Posts in category parenting

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.

#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!

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/

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

 

 

Top Baby Names of 2016 and 2017


top baby names | Jax. Birth Classes | Placenta Encapsulation Jax

Top Baby Names of 2016 and 2017

If you or someone you know welcomed a baby in 2016 or are expecting in 2017 you should have fun reading and sharing this blog about top baby names. Care to make a prediction with us? Did your baby’s name make the lists? We would love to hear from you in the comments!

A lot goes into a name, especially when naming your own baby.

You want to find that balance. Something pronounced fairly easily, sounds audibly appealing, and will grow with your child. Something that embraces the future! No ex names surely. And, while kids can be mean and find a way to pick fun at any name you’re not trying to make it any easier for them either! Do you lean towards classical names or something more unique? Perhaps you have a family name that will be passed down or you would like to honor a lost loved one by naming your baby after them.

No matter how you reach your decision rest assured your baby will carry on a legacy. One that you began with a name and that is really saying something!

We have tracked down the top five baby boy and baby girl names of 2016. We also have a prediction for the top baby names for 2017. Does your baby’s name make the list? Were you considering any of these names? We want to hear from you!

In 2016 the top baby names for boys were:

  1. Jackson
  2. Aiden
  3. Lucas
  4. Liam
  5. Noah

In 2016 the top baby names for girls were:

  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Ava
  5. Mia

The most popular boy name at First Coast Doulas for 2016 is Jackson or the variation of Jaxson! Aiden held a close second. Our most popular girl names for 2016 are Sophia and Sarah who tied for most popular!

Would you believe that according to census data, the name Mary was the most popular name for girls from 1900-1959! Incredible, 59 years. Just for fun First Coast Doulas predicts that in 2017 at least three of the following names will make the top baby names list: David, Kyle, Violet, James, Peyton or Payton, Cohen, Oscar, Nelson, Elizabeth, Zane, Carrie, and finally Cora

We skipped Mary since it seemed a tad predictable!

 

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

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!

 

 

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!

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

While the tragic events that have happened recently are no joke, the way many are responding is. What kind of people judge others on their parenting skills and for the love they have for another human being? Since when has judgement trumped love and compassion? What good can come from throwing stones, name calling, and finger pointing?

We have no right to judge. Have we forgotten that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, every damn one of us? You are an imperfect person, we are all imperfect people!

What nightmare are we living here?

We are humans, but we’ve become apex predators, more violent than any wild animal. This is our reality and it’s not good at all. The animals are being animals. The children free-spirited, fearless, and learning through play. Our children play, explore, and are curious!

Most people love their children, even those facing drug addiction and debilitating mental disorders. Majority of the time they do not want harm to come to their children.

We have a responsibility to our children. Physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. Sometimes that is holding their hand every step of the way and other times it means letting go and being there, close by when they ask or need for our help. Have you survived teen years yet?!

We have marriages, mortgage payments, other children, jobs, sick or dying loved ones, and ourselves to care for too!

Meanwhile we parent with life in motion, while juggling work, while balancing life!

You take a quick phone call quick while they play in the tub.

You engage in conversation about the big game last night with another father at the park while you kids disappear from your direct line of sight for a few chaotic minutes.

You let your baby keep that blankie with them as they finally fall asleep on their tummy after hours and hours of crying with no sleep. You dare not risk waking him.

You allow an older, more responsible sibling to take your youngest to the potty who can’t hold it at a restaurant while you deal with your infant who just projectile vomited in the car seat.

You allow your child to run around with a lollipop so they will stop screaming so you can have five damn minutes to gather your thoughts after getting the news your mother has cancer.

You come out of the bathroom to find your toddler has learned operate the child locks and has bleach in her hand or how to get out on the back patio near the pool which he could easily have fell into.

These are situations where accidents could have happened, and they have happened.

Most of us have had a baby fall from a bed. Could we have done more? Maybe! Are kids going to be kids? Yes! Are parents going to make mistakes? Oh hell yes we do, don’t insert “but” here. No buts! Accidents do happen!

Your child could have been these children, you could have been those parents, we all could have been. So please, stop! Stop the judgement and hate, choose love!

Humans have become more predatorily than wild animals. More deaths occur in our country every year than all accidental deaths by animals combine.

So an alligator, gorilla, and a coward walked into a bar and all hell broke loose. This animal disguised as a person took the hate and anger he had for himself and projected it onto others. He killed so many for no reason other than hate. What he did was heartless and senseless, but prepare to see more of this hate if we do not decide to change.

It starts with you, it starts with me. It starts with stopping!

We are all mirrors! What we say, do, and project onto others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Are your words kind and compassionate or full of hate and judgement?

I know you’ve heard these: sometimes less is more, those who live in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones, and two wrongs don’t make a right. We are responsible for our actions, our words, and our thoughts. Perhaps we judge less and love more!

