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Austin, Texas
USA

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

You Are More Than A Vessel

Austin Born

We're so excited to be partnering with the team behind “More Than A Vessel”!

“More Than A Vessel” is a documentary exposing the silent truth on how pregnancy and postpartum medical practices in the United States are failing women. Women are coming away from their birth and postpartum experience traumatized, injured and overwhelmed. In the U.S. we put so much emphasis on the baby we forget about the mom, but she is more than a baby vessel.

To be considered for the documentary, email Kate at kateaososa@gmail.com.

https://www.morethanavessel.com/

“There is a general attitude of ‘Your experience doesn’t matter, all that matters is a healthy baby.”
— REBECCA SCHILLER

Take Care: 2 Self-Care Things to do NOW

Austin Born

via Annie Spratt

via Annie Spratt

Self-care.

Yes, you’re probably sick of seeing the term, but we’re going to talk about it again. If this topic wasn’t such a big deal then we wouldn’t be hearing it from every end of the earth right now. But it is a big deal — an important conversation because we (parents, specifically mothers) are exhausted, overworked, overstressed, and the last ones on the official “List of Shit To Do” to get any attention. So yeah, we’re going to chat about it today.

We know this topic runs much deeper than simply breathing deep and taking a hot bath. #truthbomb: we’re not set up to succeed as healthy-functioning new parents, which means that we carry the trauma and stress of procreating well beyond the fourth trimester. Parental leave in the first year postpartum is insufficient on a global level and the U.S. STILL falls embarrassingly low on the charts of industrialized countries who have paid leave policies in place. (“The US is the only high-income country in the world that doesn’t offer even a single day of maternity leave.” — Anna Gromada, UNICEF Office of Research)

So, yeah, there’s work to be done on that front, which will take time to implement. In the meantime, what can we do to lessen the blow, improve our health (and probably our lifespan), and help to ensure that we’re passing on some good old happy genes to future generations? Let’s have a look.

  1. Get off social media. (Going to sit here quietly while that sets in.) Look, it’s time consuming, toxic, and breeds insecurity. We spend too much time staring and scrolling and judging. It’s hard to ignore research that shows a correlation between social media use and increases in mental health conditions. At the very least, set boundaries and time limits. Unfollow accounts and pages that don’t enhance your life in some awesome ways. You won’t miss them!

  2. Talk to your people IRL. It would seem like we’re more connected to other humans right now (see #1 re: social media), but many of us are living in isolated bubbles trying to do this whole life and parenting thing on our own. Call your tribe, schedule face-to-face time, have a playdate where ya sit around and talk about the figurative mess of life while the babies and kiddos make happy literal messes. You need your people just as much as they need you. Don’t forget that.

*Bonus! We’re throwing in a few more things in case your self-care is in need of the quiet, reflective, zone out type of vibe. Here’s what we recommend:

this journal, because not giving a shit might be what you need

Honey Talks podcast

rose water spray: mist. breathe. repeat.

the calm app for meditation and sleep (good for kiddos, too!)

We’re off to take some of our own advice here. What are you favorite quick and easy self-care tips?


This post includes links in which AustinBorn may earn a small commission on the good purchased.

How to Travel with Kids + Keep Your Sanity

Austin Born

Vidar Northli-Mathisen

Vidar Northli-Mathisen

Summer is here and we know many parents are gearing up (literally) to travel. Adventuring with babies and kids seems daunting -- especially if it's your first go at this -- but we have a few tips and tricks to help make your journey as smooth as possible.

It might sound ridiculous, but when traveling with little ones less is actually more. We prefer to take the minimalist approach when planning and packing for a family trip and here's why: Despite what society tells us about stuff, we typically don't need as much as we think even with a baby in tow. Are there essentials that we should plan to have more of in the event of an emergency (e.g. major diaper blowout.)? Absolutely. Does that mean we need 16 onesies in the diaper bag just in case. Nope.

10 Things to Plan For and Bring During Family Travels:

  1. Always inquire about family discounts when traveling. Does the airline offer a discount for a child’s fare? Does the hotel waive fees or offer any free amenities for families? You often have to call to get information on these, but it’s SO worth it.

  2. Check to see if your destination has companies who rent gear for traveling families.* This was amazing when we traveled to Hawaii with our 9-month-old. We were able to rent a jog stroller, beach toys, and a pack’n play for our stay and we didn’t have to haul anything. They dropped it off to our hotel and picked it up the day we were leaving.

  3. Phone a friend. If you’re traveling somewhere to visit friends and family, you best reach out to them ahead of time to see who has items you can borrow. Call on your people to lend a hand with things that can make your stay more comfortable and satisfying.

  4. Need childcare during your stay? There are amazing companies who now provide babysitting and nanny services when you travel!** If you’re traveling domestically in the US, our favorite is College Nannies + Sitters. (We had a work event planned in another part of the state and a professional and qualified sitter was able to come to our AirBnb to watch our son.)

  5. Sanitizing is KEY! Keep wipes handy so you can do a quick wipe down before the kids lick everything. Do not be afraid to be that person on the airplane cleaning every inch of your family’s seat area. (It could actually mean the difference between you being stuck with a sick kid in the hotel room or out enjoying a margarita with dinner. Think about it.)

  6. Diaper stash essentials: extra diapers, 1 pack of wipes, hand sanitizer, diaper creams as needed. This changing pad is a life-saver when traveling because it keeps baby hands away from all the nasties. Don’t overpack these things. You’ll most likely be able to stock up on when you arrive at your destination.

  7. Extra clothes for you and baby and a wet/dry bag to hold any messes. When flying, we always take 1 extra shirt for ourselves (and, TBH, a pair of undies just in case) and 4 extra pieces for baby. We find footed pjs to be the best option here. Babe stays warm and is less exposed. Pro tip: If you roll the clothes, they don't take up as much space in your bag.

  8. A soft structured carrier. Our favorite is the Ergo 360. It works with children of different ages and sizes so it goes and grows with you. Take a carrier regardless of how short or long your travel may be. If you’ll be in and out of multiples airlines for a long period of time, then we recommend a lightweight stroller as well. Your back will thank you.

  9. Distractions. There’s really no gentle way to say this. Whether you’re traveling with an infant or an 8-year-old, you’re going to need distractions. We recommend a mix of things your babe is used to and some new surprises that you’ll introduce along the way. Think small, light, and multi-function. (Take a look at our list linked below for some ideas.)

  10. Self-care items for you. Rescue Remedy, rose water facial mist, and The Calm App. Calm has guided meditations, sleep stories for adults and kids, and soothing sounds. It’s great for those stressful travel hours and can help if you or your little one are having a hard time sleeping in an unfamiliar place.

We’ve compiled a list of products that can make family travel a little bit smoother. Click below to browse!

*Always check for recalls on products before renting.

**We recommend ensuring that any company you work with does thorough background checks and trainings for all of the care providers.


This post includes links in which AustinBorn may earn a small commission on the goods purchased.

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.