Gold Coast Doulas Registered Trademark

Author name: Kristin Revere

Kristin Revere is the owner and founder of Gold Coast Doulas. She started her career as a childbirth educator in 2013 and soon after certified as a birth doula. Kristin is a certified elite postpartum doula and a certified newborn care specialist. She co-hosts the Ask the Doula Podcast and co-created the Becoming A Mother course.

Finding Your Footing in Early Parenthood

Deb Porter, Owner of HOLD Hearing Out Life Drama, helps individuals improve their communication by teaching active listening skills resulting in positive outcomes. Deb also provides a safe, non-judgmental space so that those who use HOLD’s confidential listening service gain clarity and find relief from overwhelming situations.

When Reality Doesn’t Match Expectations:

You’ve dreamed of it for months now, and suddenly your baby is in your arms. You expected coos, and a peacefully sleeping baby nestled close. Instead, you are experiencing being peed on, frequent crying, vomit all over, and deeper exhaustion than you have ever experienced before. You really want someone to understand what you’re feeling, only everyone is so busy fussing over the baby, they don’t seem to hear you. Questions begin to spin, “How can I take care of this human when I can’t even eat or shower myself?”

It’s normal to question yourself, and your capabilities. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a sign of how much you care about this little person, and how much you want to do right by them. By caring, you can know that you will get through the doubts and dilemmas. While in the moment, the challenges may seem daunting, even impossible, the essentials will get done. You will get through this.

Challenges of Parenthood:

As the joy of holding your baby in your arms becomes a reality, you might find yourself facing unexpected challenges. When you’re faced with bone-deep exhaustion, the basic needs can seem monumental. In these overwhelming moments, it’s crucial to remember that meeting your own needs directly impacts your ability to care for your child effectively.

When you are sleep-deprived, physically drained, and emotionally depleted, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide the love, attention, and care your baby requires. That exhaustion makes it difficult to think clearly, make wise decisions. It can impact your mood, leaving you more susceptible to irritability, frustration, and even postpartum depression. Being aware of this can help you deal with it better.

Prioritizing Your Well-Being:

As a new parent, it’s easy to neglect your own needs while tending to the demands of your baby. The baby’s needs are important, and so are yours.

Nurturing your physical and emotional well-being is needed for both you and your baby. While it may seem difficult to carve out time for yourself, neglecting your own needs can lead to burnout and hinder your ability to nurture your child. Caring for yourself is a first step to caring for your baby.

Nutrition, hydration, and rest are vital for your body’s healing and rejuvenation. While the age-old advice of “sleep when the baby sleeps” sounds reasonable, it may not always be feasible, especially if you have other children or responsibilities to tend to.

Amidst the chaos of parenting, it’s essential to listen to yourself and identify your own needs. Take a moment to ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” If it’s something you can manage independently, go ahead and prioritize it. However, there will be times when you require assistance or struggle to determine your needs. During these moments, it’s important to communicate your needs to a trusted adult who can offer support. Even if that support is helping you sort out your own needs.

A Simple Way to Encourage Effective Support:

In our culture, we’re often conditioned to put others before ourselves. Asking becomes difficult when this is your mindset. However, becoming a new parent is a time when it’s necessary to break free from these societal expectations and express your needs openly.

When seeking assistance, it’s important to communicate your needs as clearly as possible, allowing others to understand and provide the help you require. By offering specific instructions or requests, such as requesting a particular food item or drink, you enable those around you to contribute effectively. This not only facilitates the support you need but also encourages others to continue offering their help.

The Relief of Being Heard:

There may be times when your physical needs are taken care of, which finally allows your emotional needs to surface. This is when you need someone to listen. Most people do not have training in active listening. They may do their best, and that might be enough. If so, we’re really happy for you!

Many people are prone to offering advice or attempting to fix problems rather than simply providing a listening ear. However, the gift of being fully heard, without judgment or unsolicited advice, can provide immense relief and support.

What a gift when someone lets you be fully heard, and allows the feelings–no matter how ambivalent they are– to simply be.

The Power of Holding Space:

Becoming a parent is an incredible journey, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. From sleepless nights to overwhelming exhaustion, new parents often find themselves yearning for someone who truly understands their experiences. While family and friends may offer advice or assistance, it’s the power of active listening that can truly provide the relief and support needed during this transformative phase of life.

Deb often says, if there was one thing she could teach everyone in the world, it would be this: When someone has just vented, and then says, “I don’t know what to do” – don’t assume this is a sign you need to step in and fix it. Instead, ask, “Are you looking for solutions, or did you need someone to simply hear you and hold that with you?” It makes a huge difference.

If You Need a Listening Ear:

HOLD provides a safe and non-judgmental space where individuals can find relief and clarity in overwhelming situations. Their confidential listening service offers solace to new parents, helping them navigate the challenges of parenthood and allowing them to express themselves without fear of judgment. Additionally, HOLD’s self-paced mini-course, Create a Peaceful Home, offers practical guidance for individuals seeking to enhance their communication skills and cultivate a harmonious environment. Whether you choose to explore HOLD’s confidential listening service or enroll in their self-paced mini-course, Deb Porter and her team are dedicated to providing the support you need.

Becoming a parent is a remarkable and transformative experience, but it can also be overwhelming. Prioritizing your own well-being and seeking support when needed are essential steps towards creating a peaceful and fulfilling parenting journey. Take the leap and reach out to HOLD Hearing Out Life Drama today. Commit to your journey towards effective communication and emotional well-being.

When you’re overwhelmed and the people you know are too close to the problem or worse, ARE the problem, we listen so you can think clearly and feel a sense of relief.
HOLD Hearing Out Life Drama


Meet our new Postpartum and Infant Care Doula, Jade

Meet our newest Postpartum Doula, Jade. We love to share interesting facts about our team. Jade is in the process of moving to Ludington from Florida. We are so happy to have her on the team.

What did you do before you became a doula?

I worked in customer service as well as in the medical field as a medical assistant. I have experience helping people during highly stressful times develop healthy habits and achievable goals that work for their day-to-day life.

What inspired you to become a doula?

From a very young age taking care of my loved ones brought me joy and babies expanded that feeling. I had dreams of becoming a NICU nurse or working in Labor and Delivery. One day that changed when I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born”. From that day I decided I wanted to see women take back their births and postpartum experience. To be a part of families making the choice to accept the help, time for bonding and rest they deserve.

Tell us about your family.

I am originally from Jacksonville, FL and I moved to Tampa, FL to begin college. That is where I met my wife, Chandra. I have been with Chandra since the summer of 2014 and we married in the fall of 2016. We have a fur baby we are obsessed with named Kira. We will be starting a family soon and we are very excited!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

My favorite vacation spot is Vermont during the fall. The New England area in the fall truly looks like God kissed the land. It is magical.

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

  • Sade – She is calming, relaxing, and listening to her always creates a cozy mood.
  • Brandy – She is a triple threat and her vocal runs give me chills.
  • Lauryn Hill – Originally caught my eye in “Sister Act 2” and even with only one album her tone and lyrics carry me through year after year. She is the songbird of a generation.
  • Jhene Aiko – Her music is soulful and very connected to herself. Her use of chimes, sound bowls and other calming effects in her music keeps me coming back for more.
  • Janelle Monae – She embodies every bit of freedom I think we all would like to become. Her and her music deliver and leave me feeling great about being myself.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Take the time to fill your cup when you can, we have more to offer when we make taking care of ourselves a priority. To remember that you are not alone. Life is short but the period during postpartum can feel long so breathe through the moments. Keep in mind that each moment will give way to the next and as long as you live that sweet baby will need you.

What do you consider your doula superpower to be?

Education. Overall, I want to help and I believe that if you take care of yourself, you can better take care of others. I want to leave families better than I found them. I understand that if you leave someone with more confidence and knowledge, they will use that for the better.

What is your favorite food?
I love seafood. I could eat crabs daily!

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

This is my first time in Michigan. My family and I cannot wait to explore the coast and welcome all suggestions!

What are you reading now?

“The Highly Sensitive Parent”

Who are your role models?

Mothers are my role models. The level of admiration, respect and reverence I have for women who sacrifice their bodies before, during and after pregnancy, continue to take care of life and themselves has skyrocketed. Mothers are superheroes!

Meet our new Sleep Consultant, Jackie

Meet our newest Sleep Consultant, Jackie. We love to share interesting facts about our team. Jackie and her family reside in Florida. She works with virtual sleep clients through Gold Coast.

What did you do before you became Sleep Consultant?

I was a creative marketing and script writer and content creator.

What inspired you to become a doula?

My personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety coupled with a deep interest in maternal mental health. I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to helping other parents through this crazy time.

Tell us about your family.

I have an amazing and supportive husband, Nick, a fun-loving 3 year-old, Gianna, an adorable 1 year-old, Aria, and a hilarious dog named Donny who looks like a terrier and Steve Buschmi had a baby together.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

Hawaii. Cause. How can you not? Beach, breeze, laid-back, mountains.. when can I go back?!!

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

Not to be “basic” but who doesn’t love The Beatles? I mean they’re just the best. I love Motown and Oldies, Beyonce, Justin, and Usher, if that tells you my age at all. I think Harry Styles is fantastic. And I also love Odeza, Glass Animals, Jungle & Anderson Paak.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Consistency is key!

