Breastfeeding Ain't Easy

We hear a lot about how wonderful and magical and beautiful breastfeeding is. We hear about the benefits to mom and baby, the cost effectiveness, and the incredible bond it can form. 

What we don't often hear about or talk about is how challenging it can really be. We don't hear about the sleepless nights, the cracked nipples, being attached to your kid 24/7 through a growth spurt. 

We believe and amplify the glamour, but shy away from the messy.

Well, I'm here to tell you that if breastfeeding was or is a challenge for you, you are not alone!

Doulas of Orange County recently posted the following picture on our Instagram feed and the response was surprising to say the least. 

Share your own experience on our IG page @doulasoforangecounty

Share your own experience on our IG page @doulasoforangecounty

More than 30 moms posted about their challenges with breastfeeding...

"Being the only one that could calm and feed baby... sometimes you just need a break."
"The first 6 weeks. It was painful and no one could help ease the pain."
"Food sensitivities! Second guessing that everything I eat is causing my babe issues. And having people question why I don't just formula feed to make it 'better'."
"Getting through the first few months of dealing with engorged boobs from over supply. Having inverted nipples and having to use nipple shields, and going through mastitis twice."
"Feeling like I needed to defend why we were still nursing or worse, sometimes feeling embarrassed about it!"

Many commenters also mentioned that once they got support things drastically improved and the challenges dissipated. Others shared different things that worked for them to get through - relying on pumping, using nipple shields, address tongue/lip ties. 

In my work as a Birth & Postpartum Doula I've had my fair share of clients who struggled to feed their babies. The one thing often heard from these moms who had breastfeeding goals was that they didn't understand why it didn't come naturally.

I can see how these thoughts form. We tell women everyday that breastfeeding is natural and instinctual. And while I absolutely agree with those sentiments, we don't give women realistic expectations. We tend to leave out the part that breastfeeding is also a learned behavior. The instinct involves knowing when baby is hungry and having the instinct to feed your baby so he/she will thrive. But knowing HOW to feed your baby is another story entirely. 

Just as it takes months (sometimes years) of practice to be proficient at playing a musical instrument or excelling at a sport, it takes new parents weeks or months to become truly comfortable and confident with breastfeeding. But somehow we've come to believe that if breastfeeding doesn't work within a week of birth or a month or two months, we've somehow failed.

The truth is, most people struggle in the early days. Whether you struggled with getting a good latch, had inverted/flat nipples, dealt with a tongue tie, or were just overwhelmed with the fact that your baby needs you ALL THE TIME... again, you are not alone.

So what can you do about it?

If you're relating to what we're laying down, we have a few tips

1) Take a Breastfeeding Class

Typically marketed to you when you're pregnant, you can still get a lot of help and information by attending after baby arrives. If you take a class prenatally it will help you have some good knowledge at your disposal and help you set realistic expectations for the first few days and weeks of your breastfeeding journey. Taken postpartum it can offer support and reassurance as well as give you ways to troubleshoot some of the struggles you're dealing with. And don't forget to bring your partner! We all absorb different information and having your partner on board and supportive through your breastfeeding journey adds an extra layer of encouragement. 

2) Get Support

Many of the hospitals in Orange County have Lactation Consultants on staff to provide support after baby arrives. Additionally some hospitals have Lactation Clinics. We highly recommend finding an IBCLC or CLEC to help you with individualized care if you're facing some hurdles. Having one-on-one support can be a game changer! Having someone validate your feelings and give you a customized care plan can help you get over that hump and begin enjoying that wonderful, beautiful, magical experience we mentioned above.

Hiring a Postpartum Doula can provide you day-to-day support with all things motherhood. Your Doula has lactation training and can offer suggestions for comfortable positioning, reassure you of normal newborn behavior, encourage bonding and help you identify when a Lactation Professional might be needed. Additionally, she can help take away some of the external pressures of running your home by assisting with baby care, providing nourishing meal preparation to promote a healthy milk supply, and running errands or accompanying you to Pediatrician/Lactation visits. 

Contact us if you need help getting connected with someone in Orange County or Long Beach. 

3) Find Your Tribe

Regular connection with other new or experienced moms is a LIFESAVER. Being able to commiserate with people who truly understand what you're going through can help you remember that you aren't alone. Being in the baby blues bubble can be really hard, but getting out of the house and getting social can do wonders for your mood. Join us for our weekly New Mama Cafe in Costa Mesa or find a local La Leche League meeting.

4) Be Gentle With Yourself

Don't get discouraged and don't feel that you failed if things don't work out exactly as you imagined they would. Sometimes small changes to the plan are what you or baby need in order to flourish in your relationship. Don't be afraid to admit that it's hard and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. There is no shame in getting professional lactation support! A lot of us need it... that's why it exists! In the end, no matter the outcome do what works best for you, your baby, and your family. 

