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3 Reasons Honey sticks are a Doula Bag and Hospital Bag Necessity

3 Reasons Honey sticks are a Doula Bag and Hospital Bag Necessity 6

If you haven't tried a honey stick yet, you are missing out!  These little treats have been a secret snack for many doulas and I'd love to prove my case for why they are a hospital bag and doula bag necessity.

1) Honey is a liquid

Sometimes a laboring mom is given a food restriction and limited to only liquids.  This practice is not evidence based, however is still common in many areas of the world.  Honeysticks are one snack that I think bridges the gap between food and liquid.  They feel more like a food, but technically are liquid.   They are a nice alternative to water, sports drink or broth that are often the only options when restricted to liquid.

2) Honey sticks are SUPER SNACKS

Honey sticks have all of the qualities that I look for in a perfect snack.  Depending upon where you purchase your honeysticks, they are 100% natural.  They usually contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  {we proudly carry high quality honey sticks!}  They have a great flavor without any odor.  Honey sticks also can be eaten discreetly, no crunching or loud package opening noises. {a peaceful birthing environment is key!}

Honey sticks stay fresh for a LONG time. Most honey is fresh indefinitely! Occasionally it will start to crystallize.  Once the honey has crystallized it is still okay to eat.

Honey sticks are portable and easy to eat. Eating a honey stick might seem tricky, but once you know the technique it’s super easy. 

 

3) Honey sticks provide a quick shot of energy for everyone

The sugary sweetness provided by honey can be a quick shot of energy.  During labor the entire team (mom, partner and doula) can often use a quick pick me up!  Honeysticks are a perfect solution.  

Setting Your Doula Fees With Confidence 2

As a doula, the process of fee setting is one of the first challenges that we face.  New doulas are given a wide range of advice on this topic.  Some trainers recommend doing their first few births for free, others say charge enough to cover expenses and some even suggest charging the same as what seasoned doulas are charging.  The question is what is right?

Once a doula has experience the question of 'what to charge' never seems to go away.  It is a topic that gets a lot of mentions at doula conferences and doula networking events.  Do other professions have this struggle?  

I have created a fee setting method that will allow you to set your fee with confidence.  Join this free webinar on Sunday February 8th at 8PM ET.  While I won't give you a magic number, I will give you the tools to help you determine what is right for you. 

 Participants will discover:

  • How to research your current market
  • What to consider when setting your rate
  • How to talk about your rate with confidence

 The webinar will be recorded if you can't attend, but live participants will have the ability to ask questions and get real answers!

 

 

Doula Business Chat #3 - Life on Call

Doula Business Chat #3 - Life on Call 0

Doulas often will list the challenges of life on call as the primary reason for doula burnout or leaving the profession altogether. It is difficult to live a life on call, but being available for our clients is something that makes the doula role unique. Traditionally doulas did not practice in a group that shares call, but more and more doulas are finding that a shared call relationship is their preference. 

doula life on call

How is "on call" defined?

For many doulas, the on call period is between 1-2 weeks before and after a client's due date.  During this period the doula makes themselves available 24/7.  

 Limitations of an on call life include

  • Having to keep a cell phone always on and close by
  • Staying relatively close to home 
  • Limit drinking of alcohol (maybe one glass of wine, but usually no more!)
  • Getting enough sleep (no late nights)
  • No last minute travel (spontaneous trips aren't really possible)
  • Limit commitments (don't want people to count on you and then you aren't available)
  • Have a backup for your own life (need to have one of more people to fill your shoes)
  • Appointments are delayed in fear that you might miss them (putting off dentist, hair cuts etc.)

Strain on friends and family

Being on call can often put a strain on family and friends.  How many times can our village hear the words "As long as I'm not at a birth?" before it becomes an overused phrase?  This "up in the air" approach to life and not being able to give firm commitments can be difficult to deal with.  I know that my village of support gets tired of always making contingency plans.

Ideas on how to make on call life easier

1) Client Communication

I think a great place to start is my really sharing with our clients what being on call means.  Let them know that it means you won't be far from home or drinking a second glass of wine.  Make sure they know of pockets of time that you won't be available (example: long run, yoga class, child's school performance).  I think clients appreciate the honesty and like to know more about our lives and commitments.  Also, set the expectations with clients upfront.  Let them know realistically how quickly you can get to them.  

2) Respite Days/Nights 

Talk to your backup doula about taking a day off call. [view our Backup Doula Contract]  Schedule it on your calendar and do something for yourself on that day.  This might be an important family event, date night or special occasion.  Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping you don't have a client in labor on this special day, schedule yourself to have a backup cover you and let your client know.   This is a concept that I plan on adding to my practice this year. 

3) Sharing Call

Working with another doula (or doulas) to share a call schedule is definitely an answer to making life on call more manageable.  This certainly makes things easier to schedule and takes away the uncertainty of work.  I see the negative aspect of this arrangement to be a client/doula relationship that more like an OB/midwife practice where the client gets whoever is on call for that day.  One could argue that clients can't guarantee her doula will be there, but there is more of a chance when call isn't shared. 

Doulas, what are your thoughts on this topic?  Am I missing anything?  Please post a comment and let's learn from each other!

 

Women Entrepreneurs - Business Planning for 2015 0

We all lead busy lives.  Sometimes we are so caught up in the day to day grind that we don't have time to look forward to the next year. As doulas we are often scheduling clients many months out, but are we scheduling work towards or business goals?

It doesn't take an advanced degree to know that we need to take time to set goals for our business.  Without goals our biggest dreams for our businesses and lives won't be realized...or not in a timely manner for sure.  Taking time to set goals and follow-up on them is no easy task! 

