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

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations jax placenta

Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting Affirmations

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

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

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Pregnancy will test your limits in every way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

All You Need To Breastfeed Your Baby

All You Need To Breastfeed Your Baby

First Coast Doulas knows that all you need to breastfeed your baby begins with you!

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I see it literally every day. Well-meaning people giving bad advice on breastfeeding that leads to mothers spending unnecessary money and time on “things” to help them breastfeed their babies. These ideas are well meaning, but bad.  They also create a false hope that if they buy and do all these things they will be able to breastfeed. Sometimes mothers choose to switch to formula when they could have otherwise accomplished their goals of breastfeeding their infant.

That’s not to say choosing formula is a bad thing. It isn’t. There’s no right or wrong way to feed your baby, just different ways. We all feed with loving intention and to me that’s a win. As a postpartum Doula if it appears our clients are struggling with breastfeeding, I always ask first, “Do you want to continue to breastfeed?” There is a fine line between encouraging and pushing, and we always remain supportive!

So here is a quick list of bad, but well-meaning advice along with a list of good ideas, links, videos, and resources.

Well-Meaning, Bad Advice;

  • Buy a breast pump to see how much milk you’re making. Pumping, while helpful in some situations, is not a good indicator of how much milk your baby is getting while nursing. Your baby transfers milk much more effectively than any pump. A better indicator is wet and dirty diapers and just being in tune with your baby.
  • Feed your baby as soon as they cry. Nope. You want to avoid waiting until they cry when possible. Crying is the last cue that your baby wants to breastfeed. Look for other cues, like, smacking their lips, putting their hand to their mouth, and opening their mouth and moving their head back and forth. Most of the time if you baby is awake in those first couple of weeks they will want to suckle at the breast. This is your baby’s genius way of ensuring he has a milk supply to nourish him.
  • Feed you baby for ___ minutes on each side every ____ hours. Wrong! Feed your baby for as long as your baby is suckling on the breast. When they stop, stroke their cheek and if they start to suckle again keep them there until they no longer respond to the stroking. Then offer the other side if they show cues again. Many of our clients breathe a sigh of relief when we tell them, you don’t have to focus on the clock, focus on your baby. Babies need to suckle at the breast a lot in those early weeks to establish their supply. It’s a supply and demand concept, the more your baby demands by sucking, the more your breast supplies the milk needed.
  • Buy nipple shields and cream now because breastfeeding hurts. WOAH! No way, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be painful. If it is it’s most likely because baby doesn’t have a correct/deep latch. Knowing how to get a good latch is key. There is an excellent video below that demonstrates breastfeeding, what a proper latch looks like, how to get that latch, and also shows a variety of cultures and different size breasts and nipples, all perfect for breastfeeding.
  • In addition to the things I already listed I can’t leave out special teas, supplements, cookies, etc. As a rule you don’t NEED any of these things to breastfeed your baby. There are exceptions to all rules, but as a rule you don’t need to run out and stock up on these things. They can be costly and create doubt.

Good Advice to Consider;

  • Familiarize yourself with what breastfeeding looks like. Watch other moms breastfeed their babies. Ask a friend, family member, or co-worker you know who breastfeeds if they would let you sit with them while they feed their baby. The United States has gotten so far away from feeding babies from the breasts that many people have never seen this done. That is changing, but it’s still stigmatized or seen as taboo. Don’t be afraid, many are more than happy to help out another woman who wants to feed her baby with her breasts.
  • Find a breastfeeding support group in your area, like La Leche League, there may be more than one, Jacksonville has several.
  • Stay skin to skin with your baby as much as possible in the first six weeks of life, NOT just when feeding your baby. This may mean that some visitors may need to postpone their visits or expect to see your breasts. Here’s some science behind skin to skin.
  • Get the contact information to one or two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants in the area that come recommended. If you need that recommendation don’t hesitate to contact us! Contact them and ask questions like, Are you available around my due date? Do you make house calls? How do you feel about x, y, and z?

