Happy Thanksgiving:

Start Your Thankfulness Journal!!!!!

As you start your preparations for Thanksgiving think about all the things for which you have to be thankful!  There are huge things:  Your family, your home, your dear friends, a cupboard full of food, etc., etc., etc.  Then there are the smaller things, clothing you like, a grocery store clerk that always says “Hi” with a smile, gas in the car, and on and on.

Keep a pad of paper on the counter in the kitchen.  As the things you are thankful for surface quickly write them down.  Just a word or two can suffice:  hot coffee, warm slippers, baby woke up very happy……  You will be amazed at how your outlook on life changes!

Taking a minute to write down the things you appreciate focuses your thoughts on the positive.  It helps you overcome the difficult things we all face.  It sets your heart and mind on good things.  There is a verse in the Bible, Philippians 4:8 encouraging these thoughts.        Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

The next month can be a time of great stress, unfulfilled expectations, and over commitment.  Start now to put yourself in a good place psychologically.  Head off disappointments for you and others by planning ahead.  Talk with your spouse and family about how to help sidestep potential landmines.  Think about the many good things in your life.  This will bless you and set you up for success no matter what lies ahead!

Planning Ahead for a Happy Holiday in Your Home

As you look ahead to the holidays plan activities you believe to be the most important.  Do you prefer quite celebrations with your family?  Parties with many friends?  Do you want to invite new friends to your dinner table?  Is it times of giving and serving to help your children see the value of giving to those less fortunate than themselves?  You have a month and a half before New Years.  Make it count for what is truly important to you.

Below find some “prepare ahead of time” Christmas or Hanukkah gifts for your family.  These gifts are organized around photos and other keepsakes from baby.  They are a precious reminder of how small baby is and what baby looks like this holiday.

Hand or foot modeled patterns of baby this year:

Pearhead Babyprints Ornament By White

$9.99 nearby·In stock


These can also be found at Zulily and Amazon.com


Photo Ornaments:

Purchasable online or at most stores selling ornaments.  Put a photo of baby’s first Christmas in, be sure to put the date in the photo.  A lifetime keepsake of baby as a baby!

Currently Michael’s has their $6 photo ornaments on sale for $4.  It you find one of their great coupons you might even find them for less!

(I always look for these items at the after Christmas sales!!!  They are usually half price!)



Personalized Gold Plated Bell Ornaments

Engraved Silver, Gold, or Rose Colored Bells with baby’s name and birth year


This is a wonderful tradition for you to begin right now.   Organize a card having photos or you and your immediate family.  There are cards available on line having several windows to fill.  Be sure you and daddy are in there.  It will be so much fun for you all to look back and see what each of you looked like on baby’s first holiday.  make sure the card has a place to enter your family name and the year.  Costco has cards for as little as $.25 each including foil lined envelopes!  Shutterfly, and many of the online ordering houses have cards to be printed.
Save one each year in a note book or specially printed book for this purpose.  It is amazing to see how fast baby grows, what you look like, hoe hairstyles and clothing changes.  Baby could literally be looking at this when he is a grandfather!!!  You will not be sorry you took the time to share the holiday with friends and saved your gift to them!
I have seen families who display the cards they made each year on ribbon for all to see.  It is an incredible way to remember your lives together!!!

There are so many fun ways to remember baby’s first Christmas.  Please forward any you know of that are not mentioned.  I would love to share them with everyone!!!

Happy Planning,  JUDY

Breaking News!!! Daddy’s Go Through Hormonal Changes When Their Babies Are Born!!!

As a professional doula there are a myriad of issues affecting the clients crossing my path. The physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, motherhood, breast feeding, and more are monumental and definitely life changing.  I am continually amazed at the amount of information there is surrounding these precious people we call babies.

In an effort to keep clients and friends abreast of the cutting edge research and ideas I maintain a website, blog and informational site on Facebook.  New material pops up daily for these sites.  There is always something interesting to share and research.

My clients are equally as interesting.  Every baby, mommy, daddy and family brings something new to my practice.  This work is never boring!!!

