If only babies came with a manual. Am I right?!
For real though. Couldn’t we get a little more help with this whole newborn parenting gig? It can be overwhelming leaving the confines of that birth center with all those knowledgeable medical professionals and head into the great unknown on our own home!
Should I wake her up? Is she breathing? How do I know how long to let her sleep?
Is she crying because she’s hungry again or is she tired? Should I swaddle her or take her on a car ride?
Why is she STILL crying?!
The early days are trying. Sleep deprivation while getting to know an entirely new human that is 100% reliant on you for EVERYTHING can be so brutal! So, we’ve come up with a list of 10 things that may help you navigate this time.
Newborns cry. A lot. It can be stressful but it’s important to remember that crying is their only form of communication until they are able to smile and coo around the 4-6 week mark. Keep it all in perspective. This time is fleeting and the last thing that new parents need is for their adult relationships to suffer.
Remind your partner (if applicable) that they are still you’re first priority. It’s so easy to get caught up in the constant needs of your new baby and forget about your other relationships. Reminding each other how you feel can make all the difference.
Feeding can be such a challenge, regardless of how you do it. What works for you and your baby is not going to be the right choice for everyone else. Try to keep in mind that you are this baby’s parent for a reason and take your needs into consideration and reach out for help! We have awesome lactation consultants in Whatcom County and Skagit County who are ready and willing to help you!
Whether you choose to exclusively breastfeed, bottle feed with breast milk, bottle feed with formula or another mode of feeding, find the support you need to help your feeding time be as relaxed as possible. Set up stations with snacks and water bottles around the house.
Often times, as soon as you sit down you will realize what you need. If there are stations already set up, chances are that it is within reaching distance.
The Endless "To-Do" List
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Do dishes when the baby does dishes. Am I right?! Sleep is so challenging for most new parents and simplifying it to saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is such a joke.
There are endless tasks that would stare me in the face as soon as my baby fell asleep and ignoring those things just simply wasn’t an option. What worked for my family won’t work for others but may help. We made a list of our top priorities.
One list included tasks that had to get done EACH DAY. Then a list of the things that had to get done ONCE A WEEK and so forth. This put it all in perspective for us and I was able to relax a bit more and actually recover from giving birth!
The Sleepless Nights
It is normal for your newborn to sleep (nearly) all day and party all night. Remember those parties your baby would throw during pregnancy right as you finally found that comfortable spot in bed? When you were pregnant, they were rocked to sleep as you went about your day and then woke as you settled down in the evening.
Newborns have to adjust to a new normal. Well, lots of new normals but this is a big one. This can be very frustrating for tired parents but it will shift eventually.
When changing a newborn’s diaper, bicycle kicks are your friend. If you’ve ever been around a newborn, you may have noticed that as soon as they got that fresh diaper on, they pooped immediately.
Rather than taking that dirty diaper off right away, expose the baby to some fresh air then cover them back up and do some leg pumps or gentle tummy rubs and wait a minute or two. This may save you a few diapers.
Set up changing stations around the house. Having some diapers and wipes easily accessible makes diaper changes a little less of a task. Remember, changing pads are not 100% necessary 100% of the time. An old hand towel or changing pad liner can become a great barrier between the baby and the surface you are changing them on.
“My baby hates the car and everyone talked about how they are supposed to fall asleep in the car.” I’ll just say it, if this is you, I am so sorry. I had two babies who HATED the car. They would cry so hard that they would be dripping with sweat once we got to our destination.
Some tricks I learned were rolling down the window (when weather allowed), dressing them in cool clothing so they didn’t get too warm, and driving on those road bumps. I am sure we got several people thinking we were crazy, but this helped!
The First Bath
Sponge baths will be just fine until the umbilical cord stump falls off (which is quite a smelly process by the way) as it is important not to get it wet. A wet washcloth with a small amount of baby-friendly soap will do the trick. Then follow up with a good lotion as newborn skin can be quite dry.
Don’t forget to get in all those sneaky folds as that is the prime location for breast milk or formula to get stuck and will get stinky real fast. Some of those locations include the groin folds, under the chin, the armpits and behind the ears.
When the time comes to do the first bath, make sure the water is warm but not too hot. Test the temperature on your inner wrist. If it is too warm for you, it is way too warm for your baby.
