Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My doula bag, how I got half of it filled with free stuff!

So, when you're a new doula, older more experienced doulas will tell you that you will be tempted to pack a big doula bag at first, and half of it you won't even use. It's true, it's very tempting to spend a lot of money on stuffing your doula bag full of stuff that you might not need, because, it's your presence and knowledge above all that is important.

Besides being a doula I'm also a couponer. yes, I'm one of those wierd people who goes shopping with at least 5 or more coupons and price matches, and basically knows every deal and freebie in town. When it came to building my doula bag, I of course put my skills to work!

I just went through my doula bag last night and by my count over half of the stuff in it I got for free or very cheap. So here are some tips on how to do that for yourself:

1) Get acquainted  with couponing sites such as couponchristine.com or savealoonie.com Join their Facebook pages, get on their email lists to keep up to date on offers of coupons and free samples available in Canada. Couponing can get you deals on things like your favorite brand of unscented lotion (handy labor massage, dry hospitals...) and even help you get free samples. For example I just got a package from Johnson and Johnson healthy essentials that contained things like: unscented aveeno baby lotion, unscented aveeno body lotion, Listerine and extra strength Tylenol, all of which have a space in my doula bag either for my comfort or a clients.

2) Get crafty. Do you have a sewing machine, and some rice? you can make your own rice bags/socks for heating/freezing for your clients. a simple craft is a tennis ball massager, take a clean sock, fill it with 3 tennis balls and voila! it's a back massager that you can roll across your clients back for for comfort! the sky is the limit here. Make your own labor massage oil, Make a small birthing rope for your clients use at home or hospital

3) The dollar store is now your best freaking friend! you can get some travel bottles to fill with massage oil, lotions etc. Those cheap make up bags they sell?- can help your doula bag organization. Need a hand mirror so mom can see the baby's head crowning? need a bottle for spritzing water to help cool off mom? travel toothbrushes? travel size toiletries for yourself? hair ties...you get the picture.

4) Shop boxing day sales every year. this year I got a massager that holds water (convenient for hospitals, since I can use hot/cold tap water in it) for half the price. Every store usually brings out gift items for Christmas, like massagers for example... so boxing day/week is a great time to get good deals on comfort type items. I got my smartphone extra cheap on boxing day too- which is totally relevant to this because I pretty much got it for doula-ing

5) Learn about and start collecting shoppers drug mart points. You can then use your points for things like witch hazel, emergen-c packets, a first aid kit for your bag, or medical gloves for yourself etc. Here's a great guide for shoppers drug mart points :http://www.mrsjanuary.com/shoppers-optimum-guide/

Doula freebies:

Contact Lansinoh and Medela, tell them you are a doula looking for samples and they will send you a large one time package of samples. Make sure to tell them how awesome they are for doing it too!

Did you know that you can contact Johnson and Johnson for a free trial size pack of their products? again- gentle soaps and lotions are handy for a doula bag, so are the breast pads that come with it too. Juust fill out the contact form: https://secure.jnjcanada.com/jjgcc/contact-us.aspx?__redir=true

Also, keep an eye out for any prenatal fairs or baby expos in your area, you can get valuable coupons and baby related freebies such as wipes, newborn size diapers, and even bottles (well worth any admission price under 10$) Even mom sales are worth a look for things like a moby wrap (can be used as a rebozo, or as a birth rope) or baby books and childbirth books, hey you could even a nice gently used diaper bag to use as your doula bag. I have gotten countless samples/freebies/coupons from those shows.

Also check out this cute/handy little infographic:

I hope all of that helps my doula friends!

Got any other tips?: Comment below!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten Facts About Cloth Diapering

Ten facts about cloth diapering

1) it's not an all or nothing commitment, you can cloth diaper part time

2) You do not need to spend oodles of money to get good cloth diapers

3) Buying adjustable all in  one pocket diapers will save you the most money in the  long run

4) Cloth diapering doesn't always save you money!. I've had many a couponer tell me that they can diaper their children for cheaper using coupons for disposable diapers than they can using cloth when you factor in the cost of laundry and utilities. this sort of thing is highly individual. If you live in an apartment building and your only option for laundry is a coin operated machines you will be saving the earth using cloth diapers, but you will not be saving money unless your hand washing them in your bathtub.

