Dads and Breastfeeding

You might not think about dads and breastfeeding going hand in hand, but behind many breastfeeding mothers there is a supportive dad who makes all the difference in the world. In a lot of ways, dads are the unsung heroes of breastfeeding.

dads and breastfeeding

To the dads who bring water, snacks, and extra coffee, we see you. We appreciate you.

In those early days when your baby is exclusively breastfeeding and there’s not much for a dad to do in the way of feeding, you support breastfeeding by making sure mom is nourished, hydrated, and well-rested. Breastfeeding a newborn is hard work, and the little things you do to make sure moms have what they need to stay on top of their milk supply are so important.

To the dads who wake up at night, change diapers, and bring baby to nurse, we see you. We appreciate you.

When tiny tummies nurse through the night, you’re there to make life a little bit easier. Maybe you can’t do it every night, but whenever you can you try to give her a rest. You know she’s trying so hard and you feel like it’s the least you can do. You’re eager to help and share the load, and if and when she’s ready, you’ll give the baby a nighttime bottle so mom can get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Thank you for setting an example for other men in your life.

To the dads who validate, cheer moms on, and encourage them not to give up on their worst day, we see you. We appreciate you.

Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, and sometimes there are bumps along the way. You’re there for her through tears, cracked and sore nipples, lactation visits, small wins, big wins, and everything in-between. You see how determined she is to succeed and it inspires you. You want her to feel confident and supported. You lift her up when things get tough, and maybe you even call in a postpartum doula to be there when you can’t. You support her at home and out in public. You want her to be confident, comfortable, and you’re there for her no matter what.

You know bonding is about more than milk, and you find new ways to fall in love with your baby every day.

We see you. We appreciate you. Thank you.

Do you know a dad who supports breastfeeding? Share this with him and remind him how special he is to you. We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

#worldbreastfeedingweek

Breast Is Best vs. Fed Is Best

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There are many movements that surround infant feeding, but the most commonly used phrases are Breast Is Best and Fed Is Best. Blog posts and articles abound, but what’s really going on here?

Breast Is Best focuses on breast milk and breastfeeding as normal and the biologically superior way to feed an infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that,

Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.

To those who hold this belief, Breast Is Best is not up for debate.

It is presented as a simple fact that must be acknowledged, even if a family is unable to breastfeed or chooses not to do so. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative was developed based on this belief of breast milk as superior and encourages hospitals to create an environment that encourages breastfeeding for as many women as possible.

The Fed Is Best movement, on the other hand, puts the Breast Is Best movement under scrutiny and believes that breastfeeding protocols should not come at the expense of safety for mothers and babies.

The Fed Is Best Foundation website states:

The Fed Is Best Foundation is here to represent and advocate for the millions of families whose babies have experienced complications under current breastfeeding protocols or who have been shamed for choosing any number of clinically approved and safe feeding options for their babies.  We hope to educate mothers to be informed about the quantity and quality of milk their infants receive in order to prevent these complications because the brain will not wait for food.  We hope to support mothers feeding choices devoid of external feeding agendas.

Our motto above all else is Fed is Best.

While the Breast Is Best movement seeks to make breastfeeding as accessible as possible to all who choose, Fed Is Best seeks to ensure that those good intentions are not taken too far.

It is easy to subscribe to an “Us vs. Them” mentality, but the truth is that it’s not a contest. At the heart of each movement is the desire for safe, healthy babies and mothers who feel supported in their choices.

We can celebrate how women choose to breastfeed without discounting the experiences of others.

In today’s world, breastfeeding isn’t one size fits all, and it certainly doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

To the moms who exclusively breastfeed, to the moms who supplement, to the moms who exclusively pump, to the working moms, to the moms who breastfeed for a short time, to the moms who breastfeed for a long time, and the moms who choose not to breastfeed at all…

We support you. You’re a good mom.

 

#worldbreastfeedingweek

Add a manual pump to your breastfeeding toolkit | Video and Tutorial

When it comes to pumping breast milk, it’s the age of the electric pump, but adding a manual pump to your breastfeeding toolkit is a good idea that makes for a great companion to your snazzy electric! In our YouTube series, Time Out with Doulas of Memphis, Abby gives the run-down on the handy (pun intended) manual pump!

