Why I Am A Birth Doula

So, what made me want to become a doula? And what qualities do I believe make me a good one? Let’s talk.

So many things influenced my becoming a doula. Before my first birth, I had never even heard of a doula. We decided to have a homebirth and were working with a local midwife. The midwife who ended up attending our birth worked with a doula as a team. So, you could say we ended up with a doula by accident, but I like to think of it as Providence. She was truly magical.

Now, what do I remember most about her? Did she suggest physical comfort measures and help to make me comfortable as best she could? Sure, she did. But, what I remember so much more than that is her emotional support. And that’s not to discount the support that I got from my husband, which was invaluable. But she fully complimented him and said just what needed to be said at just the right time. She brought my breathing down where it needed to be and breathed in rhythm with me. She helped remind me that I was birthing my baby and doing it like a boss!

I believe that birthing mothers benefit greatly from having a steady, calming, grounded presence at their birth. If fear is not brought into a birth, then a mother will have less pain. She will have less struggling against the process and be able to go with the flow of labor more easily.

It is my honor to be welcomed into the sacred and intimate experience that birth is. I believe in your body; that you were made to do this. Whatever your outcome, I will be by your and your partners side, encouraging you every step of the way.

It is the job of the doula to be intuitive and discerning of the situation as it develops and evolves. Birth is unpredictable and sometimes messy. I can read situations and emotions well. I know what is normal in labor and can help reassure your partner that what they might think is scary is really just a variation of “normal”.

As a doula, I bring a calm and reassuring presence.

The most important thing when hiring a doula is making sure that they are someone you feel comfortable with. Someone you feel will bring the right support to you and your partner and the right energy to your birth space.

My training, knowledge, experience and personal strengths of encouragement, intuition, discernment and empathy all make me the best doula I can be.  If you’re looking for those qualities in a doula, then let’s get in touch and talk!

Every birth is unique, but all births deserve respect and honor. You are fierce!

Breastfeeding Resources in the Southern Tier/Binghamton, New York Area

Before we get into the resources for troubleshooting the issues that can come with breastfeeding, let’s talk about a few local resources that can help you prepare for success.

First of all, congratulations on deciding to embark on this journey! Women have been breastfeeding since the beginning of Creation, but it’s only in our lifetime that it’s become more taboo. Because many of us might spend our whole lives, before becoming mothers, never once seeing a baby at the breast, it’s no wonder we aren’t quite sure how to do it. Let’s talk about some ways you can find breastfeeding support in the Binghamton, New York area.

Breastfeeding Classes

Taking a class in breastfeeding can help you prepare for what to expect.

Binghamton Metro Doulas offers a Breastfeeding Basics class.

Newborn Naturally offers a childbirth education series that includes breastfeeding education and can be taken individually.

UHS breastfeeding class

Lourdes Hospital breastfeeding class: Getting Off to a Good Start

Books and Videos

Having a book about breastfeeding can be very handy when you have things that come up with your own baby. Often seeing and hearing through visual guides like videos can be easier to understand and remember. Here is a list of some that I have found to be good.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding published by La Leche League International

Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family published by La Leche League International

The Nursing Mother’s Companion  by Kathleen Huggins

Youtube video Breastfeeding Positions and Latch

Dr Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding on Youtube

Face to Face Support

Having breastfeeding resources at your fingertips is so important. It can be the difference between giving up and pushing through the struggles. Almost everyone has their fair share, so don’t feel like you are the only one that can’t “figure it out”. Those are the times when it is most important to reach out for support.

Peer-to-Peer

Often just talking to other experienced moms can help you realize that you’re not alone.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Peer Counseling – 607- 778-3904

La Leche League Greater Binghamton. They meet twice a month at two different locations in addition to having online “meetings” on their Facebook Page

Professionals

Having a postpartum doula is a great way to get the support of someone knowledgeable in breastfeeding and newborn care.

Here are some other local professionals to consider as well.

Karina Martinez, CLC – Karina is a Certified Lactation Counselor. She is also a birth and postpartum doula and a leader of the La Leche League Greater Binghamton.

Laura Walker, RNC, IBCLC – Laura is a lactation consultant that works out of Lourdes hospital in Binghamton, NY
607-798-5519

Mothers and Babies Network also has helpful hotline lists by county.

Broome County WIC Clinics

Facebook Groups

Breastfeeding Troubleshooting

Let’s Talk facebook groups! Face to face support is invaluable, but sometimes you just want to get quick answers and hear lots of moms’ opinions and feedback without leaving the comfort of your own home. With a newborn this can be especially helpful, when your days feel overwhelming enough. The following is a list of some helpful groups:

Binghamton Breastfeeding Love and Support

La Leche League of Greater Binghamton: Online Meeting

Finding Milk Donors

Links for those who want to supplement with human milk. There are also breastmilk donation notices posted sometimes in the Binghamton Breastfeeding Love and Support group listed above.

Human Milk for Human Babies – New York

Human Milk for Human Babies New York – Group

In Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you feel like you need it. I always recommend reaching out to friends or family that may have experience, but as you can see there’s plenty of help available outside of your own personal circle as well.

Every breastfeeding mother deserves to have a safe place to complain about their struggles without the person listening suggesting that they throw in the towel.

So, find your safe place, your peeps, your village and remember to pay it forward to the new moms that could use the same kind of help.

Much Love!

PS Step by Step Guide to Diagnosing Tongue Ties This article is definitely worth a read if you even slightly suspect that your baby might have a tongue/lip tie.

Dancing For Birth Instructor

In April, my husband, our toddler, and I all took a long drive up to Buffalo NY for me to attend the Dancing For Birth™ training with founder and master trainer Stephanie Larson.

My initial intent was not to get certified as an instructor. My intent was to attend a dynamic training and learn some very useful skills to compliment my doula training and knowledge. I wanted to learn more about the “Larson technique”. The subject of optimal fetal positioning for mothers and babies intrigued me.

Activate Your Instincts™

The training did not disappoint. I came away from it so impressed that I felt I had no choice but to pursue certification. I realized that so many would benefit from regular classes rather than just a few moves being taught at a prenatal meeting.

One of the many things I love about Dancing For Birth ™ classes is that they are not only for expectant mothers. Women trying to conceive and in the postpartum period are welcome and encouraged to join class as well. Young babies can be worn during class in carriers or slings while dancing.

Furthermore, I am not a trained dancer and never considered myself to be a very good dancer when compared to others. But that is the beauty of Dancing For Birth ™. Even if you think you have two left feet. It is for everyone and anyone. It’s all about attendees finding what works for them and doing what feels comfortable to them.

Dancing For Birth™ moves are a light form of exercise. The moves get endorphins flowing and encourage oxytocin production when practiced during labor.

During a typical class we stretch, practice deep breathing, talk and share, dance, and strengthen our core and pelvic floor.

Simple moves for safer, easier birth™

Certified Instructor

All of this blog post to say that I am now proudly a Dancing For Birth™ Certified Instructor. I plan on starting a class series soon. I can’t wait to see what mothers do with the skills and knowledge!