Green Bay Doulas and House of Hope partner to raise awareness and collect diaper donations.
This past Saturday; July 13, 2019 at Ariens Hill, Green Bay Doulas and House of Hope hosted the 2nd Annual Diaper Green Bay. In addition to children’s activities, this community event brought together our many supporters and partners in order to raise awareness about family and childhood homelessness and the many families in need of clean and dry diapers throughout Green Bay.
Diaper Green Bay had some awesome activities for families and children to participate in during the event. Patty with Mom Tribe had a playdate on the playground, there was a photo booth with Shayna at @Amenson Studios taking professional photos, lots of fun raffle baskets, face painting, story time and pictures with Curious George and a mermaid even stopped by for some pictures!
There are no government programs that assist in purchasing diapers.
Child abuse increases when families can not afford diapers.
Diapers cost about $100 per month.
Usually those in poverty have more than one child in diapers at one time leading to financial strain.
Babies in poverty are left in wet diapers longer to prolong the use, but in return end up with rashes.
Those in poverty don’t have transportation to big box stores. This means they are buying diapers at corner stores where the cost is marked up.
1 in 22 children are homeless in the Green Bay area.
There are no diaper banks in Green Bay.
Once a month families are able to come back to House of Hope after their 90 day period to pick up anything they might need. The number one item the women choose being diapers.
Because of Diaper Green Bay and the diaper donations received, if any other nonprofit in the area that House of Hope is partnered with needs diapers, House of Hope provides them with what they need.
Since Green Bay Doulas has started to partner with House of Hope they have not had to use any programming money to buy diapers.
Diaper Green Bay would like to thank Blue Cross Blue Shield for the sponsor and Cellcom for being the supporting sponsor.
Those first few weeks after your baby arrives are hard. There is so much to learn and so many adjustments to make, and although there is no way to be truly prepared, there are a few practical things that helped me adjust to motherhood. I’m 18 months out of this stage (now it’s all about sharing toys and toddler discipline) but I still felt the need to share the things I did, or wish I did, to help prepare for one of the biggest transitions I ever faced.
1. Buy the Clothes
This sounds simple, but having clothes that fit and feel okay (let’s be honest, nothing feels “great” those first few weeks) is almost profound! Pre-baby clothes aren’t going to fit as you leave the hospital and nobody wants to spend the next few months rocking their maternity-wear. I found that high-waisted yoga/running pants were my best friend, especially those with the thigh pocket for your phone. We use our phones for everything (tracking breastfeeding, setting alarms, entertaining our fried brains) that it only makes sense to have clothes that easily keep them by our sides. Those pants will also accommodate your giant maternity pads and sexy hospital undies while holding everything in tight!
If you’re planning to breastfeed, consider breastfeeding access as you choose clothing. I loved maternity tanks with a fleece zip-up over the top. If you’re not into the tank, go for a maternity bra and shirts or sleepwear that button down. Shirt-dresses that button were my favorite in the first few months when I needed to look put together and still breastfeed/pump. Either way, stock up on those nursing tanks and maternity bras, because the idea of running to Target two days after baby arrives when the two you bought are covered in milk, sweat, and spit-up, is really daunting (take it from a mom who made that mistake!)
2. Ask for Help
You need to be your own advocate here. Help comes in many forms and it often comes with extra emotional burdens if the people you ask are not prepared to help in the way you need. My best advice would be to set up a plan with your partner before the baby arrives so they have things they are in charge of without having to ask. For the first two weeks Ben changed every diaper and did all the laundry. It was his domain. I was learning to breastfeed and healing from a difficult labor, and having those things entirely off my plate helped me make it through that time.
I know we were lucky to have flexible paternity leave, and that’s not the case for everyone. If your spouse will only be home for a few days, consider extra help in a different form –whether that’s a family member coming to stay for a few days, or hiring a post-pardum doula. Help also comes in the way of seeing experts. I struggled SO hard trying to produce milk and ended up seeing multiple lactation consultants to get me on the right track. Never be too proud to ask for extra help whether that’s seeking lactation resources, counseling for postpartum depression/anxiety, or something else.
