Posts in category confident parenting

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!

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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!

 

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!

 

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids

 

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids | Childbirth Classes Jax, FL

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids

I can’t tell you how many times over the last two decades that I’ve spent raising children and in my career that I’ve thought and heard: there are some things I wish I knew before I had kids. Definitely way more than I ever thought or dreamed I would.  I think most of us would agree that with experience comes at least some knowledge and insight. A mechanic knows vehicles and a doctor knows the ins and outs of medicine! As a seasoned parent, doula, and caregiver I’m often asked about my experience: what I would do in a specific situation and if I have any advice for others. So, I’ve compile a list of 4 things I wish I knew before I had kids to share with all of you and they aren’t about breast or bottlefeeding, spanking, spoiling, or sleep training.

These are things all parents and families can benefit from!

1. It’s imperative that you do you for them!

Don’t underestimate what me time can do for your entire family! Sure, in the beginning it’s tough. The first six weeks is about survival. But after you begin getting back into the swing of things at your own speed, making time for you is imperative!

Parents make sacrifices all the time for their kids and each other, but you don’t have to sacrifice all the time. You don’t have to have an answer for everything or extra set of arms to get it all done, although you give it a good go! We’re simply not designed to multitask and be great at all things. So while balancing, juggling, and living life do not forget to take care of you! Teach your children to love themselves and take time for self-care! A healthy mind, body, and spirit benefits everyone!

2. Your children are modeling for you what unconditional love is!

It’s true, let’s face it! Your finicky three year old doesn’t care if you feed them organic or fast food, they will just pick and poke anyway. Said toddler also give no cares if you leave the house to get the darn french fries without your bra or wearing two different shoes by mistake, they just want the fry fries and love you for getting them. Your little monkey will happily climb you like a tree to breastfeed while you’re squeezing in a 5 minute poop break or share the last few licks of their slobbery lollipop with you! Our children happily love us just the same!

We can learn a lot from our tiny humans. They expect nothing, they have no ideas about how it “should” be, what is “best”, and they simply love and adore us!

3. You can say no without apology or reason!

Not only can you say no because you can’t, but you can also say no when you don’t want to. You don’t have to come up with an excuse and you don’t have to have a reason. Your friend wants to drop by this evening on the way home to go through swatches for her new sofa and paint colors for her living room. You’ve had a long work week and you’re feeling tapped out. You just wanted to sit around in your underwear, have a glass of wine and watch an episode on Netflix. It’s ok to just say no. You don’t have to say why or apologize. You don’t have to feel be sorry, you can just say no, it’s healthy to say no (and yes for that matter) sometimes See #1 again!

This means strangers, friends, even family. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s healthy. This leaves more time and emotional and physical energy to say yes when you want to!

Hint: The more you practice saying no the easier it gets, the better it feels!

4. It’s normal and healthy to make mistakes.

As a mom with three adult children and one whose ten years behind her siblings I often reflect on our journey as a family. I also think back on the choices we made as parents. Boy have we made some mistakes along the way. You will too! We’ve laughed, cried, yelled, and fell upon silence. You will too… and it’s okay! In fact it’s more than ok, it’s completely “normal”. Mistakes means we’re human, mistakes let our children see we are not perfect and that is good!

Before you know it, believe it or not they will be flying the nest! Acknowledging our own mistakes, apologize, and working to learn from our mistakes will help our children not only understand that mistakes are okay, but it also models for them healthy life lessons and strategies they will take with them.

There are a few more things I wish I knew before having kids, but there’s something so freeing about not knowing all things and just winging it! I hope you find these 4 things helpful. What things do you wish you knew before having kids? We want to hear from you in the comment section below!

Here’s to happy birth and parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke, author and owner at FCDoulas

The Beginner’s Guide to Parenting

The Beginner's Guide to Parenting | Jax FL Doulas

www.FirstCoastDoulas.com

The Beginner’s Guide to Parenting

If you have or will be having children in the near future you’ve probably found yourself thinking, “I wish there was a how to for parenting”, or “I could sure use a manual right now”!  You’ll get a lot of advice along the way. Some well-meaning and very helpful, some unsolicited, some when you least expect it, and sometimes you’ll find yourself in complete shock about advice people give out. All will happen at some point, you can bank on it!