We'd love to keep the conversation going either here or on Instagram. If you have any advice, wisdom, or challenges of your own you'd like to share, please do!

Fathers Day in Orange County

In our line of work we meet a lot of families and it is our belief that the significance of the role of FATHER in our society often goes unnoticed or is under appreciated. But here at Doulas of Orange County the yearly celebration and recognition of Fathers is one of our favorite days of the year! It is a day to honor the uniqueness, strength, and dedication of each dad, granddad, step-dad, and dad-to-be... and really, what could be better than that?!

There are so many fun and meaningful ways to celebrate Dads but this year we want to encourage you to think beyond the BBQs, the tools and the ties. Here are a few of our favorite ways to show your love & appreciation to the amazing dad in your life...

Guys Night Out

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Staying connected with friends after a baby arrives can be tough, especially if said friends don't have kids of their own. Dynamics change, schedules change and loyalties change. Saturday nights used to bring a night out with the guys... now it's Netflix and lights out by 10pm. Sometimes a guy just needs a night out with his man friends. A night to relax, drink some beers and let the worries of being a dad fade into the background for a few hours.

What guy wouldn't love opening a card with a coupon for Guys Night Out?! Tuesday Trivia Night at Kitsch Bar is always a blast or have him check out one of the many OC breweries.

Outdoor Adventures

It's no secret that most men enjoy activities that involve the outdoors!  Here are a few options if the guy in your life is always on the move and in search of adventure.

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Plan a family outing that includes a hike to Holy Jim Falls, complete with a packed picnic. This Trabuca Canyon favorite is kid-friendly and a great way to get the whole family's hearts pumping! Hearty sandwiches and an ice cold beer near a waterfall? Yes please! 

Gift your man with a deep sea fishing excursion! There is no shortage of incredible oceanic options here in Orange County. We recommend a half or full day trip with Davey's Locker out of Newport Beach! Make it a family affair or send him along with 1 or 2 of the guys... either way, it's bound to be a blast!

If he's a sports enthusiast, the Friends & Family Fun Pack is a must for any Angels fan!

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Dads of OC

Give Dad a special dose of bonding time at our Dads of OC park hangs! Here he'll meet other Orange County dads, get some Vitamin D and enjoy some interactive play time with the kiddos. Kids aged 0-10 are welcome to come along and there will be a play mat with interactive toys for the little ones. Held at 9:30am on the third Saturday of the month at Mariners Park in Newport Beach. Dads, you bring the kids, we'll bring the coffee and donuts! Registration is required and available on our website

 

Kid-Free Date Night

The challenges of parenthood are bound to put a strain on even the strongest of marriages. There is so much change in such a short period of time and while as individuals we learn and grow, sometimes as a couple, we drift apart. We know a lot of men (and women) who just crave some alone time with their partner to laugh and reconnect without distractions.

Plan a sexy date night just for the two of you. Arrange a sitter or send the kids to the grandparents house and treat your man (and yourself!) to a kid-free night on the town. Take him to his favorite restaurant, go wine tasting, enjoy a Duffy ride around Balboa Island, or book a room and a couples massage at the Ritz

The day of the date send him sexy, flirty texts to remind him how excited you are for some quality time with your boo. 

Something from the Littles

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Include the kids in spreading the love and appreciation of their dad by having them complete a craft or an art project. Whether their version of a family portrait, a finger painting, or clay handprints, memorialize it in a frame for him to cherish forever. 

 

 

Whatever Father's Day plans you make, we are certain that the love and thoughtfulness you put into it will make it a great day! Cheers to all you Dads out there! 

Join Our Team!

Have you heard?! Doulas of Orange County is growing and we are looking for some incredible Doulas to join our team!

DOC is a full service Doula Agency,  providing prenatal,  birth and newborn parenting support to families in Orange County,  California. We have a wonderful team of dedicated Birth and Postpartum Doulas,  Placenta Specialists and Educators who provide compassionate care through every step of our client's journey.  Our office and parent education center is located in Costa Mesa, CA near the 405 fwy.  We host a variety of classes, support groups and events.

Our Doula Agency is currently look for passionate and dedicated POSTPARTUM DOULAS or NEWBORN CARE SPECIALISTS to join our team.

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If you...

  • Are a Trained & Experienced Postpartum Doula or Newborn Care Specialist
  • Have Regular Overnight Availability
  • Are Resourceful, Self Motived, a Problem Solver
  • Have a Professional Work Ethic. Ability to work as a team and communicate efficiently with owners, administrative director and colleagues 
  • Are Compassionate and Creative
  • Able to Provide Non-Judgemental Support of all client's needs and parenting choices 
  • Love Families and Children
  • Value Professionalism and Quality of Care
  • Can provide patient, helpful and sincere support to new families
  • Are Computer Proficient & Social Media Savvy

We offer...

