How Hard Could It Be?

When I had my first baby, it was the first time I had ever seen a newborn in person. I’d changed maybe two diapers, ever. In short, I was clueless.

My husband, John, helped his mom run her in-home daycare when he was younger. As far as I was concerned, he would be a diaper changing pro! The rest of the stuff like holding a baby, or soothing them, well, he’d probably remember it. Like riding a bike or something, right? Never mind the fact that he was a child when he did all this (seriously, what was I thinking?)

I had family in town. My own mother, in fact, lived just a few minutes away. And this was her first grandchild, so of course she’d be over all the time and would help fill in any blanks.

So Rex came out, we all got cleaned up and tucked into bed to rest, and suddenly, my husband and I were alone with a brand new baby.

I remember thinking it was a little bit ridiculous that we were expected to be able to take care of this baby without any practice or formal knowledge, completely responsible for someone else’s WHOLE LIFE. I mean, sure, people have been doing this since the beginning of time, but WE had never done it before!

I’m pretty good at rolling with whatever comes my way, so we jumped right in.

John was great at helping with diapers. We might have eaten more take-out than I cared to, but that was ok. My mom was happy to spend her free time with her first grandbaby. But she had to work, too. And eventually, John had to return to work.

Nights were relatively easy – John was home, even if I did feel bad waking him up to help me when I felt overwhelmed, knowing he had to work in the morning. Sometimes I woke him up on purpose, just because I was so irritated at being woken up yet again, and hey, this is his kid, too. (I love you, dear!)

Days were another story.

I was tired but unable to nap

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is impossible when you feel compelled to clean house and get the chores caught up. Or shower. Or eat.

I was bored out of my mind

Babies don’t make great conversationalists. Who knew?

I was jealous

My husband got to actually go spend time outside the house talking with other adults, even if they were just coworkers, and the only other place he went was work.

I was jealous that other people were able to take care of themselves, their children, and their homes, apparently without breaking a sweat.

I suddenly didn’t feel comfortable or confident

It took more energy than I ever thought just to pack the baby up and get him into the car, and nursing in public or dealing with a crying baby in public was just too much, so I never went anywhere. I used to be a smart, career-minded woman, an organized go-getter. How had this small person reduced me to this? Why didn’t anyone warn me?

I needed a postpartum doula. If only I had known there was such a thing.

Magical postpartum doula fairy
The postpartum doulas you hire won’t have wings, but you’ll swear they have magic sleeping baby fairy dust.

Abby says postpartum doulas are like a fairy godmother, and I have to agree.

Postpartum doulas are the women who have seen it all, so they are great troubleshooters when things aren’t going well.

They are the ones who let you sleep (or shower!) while they magically take care of the baby AND get some of your chores checked off, or get dinner started so your husband can relax, too.

The wonderful postpartum doulas I know are also the best listeners. You’d be amazed at how easy they are to talk to – so understanding, so loving and caring, and somehow they always leave you feeling content and refreshed. That’s way more than I can say for some of the friends and relatives that visited after Rex was born!

Postpartum doulas are more popular now than ever, and for good reason. Doulas of Memphis offers some of the very best doulas in the area, and they are worth their weight in gold.

Scheduling a consultation is quick and easy, and you’ll be so glad you did it.

Give the gift of sleep

Sleep. The #1 item on the wish list of new moms everywhere.

Maybe coffee is a close second, but sleep is a commodity that’s hard to come by when you are doing the up-and-down nighttime song and dance that is having a newborn in the house.

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Family is gone. Dad’s back at work. Now it’s you and this baby who hasn’t gotten the memo about days and nights yet. Yawn.

What if you didn’t have to spend those early days exhausted? What if there were some modern fairy godmother to bibbity-bobbity-boo you right off to dreamland? Good news, that totally exists, and it’s called a postpartum doula.

For new moms, postpartum doulas are as close to a fairy godmother as it gets. In addition to being great with babies, postpartum doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and carindg for moms. A lot of time, that care looks like facilitating sleep.

