Placenta Encapsulation, Proceed with Caution

Placenta Encapsulation, Proceed with Caution

placenta encapsulation, proceed with caution

With more women choosing placenta encapsulation and experiencing the benefits, it’s only natural that they’re telling their friends and their friends are telling their friends.

Word travels fast!

First Coast Doulas get requests daily about placenta encapsulation. We are happy to share our knowledge about benefits and safety, answer any questions you have, and paint a picture of the process for you.

While our community is fairly familiar with the terms doula, postpartum, and placenta encapsulation, First Coast Doulas leads the way in safety and professionalism. We are experts in our field and as you can imagine that gives us, and our clients a great advantage.

What we’ve found out is that many people know about some of the benefits, but many have zero knowledge of the potential risks that are involved. Like with everything in life there are risks an benefits, placenta encapsulation is no exception.

There are people that only consider price to be important when hiring someone to complete with this very personal service. Other’s think word of mouth is the only thing that matters. Choosing someone who is the lowest price, highest price, or word of mouth only could potentially be dangerous.

When choosing placenta encapsulation, proceed with caution!

So, here’s what you need to know to stay as safe as possible:

  1. Has the person who will be handling your placenta taken a training? How can you be 100% sure?
    1. Are they certified or working towards certification? This shows a commitment and lends a great deal of legitimacy to the individual.
    2. Have you check into their training organization?

With First Coast Doulas you will never wonder if we are trained, certified, or working towards certification because we are and can show you proof. In addition we hold a FL Food Handlers card and are OSHA certified and have been 2013.

1.Has the person you are hiring established a legal business?

  • Legal businesses show that they have taken the steps necessary to build a business, pays taxes, and considers this her/his profession.
  • They are more likely to be committed to their clients than someone doing this as a hobby or “fun”.
  • They will have insurance.

First Coast Doulas is a legal/legit business. We have served at least a hundred families and we’re creating sustainability. So, we’ll be around when you have your next baby. We take pride in our career and it shows.

2. Ask about the cooler and vehicle your placenta ride around in, and the “work space” where your placenta is prepared.

  • Is that a labaratory, shed, or family kitchen?
  • Is the cooler cleaned and bleached between clients?
  • Is the vehicle, fridge, kitchen, or shed up to your standards of clean?
  • Whose children and animals will come into the work space and possibly in contact with your placenta while the process is being completed?

3. Is the equipment used only for business?

  • A business should have equipment that is dedicated to business use only.
  • What happens if the equipment fails?
  • What steps has the business taken to ensure they will have the equipment needed to preform them job?

First Coast Doulas has dedicated equipment and not just a seta

First Coast Doulas provides everything you need to transport your placenta safely. Your placenta remains with you at all times! Our “work space”is your kitchen. A nice clean cooler, your car, your kitchen, your kids, your pets, and worse case scenario your own germs and bloodborne illness that you are use to coming in contact with.

  1. Will your placenta be at risk for cross contamination? How can you be 100% sure?
    1. Will your placenta and blood be touching someone else’s placenta and blood and ultimately their bloodborne illnesses? We’re talking serious risks with this.
    2. How will the space be cleaned, disinfected, and prepared?

First Coast Doulas knows your placenta hasn’t touched anyone else’s because you’ve had it with you the entire time. Doctors and midwives know the risks of someone else picking up your placenta, just ask them! Then ask them what they think of you transporting it yourself, to your home, and being met there by professional with First Coast Doulas to prepare your placenta! We clean up and disinfect our work space before beginning and afterwards too! We prep the area and follow high safety standards and protocols.

  1. Has your placenta been handed off from one person to another… and possibly three more?
    1. Whose placenta is whose now?
  1. Could the placenta or capsules have been mixed up with another person’s placenta by mistake? “Oops, I’m almost 100% sure these are yours”, is not what you want to hear… on second thought that’s safer than the alternative. 
    1. Often you’ll hear people say, “I only handle one placenta at a time” or “all placentas are labelled so there’s no chance of mix up”. Can you be sure of these things?

Again, with First Coast Doulas there’s no worries because… well I think you get it! When choosing placenta encapsulation, proceed with caution!

First Coast Doulas understands most everyone has a budget and they also have an idea of what they would like to pay for something. Our fees for services are right around what most people would expect to pay and our reflective of the professional services provided by qualified doulas and placenta encapsulation specialists.

While we do not offer discounts we do offer payment options and gift certificates make lovely gifts for baby showers! For a very reasonable fee you can ditch the worries and reap the benefits!

Why Moms Suffer Postpartum

moms suffer postpartum

Why Moms Suffer Postpartum

The reason that many moms suffer postpartum is threefold. I’ll be addressing an important topic that many people give very little thought to, the time period after giving birth. If while reading you feel like I’m talking to you in particular, it’s because I am! I have a heart for new parents and you are no different! The Jacksonville Baby Company knows and understands the postpartum culture in the United States well. Before you close this tab be sure to share this with your friends and in all your mom groups. Moms don’t need to suffer postpartum!

