10% Sale!

Sale!(1)

Now through Mother’s Day, enjoy 10% off ALL services. That includes birth & postpartum doula services and placenta encapsulation. Book one of our packages and save even more on already discounted prices!

Go ahead, you deserve it!

Contact us today.

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This Doula Didn’t Hire a Doula

During the course of a conversation where jobs come up and I have to explain what a doula is or  how invaluable we can be, and what we can do to support birthing women, this question inevitably comes up… “Did you have a doula at your birth?”

The answer is no, I did not hire a doula.

I did not even know what a doula was until pregnant with my third born and was reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. There were mentions of doulas and it got me curious so I did some research. Turns out, there were no doulas in my small city and I decided to change that by signing on to train with Childbirth International (CBI) at 8 1/2 months pregnant. I ended up getting the natural birth I wanted but boy did I ever wish I had a doula by my side!

Fast forward to 2016. I am pregnant with our fourth and planning for the birth. Doula or no doula? As a doula myself, obviously I’m knowledgeable about what is happening with my body and baby. I’m also trained and experienced in comfort measures to practice during labor.

So what was I to do? How would it look if I, a doula, didn’t have one? Would people think negatively about that?

You see, I truly believe that most women can benefit from having a doula at their birth. But I also believe that it is not truly needed. What is needed for the laboring woman is to feel comfortable, calm, and empowered. From my third born’s birth I knew I needed to be left alone, let mind and body take over, and to just let it happen. To me, that meant no doula. Even my husband was kept off to the side, watching, silently supporting and waiting for me to give him something to do.

The point is, while doulas are invaluable to many birthing women out there, we understand that not all women want or need one. And that’s OK! As long as you feel comfortable, calm, and completely empowered about your birth, that’s what is most important.

And if you need a little help getting to that point, you know where to find us. 🙂

Babies and Pets

Dogs and cats are the most common household pets and often times, they are a couple’s first baby. So when a new (human) baby joins the family, it’s not uncommon for pets to feel jealous or rejected. It’s an overwhelming time for all involved. Thankfully, there are things you can do ahead of time and after the baby comes that can help curb those feelings and prevent acting out.

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Prior to your baby’s birth or adoption, introduce your pet to any baby gear. If you haven’t already set out the swing, crib, car seat, etc., do it now and get your pet used to having them around.

If you are planning on making changes after the baby arrives, make the changes beforehand. For instance, if your dog or cat will no longer be allowed to sleep on your bed, get them adjusted to sleeping in their new place now. Therefore, they will not see the baby as taking over their spot.

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After your baby’s birth or adoption, if possible, take their hat or blanket home while mom and baby are still in the hospital or birth center and let your pet get acquainted with the smell. Sometimes, dogs and cats will end up “claiming” this blanket or hat so if you plan on keeping them, have two sets. One for keepsakes and one for your pet.

When the time comes for the first introduction of pet to baby, make sure they are calm. It may even be a good idea to have them on a leash or have someone holding them. Speak calmly to reduce the risk of your pet getting overly excited or scared.

Keep your pets involved. Nothing feels worse than being pushed away and rejected all the time, pets and humans alike. So try to keep your pet’s routine and involvement as normal as possible. Let them be near you as you change, feed, or hold the baby.

Utilize your postpartum doula if you have one. They can take the dog for a walk while you take care of the baby. Or your doula can care for your baby while you spend some time with your pet.

 

Babies and their furry friends can enjoy an amazing bond when they get off on the right foot. Use these tips to set them up for a great start!

 

For more info, check out http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_babies.html

5 Minute Self Care Tips

Self care. It seems to be one of the hardest things for moms to do but is one of the most important. In this day and age, we are all so busy and hardly have a moment to ourselves. Add in the fact that we’re in the midst of the end of the school year funk and exhaustion is starting to set in.

I’m here to remind you that self care is more important than ever right now. That’s why I came up with 6 self care tips you can do in 5 minutes or less to help you relax and regain your inner peace.

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Paint your nails – We know nail polish can take forever to dry and usually gets messed up because who has the time to sit and wait? Grab yourself some fast drying nail polish in your favorite color and smile every time you look at your hands.

Drink your favorite tea or coffee – Almost nothing hits the spot better than that first sip of delicious tea or coffee. And do you know what’s even better? Drinking it while it’s still warm!

Read a book or magazine – I don’t know about you but since becoming a parent, reading never seems to make it off my ‘to do’ list. Four kids later and I’m finally realizing that I can, in fact, read for pleasure. It doesn’t matter how much you read, just read. You’ll feel so much better. One sentence and 5 minutes at a time. You may just like it so much that it will motivate you to keep reading.

Journal – This is another thing that usually gets put to the back burner. Keep a journal next to your bed and jot down a few notes about your day. What good thing happened? What made you smile? It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. Keep it simple.

