First Day Home

This is it…….you’ve taken the first steps to your car from the hospital doors. Feeling a little nervous, tired, forever changed, forever blessed and excited to start your new adventure as a parent!

What the heck do we do now?!

This is a feeling that is all too common! Feeling lost and a little uncertain about how on earth you are allowed to be the one in charge of keeping this little human alive. You leave the hospital with the safety net of having the nurses and doctors at your bedside with the push of a button, to having to figure things out on your own.

YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and take it all in. You are home. You are in the best environment to raise that little bundle that YOU made! He trusts you. He knows that you know what is best for him and your family. And you do! You may not always feel like you do, but trust your gut instinct.

Fussy Baby

What’s your game plan?

It’s a great idea to have in mind some sort of game plan prior to giving birth. Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple things that you are definitely going to need no matter what:

  • Diaper changing stations. One up, one down and this can be as simple as a basket with a changing pad, diapers, wipes and diaper cream in it. It’s a good idea to always have an extra change of clothes in the basket also so you’re not scrambling when you find a poop explosion. *Pro Tip*- Puppy pads are a great way to keep diaper changing areas clean and dry as you learn to change diapers quickly.
  • Clean baby clothes: Sleepers, onesies, swaddles and swaddle blankets, & burp cloths
  • Bassinet or crib: Keep it simple and safe by insuring that it has no bumper pads, loose blankets or toys in it. Mattress pad with tight fitted sheet is all you need. Your baby will stay warm in the swaddle blanket.
  • Food! You need to be sure to be eating healthy. Take family and friends up on their offers to bring over a meal! While they’re at it, can they grab a few items for you from the store? Grab and go snacks such as: String cheese, nuts, granola, fruits & veggies, hummus……

Let the adventure begin!

Living through the first days home with a newborn can be so exhausting, but so full of love. SO MUCH LOVE!!! There’s no way to describe the amount of love that is in that home when you bring your baby home and start your new life as parents. It’s literally an adventure. One that never ends and is always changing and there is never a dull moment in life when you have a child.

adventure-alpine-climb-869258

Go get ’em!

Again, you’ve got this! You’re going to find your groove in this parenting game and you are going to rock it so hard! I believe in you and so does your baby!

-Heather

 

I Soothe Fussy Babies! Learn How!

Hands up if you are trying to soothe a fussy baby! Parents all over the world are finding the best ways to calm their crying newborns. I’m here to give you my go-to’s in soothing those babies!

 

Are you knee deep in “The Witching Hour”?You’ve come to the right place!

I’m going to give you all my go-to steps for calming fussy babies. Once you know that they are not crying from hunger, a dirty/wet diaper, or a burp that needs to come out I always do the exact same things in this order:

  1. Swaddle: I reach for the largest and stretchiest swaddle blanket I can find and wrap your baby snugly. I always swaddle with baby’s arms in. I’ve never met a newborn who did not like an arms-in swaddle. Click here for my favorite swaddle blankets.
  2. Movement: I lovingly scoop your baby up and get moving. Whether it’s a sway, walking, swinging, or bouncing (Keep that birth ball accessible, babies love it). Even if you are exhausted, sitting on the edge of the couch you can still sway and rock. You may have to change the way you’re holding them here and there too. Up over your shoulder, cradled, or laying on your forearm. Switch it up if needed.
  3. Sucking: Babies have a sucking need even if they are not hungry. If you are against a pacifier or aren’t ready to introduce one yet, you can always use a clean finger for baby to suck on.
  4. Patting or Tapping: Gentle, rhythmic patting or tapping with fingers on baby’s back or bottom sends them into a zone that will not only help curb crying, but induces sleep.

Now you have my favorite fail-proof soothing techniques. Have you had luck with any of my fail-proof tools? Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas are here to save the day or night!

-Heather

 

Stop The Comparisons and Be The Best You Can Be

“Don’t judge your insides against other people’s outsides.” We all do it from time to time, subconsciously. Whether looking at other people’s seemingly blissful life, romantic adventures with their significant other, the perfect kids in the best clothes in their immaculate backyard…..the list goes on and on. Why do THEY have it so good? IT NEEDS TO STOP! Take a step back, appreciate what you have in your life, and make the most of this very moment.

Just know that the people who you sometimes compare yourself to have struggles and issues of their own in their lives that may not show up on the outside. We see this all the time on social media. Follow someone on Instagram and you are bound to see all the most wonderful, fun, awesome times in their life. Who’s going to post on Instagram about how their wife or boyfriend cheated on them or a picture of their overdrawn bank statement? No, they are going to make it seem as though everything is peach pie and ice cream.

