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5555 N. Lamar Blvd, Suite L-121
Austin, TX

512-222-5655

AustinBorn is a modern parenting center in Austin, TX offering classes and services in an inclusive atmosphere. We offer birth + postpartum doula care, group prenatal classes, childbirth education, loss support, postpartum support groups, breastfeeding support group, lactation counseling, breastfeeding education and special workshops. Come say hello and check out our cozy space. We can't wait to meet you!

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Filtering by Category: Wellness

Ask the Doula: Yazmin

Austin Born

Every week we're going to be learning more about one of our badass doulas at AustinBorn. This week we're talking to Yazmin Costopolous, aka Yaz. For those of you who know this sweet lady, you already know that she is a dear friend, a grounded soul, and she carries with her a wisdom most definitely from another life. She's our rock start facilitator of The Circle and teaches yoga, when not spending time with her beloved husband and daughter. 

Everyone, meet Yazmin.

AustinBorn Doula

What color represents you best?

Burgandy/Teal

What do you do in your free time?

I have a 9 month old baby, so... free time? um... what is this thing that you are talking about? (prebaby my answer would've been: Yoga, making playlists on Spotify, book & tea combo, listening to vinyls with my husband)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

LOVE this question! A writer of the likes of John Berger or Patti Smith. A singer with a voice like Lila Downs or Joss Stone. A dancer. A globe trotter. But really, I just want to walk this Earth with a clear heart and a grounded presence.

Tell us about your last job. How has it influenced your work as a doula?

I was a faculty member for a university in Mexico City. I had the opportunity to work alongside different indigenous peoples, from whom I learned about the importance of community and the value of deep connection. These two aspects are key for me as a birth worker.

How do you describe the role of a doula?

Doulas are there to have your back, without agendas or expectations other than your own. We are knowledgeable, intuitive birth workers who are there to offer support and tools for you and your family to navigate your birthing/parenthood journey in a way that honors your specific needs and desires.

If you had 5 minutes to teach a new skill to a birth client what would it be? 

One of my favorite birth mantras: Let it be big. Be open to the unraveling of the journey and the increasing intensity. If only I could teach others (starting with myself) not to resist the resistance, but rather welcome it in 5 minutes. If only...

The door to the room you're in right now opens. Who do you want to walk through it? 

My husband and my daughter.

What do you think about on your way to a birth? 

I chant. Most of times it's my favorite mantra, some others I just sing the hell out of whatever song will make me feel grounded and spacious. This helps me release any anxious energy, release any expectations, and helps me tune in to pick up on whatever is best needed of me.

What's one of your favorite tips to give to postpartum parents? 

Nobody knows your baby like you do. Nobody knows you like you do. Do what you feel you need to do to take care of yourself and your baby. Be gentle with yourself and your people. Everybody's trying their best. And yes, it's important to acknowledge how incredibly challenging this beautiful task of motherhood is.

Your favorite song comes on right now. What is it?

Landslide, Tori Amos version and Antes de que nos olviden by Caifanes

5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Season

Austin Born

We're in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade. #thanks2017 And even as the temps are slowly increasing in TX, we are not out of the woods yet.  February is the peak month for flu activity.

There is increased risk of getting the flu while pregnant because the immune system is not as effective at fighting off infections. So if you're not willing to lock yourself inside for the next two months, what are your options for boosting immunity and staying safe? (Hint: It's not rocket science.)

1. WASH YOUR HANDS. We're going to put that one in CAPS because it deserves some extra oomph. Just in case you need a reminder of the process, here is Jimmy Kimmel getting a tutorial on proper hand washing:

2. Stay Hydrated. We know you're already being extra vigilant about your water intake during pregnancy, so keep it up during this flu season. It's helpful to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, filling it up as it reaches the bottom. Don't let it sit empty! If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to have a glass of water every hour throughout the day. 

3. Rest Up. You need more sleep when your body is growing a baby, so don't let a lack of it put you at risk for getting sick. If your day doesn't allow for a quick nap, then make it a priority to get to bed early every night. Put down the phone, take a bath, and crawl into the sheets with plenty of time to score a solid 8-hours of dreamy sleep for you and baby.

