Mother’s Day is almost here and every year we get to decide what to get the mothers in our lives. Something that complicates the decision? New moms might not know what they need! Flowers, candy, and cards are all lovely but sometimes you want to be the rockstar gift giver. If you have an expectant mother you love, we’ve compiled a list of perfect gift ideas in this Mother’s Day Gift Guide that they really want.

First Time Moms want:

 

A baby in a Mockingbird Stroller with Bassinet sleeps next to a table holding two drinks and a laptop. Mother's Day Gift Guide

  1. Mockingbird stroller with bassinet – This ingenious combo is a stroller that doubles as a safe sleep surface on the main level. Perfect for smaller living spaces, using this as a bassinet while in your living room allows you to go from working from home to out the door without delay.

A baby lies on a Hatch changing pad and scale while a caregiver smiles down at them. Mother's Day Gift Guide

  1. Hatch Grow Smart changing pad and scale– Another brilliant two-in-one, this changing pad offers a safe, elevated space to change a baby’s diaper and a scale all in one. Offering new moms peace of mind, tracking baby’s weight can ensure that they’re getting enough to eat and growing right on schedule.

Overnight doula care for a newborn baby who smiles on a mat. Mother's Day Gift Guide

  1. Overnight newborn care – the Ideal gift for any new parent, help support them during this season of tired! Giving new moms the gift of sleep is invaluable for more than just making them comfortable. Quality sleep is linked to mental and physical health and the value of it cannot be overstated.

 

Experienced Moms want: 

 

Nanit pro camera multi-pack

  1. Nanit Pro multi pack– Keep eyes on ALL the babies with this beloved monitor in a multi-pack.  Connect it to your phone and watch your new baby and their new sibling as they sleep peacefully. Monitor temperature, humidity, receive cry alerts, and enjoy a bird’s eye view in crisp 1080p. Nanit is a wildly popular monitor for a reason!

Chicco Fit 360 revolving carseat in the back seat of a car, caregiver is helping strap baby in properly

  1. Chicco Fit 360 revolving car seat– Keep your little ones rear facing longer and cut down on the struggle of getting into the car with more than one! The innovative Chicco Fit 360 rotates to allow babies to be buckled into their seat. Simply rotate back and lock into place and you’re all ready to roll.

Happy family with baby smiles

  1. Daytime doula support– Gift an extra set of hands who knows exactly what needs to be done. When parents have daytime support, they can focus on resting, healing, and nourishing themselves while easing into their new normal. 

 

Loving the beautiful moms in our lives doesn’t have to be challenging! Getting gifts for new moms is a beautiful thing. You’re sure to “win” Mother’s Day with any of these ideas.

As we approach the end of 2021, we wanted to reflect back. This year was definitely different from 2020, and we feel like we are getting into a new normal.

We are truly grateful for all of you: our clients, Baltimore area care providers, birth worker colleagues and our friends. Although the pandemic continues to place challenges on all of us, we have been able to help 57 families welcome 57 babies, hold 42 classes and welcome 4 new doulas to the Doulas of Baltimore team.

In the spring, we made the transition from 15 months of nearly exclusively virtual support to supporting families masked face to masked face! Since May, we have seen clients in their homes and in hospitals across Baltimore–while still offering virtual support and virtual  Childbirth Education Classes. December marked the return to in-person, group workshops at our beautiful studio in The Cedarcroft Center. And this coming spring (after flu season), we will resume in person classes with Baby 101, Birth Basics, and Comfort Measures for Labor. We imagine that we’ll always offer virtual classes from now on (they’ve been so popular with busy parents-to-be).

While doula support and group classes may have filled for this year, we are honoring 2021 pricing for all  contracts signed by December 31 for doula support or registrations for CBE workshops in 2022! Our 2022 classes are filling up quickly, so reach out now if you are interested in more information.

We wish you a continued happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.

-Debbie & Emily

 

Welcoming a new baby is a profound change in your life. The first of our mission at Doulas of Baltimore is to make sure that change isn’t stressful, overwhelming or full of uncertainty. The second part is serving our community. This Giving Tuesday, we wanted to highlight three local nonprofits that we love. They are doing this same work–making sure new parents are supported and have the resources they need.

The Family Tree

The Family Tree’s is for all children to be safe and supported, and is the leading authority in Maryland for the prevention of child abuse. In 1997, Parents Anonymous® of Maryland and the Child Abuse Prevention Center merge to form The Family Tree. They have served 300,000 families in Maryland. Their services include counseling and parenting classes, a 24/7 help line, community outreach, and policy and advocacy work. Our last in-person event in February 2020, Mead the Doulas with Charm City Meadworks, was a fundraiser for The Family Tree. 

 

Our Mead the Doulas event to benefit The Family Tree.