What is your favorite food?

Gluten-Free pizza. I have celiac disease.

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

I am remote. I would love to visit someday.

What are you reading now?

“The Free Diet” by Dr. Rofrano, a wellness book about “freeing” yourself from pain, fatigue, and fogginess.

Who are your role models?

Gloria Steinem, RGB, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

Breastfeeding and Infant Gut Health 101

Payal Adhikari, M.D. is a pediatrician and Clinical Implementation Director for Infinant Health. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and lived in Singapore prior to settling in Chicago with her husband and two kids. She encourages her patients to have fun with parenting and believes in the power of the microbiome to influence positive health outcomes.

Breastfeeding and Infant Gut Health 101

Breastfeeding can be a full-time job – Moms are literally dissolving their own bodies to feed their babies! Did you know that 15% of your hard-earned breast milk could be completely wasted by your baby? Human Milk Oligosaccharides, or HMOs, are the 3rd most abundant solid component of breast milk (after fats and lactose); While fats and lactose are food for your baby, the role of HMOs is to feed your baby’s microbiome, creating a calm and healthy gut. However, most babies in the U.S. are missing the key bacteria they need to digest HMOs, causing them to get pooped right out!

Researchers at UC-Davis Foods for Health Institute and Infinant Health extensively studied the stools of breastfed babies and found that there is a way to restore your baby’s gut microbiome, allowing them to use all the nutrients moms work so hard to create.

How do babies get their gut bacteria?

Infants are born with a clean slate. Their guts are nearly sterile and ready to be filled with bacteria from their environment – from the birth canal, mom’s skin, and even mom’s poop! Many years ago, babies were exposed to Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001, whose job was to consume HMOs from breast milk. Due to the unintended consequences of modern practices (c-sections, antibiotics, even daily showering!), 90% of babies in the U.S. do not have this important strain of bacteria and are unable to utilize HMOs.

Why does my baby need a healthy gut microbiome?

Research shows that our gut health impacts many aspects of our overall health. Our microbiome’s influence extends far beyond the gut to provide signals to our neurologic, metabolic, and immune systems. Our gut bacteria have an important job to do!

Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in our gut? Research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome in babies supports the development of a stronger immune system
throughout life. It also has been shown to reduce “bad” bacteria that can cause inflammation. These “bad” bacteria have been linked to potential health issues such as allergies and other autoimmune diseases and baby ailments like colic and eczema.

How do I know if my baby needs a probiotic?

Research shows that gut health impacts the entire body, not just the gut. Infant dysbiosis describes changes in the baby’s microbiome that can be associated with various diseases due to abnormalities in the gut flora. The most common signs of dysbiosis and poor gut health are:

• Gas/fussiness

• Diaper rash

• Eczema

• Sleep disturbance

These symptoms are related to inflammation from an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001, a “good” bacteria, reduces the growth of bad bacteria in your baby’s gut by 80%.

Almost 25% of babies suffer from colic, which is thought to be caused by an immature digestive system and these inflammatory bacteria – Introduction of
Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001 reduces this inflammation by up to 98%, leading to less gassy, less inflamed, and generally happier babies!

In addition, babies born via C-section (almost ⅓ of babies in the U.S.) miss out on many beneficial bacteria from mom during birth, and babies who get antibiotics that can alter their gut flora can benefit from probiotics to help restore their microbiomes.

There are so many probiotics on the market – How do I choose?
Probiotics are a broad and overwhelming category of supplements! Like antibiotics, probiotics serve different purposes depending on who is taking them and for what reason. For breastfed babies, Evivo is the only probiotic that contains B. Infantis EVC001. While other probiotics may have different strains of B. Infantis, Evivo is the only one that can fully consume all of the HMOs in breast milk.

After introducing Evivo, the beneficial bacteria take over your infant’s GI tract, colonizing up to 80% of its surface – Leaving less room for the bad bacteria to thrive! More good bacteria means less gas, less inflammation, and happier babies!

In addition, Evivo colonizes the gut and can stick around long after you stop giving it. The latest research shows that babies given Evivo for the first month of life still had it in their GI tracts at one year of age. Studies also show that Evivo protects the mucin layer of the gut, leading to less mucousy stools. In addition, babies who get Evivo have less diaper rash and fewer, less watery stools per day; happier babies with less diapers to change for parents!

What if my baby is getting some formula?
Fed is best! We believe in finding a feeding plan that is right for your family. More than 70% of families in the U.S. combination-feed with formula or use formula exclusively. So how does Evivo play into families who aren’t exclusively feeding human milk?

Evivo only needs a small amount of breast milk to colonize your baby’s gut. Therefore, Evivo can be given with a combination of breast milk and formula and still gives your baby all the benefits from B. Infantis EVC001.

How do I give Evivo to my baby?
Babies can start taking Evivo as soon as they are born. Evivo comes in little sachets (much like tea!); Give your baby one sachet each day. Remember, the earlier you start, the more room your baby has for the good bacteria to take over. You can:

• Mix it with a few milliliters of breast milk and offer via syringe.

• Mix the powder with breast milk to form a paste; Apply the paste directly to your nipple before nursing.

• Put the powder directly into a bottle of breast milk or formula that you know your baby will finish.

You can order Evivo directly from, from Amazon, or even add it to your baby registry.

How do I know if Evivo is working?
Most of the benefits of a healthy gut microbiome are long-term, but parents report some exciting short-term benefits as well: After one week of use, parents report decreased gas, diaper rash, colic, and improved sleep. Babies also usually have fewer and better formed, less watery stools – Who wouldn’t want to change less poopy diapers?

Ryleigh Birth doula

Meet our new birth doula, Ryleigh!

Meet our newest birth doula Ryleigh. We love to share interesting facts about our team. Ryleigh and her family reside in Muskegon.

What did you do before you became a doula?

Before this I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I have dabbled into a few different degrees in college, did some nanny jobs in between, and have been consistently working at an assisted living home for 7 years now.

What inspired you to become a doula?

I’ve always been a “helper” at heart, and have always wanted to stand beside people in hardship. Once I had my first daughter and realized just how much of a village it takes to go all the way from pregnancy to postpartum, I realized I wanted to be that help that women could count on during this vulnerable time in their life. Knowledge is power in my eyes, and if I can help someone by giving them information and being their support through such a difficult season, then why not go full speed ahead!

Tell us about your family.

I am married to my husband Brody. We met in 2015 at the YMCA daycare where we both worked and started dating shortly after. Brody is a silly, sport enthusiast, Jesus loving man. He’s very supportive in all I do and was very excited for me to take this next step into something I have been talking to him about a lot! We have 2 children earth side! Penelope is our 3-year-old. She is as goofy and smart as they come. She loves everything from princesses to tools, and keep us on our toes for sure! Gemma is our 5 month old. She was our literal gem, our diamond in the rough, our rainbow baby. We had a pretty traumatic ectopic loss between our two girls and Gemma could not have come at better timing. She has filled the gap in our family and has truly been such a light in a dark season for us. She’s smiley and chubby and that’s just the way we like her!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

My favorite vacation spot would have to be Disney World. I love the combo of shopping, riding rides, watching performances, and the magic there. Even at 25, there’s still magic being there!

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

Truthfully I’m not a huge music obsessed person, I’d rather listen to a podcast or sermon. But I’ve been listening to Walker Hayes, Brandon Lake, Ron Pope, Garret Jacobs, and Vince Joy. I tend to listen to music for their lyrics, I love creative lyrics. Or because it has a funky beat I can dance to in the car!

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Water or fresh air can fix almost anything, all the way from the baby to the mama.

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?

I’ve always been told I’m a good listener. I would rather sit with someone for hours on end and listen to them and whatever they have to say than talk about myself. I think sometimes when we try to help someone we tend to overshare and give unwanted advice or try to fill the space too much, and I’m hoping I can use my love of sitting and listening to people as a safe space for them to get their feelings and emotions out!

What is your favorite food?

If you asked me from the time I could eat till right before my last pregnancy, I would’ve said spaghetti. But now I don’t love that. I would probably say tacos now, a good chicken taco with a little bit of kick to it and a lot of cheese!

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

Grand Haven. That’s where I’m from and where I grew up. I love that it feels like home to me, walking the pier, swimming on the beach, all their festivals and fairs, yummy places to eat. I love pretty much everything about it!

What are you reading now?

“Oops! The 9 Ways We Screw Up Our Toddlers” – By Michelle Smith

Who are your role models?

A lot of the women in my life are my role models. They have all had their peaks and valleys in their own journey yet they are all relentless and have kept moving forward! I hope to be half as resilient as they are.


Meet our new Postpartum Doula and Newborn Care Specialist (NCS), Sarah!