The first reason moms suffer postpartum: women aren’t a priority, we’re a minority.

Ouch, that stings a bit to say and to hear, I know, but it’s absolutely the truth. Among other things women are often paid less and our bodily autonomy is often encroached upon or threatened. Women are nurturers, often the peace-keepers of the family. It’s not uncommon for us to think of others before ourselves.

The focus always seems to be on our babies rather than on us, the mothers, the givers of life!

The “baby” shower, the birth of the “baby”, even bringing “baby” home. Everyone is there to celebrate and care for the baby, who will be there to care for and celebrate you, the mother? Who will make sure you are healthy and happy? You’ll endure approximately 40 weeks of rapid change, constipation, birth, bleeding, engorged breasts, stitches, staples, hair loss, night sweats, guilt, emotional exhaustion, and survive sleepless nights for days on end.

Study after study has proven that having skilled support and planning can help reduce perinatal mood disorders. So why aren’t more people investing in it?

Secondly, and to be frank, moms suffer postpartum because they’re choosing to make care after birth take a back seat while they prioritize other things.

Another reason moms suffer postpartum is that they prioritize other things more. Yes, more than getting off to a supported start after birth! They value things like, vacations! Moms suffer postpartum because parents value pricey baby gear that is mostly going to collect dust or get minimal use at best, maternity, newborn, and family photos, professional organizers, interior decorators, catering, game systems, hunting, boating, and tickets to exclusive events.

I understand that each family’s priorities will be unique to them, but can’t help but be saddened by the fact that we see so many moms value having a dream wedding over support postpartum. It isn’t until they suffer postpartum that they realize the true value and necessity of professional postpartum support.

I don’t want you to look back and say, “Hindsight is 20/20!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if others made you numero uno, nurtured you the way you need it, and thought about you in your biggest time of need; after you give birth?

The last reason why moms suffer postpartum; we simply aren’t proactive in our postpartum care.

Until you demand postpartum support and become proactive instead of reactive about your own wellness no one else will. Until you believe that having professional, skilled, hands-on support for yourself and your baby is a crucial part of your motherhood journey, no one else will either.

Professional postpartum care must become common place for all to feel a positive and lasting impact in our society.

What about those who truly can’t afford this type of service? I believe that once those who can afford it and those who choose to budget for it lead the way access to this service will become common place. So, for example. Formula. Formula use to be a status symbol for wealthy folks. So that began the formula trend. Poor communities gained more access or sought out the means to get the formula because it’s what the wealthy did. It was a status symbol! Now it’s those who are most educated and have the ability and access to it that breastfeed for longer and are typically more successful.

Every mama wants to get off to a great start!

It’s simply not enough to want it! You have to act on it! You need to lead the way to make the biggest impact! Do it for your babies and their babies. Do it for the women in your community. Do it for yourself, you are worthy!

Do you want to get off to a great start? Do you want someone you can turn to for help with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and even pumping? Are you thinking about the long nights ahead? Are you hoping someone will help you recognize early signs of trouble? Do you want someone to help get your baby use to the safest and healthiest sleep habits so you can sleep? Are you curious about caring for your body while you heal after birth? Are you looking for more than just a warm body who can do what you ask? Are you seeking someone who knows what to do, knows what “normal” is, and knows when you need to call the pediatrician? Does it matter if this person is skilled and experienced?

If you answered yes on repeat then take action! Walk the walk!

As one of our (super fun) clients said, “When I heard about the support your company provides I couldn’t be the askhole . . . You know, the person who asked for advice and help and then didn’t take it.”

Now that you know why moms suffer postpartum, will you prioritize this special time in your life? Will you be one to normalize needing support? For those of us who can hire and offer professional postpartum support, we should! We should be the ones to lead the way so that we can bring about change for ourselves, those who are disadvantaged, and for future generations. We owe this to our daughters!

So, what do you do?

#1: Prioritize & Budget for Professional Care By 30 Weeks

We typically book 6 weeks out with minimal last-minute availability. Booking early is recommended.

#2: Seek Out Professional Postpartum & Infant Care Support not a Nanny

Hire someone who can fill the position, not someone you have to train up! For the postpartum time period, a nanny won’t have the experience, training, or knowledge that a PP & IC Specialist does, period.

#3: Talk About It and Tell Others

Literally, nothing changes if you keep others in the dark about your postpartum time period. Don’t be embarrassed or scared to admit you needed help or received help. We ALL need help during this transitional period.

In closing, get in contact with us!

We have you covered, but only if you prioritize yourself. From a thoroughly written, fully customizable postpartum plan to helping you keep your home running smoothly, we’re on it! We are down in the trenches with you helping you figure out how to best utilize the resources you already have available to you. We will help you meet the physical and emotional demands new motherhood entails and make you look and feel better doing it.

