How to swaddle a newborn | Bitty Baby Basics

 Learn how to swaddle a newborn with Bitty Baby Basics: A Newborn Care How-to Series (Facebook Live)!

If you’re a new parent or parent-to-be and don’t have much experience with newborns, this series is for you. Caring for a live, wiggling newborn is a whole new ballgame compared to the demo dolls you may have encountered in parenting classes. We’ll be taking time during this Live series to highlight different aspects of baby care, with our own newborn baby to demonstrate so that you can have a glimpse into what it’s really like. We’ll share our tips and tricks so that you can feel confident with your bitty bundle!

Swaddling is a skill that often leaves new parents feeling frustrated.

We’ll de-mystify it for you in this video and show you how to do a basic swaddle with an aden+anais muslin swaddle blanket, how to use a SwaddleMe velcro swaddle, and sleep sacks for when your baby is too big to swaddle anymore.

Help! My baby doesn’t like to to be swaddled!

Yes they do. Sure, some babies legitimately don’t like being swaddled, but in our experience most of the time it’s not that the baby hates a swaddle. There’s a learning curve and a poorly-done swaddle is often rejected by a newborn who just wants to be snug as a bug in a rug. Here’s some tips to remember:

Babies don’t like getting swaddled. They like being swaddled.

Don’t worry if your baby fusses and complains while you’re swaddling with them. If you’ve done it correctly, then your baby should be easy to soothe quickly after you finish.

Your swaddle probably isn’t tight enough.

No, you aren’t going to hurt your baby. Chances are your baby doesn’t like the swaddle because it’s not tight enough. Muslin in particular is a very stretchy material that gives almost immediately after you let it go, which means you have to pull it much tighter initially so that when you tuck that last tail in, the fabric relaxes into a comfortable snugness for your baby. Same goes with the “cheater” velcro swaddles.

Don’t swaddle once you see signs of rolling, or phase it out if your baby is 8 weeks old or more.

If you have a very young newborn, think 1-3 weeks, you might see them roll to their side naturally when you put them down. This is an infantile reflex and not the rolling you are looking for. Once your baby shows signs of rolling from front to back or back to front, it’s important to stop swaddling immediately. A baby who is swaddled cannot turn themselves back over and is at risk for suffocation.

Skip the blankets in the crib and move from a swaddle to a sleep sack.

Blankets in the crib are another big hazard for small babies, so it’s best to save them for snuggling. When your baby graduates from a swaddle, move them to a wearable blanket called a sleep sack. These are made by many different companies, including Halo, aden+anais, IKEA, Gerber, Carter’s etc… they are easy to find, easy to use, and safe for your baby. Make sure you don’t put your baby in a sleep sack that is too big.

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.

One Word for Moms in 2017

Disillusioned with the concept of the New Year’s Resolution, there are many people who are adopting the idea of using one word as a theme or focus for the year. There’s a ton of appeal to this: it’s nonspecific, doesn’t involve empty promises, and emphasizes growth and self-improvement in a much more holistic sort of way. In addition to whatever one word you have chosen for yourself, here’s our word for the moms and moms-to-be out there: ENOUGH. Why did we choose it? Well…

one word

In 2017, we challenge you to see yourself as enough.

Not “good enough” in the sense of aspiring to mediocrity, but that you, just as you are, are enough. That you, yes you, are exactly what your family needs. You are enough as a parent. You are the best mom for your baby. You have everything you need to parent well. You don’t need to be “good enough’ because you ARE enough.

Say “enough” when people try to make you feel small.

You’re not small. You are wonderful and worthwhile. Your voice matters. You have great ideas. You matter and you’re important. If I sound like I’m quoting The Help, #sorrynotsorry because really and truly, YOU have value. You are more than your circumstances, you are more than your failures, and you’re even more than your successes.

Say “enough” to the pressure to measure up.

Other moms. Other wives. Other women. Pinterest. Whatever it’s tempting to compare yourself to and bemoan the fact that you aren’t quite there, say “enough.” You don’t need to measure up to someone else’s ideal or standard. Set goals and work for them because you love yourself, not because you think it will make someone love you or value you more.

You’re enough, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Asking for help, leaning on your village, and relying on others doesn’t change the fact that you’re enough just as you are. Being enough doesn’t mean you never need support from the people around you. It means that your worth isn’t defined by that need. We all get by with a little help from our friends (and sometimes a little help from a doula or two), and unrealistic expectations need not apply. You’re enough, mama. You’re enough, friend. You’re enough, sister. You’re enough, daughter. You’re enough, wife. Say it until you believe it, girl.

Our one word for you this year is “enough,” but we’d also love to hear what you have in mind for 2017! Share with us in the comments, and have a Happy New Year!

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!

 

Planning for baby? | Mom Self Care Free Printable

When you’re planning for baby, the vast majority of pregnancy and birth checklists out there all about what you need to do for your baby. But what about you? Giving birth is a feat no matter how you do it, and in the flurry and excitement of packing, it’s easy to forget about the things you’ll need after baby is here!

planning for baby
Planning for baby is no easy task!