We hope you enjoy getting to know Sarah in our Q&A blog! Sarah serves families in West Michigan as a certified Newborn Care Specialist. She offers day and overnight newborn support.
1) What did you do before you became a newborn care specialist?
I have worked in the field of Early Childhood for 20 years as a preschool teacher, early childhood specialist, infant toddler teacher, center director, and nanny.
2) What inspired you to become a newborn care specialist and a postpartum doula?
Seeing how many families are struggling and feeling alone after bringing a baby home. I want to offer them support during this time.
3) Tell us about your family.
I am a mother of five. I have three girls and two boys. They are all unique and amazing. My husband is my best friend and biggest supporter.
4) What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 
I loved Maui. It had great scenery, wonderful people, and amazing food.
5) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.
Rihanna is my favorite musician. I love that she is free to be herself.
6) What is the best advice you have given to new families?
To trust yourself and your intuition and also to give yourself grace.
7) What do you consider your doula/newborn care specialist superpower to be?
Anticipating needs.
8) What is your favorite food?
I love curry and also pho.
9) What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
I enjoy all West Michigan beaches.
10) What are you reading now?
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.  
11) Who are your role models?
Dr. Shefali. She is an author and clinical psychologist. Her work and message are amazing.

Meet our new Sleep Consultant, Michelle!

What did you do before you became a sleep consultant?

I am a Pre-K teacher for Great Start Readiness Program in Kentwood

What inspired you to become a sleep consultant?

I was inspired to become a sleep trainer after living with my sister when she had her first kid and seeing the impact lack of sleep has on a family. After she hired a sleep trainer her and her husband’s life turned around and she said it was the best decision she ever made. I want to help families get their sleep back so they will be healthy and happy parents.

Tell us about your family.

I have two sisters and 4 nieces and nephews that are my world. I help out with my niece and nephews often and love having them for weekends at times.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

Naples Florida because I have been going there since I was a kid and it holds so many special memories with my extended family. I love the beach, bike rides, walking around downtown, playing tennis, and the warm weather to escape the Michigan winters.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Regressions will happen. It is important to know this is normal and not to give up or give in. Stick with the plan 100% no matter how tough the night may be. Things will get easier with consistency from both parents.

What do you consider your sleep consultant superpower to be?

I can connect to all different kinds of people and make them feel comfortable in the sleep training process

What is your favorite food?


What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

Saugatuck, I love the people, downtown, hikes, and beaches

What are you reading now?

12 Hours’ Sleep by 12 Weeks Old

Who are your role models?

My role model is my papa (grandpa) because he showed me how to prioritize life. He built a successful business while being an active father and grandfather. He gave back to the community and shared his success with the less fortunate.


Meet our New Birth Doula, Annette!

What did you do before you became a doula?

I am an RN and have previous experience in many different clinical areas but of course my favorite was……Obstetrics!

What inspired you to become a doula?

I have always wanted to go back to my original love of Mother/Baby nursing but wasn’t sure hospital nursing would be a good fit at this time of my life. My daughter in law invited me to be in for the delivery of her first baby and that got me thinking again. Originally, I thought I would wait until retirement and use that to fill my bucket. Then my husband said, “What are you waiting for?” I realized he was right. I needed this to be in my life again. I had doulas for my last two births and having been involved in the birth of my grandson I knew this is what I am supposed to be doing and now is the perfect time.

Tell us about your family.

We have a blended family. I have four children and my husband has three. They are all grown and thankfully we all enjoy hanging out together as often as possible. Five out of the seven live in the area so that makes for some wonderful family times. We also have 5 grandchildren (soon to be 6, and yes, I will be her doula!)

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled quite extensively and love it when more of the family can join us. Favorite is tricky! We are avid hikers and were able to hike in Sedona, Zion, and Bryce National Parks last year which was breathtakingly beautiful. Asheville is also a big family favorite, and we loved the Alaskan Cruise we recently enjoyed. We truly feel that we live in a very beautiful area of Michigan with some great opportunities to experience the outdoors, so we do that as often as possible. Just heading to the lakeshore for a hike fills my soul.

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

Maroon 5 – I enjoy their “older” songs more than the new. I don’t tire of them. Vince Gill – smoothest voice around. Amy Grant – sweet music. Beach Boys – when it’s a summer day and I’m relaxing with a happy heart.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Sleep when the baby sleeps! We all hear it and I know people said that to me when I was a first time Mom. It truly helps your body refresh and heal so you can give to your baby all that is needed.

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?

Hmmm, I would say being calm. I’ve always been told that I have a calming demeanor and soothing voice, so I think that lends itself to helping women in labor.

What is your favorite food?

I’m Italian and I love cooking so that’s another tricky question! I love the summertime fresh fruits and vegetables from farm stands. That is the best time of year to create some wonderful meals!

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

Oh my, so many! I would probably say Grand Haven. Such a cute town, great boardwalk, fun shops, and yummy restaurants. The water views there can’t be beat.

What are you reading now?

The Birth Partner – by Penny Simkin

Who are your role models?

I’d have to say my closest circle of friends and of course my family. We are all striving to be better humans and I love celebrating every little triumph.

Jordyn's Q&A blog photo

Meet Our New Birth Doula, Jordyn!

What did you do before you became a doula?

I have worked in the mental health/crisis industry for the last 8 years. I started with 2-1-1, helping people find local resources, and then the suicide prevention hotline. Over the previous 6 years, I have worked in the EAP world, assisting with coordinating crisis response teams around the country.

What inspired you to become a doula?

I have been fascinated with birth since I was a young child; my babysitter would set me up in her room so I could watch TLC’s Baby Story every day while the rest of the crew watched cartoons. I took every family science class in high school and went to Western Michigan University for my degree in Family Studies. After having my own son, my passion was reignited.

Tell us about your family.

I come from a large family, who are very important to me. My partner and I welcomed our son on our 4th anniversary; not sure anything will ever top that gift! He is now a toddler who enjoys chasing around our 2 cats, Shade & Storm.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

The Upper Peninsula! I love road trips, getting into nature, and star gazing, so the UP provides the ultimate experience. A stop at Clyde’s for a burger, taking scenic M-2, and chasing waterfalls are some of my favorite things to experience each trip!

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

This is a tricky question, as music is my love language. If I had to choose: Kings of Leon, Led Zeppelin, Miranda Lambert, Young the Giant, and Fleetwood Mac.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?

I don’t like to give unsolicited advice; parents definitely get enough of that! However, I’d tell parents to trust their gut and don’t compare!

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?

I am empathetic and a great listener. I know how to de-escalate stressful situations and have been called the calm in the middle of chaos.

What is your favorite food?

Another hard question, as I love to cook and try new things, but a big plate of pasta is the ultimate comfort.

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

Holland State Park reminds me of the family reunions we had every summer at the beach.

What are you reading now?

I am an avid reader and always have a few books in rotation. Currently, I am reading: The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood  by Kathleen Kendall-Tacket and Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols.

Who are your role models?

My grandmother, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Brene Brown.


Diaper Drive

Gold Coast Doulas is holding our 7th annual Diaper Drive from September 1st to October 2nd, 2022. Giving back is an important foundation of our business as a Certified B Corporation; clean diapers make a significant impact on the health of new families and our giving focus is on supporting low-income women and children.

One in three babies suffer in dirty diapers and no government programs currently provide them. Food, shelter, and utilities are the only items covered by assistance. Diapers are expensive and many families make tough choices between paying rent and utilities or buying diapers. Research shows that 48% of parents delay changing diapers and 32% report re-using diapers to make supplies last longer. The need has intensified during the pandemic, especially with the baby formula shortage.

The Gold Coast Doulas diaper drive coincides with National Diaper Need Awareness Week, September 24th – October 2. Diaper Need Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), created to make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.2 million babies in the United States aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families.

Our annual diaper drive benefits Nestlings Diaper Bank of West Michigan and Great Start Parent Coalition of Kent County. Holland-based Nestlings has distributed over I million diapers and helped over 18,000 families since 2011. Nestlings Diaper Bank also works with 31 partner agencies to distribute the diapers to the families in need.

Our goal is to collect 10,000 diapers to support families in need in Kent, Ottawa, and Allegan counties to celebrate our 7th anniversary. We collect opened and unopened boxes and packages of new disposable diapers, used cloth diapers and cloth supplies, new cloth diapers, and new boxes or packages of wipes. We need your help to make this happen.

Diaper donations will be accepted from September 1 to October 2 at the following partnered drop-off locations:


Howard Miller Public Library
14 S Church St, Zeeland, MI 49464

Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille
12234 James St, Holland, MI 49424

The Insurance Group
593 Heritage Ct, Holland, MI 49423

R Lucas Scott Co
114 E Main Ave, Zeeland, MI 49464

11975 E Lakewood Blvd Suite 6, Holland, MI 49424

Georgetown United Methodist Church
2766 Baldwin St, Jenison, MI 49428

Rise Wellness Chiropractic
1005 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Hopscotch Children’s Store
909 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Mind Body Baby
1501 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Advent Physical Therapy
245 Cherry St SE Suite 102, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Advent Physical Therapy
2373 64th St Ste 2100 Byron Center

Mindful Counseling GR
985 Parchment Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Mindful Counseling GR

3351 Claystone St SE, Suite G 32, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Mindful Counseling GR
113 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544

FIT4MOM Grand Rapids
Donations accepted at classes

Gold Coast Doulas
Donations are accepted at classes.

You can donate directly to fill Nestling’s Amazon Wish List or through their website via Paypal.

Contact us at with questions.


childbirth education

When to Take a Childbirth Education Class

When is a good time to take a childbirth class and why does it matter?  

