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Navigating the Transition: Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Going Back to Work

The decision to return to work after having a baby is a significant milestone for many mothers. It’s a time filled with mixed emotions – the excitement of resuming your career, and the challenge of balancing work and motherhood, particularly when you’re committed to breastfeeding. Going back to work while continuing to breastfeed is entirely possible with the right strategies and support. In this blog, we’ll explore valuable tips for breastfeeding moms to ease the transition and maintain their breastfeeding journey successfully. 1. Plan Ahead and Communicate Before returning to…

Empowering Choices: The Birth of Birth Centers in Illinois - A Spotlight on Burr Ridge Birth Center and Chicago Birth Center

Holistic Family Doulas has been thrilled to be a part of the new birth centers in the Chicagoland area since their inception.  Our team has attended dozens of births both at Burr Ridge Birth Center and The Birth Center of Chicago and have many more on the horizon for 2024!  Please enjoy our post of the ins and outs of the beloved birth centers. The birth center movement in Illinois has provided expectant parents with an alternative option to hospital births, allowing them to embrace natural childbirth in a safe…

Safety of Home Birth: Recent Studies and Insights

Many of Holistic Family Doulas clients opt for home birth.  Holistic Family Doulas has seen an encouraging rise in home birth since the pandemic as well as the recent passing of certification for Certified Professional Midwives in Illinois.  We often get asked the question, is it safe?  Here is an blog with information and studies to help you hone into your own intiution and decision for your family. Home birth, a practice as old as humanity itself, is making a resurgence in the modern world. Expectant parents are increasingly exploring…

The Crucial Role of Sleep for New Parents: How Postpartum Doulas and Newborn Care Specialists Can Make a Difference

Becoming a new parent is a life-altering experience filled with joy, wonder, and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. One of the most significant challenges that new parents face is the drastic change in their sleep patterns. The importance of sleep cannot be overstated, especially during the postpartum period when both physical and emotional well-being are at stake. In this blog, we’ll explore why sleep is vital for new parents and how postpartum doulas and newborn care specialists can provide invaluable support during this transformative time. The Importance of Sleep for…

A Journey Through Pregnancy and Loss

Content Warning: Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss mentioned in this content   For my first miscarriage, I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was already miscarrying. I wasn’t even sure what the experience was until a year later, after my second miscarriage, a few questions of my ob confirmed my suspicions. When I got pregnant a few months after that first miscarriage, I was two years into trying to conceive our second child. A  matter of weeks before, I had received a diagnosis to explain our infertility, and a…

Feeling Scared While Pregnant?: Tips for Releasing Birth-Related Fears So You Feel More Confident When Preparing for Motherhood

Pregnancy and new motherhood can bring on many different fears in women. We may struggle with the uncertainty of when and how we will deliver. Maybe our greatest fear is if we’ll be able to be a good, loving mother once our baby is born. What’s important to keep in mind, no matter what your fears are, is that you’re not alone in this. Coping with so many unknowns is a completely normal part of the birthing and new motherhood experience — this is an overwhelming process, and it’s only…

Doulas and Postpartum Care: The health of the mother reflects the priorities and the health of the country.

Three ways proper postpartum care with the support of doulas can build a nation of happier, healthier mothers. The postpartum period of pregnancy also referred to as “the fourth trimester,” has been historically underlooked within the field of obstetrics in the United States. For many expecting mothers and those in their communities, the focus of preparing for a new birth focuses on the health of the pregnant woman only in regards to the coming bundle of joy. But the health and wellness of the mother after birth, especially in those…

Postpartum Healing

The proper postpartum recovery is essential to the mother and the family. In this day and age more than ever women are expected to do so much so quickly. Women are increasingly seeing the need to take time for their healing. Holistic Family Doulas can help ease the transition after having a baby by offering the following services: Belly Binding, Postpartum Healing Ceremonies, and Reiki and Singing Bowl Meditations. Belly Binding Belly binding is an excellent practice to encourage healing during your postpartum. Benkung Belly Binding is a wrapping technique…

The Best-Laid Plans, Guest Blog

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” -Translated from “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns I never expected to have a c-section (let alone two of them for that matter.) It was not a part of my carefully planned and neatly typed birth plan.  My husband and I had attended birthing classes and I even took a course on breastfeeding. I did research and read an endless number of articles about what to pack in my hospital bag, how to manage labor pain, how to make your own…

