The Joys of Being a Postpartum and Infant Doula

The Joys of Being a Postpartum and Infant Doula Jax, FL | Night Nanny Jax

The Joys of Being a Postpartum and Infant Doula

The joys of being a postpartum and infant doula are plentiful.  While there are hard days and long nights I wouldn’t trade this career for anything! There are days that make me wonder if I am cut out for this work and then there are days that confirm to me I am most certainly on the right path! It’s World Doula Week so I decided to share my joy with all of you.

On my drive home today I had some downtime. No phone consults or conference calls.

Time to relax, daydream, listen to the music, and reflect. As I made my way over the bridge I couldn’t help but smile the biggest smile. You know the kind of smile that makes your cheeks hurt and your heart burst? Yeah, that kind of smile.

I was thinking about one of our client’s.

I was remembering the look on her face when her baby finally latched onto her breast for the first time without using a breast shield.  It was a sweet moment. She and her baby worked so hard, it was a long time coming. A moment she wasn’t sure she’d ever see, but she longed for. She was overcome with emotion and completely mesmerized in those moments. I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up too.  I was able to grab her phone and capture this moment in time for her! That was a joy I felt through her and her baby.

I thought about another family we worked with a couple months ago.

I wondered how they were doing and if they finally mastered learning how to speak French so they could keep up with their oldest who is four years old and speaks fluent French. This child was not only brilliant she was as sweet as she could be and quite the character! She always kept me giggling!

There were several more families I thought about as I completed my 45-minute drive home.

I thought about a couple of the families I’ve supported during labor and birth. How much I enjoy seeing their pictures on Instagram and Facebook. There was also a lady who was so sick during her pregnancy that she only left her home for doctor appointments and a handful of times with me or her husband to just get out and keep from going crazy. I remember how much she absolutely despised it when anyone would try to tell her how happy she should be that she is having a baby. I understood where she was at and met her right there. She appreciated that and her and I continued to be good friends after our professional relationship ended. It was a joy to be what she needed when she needed it most.

It’s not uncommon for me to think back on the joys and struggles I’ve been part of.

Many challenges that families I work with face, I face it with them. I have held the hands of parents who have faced-their worst fears. I have ridden in the backseat with a child who had a broken arm and sang to her so her mother could focus on driving and arriving safely at the emergency room. The struggles we face as parents may be different, but the feelings are what connects us and keeps us humble.

One of the biggest joys of being a postpartum and infant doula is watching parents enjoy their babies!

I mean like really enjoy their babies. They have worries and struggles just like the rest of us, but if I can help them put systems in place, answer their most pressing questions, relieve some anxiety, and lighten their load even if just a little, that brings me joy!

Seeing parents grow in their role as parents, but also as individuals brings this doula loads of joy. As they learn to dress, feed, bathe, and change their baby’s diapers I see their confidence build. When they find their own little tricks of the trade or nail down the ones they’ve seen others do I see them hold their heads just a little bit higher.

The joys of being a postpartum and infant doula include siblings!

Seeing their little faces light up when I come through the door is a joy that can’t be matched. As we interact with one another I get to learn about who they are, what they like and help them find their footing along this new path.

It’s work, but it’s joyful work most days!

In these precious moment’s that they share with their children parents are so grateful to have our support. I know from experience that, it isn’t until later as these moments become memories they realize how deeply their experience was enhanced by bringing us onto their team. This brings me so much joy. There are grandparents miles away that wish they could be there for the everyday things like baby’s first bath and first set of vaccinations, but are thankful that their babies have someone they trust alongside them to encourage and cheer them on! I know this because I am told, but also because I too am a mom and now a grandma.

I think it’s safe to say I have the most amazing career, but I may be a little bias.

Postpartum and infant doula work is meaningful, important, and too often it’s forgotten.  If I have to be away from my own family, this is the work I want to continue to do! I’ve worked very hard as the owner of First Coast Doulas to create a business that I am proud of. A business that is sustainable for those who work with us so that we may stick around for many, many more years to come. Impacting the lives of families who are raising our future!

Today the universe reminded me that sharing the joys of being a postpartum and infant doula also means sharing the struggles and I am completely okay with that! Last week ended World Doula Week 2018 and part of my reflection is shared here. Thank you for letting me share my joys with you!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can share your ups and downs with an amazing doula on our team contact us today!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Best IKEA Finds for Baby

Best IKEA Finds for Baby

Heather & Elizabeth, professional postpartum doulas and experienced moms share the best IKEA finds for baby in this fast & fun video!  They say leave your work at the door, BUT they just can’t! Supporting families is what they love, they’ve done this their whole lives, becoming certified doulas just made it official! You can watch the video (ignore Elizabeth’s RBF, LMAO) read the blog or both. Either way, you get in on the fun and get pro tips!