The Jacksonville Baby Company takes the guesswork out of postpartum. The only thing left for you to do is prioritize it!

Cheers to a Support Postpartum Transition (if you prioritize it)!

Elizabeth Luke

  1. Aber C, Weiss M, Fawcett J. Contemporary women’s adaptation to motherhood: the first 3 to 6 weeks postpartum. Nurs Sci Q 2013;26:344–51.
  2. Kassebaum NJ, Bertozzi-Villa A, Coggeshall MS, Shackelford KA, Steiner C, Heuton KR, et al. Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 [published erratum appears in Lancet 2014;384:956]. Lancet 2014;384: 980–1004.

Cannellini Bean Soup | 30 Minutes | FREE Printable

Cannellini Bean Soup | Jax, FL Newborn Help

Cannellini Bean Soup

This recipe for cannellini bean soup is perfect if you’re short on time, but not on love! I enjoy feeding my family, my friends, and the families we work with so much. Cooking is a hobby of mine and food might be my other love language. Recently our daughter and one of our sons each asked if I would write down some of my recipes for their favorite meals so they would know how to make them. The practice of writing down recipes is truly hard for me. I’ve always been one to just freestyle in the kitchen! I open the fridge, pull out the veggie drawer, and see what ingredients I have stocked in my house. Then, I listen to the food Gods as they speak to me! Toss in a little of this and some of that, season, stir, and taste.

I decided this would be a great opportunity to get them involved.

As our kids have grown (and some flown the nest) I’ve come to realize our days cooking together (and gathering together to share meals) are fewer and further between. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but what a great opportunity this is for us to make time to get into the kitchen together again. My daughter and I decided that my quick cannellini bean soup would be a great recipe to start with. I had her join me in the kitchen to record this recipe as I prepared it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it together.

Cannellini Bean Soup | Serves 4 | 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 TBsp butter
  • 3-4″ sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1- 10 oz can tomato soup
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBsp garlic powder
  • 5 cups of kale chopped well
  • 2-10 oz cans of cannellini beans
  • 3 quarts of chicken, vegetable, or beef stock

Directions:

  1. Chop onions.
  2. In a large soup pot heat butter over medium heat and sautee onions until softened.
  3. While the onions cook down, roughly chop 4 tomatoes and slice the garlic and add them to the pot. Add bay leaves and rosemary.
  4. Next, add 3 quarts of chicken, beef, or vegetable stock [my preference is homemade stock or Better than Bouillon]
  5. Add in black pepper, salt, garlic, and tomato soup. Stir well.
  6. Turn the heat up to high and stir until just boiling.
  7. As your soup begins to boil add in the kale, turn the heat down to medium-low.
  8. Give a few more stirs, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  9. While it simmers drain and rinse 2 cans of cannellini beans.
  10. During the last minute of cooking add in your beans and stir.
  11. Remove bay leaves and rosemary.
  12. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve warm or store in the fridge or freezer within a couple of hours.

Be sure to print your recipe card!

This cannellini bean soup is so simple to make it’s almost fail-proof. If you try and enjoy it, check out a few other recipes we’ve shared in the past, leave us a comment, and feel free to share about us with others on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re expecting a baby or have a newborn and are in the Jacksonville, Florida area reach out to us, we would love to support your family during the postpartum time period. Not only do we cook, we also validate your feelings, help you find solutions that work, make sure you get all the rest you need, and [icing on the cake] we’re baby and postpartum support experts

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Our Bodies Are Not Perfect | Preparation Ahead

our bodies are not perfect | Jax, FL Birth Classes, Birth Prep in Jax, FL

Our Bodies Are Not Perfect

Our bodies are not perfect! I feel no shame in saying that. We need glasses when our eyes are meant to see with. We’re born with ears and yet hearing aids are needed. We’re sometimes given legs that don’t walk and organs that grow outside of our bodies. Our bodies are not perfect and it doesn’t hurt us or reduce our existence to admit this.

Death isn’t something we want to think about, yet like birth, we will also all die. Some of us are faced with untimely deaths, this is reality. Spend any amount of time in labor and delivery or working with expecting parents and you realize that not every baby will survive while others beat all odds. I know, it’s HORRIBLE and absolutely heartbreaking to think about, but it’s true.

What’s crazier?

The natural birth culture that pregnant moms face in 2020 often leads to the conclusion that they really don’t accept the preventable death of babies. Say what?!

When we say things such as, “Your baby will come when he’s ready”, “It’s the way it was intended, the natural way” (hello tornados, earthquakes, and rattlesnakes are natural too), “It’s just a guess date, not an expiration date”, we’re ignoring reality. This reality slaps the faces of those who’ve lived through preterm birth, experienced infertility, have a chemical imbalance, and who’ve survived the death of an infant when a pregnancy becomes post-date and doesn’t beat the odds.

We should avoid saying these things altogether.

Seriously, STOP!

