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Doula Talk

What is a doula?  How can a doula help during my pregnancy and birth?  These are the two most common questions asked by moms-to-be, especially those who are considering natural birth options.

Doulas have been around for a long time, but they didn’t always have a title.  The earliest “doulas” were sisters, mothers and best friends of the laboring mom.  As a profession, personal labor assistants have been around for decades.  The word doula is from a Greek word meaning woman servant.  A doula helps a laboring mom gather information, educates her about birth and beyond, provides emotional support and comfort, and serves as a liaison and advocate during her labor.

Before the birth, a doula helps a pregnant mom by providing information regarding her birth options.  During labor and childbirth, the doula explains procedures and talks with the laboring mom in layman’s terms.  Because she is not playing the role of OB or midwife, she can be helpful in ways the medical staff cannot.  Whenever your caregiver, whether it be a doctor or midwife, suggests an option or procedure such as “breaking your water,” your doula will provide you with the benefits and risks, discuss your alternatives, remind you of your birth preference, and support you regardless of what decision you make.

When a woman is laboring, trying to have an unmedicated birth, she needs encouragement!  One of a doula’s most important roles is simply telling her client she is doing a wonderful job and that what she’s feeling is completely normal.  Because of his lack of training and emotional involvement in the birth, a new father isn’t necessarily the best person to provide the specific comfort measures that a doula has the training and experience to deliver.  A doula is tasked with constantly providing nourishment and comfort measures, which could include a massage of the lower back and suggesting positions in labor that will help the baby get in proper positioning for the birth.

When evaluating your birth options, consider all your options!  There are many to consider, including which caregiver is right for you, all of your birthing preferences, which hospital or birthing center to use, and even what undergarments and other choices for what to wear during your pregnancy and nursing.  The last option you would want to neglect is who will be part of your labor support team.  Strongly consider having a birth doula as part of your birth team!

by: Lacy Henderson, the co-owner of Lumina Birth, and a mother of five.


Child Safety

New and expecting parents are bombarded with advice and information as they scour books and magazine articles (and blogs!) soaking up all the information they can.  While it is possible to learn quite a bit in nine months’ time, there is far too much information for any new parent realistically to absorb.  What parents don’t know, or worse, what they think they know but don’t, can make all the difference in the world to the child that they will soon have in their lives.  

A good example of what parents think they know but often do not can be found in their selection of car seats.  Frequently, their selection is based on misinformation or misguided advice.

Perhaps the most common misconception is that every car seat fits into every car.  When we shop for replacement parts for our car, we’re never surprised to be asked for the year, make and model of the car, at a minimum.  When it comes to a car seat, for some reason, these questions often are never even asked.

There are all kinds of cars, some big, some small, some car seat friendly and some not.  Likewise, some car seats and carriers just don’t work well in many cars, while others are more vehicle friendly.  If you are looking at a car seat and the person helping you doesn’t ask what kind of car it is going into, then they really can’t help you as they just don’t know the biggest variable.  Your vehicle is the most important piece of information to consider when selecting a car seat.

Another popular misconception is that you can use a car seat until the child reaches only the weight capacity of the car seat.  Manufacturers feed into this myth by prominently featuring the weight capacity of the car seat in their advertising.  While the weight capacity should be followed, it is the height capacity that most children reach first.  An infant seat may be rated to 30 or 35 pounds, but if the child is over the 30 or 32 inch height capacity, they will have outgrown the car seat, no matter what their weight may be.

Parents like things that match, and most new parents believe that they have to buy an infant seat that is of the same make as their stroller.  What most parents don’t realize is that many stroller companies don’t even make car seats.  Their strollers will work with many different infant seats, allowing the parent the ability to pick the stroller that best fits their lifestyle and the car seat that best fits their car.  An iCandy stroller and a Cybex infant seat will be very, very happy together, even though one is from an English company and the other a German manufacturer.

Parents should also keep in mind that children are not little versions of adults.  Most parents assume that what is good for them is good for their children, but the fact is children have very different needs than their parents.  Turning a child forward-facing seems like something your child wants, but doing this too soon is one of the worst things parents can do for their children.  A child 2 years and under is five times safer rear-facing than a child who is forward-facing.  Some states require that children under 2 remain rear-facing, but remember that different states have different laws, and while following them is a necessity, don’t assume they represent what is safest for your child.  Most often, state laws are the bare minimum standards, just like car seat regulations.  New parents and seasoned veterans alike should strive to go beyond these standards.

When it comes to car seats and other baby gear, the smartest thing a parent can do is to take a course in child passenger safety and in baby gear.  New fathers usually love this kind of class, and it is often a real eye-opener to parents as they learn what they thought they knew.  When car seat engineers design a car seat, they assume two things; that you are using it correctly and that it is properly installed.  If you can’t properly install a car seat in your car, then it won’t matter what safety features that car seat has as they just won’t work as they should.

Lumina Birth is proud to offer a Child Safety Class to parents who want to take advantage of the information that is available to them.  This class if offered for FREE.  Taking this two hour class can not only help you prevent a money-wasting mistake, but will also make your child safer as you explore the world together.


Infant CPR

Before going home with your baby who has been in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), most hospitals in the Atlanta area require that you have completed an infant CPR class.  After just having given birth, this is the last thing you want to have to worry about.  It’s also important to have the saving knowledge of CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver when bringing a healthy baby home.  Our class, taught by an experienced NICU nurse, is 2 hours in length and costs $40/person.  Sign up today by clicking here.


Baby Basics Class Taught by a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Educator

Lumina’s Baby Basics class is a great way to prepare for your first few weeks with your new arrival! Learn what questions you should ask at your first pediatrician appointments, diaper changing and swaddling techniques, and how to care for belly buttons and circumcisions. For the breastfeeding mom, come get some pointers on effective pumping. The “Happiest Baby on the Block” method will be highlighted as well. 

Any parent or grandparent can benefit from this course whether it’s being taken as a refresher or as a first timer! The class will be taught by Registered Nurse, Ansley Parillo or Certified Lactation Educator Courtney Clowdis. 

Gain the skills that will ensure peace of mind, allowing you to relax and enjoy your first days at home with your new family. Register now!


Birth Photography Archives Precious Moments

Author: Erin Steele, Birth Doula and Photographer

I began studying photography in college and loved every minute of the darkroom experience. I moved on to digital as my husband, who is full time wedding photographer, began handing down his old cameras to me. I started photographing weddings as his assistant, shot a few of my own weddings and enjoyed capturing friend's babies on the go. Over the past few years, I've come to believe that having a camera in my hands isn't just a fun hobby but a way to give others a lovely gift. Images are fleeting moments frozen in time that might have otherwise been lost. I get to be a part of finding the most special details and turning them into permanent memories. I love the emotions attached to a picture that has caught the perfect expression, the silliest moment or the progression of happiest day of your life! 

When dealing with special events like birth, I love to be a part of archiving every little detail of the day. I think that photographs should tell a story and that it what I aim to do when I am in a delivery room behind a camera. If I am working with your newborn or your growing family, I strive to capture the essence of your dynamic and the individual personalities that make up your unique family. I look forward to meeting you and your little one! 

Birth photography begins at $150 for the first 1-3 hours I am there as a photographer. Each additional hour is $50. If you are using my doula services or will also be using any other photography services (newborn, maternity, etc.) discounts will apply. Individual portrait sessions begin at $150. All sessions/births include 1-3 hrs of coverage, a CD with AT LEAST 30 proofs and the option to add professional prints and albums.

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