It’s an IKEA take over, baby edition!

The first item to make the Best IKEA Finds for Baby list is a potty seat!

The LILLA 1-piece potty seat and the LOCKIG 2-piece  potty seat made the top of the list! The LILLA is a lean-green minimalist machine. Think easy to clean, space saving, low-profile potty and it is priced right at only $4.99. The LOCKIG is great too! Priced right at only $9.99 its two-piece design offers a higher back and a wider base for those who might need to feel a little more secure while taking care of business. Both pieces pack away nicely in the back of your SUV for potty learning on the go!

The second product to make the Best IKEA Finds for Baby list is fun-tastic!

The LEKA baby gym is stylish and functional without being too garish!  Its primary colors provide a great contrast for developing eyes and makes for easier hand-eye coordination. The toys come off of the base so babies can hold and enjoy the reward after kicking and hitting them around. The entire thing is wooden and is priced right at only $29.99. As a bonus, these same toys can be used during tummy time because again you can remove them easily from the base and let baby reach and enjoy them! We also really love that you can use your own blanket underneath the gym and switch them out as often as you’d like or need to. Do you have a beloved quilt or blanket you want to use when a special someone visits? This baby gym allows so much versatility.

The last product we’re featuring today on our Best IKEA Finds for Baby list blog is the ANTILOP highchair!

This lovely chair ssembles and breaks down easily, can be used at home or on the go, and cleans up in record time! We appreciate it’s curved back because it provides a little more comfort on your baby’s bum!  I think the coolest thing about this highchair aside from easy cleaning (think more time for fun or sleep) is that you can buy it with the tray for $19.99 or without the tray for $14.99 and even order a replacement tray for $5.00 if you need a new one later. Not sure this is the chair for you? Call a friend, drop into IKEA together, grab a complimentary coffee, latte, or cappuccino using your IKEA family card and try this chair out for yourself in the cafe!

We have a few other favorites, but these are the best of the best IKEA finds for baby! You can create a gift registry at IKEA  and add these items and many more to your list, making gift buying easy for all your IKEA loving friends! What do you think? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment, email us at, or connect with us on Facebook!

First Coast Doulas do not any kick backs whatsoever for mentioning IKEA, we’ve just genuinely enjoy their products (and coffee) and want parents to know about things that can make their lives easier!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth & Heather

Homage to Doulas | Celebrating World Doula Week 2018

homage to doulas jax fl | Doulas in Jax

Homage to Doulas

Each year from March 22nd to March 28th the World pays homage to doulas! The celebration mostly consists of doulas celebrating doulas; doulas who have come before them, doula colleagues, their own work as doulas, and the future of doulas everywhere.  Families who’ve hired doulas or who have doulas in their family also pay homage to doulas during this week each year.  In my honest and humble opinion it’s a week of reflection,  thanksgiving, and motivation.

Did you know that the average burn out rate for doulas is 3-4 years?

In the “doula world,” there’s a mission to we leave birth and postpartum in a better state than we originally found it. Like a doula’s scope of practice, the mission is open to interpretation. Three to four years is a relatively short time frame for anyone to make a positive impact in any field, but especially in doula work.

Three to four years before the long hours and lack of sustainability consumes them. In that time frame, the majority of doulas will be forced to retire from the work they love and are great at. That three to four year time frame allows them to take a doula training, meet and connect with families and healthcare providers, just begin to find their footing, and become trusted support persons. All just to turn over the reigns because they either were not able to make the work sustainable or they didn’t believe in themselves enough to even try.

What happens when doulas create sustainable practices?

Well, to start with doesn’t most everyone feel better about going to work knowing they’ll be paid for the work they do? Yeah, doulas feel the same. It’s empowering to know we’re earning our own money. Doulas who create sustainability prioritize and take pride in their work. We take better care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.  We won’t resent explaining to literally every person we meet what a doula is or the difference between a doula and a midwife! Sustainable doulas will reinvest in the doula profession to further their education and training. Doulas who create sustainable businesses teach others that this work is a profession, not a hobby. Best of all, we’ll stick around long enough to truly leave birth and postpartum in a better state than we found it.

If you’re a doula toot your own damn horn this week! Toot toot!

Pay homage to doulas everywhere by patting yourself on the back this week. You deserve it! Give a shout out to those who have positively impacted your journey in some way. They deserve it! Sleep an extra hour, get the pedicure, and splurge on dinner at your favorite place! If you’ve grown from an experience or fallen and gotten back up, cheers to you! If you’ve freed yourself from some major baggage you didn’t know you had, your motivation has changed, or you have just become even more strongly rooted in your mission than the day you started, toot that horn doula!