3. Set the Boundaries
This is your little family and your rules apply. Don’t want visitors in the hospital? Tell your family and the hospital staff. Need time at home before you’re ready to see people? Make that known. Whatever your needs are, don’t be afraid to speak up! Most importantly, don’t find yourself playing hostess to people who “drop in”. If someone walks through the threshold of your home those first two weeks they better be picking up a broom, folding a load of laundry, making a meal, or holding a baby… and you should be napping.
You may also find yourself needing to set emotional boundaries. Motherhood comes with a lot of unsolicited advice, which usually comes down to “you’re doing it wrong”. As a first time parent, we know we’ve got stuff to learn, but that doesn’t mean that someone else’s way of doing something is better than what you’re trying. Tell people to back off or give you space if they’re crossing a line (yes, even if they’re family!) Oftentimes the people giving advice are years (even decades) away from the stage you’re in and they’ve forgotten what those dark, early days feel like.
4. Invent a Routine
I wish someone had told me this from the beginning. Those first few weeks are chaos; nobody is sleeping, everything is a learning experience, and cluster-feeding is rough! Chances are you’re awake and feeding a baby every few hours so it doesn’t really matter when it’s morning or when it’s night. But for the sake of your sanity, invent a bedtime and do your routine.
We decided the first “break” we got after 7:30 pm was “bedtime” and that’s when we would wash our faces, change into fresh clothes, brush our teeth and go to bed. Was that “bedtime” any longer than an hour or two of sleep? No. But the routine helped us separate our days, brush our teeth, wash our bodies, and feel a little more human. And that’s everything.
5. Take the Photos
Have I mentioned the first two weeks are hard? lol They are, but they are also really brief. When your baby is crying in your sleep-deprived face, the time is going to feel long, but trust me, it goes fast and you will want to have photos of your tiny newborn. That said, days after a baby is born is no time to be shopping for clothes or booking a session (take it from a mom whose first outing with baby was a TJ Maxx run for photo session clothes!) Do your best to take care of all that prepping before your little one’s arrival, so all you have to do is send your photographer a message saying “baby’s here!” and slap on a ton of under-eye concealer.
Just like every mom, we took a hundred photos on our iPhones (and even some on our real cameras) but even as trained photographers we knew better than to try to take our own newborn photos, partly because we knew how exhausted we would be and how unappealing DIY-ing our photos would be, and also because we knew we needed to be in the pictures. Every baby deserves to have those first family photos to look back on as they grow up. No matter how tired, fat, puffy, and gross you feel, be in the photos.
6. Outsource the Food
You’re a mom now — yay! That’s exciting and wonderful, but it also means your needs may often get pushed to the back-burner (even physical survival needs like eating). Give your future mom-self a helping hand by doing a little meal-prepping in the last month before your baby’s arrival. Choose meals that require no more prep than a preheated oven or turning a dial on a crockpot and store them up for later.
To supplement this, you’ll probably need regular groceries (you know, bread, milk, eggs — the staples). For this, I cannot recommend a grocery pickup service enough! Woodman’s pickup service was seriously life-changing for us; we just purchase our groceries in the app and pickup the next day. You don’t even have to get out of the car (which also means you don’t have to take your baby out of the carseat.) Need a little extra help? Consider a meal delivery service like Nourish out of De Pere which delivers healthy meals full prepared straight to your door! Everything they post on Instagram has my mouth watering.
7. Give Yourself Grace
This momming thing is hard and hormones are no joke. Also, did you know that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture? Just keep that in mind when you’re wondering if you’re ever going to feel like yourself again. The truth is, you will come out slightly changed on the other side, but you will be you again.
It will get better, you will feel normal, your body will heal, and your baby will thrive. Then one day you will see a newborn in someone’s arms and realize how big your own baby has grown and how fast it all went. This stage is temporary and you will make it through.
In the meantime, give yourself grace for the days you feel too tired to stimulate your baby’s brain, or go on the outing you committed to, or clean up your disaster of a house. When you’ve eaten a handful of puffs for dinner and can’t remember your last shower, let grace swoop in and comfort you. You are doing great because you’re doing your best. You’ve got this.
