Houston Central Doulas provides postpartum doula support to families in Houston. Our in-home team of providers is excited to help you eat, sleep, shower, and find your groove again. This section of our blog talks about the realities of postpartum recovery and some helpful topics and tricks.

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Meet Moriah Burke

Houston Central Doulas

Meet Moriah Burke

What services do you provide? 

I’m a birth doula matchmaker. Before I launched and started managing Houston Central Doulas, I was the birth doula for all of the clients. Now I’m delighted to have a wonderful birth team and facilitate the overall client experience. I do most of our client inquiry and consult requests. After I learn more about the client, I help connect them to the member of our team that best matches. 

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From Water Breaking To The First Postpartum Poop

labor and postpartum recovery

There Are Parts Of Labor And Postpartum Recovery That Aren’t Talked About Enough

We’re going to talk about some of the things that aren’t commonly talked about regarding labor and postpartum recovery. The truth is that labor is a marathon of physical, mental, and emotional endurance. Birth is also super messy.

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Virtual Postpartum Support Group

Houston Central Doulas

 

This week, we’ve connected with Kathryn Tipton, licensed counselor at Houston Center For Valued Living and guest blog author today. We were excited when she reached out to us to let us know about her services. We’re especially excited about her virtual postpartum support group. 

 

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Feeding My Baby Is So Boring

feeding your baby

Feeding Your Baby Sucks Sometimes

Sometimes, feeding your baby sucks.

What? Can I really say that aloud? Yes, I can. And you can, too. I won’t judge you if you feel this way.

Common Infant Feeding Methods

When your baby is a newborn, you are usually feeding them one of four ways:

  1. Breastfeeding with direct breast to baby transfer.
  2. Pumped milk that is fed to your baby in a bottle.
  3. With formula in a bottle.
  4. A combination of some or all of the above.

The First Latch When Breastfeeding

I’m totally fine with you deciding before your baby is born to never breastfeed at all. Your body, your baby, your choice! However, what I commonly see is that women choose to try breastfeeding for at least the first few days.

No lie, the first time you try to breastfeed your baby, it’s weird. Other mammals squeeze out their young and the babies latch by themselves. But with you and your baby, getting a great latch is like a dance where you don’t feel like you have enough hands.

Sometimes you feel like either you or your baby is broken. I promise neither of you are broken. Sometimes babies have lip or tongue ties, or sometimes your breasts are doing things you never realized. For example, it’s normal for some women to have flat or inverted nipples. There are tips and tricks to navigate every type of breast and baby. If you have questions about that, call me or let’s do a “boob whispering” session!

Pumping Breastmilk

I want to detour into pumping or a quick second. Pumping is when feeding your baby literally sucks. Like a vacuum cleaner.  I can’t recommend enough a pump that is double electric and hands free like a freemie cup. You feel less like an octopus if you can use your hands. And none of us want to be an octopus.

Feeding My Baby Was Great, But Now It’s Not

So you finally figure out the baby feeding situation like the awesome mom you are. It’s day 3, and your milk finally looks like milk, or you’ve finally settled on a formula brand.

The first few days that you’re feeding your baby, it’s magical. Baby is here! Baby is snuggled up with you! They are cute! They smell good! You don’t mind feeding them because you are so present in that moment with them.

But then time ticks by and you have to either return to work, or get back into your daily routine. And you feel trapped. Trapped by this tiny human you would do anything for. You feel tied down. You start to realize it may take 45-60 minutes for a baby to eat. And by the time you do that, and shower, and eat, and take a quick nap, it’s time to do it all again. At first, if you try to extend the time by even an hour, your breasts feel like swollen watermelons, or your baby is pissed.

Small Tips To Make Feeding Your Baby More About You

I want to share some tips with you that help turn feeding your baby into something that resembles your self-care.

It’s normal for women to get so focused on the task of feeding their baby that they forget they can do anything else.

Bring baby to you, don’t bring yourself to baby. Get comfortable. Prop yourself on pillows. Get a foot stool. Even with formula feeding. Don’t crouch over baby. Bring yourself a cold glass of water and a snack.

Guess what? You can turn on the TV. Binge watch all the shows you’re behind on in Netflix.

Listen to podcasts, or music. You’re allowed to relax.

You can call a friend or a family member you don’t get to talk to very often.

Breastfeed or formula feed with the baby in a sling so you have one or both hands free to eat, hold a book, or scroll through Facebook.

When you realize that you’re important and part of the feeding equation, it becomes a little bit more bearable to ease into it feeding your baby while enjoying it.

