When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work Out

It starts when you’re pregnant, the bombardment of advertising about feeding your baby. You’ll get mailers and coupons and product samples, all attempting to sway you towards one product or another, each touting its superiority over their competitors. Along with … Continue reading

She’s Still Nursing: A Guide for Family and Friends

If you’re reading this, you probably have a woman in your life that is, you guessed it, still nursing her child (or children). Whether she shared this article with you or you struck out on your own in search of … Continue reading

There’s a Leaf in My Bra- Musings of a One Year Old’s Mom

This month our little man, our rainbow baby, perhaps our last little spawn,  Dr. Baby himself, will turn one. On Thanksgiving day, no less. The full gravity of that didn’t hit me until I sent out the call for Booby Award … Continue reading

We Are Breastfeeding Mommas… Hear Us ROAR!

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, Dancing through the fire ‘Cause I am the champion, And you’re gonna hear me roar Louder, louder than a lion ‘Cause I am a champion, And you’re gonna hear me roar! … Continue reading

Stop the Mama-Shaming Madness!

I’m a member of a Facebook mom’s group that’s based in another city. Part of their mission statement is that their intent is to be a “safe place” for discussion about pregnancy and birth. Just this past week I witnessed … Continue reading

Listen To Your Mother – Auditions

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2015 Southeast Texas ‘Listen To Your Mother’ show! If you haven’t heard of Listen to Your Mother, then take a few minutes to check out their YouTube channel, here. The show is a … Continue reading

Adventures in Baby-Led Weaning, Part 1: Why I Chose BLW

I’m a first time mom, so of course I worry, over-analyze and read about doing what’s best for my daughter. I’m also a trained scientist, and before I had my daughter I was a high school science teacher. Put those … Continue reading

The Aha Moment That Turned My Gremelyn Around

Somewhere in the Universe, two storks were matching babies to mommies-to-be… Manager: “Cindy Adams gets a blonde girl. Betty Jones gets twin boys. Bet she quits making fun of cankles now. Renae Rose….give her one of those new experimental models.” … Continue reading

Getting Sneaky with Your Veggies

Christmas is just about upon us. A time for cookies and carols, eggnog and earrings (diamond ones, we hope). A time to gather round with loved ones and enjoy the company. And gorge ourselves. Again. As with Thanksgiving, a mere month behind, Christmas dinner and holiday parties can be somewhat lacking in the veggie department. The theme is usually all about cookies and candies and pies and hot chocolate, and comfort food to give us the warm fuzzies. Besides the cream of mushroom-smothered green bean casserole (covered in deep fried onions), how many vegetable sides can you name that you’ll be eating on the Big Day? Candied yams? Actually…. That’s all I can really think of. Sure, there are probably a few chunks of celery floating around in some stuffing somewhere, maybe even a sad little salad off to the side, but with all the other crazy-good vittles, are you going to be getting your 5 servings? A better question may be- Are the kids getting theirs?

The battle between children and anything green is epic. It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between the two. And on Christmas Eve it can be even harder to convince them they won’t die if they eat a veggie. As with any other day of the year, you’re probably going to have to get sneaky.