The First Coast Doulas team wants to pay homage to doulas everywhere this week! Try to enjoy the journey as much as possible it can help with longevity. We believe you are capable of leaving birth and postpartum in a better state than you found it. I encourage you to think about what that statement means to you, find your “why”, and toot your horn this week!

Happy Birth & Postpartum Doulaing

~Elizabeth Luke




How to Introduce and Feed Your Baby from a Bottle | 3 Part Series

How to Introduce and Feed Your Baby from a Bottle

If you skipped right here to learn how to introduce and feed your baby from a bottle I encourage you to read the first two blogs in this three-part blog series. They cover why and when and are important pieces of the feeding puzzle. This blog is also helpful in reintroducing the bottle if you’ve used a bottle to feed your baby previously.

Let’s get started!

First become familiar if you’re not already with how to properly handle and prepare breastmilk and formula for your baby before you are ready to introduce the bottle. Select a bottle you are comfortable with using. Honestly, you don’t need any special bottles (or formula for that matter, but that’s a  blog for another day), BUT the nipples matter. A preemie, size zero nipple is as close to the biological norm as you can get. For that reason, I recommend them, especially when paced bottle feeding (PBF).

Next, you’ll want to begin at a time when your baby is showing early signs of hunger.

If you can avoid active or late feeding cues you may both have a better experience. Make sure your baby has a clean diaper or minimally wet diaper with no poop! Unswaddle your baby and have a burp cloth within reach! I know those little hands get going all kinds of crazy, but there is a reason they do that and a reason you want to be able to see those tiny digits during feedings!

Warm the milk just slightly.

Check the temperature of the milk by swirling the bottle around and dropping several drops on the inside of your wrist.  The milk should not feel hot on your wrist and be anywhere between room temperature and body temperature.  Once you are ready to feed your baby hold them in an upright position and continue this upright position as you feed them. Doing this not only lowers the risk of spit up and choking but also ear infections.

The entire feeding should mimic breastfeeding and last between ten- and twenty minutes.

The feeding should be led by your baby’s cues and controlled by the person feeding the bottle. The milk should last the duration of the feeding versus allowing your baby to suck it down as quickly as possible. The brain needs time to catch up with the stomach.  By controlling the feed and making it last ten to twenty minutes your baby is less likely to overeat, spit up, and prefer the ease of bottle-feeding over the work of breastfeeding.

How do I control the feeding?

Hold the bottle in a position that is horizontal to the floor. When you do this the milk does not fill the entire nipple, but rather the tip of the nipple only. Lightly brush the nipple in a downwards motion against the skin just below the nose and towards the upper lip, you could even drip a single drop of milk there as you do it. This should signal the baby’s rooting reflex. When baby opens his/her mouth put the nipple just inside the baby’s mouth keeping it horizontal with the floor and allowing the baby to pull the nipple in instead of pushing the nipple into the mouth.

Allow your baby to dry suck (no milk coming out) the nipple two or three times to imitate the way the breast responds to a baby. Then lift the end of the bottle slightly so that the milk barely enters the nipple and allow baby to get four or five good swallows of milk.

Encourage breaks that mimic the natural let-down patterns that happen while breastfeeding.

Maintain in control of this natural pattern throughout the feeding. To do this about every fifth suck lower the bottle just slightly so that there’s no milk left in the nipple. Yes, the baby will suck in some air. Generally, this is not a problem, doesn’t cause colic or your baby to be overly gassy.

Remember to switch sides halfway through the feeding and to take at least two burp breaks.

Switching sides about halfway through helps with eye development and can reduce the chances your baby will develop a preference for one breast over another during breastfeeding (if you’re breastfeeding too). Continue with five or so milk sucks and two to three dry sucks and watch your baby’s cues. You want your baby to be full and content, but not overfilled.

Watch their little hands and other cues.

Is baby still voraciously sucking? Is your baby wide-eyed? Are her hands clenched? Yes? Then your baby is likely still hungry. Are you having to push the nipple back into her mouth or wiggle it in between her lips? Is she dosing off or seem to be losing interest? Are her hands more relaxed or open then at the beginning of the feeding? Yes? Then your baby is likely full. The baby does not need to finish the milk at every feeding.

Learning why, when, and how to introduce and feed your baby from a bottle doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming.

