The Baby Mavens MUST HAVES For Your Hospital Bag

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You are almost at the end of your pregnancy! You made it through the morning sickness in the first trimester, the tiredness of the second trimester, and now you may be nesting in your third trimester. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag. Let’s get it ready to go!

The first rule of the hospital bag is that it is all about YOU!! It’s about Mom and her partner. Of course you need that ridiculously adorable outfit that you picked out months ago for your new baby to come home in, but other than that- your baby doesn’t need too much!

* Bring the things from home that will make you comfortable! This might be your own pillow, or even a favorite blanket. Your partner especially may want a comfy pillow or blanket, the chairs are not that comfortable!

* Pack some SUPER comfortable clothes. Think yoga pants and flowing shirts. We know you want to look cute in all of the photos, but you are going to be sore and tired and you will to be comfy!

sound_machine* If you have one, pack a white noise machine. (Or use an app on your phone!) It is loud and crazy in the hospital, the white noise machine will help you get a little rest.

* Don’t forget all of your chargers! Phone chargers, camera chargers, etc. You will want to have those! (Maybe even buy a second one to     leave in your hospital bag.)

_35* Slippers! Sometimes the hospitals can be cold. Especially those cold tile floors. And you may be shuffling back and forth between the bathroom and your bed.

* You will want your own toiletries, don’t forget your makeup (You may have a photographer come to your room!) and maybe even your own hair dryer. (You may desperately want a shower, OR you may not one at all! In that case, bring some dry shampoo too!) Don’t forget                                some chapstick and lotion, sometimes it’s dry in those rooms.

* You will have lots of visitors, and lots of visitors likely means lots of cards and gifts! Bring an extra bag or small suitcase to pack all of the extras. (You will have lots of stuff from the hospital too!)

swaddleme-3-pack-grey-chevron-and-ptru1-21193103dt* We said that you didn’t need to bring much for the baby, but throw one of our favorite “Swaddles for dummies” in your bag to make those nights in the hospital a little easier. We love Summer Infant’s Swaddle Me’s for those new babies.

* If this is your second baby, make sure to pack a special gift to the new big brother or big sister, from the baby!

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*Lastly- don’t forget to have your carseat! And make sure you find a CPST in your area to show you how to properly install it in your car before the big day!

Remember, hopefully you will have a short and easy stay at the hospital! But you want to make it easy and an enjoyable experience for your, your partner, and your brand new baby!

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How Can We Help You? (Part 4 of 4)

When you are pregnant with your second do you think “How will I ever love this baby as much as I love my first?” Do you wonder “Will my firstborn be sad, or mad upon his or her baby sibling’s arrival?” Or how about “How will I ever handle TWO (or three??) children at the same time?”

Don’t worry!!! You are NOT alone. Almost all “second” time moms have these thoughts, and feelings. And it IS an adjustment, but The Baby Mavens can help you with that too, of course. 🙂

We OFTEN times are hired by the pregnant mom of a two year old who isn’t quite sure what she needs help with when her second child arrives, but she is certain she will need help of some sort! And watching your firstborn become a big brother, or big sister is often times an experience you don’t want to miss! Wait until the very first time your older “baby” shares his most priced toy with HIS “baby”, your heart will just melt.

Sometimes the evening is a more challenging time of day for moms juggling a new baby and a toddler, or older child. There is dinner to be made, and sometimes homework to be done, and well- that baby probably wants to eat right smack dab in the middle of it all! Having a Maven there to help could look a little like this:

It’s 4pm, I arrive to a screaming toddler (he wanted the orange cup for a snack, not the red one), a crying baby in mom’s arms, and mom looking like she is on the verge too. I bend down to my buddy’s level and in a quiet voice remind him to just use his words and ask for the orange cup, he snuffles a little and says “pwease I have owange cup?” I quickly trade the offended cup out, and make a quick bottle for the baby. Then I grab said crying infant from mom, and ask “How about you have a break for a few? Can I make you a cup of tea?” She replies: “I just want a shower.” So I send Mom off to the bathroom, and shuffle the toddler into the family room with me and the baby. I settle the baby in for the bottle, and manage to read the toddler a few stories while we cuddle on the couch. The baby falls asleep, so I put her down in the nearby Pack n’ Play, and get some crayons and coloring books out for my little friend.

