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Blog

Filtering by Tag: doula care

Postpartum Must-Haves

Chelsea Gonzales

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Baby will be here soon, and you’re probably all stocked up on diapers, wipes, and adorable little onesies. These are all important things to have, but they aren’t the only things you’ll need.

Have you thought at all about what you will need right after having a baby? These items are just as important—though admittedly not as cute—as the items you buy for baby.

Wondering what you should put on your baby-prep list after shopping for yourself? Make sure you stock up on the following.

Tucks Pads

Birth is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty. Having a baby can cause some serious soreness in your lower half, and the constipation that often comes along with the postpartum days doesn’t help matters. Tucks Pads are medicated and provide cooling relief down there.

Mother Love Nipple Cream

The first weeks of breastfeeding will almost certainly cause your nipples to become raw and sore. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market that soothe your sore breasts while also remaining safe for baby. Our favorite is Mother Love Nipple Cream. Be sure to pick some up before baby arrives!

Reusable Nursing Pads

Another thing that happens in the first weeks and months of breastfeeding is leaking. As your milk comes in and your body figures out how much milk it actually needs to produce, you’re going to experience some leakage. Nursing pads catch those leaks before they make an appearance on your shirt. Reusable pads are particularly helpful when you have a newborn to care for and no extra time for laundry.

Ibuprofen

After giving birth you’re sure to be sore in more places than you can count. Ibuprofen is an absolute lifesaver, and something you’ll want to keep on hand. Even if you don’t usually use medicine for aches and pains, keep some around just in case. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

AfterEase by Wish Garden

AfterEase drops are perfect for relieving mothers of those dreaded after-birth contractions. It contains a number of herbs that have been used for postpartum care for generations, and the soothing effect the product has is absolutely wonderful.

Never had painful after-birth contractions before? Grab some anyway, as these pains tend to increase with each baby.

L Pads

Tampons and menstrual cups are a no-no after giving birth, and the blood flow after having a baby needs to be caught by something. The obvious answer is pads, and we recommend investing in the super pads because your flow will likely be very heavy at first. Of course, organic pads are always best, but purchasing a large number of organic pads can be pricey.

That’s why we love L Pads from Target. They are cheap, organic, and get the job done.

Postpartum Herbal Sitz Bath

A relaxing bath is the perfect way to recover after giving birth, and a bath with baby can provide fabulous bonding time. Add in an herbal sitz bath, and you and your little one will be treated to the amazing benefits offered by the herbs included. Whether you make your own herbal sitz bath mixture or purchase it premade, you’re sure to love soaking in a wonderful and aromatic bath.

Freezer Meals

Not very many mothers have time or energy to cook healthy delicious meals right after giving birth. Even those who do, don’t want to. After all, they should be bonding with baby.

For this reason, making and freezing plenty of meals beforehand is an excellent idea. Doing this will help ensure you continue to eat well while removing the work of cooking from the already hectic postpartum weeks.

Belly Support Band

After baby is born, your belly is likely to need a bit of additional support for a while. A belly support band is perfect for offering support while reducing pain, swelling, and pressure. It can be worn under any clothing, making it a discreet way to remain comfortable after giving birth.

Do you have everything you need to keep yourself comfortable after baby gets here? If not, it’s time to make a trip to the store and pick up those last-minute things. Happy shopping!

What to do When Your Birth Doesn't Go as Planned.

Chelsea Gonzales

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Doing your research and knowing exactly how you would like your birth to go is always a good idea. In fact, I even recommend writing these thoughts down to create an easy-to-read and easy-to-share birth plan. This helps ensure that your desires are well known, and with the right birth team, many of those wishes will probably be met if at all possible.

That said, things don't always go according to plan. Problems crop up, little annoyances snowball into big emergencies, and some babies and bodies just have minds of their own. These things aren't necessarily common, but they do happen, and many times this means the initial birth plan must be modified to fit the situation.

While I don't recommend dwelling on the “what ifs”, I do think it's a good idea to consider what you will do should unplanned things happen during labor and delivery that steer your birth experience in another direction than originally planned. After all, there is no way for us to control everything, and being mentally prepared for unexpected issues can help ensure your experience is a positive one, even if it isn't exactly what you planned.

Wondering what you should do in case things do go awry? Consider these tips.

Before The Birth

Hire a Doula — A doula is an advocate for birthing women. For this reason, having a good doula is essential when issues arise. She can ensure that your birth plan stays as intact as possible while also providing you with reassurance.