With a little patience, practice, and support you will be a pro! Be sure to watch Elizabeth demonstrate how to introduce and feed your baby a bottle. If your baby is resisting a bottle or you would just like to schedule a one on one consult with us for bottle-feeding support, get in contact with us and we can work one on one with you to get your baby on track!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

When to Introduce Your Baby to a Bottle | 3 Part Series

 When to Introduce Your Baby to a Bottle | Newborn Jax FL

When to Introduce Your Baby to a Bottle

Are you wondering when to introduce your baby to a bottle? Quick! Bookmark this page and start by reading the first blog in this three-part series, “Introducing Your Baby to a Bottle”, then this blog that covers “When to Introduce Your Baby to a Bottle”, followed by the last blog, “How to Introduce and Feed Your Baby from a Bottle”.

Your personal “when” could be dictated by why for everyone else there are options for when!

For those who know us at First Coast Doulas you know, we rarely ever draw hard fast lines. We rarely use the term “best” or “worst” or “right” or “wrong”.  We are big believers that what is best or right for one family or one child is rarely best for every family or child. While we acknowledge that breastfeeding is the biological norm for mammals we do believe wholeheartedly that each family must do what works for them and no judgment should be passed on someone for how they feed their baby.

I am sure many of you are thinking does “when” we introduce a bottle really matter that much?

It can, but it may not! Ask the mom who is certain the bottle was the reason her baby didn’t nurse as long as she’d hoped to. Ask the parent who didn’t introduce a bottle until their baby was 3 months old and the nanny would drive the baby to mom’s workplace for feedings. There is no way to know or to test this out with each individual baby. This is why I decided to write this series.

Planning to exclusively breastfeed?

Exclusively breastfeeding your baby can be done! Like childbirth though, there are almost always curveballs. Your “when” could come up unexpected and be very emotional for you. Hope for the best and plan for the worst they say! Babies who visit the NICU might need to bottle feed. Babies with low blood sugar, jaundice, and who aren’t making weight checks may need to bottle feed in the early days and weeks. If you need to take certain medications short or long term, introducing your baby to a bottle may be necessary as well. Another thing to consider is that at some point you may want or need to leave your baby with someone for sleep, some self-care or for work.

Many people go on to be successful (by their own definition) at breastfeeding their babies after these hiccups. Some get started and exclusively breastfeeding goes well from day one!

There are very few hard and fast rules of parenting so what works for one baby and breastfeeding mom isn’t always the rule for another (or even same mom different baby) and vice versa!

Try not stress too much about nipple preference that we covered in the last blog and focus more on enjoying your baby. Don’t let situational bumps in the road rob you of enjoying this precious, irreplaceable time in your life! If you’re able to push past those bumps in the road and establish an exclusively breastfeeding relationship for 3-4 weeks, first congratulations, it’s not easy! Next, you’re ready to move onto the “how” to (re)introduce your baby to a bottle covered in the next blog.

Are you planning to do both; breast and bottle feed your baby?

If you answered yes and your (personal) “when to introduce your baby to a bottle” is not dictated by necessity, but rather choice I recommend that you wait on introducing your baby to a bottle until three consistent weeks of exclusively breastfeeding and breastfeeding has been well established. Well established meaning you’ve fed your baby directly from your breasts without the use of a breast shield or supplemental nursing system (SNS) and your baby has been meeting all of their weight checks, etc. for three consecutive weeks.

If you start sooner unnecessarily you could run into some troubles. If you start later you could run into troubles.

When to introduce your baby to a bottle matters, but if your “why” is dictated out of necessity do not waste your time and energy worrying! If you started sooner your baby may show nipple preference and start refusing the breast because the “bottle suck” is done with less effort. Start any later than recommended and your baby may protest or refuse the bottle because he prefers breastfeeding because babies are smart and know what they want! We get calls and emails a few times a month asking if we work with babies to get them to take a bottle, we do!

On the other hand, you may not have any trouble at all.

There is no way to know how your baby will respond or to test this with the individual baby, but this three-week marker is the time frame I see most beneficial.

For those planning to bottle feed only, whether breastmilk, formula, or both your “when” will start within a few hours after birth granted your baby is not staying in the NICU. NICU life is a different ballgame entirely. In the first few weeks, your baby will need to be fed about every 1.5-2 hours if giving breastmilk and every 2.5-3 hours if giving formula. That will change as your baby grows and will depend on your parenting style and your baby’s individual temperament and needs.

When all is said and done your personal “when” will depend on a number of factors some of which are:

  • Your initial plans on feeding method(s)
  • Your baby’s needs at the time of birth and as they grow
  • Whether or not you want to continue to breast or bottle feed or both.

Be sure to join Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting on Facebook. We will go live to demonstrate bottle feeding introduction and more! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for updates when new blogs are posted!

Happy Birth and Parenting!