5) You do not need a lot of money for the start up costs of cloth diapering. Figure out your monthly budget for disposable diapers (watch for sales and coupon when you can!) and watch kijiji for used diapers! keep 20$ handy each month to buy diapers off of Kijiji. If buying second hand diapers bothers you, think of it this way: If you have any hand me downs of baby clothes from friends or family, I guarantee you that child probably got poop , spit up, pee, and drool all over those cloths. Cloth diapers are no different. If it's still a problem. people sell brand new diapers on Kijiji too. sometimes people get too much at baby showers and give away or sell the left over.

6)If you're crafty enough and have a sewing machine, you can be even more frugal with your cloth diapers.!!! If you are lucky enough to live near a fabric store, Watch for the sales on the material you need. Even if you can just make your own inserts you can save money if you are patient enough
This is by far the best tutorial I've seen on you tube, and I thought I would share it with you!

7)These ain't your Grandmas diapers!!! When your mother or your grandmother extol the benefits of these wonderful disposable diapers we have nowadays. Just remember What kind of cloth diapers they had available to them. They had cotton pre folds with pins and rubber pants, that leaked and leaked. Todays cloth diapers  are way different. People do still use pre folds. But mostly people use diapers with things like micro fibre and waterproof fabrics, and snaps and velcro. There are cloth diapers out there that are so ingenious they are adjustable  from newborn to toddler. Yeah, It blew my mind too

8) The washing isn't THAT hard. There are several methods. Mine is this: I use a 'dry pail' because poo soaked in water = gross x a million for me. I opt to let them soak for an hour in the washing machine before I wash them instead.

9) you don't need to scrape poo off of the diapers. there are such things as disposable liners There is no stead fast rule that you can't be crunchy unless you  have scraped poo off of a cloth diaper.

10) cloth diapering isn't all about saving money. It's about saving the earth too. Disposable diapers make up 1/3 of the garbage that fills landfills. Don't get me started on all the chemicals in disposables. Here is a good article to read when considering the environmental impact of cloth vs disposable diapers: http://www.thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com/eco-friendly-diapers.html and for a visual check out this image:http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/window-display-art-or-powerful-motivator-the-giggling-green-bean-window-display-goes-viral/

If you are in need of help in obtaining cloth diapers check this out:http://clothforacause.org/

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ten things I want my clients to know about breastfeeding

10 things that I as a doula, want all my clients to know about breastfeeding.

1) Yes, it is important!, it is one of the most important things you can do for your baby besides loving them.That doesn't mean that formula feeding moms need to feel bad for their choice or circumstance at all, but please know, yes it is important!!!.

breast milk has nutrients in it that formula just doesn't have. See this chart for a comparison http://www.bcbabyfriendly.ca/whatsinbreastmilkposter.pdf. Everything that is in breastmilk is what your baby naturally needs,  despite what people say about formula and it being as good as breastmilk, it's not, it's all the basics and calories. It will sustain your baby. This is not to guilt trip formula feeding families at all, these are facts. Your baby is built to thrive on human breastmilk.

2) We live in a bottle feeding culture. This one is in the early stages of shifting, however, the fact remains that it is more acceptable to be seen bottle feeding your baby than breastfeeding it. Don't believe me? ask your self what you would feel more comfortable doing in the middle of walmart. Trying to modestly feed a baby at your breast, or pulling out a bottle to feed it?.

The other part of living in a bottle feeding culture is that people in general don't know how to breastfeed anymore. Breast milk has become the scapegoat for everything stressful about motherhood. The truth is, it's motherhood that is stressful, and what you feed your baby is just about the only thing you can control in those early, hormonal, sleepless, and stressful weeks of new motherhood. When people see you so stressed, they want to help. There are people who will unwittingly give you TERRIBLE advice on breastfeeding. What you are best to do, is find some local breastfeeding clinics before you have your baby, and do some reading, there are lots of free resources online.