Know Your Stuff — Soaking up as much information as possible about birth is also incredibly helpful. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your own body and health, as well as that of your baby.

Create a Backup Plan — Making a birth plan is great. Making a “Plan B” and even a “Plan C” is even better. Decide what you'd like to happen in case you decide you absolutely must have an epidural. What if a C-section is required? Having a plan for these things will still give you a bit of control even if your initial plan gets tossed to the side.

During the Birth

Keep Your Cool — If you do get news that your caretaker won't be able to sick to the original plan, take a deep breath and keep your cool. Remember that you are doing your very best, and your caretakers are there to keep you and your baby safe. Getting upset won't help anything, and may actually hurt baby by causing them distress.

Remind Caretakers of Your Plan — Reminding your birth team of your plan won't fix any problems that come up. However, that simple reminder might mean your team keeps your wishes in mind and sticks to the plan as much as possible.

Lean on Your Doula — Your doula is there to help you and advocate for you. Let her be the one to insist that measures be taken to mind your wishes whenever possible. Your doula will also be able to help you remain calm in stressful situations. Allow her to do her job.

After the Birth

Take Care of Yourself — Obviously, you'll be grateful about baby once they are born, and clearly you'll need to take care of and enjoy them. That said, it's also important to take care of yourself.

Remind yourself regularly of just how awesome you are and give yourself plenty of self-care time in order to reflect and heal mentally. Lastly, you'll want to watch out for signs of postpartum depression. A birth that doesn't go as planned can be a cause of depression, and PPD should be treated as soon as possible.

Are you looking for a doula to support you no matter how your birth goes? I'd love to chat! Please contact me today for a consultation. 

Finding Yourself Again After Giving Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

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For many, the weeks after giving birth are a time of bliss. However, for many more mamas they are a time of identity crisis. This is especially true after the newness of a tiny family member wears off and the new mom is left to find her new place in the family and in society.

After all, for nine months the mother’s identity has likely been wrapped up in her pregnancy and the upcoming arrival. With the baby’s arrival, this all goes away, and many times, so do former hobbies and even friendships. This means that in addition to caring for her new little one, the mom must also find herself.

If you find that you are in this difficult place after having your little one, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Here are my tips.

Make Time For You

First and foremost, you simply must make time for yourself. Read, write, take walks, and give yourself the time and space to reflect on life. This is perhaps the very best thing you can do for yourself during this transitional period.

Explore Your Interests

Did you have a cool hobby when you were younger? Is there something you've always wanted to do? Perhaps you aren’t interested in anything in particular, but your friends all go to a class together. Make time to explore things and find hobbies and interests that you are passionate about.

Prioritize Friendships

Keeping friends after giving birth can be difficult. This is especially true if your pre-pregnancy friends didn't follow you into parenthood. Therefore, it is important that you carve out time specifically for cultivating friendships. This might mean making new friends who are also parents, finding people with similar interests at a class or event, or just keeping up with old friends.

Whichever direction you go, make sure your friends still make you happy and allow you to be you.

Create Plans to Better Yourself

Now that baby is here, it’s time to start looking to the future. If you’ve been planning on going back to school, starting a new business, or working toward a career advancement, this time of change and redefining yourself might be the ideal point in your life to begin to work toward these things.

This doesn't mean you should jump in feet first while still adjusting to the new baby, but making plans and taking baby steps in the right direction is a great way to get the ball rolling and give yourself a new sense of who you are.

Reconnect with Your Significant Other

Your partner is your partner for a reason. They know you inside and out, and they love you for who you are.

For this reason, your significant other is the perfect person to turn to when you are no longer sure who you are. Make sure to reconnect with your partner as often as possible with long, deep conversations and good snuggle sessions.

Keep a Journal

Sometimes sorting things out in our minds can feel overwhelming. Everything seems to get jumbled up, and finding any sort of path through it might seem impossible. For this reason, it is always a good idea to keep a journal. This will allow you to get your thoughts and plans out on paper and out of your over crowded brain.

With these ideas on paper, defining who you are will be made a lot easier.

Hire a Doula

Many of these suggestions require that you have a bit of extra time here and there. However, motherhood is a 24/7 gig, and that means finding time to seek out hobbies or friendships—or even just be alone—isn’t always possible without help.

Hiring a postpartum doula might just be the perfect solution to this problem. A doula will gladly care for your little one while you spend some time journaling or chatting with girlfriends. On top of that, postpartum doulas have experience working with new mothers and may have bits of advice to help you find your place in the world once again.

