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

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.

Memphis summer tips for decorating baby's nursery

If you’re pregnant in Memphis this summer, it can be hard to find the motivation to pry yourself from the air conditioning to do anything else besides hit the pool. While you’re poolside with your (virgin, of course) drink in your hand, you might be dreaming of what you want your baby’s nursery to look like. What IS the best way to decorate a nursery, anyway?  Pinterest is chock full of time-consuming ideas, but who has time and energy for that when it’s 100+ degrees outside? Before you invest, take a look at the things you already have. swimming-pool-1211573_1280

You know your grandmother’s old dresser that you aren’t sure what to do with? It’s beautiful, not too high, and has a lot of storage space. If it’s sitting unused in your attic, a weekend and a few coats of chalk paint can turn your forgotten antique into a meaningful way to incorporate your loved ones into your little one’s nursery. The best part? While the paint dries, grab your beach towel and take a dip in the refreshing pool water! Once it’s dry, you can use items you’ve probably already received to turn that dresser into changing table extraordinaire, with space for all of baby’s clothes, diapers, and other essentials.

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A nursery that tells your story

Speaking of grandma and incorporating loved ones into your baby’s nursery, look around for pieces of art or trinkets you may already own that tell a story to your baby. Place them around the room among the adorable decor you already have. Do you or someone in your family collect something? Create a nursery themed around that, and as you sit and nurse your baby in the rocking chair that’s been in your family for generations, you can bond with your baby by creating a tradition of sharing stories. Stories about your family that bring fond memories, bring you closer together, and connect past and present.

Consider utilizing collections that are meaningful to your family in your nursery decor.

 

There are so many options out there for nursery decorations, but let’s keep it real: your baby isn’t going to remember it! Create a space for yourself that feeds your soul, is true to you, and tells your baby a story that will be woven into the fabric of their childhood. That’s where memories are created. And if you happen to find some cute baskets at Target that match...

Beach vacation with baby: Top 5 Tips

Are you planning a beach vacation with baby this summer? This year's trip to Destin, Gulf Shores, Pensacola, 30A, or your beach of choice might be different than before kids, but don't let that deter you from having a great time with your baby! Here are our Memphis doula Top 5 Tips for a beach vacation with baby:

Baby Beach Vacation Tip #1: The Magical Pop-Up Tent

If you're taking a beach vacation with baby, you might ask yourself questions like:

"What are we going to do for shade?" "What if baby is tired and needs a nap?" "What if we need some privacy or a quiet place to nurse?"

beach vacation with baby tent

Enter the magical pop-up tent. A small two-person adult tent is inexpensive, portable, requires almost no setup, and takes care of several logistical problems you might have. If the sand isn't allowing you to stake your tent, bury it around the edges a bit and it'll hold up better than an umbrella or gazebo on a windy beach day. If your baby is tired and needs to take a nap, there won't be anywhere 100% sand-free, but the tent provides a safe place for a snooze. If you need to change a diaper, your clothes, or need privacy for any reason, you're all set. Don't feel like baring all when breastfeeding on the beach? No worries- slip into your tent for a nurse and a cuddle.

Baby Beach Vacation Tip #2: Beat the Heat

beach-691392_640If it's possible, take your beach vacation with baby earlier in the season when the water is warm and the sun is, too! Avoiding scorching temps will mean baby is more comfortable and you get more of the beach time you love. If you can't go earlier in the season, hit the beach in the cooler parts of the day.

Baby Beach Vacation Tip #3: Don't Salt the Rim

No babies were given virgin or real margaritas in the making of this silly photo.

Perhaps this is common sense already, but in the interest of full disclosure for your beach vacation with baby: if you are a breastfeeding mother who plans to both get in the ocean AND nurse your baby, it's a good idea to rinse off your breasts before latching on. You might love a salted rim on your beach cocktails, but your baby is unlikely to feel the same way! In addition to salt, a quick rinse with some bottled water will get rid of any sand lingering on your breast and make breastfeeding on the beach much more enjoyable for your baby.

Baby Beach Vacation Tip #4: Less isn't more when it comes to dressing baby

Nobody likes a sunburn or a sandy bottom!