Ways Work-at-Home Parents Can Balance Home and Family

  Working from home while juggling parenting responsibilities can be challenging. When you’re a full-time parent and a professional, some things tend to fall to the wayside. Here are some ways you can regain control and maintain a better work-life balance despite the chaos. Focus on Efficiency in Your Workday Spending extra hours on the clock isn’t going to cut it. Aim to get things done as efficiently as possible. Clearly structure your workday—separately from home life. Get your efficient routine down to a science. Take breaks to recharge (and…

Western Suburb Birthing Options

  Sherman Hospital: 1425 N. Randall Rd Elgin, IL 60123 Midwife Care Available Baby-Friendly Status Perinatal II+: Level 2 with Extended Capabilities: Hospitals with extended neonatal capabilities provide an intermediate level of care to pregnant women and more complex care to newborns when required. These hospitals do not have a neonatal intensive care nursery. Still, they do maintain a special care nursery that is covered by a neonatologist who is specially trained to treat newborns requiring special care. Overall Cesarean Section Rate: 24.7% Primary C Section Rate: 12.0% VBAC Rate…

Criteria For Picking 4 Essential Baby Products

I was able to look out the window today and enjoy the sun and breeze coming through. I was high enough to see down into the bird’s nest. I’ve never paid much attention to the next because usually, the birds are out of it, chirping and hopping from branch to branch. Today though, I caught just the right moment, where the bird landed and reached down only to be met an instant later with the gaping beak of one of its hatchlings. For the next 20 minutes, all I saw…

Placenta Encapsulation - Is It Right For You?

Placenta Encapsulation is one way you can continue to use your placenta after the birth of your baby. If you are like many people giving birth in the Chicago area, you may be surprised you are even considering doing ANYTHING with your placenta – but being pregnant can change a lot of things, including one’s curiosity for, perhaps previously uninteresting ideas.   The placenta is an incredibly important organ. It filters, nourishes, and is your baby’s lifeline until being born. It is also an important generator of hormones that impact you,…

The Importance of Poop

With so few ways for your baby to communicate, any information can be the focus of a parent’s attention.   Which is why poop becomes such a big deal!   But very few people find poop interesting. So when parenthood comes, it is an unnerving and disgusting process to be initiated into the world of this topic. After the bewilderment, there are some comic elements to having so many conversations about poop. Bathroom humor is said to be the lowest form of fun, but it is universal – if you…

First Weeks Home After Birth During a Pandemic

Walking through your door after making the drive home from the hospital is a surreal moment. You did it. You had a baby!  Now what?  First things first, take a breath.  Two people are healing from birth, you and your baby. Your priorities feel like they shift from moment to moment, depending on who is awake and who is unhappy about it. While you have a minute to think about it, what do you need today? How is your body feeling? When was the last time you ate or drank…

How Do You Know You're In Labor?

The final weeks of pregnancy feel like they each have 18 days in them. They last forever. Your mind has a hard time thinking about anything but the fact that you won’t be pregnant soon, and you are curious if THIS moment, oh wait! This moment will be the last one where you feel this way as a PREGNANT PERSON! There is so much anticipation! You can’t help it. Experts tell you to try to find distractions and to rest as much as possible. (It’s true! Ask me how I…

Virtual Doula Support with Holistic Family Doulas

A global pandemic does not erase the need for support in pregnancy and labor. And with your safety and the safety of our community as a priority, we are still here for you in new ways.   We are committed to families birthing in the Chicago Area and western suburbs. With new hospital policies limiting the number of support allowed in the labor and delivery rooms across the area, we want to be a part of a solution for families looking for information and encouragement. If you are curious about if…

The Pelvic Floor: Before, During, and After Pregnancy

  Many people don’t give the pelvic floor much thought until there’s a problem.  And, unfortunately, the risk for pelvic floor issues increases with pregnancy.  Nobody wants to deal with pelvic floor issues, especially during pregnancy or when you’re caring for a new baby.  So, here are some tips to help maintain pelvic health and prevent issues that can occur during pregnancy and postpartum. What is the pelvic floor exactly? The pelvic floor is made up of muscles that attach from the pubic bone to the tailbone and from side…

What Not To Say To People Struggling With Fertility

We’ve all unintentionally put our foot in our mouths when talking about delicate subjects. Fertility is one of those topics! While it is still common to ask couples about their plans to have or not have kids, when there are known fertility issues (- or not), we hope the following topics to avoid will help keep you on the right side of your friendships. Don’t tell them to relax. Never in the history of history has the phrase “relax” ever helped a person relax. Usually comes out as a judgment…

4 Apps That Make Life Easier for First-Time Parents

Source: Unsplash For first-time parents, each day with their new baby brings different challenges. If you’ve just welcomed your first child into the world, you’re probably exhausted and stressed out, and even though you’re grateful that your dream of becoming a parent is finally a reality, you might be struggling to adjust to some aspects of this new phase in your life. Thankfully, technology is making life a little easier for new parents. With these convenient smartphone apps, you’ll be able to keep track of your baby’s development, access expert…