Take a moment to look at yourself and your life. You are wonderful! You have a great sense of humor & style, you are loyal and responsible. Friends know they can count on you being a safe place to fall. Your generosity and kind spirit have made its way into your children, who are always the ones to include others in their play or befriending someone who seems lonely. Sometimes you may look at someone and how they raise their kids and pings of guilt will come to you because you don’t do things their way, or you don’t have time to be the room mom each week because of work. It’s OK! You are being the best you can be.

Maybe your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t perfect. Who is? Maybe you argue a bit more than you would like to, maybe you feel unappreciated with all that you do around the house and with the kids. Relationships are a lot of work. It’s not always lollipops and sunbeams. Just like the couple in the picture above, looks like they are so happy and in love, right? Who knows, maybe she is planning on leaving him over the weekend, or he slept with her boss the night before, or they fight like cats and dogs every day. You just never know other people’s troubles. If your relationship is important to you and worth working on and there’s love there – f#@king fix it. Smile at them, accept them for who they are and where they are in life. Acknowledge them and their accomplishments and they will do the same for you. Build each other up! Have each other’s backs. Life is too short to stay unhappy, that’s not good for anyone involved.

Be the best YOU can be. You are awesome! This is your story that is unfolding in front of you. Enjoy it!

-Heather

Mind Your Own Bump

It happens to all of us at some point either in our pregnancy or parenting journeys. People stick their nose in where it does not belong, tell you how to birth, how to parent, they share their horrible experiences with their own births or breastfeeding journeys. It either freaks us out, scares us, or is just plain annoying. Even though most people mean well, it still stings.

I’ll share a little tidbit of information with you. Sometimes you have to put yourself in a little bubble and let these comments, opinions, stories, and views bounce off of you. This is your journey and your story that is unfolding and you are going to experience it in your own special way. If your cousin Lisa tells you all about her absolutely horrible experience during her induction using Pitocin, listen to her – but don’t let that frighten you and form your own opinion of Pitocin based on someone else’s experience with it.

Fill your eyes and ears with positive birth stories, learn and absorb all that you can about the physiology of the birth process, comfort measures, pain relief options and situations that can arise that would require interventions.

If you reach out to your peers wanting to know their experiences or advice on a certain topic, be prepared to hear everything – good and bad. Especially when asking in a Facebook group. Then take your questions and concerns to your OB or Midwife, trust them. They absolutely have your best interests in mind. This is another great reason to have a birth & postpartum doula.

One of the many perks of hiring a doula is that she will give you a safe, nonbiased place, listening ears and a plethora of knowledge to go at any time for help finding answers to things that are worrisome to you and for reputable resources for you to learn, research and make decisions for yourself during your journey. A best friend for everything pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

Interested in learning more about how a doula can help you navigate birth, postpartum and parenting? Contact us today!

-Heather

Top 5 Brunch Spots in Cleveland

On Sundays, we brunch!

Is there a better way to spend a Sunday? I don’t think so! I have compiled a list of 5 hot brunch spots here in Cleveland. Some I have been to, and some I am planning on going to very soon! Spring is here and the weather is starting to be beautiful, some of the patios are starting to open up. It’s the perfect way to spend time with your family & friends on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Whether you take the whole family or keep it date-like, you will be sure to find yourself relaxed & rejuvenated, with a satisfied palette! Do you have an infant or young child in tow? Bring your Postpartum Doula to help keep the experience calm & peaceful. Doula’s love brunch too! (Just saying!)

 

1. Town Hall, Ohio City

www.townhallohiocity.com


You will find yourself having trouble deciding what to order off the brunch menu when you visit! My favorites are the Spicy Curry Chicken Noodles, Sweet Potato Hotcakes & the Food Truck Tacos. They also have an awesome Grass-Fed Cheeseburger and a make-your-own Crepe Bar. Tons of choices for vegan, gluten-free & paleo diets, along with a fantastic Bean Bar, Beer list & Bloody Mary! The entire menu is free from GMO’s, something that they are very passionate about.

 

2. Alley Cat Oyster Bar, Flats East Bank Entertainment District

www.alleycatoysterbar.com

Great shot by @nikkee11

Along with offering great views of the Cuyahoga River, The Blue Bridge & boaters on their waterfront dining and patio, The Alley Cat Oyster Bar is one of my favorites! We start with the Baked Oysters, then always get the Lobster Omelet, and my favorite – the Brown Rice Bowl with kimchi, avocado, mushroom, cilantro, and topped with a fried egg. Their brunch menu is so delicious! (P.S. – They have a stellar Bloody Mary Bar!)

