The early days of parenting are intense. I love the word intense because in using one word you can include the wonderful, amazing, overwhelming experience of having a new baby at home.
Often, as our friends and family adjust to our new role, they want to offer us advice and information. This advice may fall short of being helpful because we are all unique individuals.
Let's use the topic of sleep as an example. This is a top concern for expecting parents. I understand. I felt the same way when I was expecting my first baby! It felt like everyone who noticed I was pregnant would warn me about how awful sleep would be after I had my baby.
We could have this conversation about pretty much anything that has to do with your baby. When our favorite people, or even strangers, give us well meaning advice it usually makes us feel worse instead of better. What a bummer!
Picture this - You are outside with your 5 year old and teaching her how to ride a bike. Your awesome kiddo almost has this bike riding thing figured out! You see improvements from the day before, you are excited to keep working on these new skills. Then, a neighbor walks up and tells you how she taught her child. The neighbor explains that her child knew how to ride his bike at 3! So you try it her way, and both you and your child are uncomfortable. You've lost the momentum you had earlier in the day. You start to wonder if maybe you are teaching your child the wrong way? Now you have doubts, maybe you google "teaching your child how to ride a bike," all this when before you were interrupted you were feeling pretty good about your child's progress.
BOOM! I call what your neighbor did an Advice Bomb. The advice, although offered to help, actually undermines your own parenting. Hearing that someone else did something differently when you are figuring it out often adds to your own insecurities and worries.
A great strategy I share with clients is to imagine a Rainbow Shield. This Rainbow Shield comes to your rescue when an Advice Bomb drops. Use this imaginary shield and instead of advice all you hear is "I love you!"
Let's put the Rainbow Shield into action...
A mom in a mother's group tell you how her week old twins were sleeping through the night. Ta da! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Now you can smile and think of how much you are loved!
Your mother in law shares that when she was a new mom she just put her babies in bed and they slept like hibernating bears. Boom! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Your mother in law thinks you are an awesome mom!
All of us reach milestones at different times. There are norms for learning how to crawl, learning to read, riding a bike, and many other milestones. Sleep is the same.
Since we are using sleep as an example of how the Rainbow Shield works to destroy Advice Bombs I'd like to note that most people aren't around newborns much. Our well meaning friends, family, and strangers most likely don't remember what the early days of sleep were really like for their babies. I have four kids and if I'm honest, it's hard to remember much of anything from those early days of parenting. It's all a blur.
As a postpartum doula, I offer information, strategies, and evidence based information to parents. Not advice. If you have a questions for me I want to help you figure out how to answer it yourself. I will help you gain confidence in your intuition, and your parenting skills. After all, this is your baby, and you know your baby best.
Read about how I offered support to a new family in Clinton Twp, Michigan, in my recent post - Clinton Twp Parents recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Share the unwanted advice you've received in the comments so other parents don't feel alone in their experience.
Happy New Year!
One of my recent clients gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a testimonial! I don't know if there is anything better than hearing from someone you've worked with and having them say beautiful things about the time you spent together. Even her husband shared his thoughts! He said that hiring a postpartum doula and a wedding planner is similar. We both try to decrease your stress, and increase your enjoyment! Great analogy!
I love to share what my clients say about working with me. Since not everyone is familiar with working with a postpartum doula, I think it is best to hear from clients who have worked with me about their experience.
Mary in Royal Oak shares,
"A good friend of mine recommended Jill to my husband and I. At first I was skeptical because I thought that maybe having a postpartum doula meant that I, "couldn't handle" being a new mom.
Thank you so much Mary for sharing your experience with me! I love that your husband compares hiring a wedding planner, with hiring a postpartum doula! I am so glad to know that he went from thinking that hiring me was an "extra expense" to sharing what I do with others. Give him a big high five from me.
You perfectly explained so many of my goals as a postpartum doula.
I wonder what else postpartum doulas and wedding planners have in common? If you think of something, share it in the comments!
If you would like to read about products my clients loved in 2015 read Top 5 Favorite Products for Parents with New Babies!
Mary shared a beautiful photo of her and her baby taken by Courtney Sprague Photography.
I love when parents spend time preparing for their baby arrive while pregnant. Heather and her husband contacted me early on in her pregnancy and we did our first interview via Skype! I love making the process of meeting me and discussing my services as easy as possible on potential clients and I was happy to offer them the Skype interview. Eventually we met in person and brainstormed some ideas where their baby might sleep, ideas for clothes and supplies to have on hand for their new baby and more. One of the benefits of hiring me during pregnancy is all the time we have to plan and prepare!
Heather took some time to write me a lovely testimonial. Thank you so much Heather!
"When we had our first baby Jill was our postpartum doula.
We met up with her prior to our baby being born, and quickly discovered she was an encyclopedia of useful information relating to babies and postpartum care, for the baby as well as the mom.
She helped us learn how to take care of a baby, from feeding to changing to soothing techniques.
