Year(s) in Review:
The past two years mark a time of great reflection where to begin...
In early March 2020, when our lives began to change drastically - in lieu of feeling complete hopelessness, fear and uncertainty, I started Free Zoom infant massage lessons — relaxation + connection + massage. This felt like one small thing I could do to support families during this time of isolation and anxiety. Many families and their babies joined me in this cozy setting where we shared feelings about the virus, lockdown, the many safety protocols, and the unprecedented alterations to our family and work lives. We also shared our gratitude and joy for our children, extended families, and friends. Parents learned and practiced the massage strokes during our class time, providing them with the opportunity for bonding and a chance to breathe in and connect with other parents in similar circumstances.
The weekly lessons became a reliable safe harbor for many folks, and a hopeful, inspiring weekly event for me!
Our lives had been turned upside down but in May of 2020, just two months into the worldwide pandemic, my little nephew Nicholas was born!! Little Nicki's arrival was the one bright shinning light in the midst of it all. As challenging as the pandemic was, I am so grateful to have had loads of time to be an integral part of the nurturing and caring of my nephew, as auntie and postpartum doula, in those first precious moments of his life. Today, my nephew can almost say my name, he calls me Gigi," and is on the verge of speaking in full sentences - both in English and Polish!
My relationship with time shifted further in this past year, when I picked up the book
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mere Mortals by Oliver Burkeman (see below). This book questions our perceived concept of time, how we think about it, use it, and the lack of awareness humans share around it. As I assimilate this new concept of time into my being, I continue to support families as a postpartum doula in their homes, and gratefully do so one family at a time. For now I am teaching Pilates, the Bringing Baby Home Workshop (at BTC) and Infant Massage in private sessions...and as time allows will continue to do so.
With a full heart,
Nicholas enjoying a little rest in the snuggleme
snuggleme Organic Lounger
A favorite for newborns and their parents. Designed to hug your baby's whole body - calming and comforting your baby when you need support.
snuggleme does NOT approve their product to be used for sleeping, in a bassinet or co-sleeping...I have seen parents use the snuggleme for sleeping - but always under supervision.
DR BROWN'S NIPPLE makes
lovebubble's essential list for the first forty days
Options Wide Neck Glass Bottles Anti Colic + Gas with Preemie Nipple
This is the #! recommended bottle AND NIPPLE for breastfeeding babies by IBCLC's, doulas and parents. The Dr Brown's Preemie nipple is the real shinning star though in this bottle - the flow when sucking from this nipple is the most like the flow when nursing.
UPCOMING EVENTS + CLASSES
Bellingham Birth Collective Presents
A special event to connect parents and parents-to-be with the resources available to them!
April 23, 2022
Her Connection Hub
Breastfeeding Basics & Beyond
Bellingham Technical College - Check for times
Scholarships are available!
firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.752.8350
"Today in the West, we are waking up to the importance of cocooning baby in the weeks following birth. The understanding that he (or she) is not quite ready to meet the world-at-large when he emerges is still in an early stage of development that's come to be known as the "fourth trimester" has awakened us to the value of holding him close and sheltered for some weeks, so he can shift slowly and gradually into life outside the womb."
--the first forty days
the first forty days
The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother
Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger
A gorgeous book for an expecting parent, sister, grandmother, or auntie. The philosophy, recipes, and photos provide insight and inspiration for the postpartum time...keeping in mind that every families experience is their own and may look very different from what this book suggests...all moms and dads are enough, regardless of what, and how they do the first forty days.
Four Thousand Weeks:
Time Management for Mere Mortals
By Oliver Burkeman
This thought provoking, powerful book will keep your mind busy long after you have finished it. In fact, I plan to read it again to further soak in and practice the concepts. Yes, 4000 weeks is the number of weeks in a lifetime, providing you live to be 80 years old. Whew! That alone is mind-blowing!