It possible you’ve searched “parenting” or “baby manual” and found this blog.

The Beginner’s Guide to Parenting includes 5 fundamental components:

1. There is no right or wrong way to parent your children only different ways.

Different strokes for different folks! As long as you are led with love and good intention in your heart and not fear or anger you are doing the best anyone can do with/for your child. As a childbirth educator I often hear, “I just want to make the right decisions for my baby.” Take a nice, slow, deep breath in and exhale and say, “I am enough.” Now believe that! No one loves your baby or is more capable of raising your child than Y-O-U! We are all winging it!

2. Parenting styles vary!

Sure, mom jeans are a “thing”, but we’re not talking about your wardrobe. We’re talking about your approach! As you hear others talk or your read about parenting styles know that your “style” will be what works for you, your spouse, and your baby! A style will take shape naturally [sigh of relief]. Parenting styles are usually discovered over time between you and your children. Often times we see ourselves parenting one way and even start out parenting that way. Then we end up adjusting our “style” as we go about our daily lives as parents. Each child may even require different parenting styles. After all they are different individuals with unique needs, just as you and your spouse. Think love languages.

You want to room in with your baby, great! You want to put your baby’s crib in the their own room straight away, great! Your family will have its own “fly” style that just works! Believe that!

3. Trust your instincts.

If you are like so many parents today you’re connected daily to the vast sea of information that is the internet. Trying to differentiating between interpretation and science and decide on what is “best” on topics like pregnancy, birth, and parenting can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to seek reliable sources that you connect with personally, be it a book, a pediatrician, or a friend. Be open to hearing new ideas and learning new ways of doing things. But, at the end of the day your instincts should always trump the information and advice when it comes to parenting!

4. You will make mistakes and that is more than okay.

Sometimes you will find yourself high-fiving your spouse and smiling over your parenting wins! Other times you’ll be reduced to tears, upset and even confusion. It will happen, don’t beat yourself up. Recognizing your own mistakes and learning from them only helps you be a better parent! As your children grow they will learn from you that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from ourselves. You can’t have wins without understanding loss! Every loss learned is a win!

5. Enjoy parenting your children. It is a gift some never experience.

Eighteen years can sound like a lot; some days seem much longer and harder than others. You will only have a baby for a year, a toddler for two, and a child for ten. Those are the years to create a strong foundation of love, acceptance, and whatever it is you value as a parent! After that you’re still and will always be a parent, but your role begins to shift slightly away from protector towards being a guide.

From joy to challenges, to tears of happy and sad, and every single possible emotion in between parenting is the ultimate rollercoaster ride! There are very few jobs in this World that are as important as parenting. What gifts do you want to hand down to our future scientist, parents, lawyers, bookkeepers, mechanics, doctors, teachers, doulas, writers, and pilots?

I hope The Beginner’s Guide to Parenting helped each of you feel less overwhelmed and more “ready” to step right into the role of parenting! Get your free The Beginner’s Guide to Parenting printable here.

Author~ Elizabeth Luke

Owner of First Coast Doulas, LLC

 

 

Your Newborn Baby; 5 Things You’ll Want Know

Your Newborn Baby Jax FL

Your Newborn Baby; 5 Things You’ll Want to Know

As delivery day approaches you’ll have all kinds of feels. The idea of your newborn baby in your arms can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. As a New Family Support Specialist I want to help enhance your experience. So today I’m sharing with you 5 things you’ll want to know about your newborn baby.

1. Your newborn baby will cry.

I’m sure that comes as no shock, after all, babies cry, it’s sort of their thing. The feeling you get when you hear the sound of your baby’s cry can catch you off guard though. I mean, you know babies cry, so why all the emotions? Damn hormones! Hormones and instincts are to blame. We are wired to respond and be attentive to our newborns most of the time. Your newborn baby has very few ways to communicate with you, crying is the most recognizable one and gets the most attention quickly.