While he is coloring quietly, I sneak over to the kitchen and quickly throw the dishes in the sink in the dishwasher and wash the bottle. I notice there is a casserole on the counter, with directions from a friend. So I turn on the oven, and make Mom a cup of tea. When she emerges from the shower, she notices that things are a little cleaner and a little quieter so I encourage her to have a rest, which of course she graciously accepts! I peek in on the baby and her big brother, baby is sound asleep and brother is still quietly coloring away. So I sit next to him on the couch and fold a basket of laundry that was left there. I put the casserole in the oven, and get some plates and silverware out for the toddler. I know they will feed him first but that mom will wait for dad to come home to eat with him.

Just as I am sitting Big Brother down for dinner, the baby starts to make some noise and Mom comes out. She sits and nurses the baby, and we catch up for a few minutes. Then she passes the baby to me and she sits with her oldest while he eats. I take the baby over to the sink for a quick bath, and get her all snuggled up in her jammies. Mom then takes her big boy in the other room for a bath. I pop the baby in the Moby that I brought, and clean up from dinner, putting two plates aside to heat up when Dad comes home. I then take a peak at the hampers in the baby’s room, and in her brother’s, and quickly throw any dirty laundry in the washing machine. Mom and Big Brother come out of the bathroom, and head to his room for his books and bed. I bend down so that he can give his baby sister a kiss on the top of her head, and he gives me a quick hug too! (How sweet?!?!)

Mom comes out a little while later, and finds the baby swaddled in her bassinet. Dinner is just about ready, and she has a few more minutes to relax before Dad comes in. I tell her “Put your feet up and throw on that show you have been watching on Netflix! Have a great night, and see you on Thursday!”

When I leave a shift feeling like Mom has gotten to have a little break, and her babies were well cared for I totally feel a little like I should be wearing a cape! 🙂 Just call us Super Doulas!

*laurie

How Can We Help You? (Part 3 of 4)

Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t stand up long enough to shower?  Too tired to cook dinner?  So exhausted you fall asleep standing up while waiting for the Nespresso to brew?

If you’re a new parent, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Now for my next question – would you like to get some sleep?  Even one full 8-hour night?  I’m sure you’re saying “YES!” again!  Well, help is on the way.überforderung

The Baby Mavens offer overnight care.  Yes, that’s right, we will care for your newborn(s) overnight while you sleep.  ALL. Night. Long.  Maybe you already knew that, but you weren’t sure what an overnight shift might look like.  Here’s an example, but remember every family is different, so your needs may be very different!

I arrive at 10 pm to find mom and dad semi-comatose on the couch with their 3-week-old baby between them.  He’s asleep for now, but due to eat soon.  A quick check in with the parents and I learn that things are mostly going well but that mom’s PPD is causing her extreme anxiety.  She, along with her physician, have decided that breastfeeding is causing her far too much stress, so she is no longer nursing. Both parents seem relieved with this decision. She is going to continue pumping as often as she feels up to it, but at this point, we will be using up the freezer stash and transitioning to formula.  Mom happily reports that she is going to bed and will see me in the morning. Both parents retire for the night.

I move baby into the bassinet and tackle the dishes in the kitchen.  After the sink is clean and the dishwasher is running, I prepare a bottle of Expressed Breast Milk for the baby who is now awake and ready to eat.  He hungrily downs all 3 ounces and of course needs a diaper change afterwards.  Then, I re-swaddle him and settle him back into the bassinet.  With a little bit of shushing and swaying he falls back to sleep.

I gather his laundry from the nursery and start a load of his clothes.  There are towels in the dryer which I fold and put in the linen closet.  Now I settle in on the couch next to the sleeping baby.  I doze off as I listen to his sweet little baby sounds. At about 2 am he awakens me looking for his next meal.  I quickly get a bottle prepared and feed him. This time he’s so sleepy it takes a little prodding to get him to take more than an ounce; he keeps falling back asleep. Once he’s all settled back into bed, I go downstairs and move the laundry to the dryer.  Now I rest some more myself.