an inside look at my essential guide to the first forty days
Montessori inspired mobile - just right for newborns vision
Montessori inspired - perfect for the non stop diaper changes and tummy time
All moms, breastfeeding included, can benefit from having a preemie nipple sterilized and ready to go...these nipples are the closest in flow for a nursing baby
Another great item to know about in those first forty days - sometimes mom's may need to supplement or start formula *linked to german version - there are a couple of options
Wonder Weeks APP
track your baby's leaps + learn about their development
GOTTMAN CARD DECKS APP
great cards for your relationship + your love life
Your Parenting Mojo Podcast
my favorite podcast, hands down! check out this one about SLEEP
MINDFUL IN MINUTES PODCAST
a quick and easy few minutes of mindfulness that can be just what you need in that moment
Me and Nicholas
early spring 2021
I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you find interesting and enjoy in this newsletter. Please share your favorite books, classes, products or resources that have made a difference in your life this year!
You can leave a comment on my Facebook page or EMAIL me directly. Please subscribe below if you would like to receive updates on upcoming classes and this yearly newsletter. Thank you!
Year in Review:
It has been an enlightening year as I continue to "follow my feet" as a postpartum doula and parent educator. A dear friend imparted this wisdom to me many years ago when I began searching for meaningful work and did not know where to begin. I have found this phrase helpful for myself and for anyone struggling with how to go on...or how to make change...or even, how to care for a newborn. To "follow your feet" means to mindfully take in each step - with grace and without judgement, to ignore or not be negatively influenced by those around you, to listen to your heart, to trust yourself, while with each step letting go of an end goal, expectation or a desired effect. This philosophy has served me well this year!
As a postpartum doula I work very hard to be worthy of my presence in families homes...what does this look like? Oh, I "do" a lot of things, for instance, I change diapers, soothe and swaddle, feed babies a bottle, make a snack for the nursing mom or the older sibling, let the dog out, load the dishwasher, put a load of laundry in the dryer, help prepare dinner...you get the idea. However, sometimes I do not "do" anything - I am "just there." There with an open heart. There as a reliable listener. There as a supportive ally, There to cheer parents on.
This year I have been truly enlightened in the value of "just being there" for families.
As a parent educator whether teaching massage or working with couples, I am deeply enlightened by the power of CONNECTION + LOVE and how it is precisely the one ingredient newborns, children, and parents - all people, NEED.
I am humbled, and truly honored to have worked with many families this year! Thank you for sharing your precious time with me and for allowing me to be a part of your journey.
With a full heart,
This is a special photo taken at the end of a five week parent + infant massage session. I love how the babies are peacefully sleeping after being lovingly massaged by their parents!
PARENT + INFANT MASSAGE SERIES
MARCH 28 - APRIL 25 and MAY 30 - JUNE 2, 2020
Saturdays from 10:30-Noon in FAIRHAVEN
BRINGING BABY HOME WORKSHOP
In partnership with Bellingham Technical College
MAY 2 & 3, 2020
Two day workshop from 9am - 4pm.
BABY 'N' ME (8-12 MONTHS)
Taught by Gina Eiford at BTC
APRIL 14 - JUNE 3, 2020
Wednesdays 1:00-3:00 PM
Due to our current health situation and in respect to social distancing - these classes may be taught through video conferencing.
Book Review: Brain Health From Birth
Nurturing Brain Development During Pregnancy and the First Year
By Rebecca Fett
Brain Health From Birth is a thoroughly researched and heavily cited book. Filled with over 400 references in only 250 pages, this book packs a powerful punch for evidence-based information. Though rich in science, Fett does a wonderful job of keeping it simple, clear and positive. She tackles vaccines, formula vs breastfeeding, safe food, baby products, and everyday household supplies and the affects or possible impacts on the newborn brain. Most enlightening is the chapter devoted to pain and fever relief for babies! Divided into two parts - pregnancy and postpartum, at the end of each chapter she gives helpful advice on what to be concerned about and what not to. Most importantly, she does this without instilling fear or judgement on to the reader. This is so important for parents who are already bombarded with so much pressure from peers, their family and our culture. Parents can also go to Fett's website, Brain Health From Birth, for a list of safe products. This includes skin care, formulas, probiotics, sleepwear, mattresses, and gear. I highly recommend this book and these resources for parents who are expecting or caring for a young child.
BUY ON AMAZON or try at your local bookstore.