By saying these things it shows that the person doesn’t understand the emotional aspect of supporting a person through labor and childbirth. Learning to use better language, ask questions that challenge pregnant people to work through their nervousness, fear, or anxieties surrounding childbirth would be a better course of action or response.

Our bodies are not perfect and it’s totally cool because our self-worth is no way determined by our bodily functions!

Our bodies are not perfect and there’s more harm than I’m willing to assume the risk of by saying otherwise. Our bodies do amazing things and they do weird shit! We’re unique and have quirks. We’re different, and imperfectly perfect, sure, but our bodies are not perfect.

There is no one size fits all approach to childbirth or parenting.

There are just too many variables in play. If care providers step aside and believe our bodies are perfect and all babies will come on their own time every time, we will lose more babies. If they believe they can save every single baby by way of interventions every time, when there’s literally no way to do that, we fail by over intervention. We suffer birth injury and sometimes even death. When we believe inducing everyone at the same exact gestation can lead to more harm than good we lose babies. Vice versa just waiting until the baby is ready to come on his own can lead to post-date infant loss too.

Midwives and OBGYN’s are human beings, extraordinary ones at that!

They’re doing the best they can to the best of their ability, each and every time. Some may be too hands-off while others may be too intervention happy. It happens. They’re trying to do their very best, to save as many lives as they can, and deserve grace and kindness along the way.

Our bodies are not perfect and in many ways, we trade the risk of intervention for the risk of losing a baby.

Who should get to decide that? I believe whole-heartedly the parents should get to decide that, with or without their provider’s approval, but hopefully they’ve talked it through with their care providers, they trust their providers, and have been thoroughly and honestly counseled on the matter.

Our bodies are not perfect. The way of the world isn’t perfect.

Anyone who believes that it is foolish and has never witnessed or experienced trauma in birth. You cant eliminate all death in pregnancy or completely stop birth complications from happening. We can try, but we can’t stop it. There’s a balance that must happen.

Our bodies are not perfect, but nothing in life is!

We can be happy with how things go, we can be terribly sad, or grieve how things go, life isn’t perfect and that’s okay!

We can prepare for childbirth none-the-less!

How?

You can take a childbirth class that doesn’t set you up to feel like you’ve failed. Because there is no right or wrong way to birth, only different ways and ways you accept or ways you do not.

Take a class that helps you learn about birth, the variations, how to communicate your needs, and get answers to your questions. Find a class that is NOT focused on birthing the “right” way or on using the “best” method. The way you give birth is not the first act of love for your child. There is no right or wrong way it is simply the way your body needs to do things. If you start letting your physical functions determine your self-worth things get messy. Most aspects of birth are out of your control. Choose a class that teaches you how to advocate for yourself and prepares you for the worst and the best-case scenarios.

You can find the care providers that feel good to you!

Ask about their philosophical approach to birth. Ask the tough questions. How are your provider’s communication skills? It’s important to trust and feel good about your care providers. Are you treated kindly, respectfully, and with autonomy? You’re looking for woman-centered life-saving care, both are important.

You can line up support for after you give birth! You’re gonna need it, we all do! We may not all get it, but we sure do need it!

Our team is completely present for you as you welcome your baby home or come home with empty arms and broken hearts.

We’re there to lighten your load. We will nourish your body and ease your mind where we can. We listen empathetically, validate your feelings and concerns, and help find real solutions for the solvable issues. Our team is there to help you rest, sleep, and heal. Likewise, we’ll be there to commiserate and comfort you when there is no fixing the shit you’ve endured. People often overlook the period of time after birth, they fail to prepare and they regret it greatly. Don’t skip on fourth-trimester preparations!

Our bodies are not perfect, and we can still show up and slay!

Adjust your lens.

Trust your gut.

Trust your team!

Ask the important questions.

But at the end of the day, your body’s functions do NOT determine your self-worth! The sooner we all get with that reality the sooner we will be happy in this life!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Lochia and Fundal Massage at the Hospital

lochia and fundal massage Jax, FL Labor and Delivery

Lochia and Fundal Massage at the Hospital

You’re probably wondering what kind of sweet treatment and yummy foods they’ll be serving up at the hospital after you give birth to your baby! I can promise you that lochia and fundal massage are not on the list of “good times” you’ll cherish. So, what the heck is lochia and fundal massage if not a kickass Asian wrap and relaxing new mama massage technique? I’ll explain!

A “New Mama” Massage Technique it is!

Fundal massage is definitely not relaxing though! It’s more like a Medieval torture practice. I’m sorry, I typically steer clear of scaring pregnant people, and you shouldn’t really be fearful of it. While it sucks, it’s necessary! So what is it? It’s a massage or kneading on the uppermost part of your uterus. When you go to your provider’s office and they check on baby, remember how your provider palpates your growing belly and measures you? They are measuring your fundal height. Essentially measuring from your pelvic bone to the top of your uterus. This tells them about how many weeks you’re measuring.