Here's 2 good ones:

3) You can re lactate. Yup, that's a thing. Even mothers who have not given birth can sometimes induce lactation, and mothers who have long since dried up, can re lactate. Not only can you re lactate, but you can nurse a bottle fed baby. Yup, babies are hardwired for breast milk. You could take a 3 month old bottle fed baby and with some effort wean them off the bottle. Remember that, because sometimes early on babies are given bottles, and they get confused, they might give you a hard time breastfeeding. Stick it out and they will nurse!

4) Breastfeeding takes 2 people, it is 50% you and 50% your baby, If it is not working out at first and your feeling down and frustrated, just try to remember that the baby is learning to breastfeed right along with you.Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn't mean it's easy by any means. It's natural to eat, but that doesn't make gardening or cooking easy by default.

5) You are not a failure if you have turned to formula before, that doesn't mean that you just can't breastfeed babies and it's not worth trying again. It is worth it. Every feeding you can give your newborn is worth it. Colostrum is amazing stuff, and if that is all you can give your baby than do it!

6) Some mothers have 'other' reasons for choosing not to breastfeed, and that is ok. As your doula, I will never judge your choice  not to, because I don't know everything about my clients.You could have a history of sexual abuse I don't know about and breastfeeding is trigger. If you need to not breastfeed for your sanity, I understand, but I will still give you all the facts so you can make an informed decision.

7) What you need is confidence, not a nursing pillow, or a nursing mothers tea, or those expensive breast pads, or special nursing mothers tank tops. These things (and more) are devices that we use to help us meet our goals. Bare essentials for breastfeeding are pretty much you and the baby, so don't get discouraged if you didn't get these things in time for the birth. It's more important to facilitate good care for yourself to encourage breastfeeding, such as having your partner home with you for more than a week, having family come to cook for you, do some dishes etc. Take a shower, go for a walk, Demand that someone bring you guacamole and nachos! These are the things that get you through those early weeks

8) You can bottle feed a breastfed baby and get a break once in awhile. The idea that pumping full time will give you more breaks and rest is a complete and utter garbage myth. You cannot escape motherhood so long as you're interested in being the one who looks after your baby. At first the idea seems appealing, but trust me, pumping comes with more inconveniences than most people know. yes, being stuck resting and having a baby at your breast for an entire month is boring, but so is sterilizing bottles and sitting down to pump everywhere you go. With nursing you never have to worry about washing, or running out of milk, and when the baby cries in the night, you can just lay down and nurse them. Bottle feeding= less sleep and more washing, unless you have a 24/7 live in nanny.

9) No matter how prepared you are, how much you read, purchase, research etc. the most important thing that will affect your ability to breastfeed a baby is having positive support from your family, and your care providers. If you are missing positive support it is even more important to seek out extra help before you give birth. Find your local la leche league meetings, find some convenient breastfeeding clinics and familiarize yourself with them.

10) There will be times when you get frustrated. That is OK. You may not have any issues at all breastfeeding, and that is OK

Some Local resources



Some good reading for mothers planning to breastfeed:






Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All I want for Christmas is...

I have been wracking my brain for ideas on what to do with the kids this year for christmas. Like many families we're on a pretty tight budget this year. So I thought that I might start a new tradition this year, The kids can get some homemade stuff too. This not only saves us money, but it also gets us out of the 'consumerism' part of Christmas. Things are not what make the holiday good, it's the people you celebrate it with amirite? On my oldest childs fourth birthday, I made him a 'cake' and 'cupcakes'

So here is a list of Ideas I'm utilizing for my kids gifts this year

My oldest is getting:
 A superhero pillow
An art caddy
Some homemade jewelry

My youngest will be getting:
A superhero onesie dress
A pillow
Knitted kimono slippers

Everyone else in my life will be getting things like aloe plants in pretty planters, and coconut sugar scrubs. For the people who don't like those, homemade treats in adorably decorated re purposed tins!.

