Image Credit: Independent We Stand
Spend $100 with your local business and $73 stays in the community while only $43 stays with a non-local business. Shop online with a non-local business and $0 stays in the community.
I’m Kristen, and I’m a doula and owner of Baby Time Family Boutique. I started out my shop with an online store in 2012 and opened my brick and mortar store a few months later. People have been shopping with me and learning about all the available resources in our community and building their local support systems for over 6 years!
Local businesses, like Baby Time, provide a service directly to our community. Cloth diapering consultations, baby carrier fittings or picking out the perfect gift, our knowledge is valuable and worth it! We also offer our classroom space for meet-ups, Latch and Learn Support Groups and other classes. If the retail side of my store disappears, so do these wonderful resources.
When we think of mothers and mental health, we most often think of Postpartum Depression. But, PPD is just one among many diagnoses that fall under the category of PMADs - Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
This is significant because many women may be struggling but assume that since their experiences don't match up with what they typically think of as depression that there isn't support or understanding for what they may be experiencing.
We no longer live in tribes, extended families, or tight-knit communities, meaning that the challenges parents face as they negotiate childbirth, sleepless nights, and changing identities occur behind closed doors without the vital support networks they need. According to Shannon, doulas can provide a critical level of support and intervention for moms and families during this pivotal time of transition.
Many thanks to Shannon for sharing offering Doulas of Iowa City members continuing education on this important subject! If you are looking a mental health professional to support you in pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond, you can find information about Shannon and Murray, Wilson, and Rose Counseling here.
Looking for doula support? Join the Doulas of Iowa City for our next Meet the Doulas event.
Are you ready to get out of the house with your partner but not ready to leave baby at home? We asked local parents their recommendations for where to take their cute little 3rd wheel out on the town. Check out these fabulous suggestions!
NODO Downtown, Iowa City
"Inside and outside seating, casual menu, kid-friendly food for older siblings, delicious, and staff have always been very calm even when my youngest has cried or thrown a fit." - Hannah S.
Big Grove Brewpub, Solon
"I’m quite sure both of our baby’s first outings were to Big Grove in Solon. They are incredibly welcoming of families, have private and high backed booths, and it’s typically busy/loud enough in there that a little crying would go unnoticed." - Shona B. M.
Black Sheep Social Club, Cedar Rapids
"Black Sheep Social club in Cedar Rapids has a nice changing table." - Corey H.
Bread Garden, Iowa City
"You can sit outside (but inside is noisy and kid commotion goes unnoticed, too) and the food is inexpensive and delicious. Plus, a solid food eating kid can get foods from the salad bar with no wait, and they always have the well-received Mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and fruit. They have high chairs and are right next to the play equipment in front of library. The only hardship can be if you’re the only adult and have to go back inside if you ordered something from the kitchen (like the delicious flatbread pizzas!) and don’t love the idea of leaving the toddler in high chair alone but don’t want to hassle with taking them back inside with you. The owner is always super helpful and so are the workers." - Allison G.
Village Inn, Coralville (& Iowa City)
"Our first outing with our first was breakfast at village inn...which is great if you want a bunch of old ladies fawning over your baby." - Barb D.
Not feeling outdoorsy? Try a car picnic!
"[We] liked "car picnics" when she was really little, picking up a Pagliais and eating it in the car while she slept, just listening to music and talking. Doesn't really fit the getting out maybe but it was quite romantic for us and we connected so well being side by side in the car alone - baby asleep and no other people or commotion to distract from talking to each other. It felt like being teenagers. I have great memories of those dates." - Becca D.
Don't see your favorite on the list? No worries! Pack up that diaper bag and give it a try. Here are a few tips.
"I’ve found that everywhere in the Corridor is welcoming of families. We have always taken our babies out from the get go, and have never had a negative experience from staff including the many times I’ve breastfed at the table." - Barb D.
"It’s helpful to try to time a restaurant visit outside of peak hours, not only so it will be less busy/loud, but also to allow you your choice of booths or tables, and to ensure quick seating and service. There’s nothing worse than having to wait forever for a table with a cranky baby. We’ve found that eating outside on a patio/deck, etc. is always more soothing for babe when available, and usually any crying stands out less outside. Also, if you have a baby or toddler who is eating solids ordered from the menu, place that order ASAP, even if the adults don’t have their selections made yet. This will ensure that the LO’s food comes out first." - Grace S.
Still feeling nervous about your first time out with baby? Repeat this pep talk in your head.
"My biggest advice on going out with the baby is to be confident that you belong there, that your baby is welcome, and that other customers are more charmed than annoyed! A lot of discomfort can come from the self-imposed perception that others are constantly watching or judging you, and they're mostly not - they are socializing and eating! One person being annoyed with her spouse and staring off into space can be perceived as a judgmental look at your nursing if you are self-conscious already, so just own it and you'll be fine. If babe starts fussing or crying and you're shushing and rocking and furiously trying to get her to take a paci and cleaning spit up off of your date clothes, 90% of people who notice are impressed that you're getting out and reminiscing about "those days." Anyone who actually says anything negative (god forbid) is a reflection of their poor character. I did always choose restaurants with high chairs and a kids menu when bringing my baby or toddler because I considered that an endorsement of our presence." - Becca D.
As a birth worker and a mother of three, I have experienced birth from both sides. With my first child's birth, we brought our camera. It wasn’t until I got home, days after my daughter was born, that I looked back at the images my nurse had taken. I was forever grateful. In her not-so-professional photography, I was able to see the moments of hard work pushing my baby out, having my husband there by my side, seeing his face the instant he saw our daughter for the first time, and the beautiful tears from all of us meeting her on the outside. Amazing!
I never thought about birth photography until I saw these moments. I knew going forward we needed to capture these memories for our family, and I needed to offer this service for the families I work with, too.
Think back to the best days of your life, do you have pictures from it? Most likely, but maybe you don't and wished you did. The birth of your baby will be a day you want to remember, look back on, and share the story with your little one. Labor is unpredictable, and a professional photographer will be able to document all the little details that you may not see because you will be riding the waves of labor. Your partner, who most likely will be new to the birth experience, too, can be 100% focused on you, supporting you in every way you need and not worrying about when to get the camera ready.
Give yourself the best gift - birth photography - a beautiful way to capture your transformation to motherhood and beautifully preserve all the emotions you felt the moment you first held baby in your arms.
The Doulas of Iowa City blog contains guest posts by Doulas of Iowa City member businesses. We are excited to share with you about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and surrounding communities and to help you connect to fabulous local resources.