  • Client inquiries, intakes, and consultation bookings handled by DOC
  • Private professional office to meet clients for interviews in Costa Mesa
  • Contracts, Invoicing and Customer Service provided by DOC
  • Expense of company website, office, expos, marketing materials covered 
  • Ongoing advertising and in-person networking done by owners
  • Access to extensive online client management database for all your agency clients  
  • A reliable team of built-in dedicated backups in case of emergency
  • Opportunity to teach/host DOC classes or groups - Childbirth Education, Parenting Classes, Parenting Groups, Doula Gatherings, Movie Nights and more!
  • Hosted and Sponsored networking events 
  • Open invitation to our monthly member group gatherings and continuing education opportunities

We seek Independent Contractors who are trained and have worked with 10+ families providing Postpartum Doula & Infant Care. You must adhere to a professional Scope of Practice and be willing to cross-train with ProDoula for universal training & continuity of care purposes. We are looking for Doulas who have ample overnight availability and the desire to nurture modern families in the Long Beach and Orange County areas. 

To apply...

Email a cover letter & resume to hi@doulasofoc.com

 

We look forward to hearing from you! 

In the Spotlight :: Tawnya Guimond, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Welcome Back to our "In the Spotlight" series! Here you will learn more about the members of the Doulas of Orange County team as well as members of the vast birth & parenting community in Orange County. 

We love meeting new people and hearing the unique wisdom each person has for how to navigate this season of life. The childbearing years are no joke and we think you deserve all the support you can get. It is our hope that with these spotlight introductions you'll find the well-rounded support you need to embark on this journey with confidence and excitement.

Without further ado, we'd like you to meet Tawnya Guimond, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and Parenting Educator. Tawnya is one of the most amazing and committed Doulas we've ever had the pleasure to work with. She works tirelessly to provide nonjudgmental, consistent support to birthing & new families. Her warm & bubbly personality draws people to her and her thirst for knowledge is inspiring. Tawnya teaches our monthly Baby Care Basics class in Costa Mesa and helps guide expectant parents through the ups and downs of early postpartum and parenting. She is a favorite at our weekly New Mama Cafe & OC Mamas-to-Be groups and is an integral part of the DOC team. We adore her and know that you will too! 

Today, Tawnya shares a bit more about her passion for life as a Doula, a mom and the many things that make her joy so contagious!

  • To start, tell us a little about yourself… where did you grow up, are you married, kids, etc?

I lived in Southern California until I was 15, moved to Elko, Nevada where I lived for a few years before moving with my mom and two younger sisters to Kansas. I moved back to So Cal in 2000 and met the love of my life in 2003. Joe and I were married in 2009 on a beautiful beach in Hawaii and have two amazing little boys, Trent born in 2011 and Lincoln in 2013. Both were born at home with the love and care of our midwives.

  • When did you become a Doula and what inspired you to do this work?

We had a doula at the birth of our second child, who was my inspiration to become a doula. She helped keep me calm and focused while my husband cared for our oldest until his grandparents picked him up. She then showed my husband ways to provide me comfort and support during contractions. In January of 2014, I took my first birth doula training. My clients are what keep me inspired to continue this work, because it can be really hard. But seeing my clients persevere through what will probably be the most difficult yet most rewarding moments of their lives keeps me going.

  • What is the “why” behind your business as a doula? Why do you do what you do?

There is so much judgement in this world and everyone has an opinion, especially when it comes to birth and raising children. We all need someone to tell us that we are doing a great job and making the right decisions. We need someone to support us without judgement and/or an agenda. As your Doula, I am that person.

  • What is your birth philosophy?

My birth philosophy can be summed up by a quote by January Harshe, founder of Birth Without Fear. "I do not care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected."

  • What do you like to do when you’re not attending births/postpartum visits?
    Spending time with my family is my top priority. We enjoy simple things like going to Laguna Beach and playing in the waves and building sand castles or having a slumber party in the living room and watching cartoons.

  • Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

My husband Joe. Without him, I would not have this amazing life or my beautiful family. He makes me want to be a better person. He supports all my decisions, even when it means more work for him. He listens to me talk (which is a lot!) and cares about what I have to say. He is the only person that really understands me and can make me laugh like no one else. He loves his family more than life itself and would do anything for us. Oh, and he is very handsome. 

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  • What are you currently binge-watching?

Netflix is my saving grace. I just finished watching Arrow (Green Arrow is my favorite superhero) and just started The Flash.