We often get asked about the appropriate time to take a childbirth class from students and Gold Coast clients. The answer varies depending on the goals of the individual. I often ask clients if they are first-time parents or new parents. It is also helpful to understand what learning style is best for each individual. Some people prefer hands-on learning and others prefer instructional classes.      

There are many types of childbirth education classes to consider. Some classes are offered on weekends or are shorter in length like our Saturday Series which includes: Comfort Measures for Labor, Breastfeeding: Getting A Strong Start, and Newborn Survival. Our clients are able to select one, two or all three classes in the series based on their unique needs. We would recommend taking these shorter classes closer to your due date, so the content is still fresh in your mind. The Saturday Series of classes are offered every other month, for more flexibility. We also offer private classes if the scheduled class dates don’t work for our clients. A popular private class that we offer is Preparing for Multiples.  It is perfect for parents of twins and triplets.  Private classes are an option with many out-of-hospital childbirth instructors.  

Comprehensive childbirth classes vary in length from five-weeks to twelve depending on the series. They are often two to three hours per class in the series. Some examples of these comprehensive childbirth classes include: HypnoBirthing, The Bradley Method, Lamaze, Mama Natural, Evidenced Based Birth and Gentle Birth.  You will want to factor in your due date when selecting a class in case you deliver early or are uncomfortable closer to your due date. Many classes often have books and workbooks that accompany the learning. The materials may or may not be included in the class fees.    

Gold Coast Doulas offers the five-week HypnoBirthing- The Mongan Method class. The method teaches you to reduce tension and  fear. It is recommended to take the HypnoBirthing series in the second trimester as it offers relaxation exercises to practice throughout pregnancy. We do accept students at any time in pregnancy, however.  

Childbirth classes can be offered in a variety of ways depending on your goals and timeframe.  There are online live classes that take place on a platform such as Zoom. They are still very interactive. Another option is a self-paced online course like Mama Natural. The Mama Natural Birth Course will equip your mind, body, and spirit to help you achieve the birth of your dreams-whether that’s a water birth in your living room, or a gentler and more natural hospital delivery.  

In-person childbirth education classes are offered within hospitals and other professional settings.  These professional settings could vary from an office space to a conference room.  Most classes include both the birthing person and a support person or partner. Many of these in-person childbirth classes offer hands on instruction and guidance with breathing techniques.    

Payment is also a factor when deciding on a childbirth class. Many health savings and flex spending accounts cover out of hospital classes. Insurance can often cover most hospital childbirth education classes. Some classes are self-pay only and some instructors allow for payment plans. Books and materials are often included in the price of the course.   

In conclusion, you can take a childbirth education class at any time in pregnancy. Some classes require additional readings or a longer time investment than others. Look at your schedule and birthing goals to decide the perfect timing for your unique needs. We highly recommend taking a comprehensive childbirth education class as part of your birth preparation.   

For more information about our current childbirth education class offerings visit us at: 

Check out our BECOMING A Mother course! It’s a self-paced, online series to help reduce fear and gain confidence in pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. With recorded video lessons, monthly live chats, and a supportive FaceBook community – it’s everything we wish we would have known before we had our babies! We’d love to see you there!

Kristin & Alyssa


Comfort Measures for Labor – 8 Tips for a More Comfortable Birth

No matter how you choose to birth, it is important to think about how you can reduce discomfort and fear during labor. There are many ways to prepare for birth, including taking a childbirth education class.

Here are some of my top tips as both an Certified Elite Labor Doula and a childbirth instructor:

1) Rest

Rest and relax in the early stages of labor. Birth can sometimes be a marathon and you want to relax and conserve energy in early labor. Make sure you nourish yourself, so you have energy for the pushing stage. Focus on breathing through each contraction and relaxing areas in your body that are tensed up. Your partner or support person can remind you to release tension in areas that are tight.

2) Environment

Your environment can affect your mood. Consider dim lighting and bringing items from home that are comforting. I am a fan of lining tubs and window sills with LED candles. Some of my clients bring their own pillows or sentimental items from home. You could consider wearing your own clothing rather than a hospital gown. There are also cute labor gowns that you can purchase online. Music and guided meditations can be wonderful tools to utilize in labor. They can help keep you relaxed and calm.

3) Movement

Walking and changing positions are great ways to keep labor progressing. It is sometimes called “labor Olympics” by birth workers. Some positions to consider are swaying your hips in figure 8’s on the birthing ball, getting on your hands and knees and leaning into a birthing ball, and slow dancing. We talk about these positions and more in our Comfort Measures for Labor class, which is part of our Saturday Series of classes.

4) Hydration

Hydration is key. Drink water between contractions. I am also a fan of electrolyte drinks to give you a bit more energy. My favorite option is coconut water if you like the taste. Hydration helps prevent exhaustion and reduces the need for IV fluids. You will also want to empty your bladder every hour.

5) Touch

Physical touch can be wonderful during labor. Birth doulas and partners can apply hip squeezes, counter pressure and labor massage to reduce discomfort. Some birthing persons prefer light touch massage. Touch can be very soothing and grounding to many laboring individuals. It can also be used with position changes.

6) Baths and Showers

Water is calming and can reduce the sensation of pain. Showers and baths before the pushing stage are a wonderful way to provide relief in a hospital setting. Some home birthing clients choose to deliver in water.

7) Hire a doula

Your doula can make sure you are comfortable and supported. The doula can also show your partner some of these hands-on support tools. Doulas can be a wonderful addition to your birthing team. They provide coaching, physical support and informational support.

8) Communication

Communicate your needs to your partner and support team. Listen to your body and know that comfort measures may feel good one minute and be uncomfortable the next. That is normal. Talk to your partner and doula if you have one about how you would like to be supported during labor and birth.


Now that you have reviewed these tips, what comfort measures would you like to apply to your birth? Are there any suggestions that are not appealing to you?

For more information about The Gold Coast Doulas Comfort Measures for Labor class, see our full schedule here:

Written by Kristin Revere, Co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas.


Pregnancy Yoga

Pregnancy Shouldn’t Be Painful

Gold Coast is thrilled to present a guest post by Sally Talbot, PT, Senior PT and co-owner of Health Motion Physical Therapy.

Pregnancy is a wonderful and amazing time.  However, creating a new life does create some major changes in the body. Pain in different areas during pregnancy is a common complaint. states that back pain occurs in 60-70% of pregnancies. While pain can be common, it is NOT normal and does not need to be tolerated. Pain can be stressful, and we know that increased stress for a mother can cause increased stress for baby.

Pain with pregnancy is not normal, and something can and should be done about it. Physical therapists are very helpful at safely decreasing pain and increasing function in pregnant women, helping them have a more enjoyable experience.   

Here are some common pain complaints often associated with pregnancy and how PT can help: 

Low back or sacroiliac pain:  With increased weight gain (all out front), the center of gravity shifts and pulls the back into more of an arched position. Try standing this way – it is not comfortable. Also the abdominals are weakened due to being stretched with the increasing size of baby. This causes more work for the lower back. It is also common for the pelvis to become mal-aligned during pregnancy due to increased ligament laxity. All these factors put more stress on low back muscles and joints and can cause pain. Physical therapy can restore alignment of the back and pelvis and loosen tight muscles and strengthen others to make sure you can feel your best. 

Mid back pain: Increasing weight of the breasts requires more work from the mid back to sit up straight and to lift and carry things. This overwork can result in pain and, if left untreated, it can continue well into the postpartum period, especially if mom is breastfeeding. Holding that newborn is harder than it seems. Physical therapy can assure that the joints of the upper back are moving well, loosen tight muscles, and stretch others to help improve posture and decrease pain. 

Groin and pubic symphysis pain: Later in pregnancy, as the baby drops lower in the pelvis, there is more pressure on the pelvic joints (SI joint and pubic symphysis) and nerves that serve the groin and legs. This can cause pain, making it hard to walk or turn in bed. Weakness or muscle imbalance can contribute to this and make it worse. This is the one diagnosis that most people think that they have to live with – not necessarily true…..  Maintaining good pelvic alignment is key with this – PT can do that as well as recommend positions and strategies when that new bundle of joy gets on your nerves literally.   

Headaches: Headaches can be more common with pregnancy due to changes in posture, increased weight of breasts, hormonal changes, or general fatigue. Tight muscles and weak muscles will make these headaches worse. Even if headaches are hormonal, treatment to the muscles and joints of the neck and upper back can lessen the severity and intensity of the headaches and the need for medication.  

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Numbness in the palm of the hand focusing on the thumb and first 2-3 fingers can be a common complaint later in pregnancy, especially at night. Increased fluid retention can cause compression of the nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This can be greatly improved with physical therapy 

How PT can help. A physical therapist will be able to thoroughly evaluate the issue you are having and locate the source of the problem and all the contributing factorsThey will then create a specialized program to correct the cause of the issue and help you adjust to the changes that your body is going through. This program will includemanual therapy to loosen tight muscles or align the spine and pelvis better, modalities (such as electrical stimulation – yes it is safe!) to speed healing and recovery and provide pain relief, positioning or bracing solutions if needed, and exercises that will help the body keep up with the increasing demands of the pregnancyPhysical therapy decreases the need for medication and missed days from work/life. Help is available. 