It’s easy and normal to think of feeding your baby is a chore. If you can, try to think of it as a way to unwind. I know there’s so many things on your mind. You want to get to those things. You don’t want to sit for an hour. Allow your mind and body to unwind and relax for this time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to feed a certain way, get a certain amount, or any other factor. You’re doing the best you can.

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Coparenting With Expectations

A To Z of Comfort Measures For Labor: U is for Understand

When Two Become Three, Or More

We all know that things change when you enter into a long-term romantic partnership. You went from eating ice cream for dinner to having a conversation with your partner about what you both want to eat for dinner. Parenting is a lot like that.

As individuals, we all have different expectations on what pregnancy, birth, and parenting is really going to look like. It’s almost like we have a fairy tale image in our heads of what it’s supposed to be. Even if you and your partner have the same vibe when it comes to your expectations, your expectations are different.

The person who is carrying the baby obviously feels different than her partner, but you both have a lot of feelings. You both have different roles. Both roles are important.

Expectations For Pregnancy, Birth, And Parenting

In pregnancy, a woman may have the expectation that her life is going to go on the same while she is growing a baby. She expects to be glowing and progressively growing a bump seamlessly while her partner expects the same. But what happens if the partner is under a lot of pressure at work, while their partner needs to be put on bed rest due to a sudden medical development? Or what happens when the person you love is suddenly crying and you can’t figure out why? What if your relationship becomes strained by the change of having a baby? What if your physical needs or abilities change, or emotions are flying everywhere?

What if during labor the laboring woman has an idea of how her partner can support her in labor, but she never talked about it? What if her partner wants to support her, but doesn’t know how?

What if the mother doesn’t want to breastfeed, but her partner firmly believes she should?  Does her partner know where their opinion comes from? Does the partner know how to support the breastfeeding relationship? Is the mother triggered by breastfeeding and it would really be better for the whole family for her to formula feed?

There are so many “what ifs” that can occur in pregnancy, labor, postpartum recovery, and parenting. And it’s honestly impossible to prepare for them all. But if the lines of communication are open, it becomes easier to understand your partner and yourself and to overcome any obstacles or choices that stand in your way.

Talk To Your Partner

Ask your partner if you can speak to them in a focused setting. Some people can only do one thing at a time. You may feel frustrated if you feel like  them washing dishes seems more important to them than listening to you in the moment.

Tell your partner what you need. Even if you can finish each other’s sentences, your partner isn’t a mind reader.

Schedule a date, a lunch, or a childbirth class, or laying around in bed to talk about your needs and expectations.

Compliment your partner constantly. There’s a lot of rough patches in your journey together. Mix some good in with the not so fun stuff. Tell her that she looks amazing. Play in her unbrushed hair. Tell your partner that you really appreciate their 2am trick to the gas station to get your snickers. Or that you love how hard the other one works.

Listen To Your Partner

Actively listen to your partner. Ask them how their day was, even if you think yours was way better or worse.

Sometimes an ear or a cuddle is all your partner needs to make problems go away.

Honor your partner if they need time alone to watch a show, read a book, or take a nap. (Pregnant people are tired, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.)

Support that each person has a role in not only their life, but also in your life, their work life, and in the role of being a parent to your baby.

 

 

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Massage For Pregnancy, Birth, And Postpartum Recovery

The Benefits Of Massage During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body is constantly changing. Her center of gravity changes, and she will experience some very common aches and pains that are associated with the position and weight of her growing baby. Relaxation is one aspect of massage. It is also a powerful tool for natural and easy pain management. In my opinion, massage paired with chiropractic care is one way to rock your world.

Prenatal massage enhances the functions of your joints and muscles. It also improves your circulation. Increased circulation  can increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients received by both the mother and the baby. An increase in oxygen and nutrient availability stimulates the function of the lymph nodes and helps reduce and eliminate toxins in the body. A boost of oxygen and nutrients also helps to increase immunity.

I recently wrote a blog about acupressure, in which I talked about the benefits of acupressure for relieving the symptoms of common pregnancy complaints such as morning sickness. Skilled massage therapists utilize your acupressure and trigger point placements to increase your endorphins and pain response. Which means that those types of bodywork help combat pain and discomfort, as well as creating a sense of comfort and relaxation once those points are activated.

 

Some of the most common discomforts of pregnancy that could benefit from massage are sciatic pain, back pain, carpal tunnel, management of acid reflux, constipation, and issues in the sacroilliac joints (hips).

