Nicole is a registered nurse, birth doula and certified lactation consultant. She created the Village Maternity Services community as a means of supporting women from pregnancy through childbirth and infancy
We wanted to interview Nicole, because we know that more and more women seek holistic ways to manage pregnancy and delivery. Not only that, but Nicole has built a business and manage to keep to her holistic practices (in a society that asks for so much “quick and convenient” methods)
Nicole Interview Questions:
As a mom and career woman, in and out of the home, does balance truly exist?
Ironically, I get asked this question during every interview. I think all of us are searching for balance and hoping someone has found it so they can give us the secret sauce. If balance exist, I haven’t found it! Not in the day-to-day way most people conceptualize it. My schedule is very odd, as I work twelve-hour night shifts as a registered nurse. I sleep during the day when most people are up, and on my off days I’m trying to recoup and keep it all together. I’ve found a resemblance of balance through scheduling. No matter what’s going on or who’s requesting my time, I make sure I do not allow two weeks to pass without scheduling alone time for myself and fun time for my son. I’ve learned to tell people no, and I no longer feel guilty about taking time to decompress. So this week may appear very unbalance because I’ll be working three nights straight. but then I have 5 days off and I definitely have some fun stuff on the calendar. Right now, this works for me. When it no longer works, I’ll change it. But I think it’s important when we think about finding balance, to not compare our lives and situation with others. I think it’s extremely important to find what feels right to you.
Top 3 strategies to make breast feeding easier?
I recommend every new breastfeeding mom to take a class or join a support group such as La Leche League if they want to exclusively breastfeed. This is so important because most moms aren’t prepared for the demand of exclusively breastfeeding and this is the most difficult part; especially if you don’t have a go with the flow type of personality. Hand in hand with that first tip is hire help. Seriously. Most moms that want to exclusively breastfeed don’t make it past two weeks. I’ve seen lots of moms give up by night two. You need someone by your side that is knowledgeable and supportive. Someone like a lactation specialist or better yet a doula that can help with not only breastfeeding tips, but can do small things such as swaddle and change diapers so you can rest. Lastly, relax and go with the flow. You don’t need to keep track of exactly when your baby started breastfeeding, the exact time they stopped, and every single pee and poop. That’s too stressful. Is your baby waking up to eat frequently between 8-12 times per day? Are they peeing and popping, and are they active? These are easier measuring tools that trying to make sure your baby is eating fifteen minutes on each breast. Which by the way, isn’t true to real life.
As a nursing professional, what is the greatest piece of advice you can give to any new mom?
I’m the biggest “girl power” “lean in” “superwoman” fan, but not right after giving birth. I’m really an advocate for new moms taking time to transition into motherhood. When we look at other countries and cultures, the postpartum period is almost reverend. Women having paid maternity leave so they can stay home and they experience so much more support outside of the United States. But I find in our country, women are expected to jump right back in and continue business as usual. If you don’t have to do this, please take time to bond with your baby and this new family that was just created. In addition to the demands that new motherhood places on women, there are so many hormonal, physiological, and psychological changes happening. You’re not quite the same right away, or ever. Honor that. Honor how you feel and take some time away from business and work to adjust. If you can hire some help; any help; do it without skipping a beat.
What is the best life hack for dealing with multiple children at once?
Older siblings are great helpers; even if they’re only 1-2 years older. So they don’t feel excluded, ask for their helping hand. These little helpers feel like super heroes even if they’re just holding a bottle. Also, be patient with them and let them do it their way. As long as no one is in danger, relax and enjoy the support. In addition to that, developing a routine helps tremendously. Children feel more secure when there’s a sense of knowing what’s coming next.
What is the one thing you wish you had during your pregnancy, and how would it have helped you?
I wish I had access to more options. Ironically this is the reason I started The Village Maternity Services. I really wanted the ability to attempt an unmedicated birth at a birth center. There was only one available and it was not close to where I lived. At the time, I wasn’t comfortable with a home birth. I would totally attempt a home birth, now though. Either way, being a healthy 27-year-old, with a low risk pregnancy, I couldn’t understand why I lived in this amazing city, with access to just about everything else, except a variety of birth options. Midwives don’t work in our hospitals and doulas aren’t really welcome. I think if I had access to these options, and I was able to give birth in an environment that was not a cookie-cutter, medically driven model, I would have been better equipped to exclusively breastfeed. Very few hospitals in the United States have been granted the baby-friendly seal of approval thus interfering with the natural bonding process that should happen right after birth which support breastfeeding. I think there are many moms such as myself, that just want more options. This isn’t to say everything will go exactly as planned, but at least give me the right to choose and try.
We encourage you to read more here: http://www.villagematernityservices.com/