Tag Archive for: new baby

There isn’t a handbook for pregnancy, birth, or parenthood and that can be overwhelming. If you’re finding yourself with notebooks or spreadsheets full of information to wade through, you’re not alone. We have access to an entire internet full of recommendations, be they current or outdated. Finding reasonable, science-backed answers can feel like an uphill battle and a lonely one at that. Are childbirth classes really necessary? Are newborn care classes worth it?Where can I find newborn classes and childbirth education in Baltimore?

That’s a call only you and your partner can make.

Childbirth Education

What is Childbirth Education?

Childbirth Education Classes are educational programs taught by experienced instructors well versed in the field of Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum. Childbirth Education curriculum varies and classes attended are generally chosen based on your preferences. Some focus heavily on a larger, trademarked curriculum such as Evidence Based Birth or Lamaze, while others are completely unique to the instructor such as Doulas of Baltimore’s signature Complete Childbirth Education Series.

Childbirth Education classes can be taught in person, online, in a group setting, or on an individual basis. There are many options and approaches, the bottom line is finding one that someone you trust teaches.


What should my class cover?

While there are many different types of curriculum, and the benefits of childbirth education still require more official study, it’s well known that access to education increases positive outcomes. When looking at classes, ensure yours covers these basic topics:

  • Decision making strategies to ensure you remain an active participant in your birth story
  • Tips for staying healthy and comfortable in late pregnancy
  • Physiology and the process of labor and birth
  • Common interventions and medication options
  • How to create and communicate your birth preferences
  • Hands-on coping, comfort and relaxation techniques 
  • Preparing for the postpartum experience


Whether you’re planning on going through childbirth without an epidural or are open to medication, understanding these key topics can help you create the birth and postpartum experience that will set you up for success.


Doulas of Baltimore is hosting our Spring session of our Complete Childbirth Series on Saturdays beginning April 6th, 2024 in Baltimore and our One Day Baby 101 workshop in Frederick. Our Complete Childbirth Series runs 4 weeks and covers 12 hours of science-backed education in an affirming and open environment. Our Baby 101 workshop is a one day intensive that gives new parents all the essential information they need. Learn more and register here!

Newborn Care Classes

What are Newborn Care Classes?

Newborn Care Classes are educational sessions for anyone who needs updated information on the care and keeping of newborn babies. Experienced teachers lead these classes who have taken professional training and work in the field. There are many different options for taking these classes including Hospital-based programs and more uniquely designed curriculum created by individuals. Ensure the source and how frequently the materials are updated are considered when searching for your classes. Safety standards for newborns and infants change regularly and ensuring you have the latest information ensures you’re able to keep your baby safe and those around your baby updated.

What should my class cover?

All Newborn Care classes should cover the basics of baby care such as feeding and diapering as well as:

  • Preparing your home and family for a newborn
  • Common baby gear and gadgets
  • Normal newborn characteristics
  • Hygiene including diapering, bathing, and dressing
  • Crying and newborn communication
  • Comfort and bonding techniques
  • Newborn sleep patterns and safe sleep
  • Feeding options and techniques
  • Hunger and satiation cues
  • Common feeding obstacles


Doulas of Baltimore has an opportunity for Newborn Care Education this Spring. Join us in Baltimore for our 4 Week Essential Newborn Care Series. This class runs 4 weeks and covers 12 hours of science-backed education in an affirming and open environment. Learn more and register here!


When considering the question, “What childbirth classes should I take?” consider who is teaching it, what the course covers, and if the curriculum is aligned with your birth wishes. If you’re searching for infant care classes for new parents we recommend ensuring that the course is based in science and has up-to-date information on safety and development for newborn babies. We recommend if you’re searching for Newborn classes and Childbirth Education in Baltimore or Frederick, consider Doulas of Baltimore!


We believe education is one of the most important things you can invest in. Above all when we educate ourselves we empower ourselves to make sound decisions, enter any situation with confidence, and create a great environment for a positive experience. Generally taking classes with your birth partner prior to giving birth can deeply connect you to one another creating a sense of safety and support.

Pinterest graphic about classes for new parents to take

Welcoming a baby into your family is a joy, but a joy that can come with worry. If you’re expecting baby number two, you might be worried about how your older child will adjust to a new sibling. Jealousy is a natural emotion for kids, especially during the ages when they are particularly attached to their parents. They’ll notice you are taking time to care for baby and that people are excited about baby. But, there are still ways that you can help your older child adjust. 