If you are having pain and wonder how/if physical therapy could help you, call and a come in for a free consultation. Just mention that you saw this blog post. You can also schedule through the website at   

Health Motion Physical Therapy
South East: 3826 44th St, SE Kentwood, MI 49512  616-554-0918
North East: 3001 Fuller St NE Grand Rapids, MI 49505  616-451-4284

Remember PT is safe for mom and baby.  You don’t have to hurt.  


Nestlings Diaper Bank

Gold Coast Doulas 4th Annual Diaper Drive

Gold Coast Doulas is holding our 4th annual Diaper Drive from September 1st to October 1st, 2019. Giving back is an important foundation of our business; clean diapers make a huge impact on the heath of new families.

Diaper need is something that goes almost completely unrecognized, but 1 in 3 babies suffer in dirty diapers and no government programs provide them. Food, shelter, and utilities are the only items covered by assistance. Diapers are expensive and many families make tough choices between paying rent and utilities, or buying diapers. Research shows that 48% of parents delay changing diapers and 32% report re-using diapers to make supplies last longer.

The Gold Coast Doulas diaper drive coincides with National Diaper Need Awareness Week, September 23 – September 29. Diaper Need Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), created to make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.2 million babies in the United States aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families.

Our drive specifically benefits Nestlings Diaper Bank and Great Start Parent Coalition of Kent County. Holland-based Nestlings has distributed over 600,000 diapers and helped over 18,000 families since 2011. Nestlings Diaper Bank also works with 31 partner agencies to distribute the diapers to the families in need.

We need your help! Our goal is to collect 40,000 diapers to support families in need in Kent, Ottawa, and Allegan counties to celebrate our 4th anniversary. We collect opened and unopened boxes and packages of new disposable diapers, used cloth diapers and cloth supplies, new cloth diapers, and new boxes or packages of wipes.

Diaper donations will be accepted from September 1 to October 1 at the following partnered drop-off locations:

In Zeeland:
Smedley Dental 133 1/3 E Main Ave
Howard Miller Library 14 S. Church Street

In Holland:
Untangled Salon 650 Riley Street
Brann’s 12234 James Street
Harbor Health and Massage 444 Washington Ave.
EcoBuns Baby + Co 12330 James Street
Great Legs Winery Brewery Distillery 332 East Lakewood Boulevard

The Insurance Group 593 Heritage Court

In Hudsonville:
Hudsonville Congregational United Church of Christ 4950 32nd Avenue

In Jenison:

In Ada:
Ada Christian Reformed Church/FIT4MOM Grand Rapids 7152 Bradfield Ave SE

In East Grand Rapids:
Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy 2000 Burton St SE, Suite 1

In Grand Rapids:
Mindful Counseling 741 Kenmoor Ave SE and 3351 Claystone St. SE, Ste G 32
Crossfit 616/BIRTHFIT Grand Rapids 2430 Turner Ave NW, Ste A
Pediatric Dental Specialists 2155 E Paris Ave SE, Ste 120
West End GR 1101 Godfrey Ave SW, Ste S440
MomHive 1422 Wealthy St SE
Hopscotch Children’s Store 909 Cherry Street SE
Grand Rapids Natural Health 638 Fulton St W, B
Gold Coast Doulas 1430 Robinson Rd SE, Ste 204
Rise Wellness Chiropractic   1430 Robinson Rd SE, Ste 201
Gemini Media will be collecting diapers at their office from September 1 to 13 and will be offering discounted tickets to the Grand Rapids Baby and Beyond Expo for anyone who donates a bag or box of diapers. 401 Hall Rd SW Ste 331

In Walker:
ABC Pediatrics 4288 3 Mile Rd NW

In Wyoming:
ABC Pediatrics 4174 56th St SW

We appreciate your support! Contact us at with questions.


Lynnette Nichols Doula

Meet Your Gold Coast Doula-Lynnette

We love asking our Gold Coast Doulas questions so you can get to know them more. Meet our infant care specialist and postpartum doula, Lynnette Nichols and learn about her inspirations and background.

1) What did you do before you became a doula?
Before I became a doula, I was the manager at Lemon Creek Winery’s Tasting Room in Grand Haven.  I worked there for five years.

2) What inspired you to become a doula?
I saw a segment that Gold Coast Doulas did on Fox 17.  Listening to them describe the role of Postpartum Doulas really moved me to want to learn more.  I have always loved children and supporting other moms; it really does take a village and I have been blessed to have some amazing people come into my life.  I am excited to take on this new career and support families during such an important time in their lives.
4) Tell us about your family?
I have been married to my very supportive husband, Kyle for 14 years.  We have three beautiful daughters; Brookelyn (18), Kaitlyn (17), Jordyn (14).  We are a blended family that has worked hard to make us the solid family we are.  We live in Grand Haven.
5) What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 
 My favorite vacation spot is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  I am originally from Marquette and when I met my husband, I found out he also had a love for the U.P.  It is absolutely beautiful up there and every time I cross the Mackinac Bridge, I am ready for our next adventure.
6) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.
I really don’t follow certain bands or musicians, but when I hear a song that moves me, I fall in love with it and listen to it over and over.
These are my favorite songs:

Thinking Out Loud~Ed Sheeran

Lost Stars~Adam Levine
Like I’m Gonna Lose You~Meghan Trainor
This Woman’s Work~Kate Bush

Change in My Life~Hope College’s 12th Street Harmony A Cappella Student Group

7) What is the best advice you have given to new families?

No one knows all the answers and no one is the perfect parent.

8) What do you consider your doula superpower to be?

I don’t think I can answer that yet and look forward to finding out.

9) What is your favorite food?


10) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
I live in Grand Haven and absolutely love it.  If I didn’t live here, I’d be here all the time.  If I am not spending time at the beach or on the American Legion deck, I love going to Grand Rapids and enjoying the great restaurants.

11) What are you reading now?

I am reading Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath.  My daughter is considering going into kinesiology and nutrition; she recommended the book to me.

12) Who are your role models?
My role model has always been my Grandma.  She is God loving and humble, firm but gentle at the same time.  I soak in everything she says and hope that I am half the woman she is and that my children and grandchildren love and respect me as much as I do her.


infant massage

Infant Massage Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Infant Massage 

Gold Coast Doulas is thrilled to present a Part 2 of the Infant Massage guest blog from Cristina Stauffer.  Cristina Stauffer, LMSW, CEIM has been passionate about serving women and young children throughout her career.  Pregnancy and early motherhood can be one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. Cristina has been dedicated to supporting women through this delicate time by providing therapy and support, education and screening about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and through teaching parents and caregivers the joy of infant massage. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and from Boston University with a Masters in Social Work.  Cristina became a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) in 2005 and has incorporated this practice into many aspects of her career. She has been practicing in the field of social work with a focus on women and young children for over 20 years. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Infant Massage

Infant Massage has been practiced for centuries in India and other countries, but is still a relatively new practice here in the United States. Vimala McClure, author of Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, brought the concept of infant to the US in the early 1970’s. Infant massage classes, books and videos have continued to pop up and are still growing in popularity.  For most parents, however, the idea of massaging their baby is a new and different concept. It is normal to feel nervous or awkward about learning a new skill and parents or caregivers often have a lot of questions. Rest assured, infant massage is a very gentle, easy practice to learn and incorporate – anyone can learn to massage their baby. I have listed some of the most common questions I hear from parents and caregivers along with their answers below:

Why should I massage my child?

Infant massage has many benefits including relaxation, bonding and attachment, improved sleep habits and reduction in gas, constipation and fussiness.  However, the most beneficial part of massage is the opportunity to just be with your child. Listen with your hands and with your heart as you massage, dropping your expectations or need for accomplishment or perfection. The quality of this interaction is very powerful and allows you to enjoy a special experience with your child, emotionally and physically.

How old should my child be?

We are never too old or too young for massage. Your child will benefit from your nurturing touch from birth through the teen years. The principles of respect and asking permission apply throughout all these years. This is a great way to keep in touch with your child and it is never too late to start! For older siblings, massage is a good way to neutralize jealousy and provide the focused attention they also require. Massage is a relaxing form of communication that can help you maintain positive communication with your child at any age.

How long should I massage my child?

Massage should last as long as it is pleasurable for both you and your child. This may be as little as a few minutes (which can be very effective) and as long as a half an hour or more.

How hard should I press?

Infant massage uses a firm, yet gentle touch.  Don’t press too hard—this isn’t “deep tissue massage”, but also don’t tickle or use touch that is too light. Watch for the baby’s reaction to determine the appropriate pressure.

How do I understand what my child needs during massage?

Observe you baby’s breathing to notice how your touch is being received.  Your baby’s breathing will probably become deeper and slower. Sighs may indicate that your baby is receiving the massage as nurturing and pleasurable. Facial expressions, body posture, movement and sharing what they like with words and pleasurable sounds also indicate if babies like the experience.

Can Dads do infant massage too?

Yes! Massage is a wonderful way for fathers to demonstrate their love. We must respect that a father’s way of relating to the child may be different from that of mothers. Sometimes Dads give the best massage because they aren’t afraid to go a little deeper.  Massage is also a great way for fathers to learn more about their baby’s body, needs, communication and cues.

Gold Coast Doulas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


infant massage

Why is Infant Massage Good for Babies?

Why is Infant Massage Good for Babies?

