To celebrate Wold Doula Week, Birth Boot Camp DOULA has organized a contest. You can win a doula training discount for our very own Birth Boot Camp DOULA training!
We believe that doulas can make birth better, improve the experience for the birthing mother, her partner, her baby, and her entire family. In fact, we believe that more fabulous doulas who have the business skills to build sustainable, successful doula practices, actually have the ability to change the world!
For this reason we are offering a huge discount to FIVE lucky winners in our doula training discount contest for World Doula Week.
There are four easy ways you can enter the contest right there! Each entry gains you more points and increases your likelihood of winning. At the bottom, click the button to "unlock bonus entries" to enter yourself even MORE times! There are so many opportunities to share and increase your chance of winning. You can share your entry all over social media and send your friends to do the same. We can't wait to see you on YouTube, google+, or even on your blog! Remember- you have one week to enter and you can enter DAILY! Maximize your chances of winning!
Have fun, tell your friends, and get yourself a huge discount on our fabulous Birth Boot Camp DOULA training! We can't wait to meet you and make birth better for couples everywhere!
We can't even express how much we appreciate our 120+ instructors. From those joining us now, to that first group who took a chance with a new company, they are amazing, dedicated and intelligent women who strive every day to make birth better for women and their partners. Today we share a post from one of these instructors, Shazia. Shazia was in one of our earlier instructor groups and teaches birth classes in Arlington and Fort Worth, TX. We love hearing about what being a Birth Boot Camp instructor means to her. Enjoy!
What it Means to be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor
I have had the pleasure of teaching Birth Boot Camp for almost 2 years now. As a Birth Boot Camp instructor, I am proud to say that I stand out. There is a reason that many providers in my city, send their pregnant moms to a Birth Boot Camp instructor for their comprehensive birth education!
My natural birth journey began during my first pregnancy in 2011. I had the pleasure of signing up to take a class with Donna Ryan, the founder and creator of Birth Boot Camp. When I started searching for a childbirth instructor, I looked for 3 things. I wanted an instructor who was local to me, someone who taught a comprehensive class that covered everything my husband and I needed to know, and someone who was qualified. You may be thinking what does “qualified” mean when it comes to a childbirth educator. Let me explain!
As a Birth Boot Camp instructor, I am CERTIFIED to teach. This is an important qualification. This means that a group of other birth professionals have acknowledged the hard work I put in to my training to become an instructor AND have stamped me with their seal of approval. They made sure that I put the work in to have the necessary knowledge I needed to teach a comprehensive childbirth series. I spent months and months reading a stack of books on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, postpartum care, and special circumstances. I sat in a training class for days learning everything I needed to know to teach Birth Boot Camp. I, then, took a test to be certain I had learned everything I needed to know. That’s what my certification shows! It is an acknowledgement of all of the knowledge I have obtained to teach couples what they need to know to obtain a safe and healthy birth.
As a Birth Boot Camp instructor, I was also required to have given birth naturally and breastfed for at least 12 months. You may ask why that is important. Many of my students have thanked me for sharing personal experiences with them during class to illustrate a particular topic. Unfortunately, I have had some students in my class who didn’t know a single person who had given birth without the use of pain medication. I was the only one they had ever met who could say, “I’ve done it and so can you!” I know that when I sought out Donna’s class, I loved that she had given birth the way I wanted to birth and successfully breastfed. It was important to me to have an instructor who had “been there.” It was incredibly encouraging to know that if she could do it, so could I!
Quality childbirth education comes from qualified childbirth educators! Before you choose a childbirth class, ask yourself if you are taking exceptional curriculum from a qualified instructor. If you can’t answer yes, consider switching classes. There are Birth Boot Camp instructors all over the world and if there isn’t a local instructor in your area, you can always take the entire course online!
Shazia Lackey RN,BSN,BBCI, is a Birth Boot Camp instructor in Arlingon and Fort Worth, TX. You can find her class schedule at www.AboveBeyondBirth.com. Shazia is mother to two sweet children, both born naturally after taking her first Birth Boot Camp class.
Here is Shazia talking about why she teaches birth classes.
No Certification Births For Birth Boot Camp DOULAS
Tradition is wonderful, but sometimes it becomes necessary to question why a certain tradition lives on. In the doula certification world, there is a long tradition of “certification births” that must be finished before you are officially a doula. While there are good intentions behind the certification birth requirements for doulas, in truth, requiring certification births that meet strict guidelines only serves to devalue the doula profession as a whole.