The most common misconception surrounding the manual breast pump is that it is labor intensive. This is not true! Pumping with a manual is simple and yields a surprising amount of milk, and is convenient for date night, outdoor events, and times when you don’t want to be chained to an outlet. Manual pumps are easy to store and take along with you, and eliminate the need for an extra pumping bag. They are also easy to rinse and clean on the go.

If you’re a stay at home mom who only has the occasional pumping need, a manual pump could very well be the only pump you need! If you’re an exclusive pumper or a working mom who pumps full time, a manual pump is good to have for outings when you need to keep things light and simple. If you air on the side of discretion, it’s easy to throw on a nursing cover, pump, and go!

Photo Tutorial: How to store a manual pump for easy travel

Taking a manual pump with you is a breeze! You’ll need:

Gallon ziploc bag
Bottle
Cap
Pump body with valve and membrane attached
Pump handle with diaphragm attached
1-2 extra breast milk storage bags

manual pump
For easy travel that takes up minimal space in your bag

In your gallon ziploc back, place the storage bags in first and then the remaining parts on top in a row.

Your parts should only take up the bottom half of the bag.
Your parts should only take up the bottom half of the bag.

Next, squeeze out any air and fold the bag over.

This takes up WAY less space than simply putting the entire pump in your bag.
This takes up WAY less space than simply putting the entire pump in your bag.

Finally, slide the bag into your purse and enjoy your outing!

manual pump in bag

 

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our YouTube channel and comment with more Time Out ideas!

Have you ever used a manual pump? How did it compare to your expectations? Comment below and share your experience!

#worldbreastfeedingweek

 

 

Dear Mommy | On going back to work

back to work

Dear Mommy,

I’m only a few months old, but I notice you’ve been feeling a little sad lately. I keep hearing you say something about going “back to work.” What’s that, Mommy? It’s okay, Mommy. Let’s play! Can you make me smile again? I know how to laugh now and it’s so silly when you tickle my belly!

When we nurse and cuddle in our special chair, it’s my favorite place in the whole world. I always feel safe and warm, just like when I was in your tummy. I like to hold your hand while we nurse, and the milk makes me sleepy and I like to close my eyes and listen to your heartbeat.

A few weeks ago, you said you had to go to the store and that Daddy was going to give me a bottle. I didn’t know what a bottle was, but I know what milk means and I was hungry! It was different from our special nursing time, but I liked my Daddy snuggle too and my tummy got all full. He made sure I got all the bubbles out and I had a nice, clean diaper. Don’t worry, Mommy, he did a great job. Can Nana give me a bottle sometimes too?

A few days ago, you told me that I was going on a special adventure to my babysitter’s house. I heard you tell Daddy that it was a “test drive” for going “back to work.”

I don’t know what that is, but my babysitter was so nice, Mommy! She had toys and a cool swing and she played peek-a-boo with me! I took a nap and there was even another baby there too. We played together on this really colorful mat! I’m getting used to taking a bottle but don’t worry, Mommy, I’ll be so happy when you come to get me and we can have our special nursing time again.

We didn’t do our normal morning things today. Today is the day when you go back to work.

You sure are busy getting lots of bags and your hair and makeup look so beautiful! I like it when you smile with your bright lipstick. Why are you crying, Mommy? I like my babysitter and we’re going to have a great day! Can we play peek-a-boo one more time before we go? Can we have one more nurse and cuddle? Just one, Mommy, I promise it won’t take very long.

I know it’s hard when we aren’t together, Mommy. I’m crying a little bit too, but I know we’re going to be just fine. Daddy says he is proud of you, so I am too!

My babysitter will take good care of me until you come back. Thank you for getting all my milk ready! I think it’s great that I can have milk even when you’re not here with me. We’re going to have the best cuddle when we get back together! Have a great day, Mommy!

Love,

Your baby

#worldbreastfeedingweek

 

Postpartum GO!

Pokemon GO is sweeping the nation, and many of us are reliving our childhoods, channeling our inner nerds, and enjoying the chance to catch ’em all in the real world. We also couldn’t help but notice that Pokemon GO has a lot in common with postpartum doulas! Introducing: Postpartum GO!

Pokemon Go
Like Pokemon GO, but for moms.