Introducing Your Baby to a Bottle | Why, When & How Series


 Introducing Your Baby to a Bottle Jax FL | Baby Nurse Jax FL
Introducing Your Baby to a Bottle | Why, When & How Series

Before introducing your baby to a bottle there are a few things everyone can benefit from knowing. Whether you’re introducing your baby to a bottle straight away, planning to exclusively breastfeed or to breastfeed and give a bottle, we have you and your babies in mind. In this three-part blog series, we will cover why, when, and how to introduce the bottle!

I want to preface this blog by saying, bottles get a bad rap!

Bottles are often blamed for “ruining” breastfeeding relationships because of nipple confusion. When this term is used widely by people who have not personally experienced this the term does more harm than good.

I feel pretty strongly that nipple confusion would be better referred to as nipple preference.

Babies aren’t easily confused they are smart creatures of habit. Feeding in the newborn period is a complex activity demanding efficient coordination between the rhythmic processes of suck, swallowing, and respiration. There are some big differences between how a baby gets milk from a bottle and how they get milk from a breast. When a baby breastfeeds they have to work really hard to pull the milk forward and out of the nipple using the “breastfeeding” suck. When they drink milk from a bottle they use fewer muscles and a different “bottle” suck. This can be frustrating for babies and for parents trying to breastfeed their infants after introducing a bottle.  Understanding “flow” is one important part of the puzzle.

Why are you introducing your baby to a bottle?

Why you’re introducing your baby to a bottle happens for a number of different reasons. Those reasons boil right down to necessity and choice. Sometimes the mother needs surgery, has experienced trauma or abuse at some time in her life or is an adoptive mother. Other times there is no mother involved, only fathers.  There are times that using a bottle is about preference, convenience, and choice. How and why people feed their babies the way they feed them can be very personal and honestly is no one else’s business.

When to give a bottle, how much to feed your baby, how to bottle-feed your baby, and why these guidelines are important are covered in the next two blogs:

  • When to Introduce Your Baby to a Bottle
  • How to Introduce and Feed Your Baby from a Bottle

Be sure to join Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting on Facebook where we will go live to demonstrate bottle feeding introduction and more!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for updates when new blogs are posted! We hope you enjoy this series and as with anything else we share, take what works for you and leave the rest! Remember birth and parenting are very personal journies. Most parents are just trying to do the very best they can with the information they are given. What is best for one family is rarely what is best for another family exactly. Be gracious, kind, and show support to other parents in your life!

Happy Birth and Parenting!


The BIGGEST Challenges and Solutions After You Give Birth to Your Baby

The BIGGEST Challenges and Solutions After You Give Birth to Your Baby | Jax FL Doulas

The BIGGEST Challenges and Solutions After You Give Birth to Your Baby

The biggest challenges and solutions after you give birth to your baby are basic but impactful. Some of us become parents after years of anticipation and preparation. While others find ourselves with a happy little accidents running around! Either way, we love our little balls of energy and parenting is hard, but rewarding work.

One of our jobs as postpartum doulas is to help lighten the load even if only for a little while. From the time your baby is born, through those sleepless nights, and well into the first year and even beyond, we’re there to cheer you on! We help by offering an extra set of hands, an objective perspective, an ear, and at times solidarity.

Some of the absolute biggest challenges new parents face are:

Mom Guilt

It’s that feeling you get for eating over your newborn and dropping bits of food on him. It’s that feeling in your heart when you hear that pitiful little cry as you sneak away for a quiet cup of coffee on the patio. MOM GUILT! It starts with little things and grows to great heights if we don’t put it right in check!

Real Solution #1

Plan to take care of yourself in some way each and every single day from day #1 because it really is healthiest! Learn to say no to other things and to people and say yes to yourself more! You are worth it and deserve to be the best version of you that you can be!

P.S. It strikes harder when you’re expecting baby #2.

Postpartum Sadness

In your arms is the most adorable peanut you’ve ever laid eyes on. She is finally here and you can’t help but feel a little sad that your bump is now an empty space that once grew your sweet babe. It comes again as they outgrow those newborn sized diapers and begin to hit even the tiniest of milestones.  UGH! Little bouts of sadness and a tear or two now and again sure make a parent feel silly. Turn that silly sadness into something memorable!

Real Solution #2

Baby book those precious moments. Capture them using talk to text in an online journal or notepad on your phone. Be sure to get some photo documentation of those poop-splosions and tiny outgrown socks! Those moments are special and important and while they can strike a cord on our heartstrings from time to time they deserve to be cherished.


There you are half in the shower and the rest of you dripping all over the floor to reach the pacifier in the bouncer seat and shush your newborn. Everyone is back to work and their lives and you just want to get like Shania and “feel like a woman” again. Not a shaven woman, just a woman who smells like a woman!  We hear you and we love your dedication, but dry shampoo only gets a girl so far!