If you would like to check out my idea inspirations and their original posts (with instructions) come check out my pinterest board:  http://www.pinterest.com/tclcreative/christmas-gifts-for-the-kids/

Monday, June 17, 2013

Candy Bar Cake- Easy Mode

Any crafter worth their salt has seen one of these beautiful delicious babies!. It's called a Candy Bar Cake.
A CANDY BAR CAKE PEOPLE! (I'll pause here so you can run around the house screaming for a minute)

This has to be the coolest and easiest gift/ party centre piece I've ever made. I'm going to show you how to do this in 3 easy steps.

junk food of your choice
a platter
double sided tape
pretty ribbon
a bottle of pop (basically something round-or square)
a cup or party hat

Step 1:
wrap some double sided tape at the bottom and middle of the bottle

Step 2: Attach chocolate bars and tie with pretty ribbon

Step 3: Attach other junk food using double sided tape in any design your heart desires

aaand VOILA! a gorgeous personalized gift cake that everybody will love.Best part: It doesn't matter if you are crafter level 1 or 100, you can wow people with this delicious centre piece

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Doula Freebies

I love getting samples! and for the past week or so, I've been hunting for free samples for Doulas (to give to your clients) I hunt for samples at every mommy event, and freebie website there is in Canada. So it made sense to find some I can pass along to future clients.

If you are a Doula looking for samples, keep in mind that for a lot of them, you have to pay. On the upside, they'll likely be pretty cheap.

Free samples:

Medela: I just got 100 free samples of their brand of nipple cream in the mail from them. all you have to do is email them and they will send a 1 time package of 100 samples. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!

You can also surf their site for educational materials.

Sample availability will be different depending on where you are. impressively, I got the samples from medela in about 5 days.

Lansinoh: In Canada Lansinoh will send a one time box of samples if you email them and ask them. The process took longer than the medela samples, however here is my spread so far:
You'll have to use your super mind powers and imagine a bag of Medela nipple cream samples

Almost everything in my doula bag was free through free samples and couponing. I keep an eye on these sites for good coupons and free samples.


I highly recommend following all of their Facebook pages to keep updated on offers. Sometimes samples go very quickly or are time sensitive offers and contests.

You can also apply for individual samples of things to keep in you doula bag, for your self or your clients.

So far I have gotten a good stash of pads, depends diapers, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, body lotion, breath mints,gum,deodorant, wipes, diapers, Advil, and febreeze, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, (which is incredibly handy for making a hospital room feel more 'homelike')  on top of the samples from lansinoh and medela. Some of the stuff I use for clients, others I use for me. Either way The only things I spent money on were the bag itself, my food, some hand massagers and some emergen-c. Thats it! The rest was either stuff I already had, or free.

If there is enough interest I can start sharing these deals on my facebook page for any other canadian doulas looking for some good freebies!.

Freebies available to apply for right now:

Lansinoh, contact Lansinoh and tell them you are a doula, who would love to give their wonderful products to your breastfeeding clients.

Medela, same thing, Contact them and ask.

* Please note that the above links will bring you to where professionals can  request samples for professionals*

If you are looking for a one time sample pack just for yourself you'll need to apply on a different part of the site.

Johnson and Johnson trial pack. Fill out the contact form and request a free trial pack. They will send you a coupon that you can redeem for their trial size packs in store. They will send one sample per person per household. Meaning, it's a one time only sample you cannot reapply for subsequent children.

Pampers points: Even without kids in diapers you can collect pampers points and order their free sample packs. You can find pampers codes on any of the sites listed above, do a google search for codes.

Every childrens trade show or expo, will have samples of everything! so if one rolls into town, even if you don't have kids, go anyway. The last one I went to I got free bottles, diapers, wipes, sippy cups, cookies even (again I'm forgetting some stuff) alot of which can come in handy for your clients.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Call the midwife / One born every minute / doctor who Comic relief sketc...


If you're a fan of call the midwife, you will love this!. I almost died laughing. My 2 favorite shows 'call the midwife' and 'doctor who' all in one comedy skit.