Tag Archives: mom

A Pandemic Pregnancy: What Comes After the Third Trimester

Baby boom or baby bust? To my surprise, I joined the former category during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when my husband and I discovered we were expecting our first child on a rainy fall Thursday. If 2020 wasn’t already a blur with the sudden onslaught of a global pandemic that shuttered “life as we know it”, we also squeezed in a small wedding – and now a baby? My planner mode activated into full gear over the following months as we prepared for another big life transition. Now, I reflect back on those months, having gained perspective and a new sense of clarity.

1st Trimester – Be open to spontaneity. Many of us learned to be professionally agile as we quickly pivoted to a virtual world during the pandemic, but we also needed to adapt personally. This includes resisting our desire to control outcomes or stick to a set plan. Like many of us didn’t see the pandemic coming, I didn’t plan this pregnancy, but here we were. After the initial shock wore off over the next 48 hours, I embraced the situation, focused on getting our ducks in a row and watching every baby movie I could stream (Look Who’s Talking trilogy, yes, please!). I soon came to see this spontaneous event as a blessing – excited for the opportunity to become a mom and to gain a new perspective on life.

2nd Trimester – You can’t (and shouldn’t) get everything you want. Going through my first pregnancy during a pandemic brought its challenges – no traveling to be with my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, no one to share my growing baby bump with except my husband and the four walls of our home and going to all my baby check-up appointments solo were tough. These trying moments surely brought frustration and some tears, but I learned to deal. Instead, we celebrated a quiet holiday at home, I texted lots of baby bump selfies to keep my family updated and virtual technology allowed for both a Zoom baby shower and for my husband to see and hear the baby’s ultrasound via FaceTime. After all, we were lucky to be healthy and together amidst the larger hardships so many others faced.

3rd Trimester – Be present. Two weeks before my due date I opened my journal to reflect on all that we’ve been through over the last year and the final days before our daughter’s arrival. I set an intention to be present, positive, at peace and patient as a parent. This moment of presence prompted me to write my future child a letter. She’ll one day open this letter and learn about our journey, the extraordinary time she was born and how excited we were to meet her.

4th Trimester – Practice daily gratitude. Yes, there is a fourth trimester of pregnancy and it’s called postpartum. There are many adjustments and worries when bringing a new baby home. But my days would become instantly better when I paused to take stock of what I was grateful for – a healthy new baby, a safe delivery, a new home for our family and a job that offers adequate paid parental leave to care for and bond with our newborn. These moments of gratitude brought peace and reinforced what mattered most. I continue to remind myself each day to be grateful for life’s many blessings.

Becoming a mom was my pandemic silver lining. While both were unexpected, my pandemic pregnancy gave me a new perspective and appreciation in life. I was able to slow down, prioritize what mattered most and eventually, recharge. We have all experienced loss, uncertainty and fear during this trying time. But I hope we also have gained a new perspective and appreciation for life – and found our silver lining.

This article was written by Jamie Bell, working mom, wife & Bell sister

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Meet Ann Myhre: DONA Trained Birth Doula

We recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Ann Myhre, a mother of three and DONA trained birth doula located in Dallas, Texas. In our Q&A  below, she shares her extensive knowledge on birth and postpartum doulas, the benefits of having one, how to make pregnant life easier and more! She even had an at home session with our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, where she taught Lindsay comfort and labor techniques. There’s so much great information here – read on!

Q: What are some of the services women can expect from a birth and postpartum doula and why are they beneficial?

A: I think it is important to first define what a birth doula is and her role within the realm of pregnancy and birth.  I believe that there is a misconception that a doula is only used for someone who wants an unmedicated birth. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  A doula, by definition, is a person who provides emotional and physical support to the birthing person during pregnancy and childbirth regardless of the way they choose to plan their birth. At North Dallas Doula Associates we support all types of birth and all types of birthing families. We create a safe and encouraging environment for the laboring mother through getting to know each other during the pregnancy, focusing on specific goals and fears and lastly by providing continual labor support for the family so they can achieve their optimal birth experience. The great thing about a birth doula is that they can help you learn how to advocate for yourself through evidenced based research so you feel prepared when it is time to have to make certain decisions. Having a doula by your side can also help the birthing person and their partner feel more connected by helping provide comfort measures and allowing the partner to focus on supporting their partner. I have used the same doula for all three of my births and I could not imagine giving birth without her by my side. We were a team (myself, my husband and my doula). It is also statistically proven that having a doula reduces the risk of a cesarean, increases the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth, and increases the overall satisfaction of the birth.