She eased our anxieties when we had questions, and helped us build confidence in our ability to take care of our new baby.
We can't imagine what it would be like to go through this learning process without a postpartum doula like Jill."
I love this sweet photo of their sweet baby. I'm so grateful they allowed me to share her smile with all of you!
Learn more about my services by clicking here.
I created this list to help new parents and expecting parents understand how a postpartum doula can solve some of their common worries.
“How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?”
Breastfeeding Support and Knowledge – Most hospitals provide wonderful lactation care. After you return home, I will help make sure your latch and positioning are optimal for successful breastfeeding. Even when things are going well with breastfeeding clients have questions and I am happy answer them so you feel confident that breastfeeding is off to a good start.
“I don’t know much about newborns, how do I best take care of my new baby?”
Newborn Care and Education – Newborns are very different from older babies. I will support you to parent the way you want while increasing your understanding of the unique characteristics of a newborn.
“My baby is crying! What should I do?”
Soothing Techniques – Many new parents want to feel confident soothing their baby/babies. I will help you learn how to parent with confidence so if baby is unhappy you know how to respond.
“How do I get stuff done and keep my baby happy at the same time?
Babywearing – I can demonstrate and suggest options for babywearing. There are numerous benefits to parents and babies by using a wrap, sling, or carrier. Using this tool parents will be able to easily integrate baby into their life and wearing your baby helps their digestion and can increase sleep!
“I need sleep and a shower!”
Support – I will expertly care for your baby so you can get some rest. I also offers overnight care to help you get as much rest as possible, and I will share her tips and tricks so when I'm not there you can handle it on your own.
“We could use some help with baby laundry, and organization.”
Tidying up – I am happy to help make your life easier by throwing in a load or two of laundry, putting dishes in the dishwasher, tidying up, and I can give you suggestions on how to organize baby clothes, and gear.
“Everything is so different now, when will I feel like being a parent is normal?”
Listening – I have worked with many parents to help them feel more confident and trust their parenting skills. Consider that becoming a parent is like any new job and having a mentor like me makes the transition so much easier.
“I will have to go back to work, or leave my baby with another care provider eventually. How do I pump and bottle feed my baby?”
Bottle Feeding and Pumping Information – I can answer questions about bottles and help you with pumping. I can also teach you some bottle-feeding techniques that mimic breastfeeding so you can optimize your feeding time with baby (whether you are using formula or breastmilk).
What were your top worries when you were a new parent? Share them in the comments so I can address them in a future blog post!
Want more tips from me? Watch this quick video A Simple Strategy to get More Sleep After Baby Arrives.
I love going to interviews! It's an amazing chance to chat with expecting parents about the work I love as a postpartum doula in Metro Detroit, Michigan.
Just a few days ago I was asked by a dad-to-be, "Why are you a postpartum doula?"
We had talked about my training, my certification, and how I train postpartum doulas all over the Midwest of the United States. We had discussed my own family and my four kids. He wondered why I didn't want to be a stay at home mom? Why help new families?
My answer is simple. I'm a postpartum doula because this work is what I was put on earth to do.
To me there is nothing better than making life easier for parents after their new babies arrive. I love to watch mothers and father gain confidence as they learn new skills and get to know their baby. I love to support their parenting choices!
Why did you decide to do the job you currently work at? I'd love for you to share your story in the comments below.
Read more about my story on a guest blog post I wrote for a business called Blooma in St. Paul, Minnesota. http://bloomablog.com/postpartum-doulas-solving-problem-many-new-moms-experience/
Hi, my name is Jill, and I am the After Baby Lady. Thank you so much for being here with me. Sometimes people ask me, why do you call yourself The After Baby Lady? I want to share how I came up with the name of my business.
First, I knew from talking to different people in the community — my family, my friends — that not that many people are familiar with the word “postpartum” and what it actually means. Actually, it’s one of my goals as a doula to help others understand the word "postpartum." The word "postpartum" simply means - after you have a baby. It doesn’t always have to do with depression, which is something that some people think.
I am a certified postpartum doula. That means I work with new moms and their families after they have a baby. I asked friends and family (on my Facebook page) if they could help me come up with a name for my business, to help me to describe what it is that I do. And my friend Kendra came up with The After Baby Lady, and I just loved it. So, I became the After Baby Lady, and the rest is history.
I’m curious if you knew what a postpartum doula was before reading this, and where you learned about it. If you would post in the comments, I would love to hear what you learned about that term. I hope you have a great day, and if you want to see more of my video blog, you can find posts at www.theafterbabylady.com or on YouTube. Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!
Wow! I'm still buzzing from speaking at Babies R Us last night. We had a great turnout and many parents stayed after to chat! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE chatting with new parents.
Why? Because I have learned so much being a mother of four, and a postpartum doula. I want to share what I know with parents so they don't have to have the same frustrations that I have gone through. I love helping expecting parents, and new parents feel more confident.
So thank you to the expecting parents that came out in the snow last night. What a great time!
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446