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable: Consider Some Pros and Cons

One of the things that may surprise you after having been a parent for some time is the amount of energy and thought parents put into their child’s poop. A conversation about the frequency and consistency of your child’s bowel movements sometimes starts before birth. It continues until you are confident that wiping, flushing, and washing are all happening consistently. Meconium, or your baby’s first stool, is a thick black substance that acts as a sort of plug to your baby’s digestive system, and if dispelled while in utero, is…

Newborn Sleep & What To Expect

If you are pregnant, you have probably already had someone give you unsolicited comments about how little sleep you are going to get, “so you better get it in now!” We know, bless their heart. They don’t know what they are doing is unwelcome and unoriginal. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need information! Your baby is a remarkable human and is designed to survive. Their sleeping and eating needs are proof of that. We’d love to lift the veil on newborn sleep to help you have realistic expectations of…

Fundamental Infant Care, For Future Parents With No Experience

This post is for people who have little to no knowledge of babies and newborns, for the folks who are starting from “only seen those things in movies” point. A newborn is a tricky combination of small and manageable, and explosively unpredictable. And that is stressful! Let’s go through a few categories of newborn care, highlighting NEED TO KNOW bits of information as some starting points. Ready? Do You Know How To Hold A Baby? There are three main parts to focus on when holding a newborn: their head, neck,…

People Are Choosing Postpartum Doulas

  Suburban Chicago families are finding out they need help to make it through the first weeks of parenting on their own. It’s hard. Really hard. And when you’re in it, the confounding part is that the “hard” is so elusive. It keeps moving. It shifts to just around the corner. Is it caring for your baby? (The diapers, the clothing changes, learning to swaddle, sleep, hold, comfort, and feeding? ) Is it taking care of yourself? (Closing your womb, your tender undercarriage, leaking, learning about all the new parts…

Benefits of Belly Binding

Girdles, Spanx, support hose, corsets – mixed feelings come with all of these garments marketed to women but used by many, to lift, shape, and mold one’s body to be more aesthetically pleasing. Belly binding, while it sounds more like a torture device from the 17th century, has nothing to do with aesthetics, and everything to do with support. After birth, vaginal or cesarean delivery, the abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are weak and distended. Months of internal pressure and weight of your baby and uterus pressing against these parts causes them…

Savor, Honor, and Enjoy Your Pregnancy

In pregnancy, it can seem like every moment you are preparing for the next moment or reading about growth and planning for parties or the eventual arrival of your new beloved family member. But one of the joys for many of this special time is to savor the moments that define your pregnancy. We want to take a moment and recognize the wondrous thing that is you pregnant. Consider some of these magical moments to savor in your unique way.   1. The bubbles of first feelings When your baby…

Breastfeeding FAQs

Doulas are often the first people to help clients bring the theoretical act of breastfeeding to life in the early hours of being together with their new baby. Breastfeeding can be a beautiful crossroads of nutritional need mixing with emotional security. However, there can be frustration too, for all parties involved.   We want to share some commonly asked questions about breastfeeding so you can prepare, or as a quick resource if you are scrolling this list while also holding your sleeping baby.   How do you breastfeed?   The mechanics of…

Reiki For Postpartum Healing

Postpartum healing and recovery are one of the great myths of childbirth. With expectations of bouncing back, or of 40 days of rest and solitude, most people fall short of either ideal extreme. The spectrum of healing is vast, and there are too few stories of how those in the majority are managing their care after birth. We hope to share how on Reiki may be a recovery aid for those people who are in the majority, looking for options on how to cope with life after birth. Postpartum recovery…

Reiki For Pregnancy

Reiki is a specific form of energy healing that works with the Universal Life Energy in us all. Different cultures throughout the world use different names to refer to this Universal Life Energy, but the theme is the same – there is a current that connects all living things, and that animates us. And when we seek connection with that current, there can be a great benefit to both the giver and receiver.   We offer Reiki to our pregnant clients for deep relaxation, to speed recovery, and reduce pain. We…

Blessings, Rituals, and Ways to Honor Your Pregnancy Journey

Imagine walking into a pleasant and caring space where you are the focus of an afternoon. There is no one there who adds to your anxiety, and everyone who you hope to see when you are at your most vulnerable. A gathering of positive influence, nurturing energies, and valued trust, embodied by the friends and loved ones you wish to be a part of your pregnancy and postpartum experience. Often times when “Mother Blessings” or pregnancy rituals are mentioned, their magic and appeal are lost in translation of what happens…