Maybe you’ve heard the story of the woman who cuts the ends off her pot roast before putting it in her (large) pan. When her mother notices, she asks why she is doing that. The daughter had never even thought to question why it was done, it was just something she’d seen her mother do all her life. Come to find out, the pan her mother cooked the roast in always seemed too small, so she cut the ends off the pot roast, but she should have just bought a new pan!
What does pot roast have to do with doula certification? Doula certification programs have always required certification births. To keep with tradition, we considered this requirement as part of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA program. As we started asking ourselves hard questions about the purpose of certifying births, we determined that just because they have always been part of the process, doesn’t mean they are still useful. In fact, a strict certifying birth requirement can hold a doula back professionally. In effect, it is time that doula certifying organizations metaphorically “buy a pan that fits”. At Birth Boot Camp DOULA we do not require certification births to become a doula. We have found a better way.
Why Require Doula Certification Births?
What constitutes a “certifying birth”? First, some organizations require the doula to be at the birth for a set amount of time for it to count towards certification. Birth Boot Camp teaches that labor is variable and takes as long as it needs, so setting a minimum time is not compatible with what we know about birth. Second, at Birth Boot Camp, we feel that women don’t need vaginal exams to progress in labor. To require a doula to be present from an arbitrary dilation calculation is not supported by our philosophy and continues to promote the erroneous idea that dilation is the only way of measuring labor progress. A final concern is that the Birth Boot Camp DOULA program has a huge emphasis on relational - not just physical - support. We train our doulas to connect with their clients so that they can best serve them. A certain number of certification births does not give us information about a doula’s skills in this area.
Continuous Doula Accountability
If the purpose of certifying births is accountability and experience, there is a better way. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS are accountable, not only for the first few births they attend, but all of them throughout their career with Birth Boot Camp DOULA! Based on the number of Supporting Arms booklets they order for their clients in a given year, our doulas are required to fill out a Birth Summary for 80% of them. We aim for 100% but realize this isn’t always possible. Our doulas, like Birth Boot Camp Instructors, keep statistics to be transparent and measure their own effectiveness so we can make changes as needed. Accountability for a doula should last far longer than her three certifying births.
An evaluation form is sent to every Birth Boot Camp DOULA client so that they may evaluate the care they received from their doula This form does not actually go back to the doula, but to our Doula Certification Coordinator, who can then share the evaluation with the doula if the client gives permission. So, the two evaluations are coming from the doula and her client, not a care provider who may have spent only minutes in the doula’s presence. Care providers and nurses may be willing, but generally they have no relationship with the doula or any incentive to help her reach her goal of certification. The most important opinion is that of the birthing mother. We seek her views on the birth and role of her doula and value them highly. At Birth Boot Camp DOULA, certification births are not held over the doula’s head, and ongoing evaluations simply become a part of constantly striving to be a better doula.
Changing the Culture of “Free Doulas”
It is impossible to have a conversation about “certification births” without addressing “free doulas.” At Birth Boot Camp DOULA, we talk a lot about professionalism, scope of practice, and sustainability. Doulas being forced to complete certification births perpetuates the problem of couples always looking for a “free doula” and a culture that undervalues the unique supportive role of female birth workers. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS complete a heavy workload, followed by an intense 3-day workshop. They complete an exam at the end of the workshop, and upon passing, they are declared certified. They are ready to work! We recommend they charge a starting wage at their discretion, charging not below $300. A Birth Boot Camp DOULA will never be encouraged to work for free nor will she be so desperate for her certification births that she feels compelled to work for free.
Doulas Supporting Doulas
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS leave training with all the skills, knowledge and business savvy to be incredible doulas. She is not left to figure things out on her own, as she has a tremendous support team at Birth Boot Camp Headquarters and among her fellow Birth Boot Camp DOULAS. We have created an avenue to launch new Birth Boot Camp DOULAS to success and help them to reach their goal of having an enjoyable, profitable, and sustainable career as a doula.
Our doulas are enrolled in a mentorship program where they receive ongoing guidance and continue their development in several ways including a one-on-one consultation with one of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA creators and trainers, Amanda Devereux or Maria Pokluda. Our mentorship program is designed to develop each Birth Boot Camp DOULA’s relational support skills, business model, support them through their early births, and enhance what they learned through Birth Boot Camp DOULA training.
At Birth Boot Camp DOULA we have aimed to create a unique and superior doula certification program. We are not afraid to break tradition in order to make better doulas who can have lasting careers where they are compensated for their efforts. There is no doula certification program that offers the training, materials, and ongoing support that Birth Boot Camp DOULA does. Join our ranks today!