4:30 am and baby is stirring, but not really awake yet.  I stick the bag of breastmilk in a cup of warm water and run down and grab the laundry so I can fold it after he has his bottle.  He wakes up and has his bottle and another diaper change.  He’s bright-eyed and wide awake.  “No, my little friend, it’s not wake-up time yet!”  It takes a bit of shushing and swaying to get him back to sleep.  I finish folding the laundry and quickly put it away.  The dishwasher is done, so I put the dishes away as silently as I am able, so as to not disturb the parents or the baby. All bottles are washed, the Diaper Genie is emptied, and I am able to close my eyes once again…

5:50 – my silent alarm goes off and I wake up, careful not to wake the baby.  I fold my blanket to the back of the couch and fluff the pillows the way they go.  I run into the powder room and brush my teeth and hair before greeting the parents for the day. I meet Mom in the kitchen at 6:00.  She’s feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

So, I ask you again, how can we help you? #TheBabyMavensDoThat

 

*Lauren

 

 

 

How Can We Help You? (Part 2 of 4)

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When we meet soon to be moms and dads, some are sure they will need LOTS of our help and some aren’t really sure they will need our help at all. But they ALL want to know, what “it usually looks like”. But our shifts can be so very different, even for the same family, that we have found that there is no usual, no typical, postpartum shift. Our support looks exactly like how YOU need it to be, during that one moment in time.

A mom I had worked with for months was going back to work. She was anxious, and nervous, and also somewhat relieved to return to the work that she loved and was passionate about. We talked about it for a few weeks before,  I helped her get ready to leave her baby in someone else’s very capable hands for the first time ever. That someone else’s hands happened to be Dad. Dad was staying home for that first week that Mom returned to work. Their plan was that this would help Mom be able to ease into leaving her baby after spending all of those long days and weeks with her.

But two weeks before her return, Mom was very nervous. Would Dad know where everything was? Would he know just how Mom swaddled her before a nap? Would he be able to soothe her when she was crying? And so she asked me to come help Dad on that first day. (And truth be told, Dad did great! He didn’t really need my help.)

That day, Dad got to see how I had supported his wife (and Baby!) for all of those times he had been at work. We chatted about what was going on with the baby, and he asked a lot of questions. Then, he got to take a nice long shower while I watched the baby. He returned a few work emails while I washed the bottles. He mowed the lawn while I folded a basket of laundry. And then, he got to sit and watch HIS favorite show, while I gave the baby a bottle. We sent Mom some pictures of the baby, and she wrote back: “I’m missing my baby today, but I am kind of glad to be back to work! It helped me so much to know that you were there to help Dad, and I was able to concentrate on getting back into my role here. So thank you so very much!”

I loved how I got to help and support this family in so many different ways!

*laurie

How Can We Help You? (Part 1 of 4)

Parents often ask us what a typical shift looks like, or how specifically we can help them during their 4th trimester.  We can’t really answer this question, because every family is unique, and every day in every family is different.  Today I would like to share with you a recent “Typical shift” which I had. Watch for further posts in the series, too. Maybe one of these makes sense for you or your family? Maybe you envision something entirely different? How can we help you?

SHIFT A:

Daytime support for  first-time new mom with a 10-day old baby girl.  

9:00 am – Arrive and “check in”, asking mom how she is feeling after her C-Section, and how baby is doing.  Find that mom is healing fairly well and that mom and baby seem to have established a pretty good nursing relationship. Mom is both anxious and tired, but not overly so. I ask mom how I can best support her over the next 4 hours. “I am not sure. How does this work? I guess do whatever you think needs to get done. I don’t usually get off the couch because she nurses a lot.”

9:30 – Mom and baby are settled on the couch, nursing and watching the Today Show. I make mom a cup of tea, then start washing some of the adorable outfits baby received for her Naming Ceremony over the weekend. I sit with mom while the laundry is going and we discuss some of her anxieties.  Baby has not yet had a bath, so perhaps I will be able to help with that before the shift is over.

10:00 – “Do you have a dinner plan?” I ask, “Maybe I can get something started for you?” Mom says ok, maybe I can make some type of soup on this dreary winter day. After rummaging around the fridge and pantry, I declare that it’s a Vegetable Barley Kind of Day! Mom thinks that’s a great idea and texts her wife to please bring some some crusty sourdough bread and a salad, which will go perfectly with the soup at dinnertime.

11:00 – Baby is nursing like a champ. Again. I get mom another cup of tea and we talk about baby wearing.  Mom has used the Moby successfully but is hesitant to try the Ergo.  Baby is under 8 pounds so she would need to use the Infant Insert.  We will try that the next time I come.

12:00 – By  now the laundry is done and folded and the soup is simmering away in the Crock Pot.  I make mom a turkey sandwich and cut up some melon for her.  I offer to hold the baby so she can eat and mom happily agrees. (YAY! I get some baby snuggles!) 