Overwhelmed by the samples different stores give you about baby registry items? All the things doesn’t actually mean to register for everything! We had a client who wanted the bare minimum. What were our must haves as doulas for our clients to have. We created this list for you to know the basics and anything added on from there is simply nice to have.
GBD VLOG: Pregnancy and Skin Care! Hormones, acne, glowing skin, so many things we didn’t expect to happen to our skin! Thankfully we have an expert! Hope Della Skincare sat down for our 2 part series about what to put on our skin and what NOT to during pregnancy.
You are going to stay at a hospital for the birth of your child(ren) but what should you actually pack in your bag? CLICK HERE to download our hospital packing list including a few items for your partner that you may not have thought about.
I wish there were magical words that I could write to make this situation better, but I know from experience that there are no words to do that. What I can do is share with you from one NICU mom to another, some words of encouragement for both mom and family and friends based on my experience.
When you are a parent of a NICU child, your hero or heroes sit before you every day. Much like a police officer saving you from a everyday crime, my child has saved my life. He is saving his own life and he is only a few months old. I have become a very strong woman, an extremely proud and devoted mother, and a person that is grateful for each passing day. I try my best to thank God for my boys because I have now seen miracles happen right before my eyes. I go about my day as all other people do and I have my simple challenges and my crazy moments. I deal, I move on, and I live my life. Not everyone knows I am a NICU Mom, but I know that it makes a difference in the woman I am each day. I think we all live a fairly normal life, but our experience in the NICU plays a huge role in my everyday. All of us have both external and internal battle scars. My husband and I have memories that could most likely be compared to those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, when a friend mentions anything related to a hospital experience, without invitation I immediately start telling my story and give details about my little tikes stay at the NICU. The memories come flooding and my mouth starts speaking even before I know what I am saying. I think most of my friends have heard my stories, but they just allow me to talk because it is polite and because they love me. We are a family of miracles. Even though I am tougher than I was before the NICU stay, I am still as fragile as the first time they told me that he would be born at 28 weeks and then he told me that 40% of the children born at my son’s due date do not survive and if they do they have complications. I am fragile as the time I was holding my breath when my son’s ventilator was removed for the first time. I am as fragile as the time that they took my son out of his isolette when he weighed less than 5 lbs. Even though I am tough, even though we are warriors, I am forever fragile because I know that life is fragile and I know that every second with my children should be cherished because they were gifts given only to us. All that being said, I am a regular mom.
I live a regular life and I think regular thoughts for most of my days. I have the occasionally slip ups every now and then, but it’s not easy being a mother and knowing my baby is at the hospital. People often ask me how I do it, and I know how I do it. I do it because I would never want to do it any other way. I need these two boys like I need to breathe. I have the guilt of not carrying my child to term. I have the memories of each roller coaster moment from my 36 days in the hospital before he was born, and continuing days in the NICU right now. I have found strength in the eyes of my child, and I have learned to be compassionate for all. The NICU is like the teacher of a class you never wanted to take, history for me. It gives you lessons that you will remember forever. Many of my memories from the hospital stays are horrible but I have a few that are great. I am forever thankful for the nurses and doctors that raised my children for those months when I could not. I will never forget the names or the faces of the nurses and doctors that saved my son’s life and I remember the love you showed me. I have met countless heroes along the way and I think I can honestly say that I am grateful for this crazy journey. One nurse in the NICU said to me “Ya know, one thing I learned about the NICU is that every person’s journey affects them the same way. Whether you are here for one day or nine months, all parents are affected. The fear that you have is the same.”