Babies cry for a number of reasons; hunger, discomfort or pain, startling, and sometimes they just cry. Yes, for no known reason. Write this one down folks! No, in fact just print this blog, frame it and hang it in the nursery as a reminder! It will be ok. You try “all the things”, and at the end of the day you remind yourself that you did the best you could and that is enough. As your baby grows you will begin to learn what cry means what. For some it’s an intuitive feeling, but for most it’s a learned art, it takes time, and that’s ok.

2. Your newborn may have a mini period and swollen breasts.

Maternal hormones from the mother’s body are responsible for these happenings. Again I say, damn hormones! In the first couple of weeks of life your newborn baby girl may shed a tiny amount of blood from her uterus into her vagina, and make its way to her diaper. This is normal and perfectly healthy. We’re talking a very small amount.

Your newborn boy or girl may have swollen breasts. Yep, boys can have boobies too! For a limited time only, usually lasting around six weeks of age your baby’s breast tissue can appear raised, swollen, or full.

3. Your newborn will have mucus, and may sneeze frequently.

Your newborn spent his entire life surrounded by amniotic fluid. Stepping, sucking, practicing acrobatics, and he was taking practice breaths of fluid. At birth most of that fluid is cleared via a good squeeze as he passes through the birth canal and is suctioned away by the provider. In a cesarean birth babies are suctioned more thoroughly because they need a little more help clearing that fluid. Some of that fluid still remains in your newborn no matter how they were born.

Your newborn will pass that mucous over the next couple of weeks and will need your help being suctioned occasionally. Hearing your newborn with mucous in his mouth and throat can be a little unsettling, but have no fear, its normal and will pass with time. Sneezing is one way your baby clears his respiratory passages. Using a bulb syringe or similar product like the Nose-Frida you will help remove what they cannot clear themselves. As long as the fluid is clear or milky like and not yellow or green there is no reason to be alarmed.

In the Family 1st Birthing Classes we cover birth, but we also cover what to expect in the first two weeks after birth. The classes are comprehensive and customized to your unique needs.

4. Your baby’s eyes may look crossed from time to time.

You could stare into her eyes forever! Don’t be surprised if one day while staring back your newborn’s eyes are crossed. In the first few months of life it’s very common. The eyes are surrounded by muscles. Majority of the time when the eyes are crossed some muscles may be a little weaker than others and just need more time to gain strength.

Your pediatrician will examine your baby’s eyes at each visit to make certain that everything is developing properly. If there is reason for concern you will be referred to a children’s eye specialist where further testing may be done.  If you are concerned or notice it happening more often absolutely mention it to your pediatrician.

Sometimes a baby’s eyes may appear to be crossed, but actually are not. This illusion is called pseudo strabismus and usually happens when a baby has a wide nasal bridge.

5. Your newborn will signal you when hungry.

You won’t hear the ringing of a little bell or get a, “Yo mom, when’s dinner?” No, no, you have a least a decade before that occurs, but your newborn will signal you when he or she wants to be fed. We all recognize crying as a sign of distress or hunger, but crying is actually a late indicator for hunger.

Catch your baby’s cues early and you can make feeding time a more enjoyable experience for all. If you wait until the late signs of hunger are displayed it may be necessary to calm your newborn before feeding her.

Early signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • licking or smacking lips
  • opening and closing mouth
  • sucking on anything (lips, tongue, finger, hand)

Active signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • the rooting reflex or turning their mouth towards your chest
  • crankiness displayed as breathing faster
  • squirming around, increased movement or stirring

Late signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • crying
  • moving head from side to side
  • frantically moving around

Follow us on Facebook for more great informational blogs about pregnancy, birth, healing, your newborn, relationships, and parenting! In these early weeks of your newborn’s life it’s tough, really tough, but there are ways to feel more supported and transition more smoothly. Contact us today to learn more!

Baby Feeding Cues Visual

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations jax placenta

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations

Pregnancy, birth, and parenting affirmations are one way to stay positive and feel more grounded and centered. October is the perfect month to begin a daily affirmation routine and we are going to help you get started!

The best news is you’ve already seen and used some affirmations in your everyday life. Think about those positive memes you read on social media sites and posters you see in the conference rooms, those are affirmations!

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Jacksonville, Placenta

Pregnancy will test your limits in every way.