As doulas, we are critically aware of the changes the families with whom we work experience.  Mommies go through pregnancy aware of many fluctuations in their bodies.  Then comes birth;  An amazing and eventful transition to a new life!  Not only the delivery of a new little person, but the change from being responsible for just you to being the main source of everything for your child. We study hormones, emotions, expectations and more.  Being that the majority of us have gone through the process ourselves we bring our own experiences and skills to bear.

There are books to read, studies to review, and ideas to be shared.  The process is exhilarating!  No one could ever learn it all!  No matter how many years you have doulaed (my word) there is always something new to seek out and understand.

Recently I began to ask questions about the physical changes men go through at the time they become fathers. Men make the transition from man to daddy when their children enter the world.  This presents differently in each situation, and it is massive.  There are a million and one decisions to be made.  Sleepless nights are ahead as well as an overwhelming desire to protect this little person.  There is an understanding that things will never be as they were.  Mommy will need special care as she recovers from the process of pregnancy and delivery.  She will make the same transition from woman to primary caregiver and nurturer for baby.  There will be others around contributing their two cents to the process. The transition from man to daddy is one of the greatest passages is life!  How can I, as a doula, bring clarity and understanding?

The New York Times recently published an article discussing the massive drop of the male hormone Testosterone in new fathers.


In a pioneering five-year study published in 2011, for instance, Dr. Lee Gettler, Ph.D., an American anthropologist, followed a group of 624 single, childless men in the Philippines from age 21 to 26. Dr. Gettler found that while all men in the study experienced normal, age-related dips in testosterone, the 465 men who became dads during that five-year period experienced a more significant drop — an average 34 percent (when measured at night) — than those who remained single or married.



Studies in animals and people show that new fathers experience an increase in the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids, according to a recent review of studies by psychologist Elizabeth Gould and colleagues from Princeton University.

Contact with the mother and children seem to induce the hormonal changes in dads, the researchers said.  In humans, dads who show more affection toward their children also tend to have higher levels of oxytocin.

Oxytocin is one of the hormones released when mothers breastfeed.  It encourages bonding and affection.  Amazing that biologically men experience the same things!

Dads are sensitive to their children’s voices 

Although it is generally thought that a “maternal instinct” makes moms incredibly good at picking out their baby’s unique cry, a recent study suggests that dads were just as good as moms.  To compare parents’ performance in baby-cry detection, researchers asked 27 fathers and 29 mothers to pick out their babies’ cries, from among the cries of five infants. On average, parents were able to detect their babies’ cries about 90 percent of the time, and men did just as well as women.

These are just a few of the many topics researched as science opens to the idea that men experience physical changes at the advent of parenthood.  This is very interesting material……………..


To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate ……That is the Question

Currently in the US vaccinations are the way to go.  The medical doctors with whom I have discussed this are consistently in agreement.  You run a far greater opportunity for death or long term injury to your children if you do not vaccinate them.

Due to the decades of vaccinating against the diseases prevalent when our parents were young, those ailments have been all but irradiated in the US.  When is the last time you heard of an infant dying of Small Pox or being permanently disfigured by Polio?  Those illnesses are unheard of here.  Because of this, parents could get away with not vaccinating their children.  The recent influx of undocumented foreign nationals has changed all that.  Those who come from countries where medical care is sketchy have reintroduced the old time killers into our system.  Now, the only fail safe way of protecting your children is to be sure they have their own immunities to those diseases.

This has been a controversial topic due to supposed research linking vaccinations with Autism.  I encourage you to investigate this topic on your own.  The defining study in this area is severely lacking in both scientific data and breadth of control group.  If you really follow the diagnostic trail you will see there is not much behind the accusations that vaccinations cause Autism.

New Topic:  With the introduction of the internet came more information than any one person can absorb.  I encourage new parents to stay away from it.  Half the authors support one line of reasoning the other the opposite.  Coming to your own conclusion is overwhelming.  Learning every possible negative outcome paralyzes the decision process.  Talk with those in your frame of reference.  Ask the moms, pediatricians, grandmas, friends you respect.  What do they think about your particular question.  Better yet, what was their experience in raising their kids?  How did they deal with what ever question is at hand?  First hand experience in parenting is a wonderful teacher.

More to come…………..    JUDY