When to hire a birth doula - you can hire a birth doula at any time during your pregnancy!
Some people hire their doula as soon as they take a positive pregnancy test, and others don't decide they want a doula until they are in labor, so there is a wide spectrum of possibility.
If you know you want a doula, you will have a better selection of doulas available for your estimated due date if you interview earlier rather than later. The closer you get to your due date, the more doulas will be booked for your due month.
It also makes sense to hire a doula earlier in your pregnancy, if possible, so you can have the support of the doula throughout your pregnancy in addition to your labor and birth. Doulas can help with research and informational support during pregnancy, as well as helping you create a birth plan that you can share with your care providers. Doulas also provide emotional support during pregnancy, which can be just as valuable during the early months of pregnancy as it is in the later months and during birth.
Most doulas offer free consultations with the birthing person/couple. You can set up as many or as few of these as you like and then make your selection based on who you feel has the best fit/connection. Additionally, Doulas of Iowa City offers quarterly "Meet the Doulas" events in the Corridor where pregnant folks can meet a number of doulas from different businesses and agencies at one location in a single afternoon.
We asked local parents, "When did you hire your birth doula?"
After having a doula with my first baby, I called her immediately after receiving a positive test with babies #2 and #3. I wanted to be sure to get on her schedule! - Tina H.
I hired a doula around the midpoint of my pregnancy. I wanted the time to interview several doulas and find the perfect fit - but it just so happened that we loved the first doula we interviewed and didn't need to do any more interviews. Having her in place made me feel so much more confident as the weeks of pregnancy ticked by and we anticipated baby's birth. - Johanna T.
I knew I wanted a doula even before I became pregnant. I love my husband, and I trust him, but I wanted a woman there and someone who was there just for me. - Corey H.
Want to find your perfect doula fit? Check out all the fabulous member doulas of Doulas of Iowa City or join us at our next Meet the Doula event!
When I became pregnant, I thought I had a leg up when it came to birth. I had been studying midwifery for 4 years and knew quite a bit about the physiology of birth and what to expect. A good chunk of my time then was devoted to scouring evidence-based research, plus I was a nanny, so I figured I had the know-how and experience to deal with whatever came my way the next few years. I knew what I wanted out of my birth and how to achieve it (hooray for being informed!) I was so ready.
I tell you what, that woman made my labor glorious. While my partner rested, she was there to give deep-tissue massage on my legs (with aromatherapy lotion!) She handled all the physical work of comforting me so my mom could focus on doing calming, sweet things like brushing my hair and telling me stories. My doula knew just where to push on my back to take the pressure off, and when I told her to squeeze my hand she knew that I meant “as hard as you possibly can, please.”
It’s hard to say how things would have gone if we hadn’t had a doula there. It would have been fine, of course. We would have made it through. But instead of just making it through, we thrived. We had a beautiful, calm, empowered birth, thanks in part to our doula. My partner got to start his new life as “Daddy” fairly rested instead of exhausted. He didn’t have to feel guilty for leaving me to take care of himself, because I had someone else to provide excellent support while he was resting. And even now, she loves talking about that day with me and re-living the beautiful and hard moments. And that’s pretty wonderful.
This blog was original published on February 3, 2016 on the Kind Roots Blog.
Do you love your incorporating books into your bedtime routine with baby? We know we do. Here's a few recommendations from Doulas of Iowa City members Grace of Iowa City Birth Services and Johanna of Nested Mama to add something new in your bedtime reading routine.
Did we miss one of your favorites? Share in the comments below!
The benefits of babywearing are undeniable. Babywearing brings you closer to your little ones both physically and emotionally. And while you are soaking up all of the cuddly goodness that comes along with babywearing, you also have the ability and freedom to take on other parts of your day. More and more research is being done to support babywearing and recent findings show that babywearing can reduce postpartum depressive symptoms.
And as if I didn’t love babywearing enough already, I was so thrilled to find so much support for babywearing in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Corridor. If you are interested in babywearing, here are some awesome communities and resources we are super lucky to have in our area.