Breathe – I know, I know. Breathe? Yes. BREATHE! Sit down, relax your body and breathe in the moment. Feel your lungs fill with air, feel the air release. Just a few minutes of controlled breathing and your stress melts away.

Get up and move – Throw on some music and groove. It doesn’t even matter if the kids are around or not. Seeing you enjoying yourself will most likely motivate them to get up and dance too. Before long, everyone will be smiling and leaving the grumps behind.

Ladies, no matter what, take some time to recharge. You need it.

You are worth it!

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

You’ve got your birth plan, your support team, and car seat installed. All you have left is packing a bag for the hospital. As a doula, my clients commonly ask what they should include in their hospital bag. New parents generally tend to over pack because what many don’t realize is that hospitals usually have everything you need for the baby including diapers, shirts/onesies, formula (if not breastfeeding), and blankets.

For being in the hospital 24-48 hours with normal deliveries, hospital bags don’t need to include everything and the kitchen sink. Here’s a practical list that ensures you have what you need.

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Your hospital bag should include…

  1. Comfortable clothes for mom – Yoga pants and T-shirts are perfect. The last thing you want right after having a baby is to be uncomfortable. Save yourself the hassle and pack your most comfortable clothes. And yes, maternity clothes are perfectly acceptable.
  2. Nursing bra or nursing tank – If you are breastfeeding, these will become your best friend.
  3. Clothes for dad or partner – Unless they are going home to shower and change, you will want to bring a set of clothes for them too.
  4. Toiletries – Shampoo, soap, chapstick, lotion, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Even better, travel sized toiletries. There’s no need to bring large bulky containers, taking up more room in your bag than need be.
  5. Going home outfit for baby – This is really the only clothing you need for the baby as hospitals always provide several shirts or onesies. I would suggest an outfit in two different sizes. Newborn size clothing is made for an average 7lb baby. So when a 9 pounder comes out, that adorable outfit does not fit.
  6. Phone or camera charger – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget your chargers! There is nothing worse than wanting to take a picture of your sweet new baby and finding out your phone or camera is dead.

Now that you have what you need, I’m including a few extras that you may like to have on hand.

You may want…

  • Snacks – Labor can be long. If your hospital allows eating, you may want something small to eat to power you through. Snacks come in handy for your partner if they’re by your side for hours without a meal. You also may need them in between meals after your baby is born if the cafeteria is closed.
  • Laptop or book – Being in the hospital for a few days can get boring. You may want a laptop to surf the web or watch movies/shows. This may also be a great time to read that book you’ve been dying to finish.
  • Robe or slippers – While not necessary, these might be great for your comfort.
  • Baby book or journal – Write down your baby’s stats, get their footprints, and write your birth story while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Babies tend to come on their time, so I recommend having a bag packed and ready to go around week 36 or 37.

Now you’re all set! Go and rock that birth!

Sleeping Through The Night And What It Entails

As parents, we have a list of goals and expectations for our children and at the top of that list is usually a baby that is sleeping through the night. Many times, we become overwhelmed at what stage and age babies will tend to have longer stretches of sleep and breaking down the exact meaning of sleeping through the night.

 

Breaking Down Sleeping Through The Night:

There is often a misconception that at a certain age or time all babies will magically be sleeping through the night. Many medical professionals state sleeping through the night is defined as a stretch of 6 plus hours of sleep. This does not mean that your baby will not wake during this time period, it is being able to settle and move to the next sleep cycle without the intervening of sleep props, parents, or feedings. Frequent waking’s during the night are developmentally appropriate and there can be waking’s between each sleep cycle or 2-6 times a night. It is important to evaluate the baby or child’s age and working to decrease their sleep associations and number of waking’s where a sleep prop is needed. Understanding what sleeping through the night entails is key before diving deeper into longer sleep stretches. Many parents believe sleeping through the night should be 10-12 hours of interrupted sleep. While this is the goal for many, you must evaluate your child’s individual situation.

 

Setting Realistic Expectations:

This is one of the hardest factors to consider as we are constantly blasted with news articles, friends advice, the latest trends and research on our children especially when it comes to their sleep. A newborn baby will have much different needs and requirements than an 8-month-old baby. One of the main areas of focus for newborns is implementing the proper and healthy sleep foundations along with sleep basics for a strong sleep environment. Newborns are not able to implement strict schedules and routines, it is important to understand the sleep science and education at each age. Every phase and age will have different realistic expectations, and setting up the basics from the beginning is extremely important as your baby grows and develops.

Factors To Considered:

  • Is baby relying on sleep props and causing additional waking’s during the night?

  • Sleep props are anything that a baby associates with helping them get to sleep or back to sleep at their waking’s. This includes naps, bedtime and overnight sleep.

  • Are babies taking in a good adequate feeding when they require a feeding overnight, or are they using a bottle or breast feeding as their pacifier and sleep prop?