All the newborn grunting keeping you up? Can you believe nobody prepared you for how loud sleeping babies are?! Are you having trouble sleeping because you keep checking to see if everything is okay? Are you worried about your partner getting rest because they have a demanding job? Is baby fed and changed, but restless because of gas? In addition to normal newborn wakings, all of these are common reasons for moms to be short on sleep.

If you want more sleep at night or a chance to get a nap in the daytime, our postpartum doulas can help.

You can sleep easier knowing that your baby is in expert hands with our professional doulas. If you’re nursing or pumping, we can help facilitate sleep by minimizing the time you have to spend awake at night. We can give the baby a bottle or bring baby to you to nurse. We’ll take care of all of the burping, changing, and soothing back to sleep. If you are utilizing the help of your doula in the daytime, you can take that much-needed nap (and maybe even a decent shower!) while your doula looks after the baby and helps keep your house running smoothly.

Stocking stuffers, baby showers, or just because…there’s never a wrong occasion to give a mom the gift of sleep.

Choose one of our online gift certificates, or contact us and we’ll be happy help you with a custom amount. We have a variety of packages and price points to choose from!

 

The IKEA Doula

Memphis is buzzing with excitement over the Grand Opening of our very own IKEA. The iconic blue building with yellow letters beckons with the promise of inexpensive home goods, plenty to look at, and delicious, inexpensive meatballs.

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Let’s face it, though. IKEA can be equal parts awesome and overwhelming, and a trip with kids requires a strategic battle plan. Enter: The IKEA Doula.

You know the drill by now: Doulas provide families with physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. We joke among colleagues about wishing we had a “Life Doula” to support us through difficult-to-navigate situations. Why should IKEA be any different?

Your IKEA Doula provides physical support during your trip.

Parking is a breeze with your IKEA Doula. She’ll drop you off right at the entrance and meet you inside. Having trouble juggling your list, coffee, cart, and purse? Don’t worry, your IKEA Doula can help! Need someone to watch your things while you take a much-needed potty break? We got you. Need one grownup to push the stroller so you can push the cart? Hold your spot in the food line because your toddler has to go potty RIGHT NOW even though they didn’t when you asked them ten minutes ago? We’ll even help you remember to sit down on the display couches and help you stay hydrated while you attempt to walk the entire store.

Your IKEA Doula provides you with the emotional support you need to make it through the store in one piece.

Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering why you decided to even do this opening week? Need help keeping your goals in mind? This is where your doula shines. She’ll remind you you’re not alone, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down for 30 minutes to regroup, that it’s okay to not know which color you want right now. If you’re exhausted, she won’t judge you for taking a nap in one of the micro-apartments. It helps them look more realistic, right? She’ll listen as you process how this piece will fit in your room versus that one, and won’t tell you that you’re overthinking and to “OMG JUST PICK SOMETHING ALREADY. IT’S A COFFEE TABLE.” Your doula knows it’s never just a coffee table and will listen and validate all of your feelings.

Your IKEA Doula is fully equipped to give you the informational support you need for a successful trip.

If you’ve never been to an IKEA before, your doula can help talk you through the process. If you need a list-making ninja, she’ll make sure you’ve got the best list for you. She’ll help you take measurements so you can know if that couch will indeed fit in your living room, and will help you locate every item you need in the warehouse part of the store. She’ll help you find item number and help you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

There’s no such thing as an IKEA Doula, but don’t you wish there were?!

Alas, this magical creature called the IKEA Doula isn’t real, but if you’re pregnant or a new mom in Memphis, you can get this kind of support through this beginning stage of parenthood! Experience that same magic in the form of birth doulas, postpartum doulas, overnight doulas, childbirth education, and lactation support.

P.S., if you want your postpartum doula to take Baby’s First IKEA Trip with you, we totally do that. We’ll even let you call us your IKEA doula while you’re there 😉

How to get more sleep with a newborn

Everybody needs sleep, but especially moms! Are you pregnant or do you have a brand new baby? Wondering how to get more sleep with a newborn? We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve.

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Sleeping like a baby means lots of interruptions- what’s a tired mom to do?

Some solutions for how to get more sleep with a newborn are simple and require only small amounts of effort on your part, but can yield you precious minutes of the shut-eye you’re craving.

