as feeding, bathing, keeping to routines, and adhere to the daily agenda while the parents work or otherwise take a break.  They form a close relationship with the children and become a trusted adult. A nanny is a caregiver.

Things a nanny might do:

  • Keep baby or children at their home while parents go to work on a regular basis with regular hours
  • Help create, set, and stick to daily routines based on their personal knowledge and relationship with the children
  • Provide educational activities and developmentally appropriate learning experiences
  • Discipline, prepare meals, drive children to extracurricular activities, appointments, and school

A postpartum doula is there for the family.

They’re there to attend to the family’s needs, which will vary from family to family and day to day. A lot of the time the family, having a new baby, is not aware or able to articulate their needs. The postpartum doula, using their knowledge and intuition, helps them identify what those needs and goals are and helps them to navigate the terrain of adding to their family.  A bit esoteric, yes…

Things a postpartum doula might do include:

  • Listen, reassure, and offer emotional support to new parents as they recount the birth experience and navigate the days following adding a new baby to their family.
  • Educate and advise about the woman’s postpartum body/mind
  • Help with researching, purchasing, and assembling baby gear
  • Provide local resources such as playgroups, therapists, etc.
  • Help siblings adjust to a new baby
  • Encourage parents to identify how they want things to go/what they need on their own terms and then help them implement those goals into manageable routines
  • Cook and prepare light meals, lightly clean, etc.
  • Assist with infant feeding, whether at the breast or bottle or both
  • Newborn soothing and sleep
  • Help to create a relaxing environment for the parents to enjoy snuggling with their newest family member
  • Support the new parent(s) on their first ( or fifth or twenty-fifth) outing. Think; breastfeeding for the first time in public, or preparing and warming a bottle while you change a crying newborn in the backseat or vice versa.

Encouraging you along the way!

nanny and a postpartum doula | childbirth classes in Jax

“It was like having my sister take the night shift, but I didn’t have to explain my choices. I didn’t think I’d need much help after I gave birth, but we were both exhausted a week into being home. Having our postpartum doula, Liz here helped me relax and sleep better!” “P.S. My sister is little jelly though!” ~ Marcia G. Jax., FL

A postpartum doula can provide care as well, in certain circumstances, or a person can be both a postpartum doula and a nanny. Oftentimes, they are both and perform these duties in separate circumstances!

Nannies and postpartum doulas are a collaborative team in many cases.

A First Coast Doula goes one step further in providing postpartum doula care without interjecting their opinion or philosophy on parenting. Sort of like an extension of an antepartum doula. We pride ourselves on the ability to attune to our clients because we value building a strong partnership that allows our doulas to be the best doula for any and every family.

What’s a Placenta Tincture?

What's a Placenta Tincture? | Jax Placenta | Placenta Encapsulation Jax, FL

What’s a Placenta Tincture?

So you’ve decided on placenta encapsulation to help you heal naturally after you give birth. Now you’re wondering, what’s a placenta tincture and why would I want one? You’ll be taking your placenta capsules for approximately 4-6 weeks after birth. During that time you will be replenishing lost nutrients and hopefully you’ll reap other benefits like increased energy, less mood fluctuations, and a more balanced feeling overall.

 

“When I opened the jar and there were only 3 placenta capsules felt like crying. I needed there to be more capsules in there. Then, I called Elizabeth and she reminded me about my placenta tincture. Six months after having my daughter I’m still taking my placenta tincture occasionally. I feel much better than I did with my first baby. Completely different experience. I attribute it to my placenta.” Sarah K.

 

So what’s a placenta tincture?

A tincture, in general is an alcohol extraction of an herb. The alcohol extracts the medicinal constituents of the herb through the process of osmosis, resulting in a concentrated liquid. When First Coast Doulas handcrafts your placenta tincture there are no herbs added only the perfect quantities of your placenta and the highest quality alcohol.

 

“I have celiac disease, it was nice to be able to buy something and not have to ask, “Is it gluten free?” First Coast Doulas are the only ones that I trust, they’ve thought of every detail.”~ Trisha W.

Why would you want a placenta tincture?

A placenta tincture provides support during the in between period that comes with motherhood, first baby or fifth. The period of time between surviving with a newborn and feeling like you really have a handle on life a bit more. Let’s be honest, life will never be the “same”, and we’re all dealing with our own crazy, but you do find your new normal at some point. It’s that feeling of; wow this seems easier and more enjoyable!

Benefits of a Placenta Tincture Include:

  • Generally speaking tinctures become more potent over time whereas dried powdered supplements begin to lose their potency from the moment they are made.
  • Shelf stable for an extended period when stored away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Liquid there are no pills/capsules to swallow.

After you finish taking your placenta capsules, generally around 6 weeks post-birth, you could begin taking your placenta tincture. A placenta tincture can be taken daily or as needed in times of stress. It can be taken when your menstrual cycle returns for the first time or even monthly as it says, “Hello again”. Weaning from breastfeeding is another huge transitional period where women tend to feel the effects physically, mentally, and certainly emotionally. Your placenta tincture is like your personalized “Rescue Remedy”!