 

3. Trentina, University Circle

www.restauranttrentina.com

A view of the gorgeous dining room at Trentina

This very posh & eclectic gem of Cleveland offers rustic Italian cuisine. They shop local farmers and purveyors to reduce food miles and offer sustainability. There is a food lab on premise that they use to ferment sauces, cure meats, grow herbs & make cheese & yogurt. The brunch menu is unbelievable! Semolina Waffle with preserved lemon, bourbon fig ricotta, Ohio maple syrup & walnuts sounds fantastic!  I can’t wait to get up there and brunch! The very special Menu Bianco features a seasonal 12-course tasting menu and looks wonderful too!

 

4. Luxe, Gordon Square

www.luxecleveland.com

Patio at Luxe

Looking for a luxurious vibe, Mediterranean-Italian bistro, with a mission to reduce-reuse-recycle? Luxe is the perfect hip spot to go for a relaxing brunch! Their brunch menu will make your mouth water with their Short Rib Hash, omelets like the Market Chicken Sausage with crumbled goat cheese, roasted red skin potatoes & spinach. Their Luxe Burger comes with fontina, honey cured bacon & roasted onions on challah.  Handcrafted cocktails, and a great beer and wine list too!

 

5. Fat Cats, Tremont

www.coolplacestoeat.com

My daughter and I love to come to Fat Cats! The Crispy Brussel Sprouts are so delicious with the roasted Ohio apples and curry dressing. Tofu Tacos with scrambled eggs, tabbouleh quinoa, crispy olives and roasted beets are AMAZING! This cool, funky old house turned into an amazing restaurant and brunch spot will impress you and satisfy your cravings! Check out the brunch menu!

 

I hope this list gives you some ideas for quality time this weekend! To learn more about what a postpartum doula does, check out our Blog!

Brunch on,

Heather

Hiring A Doula; Where To Begin And My Favorite Interview Questions

 

Are you thinking of hiring a doula? Where do you start? What questions do you ask them when you meet or talk on the phone?

You can Google doulas in your area is place to start. If you Google surrounding cities to see who’s out there, you will have a lot more to choose from and chances are very high that they support clients birthing in your area or at your hospital. You can also search ProDoula and DoulaMatch for your your area.

qtq80-W2Jt1B

Asking your friends and family for a referral is another possible way to get some names to start looking. Keep in mind, that doulas are never responsible for birth outcomes, and each person is going to have different expectations that are individually important to them. Each person will be drawn more closely to someone who’s personality meshes with theirs. It’s important that you would feel completely and totally at ease having this person be by your side during this super-personal, intimate, and life changing event. There would be nothing worse than feeling completely awkward and uncomfortable with your doula during your birth, or during your postpartum, just by hiring the one your friend recommended, or that was the most affordable.

When you make arrangements to speak to a potential doula, the first important question to ask is what their services include. If the doula is well versed in what her services include, they will most likely answer a bunch of questions you may have while explaining their packages. Then, you can ask other important questions that were not answered afterwards.

Here are some of my favorite interview questions:

1. Can you tell me about your training and certifications? Hiring a trained and/or certified doula may be important to you. This is not a regulated industry as of yet, so a trained doula is important. A doula that has taken the extra steps of certifying (or being in the process of certifying) shows that they are serious about their career and serious about bringing professionalism to their clients and care providers. They have put in the time and effort of testing/reading/researching/writing. Once you are certified, you must submit for re-certification every few years, so that keeps your doula fresh and up to date on current recommendations.

katy-belcher-674803-unsplash

2. Do you hire a backup for each of your clients, or do you work in pairs? It’s very important for your doula to hire a backup doula that you can meet if you request. If the day of your birth comes and your doula is ill, in an emergency situation, or supporting another client, you will be assured nurturing, professional support with your backup doula. At Flora & Finn Birth Services, we take this very seriously and only hire trusted backup doulas that would take care of our clients in the exact same manner we would. You also get to speak to them prior to the big day, just in case, so there are no surprises.

We also offer the option to  hire a team of 2 doulas. Working as a team approach, you would have 2 doulas at your service, two doulas to answer your questions, encourage you and your partner, and support you throughout your pregnancy and early labor. When you are ready to have your doula join you for the face-to-face support, whoever is on-call that day would be the one to join you for the remainder of your labor and birth.