12:30 – Mom decides that her wife would be disappointed to miss out on the first bath, so we postpone that.  A better use of my time is for me to keep snuggling the wee one while mom gets a nice hot shower for herself.

1:00 – Mom is all showered, the kitchen is tidied up, baby’s laundry is put away in the nursery.  I hand mom her water bottle & a freshly diapered girl who is ready to nurse. I head out the door, feeling satisfied that the rest of the day should go smoothly for mom.

So there you have it – 4 hours of a typical or maybe not-so-typical shift of a postpartum doula. How can we help you?

*Lauren

Top 5 Family Fun Days in Massachusetts

Winter will be here before you know it – but before your mind starts thinking about ice skating, sledding, hot cocoa and the dreaded SNOW REMOVAL — get in some fun fall activities while you still can! So what should you do?

  1. Go to a farm.  Seriously, people, it’s Massachusetts and it’s Fall.  Can’t you smell all the wonderful farmy smells? Cochon de fermeNo, silly, not those smells… The Food and Drinks!  Along with pumpkins, fresh veggies, apples and Freshly Pressed Apple Cider you can find special treats like homemade pies, apple cider donuts and Wine. Yes, that’s right, some farms even have their own fresh WINE.  Like Russell Orchards in Ipswich!
  2. Go Take a hike.  Put your baby in a backpack or soft structured carrier and get out there! Feel the leaves crunching under your feet, stretch your legs, get some fresh air! Try Weir Hill in North Andover; take the Stevens Trail to be rewarded with a spectacular view. If you can’t stand to leave your dog at home, try Ravenswood in Gloucester. Or maybe the popular Walden Pond is more your speed?
  3. Ride a Bike.  Perhaps the most famous bike trail is practically in your backyard: The Minuteman Bikeway is an 11-mile asphalt path with parking in several locations including Lexington, Cambridge, and Lincoln just to  name a few. Of course many local cities and towns have their own wonderful rail-trails as well. Most are, of course, stroller-friendly as well if you prefer to walk/jog/rollerblade.
  4. Are you ready for some football? What better way to spend a fall weekend than enjoying a football game?  Go watch your niece or nephew play for your alma mater, or catch the Patriots on TV or at Gillette.  Many communities even offer Flag Football for the kids to play.
  5. Rake those leaves!   fall-leaves-yard-cleanup-4Make a game of it, get your older kids involved, make big leaf piles and jump in them just like you did when you were a kid.  Remember that many hands make light work, and you’re making memories with your kids! (See what I did there? I had you thinking this blog was all about fun, but well, we have to get some chores done once in a while.)

“ARE YOU SO HAPPY?!”

“This is THE BEST time of your life!

“Enjoy it while she is small! It gets tough later!”                                   “Isn’t Motherhood Amazing?”

Do you feel like punching everyone who makes one of these comments to you? Do you feel like you *Should* be feeling better about being a new mom? Are you feeling like perhaps you don’t measure up to other mothers you see on TV and around (insert name of perfect town, inhabited only by perfect moms!)  [ie., Danvers, Beverly, Swampscott, Lynnfield, Manchester, Salem, Hamilton,Stoneham…]

Well, you are not alone… Motherhood is tough. And not everyone handles it the same way! If you’re feeling more than a little overwhelmed, or more exhausted than you can possibly imagine, or overly anxious about everything, or simply confused or sad much of the time – you might have PPD (Postpartum Depression).

But don’t worry, help is available. You DESERVE help. You NEED help.

PLEASE, Please don’t be ashamed to look for counseling, or medical intervention. Talk to your spouse, talk to your girlfriends, talk to your doctor, or therapist! No one should go through this alone.

Here is a great blog, written in plain English, about what the symptoms of PPD could look like! If you are experiencing any of them, please seek help!  You deserve to feel better!

The Baby Mavens can recommend a good therapist if you need one.  But you don’t have to go through this alone!  AND, maybe you need more than one hour at the therapist – maybe you need a supportive non-judgemental helper AT HOME! A postpartum doula is just that. She is someone to listen to your birth story, again.  Someone to reassure you that the baby is in fact making normal sounds. Someone to hold the baby so you can have a long shower, uninterrupted!  Someone to cook dinner and cut up that watermelon before it spoils.  The Baby Mavens do all this and more!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS ALONE!