Staying well-nourished is good for all of us, all of the time. But this could not be more true for new parents! Sleep deprivation, learning new routines and recalibrating hormones can be a real doozy so making plans before the big day arrives is a wise idea. New parents are responsible for feeding a new baby approximately 43 times a day, and there’s no way in hell they can feed themselves, or anyone else without planning ahead or asking for some serious help.
We are excited to announce that we have teamed up with Fresh Prep to bring new families 2 FREE Meals to help them out in the early days of survival after their babe has arrived. Fresh Prep helps new families create world-class dinners in minutes with prepared recipe ingredients delivered weekly to your door. No grocery shopping. Zero prep required!
Here's how it works:
I have personally received and prepared meals from Fresh Prep as well as prepared meals in the homes of clients at their postpartum visits. I can honestly say that I was very impressed with the packaging, quality of product, easy to follow recipes and the affordability! Start out with your 2 FREE meals and you'll be hooked! At only $9/plate it's well worth the investment of a weekly delivery.
These kind worlds came in from a home birth mama. What a gift to be there and witness her beautiful babes entrance in to the world!
I could not have asked for better support than what Marlo provided for my home birth, both before, during, and after.
She is calm, knowledgeable, intuitive and informative. She made great suggestions as to different labour positions to try, and understood when I was too preoccupied with labour pains to communicate verbally.
I loved the birth pool - it was so relaxing and calming, and Marlo knew just when to suggest using it. It gave me a much-needed rest and recharge. Marlo also helped us prepare for the home birth, so we were well-equipped when my labour began.
Last but not least, Marlo is a great communicator - she responds clearly, helpfully and in a timely manner to emails and text messages, which is important to me.
I really wanted to have a home birth, and Marlo's support was essential to making it happen. I could not recommend her more wholeheartedly!
- Laura -
"To me, this is the most beautiful photo I have ever seen, but it took a long time for me to realize that." - Jennifer
I recently came across a post on a friends Facebook page that pulled at my ol' heartstrings. This friend, a past client and expectant mama, shared her feelings about the cesarean birth of her first babe. With her permission, I am sharing her words because I have had many "belly birth" moms share the same sentiment throughout my career. It breaks my heart to think that some moms feel lesser because of the way they birthed their baby.
Vaginal birth or belly birth, all of my moms are heroes in my eyes! Our paths to motherhood are not all the same, they are unique and we need to find the beauty in them, because all moms deserve that.
Here's the link that Jennifer had shared:
And in response those photos, here's what Jennifer had to say:
"I don't know if it's because this was our reality and it's all I know personally, or if it's because I know all of the women in these photos probably 'didn't imagine it this way' that these photos move me to tears.
I had an emergency c-section. It's not what I planned. It's not what I imagined, hoped for or what I even thought possible since I had an easy, low-risk pregnancy.
When I am asked about my birth I am usually met with a look of sadness, a look of "oh, I'm so sorry" as if it was the worst possible outcome. Like, I had somehow failed or got ripped off or that it must have been a less than perfect experience. When in reality, it really doesn't matter how she entered this world. It was a unique kind of beautiful in so many ways. Maybe because I have come out the other side and know that I wouldn't change a damn thing because my daughter is here, and that is really, truly... all. that. matters.
I'm not sure what would make me feel stronger and more powerful in the end - coming out of the scariest experience of my life or birthing in my home, the way I "envisioned it'.
But today, none of that matters. I just really wanted to share this for so many reasons, but mostly because birth is a birth is a birth and I am a warrior regardless - just like every other mother."
Bunky Bambino was recommended to me by several new Moms in the newsroom I work in (an environment that's full of people with a very healthy sense of skepticism) ;) I loved the idea of having extra help leading up to and the day of our son's birth.
I'm a 40+ Mom and Luke is our first so I wanted to feel knowledgeable and calm going into delivery day. To say my expectations were exceeded wouldn't be wording it strongly enough. The information, attention and care and support provided to us by Marlo and Jill was phenomenal. Immediately they wanted to understand what experience my partner and I wanted to have in bringing our little one into the world .... what mattered to us. Any questions I had throughout the 9 months were answered promptly and with balanced advice. I felt my hubby and I had been put in the drivers seat - well informed prior to delivery about the many options and the choices we may face make during the labour and delivery process and how each option might ultimately play out.
On Luke's birthday in March, our doula made the difference. 100%!! She allowed my partner not to have to worry about anything going on in a very busy room, other than being right in the moment with me, we were a team and it really felt wonderfully intimate. When I think back on how smoothly that day went and how empowered and at ease I felt (yes tired and yes, at points uncomfortable, but calm and relaxed) I know a large part of that confidence was a result of our doula's expertise and loving kindness and focus on our well being.
Marlo and Jill are in our lives post partum as well, we continue to have their support and know we can reach out at anytime. Any new Mom knows how awesome that is!!