 

“Through the ups and downs of hormones, introduction of solid food, growth spurts, etc., I feel very off kilter. Not like myself. I’ll become impatient, moody, and irritable. Then I remember that I have a “remedy”- my tincture! Within a day of beginning to take my placenta tincture again, I am happy, I feel good, and I have energy. I’m laughing at my kids’ spills instead of getting frustrated, I’m playing with them and enjoying life and my time with them. The tincture makes me feel like myself again! I wish every postpartum mother would take advantage of this amazing natural “remedy!” Jannine K.

First Coast Doulas certified Postpartum Placenta Specialists are with you every step of the way!

Families we’ve worked with are more than happy to declare their satisfaction with our service and their experience. We talk through the process with you and answer all of your questions thoroughly. Our specialist helps you complete the paperwork, provides a home visit along with a transport kit, and we provide follow up support for a minimum of 3 weeks. First Coast Doulas helps facilitate effective communicate with your healthcare team about your choice to encapsulate.

Providing compassionate care while upholding your privacy, First Coast Doulas makes placenta encapsulation an experience you will look back on and cherish forever!  We’re Jacksonville’s safest, most professional provider of placenta encapsulation services and our No Doubt Guarantee guarantees that!

Do you want to learn more about placenta encapsulation or get prices? Maybe you’re ready to book? Contact us today and experience what families all over Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are talking enjoying!

Down Syndrome Etiquette

Down syndrome Etiquette Jax, FL Childbirth Education

Down Syndrome Etiquette

Down syndrome etiquette is important and is blog worthy! Please take 5 minutes out of your day to read and share this with others on any platform you can. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome , making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. Yet there’s still a stigma surrounding Down syndrome (DS).

First Coast Doulas knows it’s super important to be respectful of other humans along their journey in life.

It’s very frustrating for me and many others when we hear people say certain things about people with DS. Frustration doesn’t help change things, but being an advocate and an ally does. So, I decided to write this blog about Down syndrome etiquette to help others who may be confused about what to say or may unknowingly be saying things that are offensive or hurtful to others, yes, even those without Down syndrome.

I’m always learning new things and asking important questions like;

  • What can I do when I hear x, y, and z?
  • What do you want others to know about Down syndrome?
  • What it’s like living with Down syndrome or raising children who were born DS?

One thing I can tell you is that our words matter!

Being a parent is exhausting. Being a parent or caregiver to a person who has DS is double duty exhausting. Not only are they raising their child, they’re likely attending therapy appointments (occupational, speech, and physical) with their children, and being advocates for all people with Down Syndrome. It should be no surprise that sometimes they don’t have the “extra” energy to correct others. To be honest, the responsibility falls on us as individuals to do better and treat people with respect.

Here are some things to consider:

“Downs baby” versus “baby with Down syndrome”, “She has Downs” versus “She has Down syndrome” 

DS doesn’t define who a person is. Think about something you don’t like about yourself and put a name or term on it and imagine how you would feel if every time someone referred to you they said, “Fat Lady”, or “Ugly Man”. It hurts, it’s in appropriate, and it makes the person saying it look like a complete jerk.

Using the terms “retard” or “retarded” or saying it in any context is insulting and completely inappropriate. Even when not referring to Down syndrome the implication remains. If you’re using this term, stop it! Not sure how to stop?

  1. Make a habit of stopping and thinking before you speak.
  2. If you slip up and catch yourself using this term correct yourself and then apologize out loud for your wrong doing. Don’t overlook it and move on; “promising” yourself you won’t do it again. Nope!
  3. Correct others politely without apology. Not saying something still says something. Think about that.

Saying children with DS are the “happiest children you ever met” is offensive.

Saying that they are “the happiest children” implies that they don’t have feelings. That their parents have it easy. It implies that children with DS don’t ever cry nor have bad days. This is quite the opposite; remember DS doesn’t define a person. They have good and bad days and struggles and challenges like everyone else. Parenting is not easy, parenting children with Down syndrome; you guessed it, still not easy!

Appropriately, “cognitive disability” has replaced “mental retardation”

It’s Down syndrome, not Down’s syndrome. The person who named the condition did not have Down syndrome. An “apostrophe s” implies ownership or possession.

DS is not contagious, it’s a condition. You either have DS or you don’t.

Referring to someone with Down syndrome as “special” or asking if they do the same things as “normal” kids should be avoided.

We’re all special and unique. Comparing a child with DS to other “normal” kids implies they are abnormal! People with and without Down syndrome are more alike than different. Say it and repeat it! They are strong, smart, funny, and capable of great things, just as you are!

If you know someone who has a child with Down syndrome, please do not forget the siblings!

Despite being typical siblings at home who play together, share secrets, and argue, when they are out of the house they become fierce protectors of their siblings. Despite being fierce, it’s nice to have others recognize them, to spoil them a little, to see their light shine as individuals, not just the sisters or brothers to the kids who have DS.

I often find myself thinking what I would hope for if I had Down syndrome. I believe I would want to be heard, valued, respected, and accepted so I could enjoy life a little more and worry a little less!

Come to think of it isn’t that what all of us want in life?                           #morealikethandifferent #homieswithextrachromies #t21 #downsyndromeawareness

I hope that this blog was well received by you and by those who you share this with! We want to hear from you in the comments below or email us at info@firstcoastdoulas.com

Resources for our readers:

National Down syndrome Society  http://www.ndss.org/

Local to Jax., FL: Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville https://dsaj.org/