In fact, pregnancy is a really great time to start a daily affirmations routine because it helps you become more positive-minded and relaxed before your upcoming birth! Being the best parent for your child begins with feeling good each day. Starting now in pregnancy will give you more time to practice before your baby is born and improves your chances of continuing your practice once your baby has made their arrival.

The last few weeks of pregnancy presents with its own set of unique challenges.

Your belly seems to bump into everything, you have to pee at least a hundred times a day, and two-hundred times at night. You’re not sleeping well and your feet hurt. It seems likely your baby can’t get here fast enough and you know this because every single person keeps asking, “Have you had that baby yet?”

During labor and birth you will do best of you are relaxed and at peace.

Affirmations are designed to do just that! There are very few times in your life when you’ll birth a baby. No matter how or where you are choosing or need to birth you’ll look back and remember the details of the day for the rest of your life. How you felt and how you were treated will matter. Creating a set of personalized affirmation cards that you really connect with to use through labor and birth is on my list of “Top 3 Must Haves For Birth”. Following right behind hiring a great doula, and taking an excellent birthing class! You, your partner, and your doula can utilize these cards in labor. Not only to help you directly, but to help yhem feel more grounded, confident, and calm indirectly influencing all who are in your birth space!

There is no harder or more rewarding job in the World than parenting!

Being a parent is not for the faint, you will be tested on every level and pushed beyond what you ever thought possible. From day #1 your life is turned upside down in a good, but crazy way. From one age and stage to the next, children change so quickly.

Affirmations help you connect with your inner self. They can help ground you and refocus you in times of stress. Taking time to practice and repeat affirmations will help you be the very best you can be for yourself and your family!

Be The Best You Can Be in Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting With Two Rules for Daily Practice:

Intention

  • Set a reminder on your phone.
  • Practice daily for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • Make the most of your time. It allows you to be the best you that you can be.
  • Create a space as a visual commitment.
  • You have to believe what you want to achieve. When beginning your practice choose affirmations that you connect with and believe in.

Attention

  • Silence your phone
  • Set an alarm for 20 minutes and do not think about the time while practicing.
  • Practice in a way that allows you to get the most of your time. You may only use one affirmation for 20 minutes or you may focus on several.
  • Completely submerge yourself while you’re practicing.

Each day in the month of October First Coast Doulas is sharing affirmations to our Instagram account making it easy for our followers to begin or add to their daily practice! Begin today with the affirmations in the attached picture, “I am stronger than my fears!” Follow us on Instagram @ fcdoulas

Bringing Home Baby #2, Five Things to Know

Bringing Home Baby #2, jax placenta

Bringing Home Baby #2, Five Things to Know

What’s there to know?

You have done this before.

You are already a parent!

Right….

Because you have previous experience you may be a little less nervous about caring for a newborn or the thought of bringing your tiny human home to a busy toddler can be frightening.

First let me tell you, you can do this. You may flounder around to find your routine in the beginning, but after some time, you will begin to adapt. Take a deep breath and remember these 5 things to help you transition into your new role as a parent of not one, but two.

It will appear that your first ‘baby’ is now actually a giant

Your first child, even if they are still a tiny 1 or 2 year old, will look huge when bringing home baby #2. Everything about them will seem big! Their hands, only a few days seemed so small when you held on to them, now engulf those of their sibling’s. Their voice, their scent and their development now seem so far advanced as you are brought back to the quiet whimpers of your newborn. As a labor and postpartum doula, I have heard clients say many times, “no one ever told me they would look so big.” This alone can be a lot to take in.

What worked for one baby may not work for the next

Feeding and sleeping! Getting to know your firstborn’s likes and dislikes when it comes to the essentials is a great accomplishment. You had mastered your first’s routine in only a few months, this second time around is sure to be quicker! If that were the case, how would they keep life interesting? The behavior and personality of one may not be like the second. During times like these, clients have expressed some doubt before discovering the reason one part of their desired routine is not working. Adjustments will need to be made, but you are capable and you will figure out your new normal.