Real Solution #3

Have everything you need ready to go before you jump in the shower. Create a sleep space that is as safe as possible for your baby. Then feed, change, and burp the baby. Gently put him down in his crib and walk away slowly grabbing the baby monitor on the way out the door! Get into the shower and do the damn thang! Enjoy the water, let it wash over you like the rain on a summer day! Your baby may cry, but he will be okay. Your body’s biological response is to go to him. That’s normal but remember Real Solution #1.


It’s that forbidden 5 letter word. The one you would trade your favorite Jimmy Choo heels and maybe even your car for! S-L-E-E-P. The nights are long and the days are all blending together. Noone told you it was this tough…okay maybe they did and you were just oblivious because, well duh…you were still kidless with all the answers!

Real Solution #4

The short of it: get sleep! The long of it: Tag team and employ help! Let’s start with the closest player on your team. That might be your partner, your spouse, your mom, or your sister. What other adult is living in your home with you and is co-parenting your kids with you? Tag team! When one person tags in the other tags out! I know you want to team your way through this together, but the team can’t run on EMPTY! Refuel, rest, restart!

Real Life Solution: Employ a postpartum and infant care doula! We do all the things!

Naps during the day and more sleep through the night, heck yes, check! Showers, meals, and snacks, check, check, and check! Help understanding your newborn’s cues, normal behaviors, and breast or bottle feeding, you guessed it, check x3! Toss a load in the dryer, done! Sit and listen to your struggles, yep!! Unload the dishwasher while playing with Suzie and her baby doll, absolutely!

Let First Coast Doulas help you with the BIGGEST challenges and solutions after you give birth to your baby, our professional, down to Earth team have you covered! Real life solutions for real-life challenges!


Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

Induction of Labor Jax FL

Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

It’s true, most babies will come when they are ready for life outside the womb, but sometimes induction of labor is suggested by the care giver or desired by the pregnant person.  ACOG recommendations support a normal, full-term pregnancy lasting between 39 weeks and 0 days and 41 weeks and 6 days as long as both the mother and the baby are doing well and there is no medical indication for the induction.

I’m facing an induction of labor. Now what?

If this suggestion was based primarily on dates alone and you are within the range of normal and full-term (see ACOG above) first ask yourself how are you feeling about this suggestion. Sit with that for a minute and reflect.

Are you feeling kosher with the idea?

If yes, there’s nothing wrong with that. Many moms share your excitement and enthusiasm to have their baby in their arms now rather than later. If no, that’s perfectly normal as well. It’s a very personal decision either way. The next thing to do would be to talk with your provider about his/her suggestion.

Induction of Labor Birth Jax FL

Induction of Labor Jax FL Birth Classes

10 Great Questions to Ask Your Provider are:

1. For what reason(s) are you suggesting induction of labor?

2. Can we try some alternatives?

3. What methods of induction are you familiar with and most comfortable using?

4. What induction method do you recommend for me?

5. What are the risks and benefits of induction of labor?

6. How will this affect my birth preferences?

7. Would you be comfortable sending me for a Biophysical Profile (BPP) and or a Nonstress Test (NST) and reviewing those results with me before scheduling the induction?

8. Can you tell me my Bishop Score?

9. At what point would a cesarean birth be indicated?

10. If I elect to be induced can I choose the date and who my caregivers will be?

Not sure you got an answer or you didn’t understand the answer? That’s okay; communication is the key to feeling heard. Ask again, maybe in a different way.

Again, sit with it and reflect on these answers.

If there is no medical indication for induction you have real time to think it through! Even in medically indicated inductions there’s at least some time for you to process and make decisions.

With medical induction of labor, like any other pregnancy related decision there is usually array of emotions involved.

Here are 5 things you can do now to prepare:

1. Get into a good headspace. While most babies come when they are ready, some don’t and for good reason. Birth can safely take place at home and in birth centers and hospitals. Feeling respected and validated can lead to rewarding birth experiences!

2. Breathe and practice guided meditation, affirmations, and mantras to help prepare your body and your mind for the experience of birth. Some of my personal favorites are: My baby knows where and how she needs to be born. I trust the process. I will meet my baby soon.

3. Become familiar with Informed Consent and Informed Refusal. Let it bring you some peace about being in control as much as possible.

4. Do something for you! Get a massage and a pedicure, take a walk on the beach, swim, or do whatever makes you smile and helps you feel good. If you feel the need to do something more you can visit and do some positioning exercises.

5. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Birth can and usually does happen when we least expect it to. Don’t give away your homebirth supplies or throw plan A away just yet.

While being induced increases your chances of having a cesarean birth and can initially bring with it disappointment, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to a bad birth.