First Coast Doulas wants you to know that you’re equipped with exactly what you need to feed your baby without any equipment to buy or books to read, period. That’s the bottom line. Women have been feeding their babies from their breasts since the beginning of time.

Remember breastfeeding is more than just a way to feed your baby. It’s bonding, comfort, nourishment, and so much more!

Don’t Bite The Breast That Feeds You!

Don’t Bite The Breast That Feeds You!

Oh sweet baby, I remember a time when you were all snuggles, snorts, grunts, and smiles. A time when you nursed at my breast and looked up at me with comfort, peace, and love in your eyes. My little milk drunk monkey. Where have those sweet breastfeeding sessions gone?

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It seems lately all you want to do it stretch my nipple like it’s a piece of elastic, scratch like a cat being bathed, or bite me. Why?!

The days of newborn challenges have ended and a new day has dawned.

This new biting while breastfeeding stage happens to most, but not all moms who nurse their babies. The good news is that more times than not, babies respond well to positive reinforcement.

So, my #1 suggestion to get baby to stop this biting the breast behavior, is to immediately remove him from your breast, let him know that hurts by saying “ouch”, or “that hurts”, and firmly, but gently telling him “no, no”. Give him a few moments and then tell him “you don’t bite mommy, if you bite mommy we stop nursing”, then try again and remind him no biting.

This takes time, be consistent, don’t give up!

Avoid laughing or yelling. Laughing will likely encourage this behavior, not break him of it. Yelling, if it can be helped, should be avoided because it scares baby and is not positive reinforcement.

There are a few known reasons for why babies bite the breast that feeds them and none include training to be an Olympic gold medalist for longest bite held! I compiled a list of the top 3 reasons why babies do this and some things you can try that have been effective for myself and other moms.

Reason #1:  Your baby could be teething.

If your baby is teething, he/she is likely biting to deal with discomfort. You can try giving teething tablets or using oragel, and also giving a cold teething toy or frozen breastmilk pop before your nursing session so baby’s discomfort is lowered before you begin.

Reason #2: Your baby could be doing it for attention.

If so, it’s important to focus your attention on your baby; don’t get distracted. Talk, sing , or just look at him. This time is not only for nourishing his body, but also a time to bond, to connect with him emotionally. If he continues, remove him from the breast, tell him “biting hurts”, and end the nursing session for a short time. This should get your point across. Consistency matters, repeat and it’s likely your baby will get the idea!

Reason #3: Your baby might be distracted.

Awe yes-he’s tired, cranky, clingy, and appears to want to breastfeed, but as soon as you have him in your arms he wants to look everywhere else and then the ‘bite the nipple’ fest begins. If this happens, it’s likely your little one is nursing for comfort.  Remove him from your breast and tell him firmly “NO biting mama!” Then take your baby to a distraction free zone if you think he’d still like to nurse. A quiet room lying down or rocking will likely do the trick. If he continues, remember consistently remove him, “tell him no, no, that hurts,” and repeat!

These last few tips comes from years of combined breastfeeding experience from moms all over the world.

If you have ever had your nipple bitten down so hard that you thought your were nursing an alligator snapping turtle, then you will understand how one could use these tips. If you’ve never experienced this horrific sensation, I hope you never do! If you ever find yourself doing battle with an alligator snapper baby who is surely trying to remove your nipple from your breast you can;

  • place your finger in between your baby’s gums to make space to squeeze your nipple out in one piece.
  • blow in your baby’s face. Sometimes that is just enough to get them to release.
  • push your baby’s face momentarily into your breast just long enough so that he or she has to release your nipple in order to breath.

Remember, positive and consistent. Breastfeeding benefits both you and your baby and you do not have to be a chew toy. This is a stage and this stage shall pass too, just as the newborn stage has come and gone.

Hang in there ladies-you are amazing!

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