Shortly after your baby is born fundal massage a.k.a, the dance of doom is performed by your nurses and or care providers to help get your fundus (the top of your uterus) to shrink down and return to pre-pregnancy size. Why? In short, it’s to keep your uterus contracting so your bleeding will slow down and you risk of hemorrhaging is reduced.

Fundal massage facts:

  • Nursing your baby helps your uterus contract and shrink in size faster.
  • Breathing through the fundal massage will help you relax through it.
  • Contractions after birth are known as after pains.
  • They get worse with each baby you have.
  • They will perform fundal massage after both vaginal and cesarean births.

You probably guessed it by now. Lochia isn’t a yummy wrap!

By definition, lochia is a vaginal discharge occurring after childbirth.  It contains blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. The discharge should smell similarly to menstrual blood. Any foal odor or green or yellow discharge should be reported to your care providers right away. This discharge lasts about six weeks, sometimes less. Basically lochia is the longest, most fun-filled period of your life!

There are three stages of lochia:

  • Stage 1: Lochia rubra contains blood, vernix, lanugo, and membranes. It is bright red in color because of the large amount of blood it contains. Lasting about 3-5 days after childbirth
  • Stage 2: Lochia serosa is thin and brownish or pink and contains exudate, erythrocytes, leukocytes, cervical mucus, and microorganisms. Lasting until about the 10th day postpartum. If Lochia serosa persists more than 2 weeks after birth it should be reported to your care provider because it can sometimes indicate late postpartum hemorrhaging.
  • Stage 3: Lochia alba is just lochia that has turned whitish or yellowish-white. It usually begins around week two after childbirth and typically lasts through the third to sixth weeks after childbirth. It contains fewer red blood cells and is mainly made up of mucus, leukocytes, fat (no weight loss here ladies, sorry), and several microorganisms.

Final thoughts on lochia and fundal massage…

Nope, not really! Women are pretty badass. We can menstruate, deal with cramps, power through pregnancy aches and pains, survive the heartbreak of miscarriages, battle infertility, grow an entire human, bleed three shades of post-baby cray, make milk for another human, and still manage to keep the tiny humans alive whilst having zero issues with hanging a new roll of toilet paper for the umpteenth time. Shit’s pretty clear, lochia is just another magnificent thing we do!

If you are expecting a baby and are in the Northeast Florida area we teach some very unique classes! It’s the place to learn all the things you’ll wish you’d known about if you miss out on our classes! Get in touch and lets rock this!

Also, Costco makes some pretty amazing Asian wraps if you’re hungry now. You’re welcome, friend!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke

Butternut Squash Bisque | 4th Trimester Recipes

Butternut Squash Bisque | 4th Trimester Recipes Jax, FL | 4th Trimester Jax, FL

Butternut Squash Bisque | 4th Trimester Recipes

This creamy butternut squash bisque is warm, filling, and basically euphoria in a bowl. Believe me when I say that you’ll want to bookmark this one! Soups of all kinds are just one of my specialties! Not only can you make soup from almost any combination of food it’s also comfort food. When you’re throat is sore and your nose is runny, soup it is! Crap day, soup! Rainy day, you guessed it, soup! Give me all the soup!

Meal prepping for new families is one of the things that The Jax Baby Company loves to do and soup is one of my favorite ways to nourish a new mom.

In China, after giving birth mothers “sit the month” or zuo yuezi. The main goal is to restore the mother’s yin and yang after childbirth so the mother can care for and bond with her new baby. Moms are served soups and broths and aren’t allowed to eat or drink anything cold. I personally love making soup for new moms, but this mama loves her ice cream so if you want some of that too, we’ve got you!

I share with you my perfected Butternut Squash Bisque recipe.

Serves 6-8 | Prep Time= 10 mins. | Cook Time=60 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 and 1/2- 2 cups of diced carrots
  • 2 whole butternut squashes
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 bunch of green onions (optional)
  • 2 figs (optional)
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • ground nutmeg to taste

Getting Started:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F
  2. While the oven pre-heats rinse and dry your butternut squashes. Slice each squash lengthwise and rub each of the cut sides of the halves with butter or oil of choice. Place cut side down onto a baking pan. Dice onions, carrots, and green onions. Keeping each separate. Slice each fig (optional) into 4 slices.
  3. Once the oven has pre-heated, bake the butternut squash on the center over rack at 400°F for about 40-45 minutes or until a fork can be poked into and pulled out of the squashes easily.

Meanwhile…

  1. Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until browning occurs or about 4-6 minutes. Then add the diced carrots and bay leaves into the pot. Stir and cook until the carrots until they’re al dente, about 3-4 additional minutes being careful not to chop up the bay leaves.
  2. To the pot add chicken stock, and salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Not sure? Go light you can always add more later. Bring it to a slow boil, reduce heat, and simmer on low until vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Once you remove the butternut squash from the oven you want to carefully (don’t burn yourself) scoop out the squash and add it the pot with the veggies and stock. Stir well and cook until everything is soft.
  4. Remove the bay leaves at this time.
  5. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not bring to a boil.
  6. Serve warm, top with 1-2 slices of fig, and pinch or two of green onions, and salt and pepper to taste and a dash of ground nutmeg.
  7. Go ahead and enjoy it!