Gold Coast Doulas is thrilled to present a guest blog from Cristina Stauffer.  Cristina Stauffer, LMSW, CEIM has been passionate about serving women and young children throughout her career.  Pregnancy and early motherhood can be one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. Cristina has been dedicated to supporting women through this delicate time by providing therapy and support, education and screening about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and through teaching parents and caregivers the joy of infant massage. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and from Boston University with a Masters in Social Work.  Cristina became a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) in 2005 and has incorporated this practice into many aspects of her career. She has been practicing in the field of social work with a focus on women and young children for over 20 years.

Why is infant massage good for babies?

Most of us recognize that we are never too young or too old to enjoy nurturing touch or the practice of massage; however, many people still wonder why they should learn to massage their baby.  Research over the years has shown that infant massage has many benefits for both parents and child, but the most important aspect of infant massage is simply the opportunity to just be with your child. The quality of the infant massage interaction is very powerful and allows you to enjoy a special experience with your baby, both physically and emotionally.  Other benefits of infant massage include relaxation for both caregiver and child, improved sleep habits for babies, promotion of healthy digestive function in babies, better body awareness, and encourages positive parenting skills.  Let’s explore the benefits of infant massage in each of these areas further:


  • Massage reduces fussiness.
  • Massage helps a baby learn to relax and reduce stress.
  • Massage helps a baby handle sensory input and respond to it with relaxation.
  • Daily massage time offers parents a time to relax and unwind from the busy pace of life and to connect with their child.
  • Massage increases a parent’s ability to help their child relax in times of stress.

 Improved Sleep

  • Research has shown that massage helps improve the quality of baby’s sleep and encourages the baby to fall asleep faster after massage.
  • Massage increases oxygen and nutrient flow to cells and helps to deepen respiration.
  • Many parents report noticing improved sleep habits such as longer naps or more restful sleep after incorporating infant massage.
  • It is not unusual for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep during infant massage classes or private instruction.

Healthy Digestion

  • Research has shown that massage strengthens and regulates the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Massage stimulates baby’s ability to gain weight, especially for premature babies.
  • Massage helps to relieve the discomfort of gas and colic, teething, and congestion.
  • Infant massage instruction helps parents to better understand how the digestive system works and how to help relieve gas and constipation.
  • Infant massage class materials include a massage routine specifically targeted to relieve tummy problems such as pain, gas, constipation and colic.
  • Parents become more aware of how the baby’s belly looks and feels and are better able to identify possible tummy trouble.

Better Body Awareness

  • Massage enhances children’s body awareness and encourages positive feelings about their bodies.
  • Massage encourages children to feel “in charge” of their health as they grow and provides a healthy alternative to deal with stress.
  • Massage helps babies learn to accept and tolerate positive touch which is especially beneficial for babies who have been hospitalized.
  • Massage builds parent’s respect and understanding for their baby’s unique body, cues, and nonverbal communication.

Benefits for Parents and Caregivers

  • Massage provides intimacy and special time for caregivers and child, including fathers.
  • Massage helps parents to feel more competent and confident in their parenting role.
  • Parents learn how to touch and respond to their baby in nurturing ways.
  • Massaging their baby increases prolactin production (the “nurturing” hormone) in the parent allowing them to feel more relaxed and loving toward their child.
  • Group massage classes provide an opportunity for mutual support from other parents.
  • Massage provides an opportunity to connect, interact and share quality time with babies and children at any age.


Am I producing enough breastmilk

Can My Body Make Enough Milk for My Baby?

We are pleased to present a guest blog by Shira Johnson, IBCLC.

Can My Body Make Enough Milk for My Baby?

Fact: Most breastfeeding mothers, at one time or another, worry about their milk supply. They wonder whether their body will make enough milk for their baby, if their supply will last.

Not surprising, since most of us have heard stories about moms who, despite wanting to breastfeed, reported not being able to; their milk dried up, baby refused the breast, they were told their milk wasn’t good, etc. Through no fault of our own, many mothers head into breastfeeding with an expectation that milk production will be a struggle, due in part to these stories that are shared widely by well-meaning strangers, friends, family members and even healthcare providers. But the reality is that MOST moms’ bodies can make plenty of milk. The fear of low supply is much more common than the reality!

Before I go on, let me be clear that not all women who want to breastfeed can make enough milk to sustain a baby. There are many physical conditions that potentially impact milk production (including birth complications, thyroid conditions, PCOS -Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome- and other hormone conditions, anemia, retained placenta, breast or chest injuries/surgeries, various illnesses, medications or hormonal birth control, or Insufficient Glandular Tissue -IGT- the technical term describing when breasts contain less milk-making tissue).  It’s important to recognize that low milk supply is a very real scenario that many struggle with, and it’s a serious topic that deserves a lot of attention of its own. But here we will focus on milk production in mothers with no prior physiological limitations; specifically on how low milk supply is less common than people think, and that it is much less common than “perceived low milk supply”.

Perceived low milk supply, or Perceived Insufficient Milk, is when moms are making enough milk but think that they are not. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Why? Because, despite having no physiological basis, perceived low supply is one of the most frequently-reported reasons for early weaning! And it’s a very stressful thing to worry about.

The good news: Perceived low supply does not equal actual low supply.

The bad news: Perceived low supply is very common, and (in addition to the fact that worrying is no fun) perceived low supply can cause low supply!

How can perceived low milk supply cause actual low supply?

When moms believe their supply is low, the way they feed changes… and how we feed has a strong influence on milk production. For example, moms might introduce supplemental formula if they perceive baby to be dissatisfied or hungry after nursing, or if baby is nursing more often than they expected or is waking frequently at night. It’s easy to assume that low supply is the cause of these things if we aren’t familiar with normal breastfeeding behaviors (especially when formula-feeding culture perpetuates unrealistic expectations for breastfed babies). Feeding on a rigid schedule, sleep training a young baby, or otherwise altering baby’s feeding routine can impact milk supply very easily, so understanding the nuts and bolts of milk production, baby behavior and growth patterns is important. All of the conflicting advice we receive from family, pediatricians and friends is confusing! Knowing how to tell when things are going well gives parents confidence to keep going through the ups and downs. Since perceived low supply is not a physical issue, it is totally avoidable, as long as parents have support and access to good information.

How does milk production work?

Milk production begins as a hormonally-driven process, initiated by hormone changes at birth. Over time, it becomes a supply and demand process (meaning that, ideally, the body will adjust to make exactly what baby needs – no more, no less). The baby communicates how much it needs … by eating exactly what it needs! If it needs more, it will suckle more, sending hormonal signals to mom’s brain, which in turn tell her body to make more milk. This is one reason babies might seem to nurse around the clock during growth spurts. Not only are they trying to eat more, they are also instinctively “putting in the order”, so to speak, for more milk to be made to accommodate their increased needs!)  Simply put, the more milk is removed, the more milk the body will make. Milk can be removed in a number of ways: directly feeding baby at breast, or expressing with a pump or by hand. If milk isn’t removed regularly, milk production will be altered. This is how extra pumping can increase supply, or how skipping feeds or going long stretches between pumping at work can decrease supply. This also explains why babies who struggle to transfer milk can result in decreased supply over time, even if they are at the breast a lot! (There are many reasons why a baby might struggle to transfer milk effectively. Their feedings might take a very long time, or they may fatigue easily at the breast. If you suspect this, it’s a good time to call a lactation consultant). But, compared to pumps, babies are usually more efficient at removing milk, due to the additional stimulation, warmth and eye contact inducing more milk-making hormones. Expressing milk, however, is very effective for some, and is a necessity for breastfeeding moms who work outside of the home or are separated from their babies.

For more about milk production, look for a future post all about how to maintain a good milk supply!

If you need support in the meantime, an IBCLC, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, can help answer your questions about supply and foods to support lactation, help you determine if baby is getting enough, or troubleshoot concerns even before your baby arrives!


breastfeeding class

Why Take a Breastfeeding Class?

Why Take a Breastfeeding Class?

We are pleased to present a guest blog by Shira Johnson, IBCLC . 

Breastfeeding is natural, right? Well, yes… But it doesn’t always come naturally!

Just like parents educate themselves about pregnancy and birth, it’s valuable to have basic knowledge about breastfeeding before baby arrives (we don’t read up on childbirth while in labor, after all). Breastfeeding is a relationship, a complex dance between mom and baby, and many factors influence how each pair works together. Even if mom knows just what to do, it might not come as easily for baby (or vice versa!). Getting off to a good start begins at birth, and in the hours and days following. Having resources and realistic expectations can help.

