Baby’s First Journal: An easy way to chart your newborn’s progress

babys-first-journal1Like many parents, Lindsay Harris was caught off guard by the amount of detailed recording required of her in the first few weeks following birth. “Something I was never told,” she says “was that I would be asked to record my baby’s feedings, diapers, weight, naps and doses of vitamins and medications in great detail!” If you’ve ever met a parent of a newborn, you’ll know that asking them to spell their own name is a challenge when confronted with sleep deprivation and the trials of breastfeeding. So the task of keeping track of all that goes into and out of baby can easily overwhelm even the most organized of individuals.

As a doula, I’ve seen parents try out many ways of making this charting easier. It seems that parents have tried everything from excel tables to personal journals, from make-shift charts to saving diapers, and if you’re in a fix, the random posted note has also make it’s way in there!

After a few weeks of struggling to find a system that worked for her, Lindsay decided enough was enough. If there wasn’t a product or system out there that could help her, she would make it herself!

So was the birth of “Baby’s First Journal” by Glow Baby, Lindsay’s baby company that was inspiried by her own postpartum experience. In this Baby Journal, Lindsay has created a chart to make keeping track
of baby’s feedings, weight, diapers, naps, etc. easy for even the most exhausted of parents.
She’s done all the work for you and she’s thought of everything! The details of her chart include time of day, breastfeeding with specification of left or right breast, bottle feeding (with breastmilk and formula), diapers (#1 or #2?) and duration of sleeps. All that is required of you is a few scratch marks in the box that fits the event being recorded! There’s also a growth chart in the front of the book and a contact list in the back!

Baby’s First Journal is now being stocked in many stores in Toronto including but not limited to:

Lifecyceles Wellness
Moms to be and More
Parent Books

Of course you can contact her yourself to order a copy by visiting her website or make use of the bulk price if you’re a practitioner who’d like to stock this resource for your own clients or use them as client gifts.

Self Care – Easier Said than Done!

I just recently went to Cuba for a week. It was fantastic and came at just the right time! I am one of the cubalucky ones who has a job that I absolutely love, but believe me, I NEEDED that trip!

I thought it would take me a few days to get used to not checking my email multiple times a day or having a cell phone on me 24/7 ready to answer at any moment. But it wasn’t until day 3 of our trip when I realized that I hadn’t thought about work at all! Interesting…..I started to notice how this liberation from technology was impacting my quality of life. It was amazing! I found that I was much more present for my husband and actually engaged him when he brought up his philosphy studies! I felt lighter, was sleeping better and was more energetic. I felt balanced and less tense. That state of catlike readiness that was always in anticipation of being ‘called out’ was dimmer, less all-consuming.

It occured to me that back home, I was not respecting my personal boundaries with respect to my work. Whether a call was from a labour client or a tellemarketer I always answered, even if we were in the middle of dinner, a movie or an important coversation. I was not making use of the resources I had to support my practice and instead felt it was of utmost importance to do everything myself. These feelings of dedication and self-sacrificing care are common amongst us caregivers and parents, but I realized that my over-availability was compromising my ability to be genuinely pesent for my own family. I was on the path to burnout and that wasn’t good for myself or my clients.

It took this complete removal from my life in Toronto for me to realize the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries and accepting help when I need it. This realization came as a surprise to me as I often have the conversation about the importance of accepting help and adopting the “good is good enough” mantra with my clients, but on some level I considered myself the exception!

I now uphold business hours of 10am – 6pm in which time I’ll answer emails, return messages, hold meetings and fullfill other business related tasks. My line is still open 24/7 to my labour clients but with this simple adjustment in my schedule I feel a more significant balance between my practice life and family life.

At times, it can be difficult to coming to terms with maintaining boundaries for ourselves or accepting help when we need it. Somtimes we feel that doing everything ourselves means that we’re being a good parent/doula/nurse/etc, and that limiting our tasks or asking for help would mean that we’ve failed at what we set out to do. What I learned was that in doing these things I was not compromising my practice or my sense of self, but rather uplifting them. I was ENABLED by setting boundaries and mobilizing my resources. I was ABLE to be more the person I wanted to be for my family and my clients.

So I challenge you to think of your boundaries and resources in this way:
What would you be able to do if your boundaries were better maintained? How would accepting help from others make you a better parent/doula/etc? How would adopting ‘good is good enough’ into your life HELP your family/work dynamic?

I think the answers you find will be surprising!

Compassion Fatigue: Mothers, Caregivers and the Need for Self Care

oprah-magazineI recently came across an article in O Magazine that discussed the phenomenon of Compassion Fatigue. The author defines Compassion Fatigue as stemming “from [the act of] taking on the emotional burden of a patient’s agony.” Whereas burning out has more to do with feeling drained from the daily stresses of work, Compassion Fatigue is more like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in that the person experiencing it actually takes on the stress of the situation of the person they’re supporting.

Compassion Fatigue is common for people working in a field where emotional support is a key compenent of their care. This includes doulas, midwives, nurses, mothers, fathers, doctors, hospice workers or any other person offering their emotional energy to a person in need.

This article brings to light the importance of incorporating self care into our daily lives, and provides suggestions not only for preventing Compassion Fatigue, but for coping with Compassion Fatigue should you begin to feel the overwhelm often accompanied by the condition.

This article is a MUST READ for any person in a position offering deep compassion to others in their regular lives. Please enjoy it by clicking on the link below and share it with your colleagues and friends.

Full Article