Are you considering bringing a postpartum doula into your home? I’d love to chat about how I might be able to help you and your family adjust during this beautiful yet challenging time.

8 Questions to Ask a Potential Doula

Chelsea Gonzales

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Interviewing potential doulas for an upcoming birth can be an overwhelming experience. There are likely dozens of candidates to choose from in your area, and narrowing them down until you find the perfect fit for your family can be quite challenging.

Many women head into doula interviews with no idea what to say or ask. After all, a good number of the mamas out there have never hired a doula before, and even those who have may have only done so once or twice.

Because I understand that starting your search for the perfect doula can be intimidating, I have created a list of questions to ask potential doulas. By asking these questions, you can get a feel for how each person works and whether or not they will be a good addition to your birth team.

#1: Why did you choose to become a doula?

This is perhaps, the most important question on this list. A good doula is passionate about what she does. She feels strongly about the power of birth and makes it her goal to empower each and every woman she works with. A flimsy answer to this question will tell you that your candidate is feeling uninspired or burned out.

#2: What kind of experience and training do you have?

While experience and training certainly aren’t everything, they also aren’t nothing. A doula who has received high-quality training—or a birth worker with tons of experience—is likely going to be better at what she does than a person with no training or experience on their hands.

That said, new doulas must gain experience somehow. Therefore, if you find an inexperienced individual you like, consider giving her the job but also hiring an experienced doula to work by her side.

#3: Do you have references?

Remember that a doula may see herself as one thing while others view her as another. Additionally, it is always a possibility that an individual may choose to lie outright. For this reason, it is always a good idea to gather references and check in with them before making any final decisions.

#4: How will you help me manage pain?

This question will help you get a feel for your doula candidate’s style. What kinds of pain management techniques does she tend to employ? Does she bring tools to help keep her clients comfortable? Is she an expert in any one birthing method? Knowing these things will help you decide if the potential doula is right for you.

#5: What else will you be doing during my labor? Will you be available for help during my pregnancy as well?

Knowing exactly what you’re getting when you hire a person is always important. This of course applies to doulas just as much as it would anyone else. Find out what your candidate does during typical pregnancy and birth. Does she provide resources and support during pregnancy? Is she willing to cook or fetch food when you’re hungry and in labor? Does she help clean up your home after a home birth?

The answers to these questions could be a game changer.

#6: Will you involve my loved ones in the birthing process?

Partners will want to feel involved in the birthing process. Likewise, any sisters, friends, or other family members you invite into the birthing room will also want to have a role. Unfortunately, it is far too easy for a doula to take over and make others feel left out. Knowing in advance how your doula plans to include your loved ones could help in the decision-making process.

#7: What if you are unavailable when I call?

It is crucial that you know when your doula is on call, whether she will be out of town or unavailable at any time during your pregnancy, and what happens if she can’t help when you go into labor. Additionally, you may want to find out how many clients your candidate takes on at a time, as too many clients per month could increase the chances of conflicting births.

If your doula has a backup doula for emergency situations, ask if you will be allowed to meet that doula before the birth.

#8: Where will you attend births?

Some doulas only attend hospital births, while others are strictly home birth doulas. Still others will attend both home and hospital births, but prefer not to work at certain institutions. Knowing these things is important because a doula who is not willing to attend a birth at your preferred birthing location is obviously not ideal for you.

By asking these eight questions and adding to the list as you see fit, you should be able to find your perfect doula in no time at all.

Helping Your Postpartum Doula Help You

Chelsea Gonzales

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Many people enter parenthood feeling pretty overwhelmed. One of the biggest areas of concern comes along when the sun goes down. After all, we all know how precious sleep is, and newborns don't always seem to understand this fact. For this reason, a good number of new parents are making the decision to hire an overnight postpartum doula.

An overnight postpartum doula can provide an enormous amount of help to those families who are struggling with nighttime issues. They wake with baby and rock, change, and burp the little one as needed. If the newborn is bottle-fed, the doula will even take care of the feeding.

For sleep-deprived parents, this service is pretty incredible. However, it is still an investment. Therefore, many people wonder how they can ensure they are getting the most out of their investment.

For this reason, I have compiled some tips for those who are considering hiring an overnight postpartum doula. I hope these tips help you understand how you can get the most benefit from your doula.