Facts about Breastfeeding Education

  • Parents who receive prenatal breastfeeding education have more successful breastfeeding outcomes
  • Fears about breastfeeding? Have you heard horror stories from well-meaning friends or family members? Are you worried you’ll have to restrict your diet, worried about making enough milk, or about breastfeeding in public? You’re not alone! These unknowns and concerns are common, and they undoubtedly influence our expectations! It’s no fun to head into something feeling nervous or skeptical. Having a basic understanding and being prepared with tools and resources can set the stage for success.
  • Many parents who start off breastfeeding don’t meet their own breastfeeding goals. Many stop breastfeeding before 6 months, despite health guidelines (by the American Association of Pediatrics, as well as the World Health Institute) to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and provide breastmilk for a minimum of 1 to 2 years. Yet in 2016, only 22% of babies were exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and only 50% were still received any breastmilk at 6 months. Most parents start off breastfeeding, but many stop before these suggested guidelines.
  • The most commonly-reported reasons for early weaning (such as concerns about milk supply/production, pain associated with breastfeeding, and going back to work) are typically addressed in a breastfeeding class, preparing parents with information and resources to successfully troubleshoot these most common challenges and obstacles.
  • What’s so great about breastmilk, anyway? Most of us have heard “breast is best” and similar hype about the magical health benefits of breastmilk. Well, there’s a reason for this. New research continues to come out every year about amazing discoveries around the functions and content of breastmilk. While formula might be nutritionally complete (and is an invaluable tool, when needed), the nutrients in it are not as bioavailable (not as easy for the body to access or utilize). Also, formula does not have the amazing protective and immune functions that breastmilk has. Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or have diabetes later in life, and breastfeeding reduces risk of cancer not just for baby but also for mom! Breastfed babies tend to get sick less often, and recover from illness more quickly than their formula-fed peers. The majority of parents who sign up for a breastfeeding class are often already planning to breastfeed, but if you’re on the fence about breastfeeding, or are concerned about whether it is worth the effort, these cool facts might inspire you. A breastfeeding class can help you weigh your baby-feeding options. There is certainly no shame in feeding your baby in any way you choose to. But having more information can help this choice be an easier one to make.


If you are a parent who plans to breastfeed or just wants more information, if you’re curious about how it all works, how to do it, whether or not it’s “for you”, how to return to work as a breastfeeding mom, or if you have any concerns, fears or simple curiosity and a desire to learn more, then a breastfeeding class is for you!


Alyssa Veneklase Doula

Meet Your Gold Coast Doula – Alyssa

We love asking our Gold Coast Doulas questions so you get to know them a bit more. Meet our co-owner, Alyssa Veneklase and learn about her inspirations and her travel adventures.

1) What did you do before you became a doula?

For the past 15 years I was in the construction/real estate business doing everything from interior design and marketing, to safety and human resources. My favorite part of what I did was working with people, both clients and employees. I also enjoyed my role as director of charitable giving. I’ve always had a heart for children and families, so serving on committees and boards was a top priority.

2) What inspired you to become a doula?

When I became pregnant I began to research everything. I became a wealth of knowledge and before I knew it, I was the one my friends and family reached out to for help, resources, and guidance. Once I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to help other mothers and other families during the prenatal and early postpartum stages.

4) Tell us about your family

I have been married to my husband, Bradley, for 5 1/2 years. We love to travel together and now have an almost 4-year old who loves to travel with us! She’s a beautiful, bright, witty, and sometimes sassy little girl who keeps us smiling.

5) What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 

Before having our daughter, my husband and I took a 3 week trip to Thailand. It was the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen (better than Hawaii). The people were kind and generous. The food was spectacular. The water was crystal clear and the beaches were stunning. We think of it often.

6) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.
I have so many I don’t know how I will choose. So I’ll list the first 5 that pop into my head:
Leonard Cohen – His voice. I mean, come on. And his lyrics are beautiful.
Stevie Wonder – I can’t help but dance in my seat when his songs are playing.
Depeche Mode – My favorite band from the 80’s. I know all the lyrics and love singing them out loud.
Vampire Weekend – Again, when I hear their songs I just have to dance. They’re fun and make me smile.
Sia – She has the most incredible voice and uses it so creatively. She also has the best music videos.

7) What is the best advice you have given to new families?

The most recent example is suggesting a client and her husband make it a priority to have a date night. They always had excuses why they couldn’t do it, so I told them I would do whatever I needed to make it happen. They went on their first date night after having their baby and came back giggly and holding hands.

8) What do you consider your doula superpower to be?

My super power is making people feel comfortable and at ease. Inviting a stranger into your home, your sacred space, is a big deal. I have the ability to listen, observe, and figure out the family dynamic and how I can best be utilized. I can tell when a mother needs me to jump right in and tell her what needs to be done, and I can tell when a mother just wants to sit for a while and have someone listen to her.
9) What is your favorite food?

Probably a good steak and some brussel sprouts.10) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast?

My husband and I got married in Union Pier along the coast at a little resort called the Fire Fly Inn. I am very fond of that little town now.

11) What are you reading now?

Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf.
12) Who are your role models?
I have a few close friends that I adore and are positive and uplifting role models. My husband is always my voice of reason.


camping with kids

Tips for Camping with Children

We are pleased to present a guest blog with helpful tips for camping with kids from Courtney Garveink. Courtney was a birth doula with Gold Coast and a HypnoBirthing instructor.

As I sit here now, my husband and two girls, ages 5 and 4, are in our garage working on our fishing boat. Well, my husband is working. The girls are probably climbing up and down the ladder, in and out of the boat, pretending to talk over the CB radio, and swirling around on the seats.

We have several week-long camping and fishing vacations set for the year. My husband, who is a very good handy-man, likes to be super ready for our trips, so he starts prepping for summer vacations in the winter…this is our normal. We have taken our children fishing and/or camping since they were in my tummy. It’s the kind of vacationing we love most. Spending time together, showing our children the beauty of animals and nature.

We don’t live in a large city, or even a city at all. The closest gas station is about 5 miles away. So, when we choose our vacations for the year, it’s not too surprising that we like to be around nature, camp fires, a lake, hiking, and waterfalls. If you are thinking, “This sounds good but I have babies or little ones”, then hopefully you’ll find some good advice in what I write. We are certainly not experts on the subject, but may be able ease your concerns of how to start getting into the camping spirit while your children are little with some ideas on some low-maintenance vacationing.

It started when I was about 6 months pregnant with our first daughter. We’d take family trips to the U.P. to a large inland lake and go walleye fishing. There were about 15 of us that would rent a large house for the week and fish morning, afternoon, and evening. My husband and I were fishing in a little 14-foot fishing boat. Again, the following year, when our daughter was about 9 months old and I was pregnant with our next, we made the 10-hour drive to the west end of the U.P. with that same little fishing boat. This time we packed what felt like everything we owned, except a bed, in the boat and our truck. We even packed up the highchair and baby bullet (I was making baby food through the week), extra blankets for the bottom of the boat, extra toys and books, a little life jacket and lots of sunscreen for our little ginger. When we went out to fish, we laid a blanket or two down on the floor of the boat with a few toys and books, lotioned the little one with sunscreen, put a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses on her and set our lines in the water.  We had a large beach umbrella that we tried to rig up, but it was a little top heavy to secure to the 30 year old aluminum watercraft, so we propped it inside the boat and tried to make a little fort with the beach towel to block some sun.  Hey…we were new to parenting and using what resources we had.  Each year gets better!

Now that they’re older, we try to find some falls to take the girls hiking to or a beach to look for gems. They’ve seen bear, deer, and eagles and yet they still get excited about chipmunks and squirrels. They’ve caught walleye, perch, and blue gill, which is so fun to see.

In recent years, we’ve started camping. We aren’t “camper” campers…no, we have a tent that sleeps all of us, including our 6 year old lab. Yes, he goes on all our vacations, and has his own bed in our tent and fishes too. When the girls are sleeping-in in the mornings, he is my husband’s fishing buddy on the boat. Luckily, we have been able to upgrade to a little bigger boat so we all have a bit more room to fish or play.

We have a designated boat bag for the girls that includes coloring books and crayons, reading books, blanket, extra sunscreen and some snacks…don’t forget toilet paper and a garbage bag…they have been known to hang over the side of the boat to go potty, after making the mistake of forgetting a bucket.

But back to the tent camping. We like to find state parks on decent inland lakes that look family friendly with clean bathhouses, playgrounds, maybe a beach area to go swimming. First thing we do when we arrive is set up our tents. We have an older tent from when my husband and I would camp. We use that tent like a storage room where we put all our clothes, pantry food, cookware, toys, etc. If it isn’t too warm and the girls want to get out of the sun for a bit, they go in there and color or play. Having a second “storage” tent has worked quite well. My husband can wake up early and get ready without ruffling our tent while we are still sleeping. Our sleeping tent is just that…for sleeping. I have a small battery operated lantern that we hang from the “ceiling” for the girls since at home they like a night light.

We all sleep on air mattresses with sleeping bags and pillows. The girls each have their own twin size mattress and glow in the dark sleeping bag, which they think is the greatest because it’s their very own and obviously, it glows! They each take a couple stuffed animals from home and tuck them in their sleeping bags with them at night. If they wake early and must go potty, the bathhouse is usually not far. I try to find campsites near them, for that reason.

Meals are planned before we leave for vacation. We try to do as much on open fire as we can for dinners. We have a grate that sits over the fire, hotdog sticks, and hobo pie makers. Cast iron skillets are amazing for breakfast and easy to clean. We take a large, cheap stock pot for washing whatever doesn’t go in the fire after use. I pack a tote with pantry foods and a tote with all my seasonings and kitchen supplies, which gets organized in the storage tent. I also have a tote designated for handy things I may or may not need…extension cord, duct tape, first aid, bug spray, axe for splitting wood, fire starter bricks, plastic bags, paper products, sunscreen…It probably sounds like we have sunscreen stashed in several areas, and we do, we are all fair skin with strawberry/red hair so sunscreen is very important when we are camping or on the water.