Try laying a warm, wet hand towel or washcloth over your baby’s exposed body. This will help them stay warm and enjoy their bath time.
Learn a good swaddle technique. Babies are super restricted for space during pregnancy. Swaddling them reminds them of this.
For those Houdini babies, try a swaddle technique that tucks their arms in a pocket before wrapping them up. There are many different ways to do it, and each baby is going to need something slightly different.
They may hate it as your are wrapping them up, but soon enough, they will give in and probably fall asleep. Good luck! P.s. We teach a great swaddle technique in our birth class!
At North Cascade Doulas, we love this stuff!
We exist to support local families as they navigate the unforeseen joys and challenges that come with bringing a baby home.
As birth doulas in Bellingham and the surrounding areas, we aim to see our clients supported through the ups and downs. If you have questions, we have answers! We will walk alongside you through your unique pregnancy, birth and postpartum story.
Contact us today to learn more about birth doula services in Skagit Valley and Whatcom County or local childbirth classes. We would be overjoyed to get to know your desires for this season and how you desire to be supported.
First off, yesterday was National Ice Cream Day. I hope you knew that. I didn't until today and you can absolutely bet that our family will be celebrating a day late!
It makes sense that this is a holiday in July.
It's stinkin' hot!!! Who doesn't want a big scoop on a hot summer day?! Especially if you're growing another human! If that's you, hang in there and get a double scoop. One for the baby and one for you right?!
Summer pregnancies It can make for a pretty miserable season depending on where you’re located.
In Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Mount Vernon and Burlington, we tend to get a few weeks of fairly intense heat.
Here are some ways to beat the heat while pregnant.
Good luck! If all else fails, those portable A/C units or window units can make a world of difference!
If you’ve shared your pregnancy news, most likely you’ve been told congratulations more than you can count quickly followed by either some pregnancy and birth horror stories or advice.
People love giving advice and we all learn this oh so quickly during pregnancy, birth and parenting.
I’d love to say it will soon stop but this is only the beginning. The hope is that you’ll get used to it or learn some slightly snarky responses ;)
We don’t want to add to the mounds and mounds of advice so we thought we would share some more helpful information…
15 pregnancy symptoms that no one told you:
If you’re pregnant and have not experienced some or all of these things, you’ve been warned now!
In our birth class we cover these pregnancy symptoms and ways to ease the discomfort associated with them.
Skagit Valley! We have been listening and are now teaching our birth class in Mount Vernon! Check out our services page for our upcoming class schedule.
The hope is that you don’t deal with all of these issues, but if you do and have a way that you have worked around it, let us know your trick in the comments! We’re always looking for new ways to help our clients deal with the struggles and discomforts of pregnancy.
Thinking about placenta encapsulation? North Cascade Doulas does a few things uniquely when it comes to encapsulation and we want everyone to know it! Let us break this down for you.
One quote I love comes from my friend Kristyn Blocher at Doulas Northwest who says, “You only have one placenta, do you want the cheapest or do you want the safest?” I can’t echo this enough.
Safe placenta encapsulation at North Cascade Doulas is no laughing matter. We take it seriously. All of our Postpartum Placenta Specialists are trained in Blood Borne Pathogens, and follow WHO guidelines, OSHA protocol and encapsulate while adhering to their standards.
In-home encapsulation guarantees you that you will receive your own placenta. Some encapsulators take your placenta from you and encapsulate it wherever they decide. Many trusting women believe this is being done in a lab sort of setting when in reality, most times the placenta is stored in their family fridge and then encapsulated in their home kitchen. Some even encapsulate multiple placentas at one time. North Cascade Doulas only encapsulates in the clients home. This greatly increases the safety for you as the client as your placenta stays with your own microbiome 100% of the time and never leaves your sight.
Over the course of the two-day encapsulation process, when you encapsulate your placenta through North Cascade Doulas, your kitchen will be cleaned and sanitized 4 times! This means that you have one less thing to stress about cleaning as you cuddle your newborn baby. We have your kitchen covered!
Access to a postpartum doula
Our Postpartum Placenta Specialists are also trained Postpartum Doulas. Combine this with the fact that we only do in-home encapsulation and this means that you have access to a Postpartum Doula as she is working! This has been a huge draw for our clients, as often they have at least a few questions they have been wanting to ask someone since giving birth.