Awareness is key, as an outsider you want you celebrate the new life. However We have a hospitalized child fighting to survive. The scene isn’t jubilant yet. We are neither physically or mentally prepared for the usual frozen meals, cute onesies or requests for photos. Please don’t pry. We might not know why the baby was born early but as a parent we do feel shock and guilt about it. Talking about our baby’s health issues and roller coaster of the NICU is too scary and everything is unknown. The same discretion goes for mom’s body and health status. If we share, listen. Until then your curiosity must go unsatisfied. Offer us help however don’t be do proactive. Please understand sitting in the NICU inventing errands or shopping lists to make loved ones feel useful is a burden. Let us focus. My favorite texts were question-free and read, “Thinking of your family. Here to do anything when you want help. No need to reply now.” If we don’t respond, be patient. You might be on standby for a few days—or weeks—but we’ll probably take you up on the offer. Be calm and cautiously optimistic in front of preemie parents. Crying to us on the phone or telling us you’re worried sick makes things worse. Be zen. Our parents kept their cool and it reassured us. Skip asking when the baby will come home. The due date is the target and we’re more impatient than you are. We’ll share when NICU staff give the green light, I promise. Most of all, tell preemie parents you believe in them. Friends and family told us we were good parents doing everything right. Your love is powerful medicine and we need it now more than ever.
you are a regular mom, tho most days it doesn’t feel like it. You got this. Do not feel you are over sharing with telling people about your bundle of joy. Write down the good and bad, it helps to get it out and have a place for people to read about what is going on so you don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again. This helped me not relive the moments again and again. I used Facebook to keep my friends and family up to date. Mainly because you’re likely going to be bombarded with folks who care about you dearly. Folks who want to help you. Folks who want to fix the situation and take away your pain. Occasionally they’ll say things to you that will hit a nerve. They may be under the assumption that your baby is just in the NICU because he/she needs to grow a little more (not knowing the battle your child is in). They may demand you stop grieving and ask you to be glad that your baby is still alive. Some may go as far as to say to you horrible things such as, “At least you didn’t have to go to the end of your pregnancy and be miserable” (True story.)
But the truth is, unless they’ve been there, unless they’ve walked this, they won’t know that your heart is broken. They won’t understand that you’d do anything, go through anything if it meant you could just carry your child to term and save them this pain. It will take some getting used to, but often times you’ll juggle being thankful for your child’s life while being scared to death for their future. That’s ok. You see, some of us have been there. Some of us are still there. And we want to tell you one thing: all those feelings, those conflicting and sometimes awful feelings, they’re normal. Yep, totally normal.And no, you don’t need to explain them to us. We get them. We’ve had them. We’re still having them.
Plain and simple: the NICU is traumatic. All of the uncertainties, the obstacles your child faces, the pain, the statistics— it all takes it’s toll. But you will emerge. You will find a hidden strength that you never knew you had. And you’ll see the strength of your child. You’ll grow amazed and proud of them as you watch them win their battles.
As you navigate these new waters, Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out. Find your voice and share your feelings and concerns. Allow yourself the opportunity to correct others who may misjudge your fears of the future as an inability to appreciate the miracle of your child. Grieve. Lots of things have been lost along the way- a normal pregnancy, a normal birth, a normal departure from the hospital… the list goes on and on. Grieve it all. You’re experiencing loss, a huge, unimaginable loss. Know that you can’t prepare yourself for the future (after all, no one can predict it) and force yourself to stay in the present. Deal with the hurdles of the day. But when your mind does start to ask the “what ifs” about the future (and it will), when you start to doubt the path you’re on, don’t beat yourself up for it. Face those “what ifs” with courage and know that the strength you’re discovering will emerge as you face each and every new trial. Remember that your child, not statistics will determine his/her course (these stubborn NICU babies rarely follow the predicted path). And finally, know that you’re not alone. Some of the most therapeutic times are found in the NICU when moms begin to connect. Share stories with each other. As you begin talking, you’ll likely find that these women who you thought were so different from you, have now become the only ones who understand your heart. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Chances are, they’ll appreciate knowing that they’re not the only ones feeling this way either.
This journey that you’re on, it’s a battle. It’s likely to take some turns. You’ll make advances and retreats. Sometimes it will feel like you haven’t left the trenches in weeks. But you will emerge. You will make it. The battle will end. And one day, you’ll look back on this time and it will be a blur. A new normal will emerge, you’ll begin to find happiness and good times again and you’ll look on your scars knowing that each one represents something you have conquered.