4. Take Your Vitamins. There's a reason your care provider asks about your vitamin intake at every appointment. They're vital in boosting your immunity during pregnancy! Take those prenatal vitamins and also consider adding in Vitamins C & D*, as well as a probiotic for good gut health.

5. Get Those Nutrients. Yes, you are what you eat. A diet filled with fresh nutrient-dense foods will help to ensure optimal health for you and your growing baby. Did you see our post about a delicious soup recipe for this season? (It's even better and healthier with homemade bone broth!)

What other tips do you have to share for flu prevention in pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!


*Always refer to your care provider for appropriate dosage of all supplements and medications. 

 

On Birth, Death, Loss and Healing

Austin Born

Usually what we do at AustinBorn is all about preparing for and coping with the joy of parenthood--of bringing a new little person into the world and finding our way along the journey of loving and caring for a baby. But, sometimes, our support of new parents looks different.

One year ago one of our doulas went to the funeral of an Austin Born client whom she had supported in giving birth. This mother had been a delightful combination of fierce warrior mama and tender-hearted girl. She brought her beloved teddy bear to the hospital to cuddle in labor, and then pushed her baby out without an epidural in front of a gaggle of nursing students who had never seen anything so beautiful and raw. Several months later, she died suddenly and unexpectedly. The doula sat in the pew, looked at her baby sitting in her uncle's lap, and cried her heart out.

A few months ago, another of our doulas attended the birth of a sweet little baby girl whom we knew had some significant health problems. Unfortunately, as time passed, it became clear that there were no adequate treatments for her.  She lived for one month before her parents sang her to sleep, tucked in with her Princess Leia doll and lamby lovey. The mother told us that day by day, week by week, she had held out hope that her baby could somehow thrive. She also said that her own physical recovery from birth had been very easy, with her body quickly returning to its pre-pregnancy state, and in the days following her baby's death, she found herself wondering, "Did I really have a baby?" Sometimes she goes into her baby's nursery to remind herself that her baby existed, that it all really happened. The Austin Born doula team attended her funeral, weeping with and for this beautiful family. 

And then just a couple of weeks ago, one of our families at full term called our Labor Line (the phone number we ask our parents to call when they are in labor) with the surprising and unbearably sad news that they had noticed less movement from their baby and had gone into the hospital to be checked, only to find that their baby's heartbeat could no longer be found. They immediately began the process of inducing labor. One of our doulas went to them the next morning and stayed with them throughout the day as they labored to bring their baby into the world. Each of our team of doulas visited them that day, bringing gifts and encouragement, hugs and tears to this new mom and dad who were in a much different kind of labor than they had ever expected. It was a little like sitting shiva--each of us in turn coming to sit with them in their mourning. Once their baby was born, their doula was honored to take photos and to have a turn holding their sweet little boy.

We are so honored to be able to cross over from supporting families in birth to supporting them in death. But this is some of the heaviest work we ever do.

As doulas and as friends, and as women who have experienced infertility and loss ourselves, we wanted to be able to offer some way to help these families and many more like them in our community on their journey of healing. So we dreamed up a ceremony, a time of sharing and ritual and support for families who have experienced loss. And so The Healing Group: Ceremony for Loss was born. It is an evening of nonjudgmental support, processing and ritual surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss and is appropriate for any parent who has lost a pregnancy or infant, no matter how recent or long ago the loss or whether the loss was spontaneous or elective. The loss of a pregnancy, whether early or late, spontaneous or elective, can bring on a wave of intense and overwhelming emotions. We want anyone who has experience such a loss to know that you are not alone. The Healing Group: Ceremony for Loss will be offered on the 1st Sunday evening every April, August and December of each year. Please join us, and/or extend the invitation to those you know in and around Austin who might find comfort in this kind of ceremony.

Rest in peace, Lisa, Chloe, Corsin, and the many others whose lives, no matter how brief, are cherished so deeply. You and your families are loved, and remembered.

 

Parts of this post were originally published on www.revdoula.com.