When we prepare to embrace the experience rather than the method in which our children enter our lives we can learn so much! It isn’t how we birth or come to be parents that makes us great parents, but rather how we embrace our greatest gift– our children and how we adapt while performing our greatest job–parenting.

Taking a great childbirth preparation class like the Confident Birth & Parenting Class or The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class will increase you and your birth partner’s confidence and help you embrace birth and parenting no matter what you want or need!

Happy birth and parenting!


Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Placenta encapsulation show and tell jax florida

Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

You’ve heard all the hype about you’re placenta curious! Welcome to placenta encapsulation show and tell!

My name is Elizabeth Luke, certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist. I thoroughly enjoy providing this service. Each week on average we receive anywhere from 3-10 calls with questions about placenta encapsulation and I’m more than happy to answer all of them!

People go into this with an open mind.

When most people daydream about their future and having a baby, never in a million years did they think that one day they’d be eating their placenta, but here they are living the dream! Believe me, never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be part of my career! While around half of our clients are choosing placenta encapsulation we understand it isn’t for everyone. That’s okay!

Typically we don’t share pics of placentas, but we’ve had a lot of requests.So…today I get to have a little fun doing placenta encapsulation show and tell!

This blog is in no way meant to serve as a DIY guide. So many crucial steps of the process have been left out. Likewise there’s no blog, video, or online modules that can properly teach this practice. These photos were taken by our clients as I prepared their placentas. While we recognize that not everyone wants to see the placenta in its natural state, these clients, along with about 45-50% of our clients do want to see at least some part of the process.

No one ever has to see it if they don’t want to.

After placenta encapsulation show and tell I’ll answer the BIG question. These photos belong to First Coast Doulas are our clients. They are not to be shared, cropped, or reproduced in anyway. Not all steps of the process are shown.

WARNING: This blog contains pictures of a (beautiful) human placenta. If you really don’t want to see it scroll quickly down to the next blog.



The first step in preparing the placenta begins with a properly sanitized and prepared workspace!

As the owner of First Coast Doulas I take safety and our client’s privacy very seriously. Training, certification, continued education, and impeccably maintained equipment are non-negotiable. When I arrive to prepare your placenta this is my first line of business, properly sanitizing and setting up my workspace.

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017 | Jax Placenta

Without further ado I introduce to you the fetal side of the placenta.

This side of the placenta is the side that’s faces the baby and the side that the umbilical cord is attached to. The umbilical cord is seen hanging from the center of the placenta. This umbilical cord was average length and had one tiny false knot.

Look at that incredible vasculature throughout!

This picture was taken before removing the amniotic sac (shown hanging off the placenta in the picture). Interesting enough the amniotic sac is actually made up of two layers, not one. The inner layer is called the amnion and the outer lay is called the chorion.


Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell Jax FL

I bet you never imagine you’d call an umbilical cord cute!

This heart-shaped cord just might make you smile though. Shown here after removing it from the placenta, the umbilical cord is almost ready to be dried into a tiny keepsake for the mom and baby! It can be tucked away in a safe place, displayed in a frame with placenta artwork or you and your child can plant it along side a special tree or plant later.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

In the 1500s the use of dried placenta in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was first documented in Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen.

Similarly to TCM we use a specific preparation method that includes steaming of the placenta. Steaming kills surface bacteria and with this special preparation also helps retain the tonifying or warming properties. Our modern placenta encapsulation process utilizes the very same principles as TCM for best possible results.

Shown here the placenta is being prepared using this method.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

The placenta is sliced and then neatly arranged on trays to begin the drying process.

Some moms and dads comment that it looks like steak. I would have to agree. This step is no more or less critical than any other step. Each part of the process is carefully thought out and executed so every client has the best possible experience every time.

Shown below the placenta is sliced and ready to be arranged on the trays.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Once properly dried and ground up the placenta is put into capsules and a tincture for extended use.

The type of capsules and liquid used to make your tincture will depend greatly on whose preparing the placenta. All of our clients receive the safest tincture base and capsules every single time. Only the best for our clients. On average clients will receive 75-200 capsules that will last them about 4-6 weeks postpartum (after birth). For long term usage a tincture is recommended. The size of your placenta is generally related to the size of your baby. In almost all cases the bigger the baby, the bigger the placenta. Expecting twins and you’ll likely have a bigger yeild.

The next two pictures show the capsules filled and being capped.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

A final count is done, the capsules are put into a jar, and the tincture is made.

After this last encapsulation step the client’s kitchen is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized and put back just the way it was before we began. The first round of cleaning and sanitation of equipment is also done. This final photo shows the capsule jar, tinctures, and the one of a kind cord keepsake. Then we sit down together and discuss how to take the capsules, storage and handling, and  special circumstances and protocol.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

The placenta encapsulation show and tell is over, but the process isn’t quite finished.