Back in 2013, I stumbled upon Leonie Dawson's business planning workbooks.  They immediately appealed to my creative spirit and really spoke to me.  I decided to give them a try!  I made the purchase, downloaded the file and uploaded it to Fedex where I had the workbook printed and bound.  I remember how excited I was when I picked it up.  I couldn't wait to have a moment alone to read it and start filling out the pages.  With four kids at home, a business to run and a million other things that were taking my attention this took awhile.  When I finally had time to dive into this workbook I WAS HOOKED!

 

Leonie's workbook is female focused and designed for the entrepreneur that has a business with a clear purpose. The pages lead you through the planning process with questions that are necessary to answer in order to make progress in your business.  Filling out the workbook takes time and energy.  It took me several sessions or quiet time and many cups of coffee.  It was SO worth it!  In 2013, I was able to lead a more organized effort to grow my business and this workbook was key to this success.

Here we are at the cusp of 2015 and I just purchased the new version of the workbook!  I was actually bubbling with excitement when I got an email alerting me that it was out!  I purchased the ebook because I am trying to be more paperless, but I'm leaning to printing it out again.  There is just a wonderful satisfaction to scribbling, doodling and crossing things off.  

Workbook for Women Enrepreneurs

 I believe that this workbook is ideal for women entrepreneurs.  If you are looking for a planning resource I highly recommend that you take a look at this workbook.  Leonie also has other cool programs related to goal setting, blogging and getting the most out of your life.  In full disclosure, I am part of Leonie's referral network (meaning I make $ for all sales I refer).  I love the product and wouldn't suggest it if I didn't use it myself and believe that it will be helpful to my customers and blog readers. 

If you decide to plan your year using this workbook, please let me know!  I am putting together a group so that we can all keep each other on track and make the most out of 2015!

Leave a comment below and let me know what tools you recommend for business planning or if you also use Leonie's workbook.

 

Doula Bag Items - Our Top 5 Must Haves 3

Doula Bag - 5 Must Have Items

After doula training is done, the doula bag seems to be the next project to tackle.  Your list of items will likely evolve as you get more experience.  Many doulas start out carrying a lot of items and then end up with a lean bag.  Sometime I even hear doulas say that they don't carry any tools in their bags but instead carry items just for themselves.  

My bag has definitely changed through the years, but there are 5 items that I feel are my must haves.  

 

 

What do you think are your doula bag must have items? I would love to find out! Please click on the 'comment' link on the side of the blog and share your knowledge.

Also, we are happy to send you our list if you would like. Click here!  

Peanut Ball Survey Results 2

The Peanut Ball is the hottest tool for labor. At the recent Lamaze DONA Conference I think I heard that phrase uttered thousands of times.  At YourDoulaBag, we have been offering the ball for purchase for almost one full year and we were curious about how life with the peanut is going.  We created a quick survey and have some interesting results to share.

Peanut Ball Survey Results - Do You Like your ball

 

Have you used your Peanut Ball yet?

Peanut Ball Survey - Have you used your peanut ball yet?

It's pretty clear that survey respondents are actually using their peanut balls.

 

If you have used your peanut ball, how do you like it?

 

Results here are a little mixed, but the majority (63%) either love it or like it.  Our comments on the question were interesting.  Emily Nolan not only selected "I love it", but went on to comment that it is "A lifesaver for moms who have epidurals or who have otherwise limited mobility."  Another respondent said "Even though the hospital had one too, neither the nurses or I knew how to use it properly. Harder than it looks!"

Are you pleased with the size of your Peanut Ball?

Peanut Ball Survey Results

While the majority of respondents were pleased with the sized, we did have some conflicting comments.  One respondent said "I feel like I might enjoy also a bigger one" and another respondent said "I had to deflate it a bit to get a better fit".  I think the conclusion here is that moms aren't one size and the peanut ball (just like the birth ball) won't fit perfectly for all women.  

Are you pleased with the Quality of your Peanut Ball?

 

As the retailer, we are so pleased with the answer to this question.  As a result we will continue to offer the Gymnic Brand balls

Do you use a cover on your Peanut Ball?

Covers on the Peanut seem to be popular and desired.  One respondent said "LOVE the cover" and Lou Ann Damsma answered "I use the cover to carry the ball and then sheets or hospital gowns to cover it in labor."   Our ball covers will fit the 65cm round balls and the 40cm peanut balls that we sell. 

Why do you like having a Peanut Ball? 

We received lots of answers to this question and have chosen a few to share.

1) Sarah Wingrove said "Keeps moms' pelvises open when lying in bed with an epidural"

2) Daine Zacharin said "More options to offer"

3) Janis Spinak said "Allow ladies to use during class with position changes to see how pelvis opens"

4) Emily Nolan said "Additionally, as a doula, there's often a feeling of frustration when an epidural is placed- in that it becomes much more difficult to help labor progress when mom is confined to the bed. I don't feel so helpless when I have the peanut ball, because I've seen it work its magic in aiding labor progress in more than a few women whose care providers suspected 'failure to progress'"

Conclusions...Now what?

Our goal is to provide the best tools that will make a difference in the lives of our customers.  It seems like our customers in the whole are pleased with their purchase of the peanut ball and are actually getting some good use out of it.  We have put together a blog with references to more information about the peanut, but the next step for us is to put together even more resources so that our customers will get the most out of this product.  

 

Here is where we would like to hear from you!  Please comment below with any questions that you have about the peanut ball.  We want to know what you are still wondering about this product.