Feel, think, process… then respond!

Hate breeds hate. Love changes things! Choose love!

 

Our colleagues at Hampton Roads Doulas also wrote a fantastic blog. Please go over and show them some love too!

Which Animal Mom Are You Most Like?

Which Animal Mom Are You Most Like?

Which Animal Mom Are You Most Like best doulas in jax

Which animal mom are you most like?

Are you exhausted from lack of sleep and gain a ton during pregnancy? Do you move a lot, birth submerged, share parenting duties, or go without meals?! These animal mothers are awe inspiring!

Which mom do you relate most to?

Tell us in the comment section of the blog! If you know more animal mother behaviors that are comment worthy we’d love to learn from you!

 

Orangutan

Highly intelligent, the orangutan is the ultimate D.I.Y. mom. She spends almost her entire life up high  in the trees. Orangutan moms build a new nest every night from branches and foliage. She creates more than 30,000 homes in her lifetime! Do you find yourself moving around often? Perhaps you are a military family or just like a change of scenery every so often? Thank goodness it’s not every night! Although sometimes scrapping it and just starting over sounds refreshing!

She also generally nurses her offspring until they reach the age or 6 or 7 years old! Have you had an extended breastfeeding relationship? Orangutan’s practice the longest nursing dependency of any animal on Earth.

Emperor Penguins

Emperor penguin moms and dads alternate roles while raising a single baby. Either mom or dad will hunt for food while they other stays at “home” to keep the baby warm and protected. Do you and your partner both work and share all responsibilities equally?

Polar Bears

The polar bear mom-to-be puts on about 400 pounds during pregnancy! That’s a lot of “baby weight”! I wonder how many other polar bears ask her if she is expecting triplets or comment on how she must be about to pop?! Did you experience rude comments during your pregnancy like so many other expectant mothers? 

After packing on the pounds, the polar bear mom has one of the easiest labors known. She fashions a maternity den in a snowdrift normally. Then she enters a hibernation-like state and “sleeps” through the baby’s birth. Can you imagine? Did you or are you planning to hypnobirth? That’s about as close to a hibernation-like state as we human moms can get while birthing!

 

Giant Pacific Octopus

A female octopus has one goal in life: to have one successful brood of eggs. Have you always dreamed of becoming a mother? The Giant Pacific Octopus will lay between 20,000- 100,000 eggs in her lair and defend them at any cost. Are you a fierce protector?

During the time caring for her eggs, the female is starved almost to death. She may even ingest one of her own arms before she’d consider leaving her eggs to get food. Would you give your arm to protect your kids? Have you given up your own plate of food more times than you’d like to count so that your kids can have seconds? Sometimes it’s just not worth the fight! Giant Pacific Octopus die soon after the birth of her babies, leaving behind a legacy to carry on! We sure our lucky that our design is different, we get to lug our babes around in our womb and get our eat on.

 

Killer Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins

Talk about sleep deprivation, these calves don’t sleep for an entire month after birth. You know what that means, neither do their mothers. How fun?! NOT! I think we can all relate to feeling like we haven’t slept in a month, I bet these moms could use a overnight doula!

The sleeping patterns of captive killer whales and bottlenose dolphins were examined. It was determined that the “exceptional wakefulness of newborn whales and dolphins has no ill-effect on their development”. Well, was there a study done on sleep deprived mothers? This takes the, “sleep when baby sleeps” saying to whole new level! Extreme mothering level achieved!

Their study showed that Killer Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins, and their mothers, avoided obstacles, swam continuously and surfaced repeatedly for air 24 hours a day for the first month of life. Mothering, the ultimate responsibility!

 

Harp Seal

A mother harp seal identifies her baby from hundreds of other babies based on smell alone? Did you fall in love with your baby’s unique smell? Your baby’s sweet aroma triggers the release of oxytocin (the love hormone)and tiggers emotions of joy and fierce protection!

The pups don’t have any blubber at birth, but quickly gain weight nursing on high-fat mother’s milk. Was your baby born perfectly on the smaller side? Did she quickly gain mama milk rolls? 

During mating season male harp seals will dance to get the best mate. Did your partner’s hot dance moves win you over?

 

Hippopotamus

A mother hippopotamus will sometimes give birth to her baby underwater. When she does she helps the baby to the surface so he can breathe. A mother hippopotamus must fight off intense predators like lions, crocodiles, and even the male hippopotamus that only attacks the babies in water, not on land. Did you labor or give birth to your baby in the water?

In areas undisturbed by people, hippos lie on the shore soaking up the morning sun. Are you a sun goddess who prefers to spend her time perched beautifully on the shore too?

A mother’s love for her children is immeasurable and unconditional. We protect fiercely and put their needs before our own. Whether we are animal or human we are a force to be reckoned with! Which animal mom are you most like? Leave us a comment below!

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