It can be difficult to keep sunscreen on a wriggling baby, and the less surface area you have to apply it on, the better.  Baby bikinis and swim trunks are super adorable, but perhaps not the best choice if you plan on spending a long time at the beach. Consider a hat and a short-sleeve or long-sleeve rash guard shirt with a high UPF to keep baby protected from the sun. It might seem counter-intuitive to put pants on a baby on the beach, but some light cotton pants are easy to slip on over a swim diaper, will provide a little sun protection, and keep sand away from the diaper area. Covering up will keep baby protected and comfortable, and reduce the amount of sunscreen you need to apply.

Baby Beach Vacation Tip #5: Rethink the "essentials"

IMG_0465You can have a great beach vacation with baby without bringing every baby item you own with you. Aside from clothing, diapering supplies, and a place to sleep, your baby doesn't need much to have a good time. It's difficult to maneuver a stroller on sand, so consider leaving it behind in favor of a baby carrier. Some simple sand toys and the shells and other interesting textures you find on the beach will be entertainment enough. After all, the best part of a beach vacation with your baby is the time you spend together!

 

Do you have any more tips for taking a beach vacation with baby? Share with us in the comments!

 

 

 

My Nanoo was a nurse

As told by Lindsey Hanna, co-owner of Doulas of Memphis Nursing has always been a significant part of my life. My grandmother, whom we affectionately referred to Nanoo because little Lindsey couldn’t quite get out “Nana,” was a nurse. She was like another mom to me and had a significant role in my upbringing. My mother worked when I was small, and we were able to avoid daycare because of Nanoo. She had recently retired from 30+ years working as a nurse, and all of those years were spent in the Baptist system. She was my role model and the reason I became a nurse, too.

Being a nurse runs in the family

If nursing isn’t in our blood, it’s pretty close. Nanoo became a nurse because of her aunt, but not before waiting a couple of years after high school so that she and her sister would graduate at the same time. They were roommates in a big new city, and they jumped in and graduated from Baptist Nursing School (now known as Baptist College of Health Sciences) together in 1953. Here she is in 1955, getting ready:

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My turn

Nanoo was spunky and fiercely loyal to Baptist. She “guessed it was okay” that my aunt worked at St. Francis because “they ain’t no competition anyway.” When I was in nursing school at Baptist College of Health Sciences, the same college Nanoo went to, I mentioned to her that I was considering pediatrics and working at Lebonheur. She said, “That’s in that Methodist Corporation, isn’t it? I don’t want no granddaughter of mine working at Methodist!” Eventually she conceded because it was the only pediatrics hospital around. To be fair, Nanoo also said she would disown me if I ever got a tattoo. I still don’t have a tattoo, and I never embraced the Methodist rivalry, and that’s okay.

nurses

Good enough for me

She was funny and sharp as a tack, and one heck of a cook. The only milk I would ever drink was Nanoo’s milk, even though she got in the same jug from Kroger as the rest of my family. The rest of my family didn’t serve me milk in a chilled mason jar with a handle, and the rest of my family didn’t pour it quite like Nanoo did. Her cooking was “never good enough,” and she was always fussing about this or that detail that didn’t turn out quite right. It didn’t matter because we loved it. Biscuits and gravy, pot roast, cheesy potatoes, peanut butter pie, muscadine pie, strawberry fig jam were the smells of my childhood.

Just like my Nanoo

Nanoo had strong hands, hands that could peel boiled tomatoes, and if you ever had an ailment of any kind, she had the tools to fix it. She taught me to sew, to cook, to can tomatoes, to crochet, and when Nanoo taught you something, you went big or went home. My first sewing project was a reversible vest with pearl buttons, my first crochet project was a full sized afghan, and it’s no wonder that to this day I can’t do anything halfway. I looked like Nanoo, and wanted to be just like her, and that meant that I was going to be a nurse...in the Baptist system, of course.

nurse

I worked as a nurse in restorative care for two years and labor and delivery for three years before the birth of my son, and Nanoo didn’t blame me for taking some time off to be a Mom. She patted me on the leg, which was her version of a great big hug, and said, “That’s all right. He needs you.” Nanoo was a nurse in a simpler time. Nurses had more time to sit and nurture their patients, to treat them like family. I never went back to nursing, but that nurturing spirit that my Nanoo had, fiesty as it was, led me from nurse to mom to doula.