Planning for baby means planning for you, too. We asked some veteran moms about their must-have items for the hospital and back home. Here’s what they said:

Of course you’re going to pack toiletries and clothes for you and baby. Here’s what to pack in your hospital bag for you:

Pillows from home: Because we know hospital pillows aren’t known for their extra-fluffiness.
Extra-long charging cable: Keep in touch when you want, from anywhere in your room. Oh, and Netflix.
Chapstick: Trust us, it’s a must-have.
Mints: Freshen up until you can brush your teeth again.
Comfy leggings or pajama pants: There’s nothing quite like slipping on a pair of cozy pants after a nice shower.
Soft, light robe: Be visitor-ready in no time!
Fuzzy blanket from home: Hospital blankets are thin, and who doesn’t love a fuzzy throw?
Your favorite instant coffee (ex. Starbucks Via): Coffee emergencies are a thing.
Water bottle: Skip the styrofoam and stay hydrated in style!
Snacks for after birth: Your favorite takeout menus and a Designated Bringer of Food wouldn’t hurt, either.
Post-birth beverage: Finally, you can have that drink you’ve been craving your whole pregnancy!
Nursing pillow: Save your neck and arms by bringing baby up closer to you.
Nursing tanks/clothes to labor in: Nursing tanks are great for skin-to-skin after birth. Pair with a knee-length maxi skirt for an alternative to that hospital gown.
Button-down or pull-down shirts: for easy nursing access.

You’re back home with all of your stuff, and a new baby. Here’s what to keep around for those days after birth:

Depends (No really, trust us!): Because it’s no fun when your pad moves around.
Tucks Pads:
A common hemorrhoid relief, but they’re oh-so-nice for a sore perineum too!
Peri Bottle:
A lifesaver when wiping is the last thing you want to do.
Constipation relief:
No shame in that stool softener game!
Water bottle:
Between taking care of a newborn, nursing, and recovering from birth, hydration in reach is essential!
Late-night snack basket:
When nighttime hunger strikes, you’ll be prepared.
Dim night light:
So you can see to change that diaper and then get everyone back to dreamland
Freezer meals:
Consider hosting a freezer meal shower to stock up before baby comes.
One-handed snacks:
Feed baby and yourself at the same time!
Fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies:
Because you can only eat so much lasagna.
Baby carrier:
For hands-free snuggling and walking around.
Lanolin/nipple butter:
Relief for nipples that are adjusting to a newborn feeding schedule.
Journal: A place for your thoughts and feelings.
Extra phone chargers:
It’s no fun when you phone dies and you’re stuck under a baby. 
Postpartum doula: 
A postpartum doula is a valuable member of your village! We’re there to make sure you have all of the help, rest, and support you need after baby comes home.

Love our list? What would you add?

Click here to download our Mom Self Care Free Printable!

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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.

how to get more sleep with a newborn
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!

Memphis Baby Registry | Boutique Week

Welcome to Boutique Week!

If you’re pregnant in Memphis, there’s never been a better time to have a fun Memphis baby registry for your newest addition! In addition to the retail giants that offer baby registries, there are several Memphis baby boutique options that have the perfect gifts with a local flair. Welcome to Boutique Week, a blog series where we’ll spend time each day looking at each of our local baby boutiques, what they have to offer, and what sets them apart from the other stores in town.

memphis baby registry

But first…

Your Memphis baby registry just got even better: Doulas of Memphis is now offering gift certificates!

Once you’ve gotten all the aden + anais swaddle blankets, Kickee Pants sleepers, and monogrammed bags you’ll ever need, Doulas of Memphis now offers gift certificates so that you can register for “other” necessities you can’t buy in the store, like postpartum help, a full night’s sleep, professional birth support, and more.

With Doulas of Memphis, your family and friends can give you the gift of supported beginnings and a more peaceful transition.

Whether you’re well-supported with a few gaps here and there or you’re in need of more extensive help, Doulas of Memphis has the right solution for your family. We adapt to your family and are equipped to support you as much as you need. Our birth and postpartum services make the perfect addition to all of your baby gear.

Gift certificates for Memphis Doula Services are available for purchase online with a variety of options.

To purchase a gift certificate, visit our Gift Certificates page. For a more customized gift option, contact us at hello@doulasofmemphis.com and we’ll be happy to work out something special for you.

Follow us during Boutique Week to get the scoop on our favorite local boutiques and for great gift ideas to go with your Doulas of Memphis gift certificate!

Boutique Week posts:

 

Prevent Diaper Blowouts

In addition to making sure you have the correct fitting diaper for your baby, there are other tricks to prevent diaper blowouts.

Check out our latest Time Out for one of Abby’s favorite tricks for stopping blowouts in their gussets!

So what’s with the snaps and velcro?

There are two basic kinds of cloth diaper covers: snaps and aplix (aka Velcro). Both kinds are made of a material called polyurethane laminate (PUL). It is waterproof to prevent leaks onto clothing, and there are one-size diapers on the market with an adjustable fit that can accommodate your baby as they grow. For a standard one-size diaper cover, there are snaps that adjust the rise of the diaper.

prevent diaper blowouts
Left: Cover with snaps, rise snaps set on smallest setting.
Right: Cover with Velcro, rise snaps on largest setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the poop stays in how?

