Tag Archives: motherhood

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.

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

From Toddlers to Teens: Parenting Advice for Every Stage of Life

We recently teamed up with Kristin Louis, writer and researcher of all things parenthood on parentingwithkris.com. Over the years, Kristin has done A LOT of late-night Google searching trying to figure out how to be a better parent. Not all of the resources she found were useful; most consisted of the same things people read everywhere. So, she decided to compile a list of parenting resources that offer real, useful advice for raising children well through every age and stage. Read below for the advice she provided our Bell Family readers.

Becoming a parent is often one of the most rewarding and challenging decisions in a person’s life. Raising children is never easy, but it is undeniably fulfilling. From your child’s first steps to the day they get their driver’s license, watching them grow up is a beautiful journey unlike any other. There is no handbook for parenting — every child is a little different, and no two families are exactly alike. However, there are a few general suggestions that are applicable to most children. These essential parenting tips can help you guide your child through each stage of life.

Infancy

During the baby years, your child needs an established routine — and according to Nanit, sticking to a specific bedtime routine is especially crucial. A daily routine will help you both sleep through the night, get your baby used to eating at the same times each day and help them feel more comfortable around other people with regular social outings. It will also make planning your week much simpler and less stressful.

As a new parent, getting into a routine will make navigating this stage of life much easier — yes, life with a baby will always be somewhat unpredictable, but a baby with a settled routine will be much happier and healthier than a child whose day-to-day life is relatively unstable.

Toddlers

Toddlers are often strong-willed and mischievous. The phrases “the terrible twos” and “three-nager” can certainly worry parents! When your child is a toddler, it’s important to stick with consistent and effective disciplinary habits.

This is the stage when children begin to learn a sense of morality and distinguish right from wrong. They will often try to push boundaries to see how much they can get away with. As a parent, it’s important to teach them that these actions have consequences, without being too strict and harsh. Remember, it’s not about taking out your frustration or merely punishing your toddler — it’s also about helping them learn important lessons and showing them that we need to treat people the way we would want to be treated. It’s a balancing act.

Teenagers

Teenagers have a reputation for being rebellious — it’s a natural part of growing up. However, youthful recklessness can also lead to negative outcomes. As a parent, you may be concerned about your teen’s safety. You can take steps to safeguard your house by locking up the liquor and medicine cabinets. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you can hire a professional to set up parental controls and other security measures on your home computer.

Worried about where your teen is running off to at night? Installing motion-activated security cameras can give you peace of mind (hiring installers costs $1,473 on average in NYC). Yes, these actions may sound a bit extreme, but you can decide what is necessary to ensure your child’s safety (and your home’s security).   

Leaving the Nest

When your child gets older, they might leave for college, but they still need your love and advice. According to Grown and Flown, scheduling weekly phone calls will help you stay in touch while allowing your child to have their own space. As your child grows up and enters adulthood, you can cultivate a friendship based on mutual respect. And as they move through life and achieve their dreams, you can look back on their childhood with pride.

Parenting is always an adventure, and some days you’ll feel like your family is on an emotional rollercoaster. No parent ever has all of the answers, but understanding your child’s changing needs through every phase of life will help you raise them with confidence and compassion. 

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. BFC is the best in the business! Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!