My favorite trick to use any time I can is baby food. Yes, my daughter is 4 and has long since given up the Gerber jars, but other than being marketed to the diaper set, it’s really just pureed vegetables. You can even go organic if you like (I like Beechnut). The two flavors I use the most are carrot and squash, respectively. The carrot I use in pretty much everything- soups, pasta sauce, it can really go anywhere. If you use a lot it will indeed give you a carrot-y flavor, but it generally just makes the dish a bit sweet. The squash I always use in home made macaroni and cheese. I’ve used it with the boxed variety, but I don’t like it as much. The squash flavor doesn’t blend well with the orange cheese powder taste. But used in the cheese sauce of a yummy home made mac & cheese, preferably oven baked, it is oh-so good. And I promise the kiddoes won’t even notice. You can use any flavor you think will mesh well with your dish. I tried the peas mixed in a green chile soup once and didn’t care for it. But then, I’m not a big fan of peas, and Idid know that I put it in there. I also like to use the fruit purees, especially mango, in things like smoothies, slushes and breads.
I also like to use the fruit purees, especially mango, in things like smoothies, slushes and breads.
Something my mom has been doing for years is putting spinach in her cornbread dressing. It is totally fantastic. So good, in fact, we make her make it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. She just makes her dressing (no, you cannot have my Mama’s top secret dressing recipe, but I’m sure you can find one almost as magical online) and adds in one package (depending on pan size) of thawed, drained, chopped frozen spinach. Other than the lovely dark green streaking through, you hardly notice it’s there.
Of course, this is just the beginning of tricking your unsuspecting children into eating something good for them. Add cooked carrots to sweet potatoes (yes, even the caramelized sugar-covered kind) before mashing. Slip some cauliflower into the regular mashed potatoes (or replace them all together! I’ve heard it’s awesome). And don’t forget those desserts. Apple sauce in place of oil in brownies and cakes, all-fruit spread in place of sugary jam in the filled-type cookies. Maybe some zucchini bread? Get creative! Tis’ the season to enjoy ourselves, and trick the kids a little (we all know who’s really eating those cookies left on the mantle….).

~AnnA

Frequently Asked Questions About Doulas

What is a Doula?

Doulas provide emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, birth and early postpartum period. They are called many things including: Childbirth Assistant, Labor Support Professional, Birth Assistant, Birth Companion, etc., but the description we like best is “walks with mother”.

Basically, your doula is there to ‘walk’ with you on your journey through pregnancy, childbirth and early mothering to help educate, support and validate the choices you make for your birth and family. In addition, your doula is also available to walk with you as a ‘mother’s helper’ when you need of help or support with your children at other times.

Why do I need a Doula?

According to “Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth”, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993), having a doula can help reduce your risk of forceps assisted delivery and cesarean section, shorten the length of your labor and decrease requests for pain medications.

Women who have a doula attending them during their labor are:
26% less likely to give birth by cesarean section
41% less likely to give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
28% less likely to use any pain medications and
33% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience

(Hodnett and colleagues 2004)

Why use a Doula?

In order to have a positive birth experience, most women need continuous labor support. Although Obstetrical Nurses and Midwives are experienced in dealing with a laboring woman’s emotional and physical needs, they can seldom guarantee the support they provide will last throughout the labor – especially in hospital settings where shift changes, coffee breaks, heavy paperwork and busy nights regularly occur. Some OB nurses handle
up to six laboring couples at a time. Midwives may be able to offer more labor support, but they too have clinical duties to which they must attend.

The father or partner may be better able to provide continuous support but usually has little actual experience in dealing with the forces of labor. Even fathers who have had intensive preparation are often surprised that the amount of work involved is often more than enough for two people. Even more important, many fathers experience the birth as an emotional journey of their own and find it hard to be objective in such a situation.

The laboring mother’s mother or mother-in-law, likewise may be better able to provide continuous support, but her own experiences and knowledge of birth are not always useful to the laboring mother, especially when the laboring mother’s ideals or expectations in childbirth differ from those of her mother or mother-in-law.

A professional doula can help bridge the communication gap between family members and help keep the mother focused on her birth and provide the emotional support to help the mother achieve the birth she wants. A doula can also act as a liaison between the laboring couple and their medical support team.

What is a Doula’s role?

Your doula can be as involved as you want her to be. Before hiring her, your doula will go over the services that she provides and discuss with you your expectations and desires for her role in your birth. It is important to remember that there are limitations to a doula’s role; for example: a doula does not speak for a couple, provide medical or clinical skills or act in any unprofessional manner. Most certifying organizations have Policies of Practice that each doula must follow. The Doulas of the Whole Mothering Center have chosen to certify through Doulas of North America (DONA) (see website link below).