A postpartum doula’s role is to support the birthing person in a variety of ways after birth. Like a birth doula, they get to know each other during the pregnancy and their role begins as soon as they leave the hospital or as needed. A postpartum doula can assist with overnight care for mother and baby, basic breastfeeding and baby care, help with siblings and serve as a mentor for the mother.  If I knew I had this option after my first child I think my postpartum experience would have been vastly different. I underestimated the shift that would take place in my life after becoming a mother and how finding time to even take a shower or go to the store with a newborn could be a struggle. Research shows that the entire family has an easier time with this transition if a good postpartum support team is in place. I think it is important to also differentiate the difference in a postpartum doula versus having childcare in place. While both are important, a postpartum doula has been trained on what I mentioned above and their primary role is to support the mother while a child care provider’s support focuses on the child.  

Q: What are some of the latest tools and techniques that help make the lives of pregnant women easier?

A: I wish that there was a magic wand that could be waved to make the lives of pregnant women easier. It really takes a village not only to raise a child, but also to support a pregnant person and the biggest takeaway from this conversation is that women do not need to go through this journey alone. Taking a childbirth class, getting regular massages, chiropractic care, having a birth plan and feeling empowered and prepared prior to birth are the biggest ways I see of making their lives easier. I am also a huge advocate of maternal mental health and allowing oneself the ability to work through any emotions or trauma that might affect one’s birth experience. Every birth is different and it is so important to try and process experiences and enter into this journey with a fresh mindset and that can sometimes be difficult to do. We often refer to a great local therapist that specializes in maternal mental health named Kim Kertsburg with Dallas Postpartum Support.   

Q: BFC’s Founder & Owner and her donut pillow have been best friends during her pregnancy. What are the benefits of a donut pillow and when would you recommend expecting moms to grab one?

A: As I mentioned before, every pregnancy and birth is different and the body can respond differently. Lindsay had been telling me about her tailbone pain and I just happened to have a beloved donut pillow and yoga ball at my house. This piggybacks a little bit on the previous question regarding the latest tools and techniques that help make the lives of pregnant women easier. Not all expectant moms may be having lower back or tailbone pain and might not need tools such as a donut pillow. Or they may find that during the postpartum period they could benefit from one for a variety of reasons. I am a huge advocate of chiropractic care during and after pregnancy. There is a wonderful practice here in Dallas called Cafe of Life Chiropractic. They specialize in prenatal chiropractic care and their goal is to get you comfortable through regular adjustments and to get your pelvis in an optimal position for birth. They will also help you by suggesting comfort measures you can take to help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with growing a baby.

For more information on Ann and North Dallas Doula Associates, click here.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Girl Power Alert: Pregnant Sisters Having Girls

It’s rare enough to be pregnant alongside a sister, but throw in that the sisters are both having girls and their mother also birthed five girls; the girl power is getting real!

Our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, is expecting a child alongside one of her sisters and not for the first time. I guess that’s what happens when you come from a family with five girls all close in age; there’s bound to be some overlapping pregnancies.

Lindsay and her sister Jamie are both expecting their first girl just a few months apart. What does it mean to each of them to be pregnant alongside a sister and to be having a girl for the first time? Find out from the sisters below!

I kind of fit the mold for being a boy mom. My four sisters and I were always tom boys. I was completely happy expecting another boy, I just wanted to have another baby. When I found out it was a girl, I welled up with tears. I guess I didn’t realize how much I wanted a girl. The bond I have with my mother and four sisters is one of a kind and now I get to share that with my daughter. The extra special part is my middle sister Jamie is  expecting a girl alongside me, but happens to live 1,500 miles away from me (weep). I got to share all three of my pregnancies with a sister who happened to be pregnant at the same time. Talk about a special gift. Having a sister on a text thread who’s awake at weird hours, huffing and puffing while you walk together and talk about baby, sharing pregnancy photos and asking baby food questions has ben a joy to experience. I hope our daughters will be great friends and support one another through life’s miracles just like their moms did!