3. If I change my birth preferences, will you still be there to support me? Sometimes, during the course of your pregnancy or labor, you may want to change your mind, or certain situations call for necessary interventions. You need to be 100% sure that your doula will hold no judgment or leave you hanging on your big day. Here at Flora & Finn Birth Services, we provide unbiased and non-judgmental support for ALL types of birth experiences. We believe in the birth process, but also believe that there is more than one way to birth your baby and we are experienced in all of those ways. We will be there supporting you through any challenges, concerns or changes in the course of your journey!

graphic
Your doula will help you navigate birth and postpartum YOUR way!

Would you like to ask us some additional questions? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Us

– Heather

 

Oh baby! Now what?

You’re a new parent!  Welcome to the club!

You’ve read every baby book, parenting blog, article, and research you could get your hands on while waiting for your baby to come.  The day has come, and she’s finally here!  Now what?!  All of the sudden every detail of information you had etched in your mind is a distant memory with the arrival of this sweet baby. How do I hold her?  How do I change her?  What if she cries?

Please know that all these questions are completely normal and millions of new parents feel the same way.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  As a postpartum doula and a mother of three children, I will tell you that there will times of trial and error, times of go with the flow, and sometimes things may fall into place on accident and fit perfectly for your family!

If you have a postpartum doula, they can help you to build your confidence in taking care of your newborn.  They are your personal newborn care and parenting coach, always cheering you on and they are there to confide in when parenting feels hard.  They won’t tell you how to take care of your baby, or how to parent your baby, but instead, go over your options of different ways of taking care of your baby so you can decide what works best for you and your family.

Local parenting groups are a really great place not only to make new friends that are in the same season of life that you are but to learn from them in talking about any parenting wins or any obstacles they’ve overcome.  It’s a great way to hear about different techniques, products, and resources for parents.

Let’s face it, there’s so much information out there for parents. It can get extremely overwhelming!  Go with your gut, don’t worry about what others are or aren’t doing and don’t feel afraid to reach out for help at any time!

YOU’VE GOT THIS!

I’d love to have you join our local parenting group here in the Cleveland area!  Forest City Pregnancy & Postpartum Chat

-Heather

 

Too Close For Comfort

When well-meaning family and friends make you feel overwhelmed and bombarded as a new parent.

It’s hard.  It’s awkward.  You feel guilty.  I get it.

I see this a lot as a doula.  Many times it is a worry for my clients throughout their pregnancy, leading up to the day they deliver.  They are concerned that they will not get quality alone time with their partner and new baby.  They appreciate the help around the house with family members cooking dinner, doing laundry, and running to the grocery store.  BUT what they really want is some alone time to hold and stare at the baby.  To sit in comfortable silence, and not feel like they have to hold a conversation with someone all day long. They don’t want to feel like they have to entertain guests.  They want to figure out parenting on their own and not have to listen to other’s recommendations, opinions or parenting philosophies.

Each family is different, each new parent’s worries are different and obviously, no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings.  As my client’s sounding board and navigator I suggest different ways of dealing with these types of situations.

  • Have a plan to set “open house-style” visiting hours once you return home with your new baby.  This way you can let the important people in your life meet your little one AND know that you’ll be able to have your alone time to bond as a family.  Once you announce the arrival of your baby you can add, for example:  “We would love for you to stop over and meet the baby on Tuesdays & Thursdays between 11:00 – 2:00 p.m.”  This way you can make sure the baby is fed, you’re dressed (if you want), and if you’re comfortable with visitors holding your baby, you can eat lunch with both hands!  Obviously, if your baby gets fussy or hungry, do not hesitate to take him back to soothe or feed.
  • Some of my clients have family that is coming in from out of town to stay with (or nearby) the new family.  This is wonderful for the extra help around the house but sometimes can get too overwhelming and claustrophobic for a new parent.  One way to gently suggest some alone time is to have a few day trips in mind to suggest to visiting family members.  This is helpful for when the family members are staying in the home with you.  Think of some of your favorite, fun and local things for them to visit or see while they are in town, that way they get out of the house and you get some alone time to bond with your new baby.
  • If they are staying at a hotel nearby, you can fall back on the “open house-style” visiting hours, but maybe make them a little less rigid.  It all depends on how much alone time you’re looking for and what you need on any particular day. All of this can be worked out ahead of time, then adjusted as needed.  For example, They come over at 7:00 a.m. help fix breakfast and snuggle baby so you can eat and shower, they stay until noon, then come back around 5:00 to help with dinner and visit until bedtime.  It allows you some pampering, then some alone time.