This butternut squash bisque is easy to tweak to your liking.

Vegan? Omit the cream, use vegetable stock, and use EVOO instead of butter. Want to add some spice? Reach for some curry! Thinking you’d like to add-in chicken like one of my sons did? You go for it! And please, let me know what you think! We love to hear from all of you!

Looking for help after you give birth? What to rest in, nourish your body and bond with your baby during the fourth trimester? Let The Jax Baby Company care and tend to your needs so you can focus on what matters most to you!

Happy Birth and Parenting,

~Elizabeth

What’s Best for Your Baby?

What’s Best for Your Baby?

We know you want to do what’s best for your baby! You love your little sweet pea and just want to do right by them in every way. Once the decision has been made to start a family inevitably questions seem to roll in like impressive storm clouds on a summer afternoon in Florida!

If I get the epidural will it affect our baby? Who would be best to have with us when I give birth? Should I have visitors right away or make them wait a couple weeks? When do most people take their babies out after they are born?

You quickly learn that you’ll get all the opinions in pregnancy about what’s best for your baby.

No two opinions ever seem to be the same, so how do you sort through it all? How do you know what’s best for your baby? Let me let you in on a little secret, I’ll be 100% real with you. Every parent wonders, what’s “best” and without fail, at some time or another, we all wonder if we’re screwing our kids up. Truth bomb! Having a second baby? You’ll wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your oldest, yet again!

Take some nice, slow breaths. Inhale peace and exhale doubt. You’ve got this!

We see those Instagram pics with the hashtag #momfail. There seems to be heavy judgement surrounding how we parent and rear our kidlets. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Concerned you might be one of those parents who “fail” at raising good humans?

These wonderings are completely normal; you will have parenting wins and woes, not fails! Failing is giving up. You are not giving up, you are navigating! In the words of Chumbawamba, I get knocked down, but I get up again. That alone signifies you care and are doing the very best anyone can and what’s best for your baby and family!

So, how can we be the very best at parenting that we can be? 

Well, for starters we would do well to understand that what is best for one family isn’t best for all families. Another way we can do our own personal best is by taking great care of ourselves. After all, if we want our children to do that for themselves we must  model to our children what that looks like. Meditation, prayer, self-care, exercise, therapy, support groups, date nights, hobbies, and nutrition. A healthy mind, body and soul allow us to give to others without depleting from our own cup!

Do you need a system or something that can work in every “what is best” situation?

When you’re faced with a decision in pregnancy, childbirth, or in parenthood one way we like to help parents navigate is to say, remember to use your B.R.A.I.N. Your brain, of course, but also your B.R.A.I.N. acronym.

B= Ask, what are the BENEFITS?

R= Ask, what are the RISKS?

A= Ask, are their ALTERNATIVES and if so what are they?

I= Tune into your INTUITION. What’s your gut or inner voice say?

N= Ask, what if we do NOTHING right now? Revisit this in X amount of time.

You’re doing what is best for your baby when you do what you think or feel is best!

There’s absolutely no one more equipped for the job of parenting your children than you! We can certainly all benefit greatly from support and encouragement, without judgment or opinions along the way! An unbiased, science-based childbirth education class and A-rated support from experts in the field goes a very, very long way! The Jax Baby Company is there every step of the way to help you navigate the curveballs birth and parenting throw you, but also help you maintain complete autonomy over your body, birth, and your family!

When you get caught up in the “what’s best game”, I challenge you to stop, breathe, and focus on the single most important piece of the parenting puzzle that actually applies and fits into place perfectly. And that is that you’re always considering what’s best for your baby and that makes you an amazing parent.

You’ll win some and you’ll learn some!

In those learning moments, you become even more relatable to other parents. Welcome to the parenting club! Parenting is such a humbling experience and one day it is our hope that you’ll look back and laugh, give yourself a little pat on the back, and know that you did a phenomenal job at this parenting thing!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth

The Symptoms of Postpartum | From Blues to Rage | FREE PRINTABLE

The Symptoms of Postpartum | Blues, Depression, OCD, Anxiety, Rage, & Psychosis

Maybe you’re expecting your first babe, and you’re wondering what are the symptoms of postpartum? Most first time moms wonder, and many second time moms feel lucky to have “escaped” that “postpartum stuff” with their first baby. Depression and postpartum blues, depression, anxiety, rage, OCD, and even psychosis are often used interchangeably. Postpartum simply means the period of time after a person gives birth while the rest of the above-mentioned words are illnesses or disorders. Some of the symptoms are of postpartum are alike, while many symptoms overlap and combine. Others may only experience a few of the symptoms or not recognize what the hell they feel or are experiencing.