Helping People Help You: Top Tips for Getting All Hands on Deck

Austin Born

Helping People Help You: Top Tips for Getting All Hands on Deck

We're going to go ahead and guess that if you've hung around the Austin Born office for any amount of time, you know we're pretty big on getting down to real talk, real quick. We'll also go ahead and guess that you knew having a baby would be transformational, amazing, the hardest thing you've ever done and the best thing you've ever done all at the same time. And that's true (so true!) but what you may not have realized is just how much your home-front would change in the first couple months with a new baby. 

First, guys. THE LAUNDRY. So much laundry. How does such a teeny, tiny human being make such a mess you ask? Well, we're still a bit baffled ourselves but it does have something to do with blowout diapers and spit-up. 

Then there's all the other things like dishes, vacuuming and meal prep (what meal prep?!). It might sound crazy that these normally simple tasks can seem overwhelming but when your body is physically healing from birth and you and your partner are both waking throughout the day and night to tend to your little one, trust us, every spare moment you have goes toward: feeding yourself, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth or hair (usually not both), showering and sleep. The good news is: it does get easier. But in those early weeks, please take our advice and put your steady stream of well-meaning visitors to work for you! 99% of people want to be helpful they're just not sure how so below are our tips for easy ways to communicate your needs and get all hands on deck:

IMPLEMENT THE "FIRST TO SERVE, FIRST TO HOLD" RULE:

Everyone wants to hold your baby. Every.One. Which really is the sweetest thing ever. But! To make sure you're not up sweeping the kitchen while Aunt Mildred cuddles little Boo, put up a sign that reads something along these lines: "Thank you so much for visiting us! We can't wait to share our little Boo with you! Before holding the baby, please check off a chore from the list" and follow that with a list of simple tasks such as: sweeping/vacuuming, loading/unloading dishwasher, wiping kitchen counters, making a snack for mom & dad, rotating/folding laundry, taking out garbage/recycling, feed dog, etc.

CREATE A "TAKING CARE OF OUR FAMILY" BINDER

This is one of our very, very favorite tips of all time ever and is especially handy for longer-term visitors like parents and siblings. Make a binder or folder that's kept somewhere highly visible (near front door or next to refrigerator are usually good spots) and in it, put all the good info people need to help you in all areas:

  • maps to The Big 3 (Target, grocery store, pharmacy) 
  • some of your favorite recipes (bonus if you include the grocery shopping lists)
  • list of pantry staples (especially important if you have a particular detergent you use, milk you drink, etc.)
  • important contact information (pediatrician, ob/gyn or midwife, etc.)
  • a few favorite take-out and delivery places
  • what day your garbage and recycling is collected

LABEL YOUR KITCHEN

Sounds a little nutty but if you can stand it visually, place either labels or sticky notes around your kitchen so it's clearly shown where everything "lives." That way visitors can, say, make you dinner without having to constantly ask you, "where do you keep the...?" or feel like they're being invasive in your space. 

Let us know how these tips work for you and anything you'd add to the list! 

3 Tips for Making Meals Easy After Baby Arrives

Austin Born

We imagine you've heard PLENTY about how life changes after the arrival of a baby. Disrupted sleep, crying fits, overwhelming frustration, plus love and joy like you've never known before. Self-care can be the biggest hurdle for parents and you may (or may not) be surprised at how quickly healthy eating goes out the window. 

We know how it is-- you can barely find time to take a shower and somehow your kitchen is supposed to magically become an episode of Top Chef?! Puh-lease. 

But your own wellness is SO important in order for you to take good care of your baby. Filling our body with nutritious food gives the fuel parenting demands. Good news is, there are plenty of hacks to help you conquer mealtime and below are 3 of our top tips.

1. Prep Freezer Meals:

This is maybe the easiest thing you can do because it can be accomplished in the weeks leading up to baby's arrival. Not sure what keeps well? These posts below have got you covered:

2. Try Out a Meal Plan Subscription:

Perhaps the biggest struggle on the road to healthy home cooking is the time & energy it takes to plan meals, research recipes and put together a grocery list (by the way, we're pretty sure this is true for just about everyone, parent or not!). Fortunately, there are some wonderful online subscription services that take all of those troubles out of the equation:

3. Go For Healthy Delivery

When home cooking just isn't going to happen, there are a couple options to pick-up healthy, ready made meals *or* even have all the prepped ingredients with recipe delivered to your house:

What helped you stay well-fed after baby arrived?