All your questions answered
You will be provided with a transport kit complete with a fool-proof guide on all the things you need to know surrounding placenta encapsulation. No need to stress over what to do and what to get for your placenta encapsulation. You will have it delivered to you before your baby is born. You even get to keep our branded cooler tote!
More questions surrounding placenta encapsulation?
Send us a message or leave a comment down below. We’d love to hear from you!
If you are pregnant in Skagit County or in the Bellingham, WA area and looking for someone to encapsulate your placenta, contact us today!
Our current fee for our placenta encapsulation process is $300. You will receive a postpartum doula in your home while she is working, your fully cooked and ground placenta in your choice of vegetarian capsules, gelatin capsules or strawberry capsules, a comprehensive guide on common ways the placenta is ingested, an abundance of information surrounding encapsulation, and a stress-free transport kit.
***This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information presented is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. North Cascade Doulas are not medical providers.***
So you're expecting a baby! Congratulations!
Have you started planning your babymoon getaway?A quick, or not so quick, getaway before you add another little person to your family.
Sometimes it can be frustrating when trying to come up with fun things to do while pregnant. Especially those last weeks when the aches and pains of pregnancy can really throw you off. How about planning a trip to distract you?! Take some time to soak in these last weeks of your family as you now know it!
I’d venture to guess you won’t regret it!
Traveling with a baby in tow changes things quite a bit! Take advantage of this time you have before your baby arrives.
If you’re pregnant in Skagit or Whatcom County and need a (mostly) local breath of fresh air, consider some of these options!
1. TreeHouse Point; Issaquah, WA
Schedule an appointment to tour the tree houses or stay in one of them! They are open year-round! TreeHouse Point is only a 2 hour drive south of Bellingham in Issaquah, WA.
Indulge your senses during the Boehm’s Candies & Chocolates factory tour located nearby. If you want to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest further, bring your hiking boots and venture out on one of the several hikes nearby.
2. Post Hotel; Leavenworth, WA:
Whether you venture out for a Snowshoe or bicycle adventure, or take the time to experience the german culture Leavenworth embodies, you can be certain that you will be able to let the stress of life melt away at their tranquil spa.
If you’d rather spend your babymoon out of the country, but have been advised against traveling that far, consider Leavenworth! Although it’s only located 175 miles out of Lynden, many would say that it feels like you’re a world away.
3. Semiahmoo; Blaine, WA
This treasure is conveniently located within Whatcom County. You can hop on a Whale watching cruise, running from September through April, go out for a walk, cozy up in your beautiful room or indulge in their heavenly spa.
4. Seaside, OR
If you’re looking for something a bit further away, check out one of the many options available in Seaside, Oregon from hotels to a nice AirBnB.
You can check out Haystack Rock on Cannon beach, hike up Saddle Mountain Trail, laugh while posing for Instagram worthy photos at the Seaside Inverted Experience, or shop the many boutiques in the Broadway Core.
5. Harrison Hot Springs Resort; Harrison, BC, Canada
Hop the border and relax at Harrison Hot Springs! You have an abundance of lodging options, catering to a variety of budgets. With the hot springs nearby, you’re bound to have a relaxing and peaceful babymoon.
Did you take advantage of a babymoon? Where did you go? If you visited one of these babymoon destinations, let me know! I’d love to hear how your experience was!
Author, Kristina McMurtrey, is a passionate doula who aims to see families supported regardless of their unique way of navigating pregnancy, birth and parenting.
North Cascade Doulas provide care for families looking for Labor Doulas, Postpartum Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation and Childbirth Education Classes. We support all parenting philosophies and birth plans.
Our doulas have experience in a variety of areas, such as:
(natural) unmedicated birth / (surgical) cesarean birth / epidural birth / induction / planned induction / planned cesarean / VBAC / TOLAC / waterbirth / hypnobirthing / multiples / breastfeeding / bottle feeding / formula feeding / NICU / PPD / PPMD / bed rest / high risk / low risk / advanced maternal age / miscarriage / IVF / and more.
Areas we Serve:
We serve Whatcom and Skagit Counties and the neighborhoods of Alger / Anacortes / Bellingham / Big Lake / Birch Bay / Blaine / Bow / Burlington / Clear Lake / Custer / Everson / Ferndale / Glen Haven / La Conner / Laurel / Lynden / Mount Vernon / Sedro Woolley / Sudden Valley / Maple Falls / Everson / Stanwood