What are the symptoms of postpartum?

Well it totally sucks, like a gut punch, a slap in the face, and a period from hell, it’s debilitating, and to top it all off, it’s isolating! In addition to everything listed below in the FREE DOWNLOAD, there are also physical symptoms like headaches, shakes, fatigue, dizziness, hunger or lack of hunger, body aches, and even vomiting.

The good news?

Postpartum illness and disorders are treatable with either therapy, medication, or both. If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. There is HOPE and you are NOT alone. Call someone you trust and your doctor or an emergency crisis hotline right away so that you can get the help you need.

Don’t take no for an answer!

You can develop these illnesses/disorders at any time during pregnancy or during the first 12-18 months after giving birth. Keep reaching out if you feel brushed off, don’t ignore the warning signs, find a support group, a great therapist, postpartum help, and practice self-care!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke-

Self-Care for the Newly Postpartum Mother

What is self-care for the newly postpartum mother?

Meredith Brooks and Alanis Morisette were on to something when they sang the song, “I’m a bitch!” Think about it…

I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover
I’m a child, I’m a Mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed.
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between,
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

As mothers, we wear so many damn hats that we often forget to STOP and take the time we need and absolutely deserve to care for ourselves. In the early weeks after childbirth self-care very much looks like brushing our teeth two times a day, finishing a meal while it’s still hot warm, and saying “yes” to ourselves more!

10 Ideas for Self-Care for the Newly Postpartum Mother:

So Naturally First, Say “Yes” to You

Yes, yes, yes! You deserve to say yes to you instead of do, do, doing for everyone else all the time. You have permission to take care of you! You deserve to have others take care of you! Saying yes to you also means relinquishing some responsibility and control over the things you normally task yourself with. Even if it means things are done in a way you would never do them yourself! Even if they’re not done at all. It will be okay, everyone will survive, everyone will manage! Prioritize your priorities, scale back, and step away. Think about much more how appreciative everyone will be , when you return to those duties once again.

Watch a Comedy or Binge Watch Your Favorite Uplifting Netflix or Hulu Series

The right comedy can change your day! Like sneezing, seeing others laugh is contagious. So, get a shower (and brush your teeth), climb into a comfy spot, and laugh your ass off! Need some ideas? Off the top of my head: Jo Koy on Netflix is hilarious! What’s on Your F*ck List is a quick Ted Talk that rocks!

Schedule a Video Chat

Everyone has their person! The person who lifts their spirits, who makes them smile and laugh, or who will just offer an ear without trying to fix anything! So reach out to your person, set a date (very soon), make yourself or ask your postpartum specialist to make you a warm cup of tea, grab a piece of your favorite chocolate that you’ve had stashed and enjoy! No chocolate? Oh girl, phone a friend fast!

Let the Sunlight In

If you can, just sit outside, it’ll help lift your spirits! If you can’t pull back those blinds while you’re awake and bask in the rays of the sun’s light. Read a book, listen to music or just be present while paying close attention to your breath. Allow your body to feel and breathe. Another way to enjoy the sunlight is while listening to a great audio-book or relaxing music!

Eat a Nice Dinner

Perhaps you have a feel good, comfort food meal? If you do, request that meal bprepared for you. No preference on the meal? Your postpartum specialist, family, friends, or partner can freestyle or use a recipe they pull and surprise you! Actually I love that idea, relinquish that and put the metaphoric ball in their court! Enjoy that meal all alone if you prefer or with someone you love. While I’m here I’ll just mention briefly how important healthy snacks and staying hydrated are for the newly postpartum mum! Snack, snack, snack!

Guided Meditation

Meditation can help by quieting the overactive mind, the racing thoughts. You can begin identifying with the silence that exists between every thought or action. Centering yourself is a skill that anyone can learn, once they have the intention and the experience of what it feels like. With an amazing teacher, hurdles can be overcome. The good news is anyone can meditate! Guided meditation is the perfect start!

Numerous scientific studies have found meditation to be effective in helping to treat anxiety.  One study, published in the Psychological Bulletin, combined the findings of 163 different studies. The overall conclusion was that practicing mindfulness or meditation produced beneficial results, with a substantial improvement in areas like negative personality traits, anxiety, and stress. 

Create a Banner with Positive Affirmations

Positive self-talk, notes around your home, and a lovely banner hung to remind you how amazing you are! One part of your journey does NOT define who you are as a person! Great mothers are tired, they’re short-tempered, they don’t all wear makeup every day. Your home can be a mess, some events can be missed skipped, you can say no, and kids don’t always have to be entertained for you to be a “good” mother! Create a banner, fly your flags all over your home, car, or anywhere else you need to so that you are reminded that you are amazing!