Lindsay Bell

Four weeks after I got married this past fall, I was surprised to find out that I was expecting. Shortly after I hit the 12-week mark, I broke the news to my sisters on a Zoom call. Everyone was shocked, including me all over again. I didn’t plan or talk about wanting to become a mom, but always thought it would happen some day if it were meant to be. I guess it was. Thankfully, I have a close sister squad with an abundance of recent mothering experience, including a mom that birthed five girls (naturally!) to lean on for support and know-how. Just a few months later, my oldest sister Lindsay, found out she was also expecting, her long-hoped for third, and both our babies to be girls! While it’s been tough at times navigating my first pregnancy physically distant from my family during this COVID-19 pandemic, I am glad we’ve been able to connect by all means digital to check-in, video chat in sloppy buns and pjs, and share updates on our latest doctor appointments or baby bump progression. I know the real questions lie ahead, but I am assured to know I have an abundance of resources and support just a phone call or text away. And that first in-person meeting with my newborn daughter and my sisters, and their kids, will sure be something special. 

Jamie Bell

Jamie has since delivered her baby girl, Sylvie, born last week.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Stay Connected & Have Fun Getting Back to Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer for working women. Pre-pandemic times were full of hustle and bustle for the working mom; play dates, lessons, worry-free activities and childcare all gave mothers a chance to have some time to work on themselves and their careers. But now, even just running out to sit in your car and take a phone call alone is considered normal (and funny)!

With all the lessons we’ve learned, now is the best time to think outside the box and expand on ideas and inspiration for 2021. NYC-based Supermom, Courtney Rohler Sullivan, is the prime example of taking pandemic era challenges and creating opportunity. In an effort to stay connected and have fun working with old friends and colleagues, Courtney launched herself into the business of promoting and selling clothes with the up and coming SAVVI line, launching in 2021. Realizing that virtual is the new reality, Courtney started her own small business under the umbrella of SAVVI and stays active promoting cute new clothes with friends, family and new clients. What a great example of making the most out of the moment!

“Being a mom and having the kids home all the time, I needed something JUST for me during these crazy times. Forming a team with my dear friends upended from the Broadway shutdown has been the best thing to come out of this pandemic! The clothes are incredible, but the community has been the saving grace.  It’s been so fascinating to be part of launching a new company and the best part is that I can do it at my own pace. It’s truly the perfect mom side gig.”

Courtney Rohler Sullivan
Courtney with her daughter

Courtney would love to have you on her growing team! JOIN TODAY for the buttery leggings with pockets, but stay for the community and camaraderie. Come as you are. Everyone is welcome.

Just here for the pockets? Enjoy $25 OFF with code SHARE25 for any first time customer. Trust us – they are the best leggings ever!

Introducing Companion Care & Mom Mentor Services

Bell Family Company is thrilled to announce the launch of two services: Companion Care and Mom Mentors!

Do you have parents in need of socialization, a mental health check or any type of care? BFC’s Companion Care service helps families post pandemic to keep elderly or adults who are recovering from other life occurrences healthy, safe and happy.

Next, is BFC’s Mom Mentors service, which provides the much needed guidance and support moms look for post partum so they can remain safe, happy and comfortable at home. Everyone thinks about caring for baby (which is important of course!), but what about mom? She needs love, care and guidance too during this recovery and transitional time.

For more information on both the Companion Care & Mom Mentors services, click here!

Getting started:

In person, ad hoc Companion Care Provider or Mom Mentor rates are currently being offered for $30 per hour for one adult. 

Virtual options are also available and check-ins can be arranged daily, weekly or vary depending on your schedule to help keep you healthy, happy and hydrated. Virtual Companion Providers and Mom Mentors are $23 per hour for one adult. 

If you’d like to hire a consistent full time, part time or temporary Companion Care Provider or Mom Mentor, rates are negotiated between Family and Companion Provider or Mom Mentor. All families need to become a Member Family in order to start using BFC services. For a full list of membership options, click here

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Manners Matter

One thing that never goes out of style … manners. In an article published by Dana’s Kids, they talk about how building manners is like building muscles. The more you use them, the more they grow.

So how do parents instill manners in their children? The article goes on to explore four different methods:

Model.  Model. Model. It doesn’t matter how much you nag your child about remembering to use respectful language, nothing will ever replace modeling. Your child hearing you say “please” and “thank you” will be the cornerstone of their learning to do the same. 

Set them up for success. This conversation will look different depending on your child’s age, but you can help your children think about what to do in a variety of scenarios where manners matter prior to that event. Heading to an outdoor holiday event? On the way, talk to you child about three good rules to remember when being with family or receiving a gift. 

Allow for variation. Depending on your child’s age, developmental ability and temperament, verbal manners may be more challenging.  Think together about other ways to acknowledge people around you. A high five (or elbow bump these days), wave, or a thumbs up and big smile might be a starting point for your child. 

Repetition. Building manners is like building muscles. The more you use them, the more they grow.  

For the full article from Dana’s Kids, click here.

