MOM LIFE & COFFEE WITH A DOULA
My name is Margot Lowenstein Simmons and I was born to mother. I work to redefine the scope of doula. I am a trained postpartum doula, a certified breastfeeding counselor and a Sleep Savvy Gentle Sleep Coach. I bring my own personal humor and joy for family to my work. I provide truly nonjudgemental support and specialize in offering practical tips and tricks, coaching to ensure a happy, relaxed family unit, transitioning to and from work, as well as the special experience of having toddlers! Because - I think we could all use a little less judgement and little more doula.
Margot answered a few of YOUR questions.
I have a 16 month old and I'm due with my second next week. Any and all advice with routines for two babies would be great!
- Congratulations!! Having been a mom to 2 under 2, myself, I totally can say that while hard, this is also an amazing dynamic!
- The best advice I have on the managing of two babies - and really multiple children of any kind - is just to take stock and realize that sometimes it’s gonna work and sometimes it’s gonna fail. And when it works - it works brilliantly. And when it fails, it fails hard. Having realistic expectations and taking “failures” in stride and with perspective is imperative.
- Related to perspective, remember to find the time out for yourself. When you’re managing two babies, it’s easy to get lost in the ups and downs of the crazy. Taking moments away - real moments - from the start - where you can learn to rely on someone else to manage the logistics is invaluable. Not only will it allow you to feel sane - investing in teaching someone else “the way” will allow you to step away with much more ease when it’s getting to be too much.
- Finally, remember that there are moments when both kids will be synced up and moments when it’ll feel like they couldn’t be more out of tune with their needs. In the very beginning, it’s easier. Throwing new baby in the carrier and tending to toddler with two hands can be the norm - for bath time, for dinner, for naps on the go. As baby gets older and demands more of a schedule - look for efficiencies. Can baby be bathed at the same time as toddler? Can you give baby a bottle or a boob while toddler eats dinner? Finding the synergies within your routines is clutch. Then, one day, you’ll look up and realize both kids are napping at the same time - and you’ll say to yourself - “holy $#*! - I have 30 mins to myself! What should I do?!”
Any advice on deciding for a RCS or VBAC? Any advice on how to have a successful VBAC?
- Do your research and make your own choices within the context of your circumstances. Decide what feels right to you and advocate for it before and during your delivery. Remember…this is YOUR experience. It is unique to you and to this baby. It’s routine for your doctor. So, speak up. Even in an “emergency,” you can always ask for a couple of minutes to process and assess your feelings. Making your own choices is incredibly powerful.
- Don’t wait to speak up until you’re in the moment. Talk to your practitioner in the many weeks leading up to your delivery. Ask how many of his or her patients have successful VBAC attempts. Talk about what he or she sees as the likelihood of your being successful. Make him or her hear your wishes but also understand your practitioner’s POV. You need to go in eyes wide open to what your practitioner thinks and feels so there aren’t surprises about decisions that get made. If you don’t like what you’re hearing – consider a change. There are lots of women who late-term transfer and plenty of practitioners who accept them.
- Get support. If you really want the VBAC, consider whether you will feel strong enough – whether your partner will feel strong enough – to speak up in the face of nurses and doctors who may be saying scary things. If you even think you might feel intimidated – get the support of a doula or someone who can be your advocate – who has see successful VBACs – who has experience and who is in tune with your emotional and physical well-being.
- Most of all – go with your gut. It’s the surest way to no regrets. And regardless of how you deliver your baby – remember that it will be special for you and for that baby forever.
Any tips on getting back to work life balance would be awesome. We had a great balance pre baby but we obviously have way more responsibility now.
- Work/life balance is a funny thing – sort of a holy grail! First, own that it’s not going to look like it was before. Mourn the loss – it’s okay! Sometimes we beat ourselves up for feeling sad that we yearn for our pre-baby lives – but it’s normal. We just don’t talk about it. So, go ahead and say it out loud. Having a baby isn’t all fun – it’s amazing – but it’s hard!
- Then, consider what were the most “good-feeling” parts of that balance before baby. Was it that you never had to race out before your work was done to get home to relieve a nanny or pick up a baby from day care? Was it that you didn’t have to choose between the gym and work and seeing your baby? Isolate the biggest points of frustration – then you can go about resolving the biggest pain points.
- Make a plan. Don’t look at singular days – look at weeks – and chunk them out on your Google or Outlook calendar. Don’t exist in the tyranny of the urgent; you’ll never feel like you have balance. Block off your “work” time, your family bonding time, your YOU time (don’t forget this one!!), your friend time, etc. Consider each category important and treat it like you’d treat meetings with your boss. If you have to move a family thing because something at work came up – you don’t LOSE that family thing – you move it somewhere else.
- And, partner with your partner. Talk things out and make sure you are clear on what each of you is responsible for. Maybe one night per week is your “stay however late I need to” night and your partner is on baby duty. Maybe he is the baby supply Amazon order captain and you’re the fridge is stocked boss lady. Sharing the “wealth” is important so resentments don’t build up. I’m a HUGE advocate of talking this out before your baby even arrives. Ask me more about that!
SLEEP. My baby is 3 months old. Great naps, falls asleep on his own for naps but not bed time. Sleeps thru the night but getting him down at night is a struggle. Any advice?
- First of all – your three month old sleeps through the night!!! Pat on the back, mama! This is the exception – not the rule! So celebrate small victories. Sometimes it seems like everyone else has sleep “easy” but I assure you the dirty little secret is that EVERYONE tackles a sleep challenge.
- The struggle you’re experiencing could be caused by a range of things. But, for anyone struggling with some issue with their nighttime sleep routine, my biggest suggestion is to go back to basics.
- Examine how much sleep your baby is getting in 24 hours. Are they getting too little or too much? There is a range!
- Make sure your babe isn’t getting over-stimulated before bedtime. I’m a HUGE advocate of circadian rhythms. Make sure your baby gets exposed to daylight during the day and darkness at night. In the hours between dusk and bedtime, take your baby outside and let them experience the sun setting and darkness arriving (even for 10 minutes). When you come back in – turn your screens off and your lights low.
- Consider a really good “getting ready for bed” routine and keep it consistent every night. Maybe a walk, a bottle or nurse, a bath, a song or book and then into bed. Keep it consistent.