It helps to have some sort of plan in place for visitors and family members.  I’ve seen some new parents pretty exhausted from the rush of visitors coming in and out all day long, and a new mother upset because she is just wanting to hold her baby.

If you have a birth or postpartum doula, do not hesitate to reach out to them for advice on how to handle these types of situations.  It’s part of our job as doulas, to make sure you are feeling relaxed and comfortable with all aspects of your journey into parenthood.  

-Heather

Why Did You Hire A Doula?

Recently, I asked a few mothers in my area why they hired a doula. I always ask this question during my consultations so that I get a better sense of what clients hope to accomplish by bringing me on as a member of their birth team. I was happy to hear the feedback that these local moms shared.

“I had a doula for both of my births to have a more experienced and supportive birth team. Someone who knew our preferences and supported us to achieve them. I love our doulas!” -Kristin

When you hire a doula, you get a personalized, supportive team member. We have gotten to know you and your partner throughout your pregnancy and during your prenatal meetings. We know your preferences and how to help you navigate any possible changes to those preferences along the way. Since we have taken the time to get to know you, we are able to sense when you are feeling frightened, nervous or losing focus and we can bring you back to a place of calmness, control and confidence.

“I hired a doula because the statistics are fantastic! (At least that’s what got me thinking about it-shorter births, less interventions, etc.) Second reason was this was our first child and my husband and I didn’t know what we were doing. Third reason was my husband has trouble with blood/needles/hospital stuff. Fourth reason was that I’m adopted and since my mom never had a biological child, I knew I needed some kind of coach in the room that knew about it! Best decision I ever made was to have a doula and take the Bradley Method class. My birth wasn’t exactly what I envisioned but I avoided surgery due to our knowledge, doula and husband.” -Andria

We are trained to know (and spend a lot of our free time researching) how our bodies work and understand the birthing process. We help you to feel comfortable and confident in birth. We work alongside your partner to support you and make you feel relaxed and focused. We never take the place of your partner. However, if your partner is feeling woozy and needs to sit down for a minute, you will not be left alone or unsupported because we will be there for you. We give your family the peace of mind that you are being taken care of and never isolated, which is important. For example, if your mother lives out of state and can’t make it to the birth, she can have be assured that someone who knows you and what you want, who is knowledgeable, and who has your best interests at heart is there for you.

“We decided to hire a doula so that my husband could enjoy the birth of our children rather than being on point as a coach. And to keep the hospital people away from me.” -Michelle

A professional doula will never speak to your care provider or nursing staff for you or on your behalf. A professional doula will help you to navigate the process and build questions for you or your partner to ask or bring up yourselves. We know your desired birth plan. If a procedure or other intervention that is not preferred by you is brought up, we can gently remind you that you may be able to take a minute to discuss it between yourselves or remind you that you can ask your provider about the benefits/risks of such procedure.

We do help your partner focus completely on you and your emotional well-being. They may be asked to help hold you up or massage you here and there. We can suggest different positions and think ahead to what may help next, so that your partner can solely be tuned in to you. A doula and your partner work as a team to support and comfort you, and they can be as involved as they would like to be.

“Our family decided to hire a postpartum doula for peace of mind with caring for our newborn. I was worried about being successful with breastfeeding and nervous about caring for both our baby and 6 year old once my husband went back to work. I was honestly concerned about how I could manage all of it. Our doula swooped in and made my postpartum period stress-free and I’ve never felt so rested!” -Natalie

Our main priorities as postpartum doulas are for you and your family to feel nourished, rested, confident and bonded with your newborn baby. We are professional, knowledgeable and nonjudgmental. We’re proficient in newborn care, can assist with breast or bottle feeding and have an arsenal of references and contacts for you if needed. We keep the momentum of your household flowing by helping with meal preparations, laundry, newborn and sibling care and light housekeeping. Your emotional well-being and your physical state are so important, especially during this intimate time of getting to know your new family member. We help to make this transition smooth and stress free by our listening, professionalism and knowledgeable and nurturing support.

We want you to feel happy and satisfied with your experience. These moments of your life are moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s important to us that you have wonderful memories to look back on.

-Heather Sudduth
Birth & Postpartum Doula
Supporting families in the greater Cleveland/Akron area