 

Massage also helps with depression, anxiety, and mental and physical fatigue. It is normal for a woman to feel heightened feelings of anxiety, or to experience physical discomforts that make her rest not as refreshing as it was prior to pregnancy. Massage can help you to find balance.

Massage In Labor

The benefits of utilizing massage in labor are very similar to the list for prenatal massage. The endorphins released by massage in labor helps to release some of the sensation of labor contractions. Because of utilizing massage already in pregnancy, you have formed a mind-body connection that is very beneficial in labor. If you have a really stellar experience with your massage therapist, her presence may help you feel more calm and relaxed because s/he is familiar to you.

Adrenaline is one of the hormones involved with our fight & flight responses. Due to the fact that we are mammals, it’s normal to have some adrenaline going in labor. Oxytocin is the hormone of love, which is very highly present when we birth a baby. Oxytocin is the hormone that makes orgasms feel like the best thing ever. And the birth of a baby is one of the highest doses of oxytocin you will receive. Oxytocin plays a heavy role in the cocktail of hormones for labor. It helps you to bond and feel love for your baby, among other factors. So, massage helps to reduce the amount of adrenaline, and increase the amount of oxytocin in your body.

Massage As A Tool For Postpartum Recovery

The American Pregnancy Association talks of the benefits of postpartum massage. In addition to the above benefits, massage utilized during postpartum recovery helps with hormone regulation, reduced edema and swelling, better sleep, and improved breastfeeding (if breastfeeding is a choice that you’ve made).

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Celebrate Your Inner ‘Tully’

 

The Doula Finally Watched  Tully

While on social media, or when I go to do consults for postpartum doula support with potential clients, I often hear, “Have you seen the movie ‘Tully”?”

 

It took me a long time to see it.  Based on the summary I was given prior to watching ‘Tully’ I was led to believe that the mother hires a night nanny, or postpartum doula, and the doula sleeps with the mother’s husband. Caring as I do about my profession and how we are perceived by the communities we live in, I didn’t want to watch a movie that was going to wreck my vibe and make me yell at the television. But this movie was so much more than this. 

 

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Video Games – If Mom-ing Were A Video Game, I’d Be…

Video Games Are Taking Over Our Lives

If a video game were to literally take over your life, what would it be called? What are the main features? How do you win the video game? Is there a video game that already resembles your life?

The Sims Is My Video Game

I get on this kick occasionally where I must play the Sims for a whole weekend. Like, sacrifice sleep and food just to play The Sims. My husband doesn’t get it. He thinks it’s like our son with Minecraft. What he doesn’t understand is the moms in The Sims just get my life.

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Travel – My Best Hack For Traveling With Kids

Travel Is Gonna Go Down!

You made the decision to travel with your kid(s). And you’re dreading it. Because travel with kids is a little bit crazy. Especially to those of us who love planning, organized packing, and things going according to plan. Traveling with kids kinda changes the name of the game. If you aren’t a planner by nature, chances are good that you used to be one of those people who would throw things in a carry-on bag and wing it with little thought. You figured if you needed an item later, you can just replace it at Target later. But, now, as a parent, if Bugsy the Stuffed Elephant doesn’t make it on that airplane, your entire week is going down the toilet.

 

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My Baby Is Crying All Night – Houston Central Doulas

My Baby Is Crying All Night, And I Don’t Know Why

“Why is my baby crying all night?” is one of the most common postpartum questions. Sometimes your baby cries, and cries, and cries. Sometimes you start crying, too, It often feels worse when it’s the middle of the night.

You need sleep. You feel like it’s your job to calm your baby’s crying. They must urgently need something from you, and you want them to be okay. You love them, and you’re biologically programmed to respond to every single time they wiggle, whimper, or cry.

One of the most unpopular opinions ever, but the one I want to offer you today, is that it’s not going to hurt your baby to cry for a few minutes while you regroup. I’m not talking about a long standing bout of crying it out, This is different. This is that you have tried to meet your baby’s needs, and nothing is working.

Babies have a very simple set of needs. You just have to figure out which one is the most pressing at the time. Sometimes babies need a reset. You need a reset, too. Babies only have a very narrow set of needs compared to the needs that we perceive that we have as adults.

Sometimes adults need a Twix bar.

Babies don’t even know what that is yet. The magic is in quickly identifying the needs of your baby so that they don’t rile themselves up. If you can quickly predict what your baby needs next, it lessens the time of the crying. I know you want to punch me, but just hear me out. 

 

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