Keep Mom Calm

The sound of a baby crying in the middle of the night isn’t exactly what we could call relaxing. For new parents, the sound of a newborn’s cry can be stressful, and when you’re on a lather/rinse/repeat cycle all night long with a newborn, that stress can make it hard to fall asleep again. Staying as calm as possible during night wakings will help you get back to sleep more quickly, which turns into more rest for you.

One easy way to stay calm is to let go of any expectations you have about sleep for your newborn and adopt a more “roll with it” approach. You can certainly create routines and habits for your baby to encourage sleep, but it takes time for newborns to develop sleep patterns. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself that this is temporary. Have your partner take over if things feel like too much. It’s small, but it adds up.

Minimize Movement

The more you and baby have to move around at night for feedings, diaper changes, and soothing back to sleep, the more you send the signal, “It’s time to wake up!” You can combat this by consolidating all of your nighttime necessities into one place.

If your baby is still sleeping in your room, find a dim nightlight and make a space for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.

If you are breastfeeding, try nursing in the side lying position (more rest for you!) and then moving your baby back to the bassinet or crib. Consider making yourself a basket that has snacks and water for when nighttime hunger strikes.

If you are bottle feeding, you can move your bottle warmer and a small cooler with the night’s bottles so that you can warm the bottle while you change your baby’s diaper. Minimizing movement during night wakings will help you take care of business so you can get back to the business of sleeping soundly.

Call in Reinforcements: The Postpartum Doula

Sometimes, you need to call in reinforcements for nighttime sleep. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered! If you want to get some sleep knowing that someone is there to care for YOU as much they are to care for your baby, an overnight postpartum doula does just that. Our doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and are well-versed in baby care, so you can sleep more soundly knowing that your family is in expert hands. If you’re breastfeeding, we’ll bring the baby to you to nurse, then quickly take them away for everything else so you can go right back to sleep, or we can give a bottle of pumped milk if you prefer. Everything we do goes through the filter of, “What does mom need right now?” Bonus: You might even wake up to clean dishes, a folded load of laundry, and a hot cup of coffee!

When it comes to figuring out how to get more sleep with a newborn, there’s no magic recipe that works for everyone. Let Doulas of Memphis help figure out what works for you so you can wake up feeling rested and ready to be the supermom we know you are!

Mom Olympics | Lessons from Rio 2016

The Rio 2016 Olympics ended yesterday, and over the past couple of weeks the world has seen endurance, resourcefulness, compassion, heartbreak, triumph, controversy, and togetherness on display. In a world where parenting sometimes feels like an Olympic sport, there’s a lot for moms to learn from this year’s summer Olympics.

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Moms win the gold for doing the best they can with what they have.

The Rio 2016 Olympics was fraught with infrastructure obstacles and budgetary concerns. During the opening ceremony, we saw resourcefulness on display with the use of a projection system to both cut costs and create some pretty sweet special effects. As moms, we are all operating with limited resources. Likewise as moms, we have limited time, funds, energy, sleep…and somehow we dig deep within ourselves and give our children the best we can with what we have. There are no participation medals in the real Olympics, but in the Mom Olympics, we know you’re giving it your all and we honor you!

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the diving pool turns green.

It wasn’t green yesterday! The pool next to it isn’t green! Oh crap, now we have to swim in this?! It happens at the Olympics, and it happens to us as moms. Sometimes our best-laid plans turn green no matter how much chlorine we put in yesterday. On days when that grocery trip is an epic fail, when Netflix during naptime doesn’t happen, when breastfeeding isn’t going as planned, when you don’t know where the day went wrong, moms keep swimming, ready to dive headfirst into a new day tomorrow.

Moms win the gold for helping each other up when the race gets rough.

The day-to-day of motherhood can feel like a running-in-circles race, and it’s not always smooth track ahead. Even the best of us trip and fall, and that’s when we can count on our mom friends to help us up, put an arm around us, hand us a cup of coffee, and keep going with us. There’s a lot of divisiveness around parenting, but there will always be the Nikki Hamblins and Abbey D’Agostinos out there who meet us in our struggles and encourage us along the way.

The Rio Olympics showed us that women are powerful, strong, and capable. Doulas help moms dig in and find the strength that’s always been there.