Nurse Appreciation Week

Even though I’m not working as a nurse right now, I will never stop appreciating the work that nurses do. It will always be a part of who I am, and who my family is. If you haven’t recently, take the time to thank a nurse in your life not only for what they do, but for who they are. Show them that you see them, that you see their work, and that it matters to you. Because nurses matter to all of us. My Nanoo was a nurse, and my life will never be the same because of it.  

 

Relationships after baby: What to expect

As we grow and reach new milestones in our lives, our relationships with those around us change and evolve. Relationships after baby are no different, but oftentimes new parents are blindsided by how much their relationships change when a new baby is added into the picture. Many are surprised by how much their world shrinks compared to how things were before children. During this time of adjustment, parents may deal with extra stress, tension, feelings of isolation and loneliness, and perhaps even a bit of grief over the loss of freedom to which they were accustomed. All of these feelings are normal, but they don't have to define you or your relationships! relationships after baby

Relationships after baby: Spouse/Partner

For many couples, marriage and learning how to live together is a big adjustment. You learn how to balance your life with someone else's in a way that you didn't have to before you were under one roof- reconciling schedules, household management, meals, habits and idiosyncrasies are parts of truly becoming one unit. When you add a pregnancy and then a baby into the mix, that routine becomes disrupted, particularly in the newborn days. There's another person to balance now and it takes time to arrive at that new feeling of "normal."  Becoming a parent changes you, and it will change how you interact with your spouse, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Be patient with each other as you grow into you new roles. Keep the lines of communication open. Take a little time every day to connect, even in a small way. Maybe it's not quite the same as it was before, but you'll find more things to love about each other along the way. If you're struggling, never be ashamed to ask for help! You don't exist in a vacuum and there is support out there for you if you want and/or need it.

Relationships after baby: Family

When you have a baby, the dynamic of the family you grew up in shifts, too:  It's your turn to have a crack at this whole parenting business, and your loved ones may deal with that in a variety of ways. Some may be supportive no matter what, while others seem to question every choice you make. When faced with negativity, the important thing to remember is that their feelings are about them and not about you. Respecting where they came from as parents and setting healthy boundaries at the start can free you up to enjoy your relationships with your family. Chances are your family cares about you and your baby and wants to see you succeed, and supportive family is a gift both to you and to your child!

Relationships after baby: Friends

Much in the same way that getting married can change your friendships, so can having a baby. The friends you had in college or when you were single may not be in the same place in life that you are right now. They might seem like they're in an entirely different world, and you can't remember the last time you got together, or when you do finally sit down for lunch you may struggle to relate to where they are right now. It's true that some of your friendships might fizzle out, but your friends don't have to be in the same stage as you are for you to have a relationship with them. The ones who stick around and weather each change with you? Treasure those friendships. Cultivate them. Include them in the life of your family. I promise you're not too boring for them. They know that you'll get your night out soon and that one day you'll be able to invest in them more, and that's okay.

Relationships after baby: Your baby (and siblings)

Even your relationship with your baby will change over time- after all, you've just met and are starting from scratch! As you learn your baby's habits and get glimpses of his or her personality, you'll become more responsive as a parent and will likely find more enjoyment in spending time with your baby. Some parents feel bonded to their baby immediately. Others take extra time, and that's okay too! You may already have other children and are juggling their needs with the needs of your newborn. Children are forgiving, resilient, and know that you love them and care for them. Time with your older children will look different too, but they'll also have their own relationships to build with their new brother or sister. Perhaps they'll even have more chances to build stronger relationships with other loved ones.

You'll find your way...together.

Part of what we do as postpartum doulas is help you figure out how to integrate your new baby into your existing family and relationships. We're happy to help care for you and support you as you figure out how it all fits together.  Give us a call at (901) 308-4888 or drop us a line and let's start a conversation about how we can serve your family!