How can I help my older child adjust to a new baby? 

One of the ways that parents can help older children adjust to a new baby is by involving siblings in newborn care, to the extent that they want to be involved. If they are a little older, they might want to help with feeding or bathing. If they’re younger, you can have them get a pacifier and put it in baby’s mouth (gently) or get a diaper. 

Especially for toddlers, it can be helpful for parents to acknowledge the difference between them and the baby. You might find yourself telling the older child to wait while you feed baby or change a diaper. On occasion, you can tell baby that they have to wait while you do something with your older child. You can also remind your older child that they are a big kid and doing something or have something that baby can’t. Emphasizing that they are special can help with feelings of jealousy. 

How do I keep my older child from feeling overwhelmed when baby comes?

 Having a baby can throw everyone’s schedules off, from sleep to meals. One tip to help your older child adjust to a new baby is by keeping their schedule as consistent as possible. If they go to daycare three days a week, keep them at daycare even if you or your partner are home with baby. 

Babies do need a lot of attention, which can create feelings of jealousy in your older child or that there is a certain level of unpredictability. When you feed your baby and do need to devote attention solely to baby, it can help to find something calm and special that the older child can do. While you are trying to have a calm moment for feeding, you can let your older child watch a special show or read a book. 

How can friends and relatives help my older child adjust to a new baby? 

One of the easiest things friends and relatives can do to help your older child or children adjust to baby is acknowledge the sibling first. When they come over to meet baby, have visitors prioritize the sibling. It is so easy for everyone to get excited about the new baby, and your other child can notice this excitement. Have friends and family ask the older sibling if they want to introduce baby or share something special about their new sibling. 

If you have someone who can help you during the postpartum period–whether it is a doula, a family member or friend–you have a great opportunity to prioritize each child on their own. They can take care of baby so that you have quality time with the older sibling. Or, they can take care of the older sibling so you can either rest or take care of baby. 

Installing a car seat safely is one of the most important things to do before baby arrives. In fact, you can’t leave the hospital without a car seat. Choosing and installing a car seat that best fits your vehicle and lifestyle can seem daunting; that’s why our own Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is here to help. Here are six steps to ensure your baby’s car seat is safely installed. 

Be Prepared

If you are a first-time parent, you’ve probably never installed a car seat before. And even if you have other children, you may not be familiar with your new car seat’s installation procedures. To install your car seat safely, read both the entirety of your car seat manual and the portions of your vehicle owner’s manual that pertains to child restraints. We recommend that you install your seat by your 36th week of pregnancy.

Accessories Can Be Dangerous

It might be tempting to use aftermarket accessories for your car seat or car. Don’t. Use only manufactured approved items that come in the box with your car seat (infant inserts, strap covers, etc.). This includes cozy winter inserts like the J.J. Cole Bundle Me, which are not approved for use in car seats. 

Don’t Leave Baby in the Car Seat

Avoid keeping baby in the car seat more than absolutely necessary. A car seat is designed to keep baby snug and safe, but limits baby’s movement. Even if baby fell asleep in the car seat or you want to keep baby in the car seat at a restaurant or indoors, consider babywearing or a stroller with a bassinet instead. 

Ensure Proper Use of the Car Seat

Straps should come through the slot just below baby’s shoulders, be snug enough that you can not pinch any slack at the collarbone or hips and chest clip should be even with baby’s armpits. Never loosen car seat straps or unbuckle the chest clip or crotch buckle unless you are removing the baby from the seat.

Consult a Child Passenger Safety Technician to Install the Car Seat Safely

Before baby arrives, schedule an appointment with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). A CPST is qualified and trained to make sure that your car seat is installed correctly and can help you install a baby car seat safely.

As a Doulas of Baltimore client, you may schedule your Car Seat Concierge appointment for $100. What’s included in our car seat concierge service:

  • Initial consultation to discuss your feature and brand preferences, budget, and lifestyle factors
  • Assistance in selecting the best car seat for your child 90-minute personalized car seat installation appointment with up to 2 seat(s) in up to 2 vehicle(s) 
  • 12 months of industry professional phone/email support as your child grows to ensure your confident in your child’s car seat safety


Contact us to learn more

Two things can happen as you get closer to your baby’s arrival date. You feel the urge to nest, or prepare your home for the new baby. You might set up the nursery or clean the house. You also might feel overwhelmed and anxious about getting everything done. Here is an overview of four ways you can prepare for baby’s arrival. 