Every holiday season, they also offer a free holiday shop to parents. They are currently accepting donations until December 3rd of new, unwrapped toys and presents for children ages 0-18. You can learn more here. They also accept monetary donations any time of year, and have volunteer opportunities

ShareBaby

We all know how important diapers and essentials are when baby arrives. We also know that you go through a lot of diapers, and it can be a big expense. ShareBaby is a Baltimore nonprofit that provides diapers and essential items to new parents. They write that this helps “reduce stress, depression, and barriers to work for families,” and provides peace of mind for the families in need. In the past, we’ve done diaper drives for ShareBaby and plan to do more in the future. Together with their partners, they deliver 200,000 diapers a month to more than 15,000 children across Baltimore. 

This GivingTuesday, they are also collecting coats for babies and children, which can be purchased online and shipped to the warehouse or dropped off directly. You can find out more here. 

Rainbow Families

Rainbow Families is a DC-and Baltimore-area nonprofit that educates, connects, and supports LGBTQ+ families and parents-to-be. They offer virtual support programs for new parents, as well as families going through the processes of adoption or assisted conception. Their “Maybe Baby” course offers a chance for people to explore questions of parenthood and building a family. They also provide opportunities for parents to connect in the Washington, DC and Baltimore regions through events, a camp weekend, and get-togethers. We provide ongoing support to Rainbow Families and are part of their directory of service providers. 

We hope you consider supporting these nonprofits this Giving Tuesday. 

At the very beginning of our Complete Childbirth Education classes in Baltimore, we ask you to fill in sentences about how you feel about birth. While “I am nervous about…” is definitely not the same for everyone, over the last year, COVID-19 has made expecting parents nervous. And it brings up lots of questions for new moms: What does coronavirus mean for a hospital stay? Could baby meet grandma and grandpa? Who will be able to help me after delivery? 

Although 2020 was totally unexpected, at Doulas of Baltimore, we’ve tried to keep the safe, nurturing, and smart perspective we’ve had serving you for the last 7 years. As things are slowly getting back to normal, we wanted to share how 4 lessons from our CBE classes helped us get through this past year. 

Need to Make a Decision? Use Your B.R.A.I.N.!

Use your B.R.A.I.N is a philosophy we use in class. When making a decision, think about benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, and what would happen if you did nothing. At the very beginning of the pandemic, we used this philosophy to think about what services we could safely offer to you all. While we’ve always known the benefits of comprehensive support, there were many risks involved in continuing in-person classes and doula support. Our intuition (and clients and friends who work in medicine) helped us make the call to move all of our support to an alternative – virtual classes and support – until it was safe to be in person again. 

Confidence and Support Help Get Us Through

Doulas are experts who provide steadfast and nonjudgemental support to you and your family during pregnancy, labor, and after baby arrives. While our classes continued with all of the regular topics, we also dealt with the most pressing issue: navigating the obstacles of COVID. What is the absolute need-to-know information? How can we help make this a less stressful situation in a very stressful climate? Like in all of our classes, we focused on evidence-based information and provided straight talk about birth and postpartum care in the pandemic. We also used that same evidence-based information to make decisions about how to run our business and what we could safely offer to clients. 

Take a Deep Breath 

Was that a contraction? A real contraction? Or just pre-labor? In our classes, we always go over the stages of labor  and how to tell the difference. Over this past year, each time a wave of infections started coming down and businesses started opening up, it was almost like Braxton Hicks contractions. They are stressful, because you are trying to figure out if they are real or not, but ultimately, they are not the real thing. 

When we went virtual, we wanted to wait until it was safe and realistic to provide in person support again, and we wanted to know the difference between pre-labor and real labor. The last thing we wanted to do was tell a client, “Yes, we can be with you in the hospital,” and then back out. Now, as vaccinations are available for everyone, case numbers remain low, and hospitals have permanently re-opened for professional doula support, we can offer in-person support again. 

Adapting is Key

If you’ve been in one of our classes or been pregnant, you know: labor takes many paths. And what you want to do is know the unexpected situations and what to do about them. No one knew what 2020 would bring us or when, and adapting to the ever-changing scenarios has become key to keeping our support going. We were able to bring classes to a virtual space, and some aspects of online meeting and learning are great (including no commutes on weeknights!). This is one reason we plan to continue to offer some classes online in the future. However, some things such as comfort measures, are hard to teach over Zoom. And, a big part of what we do is supporting you during and after birth, in person. So, we are adapting again. This fall, we will be offering a few classes in person in addition to our online Complete Childbirth Education class, and we have begun working one-on-one with families in person again for both birth doula support and in-home postpartum and newborn care

You can find out more about our classes here and contact us to find out more about in person doula support this summer and fall. 

What do I NEED to bring to the hospital?