– Alyssa Queensberry is a Green Bay resident who gave birth to Preston Scott , born 12 weeks early on July 19th, 2018. He weighed 2lbs 11 oz & 15 inches long.
We all have that bucket list, the things we want to do that are top experiences for us that push our boundaries, create memories and take us out of our normal day to day lives. So far my completed list was go to England, swim with manatees, try parasailing, see James Taylor in concert and most recently added my dream to be a honorary member of Cirque du Soleil. Since that requires years of training I’m starting with aerial hammocks.
I have always been a larger person, but I’m active, I keep up with my kids, walk, bike, challenge my Fitbit friends to 10k steps a day. I’m not the running type, yoga is too slow paced for me and a gym membership? Just not my thing. My favorite types of workouts include doing things where I don’t realize I’m working out actually. So swimming, dancing, chasing children in a rousing game of playground lava monster… you get the idea. I found out about hammocks 2 years ago while newly pregnant with my youngest child. “Well, guess I’ll wait since it’s not recommended for pregnant women.” Then I found myself a few weeks ago revisiting that idea of aerial hammocks and the mind game that also ensued. I’m not in shape, what makes me think I can do this? Will it even hold me? My good friend Elizabeth who happens to be the owner of Safe Haven Cat Sanctuary and also a new instructor tipped me off that there was a new studio opening on Broadway called Aerial Roots and that was it. I committed. I went online, downloaded the MINDBODY app and bought a starter pack.
For those who know me I can hear you all yelling as you read this HOW DOES SHE HAVE THE TIME…Yes, I’m busy but aren’t we all? As a moms and (insert various roles here) we are busy. But I made time. I invested in ME this year. As a mother, wife, volunteer, doula and business owner I’m constantly giving of myself and I’ve felt burnout before. But that is a whole blog in itself. So back to hammocks!
This is one hour a week for ME.
What I loved- It’s every level friendly. But for the first timers here is how my mindset went…
Start class with some stretches and then the Instructor shows you the beginning moves
Roll my eyes, laugh out loud and then swear under my breath
Then fight with myself mentally for 5 mins while convincing myself I can do it.
Everyone encourages me, I break free of the head game and boom… I did it.
When I wasn’t able to do a move, I modified. They were great with teaching modifications. It’s your pace.
Cool down, stretch and lay in a cocoon. Feel like a badass
5 weeks later…
Start class with some stretches and then the Instructor shows you the beginning moves
Roll my eyes, laugh out loud and then swear under my breath OR beam with confidence and do said move
GET TO IT! try try try!
Support the others who are working on the move
Still modifying when needed but it’s becoming less and less needed
Cool down, stretch and lay in a cocoon. Feel like a badass
The first move I learned took me 15 mins to get the move then 2nd class all of 30 seconds. Now it’s 2nd nature. It’s a full body workout but you are so focused on the trick you forget you’re using every muscle in your body but don’t worry, a day later. You’ll feel it.
While you can’t do this exercise while pregnant, You are good to go once you have the OK from your doctor that you can resume working out post baby. All sizes all shapes. The hammocks and supporting beams hold 10,000lbs. I did notice I am not able to do hip hangs due to scar tissue from my previous c-section but I just modify those moves.
I don’t feel like I’m working out. I am too busy challenging myself to flip this way, or pull this down, enjoy the stretch, or celebrate the completion of a move to notice what is happening. Add that to a fun atmosphere and great tunes and the hour flew by. They offer multiple packages or just try it once! But I truly feel you need to do it more than once because of a little word… CONFIDENCE.
Beyond aerial hammocks they also offer Silks (Kaukauna location only), Pole Fitness, Barre, Pilates and Yoga.
Fall is such a popular time for everything pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters and updating that family photo for Holiday cards and gifts for the family. I often hear how overwhelming it can be to set up and pay for a studio session, you get overwhelmed with options and want ALL the photos only to then have them sit on a computer and not on the wall. Mini Sessions are budget friendly and get to the point, a few great photos to cherish and share.
