newborn

So, You Just Had a Baby

It is such a strange but liberating feeling to go from heavily pregnant, to holding your baby in your arms. Suddenly you’re no longer unevenly balanced from carrying a constant, heavy load in front of your body. You're FREE! I’ve always thought it was a bit like taking off skates after you’ve been on the ice for a couple of hours…you know that feeling? It’s a sweet sigh of relief. (I might tie my skates too tight.)

This new freedom might come with some feelings of sadness, but mostly you're enjoying the ease of being able to move, walk, bend, or tie your shoes! And as the early days pass, the busyness builds: the piles of laundry, the  meals needing to be cooked, the dishes needing to be washed, the floors needing to be swept, the toddler needing to be pushed on the swing, and the list goes on, and on. 

But try, if you can, to take a breath, take a break, put the lists down and the aspirations aside, and slow your pace for just this brief space in time. And not because, “you’ll never get this time back”, and “these days will pass you by”; do it for you; do it for your healing; do it for your body, mind, and soul. 

 

You’ve just accomplished a major physical feat, and not just for one or two laborious days, but for 9, long months. I encourage families to try and block out at least two weeks; two weeks of rest, two weeks of zero obligations, two weeks of rooming in, laying low, and gently adjusting. Why? : 

You’re going through an intense, hormonal shift. You’re body is re-regulating it’s hormones. Your emotions might be a bit unstable, your mood might shift, your whole internal endocrine system is adjusting to this life on the outside. 

You’re producing a food supply and learning to use your body to feed a baby; nourishing food, rest, and time, are all necessary pieces to this process. 

You’ve become a whole new unit; perhaps two has become three, or four, or more. Let that sink in a while.

You’re running on a lot less sleep, with much greater demands; you’re everything to one small person, don’t undermine all that you give and do by just being what your baby needs. 

The dinners can be made by someone else. The laundry and dishes will be there tomorrow. The eager visitors can lend a hand. Your loving partner can carry the load for a while. Honour you, relish this time, hold this space for a while, the rest of it can wait. 

{Also - we know a few great doulas that can lend a hand with each and every one of these things, and it’s one of our favourite things to do.}

- Andrea

 

I Won't Ask To Hold Your Baby

There are few things in life as precious as a sweet-smelling newborn snuggled up in your arms. The ‘baby stage’ has passed me by with alarming speed, and I occasionally long for the days of curling up with a frog-legged newborn, with a cock-eyed head to my chest, peacefully sleeping in a cozied up milk-coma. 

You’d think, given the field of work I’m in, that I get more than my share of baby-holding. While I’m fairly well versed in the act of holding, cuddling, swaddling, rocking and bouncing a newborn, it’s not always a usual part of a day in my life with a family. Whether after a birth, during a postpartum visit, or as a postpartum doula, holding babies is actually a lot more scarce than you’d think. 

Why? Because I won’t ask to hold your baby. 

It’s not that I don’t want to. Oh, I want to. But it’s simply not my job to assume that’s what you want or need from me. 

 

My job as your doula is to support you in the ways you need most, giving you the space to bond with your baby. 

 

Those precious hours after birth - those are your moments. That is your time as a family to revel in the miracle you’ve just welcomed into the world; to take in every quick breath your baby takes, to keep him warm and close; the place he wants to be most. 

The weeks postpartum, you may want to revel in every sleepy moment with baby. With visitors coming in to sneak in their cuddle, you may be longing to simply soak up these fleeting moments.  

And perhaps you gladly welcome an extra set of arms so that you can sneak in a nap or a shower, or a hands-free trip to the grocery store. Ok, let’s be honest…a solo trip to the bathroom might be a luxury experience at this point. While I am (more than) happy to provide this for the parents I work with, l also know that sometimes (often) the most valuable way I can support them is to keep the house tidy, prep a meal, do a few loads of laundry, or play with little sister. 

My greatest goal is to be there to give you exactly what you need, and that may not include your newborn, and that is absolutely fine by me.