Set Up Your Home

The first thing that new parents usually think about is where baby is going to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies “room in,” (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx) or sleep in the same room as parents, for the first 6 months. Make sure that the crib or bassinet is away from windows, heavy shelves, and electrical cords. Other things you might want in the nursery or in your bedroom are a diaper changing table, chair for feeding, a dresser for clothing, and places to store extra diapers and toys. Consider buying natural or greenguard items to prevent off-gassing, or buy them used or well in advance of baby’s arrival. 

Get the Gadgets 

Some gadgets aren’t really gadgets at all: they are necessary tools. For example, you can’t leave the hospital without a proper car seat. Many new parents opt for car seat/stroller combos, where the carrier snaps into the car seat or the stroller, for a variety of functions. 

Additionally, a baby carrier or babywearing device can be worth its weight in gold. Babies are soothed by being nestled close, while parents enjoy having their hands and arms free. Slings, wraps, and packlike/structured carriers are all great options. Often families will opt to have a couple carriers to choose from depending on who is wearing the baby and whether they are on for a walk (or other outdoor activity) or if they are trying to get chores done around the house. Check out this list of babywearing devices

Another popular product we’ve seen lately is the Snoo smart bassinet. Many new parents swear by their effectiveness. So much so that some employers (like Under Armour) are taking notice and now provide a 6 month rental Snoo bassinet for their employees. The bassinet responds to a baby’s cries with swaddling, shushing, and swaying (part of the 5S theory). It does this by rocking and playing white noise to soothe the baby. It also ensures that babies sleep on their backs with a special sleep sack. 

Clinical Decisions to Consider 

Less exciting than preparing the nursery or getting everything ready, but just as important, are the clinical decisions to consider before baby arrives. While you’ve been working with a doula and midwife and/or an obstetrician, once baby is born, they’ll need a pediatrician. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations and get a pediatric care provider. Similarly, begin thinking about childcare providers. While you may have time off from work, consider who will take care of baby when you head back to work. Lastly, consider options available at the hospital for your newborn such as cord blood donation or delaying cord clamping, erythromycin eye ointment, vitamin K injection, and circumcision. 

Take Care of Yourself 

In the excitement and nervousness you may experience before bringing baby home, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. You can take time to appreciate your friendships, your romantic relationship, or your relationship with your other children through special trips or outings. And make sure to get adequate nutrition and rest – things that might be in short supply in the coming months.

You can learn more about how to prepare for baby’s arrival through our Baby 101: The 4th Trimester, Birth Basics or Complete Childbirth Education classes. Click here to learn more.

Who among us doesn’t treasure a great night’s sleep? And how many new or expectant parents have heard the horror stories of newborn sleep skills (or lack thereof!) and their parents who can’t recall the last time they woke up in the morning feeling refreshed? There’s no denying that finding a way to get some good rest is a challenge in the early months of new parenthood, so let’s talk about it!

Babies Sleep, Just Not the Way We’d Like!

First, let’s explore what to expect from your baby at night, and why they do what they do. The first three months of an infant’s life are commonly referred to as the “Fourth Trimester”. During this time their physical and emotional development that began in the womb are completed. Their brains begin the process of learning by association and are busy sorting out the world. Their bodies are learning to eat and sleep with purpose, and they need their parents’ help to develop patterns which will help their systems regulate.

With their tiny tummies, newborns need to eat every three to four hours at night. Parents might wish for a great night’s sleep, the health and survival of their baby is likely to demand otherwise for a while. Day and night are still meaningless to them, and their circadian rhythm has yet to develop, so their bodies aren’t giving them cues to sleep just because night has come.

If you’ve done any research or talked to other parents, you have seen and heard lots of advice on how to get your baby to sleep, some of which directly contradicts other recommendations. You may be left confused and anxious. And wondering how you are supposed to know the best way to get it right from the beginning. While the task at hand can seem monumental and overwhelming, some simple steps can get you and your babies on the right track for excellent rest. 

Basics of Safe, Comfortable Newborn Sleep

Start with the basics – a safe sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with no additional blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers, or cushions. Next, decide where in the home baby will be sleeping. Will you be rooming in for a few weeks, or starting from day 1 in the nursery? Both have their pros and cons, and only you can make the choice about what will get your family the best rest possible! Some families find having baby close at hand makes responding to their needs at night quicker and less overall distracting from peaceful sleep. Others find they hear every little noise, and thus need the distance of a wall between them and baby so they can actually fall asleep in between feeding and soothing sessions.