You’ve probably pondered this exact question many times the closer you get to your due month. You’re getting great prenatal care, you’ve decked out the nursery in the perfect theme. You’ve attended your childbirth education classes (right?), you’ve installed the car seat. You’re prepared in every way – and yet the hospital bag still stymies even the most well-read first time parents. What do you really need to bring?

The answer is – “It varies.” Clear as mud right? The truth is, what you choose to bring with you to a hospital birth can differ as widely as the personalities of those becoming parents to begin with. What could be a must-have item for one mom, may make absolutely no sense to another. So what to do, right?

First, assess what your goals are for this birth experience. Do you know you’ll be having a scheduled induction or cesarean? Are you planning an unmedicated birth? Are you leaving an epidural on the table? Once you’ve processed what your hopes are for this birth, you will better be able to plan what you’ll want to bring to make that a reality. Limit yourself to items you can comfortably fit into an overnight bag.

After supporting thousands of Baltimore parents over the last decade, we’ve narrowed down our favorite must-haves for the hospital bag – plus a few things to leave at home!

BRING IT:
  • Your own clothes. Dress how you want to feel in labor. You are not required to wear a hospital gown if you don’t want to. So wear what you want! Make sure to have extra clothes on hand for any messes, as well as a going home outfit in a comfortable style and size. You will still be about the size you were at 20-24 weeks pregnant when heading home. A robe you won’t mind ditching if it gets stained is a welcome help and flip flops for shower use are always a great idea!
  • A phone charging cord and/or charge bank. We’ve noticed often there aren’t outlets in hospitals within easy reach of your bed, so having an extra-long charging cord or a portable cord bank is a great idea. You’ll want your phone charged up to take family photos and videos, update your loved ones, or even listen to your favorite playlists in labor.
  • Toiletries. Yes, the hospital may provide some. There’s nothing like having your own toothbrush and the comforting scent of your own bath products right? You will likely have the opportunity to shower at some point before discharge and having your own things along can make this a really refreshing experience. Don’t forget a hairbrush and if needed, a styling agent and some cosmetics. Again, this is YOUR birth- if you don’t want makeup, don’t wear it. Some families feel more confident to receive guests and have pictures taken if they are able to do a light touch up now and then.
  • Hair ties or headbands. There’s nothing quite like trying to focus during contractions and being distracted by hair you can’t keep out of your face!
  • Chapstick and mints. Labor means lots of intense breathing, and lots of intense breathing can mean cracked lips and bad breath – for you OR your birth partner.
  • Snacks. All area hospitals and providers have different policies on eating and drinking in labor, but one thing is certain. You’ll want something to eat as soon as you feel up to it after delivery! So bring those snacks. While you may not want a pastrami sandwich smelling up your delivery room, having a variety of small treats can be great. Granola bars, fruit cups, honey sticks, fruit leather, crackers, etc. An electrolyte beverage like coconut water is also a great idea! These can tide you over until you can order a real meal from the kitchen or have someone bring one to you.
CONSIDER IT:
  • A swim top for you and suit or trunks for birthing partner. If you plan to labor in water at any point, these are a must.
  • Massage oil. We recommend something unscented. Smells you love now may be unappealing when you’re in labor.
  • A picture from home. If you have a meaningful vacation or nature picture, you might want to bring this along as a point of focus and to make the room more your own.
  • A strand of Christmas lights or some battery candles. Dim, dark rooms are great for labor but can make it difficult to navigate around, such as to and from the bathroom. A few battery candles or a strand of lights hung behind your bed or near the bathroom can fix this and create a great atmosphere!
  • Comfort tools. If you’ve taken our Comfort & Communication class, you probably already have some great ideas! If you’ve got a favorite massage roller, etc, toss it in!
  • Eye mask & ear plugs. It can be hard to drown out the sounds of a busy hospital when trying to rest or focus.
FOR BABY:
  • A going home outfit (or two!). Especially if you’re unsure of baby’s size, consider two options – a newborn and a 0-3m. 
  • A car seat to take baby home in. Be sure to have your car seat securely installed by 37 weeks.
LEAVE IT:
  • Your skinny jeans. It’s all about comfort right now, we promise!
  • Advanced hair styling tools.  Keep it simple and don’t worry about the flat irons and curlers for a couple days.
  • Your breast pump. If you need a pump for the limited time you’re in the hospital, the lactation staff will be able to provide you with a hospital grade pump.
  • Jewelry & valuables. It’s better to leave these treasures at home than find you need to take them off for one reason or another and worrying about theft or loss.

In the end, don’t cause yourself undue emotional stress over making sure you have everything. You already HAVE what your baby needs – YOU! Everything else is replaceable or able to be snagged at a local store without much trouble.

Still need more advice? Take one of our fantastic childbirth education classes where we cover this topic (and so many others!) in great detail, or schedule a private, one-on-one consultation with one of our pregnancy & newborn experts.