Prefolds, flat diapers, and skin-safe diaper inserts typically go inside of a PUL diaper cover, but there are absolutely zero rules against simply placing a PUL cover over a disposable diaper! In addition to the absorbency of the diaper, the waterproof layer keeps clothes dry, the gussets keeps those poop explosions at bay, and elastic in the back keeps messes contained as well.  If your cover becomes soiled, you can wipe any solids off, wash in the washing machine, and line dry. Line drying is important because PUL can delaminate with excessive heat.

prevent diaper blowouts
Left: Inside of PUL diaper cover
Right: Double gusset (aka poop containing magic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another fun perk to keeping a diaper cover or two handy is that even if you don’t cloth diaper, you can use them for those diaper emergencies when you’ve run out of diapers but can’t make it to the store right away. A cotton kitchen towel will get you through in pinch. Here’s what each kind of cover looks like on the baby:

He's a bit furry, but he'll do ;)
He’s a bit furry, but he’ll do 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much does a diaper cover cost? Where do I buy?

Cost for a one-size PUL diaper cover can run anywhere from $5-$20, depending on source, quantity, and quality. If you’re Facebook-savvy, there are co-ops and resale groups dedicated to cloth diapers. Cotton Babies is a larger retailer based out of St. Louis, and there’s always trusty Amazon. If you like shopping local as much as we do, Over the Moon Diapers is Memphis-run and accepts online orders with an option for local pickup. For clothing that’s special to you or to save the hassle of a messy car seat on a long trip, utilizing a diaper cover is a cost-effective (and cute!) way to prevent diaper blowouts.

Did you find this trick to helpful? Do you think you would ever purchase a cover like this for yourself or as a gift? Let us know in the comments!

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

Doulas are like Grizzlies Fans

Everybody knows that Memphis Grizzlies fans are a special breed. Grit and Grind, All Heart, and Believe Memphis are more than slogans; they tap in to what makes us proud to call Memphis home. If you’re not already familiar with what a doula is and what we’re all about, we’re here to tell you how doulas are a lot like Grizzlies fans!

No age limit for Grizzlies fans!
No age limit for Grizzlies fans!

Let’s break it down:

Doulas and Grizzlies Fans provide unconditional support.

Grizzlies fans aren’t fair-weather fans. Whether they’re faced with injured players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley or celebrating a big win over the Cavs, Grizzlies fans show up for their team no matter what. In the same way, doulas are there to support families unconditionally through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. We’re on call and ready to show up no matter the outcome. Instead of sitting in the stands, we’re courtside offering physical help, practical suggestions, and the encouragement you need to make it through.

Doulas and Grizzlies Fans work with awesome grandparents!

Not every baby’s grandparents can dance like the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas, but we sure are glad to have them around. Grandparents who are supportive, involved, and ready for fun are worth their weight in gold! Much like Grizzlies fans cheer the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas on from the stands, doulas love grandparents and come alongside them to support new parents. With a doula on your team, your mom or dad can focus on the excitement of welcoming a grandbaby while knowing their baby is in great hands!

Doulas and Grizzlies Fans are there for all of the highs and the lows.

Grizzlies fansBasketball games, birth, and those early days of a new baby come with a wide range of emotions: anticipation, excitement, nervousness, uncertainty, celebration, relief, etc. These emotions can be felt before, during, and after a game, and Grizzlies fans are present for all of them. Between Tony Allen with a great defensive stop, the playoffs, and anticipation of the upcoming draft,  there’s never a dull moment for Grizzlies fans. Doulas similarly are there to ride the emotional roller coaster with families through the time surrounding welcoming a new baby. The important difference, however, is that doulas are able to remain unbiased and emotionally unattached…to you and your family. The Grizzlies are a different thing altogether ;).

Even after the game is over, Doulas and Grizzlies Fans continue the support at home.

True Grizzlies fans are fans all year round. When they aren’t cheering the Grizzlies on in The Grindhouse, they’re supporting their team from home. They are engaged on social media and eagerly await the next game or new season. Doulas are there for you inside the birth room and inside your living room. Postpartum doulas help you as you adjust to the long game of parenthood after you’re finished with the big event of giving birth. They can help you draft your playbook for those newborn days, work alongside you, and support you as you get to know the newest player on your team!

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Doulas and Grizzlies Fans are both parts of the bigger picture.

The Memphis Grizzlies don’t exist in a vacuum and neither do the fans! In addition to fans coming to games and tuning in from home, the Grizzlies have a larger support network. There are coaches, managers, the FedEx Forum, the mascot Grizz, The Grizz Girls, The Grizz Line, The Grizz Grannies and Grandpas, marketing experts, media gurus, and many other support staff that work to help the team be the best they can be and to ensure that fans can have the best experience possible. That’s what doulas do. We exist in the context of your support network that includes friends and family, OBGYNs, nurses, pediatricians, and lactation specialists. You are the star of the show and we work with your team towards a common goal so that you can have the best experience possible for you.