Know your limits

We give and give and give ourselves to little people who turn around and ask for more with one cue or another. While they are incredibly scrumptious, they can be…and are, equally taxing at times. When we are responsible for the lives’ of our future, knowing what we can and cannot handle is crucial. That will look different for every family. Do you need organization in your house? Hiring that out may be what works for you. Does 2 hours a day to yourself help you recharge? Are you a better mother to your children as a working mom? It’s different for every family and it is more than okay to choose to live a way others may not.

Find your person

Talk to a trusted friend regularly, about anything. Allow their encouraging words to sink in and gratefully welcome their help.  When you receive a compliment only say the words, “thank you”. This sounds silly, but it’s important. Don’t brush it off. Don’t couple your ‘thank you’ with a phrase that waters down the compliment you just received. We don’t always receive words that build us up. Postpartum doulas trained to support families with zero agenda are perfect for this role as well. He or she can be your best friend with professional expertise.

Lower your expectations

Hear me on this. Some of the thoughts we have seem so bizarre that we are sure to be the only ones to think them. “When I am bringing home baby #2 will I love her like the first? How can the second one be cute compared to the first? What if she doesn’t fit in with the rest of us?” You are not the only mother to have these thoughts before laying eyes on your new babe and you won’t be the last. Envisioning your bundle to fit right into your family as if you have always known him is a refreshing expectation that can easily be upheld. Expecting the bliss of watching your toddler kiss his little brother in complete adoration to last throughout their childhood years? Well, that’s an expectation to consider holding loosely.

When caring for a child and baby feels like a juggling act you are sure to drop. Come back to these 5 tips, call your doula and remember to take it one day (or even one hour) at a time.

 

bringing home baby #2, best placenta encapsulation in jax

Author: Whitney Teel, Wilmington Coastal Doulas

Whitney is the owner of Wilmington Coastal Doulas! She holds down the day to day operations and with a compassionate heart and a listening ear she supports couples as they find their confidence and identify with themsleves as self-assured parents! Whitney provides mentorship to doulas who are trained through ProDoula and are working with WC Doulas.

When she’s not slaying the day to day office stuff, building relationships and bridges with people in the community, and supporting her clients you’ll likely find her enjoying time with her own family and close friends! If you’re in the Wilmington, NC area and planning to welcome a baby soon you owe it to yourself to check out all that Wilmington Coastal Doulas has to offer!

 

 

Getting Your Baby to Sleep, Tonight

getting your baby to sleep tonight doula jax fl

Getting Your Baby to Sleep, Tonight

When my kids were newborns I could set my clock by them. They would wake every 2-3 hours. The oldest would wake each morning at 5:30am and be awake for a few hours before being ready for sleep once more. For a mom who is NOT a morning person, this was an absolute nightmare.

I had no clue to how put them back to sleep so I just sucked up the sleep deprivation and would rock them for what felt like hours trying to get them back to sleep. That is until I discovered Dr. Harvey Karp’s book The Happiest Baby on the Block.

It was heaven! My baby was falling asleep in fifteen minutes instead of the usual forty-five, and she was sleeping more soundly. This meant mom and dad were also getting better sleep. We were happier all around.

Without going too in depth, Here are the 5 things to know about getting your baby to sleep, tonight. These are the concepts associated with Karp’s sleep ideology.

  1. Swaddling

Babies are used to being curled up in a cramped space. Swaddling mimics that feeling. However, it is becoming increasingly recommended to practice safe swaddling techniques so please consult with your primary care physician or your doula for how to get that perfect swaddle.

 

  1. Side

It is easiest to get a baby to sleep when they are on their side or stomach. That’s why babies enjoy being rocked in someone’s arms and they clam down when placed on their stomach over someone’s arm. By holding the baby stomach to stomach, you are putting them in a position that is most comfortable for them.

 

  1. Shhhhhhhh

It is incredibly loud in the womb. Between the swooshing sound of your heart, the sounds of food digesting in the stomach, and outside noises it is almost deafening. When a baby is born we try to keep everyone quiet whereas adding some white noise will actually help getting baby to sleep a lot easier.

 

  1. Swinging

We naturally bounce babies in our arms or on our shoulder when trying to soothe them. This movement mimics the womb and is comforting to your baby. A baby’s enjoyment of this particular movement is the exact reason many babies sleep better while in the swing.