If we decide to have a second babe my very first call will be to Bunky Bambino (okay, right after I call my folks) :)
Part of the fun of being a birth and postpartum doula is documenting our care with photos....if we have permission from our clients of course ;)
In continuing with our celebration of World Doula Week, today we've included some of our favourite photos over the past couple of years. I think they'll give you a pretty good idea of why we love what we do!
World Doula Week kicks off today and we've got a team full of amazing doulas that will be celebrating!
Each day this week we will be choosing a theme to focus on in order to provide more information and awareness as to what doula's do.
Todays theme is "What's In The Birth Bag?"
My birth bag lives in my car and I carry it with me to home births, hospital births and pretty much every where I go. You never know when it's contents might come in handy and be put to good use.
So let's get started with my favourite! If you're looking for non-medical pain relief, then you're in luck with our TENS machine. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This little machine gives out warm, tingly pulses of electrical energy through four electrodes which are placed on your back. When the body receives pain signals and pleasure signals at the same time, it was always try to opt for pleasure. Although nothing is actually changing on a physiological level, it tricks the brain in to thinking that it is. The pulses also stimulate your body to release its own, natural, feel-good substances called endorphins. Works like a charm in early labour and our clients LOVE them!
Next we have homeophathics! These can be used throughout labour to treat a variety of issues that might arise including anxiety, restlessness, shock, fear, weakness, exhaustion, bruising, spasms, excessive bleeding and labour progression/irregular contractions. Homeopathy has an excellent safety record and its remedies are non-toxic and when correctly chosen, stimulate the body to heal its own health problems. We like to consult with your primary care provider first before using these remedies. They are safe for both mom and baby!
All of our birth doulas have training with the use of a Rebozo. A rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl, which is long enough to wrap around a woman's body. It is used in labour as a comfort measure in reducing back pain, pelvic tension and it can aid in keeping labour moving along.
Essential oils play a large role in labour and childbirth. They can be used to calm a nervous mom or dad, to alleviate back pain, to soothe tired and ached muscles and to lift your spirits when you're feeling discouraged. Essential oils can be applied topically but can also be inhaled.
Massage is a key element to labour. Some moms crave touch while others would prefer to be left alone. A gentle touch using massage tools, my hands and my favourite arnica massage oil can soothe and relax a mother during intense contractions and while resting in between.
Meditation magnets are gentle reminders that can be held in your hand while facing one contraction at a time. I'll often slip one of these in to the palm of the labouring mom so she can read messages that include words like patience, love, trust, surrender and breathe.
Both home births and hospital births often require a debris net especially if you're birthing in a birth pool or tub. It's not easy to hold it all in when you're pushing out a baby so the least I can is keep the water clean so that mom can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about the dirty bits.
Another wonderful addition to my birth bag is the Labour Link. The Labour Link is a rope device approximately three feet long with clear, vinyl handles. This handy piece of equipment has great potential for shortening second stage (the pushing phase) by helping mom focus her pushes and get the most out of each one.
So now you know it all....our tricks of the trade are out on the table! Now with all of those items listed, the truth is we often only use 1 or 2 of those at each birth. The real secret weapons that our doulas bring to birth is experience, knowledge, understanding, patience, empathy and compassion - and these simply can not fit in the birth bag.
Our role is to gently guide you through the process, cultivating calm and confidence in birth. That's what we do best!
At Bunky Bambino we believe that by offering a holistic care approach in the childbearing year that families will not only survive but actually enjoy and cherish the transition in to parenthood. Our services are not limited to Birth Doula support, we also have an amazing team of Postpartum Doulas, a seasoned Lactation Consultant and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist that will cook for you in your home!
Having a baby is a time of great excitement and anticipation, but it can also be an overwhelming and exhausting period in one's life and new parents tend to forget about their own needs. We know that giving birth is about so much more than just the birthing experience – it is a journey, and your team at Bunky Bambino will be there to walk alongside you prior to birth, during childbirth, and to support you through the postpartum period.
We offer our services to mothers and their partners throughout the Greater Vancouver area. By offering practical assistance, informational, emotional and physical support, our team can help you to feel more confident in meeting the challenges a new baby brings. We will be there to answer questions and to provide assurance in a gentle, non-judgmental way.
Whatever your prenatal, birth and postpartum needs are, we are committed to surpassing your expectations and it is of utmost importance to us that we bring you the most well-rounded, professional and compassionate care available. All of our services can be personalized into a package that meets your individual needs so that you and your family feel pampered and supported, and that this major life transition happens with the greatest of ease.
Cultivating calm and confidence in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood - that's what we do best!
Reach out to us today to see if our team is the right fit for you!
I have the most amazing clients and because of them I love what I do! Below is our most recent client testimonial accompanied by a few photos they were kind enough to share. What a treat to receive a 5 Star Review with such kind words!
We just had our first son and loved our experience with Marlo. She was very supportive throughout the entire process. She's a very caring and compassionate person. Her house visits were very helpful and informative. We received a lovely placenta print and cord keepsake along with the placenta capsules. I highly recommend Marlo to anybody looking for a doula!
