Processing Your Birth

Birth is not just a physical event. As our bodies heal in the following months from delivery, so do our minds.

There is much to process after baby is born. We continue to process our pregnancy, the stages of labor, delivery (and sometimes the complications that we associate), the journey to feed our baby-- all while our bodies heal, hormones shift, and sleep deprivation sets in (and we mentally process that too! We’re amazing).

The best way to evolve through this complex experience is through talking to someone who is equipped to listen and (when necessary, which is not all the time) provide insight.

Depending on the complexity, us doulas will sometimes refer families to a doctor. We do this when we recognize signs of anxiety, OCD, and depression. I most often see these when a mom has not had the opportunity to process her birth or there remains unresolved feelings of inadequacies, failure, isolation, and disappointment—anything outside of the normal baby blues.

To squash these feelings before they happen (and sometimes talking is enough prevention), It's important to schedule time with a postpartum doula.

The benefits to scheduling time to process your birth

  • Resolves feelings of inadequacies and failure

  • Let's you be heard and not judged

  • Allows you to gain valuable insight into ways/options you can heal (rebirth, skin to skin, etc)

  • Could potentially free you of negative feelings attached to delivery

What that time looks like varies from client to client. To learn more, give the Modern Doula a call.

new mom and baby

Calming an Upset Baby

Dr. Karp was onto something when he came up with the 5 S’s. For those of you that don’t know Dr. Karp or the tactics he uses to calm babies, you might want to read or watch, “Happiest Baby on the Block.” Here’s the summary: When baby is upset, try the 5 S's.

The 5 S’s

This baby is swaddled, swung, shh-ed, and on her side. All she’s missing is a pacifier. She was instantly calmed.

This baby is swaddled, swung, shh-ed, and on her side. All she’s missing is a pacifier. She was instantly calmed.

  • Swaddle- Help baby feel hugged, warm, and safe by swaddling them up.

  • Side- Hold baby on their side to help prevent arm flailing.

  • Swing (or any rhythmic movement will work)-If baby is very upset, you’ll want to swing them more vigorously until they’re able to calm down a bit, then continue a moderate, calming swing back and forth. Baby was moving inside a body for a long time. They crave this motion.

  • Suck- Babies are born wanting to suck. You can nurse baby or pop in a pacifier (research says nipple confusion isn’t as common as people say).

  • Shhhhh- It is LOUD inside mom’s body—blood is moving, a heart is beating, food is digesting, there's mysterious popping and gurgling. Babies are used to this orchestra. White noise, of any kind (and you’ll learn quickly what baby prefers—vacuum or washing machine) helps settle baby.

Of course it’s important to make sure that baby isn’t crying because he or she is hungry, has a wet diaper, or is overly tired. In those instances, it’s important to meet baby’s immediate needs.


Sometimes those 5 S’s don’t work on their own.

Think about being inside a body for 9 or 10 months and then suddenly being cast out into a bright and loud world. It’s startling, scary, and newborns need some extra love to settle after being worked up in a big way. When the 5 S’s don’t work, what can you do?

Magical Hold - I can’t even explain what’s happening here. It’s genius. Just watch below.

fussy baby hold

Fussy Baby Hold- This is what it looks like to your left. A little pressure on baby’s belly helps, in addition to them feeling like they’re suspended once again in mom’s womb.

Go Outside- A change in scenery does wonders. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or hot (though cold weather is preferred, we can’t control nature)—taking baby outside resets them.

It does take some time to learn what comfort measures newborns prefer. When one tactic doesn’t work, try another.

Additionally, newborns change every single day. What works one day, might not work the next.

If the crying ever becomes too much—set baby down somewhere safe—and step away for a few moments to breathe. Try again. The newborn stage doesn’t last forever, and though it’s difficult now, it does get easier.

Exclusive Pumpers, this one's for you


Get comfortable— for the next few blog posts, I want to focus on infant feeding.

Before a baby is born, we have the best intentions to breastfeed. It's biologically normal and most people are able to learn how to do it with the right help. But it's not that simple.

There are two parties involved when it comes to breastfeeding, parent and baby. And while we get to know our baby from the inside of our bodies for roughly nine/ten months, we don't know in advanced what challenges might await until baby latches…or doesn't.

No parent, after a baby is born and says, “I can't wait to hook my boobs up to a machine to pull the milk out,” but for some of us, that's what we have to do.

From lip ties to tongue ties to returning to work, many mothers have to contend with electric and manual pumps.

I, myself, have been manually pumping for going on ten months! That's right. My hands are SO strong now (and uh…arthritic). Below is one mother's very difficult journey into Exclusively Pumping. What. A. Badass.


Exclusively Pumping; Exclusively out of Desperation

I planned to breastfeed throughout my pregnancy. I got a pump through my insurance company but I planned to nurse my baby exclusively when I wasn’t working. I was looking forward to the bonding experience and selfishly, I was looking forward to being able to say, “Hey look! Not only did I birth that but I can feed him, too! How amazing am I?” 

Then he was born. He latched right away (or so I thought). But a few hours later he was screaming. Lactation consultants were there to help and assured me we would figure it out. “Just keep trying,” they said. I hooked up to a breast pump for the first time 15 hours after giving birth. “It will help your milk come in,” they said. 

I sat in that hospital bed and pumped for the first time watching my husband bond with and feed my child with (gasp!) formula. 15 hours and I had already failed.

My milk came in and things were looking up, but he still didn’t consistently latch. He cried. I cried. Day after day. After a couple weeks and little weight gain I packed us up and we went to see a lactation consultant at the hospital. Diagnosis: lip tie + tongue tie. We had the tongue tie snipped, but he and I just couldn’t figure out the whole breastfeeding thing. 

My baby was hungry and losing weight. I actually had an oversupply of milk so I made the only decision that made sense – become an EP. Exclusive Pumper. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. My postpartum mind made me resentful. I resented my baby for not being able to latch. What kind of mother resents their baby? So I resented myself for that. I made my husband do every bottle feed and I pumped for the duration of the feed. I told myself that it was to keep a regimented schedule and maintain supply but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to hold a bottle for my baby. So I resented my husband while he fed and bonded with my baby. These were dark times. It was months before my postpartum mind cleared enough for me to be able to forgive myself and feed my own baby with a bottle.

I returned to work and fell into a 4-pumps-a-day routine: 5am, 10am, 3pm, 8pm. I followed this strict schedule every day for 18 months – weekends, holidays, and vacations included.

There were moments I was positive my machine was shouting expletives at me with its rhythmic pulsing. “Fuck you, too,” I’d whisper back.

Please be assured that I don’t hate myself or resent my baby anymore. if you’re feeling similarly to how I felt, please get help. 

EPing is hard but it’s doable under the right circumstances.

A few things in my favor:

  1. A devoted partner. He’s seriously the real MVP

  2. I responded well to a pump.

  3. A respectful, accommodating, & understanding workplace.

  4. An office with a door/pumping room

Places I’ve pumped:

  1. Home

  2. Others’ homes

  3. Work

  4. Parked cars

  5. Moving cars

  6. Bathrooms

  7. Parks 

  8. Retail center parking lots 


First of all, thank you Brittany for your honesty and willingness to share. There are more dedicated moms like Brittany out there, silently fighting the good fight with their pumps. Secondly, it is important to get help, as a new parent, when we feel like the postpartum blues continue—like maybe what we are experiencing is more than a fog. I’m glad Brittany mentioned this. Mood disorders are more common than we think. People just aren’t reporting them! Please, get help. It’s hard enough to juggle expectations with reality. You shouldn’t have to also battle yourself .