Preview Of "Supporting Arms," Birth Boot Camp DOULA's Client Booklet
Every Birth Boot Camp DOULA client receives the incredible "Supporting Arms" booklet from their Birth Boot Camp DOULA. We are so proud of this little book and our doulas love it. The "Supporting Arms" booklet contains wonderful and useful information for both the doula and her client. What is in "Supporting Arms"?
Information on when to contact your doula.
A coupon for an online Birth Boot Camp childbirth class.
A place to write down local resources recommended by your Birth Boot Camp DOULA.
Information you will cover in your 1st and 2nd prenatal visits with your Birth Boot Camp DOULA.
Tips for birth and relaxation for you and your partner.
Useful information and pictures about what happens in labor.
A relaxation practice exclusive to Birth Boot Camp DOULA.
Incredible breastfeeding and postpartum information.
All in full color, gorgeous pictures!
How does "Supporting Arms" benefit the doula?
Our two doula prenatals are unique and structured to build relationships. As explained by Amanda Devereux, a program developer and trainer for Birth Boot Camp DOULA, "The focus of the prenatal appointments is on relational support, not on education. This really creates an incredible doula-client relationship and that moves into some amazing births!" With Maria Pokluda, Amanda worked hard to create a training that teaches doulas how to do this. Together they created "Supporting Arms," a beautiful, full color book that provides information that you would otherwise spend a lot of time going over. "Supporting Arms" goes hand in hand with the structure of the prenatal appointments. Conducting prenatals, and the postpartum visit in this way contributes to sustainability within the profession, so that our doulas can have long and fulfilling doula careers and clients who they have excellent relationships with.
What do doulas say about "Supporting Arms"?
At Birth Boot Camp our mission is to help prepare couples for amazing natural births. One way we strive to do this is by supporting our instructors and doulas with the best training, preparation and materials we can possibly offer. We love that all of our doulas can take materials with them to their visits and interviews that look professional and that provide information that is above and beyond. They love that they don't have to photocopy dozens of papers from various sources and staple them together for each new client.
Nancy Rebarchik, a Birth Boot Camp instructor, doula, and administrator for the doula program says, "The Supporting Arms booklet fills in the gaps for my clients between the end of their Birth Boot Camp class series and D-Day. My clients find it so reassuring in the last weeks of their pregnancy. Their confidence translates into more peaceful end to their pregnancy, and fewer panicky phone calls and texts to their doula. It's definitely a win-win!" You can find Nancy in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at www.empoweringbirthdfw.com.
Hailie Wolf, a Birth Boot Camp instructor and doula in Abilene, TX notes the focus on postpartum baby care and mother wellness. "One of the things I really love about the "Supporting Arms" booklet is the great breastfeeding and postpartum support information. Moms always laugh about the pictures of what to expect from baby's first poops, but they always end up finding them helpful! The mental health self check list is also a wonderful tool." You can find Hailie in Abilene and at www.countrybumpkinbirthservices.com
Andrea Winn, a Birth Boot Camp instructor and doula in Spokane, Washington, says, "There is really nothing else out there like the Supporting Arms booklet. It is complementary to a thorough childbirth class, but it can definitely stand alone as a great reference as well! In addition to a comprehensive childbirth class and a supportive birth team, the Supporting Arms booklet is another amazing tool to have in your toolbox!" You can find Andrea at www.firstcomeslovebirthsupport.com.
Maria Pokluda, co-creator of Birth Boot Camp doula and the "Supporting Arms" booklet describes why this material is designed the way it is. "I love that our Birth Boot Camp DOULAs are walking into prenatals and interviews with this beautifully designed booklet. It immediately shows that our doulas are professionals and prenatals done using the Supporting Arms materials ensure that the client and doula develop a strong relationship which is a huge step towards working together perfectly during labor." You can find Maria in the Dallas are of TX or at greatexpectationsbirth.com.
Our format is organized, simple, and polished. We love it, our doulas love it, and we know their clients love it! Already we hear our doulas reporting that in interviews their clients ask, "How can I get that booklet?!" The answer- Hire me! So, without any further ado, here it is!
Preview Of "Supporting Arms," Birth Boot Camp DOULA's Client Booklet
We have all heard about breastfeeding and the benefits it can have for baby. There are posters in hospitals and waiting rooms and WIC offices. Yet when it comes down to actually breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months (and six more after solids are started), success rates are low. Why is it it that something we all know we should do seems so hard to accomplish?