Pedicure

If you’re like most moms your feet take a beating during pregnancy and the early postpartum. They’re one of the most abused parts of your body, aside from the place where your adorable crotch-fruit made their grand entrance! Your feet deserve pampering. Ask for an extra few minutes in the chair, put on your sleep mask, plug in those ear buds and snooze! Enjoy that shit, you deserve it!

Haircut and Style

All that shedding, all that postpartum sweating = nighttime yuckiness! Get out and get your hair did! Seriously, ask your stylist to take an extra few minutes on your wash! Tell her you NEED that! Ask her to brush your hair a little longer! Then take a long slow walk down the Target diaper aisle like the sexy Wonder Woman you are!

Handwork not Hard Work

Relinquish your mom duties, close the door, and pop in a pair of earbuds so you’re not tempted to go “help out” and create some magical shit!! Paint, color in an adult coloring book, crochet, or knit! Get crafty with it! Busy your hands and free your mind. Say “YES” to you!

We hope you find these ideas helpful!

In addition to taking care of one’s self it’s important to get the medical help you need to be the healthiest you can be! Do not hesitate to reach out if you need a referral to see a medical provider or a postpartum counselor. This list was created with love and compassion for all of you new moms out there! Self-care for the newly postpartum mother doesn’t have to be tricky or hard, it just has to allow the mother to take time for herself so she can heal and give her best self to those she loves most! Also, once you’ve been cleared by your medical professional find a workout routine that is right for you! Exercise does wonders for mental and physical health!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Why I Budgeted for My Doula

Why I Budgeted for My Doula | Jax Doulas

Why I Budgeted for My Doula

I’ve had several friends ask me how and why I budgeted for my doula. They heard mixed things about getting a “volunteer” doula for their birth or about hiring a doula for support after their birth. Many of my friends asked me why I chose to pay for a postpartum doula and skip a  birth doula. Here’s my piece. Take it or leave it!

Here are the reasons I budgeted for my doula:

Girl power!

Something felt really icky about having another woman, a perfect stranger be there with me for my birth, come and help me heal and rest after birth, help me learn all about my newborn, care for our home, and our baby without proper payment. You don’t have to take everything “free” offered to you! I am always preaching about checking your price tag and knowing one’s own value. There were zero ways I would ever become a hypocrite, it’s just not who I am.

We took an excellent class for our birth and had a baby without a doula!

Not only did our postpartum doulas help us with everything after we came home she also helped us formulate a plan before we gave birth to employ the help of our friends and family who were excited to come and visit!

You get what you pay for!

I’m in my late thirties. There are a few lessons in life that most people learn before they hit middle-age. Getting what you pay for is surely one of them. Those who pay pennies and expect to walk away smelling of roses are foolish.  My shoes, Subaru, coffee, and the people we’re hiring to help us during early parenting (our doulas) are all things I need to be reliable and of excellent quality.

I’ve had friends who’ve cried to me over the phone because they were exhausted and overwhelmed. They complained about no one caring, yet they themselves didn’t care enough! Those friends made the conscious decision to create a designer nursery, ask for a BOB stroller, have extraordinary baby showers, and go on a damn “babymoon” before their baby was born.

They could’ve invested in professional care for six weeks and enjoyed their babies instead of being miserable. I felt horrible for these friends, I did help them where I could, but I couldn’t help but also feel like they didn’t really want the help since they ignored my advice that would have helped them.

Hire a postpartum doula, you guys! Just do it, you’ll love it!

It just makes good sense to me!

I admit I wasn’t the first of my friends to hire a postpartum doula, it’s a newer concept down here in the southeastern part of the U.S. My best friend who lives in New York turned me on to postpartum support! When I visited her after the birth of my Godson her postpartum doula was the one who picked me up from the airport. Talk about a cool ride home! Uber has nothing on the fantastic experience I had with “our” doula! She arrived with my favorite coffee ready for me to sip. She filled me in on the flow of the house, and she made me feel like I knew her forever!

Hiring The Jax Baby Company was the best investment we made!

I hired a professional photographer for our wedding. I only take my Subaru to the dealership where I bought it because they are experts in the Subaru business, and we will send our son, Dylan to the best preschool we can budget for because those things are of importance! It didn’t really cost that much! I was able to purchase our first package of hours by putting a down payment and making 3 payments before Dylan was born!

It was really a no-brainer. In hindsight, it was a small price to pay for what my family received!

You owe it to yourself and your family (happy you= happy them) to speak with Elizabeth, the owner of The Jax Baby Company.

Our doulas were top notch. I loved that we felt like the only family they were working with even though I know we weren’t. I knew this because my boss gave birth 2 weeks before me and she hired them. The Jax Baby Company doulas have a great team set up and each of them are sweet and knowledgeable.

I know not everyone values the same things in life, but I wanted to share my personal reasons why I budgeted for my doula! Bottom line, I wanted to enjoy my birth, my baby, and my maternity leave!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Kristine Malone a satisfied mommy