  • Discussing with your pediatrician and health care providers the health and well-being of your child before working on longer stretches of sleep overnight. 

  • Factoring in your child’s overall sleep requirements in a 24-hour period. This includes overnight sleep plus nap totals. 

Evaluate your situation and reach out for the much-needed help if you feel your baby is not meeting their healthy sleep foundations, environment or not receiving their daily sleep requirements. It can be a struggle to figure out the best plan for your baby or child as they have their own unique needs. Do not be tempted to put your child into a category with all babies, as their individual needs will be different from even a sibling, best friend’s child or best bud at day care. I enjoy helping families develop peaceful sleepers and implementing healthy sleep education into their family dynamics.

Email me kelley@serenitysleepers.com or visit my website and sign up for your five free tips to avoid bedtime battles www.serenitysleepers.com

Lessons of Birth From a Giraffe

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By now, most people have heard of April the giraffe, the seemingly forever pregnant giraffe. She has taken the world by storm and left us all on edge as we await the birth. People from all over the globe are joining together, watching and waiting for a glimpse of mother nature at work.

Animal Adventure Park is informing us that everything is going as it should; April and her calf are both healthy and safe. She is not yet in labor and they may have been wrong on her due date. Due dates are really just estimates and, in fact, can have a range of 4 weeks!

Typically, only 5% of babies are actually born on their due date.

As a doula, I am very aware of how mother nature and labor works. In most cases, if left alone, it works beautifully. And if working with pregnant women and going through my own four pregnancies has taught me anything, it’s patience.

I’m seeing so many commenters on the internet (I know, why do I read them?!) asking why the park has not intervened or if there’s anything they can do to help this mama giraffe just have this baby already!  The internet commenters of the world tend to take things to the extreme and are not exactly know for their patience.

Thankfully, April has no clue she’s being watched by millions of people and can take her good old time. Women, on the other hand, feel the constant scrutiny during the last few weeks of their pregnancy. The questions about what’s going on with her cervix and when is she going to have that baby.

As April is so unknowingly teaching us, labor takes time! The wait for it to begin is hard. Inducing labor has its risks. It is a serious decision that should always be made with your health care provider. But for low risk women, sometimes all we need is a little time and patience.

So to all the Aprils of the world, we support you.

We’ve Moved!

If you’ve poked around our website or Facebook, you may have noticed the changes made to our location section. That’s because we have recently moved and are now based in the Canton, Ohio area!

Freya Birthing Services still provides doula services to the Canton, Akron, and Youngstown area but we are no longer able to service most of the Cleveland area hospitals or homes. We now service Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Southern Trumbull, Northern Tuscarawas and Eastern Wayne counties. You can check here for a full list of local hospitals and birth centers that we travel to. Don’t see your hospital or location? Feel free to contact us today and we’ll let you know if we can help.

We absolutely LOVE and thank those of you for contacting us for repeat services and apologize if this change affects or has affected you. Not to worry though, because we will work hard to get you the help you need. We work with other great doulas and are confident we can find one that fits your needs.

Once again, we provide doula and placenta services to the Canton, Akron, Youngstown, and surrounding areas.

Have a great day! We are looking forward to helping you!

Meet Our Newest Team Member!

Freya Birthing Services has just added on professionally trained Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, Gabriel Walters. Walters…. does that sound familiar? Yes, he is co-owner, Leanne’s husband.

When Freya Birthing Services needed another Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, Gabe offered to fill the void. He’s gained a vast knowledge of all things pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum by helping and supporting his wife in her own studies and birthing experiences. With such interesting topics like those and his love of learning, it was easy for Gabe to dive head first into his placenta training through Placenta Benefits.info (PBI).

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Gabe with his youngest son.

Gabe spent 14 years in the Army and military contracting world, serving 3 tours overseas, before pursuing a career in teaching high school math. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and looks forward to helping new mothers across Northeast Ohio benefit from processing their placentas.

Welcome to the team, Gabe!

Celebrate You This Mother’s Day!

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We all know that giving birth is not the only way to be a mother. Adoption, surrogacy, step-parenting, and even fostering. It’s the time, dedication, and love you put in to raising these small beings that make you a mother. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever have but is also the most rewarding. We would do anything for our children without even second guessing it.

Here at Freya Birthing Services, we want to honor and thank all the selfless moms out there. Whether you are giving birth or are a fresh new mom in her postpartum period, remember that you are important and this world would never exist without you!

Take some time out of your day for yourself because you are worth it!

 

Motherhood is not simply
Giving birth and then
Putting in your time
Waiting for the moment when
The children grow
And off they go
To thrive or falter
On their own…
Motherhood is not the sum
Of all that you have done
Motherhood is who you are
Whether they are near or far
Motherhood isn’t what you do
It’s the very heart and soul of you.

Rene Mancourt