As I reflected on a friend’s words to me, “You’ve gone national?” I couldn’t believe it myself. Yes, I’ve gone national! I go into people’s homes and assist the family as a postpartum doula or “Baby Professional” with their baby. And you know what? Sometimes these families travel; sometimes for business and sometimes for pleasure. As a traveling doula, I can be available to assist with their baby (babies) and other siblings. That can begin even before the trip, by assisting with packing or caring for babies while parents pack and then during the travels as well.
I’ve even had previous clients who moved away, then flew me to their city to be available during a transition they were going through. They were relieved to have someone care for their baby while they handled other important matters.
I am also available as an antepartum doula for moms on bed rest. This is useful to moms who still need to get the nursery in order and were surprised with bed rest orders from the doctor. I like being able to customize options for a family, because each family is unique.
Little kids are often fond of spreading their love. It comes in different forms like priceless hugs, sticky fingers applied to clean clothing or hair, and sloppy kisses. As a “Baby Professional”, certain boundaries are important to know, so I found some fun ways to handle the “kissing thing”.
First, babies just learning to share kisses provide extra slobber. I generally keep a stuffed animal around for when they want to practice those kisses. As they enter toddlerhood, they want to kiss people. It makes them smile and giggle.
Fortunately there is less slobber involved now and to honor their request for a kiss, I started offering my nose. I call it “TheeBabyLady Nose-to-Nose Kiss”. I offer my nose and lean in to tap my nose with the tip of their nose. It allows affection and appropriate intimacy for my role. All that aside, it’s just way too cute to hear, “I want a nose-to-nose” as I’m walking out the door.
Twins. Twins. Yes, I said it twice. I love the interactions between twins, and that goes all the way back to newborn status. I’ve taught baby massage for twins and I’m always fascinated by what happens. One twin may be sensitive on their left side, on the front and back of their body. And then the other twin is sensitive on their right side; again on the front and back of their body, but the right side only. Mom is always surprised to discover this when I point it out, and suddenly she understands her baby better.
I have alot more to say about twins, but I thought I’d start with baby massage observations.
I love teaching parents how to massage their newborns. Massage provides so many benefits for baby. Introducing massage to medically stable newborns can improve digestion, therefore helping babies to gain weight faster. Other benefits include increased bonding between mother/father and baby, boosting the immune system, deeper sleep, and all that goes with digesting food for the first time, such as gas, constipation, and colic.
Because the parent is the one who is learning how to give the massage to their own baby, they get the benefit of communicating this special way through massage. I have several dolls I use for instruction and teach the strokes on my favorite doll that provides great curves in the right places to teach the massage stroke. I demonstrate the stroke that I’m teaching on the baby doll and the parent does the same stroke on their baby. With each new stroke, I describe how much pressure to use, as well as apply how much pressure to use on the adult’s arm as an example. Dads are reassured to discover how good they are at it and gain more confidence in their new role.
Some parents choose to learn baby massage before baby arrives. In that case, everyone practices on baby dolls and I again describe each step and let the parents feel how much pressure is needed for each stroke. I often encourage parents to learn the massage before baby arrives because they may have more time and remember to call me. Newborn massage is so gentle, it can be introduced right after birth and it’s important to know the criteria to do so. The class I teach is designed to only need one meeting to learn the massage, allowing parents to get back to their focus: their new baby!
To me, they’re all babies whether they are newborns, crawlers, or toddlers. “Babies” until they are around 3 years old and can no longer be called a toddler. They are even called “preschoolers” at that time.
In fact, once they reach around 3 years old, they will also start telling you that they are no longer babies. It upsets them because now they are a BIG girl or BIG boy. As adults, we just smile and keep it to ourselves for now….until we let it slip out again.