A doula may provide:

  • explanations of medical procedures
  • emotional support
  • advice during pregnancy
  • exercise and physical suggestions to make pregnancy more comfortable
  • help with preparation of a birth plan
  • massage and other non-pharmacological pain relief measures
  • positioning suggestions during labor and birth
  • support for the labor partner so that they can love and encourage the laboring woman
  • help in avoiding unnecessary interventions
  • help with breastfeeding preparation and beginnings
  • a written record of the birth
  • many other services that vary from doula to doula

Will the Doula replace the father?

Some fathers or partners are concerned they may be sidelined or replaced by the Doula during labor. Although individual situations vary, and one should question a prospective doula about her philosophy. Generally the answer to this question is no – she will not replace him. Studies have shown that fathers usually participate more actively during labor in the presence of a Doula than without one. A responsible Doula supports and
encourages the father and enhances his support style rather than replaces him.

When should I hire a Birth Doula?

Retaining the services of a Doula is recommended at any point from the onset of pregnancy that still allows adequate time for the Doula to become a fully integrated member of the labor support team. Ideally, our feeling is that the earlier a Doula is retained, the more time there is to decide what role she will play in your process of becoming a mother.

When should I hire a Postpartum Doula?

Since your Postpartum Doula will be working closely with you and your family in your home, she should ideally be familiar with your family dynamic and the physical layout of your home so enough time should be allowed for all parties involved to be comfortable working closely together. We recommend retaining the services of a Postpartum Doula no later than four weeks before your due date. In some instances, your labor and postpartum
Doula will be the same person so that your relationship with her will already be well established for your postpartum period.

What training does a Doula receive?

There are several certifying organizations through which Doulas may receive part of their training. Additionally, an integral part of a Doula’s training is her own personal pregnancy, birth and mothering experience and the experience she has gained in assisting other mothers as a doula. While many doulas choose to seek certification through a recognized body, certification is not required by any organization or state in the US.

All of our Doulas are certified through or are working towards certification through the nationally recognized doula certification organization of their choice. They also bring with them their own experiences and the insights they’ve gained through working with countless mothers in various other programs and capacities in the Southeast Texas area. Doulas working with the Whole Mothering Center also undergo a period of hands-on
apprentice training with a more experienced Doula during the certification process.

You can find out more about Doula Training and Certification through these agencies:

http://www.DONA.org
http://www.CAPPA.net
http://www.BirthArts.com
http://www.ChildbirthInternational.com

How much does it cost to retain a Doula?

Doula services range in price from area to area and doula to doula. Some of this is based on the experience your doula has, some is based on the going rate in your area.

Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula packages begin at $575.00. We also offer an hourly rate for emergency and after-hours services for postpartum doula work and are happy to work with you on payment arrangements. For those who are experiencing financial hardship, we also offer a sliding scale of fees and are willing to barter for services (ask us for our wish list for ideas of services we’re willing to barter for). One reason we have chosen to offer this service is so that any mother who wishes to have the support of a Childbirth Doula or a Postpartum Doula will have the opportunity to have those services. Our goal is to help support mothers, and we don’t feel that a mother’s options should be based on her ability to pay.

I’ve heard some doctors don’t work with/hospitals have banned doulas.

Yes, that’s true – thankfully, that is not the case in our area. We have yet to come across a care provider in our area who is unwilling to work with a doula and have had positive experiences working with nurses and hospital staff with previous clients. We go out out of our way to form a professional and friendly working relationship with our client’s care providers and to communicate cooperatively and respectfully with each medical professional involved in your care. This works to facilitate a positive experience for you and for our future clients. We don’t believe that doctors or other medical providers are our or your enemy and we don’t treat them as such.

There are some hospitals that don’t ‘allow’ doulas; however, as the mother, you have the right to have whomever you want with you to support your labor. A hospital ‘ban’ on support person violates a mother’s choice and rights, and is unethical. We feel that such bans will surely be challenged.

You can read more about bans here:

Is your question missing from this list? If so, please email us and we will add it!