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Navigating the Formula Shortage

Many worried parents are sharing their stories about searching for formula or human milk donations online. Some women are attempting to relactate. Others are sharing recipes for creating homemade formulas. Stockpiling of formula is reportedly exacerbating the situation. As an ...
Birthways Chicago

Practicing Self-Compassion: Parenting a Newborn in a Pandemic

Parenting is one of the most exciting, challenging, joyful and exhausting times in a person’s life. The adjustment to bringing home a new member of the family is a time typically filled with big emotions and learning to understand one ...

COVID-19: What Birthways is Doing, What You Can Do, and How to Make the Most of Home-based Supports in the Face of this Pandemic

Updated 2.4.2021 The COVID-10 pandemic continues to require our attention and vigilance. As we move into flu season and the winter months, Birthways continues to ensure the highest standards of care and safety in providing in-person support to expectant and ...
3 Steps to Address Common Fears of The Birth Partner Birthways

3 Steps to Address Common Fears of The Birth Partner

Contributed by Birthways Doulas As the partner to an expectant person, you are having your own experiences of pregnancy, preparation, birth and early parenting. While the focus during this time of growing your family is typically on the expectant person, ...
Statement of Solidarity, Birthways Chicago

Statement of Solidarity

Birthways has welcomed thousands of babies and their parents over the last years. Our aim is simple: to empower, inform and support families so that the rough edges of the transition into parenthood be softened by kindness, compassion and nonjudgmental ...

Who should we worry about with COVID-19? It’s not our babies.

Who should we worry about? It’s not our babies. Coronavirus, also known as "SARS-CoV-2" is a viral pathogen that causes the respiratory infection "COVID-19” and it's impacted hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It has certain characteristics that are leading ...
Coronavirus safety-Birthways

6 Steps to Have a Healthy Pregnancy & Newborn Transition During COVID-19 Outbreaks

If you’re expecting a baby, there’s a lot on your mind as you plan for ways to have a healthy pregnancy and get off to a great start. When the world adds stressors and worries about possible pandemics, it’s easy ...

Calming the Mind: The Brain and Neural Pathways

It is a commonly held view that meditation is a way to shut off the pressures of your world or of your own mind, but this is not an accurate impression. Meditation is neither shutting things out or off. It ...
Birthways Chicago

Understanding Why Childbirth Classes Can Be Stressful

Registering and then attending your first childbirth preparation class is often a significant, “this is really happening” moment. You’re reminded that the fetus that is kicking you and pushing against your ribs and bladder will actually want to come out ...
Birthways Chicago

4 reality checks when creating a birth plan

Preparing for Birth It’s been over 25 years since I began working in maternity care advocacy and I’ve seen significant change including an increased awareness of choices, growth within health care systems, resistance within health care systems, and meaningful initiatives ...
Newborn 6 states of consciousness-Birthways Doulas Services Chicago

A newborn’s 6 states of consciousness and why they’re important

Newborns cycle through 6 states of consciousness—2 are sleep states and 4 are waking states. Observing the external signs of these behavioral states, parents can learn how to understand and align with their baby’s needs and facilitate moving between the ...

Planning a Cesarean Birth? 6 Tips and 5 Ways a Doula Can Help.

There is a growing body of research indicating that support from a labor doula is one of the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of a cesarean delivery1. And it’s becoming more common to have a labor support doula ...
6 Expert tips for an easier toddler transition to siblinghood Birthways Doula Services in Chicago

Becoming a sibling: 6 Expert tips for an easier toddler transition

Having a baby can be a lot for your toddler to adjust to! It’s common for a young child to regress when a new baby arrives and they may show signs of aggression, anger and jealousy. Here are 6 things ...
Learn evidence-based strategies for coping with the Baby Blues, from Birthways Doula Services in Chicago

Beyond the Baby Blues: 6 Evidence-Based Strategies to Support Emotional Health After Baby is Born

“Baby Blues” impacts an estimated 70-80% of new mothers and is characterized by mood swings, tearfulness, and feelings of overwhelm. However, they are not pervasive or severe. In the immediate postpartum time, the transient low generally follows the normal ‘high’ and ...
5 senses game Birthways Chicago

How to help children manage stress with mindfulness

Young children are at the very beginning of developing skillful responses to change, and just like the rest of us, can feel frustrated or anxious. They experience changes both large and small. Larger changes children experience: The arrival of a ...
What to expect in the first hour after baby's born, from Birthways in Chicago

What to Expect in the First Hour After Having a Baby

Knowing what to expect in the first hour after having a baby can help smooth your transition from "pregnant" to "new mom." There aren’t many moments in life that can compare to the first moments after baby arrives. Emotions can ...
Why women suffering from perinatal mood disorders don’t seek professional help - Birthways Doula Services in Chicago