 

  1. Sucking

Babies do a lot of sucking in the womb- on their fingers, practicing breathing, practicing drinking, etc. When they are born they are only given a bottle, breast, or pacifier to suck when they are upset and not at will like they’re used to. By giving a baby something to suck on while getting your baby to sleep, it will make the process go much smoother.

Getting a baby to sleep can seem like a daunting task, especially for new parents. There are lots of ways to help get a baby to sleep, but this is the method that I have, personally, found to be most successful. Best of luck!

 

ChristineAuthor: Christine Santos, Sun State Doulas

Christine Santos is a labor and postpartum doula, placenta encapsulation specialist, and photographer serving Central Florida. She knows a thing or two about getting your baby to  sleep!

Christine owns Sun State Doulas in Lakeland, Florida. She is a passionate leader, but also loves working as a cohesive part of a team that provides unwavering support to families in the Tampa area. She also loves playing on a roller derby team and is known as the “Derby Doula”

 

When and How Do We Stop

When and How Do We Stop

When and How Do We Stop Jax FL

When and How Do We Stop

As postpartum doulas, families ask us all the time, “When and how do we stop __________”? You can fill in the blank with rocking them to sleep, nursing them to sleep, singing them to sleep, giving them a bottle, letting them sleep in our room, etc.

As parents we all want the change to be painless for our children and ourselves.

For some families that means taking as much time as needed to transition, for others it means they draw their line hard and fast.

So the answer to when and how starts with who and what.

Who you, your partner, and your children are and of course what you want for your family; what are your goals. Once we know this we can help you find solutions!

Here are some questions to help you find an approach that works for you and your family!

Find which of these sounds most like you and go with it, but keep in mind your baby/toddler/child may be the opposite of you. You’ll need to find a balance, after all it needs to be what is best for the family unit, but making it best for baby may mean smoother for all!

Do you normally try things expecting quick results and move on to something new fairly quickly if what you tried didn’t work the first time? Are you direct or blunt? Do you normally trust your gut or intuition?

Yes! Then my suggestions would be to trust your gut, try several things and see what seems to get better results than others. Once you’ve narrowed your options down the real work begins. It will require patience, sensitivity, and consistency for a set time. If after a set time no progress is being made move on to the next thing your gut tells you may work.

Do you find yourself asking friends or people within your social circle what works for them? When you succeed do you love to shout it from the roof tops and want recognition?

Yes! Then my suggestions are to do some research by way of socializing with friends about what worked for them and just get started. Stay focused on the results you want to see. Keep with one way for a given time and seek support of your closest friends to hold you accountable.

Do you look to your significant other for their acceptance or for new ideas? Do you prefer your partner make most of decisions regarding places to go eat or a paint color for the house? Do you value friendships and stability?

Yes! Then I would suggest making a list of the ways this transition will benefit your family. Then with your partner’s suggestions follow their lead and follow through. Be the kind, compassionate person you are, but remain steady. If what you’re doing isn’t working after a given time seek guidance from your partner again.

Do you value systems? Are you analytical and seek out facts and evidence? Do you find you are skeptical of things more times than not?

Yes! Then you’ve probably already sought out your options and compiled a detailed list to help you reach your goals.  If you haven’t already, list them in order of which you would like to try each one. The list could include the idea or concept, the number of times each week/day you want to try said idea, and the duration for which you will try each. Step out of your comfort zone and be prepared to change plans quickly when plan A and B aren’t getting it. Your plan C is to think quickly. You may need to delegate. Make your lists easy for others to understand so they can help you implement the ideas. You will need to let go of some responsibility and allow others to step up.

Ultimately my suggestion to a wider audience would be to stop when your heart or gut tells you it’s time! Re-direction, positive reinforcement, and consistency are usually the key to change.

That can mean stopping when your child makes it clear they are ready or you are sure you are ready. There are several approaches. You could do it all at once and go cold turkey or take it nice and slow through the transition.

I think the best way to go about it is to trust yourself as a parent and do what feels right for your family. There will, without a doubt, come a time when your baby just won’t “need” you to _____________ anymore.

They’re only little once!

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