There are lots of reasons to love breastfeeding and strive for success. It is great for baby, has health benefits for mom, and helps promote bonding as well as encouraging mom to sit down and relax multiple times a day. But one of our favorite things about breastfeeding is that no matter how your birth goes, breastfeeding matters. Whether you have a natural home birth or a scheduled cesarean, the breastfeeding relationship can be healing and joyful.
Here are five secrets to breastfeeding success that can help you be successful in reaching your nursing goals.
1. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful.
While it is true that some pain is a little normal some for the first few days of nursing, this isn’t universal. In addition, the excruciating pain that many women experience is decidedly not part of properly breastfeeding. There is a lot to be said for breastfeeding preparation.
Let’s talk about the difference between pain with a problem and slight pain that will disappear. What can be normal is a little bit of pain just when the baby first latches on and milk lets down. Some women describe letdown (when the milk begins to eject) as painful, others as a tingling sensation. Also, the first few days some women describe pain just when the baby latches on but this goes away after a minute or so.
It is not normal for the entire breastfeeding experience to be painful, excruciating, stabbing, or otherwise unbearable. Many women are incredibly dedicated to breastfeeding and will try to “push through” this pain. This is not the solution and will only end in things getting progressively worse. Seek help immediately. This brings us to point number two.
2. People you think can help you with breastfeeding often can’t.
While it is very helpful to have friends, sisters, and mothers who breastfed and are supportive of your decision to breastfeed, this isn’t always enough. Many women who nursed their own babies can’t necessarily teach you how to resolve basic breastfeeding problems.
Let’s say that nursing happens to be painful for you, who will you call? The internet and our friends and relatives can be full of advice, but it is not always good or correct advice. This can range from, “It is supposed to hurt,” to “That never happened to me.” Women even get terrible advice from pediatricians and obstetricians because these medical experts are not necessarily experts in breastfeeding. So who SHOULD you call? Check out number three.
3. Prepare for breastfeeding with support people.
Breastfeeding is often more successful when women have properly trained breastfeeding support at their fingertips before they even give birth.
First- find an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) who you can call or visit after the baby. If you never use her, great! But if you need her you won’t be searching. Note that there are many people who call themselves lactation consultants but an IBCLC is the most trained lactation consultant or specialist you will find.
Second, find a good community support organization that trains their volunteers. La Leche League is often the go-to in this situation because their leaders are well trained and their meetings are free and throughout the country. The women attending are often at all different places in their breastfeeding journey from nursing the newborn to adding solids to weaning a toddler or tandem nursing. Seeing this can help gain perspective and learn from their experience. There are other national breastfeeding organizations as well as local groups. Search for those in your area. Your IBCLC should be able to help.
Having phone numbers of these people on hand before the birth is great. Having met them or attended a meeting prior to delivery is even better. This gets introductions out of the way before you have any issues and when you can schedule things more easily. Plus, if you happen to be someone who has no family or friend support, you will be building your future parenting community.
4. Common procedures can interfere with breastfeeding.
Some of the things that are often done to a baby just after the birth can actually disrupt the breastfeeding relationship. Because these interventions are so widespread and so soon after the birth we often don’t see the correlation. What do you need to know that can help you have a successful breastfeeding relationship?
Hold your baby immediately and put them to the breast- That first nursing session shouldn’t begin 5 hours after the birth but as soon as possible. The bath can wait, as can the weighing and grandma holding. Mother and baby and breastfeeding come first.
Beware of shoving things in the mouth of the baby. Many believe that invasive oral procedures can cause infants to reject the breast. They are programmed to want to nurse- don’t distract them, or worse, hurt them, with foreign objects in their mouth. This can include pacifiers in the early days.
While not documented with studies, some also believe that circumcision can disrupt breastfeeding. You can read more about circumcision here.
5. Your birth experience often influences the breastfeeding experience.
A labor or birth that involves pain medication, cesarean section and even pitocin can have a negative impact on breastfeeding.
Studies have found that pitocin can increase the chances of jaundice in the newborn. This matters for breastfeeding because jaundice can cause a baby to be lethargic and tired, so much so that it can make breastfeeding problematic.
Many different types of pain medication have been associated with trouble with breastfeeding and have been correlated with weak suck in the infant which makes it harder for them to empty the breast and nurse appropriately.
Cesarean section has a significant association with lowering breastfeeding success also. It is clear that common birth interventions can have a negative impact on breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is about as natural as life gets. That doesn’t mean that it always comes easy or can’t benefit from some preparation and knowledge. Arm yourself with support, knowledge, education, people, a great birth and nursing soon after the birth to make your transition to parenthood that much easier.