We found we like bug bracelets better than bugspray. They have 40 hours of wear and the children don’t stink like bug spray when the bracelets come off (I think we found them at Babies R Us but I believe Meijer has them as well).

Children are super adaptable. They don’t need extravagant vacations. When they were babies, I would think, “This seems like too much work just to vacation”. But we found they love it, they look forward to it every year, they remember years past, and little friends they’ve made that have become “pen pals”.

As the years progress, they are able to last longer in the boat before they are ready to go back. They each have their own fishing pole and tackle box that my husband gradually adds tackle to so they can pick their own when he sets up their lines. They also get to pick their bait, which are leeches and worms. My 5 year old loves playing with leeches, chasing me around the boat, laughing as I beg her to stop and nearly climb out of the boat because she knows I get squirmy with them! (Gross!) We’ve gone on nature walks through trails in the U.P. that end at look out points to beautiful waterfalls which are some of my favorite days, and costs very little money.

Checking out of social media and technology and just being together and doing things as a whole family is where our best memories are made. We spend our vacations as a family this way because we truly enjoy teaching our children these things and showing them an appreciation for all of nature.

Things don’t have to be harder because we have children. Sometimes it’s going back in time and becoming a kid at heart again to enjoy the simple things. That sounds cliché, but sometimes that’s when we connect best with our children.


Meet Your Babywearing Educator–Ashley Forton

Gold Coast Doulas is thrilled to feature Ashley Forton in our latest Q&A about her experiences with babywearing. Reach out if you are interested in booking a babywearing consult with Ashley.

1) What did you do before you became a babywearing educator, HypnoBirthing Instructor and Doula?
I have a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from GVSU. I have been a nanny, worked at an adult foster care home, and most recently was an insurance claims adjuster.  Now I am a full time a babywearing educator, HypnoBirthing Instructor and Doula.

2) What inspired you to become a babywearing educator?
I began using baby carriers when my daughter was a few days old and I immediately fell in love with it.  As my experience and knowledge grew I knew I wanted to help other parents and caregivers experience the joy and confidence that babywearing gave me.

3) Tell us about your own babywearing experiences.
When my daughter was born, I had been gifted a Moby (stretchy wrap) and an Ergo (soft structured carrier).  I started using the Moby wrap and a pouch sling when Elliot was a few days old.  One of my favorite memories is taking her to see the Stanley Cup when she was a few weeks old.  She slept in my sling the entire time we waited in line and I didn’t need to lug around the car seat! As she got older I started using the ergo and also learned to love woven wraps and ring slings. Babywearing has allowed my husband and I to bring our children on some amazing adventures.  We hiked Red Rocks and St. Mary’s Glacier in Colorado with my daughter on my back! After my son was born I began using my carriers even more frequently. Having two free hands while snuggling a newborn is especially beneficial when you have a toddler J We have had many camping trips with both kids (setting up a tent and chasing a toddler with newborn would have been impossible without babywearing!).  The benefits of babywearing haven’t been enjoyed by just me.  My husband loved being able to unload the dishwasher while snuggling a baby when I was working late.  Even grandpa has gotten in on the action and has soaked up the snuggles while taking my kids on walks.

4) What is your favorite carrier and why?
Tough question! I have a lot of love for a lot of different types of carriers, for different reasons. Lately I tend to wear whatever my opinionated toddler picks 😉 He has been bringing me woven wraps and ring slings the most often. I love that I have been able to wear my babies in them when they were newborns and I can still wear both of my big kids in them!

5) Do you wear babies during postpartum doula visits?
I am always happy to use a family’s carrier when caring for their child.  Wearing their child during a postpartum shift helps me get some housework done so they can just rest.

6) What is the best advice you have given to new moms?
Trust your instinct.  If it feels right to snuggle and hold your baby more than putting them down, then do it! In your arms is one of the best places for your baby to be and babywearing can help you hold your baby and still get things done.

7) What do you consider your babywearing superpower to be?
Sharing my love for babywearing.  I have been told my love and enthusiasm for babywearing is contagious 😉 I am a big fan of things that bring new families, joy, excitement, confidence, and the freedom to do what they need when they need to without sacrificing bonding time with their child. I can’t help but be super enthusiastic about it and I hope you will be too!

8) What is your favorite food?
I love spicy foods, the hotter the better! I crave Mexican most often. I also love Thai, Ethiopian, and Lebanese foods. And sushi!  I am not a picky eater and really love trying new things.

9) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
Grand Rapids will always hold a special place in my heart. I love all the festivals, the sports teams, the museums, endless breweries and phenomenal restaurants. It has a small town feel with some big city perks and it is a short drive from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.

10) What are you reading now?
Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read.

11) Who are your babywearing role models?
I have really admired Babywearing Faith, Wrapping Rachel, and Hedwych of Wrap You In Love.  All three of those women inspired me to try new carriers, new carries, and to become an educator myself.

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diaper drive collection

Gold Coast Doulas Diaper Drive

Gold Coast Doulas is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 1 with a giveback event at Nestlings Diaper Bank located at 650 Riley Street, Ste. L in Holland. We are laughing the diaper drive with a  free event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children are welcome. There will be food, refreshments, a photo booth, kids’ activities and giveaways. There will be diaper wrapping activities from 10 to 11 a.m.

Diaper donations are welcome at the time of the event and throughout the month of September at Smedley Dental and the Howard Miller Library in Zeeland; Untangled Salon, Brann’s, EcoBuns and The Insurance Group in Holland; Hudsonville Congregational United Church of Christ, and Gold Coast Doulas LLC, SimplyBorn Midwifery services, Renew Mama Studio, Midwifery Matters Community Center and Hop Scotch children’s store in the Grand Rapids area. Visit for more information. Dropoff days and hours vary by location.

The diaper drive coincides with National Diaper Awareness Needs week, Sept. 26 – Oct. 2. Diaper Need Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), created make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.3 million babies in the U.S. aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families.

Diaper sizes four, five and six the most needed sizes. Nestlings also accepts baby wipes, cloth diapers and open packages of diapers.

About Gold Coast Doulas
Gold Coast Doulas is the area’s first doula agency offering birth doula support, overnight and daytime postpartum doula support, bedrest support, HypnoBirthing classes, placenta encapsulation and babycare classes. They serve Greater Grand Rapids and the lakeshore communities.

About Nestlings Diaper Bank
Nestlings was founded in 2011 and has distributed over 375,00 diapers in West Michigan. 75,000 of them were in 2016, which helped an estimated 3,000 families.


Cesarean Brith

Cesarean Birth Photography Tips

Gold Coast Doulas is pleased to present a guest blog from Bri Luginbill of the People Picture Company. Bri is a Grand Rapids photographer with a passion for photographing families, seniors, babies all of the people and events that enrich and define our lives. She also has years of experience photographing children with special needs. Each and every child is an inspiration, constantly reminding her of how joyful life is. Bri offers birth and newborn photography services to Gold Coast Doula clients.

 Besides photography, Bri enjoys DIY crafting, yoga, calligraphy and thrift store shopping – her whole wardrobe is stocked full of finds from Goodwill.

5 Tips for Taking Photos During a Cesarean Birth

As a birth photographer, capturing moments before and after a birth are some of the most honorable events I have been a part of for my clients. There are very rare times when a birth photographer is not allowed in the room. When an event like this happens, I want to equip the family members with techniques on how to capture the best photographs. One instance where a birth photographer may not be allowed into the room is during a cesarean birth. It’s an important time and will be great memories to look back on. The best camera to use in this instance is your camera phone.


Tip #1 Use your Camera Phone

Camera phones are fantastic for capturing a cesarean birth. Usually you’ll always have your phone on you, so it’s the perfect camera to use in an emergency situation. Also, when you go into the OR, you will be required to wear hospital scrubs. The scrubs they give you have pockets that phones fit in perfectly!

Tip #2 If able, get a stool or chair

Rooms can get crowded with lots of people and the more height you have, the better you will capture the birth and be out of the way of doctors and nurses.

Tip #3 Turn off your flash

During a procedure like this, flash should be turned off of your camera phone. You actually don’t even need it because normally, there will be bright lights directed where the cesarean is happening as to see most optimally for the doctors and nurses. Also, flash can be distracting to the process.


Tip #4 Good Exposure

Exposure is how light or dark your photo will look when you take the picture. When taking photos, you want to make sure you can see both the bright and dark parts of the photograph as well as you can. Your phone camera automatically tries to do this. To make sure you can see detail in both the light and dark areas, make sure to first move and focus the camera on the midtones of the photograph. The phone will then adjust and make sure the exposure is correct for the perfectly lit photo! You can usually focus before taking a picture by touching the middle of your phone screen while it’s on camera mode, before pressing the camera button to take the photo.


 Tip #5 Enjoy the Precious Moment

Enjoy the moment while taking photos. I usually tear up when I see the baby for the first time and I’m not even family! Be prepared to click photos through happy tears! 🙂

*All photos were taken by Bri Luginbill of The People Picture Company. Thank you to Marianna and Dan Yost and baby Nora Frances for sharing your cesarean story with Gold Coast readers.