 Hire Wisely

First and foremost, it is essential that you hire the right overnight postpartum doula for your family. Every new parent has different needs and wants, and every doula offers a slightly different set of services. Therefore, it is crucial that you interview potential doulas to find one that best suits your needs.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that your overnight postpartum doula will be in your home and caring for your infant. This means you will want to ensure you hire an individual you feel comfortable with.

 Communicate Well

Doulas of all kinds are typically amazing at anticipating needs. That is why they are good at what they do. This is especially true of overnight postpartum doulas, who can’t wake their clients to ask what their needs or wants might be.

That said, doulas are not mind readers. For this reason, you must communicate your wishes whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you should be demanding or rude, but it does mean you need to let your doula know if she isn’t meeting your expectations based on the contract you both signed. After all, she is there to make your life easier, but if she doesn’t know what you need, she cannot do that.

Rest Easy

It can be really difficult to hand your newborn over to someone else. It can be especially difficult to go to sleep after doing so. However, the primary reason for hiring an overnight postpartum doula is to get some much needed shut-eye. This is why I recommend interviewing a few different doulas and choosing one who both meets your needs and puts you at ease. If you don’t feel you can trust your doula for any reason, it’s time to find a new helper.

Assuming you do trust your doula, you need to find a way to relax while your little one is in her care. Diffusing lavender oil, taking a warm bath, and making sure your room is cool and dark are all great ways to induce sleepiness, should you feel restless.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure you get the very most out of your overnight postpartum doula investment. Considering the many baby-related expenses likely coming your way, it is good to know you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Want to learn more about my overnight postpartum doula services? Please have a look around the site for information on what I offer.

Overnight Postpartum Doulas: An Introduction

Chelsea Gonzales

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If you are expecting a new little one, it’s likely that a good number of people have let you know exactly how wonderful those first days will be. Others have probably taken it upon themselves to tell you how hard the days following birth are.
Depending on your situation, both sides of this story can be absolutely true. Therefore, it is best to do what you can to prepare yourself for the hard parts in advance.

One of the hardest parts of those first weeks after birth tends to be the nighttime. A new baby is not likely to understand a regular sleep schedule, and this has a tendency to leave new parents feeling pretty sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep doesn’t help anyone recover properly, and can often lead to anger, frustration, and unfortunate accidents.

Fortunately, there is a way to make this negative much less negative while still basking in the post-birth positives. This is where an overnight postpartum doula steps in.

What is an Overnight Postpartum Doula?

An overnight postpartum doula is a well-informed, patient, and kind caregiver to a new mother, her newborn, and her family. She may carry out any number of tasks based on what the family needs, and she is generally good at recognizing those needs quickly.

An overnight postpartum doula is well-versed in such things as infant care and post-birth recovery, making it possible for her to provide the mother with evidence-based information on such things. Most importantly, an overnight postpartum doula does all of these things while helping parents get the sleep they need and encouraging baby to establish a sleep schedule.

What Does an Overnight Postpartum Doula Do?

As mentioned before, an overnight postpartum doula may carry out any number of tasks. The exact things this individual does will depend greatly on the family’s needs, as well as her skillset and what is offered per her contract. Therefore, it is important to interview your overnight postpartum doula before hiring in order to ensure she offers the services you are expecting.

Some things overnight postpartum doulas almost always do include:

  • Bringing baby to mom to nurse when needed
  • Bottle-feeding baby if requested by mother
  • Burping, changing, comforting, and swaddling baby
  • Cleaning bottles
  • Supporting mama however possible

Some overnight postpartum doula services might also include:

  • Preparing meals and snacks
  • Caring for older children, should they wake
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Keeping a “baby log” for parents to review upon waking
  • Help with household chores

Who Needs an Overnight Postpartum Doula?

Almost any new mother will find an overnight postpartum doula helpful. After all, who doesn’t want to catch up on sleep after pulling an all-nighter or two?

Therefore, it is recommended that every expectant mama at least consider hiring an overnight doula of their own. That said, some people who should definitely bring in overnight help with the baby include:

  • Those who are returning to work immediately
  • Single moms or moms with spouses who are returning to work right away
  • Light sleepers
  • Those who need large amounts of sleep to function properly
  • New moms of multiples
  • Mothers recovering from a cesarean


As you can see, an overnight postpartum doula can be an amazing help to any new parent, giving them the opportunity to get some good rest while still ensuring their little one is well cared for.

If you think an overnight postpartum doula might be right for your family, I would love to chat. Please contact me today for information on my availability and the services I offer!