AP Babywearing of Iowa City
o The Attachment Parenting International chapter in Iowa City has created a subgroup just for babywearing. I became the member of the Facebook group when I was thinking about investing in my first woven wrap and have since learned a lot from the group. Any questions about wraps or carries or even requests to borrow can be made in the group. There is a monthly meet-up where you can get hands-on help for all things babywearing and the chapter also has a lending library! Once my baby got bigger and stronger I loved knowing how to use my woven wraps to get her more secure and snug! If I hadn’t found these meet-ups, I’m not sure I would have ever been brave enough to use them.
Babywearing Dance Class
o If there is anything better than hiking while babywearing, it’s dancing while babywearing. There is a babywearing dance class every Wednesday morning at Anytime Fitness in Coralville, and it is amazing. Every time I go I am amazed at
what a good workout I get in, and my little one absolutely loves the music and the social time before and after class. I have met some amazing mommas in this class and am so thankful for this momma + baby opportunity to work out and
socialize. For more info on this class, join the Facebook group!
o Between the lending library provided by AP of Iowa City and the Iowa City Babywearers groups, the Iowa City Babywearers B/S/T and Babywearers of CR BST, and local retailers like Baby Time , it is easy to get your hands on carriers to find what is most comfortable for you and your little one. I have scored awesome deals on the Iowa City Babywearers B/S/T page and was able to connect with other babywearing mommas to try out some soft structured carriers before going with my Tula Free to Grow. Finding the carrier that works best for you and your body and baby is so very important, and I all of the support and resources in our area make it easy to do so!
A look at some of my carriers- I found the bottom two on the Iowa City BST page in amazing condition for more than half off original retail.
The benefits of babywearing truly seem endless, and when you pair those benefits with the extra support and community in the Corridor area—I feel like we really have it made around here. Babywearing education and tutorials can be provided by many of the doulas with Doulas of Iowa City. Check with your doula to see how they can help you along your babywearing journey. Whether you’re looking for community or just to enjoy a meal with two hands… babywearing can make it happen.
Looking for the perfect book as you prepare for baby or navigate the first year postpartum? Read on as Doulas of Iowa city members share their favorite reads.
Looking for more support during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum? Come Meet the Doulas of Iowa City at our next free event!
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.
One of my favorite things about summertime in the corridor is all of the colorful, delicious goodness I get to enjoy from our farm share with Local Harvest CSA out of Solon. CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a way to buy local, seasonal, high quality food while supporting sustainability in our community. At the beginning of the season we invest in our share and then once a week, we pick up a generous haul of farm fresh produce and eggs at the North Liberty food pantry. We get a weekly email with updates from the farm and details and recipes to go with the share. After a fun conversation with the farmers each week at pickup, we normally come home with at least a dozen different types of produce. This week we are enjoying Napa cabbage, kohlrabi, zucchini and summer squash, green onions, and all sorts of delicious leafy greens. I love community supported agriculture and we are so lucky to have so many different farms that offer shares throughout the year!
We all know nutrition is so important in all seasons of life and especially during pregnancy and postpartum. During pregnancy, I loved learning to prepare nourishing, satisfying, delicious meals. I loved sitting down to eat and thinking that my baby was enjoying my meal with me. During my pregnancy, I learned to truly love and respect my body and have never turned back. Body love and respect can be so simple- this week I practiced body respect by fixing up this delicious Chef Salad with a lot of the goodies from this week’s share. This salad is perfect during pregnancy- jam packed with veggies, proteins, and dressed with healthy fats. Also perfect for postpartum because, of course, those nutrients remain so important, but it is also such a breeze to throw together! And the balance of macronutrients provides good, sustainable energy.
I pulled out all of the lettuce from one of four bags of leafy greens and washed and chopped it up. We have been enjoying our CSA for three years now and I am still astounded by the amounts of produce we get each week!
For some more protein, I added some turkey and ham and chopped up some bacon. We like our animal proteins in our house but chickpeas or avocado would be delicious alternatives. I also added some Monterey jack and cheddar cheese and some seasoned croutons. (I wanted to make some homemade croutons but I was just loving the quickness and easiness of this recipe too much!)
When I make salads I love to line up all the toppings before mixing just to appreciate the colorful beauty. I made up a quick dressing too using ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and generous shakes of paprika and black pepper. Perfectly creamy and zesty.
So summery and satisfying.
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.