Perinatal Mood Disorders: Why Women Suffering Don’t Seek Professional Help

By Cecelia Quinn, Ph.D., LCSW *Sara was in her late 30’s when she became pregnant and she and her husband were ecstatic. However, her pregnancy included both physical and mental health concerns that increased with each trimester. Her physical discomfort ...
7 Ways to Recover and Get Off to a Good Start After Having a Baby From Birthways Doula Services in Chicago

7 Ways to Recover and Get Off to a Good Start After Having a Baby

The first 12 weeks after birth, often called the 4th Trimester, have been recognized as a key period of development for your newborn. What is gaining more attention from doctors, educators, and our culture at large is the importance of ...
8 Reasons to Hire a Night Nurse from Birthways Doula Services in Chicago

8 reasons to hire a night nurse including getting you and your baby the sleep you need

So, what is a night nurse anyway? We get asked this a lot! “Newborn nanny” or “baby nurse” or “night nurse” or “newborn care specialist “refers to a childcare provider who specializes in caring for newborns. They may or may ...

Re-teaching a Baby To Open Her Mouth Wide When Latching On

Open Wide: How to get a baby to open wide when latching. Updated 11/17/20 I feel like I have to wait for my baby to cry before I try to latch, what can I do? This is a common question! ...

Milking the Cow: How the U.S. is Prioritizing Baby Food Makers Over Actual Babies

Featuring Guest Author Angel Mattes, Doula and Lactation Educator at Collective Strength Doula Services You may have heard the public outcry about breastfeeding and the Trump administration after The New York Times article that was published over the weekend. Evidently, a ...

Shopping for the Right Car Seat

"Car Seat Safety" series. Guest Author: Angel Mattes We get a lot of questions about the best or safest car seats to use. While car seats are products sold in stores, they are considered a safety device, and as such, ...

Tips on Car Seat Installation

"Car Seat Safety" series. Guest Author: Angel Mattes   New parents often worry about keeping their little ones safe and navigating the world of parental responsibilities, and car seat safety is no exception. Whether you’re 9 months pregnant and installing ...

9 out of 10 car seats are being used incorrectly. Is yours one of them?

"Car Seat Safety" series. Guest Author: Angel Mattes Why is it important to get my child’s seat checked and to learn about proper use? Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death of children, ages 3-14. However, many of ...

Breast Pumps: Do I need one, and which one should I purchase or rent?

Guest Author: Mary Jozwiak, IBCLC A breast pump allows you to express your milk for supplemental feedings and to stock breastmilk for your baby when you are away. Breast pumps can also be used to relieve engorgement, and are sometimes ...

Babymoon Tour Guide

You’re on the edge of meeting your baby and want to get off to a great start! Planning your babymoon with awareness from our experienced ‘travel guides’ (aka postpartum experts, moms, doulas) can help you have a joyful beginning and ...

Breastfeeding Gear

Nursing “Gear” Updated 11/17/20 If you’ve got a baby on the way, you are likely contributing to our economy with lots of ‘consumer activity’ aka ‘shopping’.   If you’re hoping to save some resources for, say, college, or maybe even to ...

Soaring to new places: the extreme sport of childbirth preparation

Signing up for and arriving at your first childbirth preparation class is often a significant “this is really happening” moment.  You’re reminded that the fetus that is kicking you and pushing against your ribs and bladder will actually want to ...

“Expecting” and Beginner’s Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Suzuki Roshi When you have a baby on the way, you inevitably put a fair amount of energy into planning, anticipating and preparing for what ...

Sleep, Mama, Sleep: Understanding Postpartum Insomnia

My daughter was born after a labor that had some twists and turns like most labors do.  She was born about 36 hours after my first organized contractions.  I was over the moon to meet my daughter!  I recall napping ...

Why Tracking Your Fertility Can Be the First Step to a Healthy, Empowered Pregnancy

If you are considering becoming pregnant, this will be an interesting time as you relate to your body in a new way.  If you’ve been having heterosexual sex, maybe pregnancy is something you’ve avoided for a long time.   If you’ve ...

When to Call a Lactation Consultant

Updated 11/17/20 We encourage you to reach out to us or another Lactation Consultant if you experience any of the following situations: Your newborn is feeding less than 8 times in 24 hours, or more than 12 times in 24 ...

I Hate Breastfeeding! And Other Confessions from Nursing Moms

Updated 11/17/20 Be honest.  Sometimes we just don’t love the things we think we will love about being a mom-at least not all the time. In my work supporting women through the childbearing year, I believe that much of what ...

Should I Swaddle My Newborn? Is it Helpful? Harmful? Safe?

Babies in tightly wrapped bundles are a common sight on hospital maternity wards. Many parents ask their doula for swaddling instructions upon coming home and hope to learn that tight burrito wrap that the nurses seem to master. But should ...

Sleep in Pregnancy and Early Parenting

Are you hitting the couch at 6pm, too tired to get to the grocery store or to walk the dog?  For many women, pregnancy can bring a fatigue that is unlike anything they have experienced.  You feel so overwhelmingly tired ...