I’ve made this simple- here is the complete guide to Fall Mini’s offered by some amazingly talented local photographers:
Jamie Kempen Photography
September 15th & September 29th
O. Herber Photography
Kristin Reuter Photography
Shaunae Teske Photography
Oct 9th & 11th
KLEM Studios, LLC
Oct 18th, 19th, 21st
Doulas are more than birth coaches and baby whisperers. Our clients have access to the years of relationships we’ve build with local businesses and resources in our area to share with you. That’s why we host the Green Bay Parenting Expo. We don’t want to keep these resources a secret- we want to share them with you!
As doulas we are told to have our tips and tricks with us in a birth bag. But the reality is I only have a change of clothes, some snacks for myself, a phone charger, a water bottle and the CUB.
We stumbled upon the CUB about three years ago in a Pinterest board and haven’t looked back. Here is our the top reasons why the doulas of Green Bay Doulas love the CUB.
When we bring a CUB to a clients house, the older siblings love to play on it, which helps to get everyone comfortable with it and us. Who doesn’t love a new toy? Nurses and Doctors stop, look and ask lots of questions, all conversations end with “well that’s wonderful, we need some of those!” Wausau Aspirus Hospital currently has one for their labor and delivery unit after we supported a client while using a CUB.
Unlike a birthing ball which can put pressure on the sacrum, and requires some balancing, our clients like that it is more stable than a birthing ball, but still offers movement if needed. When we would use birthing balls on the bed for gravity based positions, it would be hard to find the right size, where if our clients are using the CUB we can use both or just one chamber and the belly fits right in there to let them just layout and rest while feeling supported.
From end of pregnancy to in the laboring room on the floor (sitting), in the bed (hands and knees) or even in the shower on its side on top of a chair so they have a perfect height to learn against, we can set the CUB up to support our clients when needed.
Ease of Use
It takes seconds to inflate, seconds to deflate, folds up small and it’s lightweight. Also, it’s easy to sanitize or dry off.
For the benefit it brings it’s a great tool for all families. I was so excited when I heard the CUB was coming to the USA. No more international shipping! It can be also used well beyond pregnancy and labor, as I said the kids love it, and provides a great alternative to a couch or chair while providing support.
Things I hear on a daily basis: “I don’t want someone else in the room with my partner and I”“I just can’t afford a doula, maybe next baby we can plan better” “I really wish I would have hired you, even just to have that support before I had the baby.” and “I don’t want a doula, I’m getting an epidural”
This got me thinking about how our role as doulas is to offer our clients options. Options in hospitals, doctors, laboring techniques, and inductions. Options in pain management from hydrotherapy to epidurals, options in navigating vaginal birth after surgical birth and even surgical birth itself. Options in community resources from photographers to chiropractic care, massage to hair dressers, and even dog trainers!
SO WHY NOT OFFER AN OPTION IN THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT MANY WISH TO RECEIVE?
One of the cornerstones that Green Bay Doulas was built on is to listen to the birthing community, and be and bring the change that they long to see.
We listened to the desires of our community, and we are excited to announce Everything But the Birth: Your personal concierge through pregnancy. You are matched with your perfect doula who will become your best friend and confidant for your pregnancy. She will help you navigate questions, comments, she will celebrate with you, and lift you up when needed. She will help you navigate your options with her insider knowledge. She will provide a prenatal planning session where you discuss what to expect, help you build your birth plan, and teach your partner or friend/family member some hands on approaches to help support you during labor. She will also provide a postpartum visit once you are home and settled with the new baby.
So how is this different from a labor doula?
We don’t attend your birth.
This option will bring the support you desire throughout pregnancy, without the larger investment. But what happens if along the way you decide you’d like birth doula support during your birth? You’d just need to make that decision by 34 weeks, and your initial payment is applied to your remaining balance. We work in teams of two when supporting laboring clients so we want to make sure your entire team is at your prenatal.
Our goal is to make doula support accessible to every laboring family, surrogate, and individual. We want you to have access to the knowledge we have and feel supported, secure, and empowered to make the best choices for your family. This is the very heart of Green Bay Doulas, to give our clients options to decide what support option works best for their family.