Top Picks Tuesday || 10 of the Best Baby Hacks

Top Picks Tuesday – 10 Best Baby Hacks for New Parents

Today we are giving away our top 10 baby hacks for new parents.  Adjusting to life with baby has many interesting aspects and challenges, and we hope to offer a few practical solutions to make your days smoother, happier, and a little bit more convenient! 

1.       The Onesie Hack – Those little folds at the top of your onesie?  They aren’t just to get your newborns adorable head through the top of their shirt! Avoid an even messier poop-explosion clean up by using the folds to expand the opening of the diaper shirt to pull the diaper shirt off towards their feet, rather than having to carefully avoid smearing the mess even further up their back and over their head. Genius!

2.       The Sock Hack – Are your newborns feet slipping out of the legs of his sleeper? After you dress your baby, slip socks over top of his sleeper on his feet to keep his legs in place. Losing too many of those tiny little socks? Keep the dirty socks in zippered, mesh laundry bag for washing and never lose another pair to the dryer.

3.       The Teething Hack – Twist a baby washcloth and dip it in breast milk or sterilized water, gently wring out, and put in a bag in the freezer. Baby can hold on to the dry portion of the cloth and chew on the frozen part for some serious gum-soothing action. A thick, raw carrot or sprig of celery (try to choose organic), cold out of the fridge, also works well (before baby has teeth enough to bite off a chunk!)

4.       The Sound-Asleep Hack – Is baby waking up to every small noise you make? Try putting a sleep sheep nearby for a soft-white noise, or you can purchase a white noise machine at most drugstores, equipped with multiple noise options and volume settings. In a pinch, you can download apps on your phone or tablet with white noise options. Just be sure to turn off your other bleeps and ringers that might startle a peacefully sleeping baby.

5.       The Poop-Stain Hack – Has your baby made her mark on every sleeper and onesie you own? You’re not alone. Blue dawn (yes, it needs to be blue), is a miracle stain remover for those stubborn stains. Rinse out the soiled sleeper, apply a small amount of blue dawn, scrub, let soak for a few minutes, and wash as normal. This trick will often work on unwashed, dried stains that nothing else will touch.

6.       The Hook Hack – Love the idea of the “Mommy Hook”, but don’t love the $20+ price tag? Check your local dollar store or hardware store for a similar version of this large carabineer hook that moms are raving about! Hook it to your diaper bag or stroller as a convenient place to attach loose items that you don’t have the extra hands to carry.

7.       The Pumping Hack  - Hoping to try out pumping and bottle feeding but afraid of wasting that precious liquid gold? If you aren’t sure if or how much your baby will take in a bottle, freeze your breast milk in icecube trays, store in freezer bags, and defrost as needed! 2 icecubes = about 1 oz of liquid.

8.       The Shoe Hack – Shoe shopping without baby and unsure of which size you need? Trace your baby's feet ahead of time and bring it along in your purse or diaper bag to take the guess work out of choosing the right fit.

9.       The Baby-in-a-Basket Hack – As your baby is learning to sit up, a laundry basket can make a convenient and portable play area. Make a cozy nest with a blanket and some toys in a laundry basket or shallow storage tub, and support your sitting or almost-sitting infant inside for some portable/pack-able playtime. It’s best to keep your baby close and within sight (it’s not a guaranteed spill-free setup). Some parents will use the laundry basket as a contained area inside the bathtub while baby is still learning to sit up; plan to keep baby within arms reach at all times using this idea!  

10.   The Wipe Hack – Have you ditched disposable wipes for cloth? Rather than running to the washroom to soak and wring out your wipes for each diaper change, try using a wipe-warmer instead. Soak and ring out your wipes in your chosen solution, roll up, and store in wipe container. When your wipes are used up, change the soaking solution and start over again. 

What are your favorite baby-hacks? What tricks or baby-products made life with baby just a little bit easier? Let us know!