Testimonials

“Lara and Cote came to our apartment for a beautiful postpartum ceremony. I felt so nourished by the belly binding, reiki, and time for reflection with my husband--it felt like a perfect way to close out the birth of my daughter!”
Laura Geller
“Working with Lara was the best decision I made for my delivery. As last minute as I was(SUPER LAST MINUTE), she made it all work with me. I'm so happy she was there, as soon as she was, I felt more at ease and more comfortable. I turned to her for knowledge and solace. It was my first baby and I had no idea what to expect and my anxiety was through the roof. She was extremely patient with me and was there every step of the way. She made sure to look out for my best interests in labor and delivery, my golden hour with my babe and helped me with latching and breastfeeding. After delivery, she came to check on us and always sent a text every now and again to see how we were and if we needed anything. I've recommended her to family and friends whenever anyone has asked for a doula. And I will continue to recommend her and her business to anyone! Thank you to this wonderful practice!”
Nicolette Gleespen
“Go to their workshops. I learned so much from Cote and Lara. They truly carry a wealth of knowledge between them and have a genuine passion for supporting families. The postpartum workshop I attended was great because it was specific, covered important topics, and gave us hands-on activities for great postpartum care. Looking forward to future workshops by Holistic Family Doulas!”
Isabel Gonzalez-Smith
“If you’re looking for a doula, get Lara!! It’s almost a month after my delivery and I still think about my experience and her help and support throughout my pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. I had a successful VBac solely because of her. She helped me prepare beforehand mentally and physically. Her role was monumental in not only mentally supporting me but also respecting and following through with my wishes for the birth until the end. This had become a bit of a challenge because on the day of the delivery I had a precipitous labor and had to call 911. Nothing was the same, not even the hospital and Lara made it just in time to be with me to advocate for me and help me with the pain (no epidural). Lara went above and beyond to ensure I was comfortable, all my needs were met and I was supported in every way possible which would have been impossible had she not been there and I’m not exaggerating. No one can replace a doula, I wish I knew this for my first birth. Thanks for the successful Vbac Lara!!”
Hapden Fam
“I can't recommend Lara enough—if you’re looking for a doula, get Lara!! It’s almost a month after my delivery and I still think about my experience and her help and support throughout my pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. I had a successful VBac solely because of her. She helped me prepare beforehand, both mentally and physically. Her role was monumental in not only mentally supporting me but also respecting and following through with my wishes for the birth until the end. Lara went above and beyond to ensure I was comfortable, all my needs were met and I was supported in every way possible which would have been impossible had she not been there. No one can replace a doula, I wish I knew this for my first birth. Thanks for the successful Vbac Lara!!”
Ritu via Doulamatch
“Lara is a fantastic doula, I am so thankful we worked with her during the birth of my daughter. She was extremely helpful throughout the third trimester, being available to answer all my questions, giving helpful suggestions and insight as we made decisions throughout the pregnancy. I can't imagine getting through such a long labor without her being present. She was a huge advocate and support physically and emotionally for me throughout the process. I would absolutely recommend her!”
Michelle Sidney
“My husband and I are indebted to Lara and Cote for the love and support they gave us before, during and after the birth of our son. Lara led us through a very thorough prenatal session where we learned relaxation and pain management techniques for those later, uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy as well as for during labor. And she was our sense of calm during my 28-hour labor. I was able to labor at home for 17 hours. Their line of holistic products (tea, lotion, balm, etc) were nice additions for extra relief both before and after birth. It’s so nice to have trusted guidance from experts during such a sacred time.”
Kristen Guzzardo
“Lara was such a wonderful helper during my labor with my daughter. She was a wonderful advocate for me and provided much needed support and encouragement. I'm so grateful that we had her as part of my delivery support team.”
Jessica Mojica
“Lara and Cote are the best... their calming energy was the first thing my husband and I noticed and appreciated when we met for our consultation. And I would say that was the constant theme throughout prenatal, birth and postnatal support with Lara... she brought so much calm to an otherwise stressful and chaotic situation. Lara took us through a thorough prenatal session, which was amazing as a first time mom who hadn't read every book out there. And I was able to labor at home for 17 hours with Lara's help with pain management techniques and tactics to progress the labor. They have a line of holistic products that brought a lot of calm and relief before and after pregnancy. I trust these women to support my and my child's well-being.”
Kristen G.
“These women are so fantastic and nurturing, you'd be hard pressed to find better doulas and better post-care anywhere in the west suburbs. Lara and Cote are amazing.”
Erin D.