After encapsulation and the first round of cleaning and sanitizing at the client’s home we then do a second cleaning process following OSHA guidelines to ensure every piece of equipment is sanitized thoroughly.

Now I’ll answer the big question! Why?

1. Energy! The demands of motherhood are insane. Many moms are looking for help meeting those demands.

2. Breastmilk production! They are hoping to get off to the best possible start, and for some placenta encapsulation has been helpful with milk production!

3. Hormonal Stability! Within hours of birth hormones that supported the pregnancy are dumped from the body.  Hormones that support lactation and relaxation are increasing. This hormonal fluctuation can be vicious and many say placenta encapsulation helped them feel more balanced and less outta wack yo!

4. Iron deficiency/Anemia! As if the physical and emotional challenges of life with a baby aren’t enough, a good population of people are iron deficient or anemic. Many report they’ve found some improvement while taking their placenta capsules.

5. Natural healing! They want to help their bodies heal in the most natural way possible. They’ve heard from others who have chosen encapsulation and it helped them heal and recover from birth.

I’m happy to discuss placenta encapsulation open and honestly with anyone who wants to know more. Contact us with questions and we can also set up a placenta curious presentation for you and your group! I understand this practice will appeal to some and turn others off completely. Placenta encapsulation is not for everyone and that is okay!

Happy birth and parenting! ~ Elizabeth


Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy | Jax FL Night Nanny

Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Among other things, researching ways we can avoid stretch marks during pregnancy is probably on the list of second and third trimester concerns. Those pesky streaks that appear on the growing breasts, belly, thighs, and butt make many people gasp at first site. Donning these signs of motherhood is something we truly all hope to avoid, but can we be proactive in avoiding them?

Just search “stretch marks” and you will be inundated with links to causes, treatment, pics, and stories from all over the globe! All walks of life and races are affected by striae gravidarum. Striae what? Stretch marks! They occur most commonly during a first pregnancy, but have been known to occur for the first time in a second pregnancy.

It’s estimated that approximately 50-90% of pregnant women have stretch marks to some degree.

So, what’s the skinny? Is there a way to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?

The short answer is yes and no. Stretch marks are caused by rapid stretching of the skin. A possible lack of or reduction of the Collagen within your body is thought to be a factor as well. So, of all the times in a person’s life that they can develop stretch marks, pregnancy seems like the most likely. There may be a genetic link that makes one more likely than another to get them. However, that alone is definitely not the end-all be-all. Cortisone in the pregnant body also weakens the elastic-like fibers within the skin.  Also, sudden and rapid weight gain can play a bigger role in the appearance of these purple tigress stripes.

So, by simply being pregnant it means you may see these little buggers make their debut! It sucks, but there are a few things you can do that will help you be healthier overall and may help you avoid stretch marks in pregnancy.

  1. Start pregnancy at healthiest possible weight that you can for your age and height. I know, sometimes that just isn’t the way it is. That’s okay I hope you love yourself anyway. Growing an entire human is pretty damn remarkable.
  2. Make healthy diet choices throughout most of your pregnancy. I say “most” meaning the norm. Please, don’t let worry of stretch marks stop you from throwing caution to the wind now and again to indulge in those crazy pregnant cravings!
  3. Stay active. That will mean different things for different people and depend on your level of activity before pregnancy. You’ll also want to have repeat discussions and follow any special recommendations or restrictions from your doctor. For most people swimming and walking are great activities that help to keep your body in motion and mind relaxed!
  4. Stay hydrated! Again, water if your friend! While this isn’t proven to reduce stretch marks directly it is proven to improve the body’s overall function and reduce itchiness during pregnancy. Plus, the more you drink the more you urinate and the quicker the baby’s amniotic fluid is cleaned out and replenished.

There are so many things people tell you “should” avoid during pregnancy: coffee, cold cuts, soft-serve ice cream, sushi, and the list goes on.

Avoiding stretch marks is like avoiding a new food sensitivity. You don’t know you have it until BAM one day it’s just there. You can do your best to avoid it, but if you don’t know you’ll ever develop stretch marks you’re probably worrying yourself unnecessarily.

As you progress through your pregnancy try not to fret to much over stretch marks.

Just because your mama and your mama’s mama has them doesn’t mean you’ll get them, and vice versa. Be proactive, by following the above recommendations and focus on the any enjoyable parts of your pregnancy that you can. With the majority of women who have stretch marks you can give society’s idea of normal two middle fingers and breathe a sigh of relief, they usually fade quite a bit with a little time. You’ll also be in the majority and join millions of women who don the tigress stripes of motherhood!

Happy Birth & Parenting!