Sleep Associations – use them!

Next, let’s talk about comfort and routine. Building healthy sleep associations from day 1 can actually help mitigate the need for intense sleep training months later. All babies are born with a biological need to feel safe, secure, and soothed whether it’s day or night. How do we meet those needs while we rest? 

  1. Womb Service. During the day, babies are often happy to sleep anywhere, through any amount of noise and light. But when it comes to nighttime sleep, it really helps to think about recreating the environment your baby just left. What about it can be translated into a safe and soothing aid for sleeping in your home? Baby’s room should be dark (think black out curtains!). Set a comfortable temperature without drafts (68-72 degrees, though cooler is better than warmer for babies). Lastly, add ambient white noise to muffle the minor disruptions from the rest of the household.
  2. Swaddle. Babies sleep better when swaddled in their first weeks! Why? They’ve been swaddled their whole lives in the cushy, cozy environment of the womb before birth. The trick is getting a snug, secure swaddle that baby can’t easily wriggle out of. Hell hath no fury like a baby who got their arm out of a swaddle before they were really ready to wake up! Velcro and snap swaddle pods are appealing, but if your newborn is particularly tiny, they often don’t get tight enough. Stick to the tried and true large, muslin swaddle blankets and a good old fashioned baby-burrito-wrap. Check out the video demo on our YouTube channel, or let us teach you in person. Our postpartum doulas are often deemed magical when we show parents how we swaddle during a night shift! 
  3. Soothe. Babies are born with a biological need to suck for comfort and as a prevention from SIDS. Sucking actually helps them regulate their breathing! If you don’t want to or can’t nurse an infant 24/7, they’re going to have to fulfill this need elsewhere. Pacifiers are an indispensable tool in healthy newborn sleep in this regard! A well-fed infant who is steadily gaining weight can safely be offered a pacifier for sleep soothing without concern it will impact their feeding relationship. 

Don’t Try to Keep Them Up!

While at first it might seem counterintuitive, sleep begets sleep. Set a consistent nap routine as soon as you are able during the day. Overtired infants are actually harder to get to sleep. Newborns should generally not stay awake between naps more than 45 minutes to 1 hour (for more on periods of wakefulness as baby ages, see Precious Little Sleep). Watching for signs and signals your newborn is ready for rest is just as key as setting the right tone for their sleep environment. Avoiding meltdowns from exhaustion means noticing your baby’s sleep cues. Do they start to rub their eyes, ears, neck, or head? Do they give you a ‘thousand yard stare’ with half-drooping eyelids? Are they yawning repeatedly? Don’t wait for your baby to start crying to get them ready for sleep. Instead, pay attention to the signs and jump right into their sleep routine.

Sleep When Baby Sleeps??

While the old adage ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ still rings true to a point, often it’s easier said than done. Sometimes your brain just isn’t wired for rest when your baby lies down. To the best of your ability, at least practice periods of quiet when your baby naps during the day. If you can’t actually sleep, definitely don’t take that precious naptime as an opportunity to catch up on every household chore you’ve been missing. Lie down, read a book, or watch a show. On another day go sit outside in the sunshine for a bit. Take a shower. And always make sure to grab something nutritious to snack on and rehydrate. Even small periods of wakeful rest can do wonders for your outlook when a tiny baby has your schedule out of whack.

Prioritize Nighttime Sleep

When it comes to night sleep, getting your own rest becomes even more important than during the day. Your postpartum recovery and mental health depend on getting adequate rest. Even the most well-adjusted babies wake multiple times a night with needs to be met. Prioritize the help of a partner swapping off changing duties if you’re the primary feeding parent, if possible. Doulas of Baltimore can step in to give expert and compassionate care to your newborn while you sleep the night away, and without interrupting your feeding relationship or bonding experience. A professional postpartum doula or Newborn Care Specialist is there to make sure that you wake feeling as rested and refreshed as possible.

Keep the faith! Long winter nights eventually give way to sunny spring mornings. And your tiny, sleepless offspring develop into a more mature and settled creature who can tell night from day. Like the countless families who came before you and will follow in your footsteps, you will become a rested, confident parent who will grow to treasure your nighttime time with your child, whether it’s a bath, an evening stroll around the neighborhood, or the 900th reading of Goodnight Moon.