Late last year the world lost a beautiful soul to postpartum depression. Although I didn't know Florence Leung personally, her story has touched me very deeply and I tear up almost daily at the thought of the agony that she endured in her final days.
As a Birth and Postpartum Doula I have seen firsthand the devastating effects that postpartum depression can have on moms, their newborn babes and their partners.
Just a few days ago, Florence Leung's husband posted a statement on their public Facebook page stating that he feels the pressure to breastfeed was just too much for his wife.
When asked to do an interview with Global News on the subject, I began to question if we are putting too much pressure on new moms to breastfeed. Here's what I've come up with.
As educated birth professionals it is our job to provide evidence based information and care to our clients. Research does show that breast is best with benefits ranging from better immunity against infections, protecting baby from developing allergies and lowering the risk of SIDS. And it's not just better for baby but for mom too, i.e. shortening her postpartum healing time and lowering her risk of certain types of cancer. These are all wonderful benefits and what mom wouldn't want to breastfeed knowing this.
When meeting with our clients prenatally we often discuss the most ideal scenarios for the childbearing year. We provide tidbits of information in the event that the ideal doesn't pan out and then of course we deal with things when the ideal just doesn't happen. Although we hope for every mom that breastfeeding comes naturally it's not often the reality. In fact nearly 70% of our clients face one or more issues with breastfeeding, ranging from cracked nipples, slow infant weight gain, low milk supply, poor latch or tongue and lip tie. It's enough to make a mother cry....and they do!
A Few Tips for Setting Yourself Up For Success:
Hire a Doula! Studies show that women supported by doulas experience a 28% decrease in the risk of c-secion, 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin and a 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with their birth experience - all of which can have a direct impact on how you feel both emotionally and physically after your birth. Support from Postpartum Doulas can increase your success rate in breastfeeding and can lower your risk of postpartum depression.
Choose a breastfeeding friendly care provider that provides home visits after your baby is born. It's enough to get yourself dressed and showered in those first few days, so why should we expect new moms to get dressed, pack up baby and leave their home to make an appointment. Have them come to you! Midwives are a great option for this type of care.
Build Your Village! Don't wait until babe is born to start mingling. There are many groups throughout Vancouver and North Shore that support expectant and new moms - La Leche League, Breastfeeding and Postpartum Group and various Postnatal Programs. Don't let cost be a barrier as most of these programs are free!
Hire a Lactation Consultant! Ask your friends, doula or midwife for a referral to a trusted Lactation Consultant that provides non judgemental support, someone who will listen and lift you up. My personal fave is Shahrzad Tayebi! She is down to earth, laid-back, teaches instinctual breastfeeding and has plenty of experience under her belt.
When Is Enough Enough?
In my many years as Birth and Postpartum Doula, I have had clients use formula because it was the right choice for them in that moment. In most cases it is used as a bridge to get through a particularly rough time. When I see a mom that is really struggling, her confidence is shot and her sleep and mental health are starting to suffer, I completely support her in her decision to use formula. Perhaps she will supplement to help with a slow weight gain and when babes weight is up and mom has peace of mind then she can slowly wean baby off of formula. Some moms have to work at building up their milk supply and until they are feeling that they have enough for their little one, "top ups" can be the answer for them in the meantime. And in more severe cases, when mom can not overcome the struggles after exhausting all options she may need to bottle feed her babe formula full time. And for this mom, she needs to know that she is making the best decision for her and her baby.
Bottle feeding or breastfeeding; it's not my decision to make. All of my moms are heroes in my eyes and I'll support them in whatever decisions they make! They are strong, resilient, dedicated and loving. Their only flaw is that they're too hard on themselves!
Are You Suffering From Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Psychosis?
You are not alone! Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth. Up to 1 in 7 women experience PPD. For half of women diagnosed with PPD, this is their first episode of depression. Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment. Postpartum psychosis affects 0.1 to 0.2% of new moms and often requires immediate treatment.
If you are concerned about your mental health and wellbeing and the physical safety of you and your baby, please read through these signs and symptoms to see if you identify with them. If so, reach out to family, friends, your neighbour, your care provider, your doula or your lactation consultant. Perinatal mood disorders are TEMPORARY and TREATABLE with professional help.
For support in the Greater Vancouver Area contact the Pacific Postpartum Society - toll free 1.855.255.7999.
A beautiful testimony from our amazing clients.....
We were hesitant investing in a doula at first but after a lot of research and interviews, we found the best! From first communication, Marlo was professional, knowledgable, open & warm. She went above and beyond answering FTM questions promptly via text, phone or email, giving great advice, relevant articles and a reassuring word. Her experience and attitude helped us develop complete confidence in her care.
When my birthing time came, Marlo was like the friend I needed most: providing encouragement, physical and emotional comfort for me and being the helping hand for my husband who didn't know what to expect. Most importantly, she supported me in my strong desire for a natural birth and helped make it a reality. Both my husband and I don't exaggerate in saying Marlo was ESSENTIAL for my birth. I couldn't have done it without her and look forward to her care for future babies!