At this year’s Olympics, our female athletes made us proud. From Gabby Douglas to Simone Biles, Michelle Carter, Kate Ledecky and more, we saw time and time again that women are amazing and strong. Although they alone were responsible for doing the work, many Olympians acknowledge members of their support team that have helped them along the way. Doulas come faithfully alongside moms as they find strength, endurance, and courage during pregnancy, birth, and the early days of parenting. At Doulas of Memphis, we help you prepare for birth, and when the big day comes, we’re there to lean on, cheer you on, and hold you up physically and emotionally as you do the hard work of birth. We believe in you and your ability to make the best decisions for your family. After baby is home and the real marathon begins, our postpartum doulas support you day and night to help ensure that you get the rest you need, that you get answers to your questions, and we’ll even help keep you fed and nourished as you care for and bond with your newest little Olympian.

Interested in adding a birth doula or postpartum doula to your support team? Give us a call or drop us a line and let us know how we can partner with your family!

 

 

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

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

 

 

Time Out with Doulas of Memphis | YouTube: Intro and Self Care

Exciting news: Doulas of Memphis now has a YouTube show, called Time Out with Doulas of Memphis! We’ll be taking a series of “Mommy Time Outs” and discussing and answering questions about Things That Matter. First up on the list of Things That Matter? YOU! Our first episode is a quick intro and then we dive in to talking about self care.

Self care doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it isn’t about elaborate massages, pedicures, or hours upon hours of “me time.” Here at Doulas of Memphis we believe that self care can’t happen on a large scale until it happens on a smaller scale. Take a Time Out with us and watch the first episode of Time Out with Doulas of Memphis!

Do you have ideas for more Time Outs? We want Things That Matter to you, so drop us a comment either on this blog or on our YouTube video to leave suggestions and feedback! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so that you can take a Time Out with us next time!

And don’t forget to take a time out for yourself this week!

‘Til next time,

Abby and Lindsey

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.

 

Things to do in Memphis with baby: Rainy Day Edition

Some rainy days are for snuggling up on the couch with a soft throw blanket and a hot mug of something wonderful. Other times, you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day if you don’t LEAVE RIGHT NOW. If you’re home with a baby and need to get out while you still can, here’s a short list of ideas of things to do in Memphis with baby on a rainy day.

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Rain, rain, go away, mommy needs to go out today…

Target: Old Faithful

If you weren’t already aware, there’s something in the air at Target that has magical baby-soothing (and mommy-soothing!) properties. There’s a reason every mom blog in the universe has something to say about Target! Grab a latte and wander around to your heart’s content. Talk to your baby about the colors, shapes, and interesting things around you. If baby gets a little fussy, it’s no big deal. There’s bound to be another mom around to show you some solidarity. If you’re nursing and in want of a quiet place to feed your baby and regroup, the fitting rooms are comfortable and always available to you.

Storytime

Things to do in memphis with babyIt’s never too early to start reading to your baby, and if you’re looking for things to do with baby in Memphis, there are bookstores and libraries in every part of town. Most of our local libraries and bookstores have either a play area or a weekly storytime. Even if you miss out on storytime, you can still go and browse the aisles and read to your baby!

Here’s a list of storytimes in Memphis by day of the week:


Monday: 

10:00am Book Babies at the Germantown Library
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Germantown Location)


Tuesday:
10:00am Book Babies at the Germantown Library
10:15am Central Library
11:00am Booksellers at Laurelwood
11:00am Barnes and Noble (Wolfchase and Carriage Crossing)

Wednesday:
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Summer Avenue Location)
10:30am Cordova Library

Thursday:
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Cordova Location)
11:00am Booksellers at Laurelwood

Friday:
10:30am Morton Museum of Collierville History (the museum itself is free and open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am-4:00pm)

Saturday:
11:00am Barnes and Noble (Wolfchase and Carriage Crossing)

Host a playdate

We all know that playdates aren’t really for babies: they’re for moms. If you can’t manage anything except yoga pants and a messy bun, find a friend and survive the day together! Ignore the mess, leave the dishes, put some coffee or tea on, and enjoy some adult interaction. We promise that whatever you can do today is good enough!