When you’re a mom playing Postpartum GO, you aren’t catching Pokemon. You’re catching the day to day tasks of parenthood. Diapering, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, nap time, playtime, bedtime, bath time, meals, laundry, dishes, showers, actually putting the clean clothes away, etc. You throw your Pokeball and catch those tasks, checking them off the list until it’s time to do it all over again. Sometimes you miss, and that’s okay too. It’s all part of learning how to play the game.

Sometimes, you feel like your life with a newborn is full of nothing but Pidgeys, Rattatas, and Zubats. You wish you could catch some new Pokemon already! Lucky for you, your postpartum doula is your Great Ball or Master Ball. With her help, you can catch bigger Pokemon and take on more tasks.

Maybe you’re feeling confident about newborn care but struggling with keeping up with household tasks, or maybe its the other way around. Adjusting to a new baby while recovering from birth can feel overwhelming at times, and your postpartum doula is there to take the stress out of the game. While you relax and enjoy bonding with your baby, your doula can help keep your house running AND is there to answer all of your baby questions, bounce ideas off of, and be another grownup who understands and isn’t there to judge or give her opinion. She helps you level up at this newborn gig, and it’s not even considered cheating!

In the game of Postpartum GO, gym battles are the challenges you overcome in early parenthood. Sleepless nights, teething, colicky babies, figuring out exactly how long it takes you to go somewhere, ever-changing, routines. Each stage brings a new challenge. Your postpartum doula is your Potions and Revives.

pokemon goYour postpartum doula is there to help you revive after a long “battle” so that you are refreshed and ready for the next one. Babies are fun and adorable, but they deplete your energy reserves fast if you aren’t careful. Your doula is there to help you balance things out. She’ll make you a special Potion called a Home-Cooked Meal or a Warm Cup of Coffee. She’ll mind the baby so you can take a nap and Revive. She can even come and give you the Lucky Egg of a Full Night of Sleep. You can wake up to clean dishes, folded laundry, breakfast, and all the energy you need to catch the day’s tasks. Talk about feeling like you’ve Leveled Up!

At some point, you’ll want to venture out with your baby and try out new Poke Stops and visit some Gyms.

If you’re unsure about outings with your baby, your postpartum doula can help you prepare. What do I need to pack in a diaper bag? How long will it take? Where will I nurse my baby in public? What if there isn’t a changing table? Each Poke Stop will have different considerations, and your experienced doula can help you think it through, and she’ll even go with you if you want! She can also help you get connected to new moms and start experiencing the magic that is a Play Date. Like a Gym, Play Dates allow you to interact with other moms, find your tribe, and build community. They help you feel less alone. If you’re pregnant or a new mom in Memphis, you can join our “gym” on Facebook! Who knows, maybe you’ll bump into a stranger and leave with a friend.

Nobody starts as an expert in game of Postpartum GO, but with time, patience, and the help of your postpartum doula, you’ll be a master in no time! Let us help you catch ’em all.

 

The grass is greener where you water it

greener

Ever notice that when you talk about our city, you typically get one of two reactions? I remember being surprised by that when I first came here 10 years ago. Sure, Memphis has its problems and idiosyncrasies like any other place, but I could never make myself hate it here. Memphis is home. It’s my home. There’s no real reason it should be, but it is. I guess this city will do that to you. If you’re nodding your head, you know what I mean.

Here’s the thing: instead of looking at the grass on the other side, looking at Nashville, looking at Chattanooga, looking at all the other places we could be except here…what if we water the grass we have?

We love Memphis and we’re not going anywhere

Doulas of Memphis is committed to blooming where we’re planted. We care about this city and we care about the people in it. We want to invest in building relationships, to get to know you not only as families giving birth or as doctors and nurses caring for patients, but as people. We want to know what you’re passionate about, we want to know what you bring to this city where we all live, work, and love. We want every interaction you have with us to leave you feeling supported and cared for, even if it’s nothing more than a brief encounter at the grocery store.

Building bridges, starting conversations

As doulas, we approach our work free of judgment and full of humility. We aren’t here to advocate for you, and our goal isn’t to lower the cesarean rate or make sure as many families as possible are breastfeeding their babies. We’re not even here to make sure you know what the evidence says or how you should interpret it for your family. We’re here to nurture the relationships you’ve built with the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with. We want to create a culture of support in our city, to build bridges with hospitals and have conversations about our shared goals and how our support can complement the care they provide.

If you’d like to get to know us better, give us a call or hop on over to our contact page and drop us a line. We can’t wait to serve you