  • What is your favorite place to relax in the OC?                                                                                                                      

My couch with my sons laying in my arms.

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You can schedule a consultation with Tawnya for Birth and/or Postpartum Doula care using our online booking calendar

Stay tuned for more introductions to the DOC team as well as other Birth Professionals and Care Providers in Orange County! 

 

Confident Birth :: A Childbirth Class Unlike Any Other

When you think of birth classes what automatically comes to mind?

Maybe you picture a bunch of pregnant women and their partners sitting on the floor with pillows doing their "hee-hee hoos." Maybe the word "Lamaze" pops into your head. Maybe you think of watching a graphic video of childbirth.

The idea of a group of expectant couples gathered to breathe, watch birth videos and talk about their fears and feelings could bring anyone to a halt when registering for a class. It's something that a lot of people reluctantly sign up for simply because it's recommended by their OBGYN or because they themselves consider it some sort of "rite of passage."

I can see why people might feel this way. These are some of the same thoughts I had before becoming a Childbirth Educator. I couldn't understand what the value of childbirth class was, especially when based on my own experiences as a Doula, each birth is so different. How could one class prepare each individual person for the type of birth they wanted or envisioned?

My tune changed pretty quickly after becoming a Childbirth Educator and I started to teach classes of my own. My goal in becoming an educator in the first place was not only to add to my skills as a professional Doula, but so I could help educate my clients and community in an unbiased way.

Too often I had clients come to me with misinformation or information clearly biased towards unmedicated birth. Too often did I have women feeling embarrassed or shamed by the choices they had made for their birth. Too often was their a feeling of disappointment in the room when the birth didn't unfold perfectly like the birth plan dictated.

What about the women who wanted an epidural?

What about the people who faced an induction and all they had been taught was that inductions were unnecessary or wrong?

What about those who were faced with a decision to have a cesarean birth?

These options, these considerations were being left out. This is why I became a Childbirth Educator: to create positive change, to be inclusive in all birthing options, and to create a class that was unlike any other!

 

At Doulas of Orange County, I believe we have done just that. 

Our Confident Birth curriculum is evidence-based and interactive. It provides opportunities to learn and discuss the various options and decisions that birthing parents are presented with. Our class provides space for honest and nonjudgmental discussion in a group setting. Lastly, it provides comprehensive skill building and hands-on practice that can be applied throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth.

It's not your typical OC childbirth class and here's why:

  • We don't focus on a certain way to birth. Doulas of Orange County is a judgment-free zone! Planning a cesarean? We'll talk about risks & benefits and ways to make your birth a positive one. Planning a home birth? We'll demonstrate various comfort measures that can be beneficial for an unmedicated birth. There is no "one way" or "right way" to have a baby and for that reason our Confident Birth class does not focus on one particular birthing method or experience.
     
  • Our goal is to build your confidence! In the various classes I've observed, I've noticed a disheartening trend of childbirth educators scaring people and scarring people. Our aim is to encourage and support you, to help you be informed and to increase your confidence as you approach this momentous occasion in your life! We do this by having honest, open discussions about what you know about birth & where that knowledge came from. We address fears and hopes, birth plans, self-care, and how to find your voice. 
     
  • There's a lot of laughter. Honestly, conversations about pregnancy and birth are not all that glamorous and often times requires humor. We won't sugar coat things. We'll talk about pooping when you push, hemorrhoids, sex noises in labor, orgasms & oxytocin, peeing yourself, and so much more. These conversations can be awkward, we know. But part of the beauty of it is that humor and awkwardness can actually make you relax, yes, even in labor! Mix those comedic conversations with hands-on exploration of comfort measures and this class is anything but boring!
     
  • We recognize that learning takes time. Enough with these 2 hour online classes! I may be biased, but you won't learn much in a quick, no-frills class. This is a HUGE day in your life and the commitment in preparing for it deserves to be significant. Whether you're taking our weekend intensive, a labor refresher, or the full 4-week series, it is worth the time! TRUST ME! We truly want you to absorb this information so that you can effectively apply it on the day of your birth. Some of this information takes thoughtful consideration and exploration. Don't rob yourself of truly gaining all that you can from your childbirth class. 

It is our sincere hope that in offering these unbiased, nonjudgmental, comprehensive classes that you will walk into your birth experience feeling CONFIDENT, INFORMED, and READY. 

If you want to join us, visit our classes page or register below. We recommend signing up anywhere between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Our 4-week series is held regularly throughout the year and our 1-day Labor Refresher is held every other month. Space is limited to 6 couples per class and classes fill up months in advance. Secure your spot today and let's get confident!

Confident Birth - 4 Week Series
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