Check your belly for Diastasis Recti (DRA)

Our bodies demonstrate profound resiliency in the childbearing year. After giving birth, your heart, lungs, circulatory system, uterus, endocrine system…everything, are coming back into balance. Your spinal alignment, pelvis, pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles also strengthen and realign after accommodating ...

Is My Milk In?

It’s been a few days since you’ve given birth and you’re not exactly sure what day it is today. You’re acclimating to all kinds of new sensations:  feeling a little lighter, a little bit or very sore, and you have ...
Coronavirus safety-Birthways

5 Acu-points for Pregnancy

Guest Blogger: Sarah Canga, LAc If you are pregnant congratulations is a must! Below you will find 5 acupuncture points that will help make your pregnancy a little more enjoyable especially if you are suffering from fatigue, nausea, heartburn, hemorrhoids, ...

Childbirth as Meditation: Experiencing Full Attention

Updated 2/18/20 Keep walking, though there is no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within, But don’t move the way fear makes you move. —Rumi When you begin mindfulness ...

Happy 19th Birthday!

Today, May 17th, Birthways will celebrate its 19th anniversary! For almost 20 years, we’ve been helping parents find ways to thrive as they welcome their babies. It’s amazing to think that some of those babies that we have cared for ...

Mother’s Day “Love Coupon” Ideas for an Expectant Mom!

If you or someone you love is expecting their first baby this Mother’s Day, you might be wondering how to honor or celebrate the occasion.  Do you remember making coupons for hugs or cleaning your room to celebrate your mom?  ...

Old and New/East and West

While scientists around the world are exploring the impacts of meditation via brain imaging techniques and measuring hormones and biochemical responses, the practices of yoga and meditation have been serving as perhaps the oldest science of psychology and wellbeing that ...

Loving Fearlessly. If only for a moment.

I had one of those moments today when I felt a fearless love for my daughter. Nothing special was happening. I was waking her for school. I crawled into bed with her to start the slow process of pulling her ...

Five Practices to Find Your Center in 10 Minutes or Less!

Updated February 18, 2019 I know it feels like there isn’t time to brush your teeth so how can you fit time for self-care practices into your life? A daily practice of calming the central nervous system and regrouping can ...

Nutrition for the Childbearing Year: Macronutrients, Micronutrients & Phytonutrients: All About Carbohydrates

ALL ABOUT CARBOHYDRATES            Macronutrients: Carbohydrates We have already covered protein and fats in your diet during the childbearing year, so let’s talk carbs. The body’s fuel If fat and protein are building materials, carbohydrates are ...

Nutrition for the Childbearing Year: Macronutrients, Micronutrients & Phytonutrients: All About Fats

ALL ABOUT FATS        Macronutrients: Fats As I mentioned in my last post, our bodies require the macronutrients of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to function well.  This week we are focusing on fats and learning about their role ...

Nutrition for the Childbearing Year: Macronutrients, Micronutrients & Phytonutrients: All About Protein

ALL ABOUT PROTEIN Introduction: What our bodies need Our bodies require the macronutrients of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to function.  We also need vitamins and minerals, the ‘micronutrients’. We are also discovering there are more and more benefits from ‘phytonutrients’, ...

A Guide to Optimal Wellness in the Childbearing Year – Nutrition for the Childbearing Year: Caloric Targets

Calories: How many? How many more calories should you consume daily during pregnancy? Growing your baby takes some added energy, but exactly how much energy will vary from woman to woman. As a general guideline, an average of 340 additional ...

A Guide to Optimal Wellness in the Childbearing Year – Nutrition for the Childbearing Year: An Introduction

I have had many requests to provide good resources for prenatal nutrition over the years and I hope that you find the following posts helpful. I will introduce some concepts about pregnancy nutrition that are easy to use, but challenge you ...

A Guide to Optimal Wellness in the Childbearing Year

An introduction: Why you should stay tuned If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you are on an exciting journey! You are probably experiencing a range of emotions as you ask yourself, “What can I do to help ...
Babymoon-Birthways-Chicago

Who’s coming to the Babymoon?: Thoughts on Support and Celebration

You’ve got a baby on the way and friends and family who can’t wait to meet your new arrival. Planning for how to include those dear to you when your baby arrives is quite a bit more complicated than planning ...

Motherhood and the Brain: Making Oxytocin, the love hormone, work for you

Updated February 18, 2019 How oxytocin can help you have an easier labor and breastfeeding success Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ and the ‘cuddle chemical’. We produce oxytocin when we feel ‘in love’ or loving, when ...
Bottle for the breastfed baby Birthways Chicago

Best Bottle for a Breastfed Baby?

My baby is exclusively breastfed, but I’d like her to take a bottle so that my partner and I can go out once in while. What bottle would be best for my otherwise breastfed baby? – Jayne M., Chicago Breastfeeding ...