How Personal Inspiration Can Be the Key to Knocking Out Negative Thoughts

Inspiration can come in so many different forms. It can be a song lyric, an inspirational quote, a meaningful picture, an interesting podcast, the stories of our peers, or simply hearing “you’ve got this,” “you’re doing awesome” or “you’re a great mom!” When we are inspired, we move from our worries to a place of empowerment. It’s amazing how powerful great inspiration can be.

Every woman wonders how they will be as a mom, we often set ourselves up with expectations and dreams of an idolized motherhood. So, why do we aspire for perfection? Instead of expecting perfection, we need powerful inspiration that reminds us just how perfect our individual methods can be. With motherhood, we always seem to be told that it will be a natural or instant transformation. But, is it? Is every woman made to be a mother on Day 1? Is it learned, or do we grow into the role? Let’s address this.

The combination of societal pressures and our own beliefs create patterns that we repeat and leave us feeling less than or failures at mothering. Look at how Society portrays mothers. There are generally 2 types. The overbearing, control seeking, perfectionist type or the hot mess, overwhelmed guilt-driven types. You either fall into one or the other and they set us to disapprove of each other. We see these archetypes portrayed in movies, books, or TV series. These stereotypes are ingrained in us and we step into these roles with little or no awareness then wonder why we feel lost.

It’s possible that if we realize motherhood is not a job, we can take the pressure of perfection off the table. When a mother can stand up and say… “Hey, I’m not the motherly type,” while still being a GREAT mom. This attitude exudes self-respect and confidence. This woman didn’t grow up babysitting or have hours of practice holding a baby (this is more common than you think!), but she still loves her child completely. She doesn’t pretend to know it all or pretend to be someone she’s not. Instead, she does what she can do: outsource to get help and stay as true to herself as possible.

To the moms that wear motherhood as a crown we can cheer them on as well. These are the moms that played house and babysat all through their teenage years. They bake for bake sales not to “show off” but because they truly enjoy being in the kitchen and nourishing others. This woman exudes self-confidence and confidence just like the first mom. The problem is that society plays us against each other instead of allowing us to celebrate our unique approaches.

Allowing mothers to see each other as inspiration and resources instead of reflections that we are not would allow mothers to grow. Imagine mothers working together instead of judging each other? By offering new role models that inspire and support these ideals we could effect positive changes in how society portrays us.

We are all human. Let’s all acknowledge this. I’m human and I make mistakes. Staying humble about our humanity teaches our children life lessons such as give and take. Mothers are there to be the guide, supporter, and mentor instead of an easy best friend. With that kind of guidance, children develop into whole, interesting beings capable of critical thinking and creativity. With that said, not every mother is born with all this insight. These goals come easily for some, but for most it is a transition. It is hard and it is something we work at every single day.

Maybe we need to hear “choose you” more often. It may be that simple.

Another lesson in motherly self-care is related to the vast world of Social Media. Let’s talk about a Social Media FAST. Basic human psychology tells us that when we start to compare ourselves to others, it’s time to take a break and choose the healthier option. Comparison is truly the thief of joy, so don’t let yourself get sucked into a destructive and judgmental cycle. There are some really positive things about social media; feeling connected to a group, reading inspirational quotes, seeing a funny video to makes you laugh, etc. But, if you aren’t feeling good about it, get off for awhile and then invite yourself back when you are ready. Delete toxic people or groups and surround yourself with inspiration and motivation! Sometimes, nothing is more empowering than saying “No” to looking at social media that doesn’t inspire you.

We are living through an incredibly isolating time. Our daily lives are being challenged in totally new ways both big and small. Let the power of positive thinking come over you in the hardest times and realize that inspiration is the key to getting through the thick of it. Find that inspiration in whatever moves you and remember to take care of you! Your children will never know all your tricks, but they’ll benefit from the positive energy!

This article was written by Mary McConville, Founder of Growupbrite and Lindsay Bell, Founder of Bell Family Company. Follow us for inspirational and motivational podcasts, articles, virtual retreats and more!

Photo provided by Growupbrite

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Selfless Acts Mama’s Did to Make Their Child’s Lives (and Their Own) as Normal as Possible in 2020

Who isn’t going to remember 2020 as the year of firsts? Mama’s everywhere were forced to put their creativity caps on and think of ways to entertain their child(ren) at home – myself included! Take a look at some of the awesome ways mama’s made staying home the cool thing to do.

My neighbor has kept all of her kids home since March due to COVID, and as a result, she completely transformed her home office into a classroom. She built cubbies to make the kid’s lockers (like they would have had at school), ABC’s are hanging on the wall, there is an art center and library with hundreds of books. It’s truly amazing!

Another mama who is keeping her 7-year-old twin’s home from school for the first semester, put together a deal with Grandma to offer a two-day-a-week ‘boarding school.’ The twins packed their bags and spent the night at Grandma’s house for two days, and completed all virtual learning at her house. New face, environment, relief for mama and a fun trip!

Two other moms put together a regular playdate where their toddler boys switch off homes and hang out for two hours twice per week. This helped to get some socialization for the boys and some time away for mama. The kids hang out upstairs with a regular babysitter in a fully stocked playroom filled with games, books and activities.

Mama’s are struggling as we hit the end of the year, but killing it at the same time. Their hard work to make their child’s lives as ‘normal’ as possible during the pandemic is the reason why 2021 needs to be the year of the mama. We have a light at the end of the tunnel, but if you need support, motivation or guidance, please reach out to us for childcare help.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Seven Survival Tips for the First Weeks of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. It’s also physically exhausting, mentally grueling and at times pretty uncomfortable. But while it may not be a breeze, there’s a lot you can do to make breastfeeding easier on yourself. These self-care tips help new moms get through the first weeks of breastfeeding successfully.

At the Hospital

You’re eager to welcome your new arrival, but have you thought about your first breastfeeding session? Breastfeeding for the first time is intimidating – this is new for both of you and there’s a lot of pressure to get it right ‑ but there are a few things that help it go smoothly.

Dress for success: Hospital gowns aren’t the most comfortable garment. Pack a comfy change of clothes in your hospital bag, including slippers, a robe, and a soft labor and delivery gown to replace the scratchy ones the hospital gives you. Look for a gown that offers easy access for nursing and skin-to-skin contact as well as the functionality your doctors and nurses need for postpartum monitoring.

Let your baby take the lead: When given skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth, most babies will breast crawl and root in order to latch. However, some babies are too sleepy to latch right after birth and others may not be interested in eating much at all the first day. Don’t worry if your newborn doesn’t breastfeed right away. Instead, focus on providing as much skin-to-skin as possible and let your newborn nurse when ready.

Ask for a lactation consultant: If your newborn still hasn’t latched after the first day, talk to a lactation consultant. There are a variety of reasons babies may not latch right away, from position to prematurity, and most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff for this very reason.

The First Two Weeks

The first weeks at home are a blur of sleeping and feeding as new mothers recover from birth and get acquainted with their baby. During this time, your newborn will feed practically non-stop thanks to a teeny tiny stomach. Use these tips to keep your breastfeeding routine manageable and your baby well-fed.

Create a cozy nursing spot: Breastfeeding is easier when everyone is comfortable. Set up a nursing area with seating, a nursing pillow, breastfeeding essentials, and snacks and entertainment for yourself. Experiment with breastfeeding positions to find what’s most comfortable for yourself and baby.

Keep your baby accessible: Putting a newborn down to nap in the nursery every time will have you running back and forth all day. A bassinet or mini-crib in your home’s living space makes frequent nursing less of a hassle. At only 38 inches long, mini-cribs are significantly smaller than standard cribs, making it easy to squeeze one in wherever you need it.

Use a sling to free up your hands: If you’re feeling captive to your nursing newborn due to cluster feeding, use a sling or baby carrier that lets you nurse while multitasking. While it takes practice to get the right position, learning to nurse while babywearing is a great skill for breastfeeding mamas to master.

Relieve breast pain: It’s normal for breasts to become heavy and tender when milk comes in. This usually goes down within a day or two, but some women’s breasts may become engorged. In addition to a supportive, well-fitted nursing bra, warm and cold compresses relieve engorged breast pain. Use a warm, moist compress before nursing to increase milk flow and cold compresses after nursing to reduce swelling and inflammation. Some women even use cabbage leaves for relief!

Breastfeeding is incredibly beneficial for babies, but it takes a lot out of new mothers, especially in the first weeks after birth. If you’re struggling to take care of yourself while breastfeeding your new addition, let a baby nurse or night nurse from Bell Family Company lend a hand. A night
nurse can help you get the rest you need while caring for your newborn so your breastfeeding journey gets off on the right foot.

Photo from Unsplash.com

Written by guest blog writer, Leslie Campos, Well Parents

What Are Doulas, and Do I Need One?

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.

Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide – she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: [email protected] or @babycaravan on Instagram.

3 months

About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work. 

Written by our guest blog partner Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan