Budgeting for a doula

How To Pay For Your Doula

We had a client recently tell us that our costs are too low for what all we offer for pregnancy and birth support. We certainly agree with him as we are on call for clients 24-7 from the moment they sign a contract with us. Some births are two hours and others are multiple days. We miss holidays, birthdays, and plan our vacations around client due dates. We love this work, but it does take a toll on us emotionally and physically. Doulas often add the “unless I am at a birth” clause to every social invite. This work is rewarding, but very unpredictable.

Our Gold Coast Doulas team is worth much more than our current rates, but we want a teacher to be able to hire us without a huge financial strain.  We go above and beyond to make all of our clients feel like VIPs because they are. Even with our exceptional service, clients often ask us how we can help make doula support work with their budgets.

We are thrilled that most HSA and FSA plans now consider birth doulas as a qualified medical expense. Many Gold Coast clients choose to allocate their HSA or FSA funds to pay for doula support.  Unfortunately, standard insurance doesn’t cover doula support in Michigan at this time. Hopefully that changes in the near future.

We are finding more and more grandparents or friends wanting to gift postpartum doula support or classes to our clients. We can make custom baby shower inserts and can create gift cards for any of our services. We are also on the online and in-store baby registry at Ecobuns Baby & Co in Holland. Why not reduce the baby shower clutter and ask for a postpartum or birth doula instead? We aim to make your life easier during a time of many transitions.

Gold Coast offers payment plans for most of our services once the standard deposit is made. We also accept credit cards, cash, money orders, and checks. We are a professional business and as a result do not barter for chickens or canned goods, although we do believe in supporting our local farmers with our own money.

We offer packages if you purchase one or more classes or services as we want you to feel supported and prepared as you start or grow your family. This makes adding on services more affordable and gives you the VIP support you are looking for. We are happy to customize any options just for you. Please reach out and email us with any questions or fill out our contact form. We are here to help.


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Doula Support for Adoptive Families

Most parents probably don’t think about hiring a doula if they aren’t pregnant. They think of a birth doula only supporting a laboring mother, but that couldn’t be farther from reality. Birth doulas can support any parent. Postpartum doulas can support adoptive families by helping them to prepare for baby’s arrival and in-home after baby arrives. There are so many ways doulas can support families that are adopting!

At Gold Coast we are focused on educating parents. We offer several prenatal and postnatal classes to help new parents navigate this new territory. We offer a Newborn Survival class that goes over essentials of surviving those first few weeks and months home with your baby. Real life scenarios and raw topics are discussed to help parents feel confident in their roles.

We also offer a Prenatal Stress class. This is designed for any parent, pregnant or adopting, to understand the affects that stress has on a developing child’s brain, not just throughout pregnancy but through their growing years as well.

Infant Massage is a great way for adoptive parents to bond with a new baby. Our instructor offers classes as well as private in-home instruction. Another great way to bond is babywearing. We have a certified babywearing expert that does in-home instruction and can show you how to safely use your carrier(s).

For parents that might be bringing multiples home (twins or even triplets) we offer a Preparing for Multiples class, and we have a postpartum doula that is a mother of twins herself. Her in-home support, expertise, tips, and tricks are invaluable!

If grandparents will be primary care givers, we offer a class called The Modern Grandparent that updates them on the latest safety information as well as informs them about today’s parent and how parenting styles differ from generations past.

Our lactation consultant can help adoptive mothers induce lactation and can also offer advice about chest feeding.

At Gold Coast, our postpartum doulas are available day and night. Daytime support includes help with baby bonding, newborn care, help with older siblings, meal prep, and evidence based resources. Your postpartum doula is your trusted guide for anything baby related. Overnight support allows parents to get a full nights rest while the doula takes care of the baby through the night. The doula will feed the baby, burp, change diapers, etc allowing the parent(s) to get as much rest as possible knowing there is an experienced professional caring for their child. 

A postpartum doula is an amazing gift idea for baby showers! We can create a custom insert for your shower invitations and you can also register online for any of our services at EcoBuns Baby + Co online.

We also offer Gentle Sleep Consultations. Sleep is critical for adults and babies. Babies needs proper sleep for brain development and physiological growth. Parents need sleep to help manage the day to day obstacles of parenthood as well as for basic health and wellness.

We also have doulas specially trained in grief that can help you through loss.

Some of the trusted resources we suggest to families are:

Kelly Mom Athough there is alot of information about breastfeeding on this site, there are some relevant parenting and adoptive parenting tips as well.

This link features several apps our clients like.

The Baby Connect Tracker App is also popular with our clients.

At Gold Coast Doulas, we pride ourselves on being the premier doula agency in West Michigan. We offer judgment-free support to all families regardless of their parenting styles. We are here for your family, wherever you are in your journey.


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sleep coach

Sleeping Through the Holidays

Right when you get your child on a good schedule something inevitably comes up that makes it difficult to stay on track. We just went through the dreaded daylight savings (the worst for adults too!). Right now we are in the midst of the holidays. Here are some sleep tips for keeping your children’s sleep schedules on track.

If you’re traveling and driving, try to time the car rides over nap times. For instance, if you have a three hour drive and you know little Johnny takes his afternoon nap from 12:30 – 2:30, hit the road at noon and do some singing or stimulate him for a while until he gets drowsy and falls asleep. Then when you are almost there, he should wake up!

If you are flying, naps can be tricky. If you have a baby, holding the baby to sleep usually works. But if you have an 18 month old, you might have to prepare yourself for a no nap situation that day. In this instance, be sure to get them down to bed a bit early that night.

What if you’re traveling somewhere with a time change? Ugh..every parent dreads this no matter the age of your child. If you’re only going for a couple days, keep the child on their normal schedule. That means if they go to bed at 7pm and there’s a 2 hour difference, you put them to bed at 5pm. I know this messes up party plans but you’ll have to think ahead. Bring a pack and play for your baby or a blow up mattress for your older child and put them to bed in a dark room with a sound machine at their normal bed time.

If you’re traveling and staying for an extended period of time, slowly move their bedtime back in 30 minute increments until they’re at a more reasonable bedtime. Then before you leave to go back home, move that bedtime back to the normal time slowly. If you wait to move the bedtime back until you’re home, just know that you’ll have 2-3 days of adjusting to deal with.

If you’re hosting a party in the afternoon during a normal nap time, let everyone know that your child will be sleeping. Don’t let them stay up just because Grandma wants to cuddle. They will have to wait until your child wakes up. During a party, that sound machine may need to be turned up a bit louder than normal.

Remember that sleep is a priority and stand firm when a friend or relative says, “Oh, just let him stay up.” Easy for them to say!

Happy Holidays and Happy Napping!

For a customized sleep plan for your family’s travel plans, contact me today!

Alyssa is a Certified Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, and Gentle Sleep Consultant.


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Cindy's Suds

Podcast Episode #17: How to Find a Babysitter You Trust

On this episode of Ask the Doulas, Alyssa and Cindy talk about how to find a babysitter that you trust to watch your kids.  You can listen to this entire podcast epidode on iTunes and Soundclound. 

Alyssa: Hi, welcome to another episode of Ask the Doulas.  I am Alyssa, and I’m here with Cindy from Cindy’s Suds.

Cindy:  Hi.

Alyssa: I’m kind of throwing this topic at her because we had a question asked: how do you find babysitters?  So we have these moms who are having babies, and then let’s say they don’t have friends and family around.

Cindy:  We were fortunate in that my mom lives in the area, and my sister lived in the area when we had our kids, when they were younger.  So we were fortunate that we had family babysitters at the ready, but my parents started traveling a few years after we had kids, and so then I needed to get a babysitter, somebody that I had on standby instead of my dear mom and my sister.  So it was interesting because it’s very challenging trying to find a sitter who you trust with your most precious possession, which is your child or your children.  I think in an earlier episode, you and I had talked about interviewing preschools and schools.

Alyssa: Yeah, pediatricians and stuff.

Cindy:  It’s no different with babysitters, and so that’s the thing that I started doing when we needed to find a babysitter is I started interviewing, and I started asking friends for babysitter referrals.  If I had a babysitter that I liked, that I would use periodically, I would ask them if they had friends that also were sitters.  But I did my due diligence, just like we talked about for pediatricians or for schools.  I interviewed them, and I had them with me and my kids for a while so I could see them interact with my children, and that was a huge tell-tale for how they would interact with kids.  It’s surprising how some babysitters are naturally so great with kids, and others that claim to be babysitters would sit on the ground and have no idea how to interact with kids.  So it’s kind of interesting just the whole gamut of what kind of person you’re going to get when you really start looking for a sitter, and I would just really make sure that if you’re in that boat, you do some interviewing, just like you would do for pediatricians or schools or whatever.

Alyssa: Yeah, I think having – I see a lot of clients who don’t even want a babysitter because they’re so scared to leave them.  So I tell them a good middle ground; like, ease your way into it; have them come over while you’re home.  It’s almost like a mother’s helper role.  You pay them a little bit less just to say, hey, come over for two hours.  Will you watch my son or daughter while I cook or nap – not nap, probably, because you want to watch them, but maybe cook or clean or just get some errands done around the house.  Really start to feel comfortable with that person before you leave the house.

Cindy:  I agree 100%, and that’s what I did, too, for our sitters when we were looking for them.  You want them in your home with you there so that you can have that mom-ear to hear and to listen for interaction.  And also if they have questions; they can ask you while you’re there, and you can kind of guide them through what your son or daughter may like, not like, you know, different things like that.  Even changing diapers – this is a funny story.  My sister was in her 20s when she first started babysitting for us, and I guess I assumed that she would remember how to change diapers from when she had babysat 10 years prior, and the first time that we had left her with our daughter who was little, maybe four or five months at the time, when we came home from whatever event that my husband and I had to go to, her diapers was on backwards!  Which cracked me up because she’s like, 22, 23, and this must have been something that she couldn’t quite remember.

Alyssa: The Velcro goes in back!

Cindy:  Right, right.

Alyssa: At least you realized it before bedtime and woke up to a huge mess in the middle of the night.

Cindy:  Right.  And we actually were cloth diapering, but we left some disposables thinking that it would be easier than a cloth diaper, and even that must have thrown her.  So very funny because she’s my sister that has quadruplets, so she actually has really had to get it.

Alyssa: Now she knows how to change a diaper!

Cindy: Now she knows how to change diapers!  But yeah, I think it’s great if you’re able to be there with the babysitter, a couple of hours at a time here, a couple of hours at a time there.  You’ll really get an idea of how they interact with your children, and that is by far the best way to really weed out who you want to watch your children.

Alyssa: So our first-time moms do that, and then by the time you have kid number two or three, they’re like, we don’t even care.  Just give me somebody.

Cindy:  And references from friends, like if you have friends that have said, hey, so-and-so is great.  I think that’s a super valuable resource, too, because now you’ve got this person who’s kind of been vetted by a friend of yours already, so that’s a good option.

Alyssa: Neighbors, too.  You know, we have a couple girls in our neighborhood who can literally walk here, and that’s really convenient, especially if they’re not 16 yet, you know, if you trust a 14- or 15-year-old with your kid and they can just walk here.

Cindy:  And I think the nice thing about a 14- or 15-year-old, when you have an older child, that’s a great age compliment.

Alyssa: Yeah.  It’s almost like they’re not embarrassed to be silly; does that make sense?

Cindy:  Right, exactly.

Alyssa: But if you get an 18-year-old, and they’re like, hmm.

Cindy:  Exactly; that is so true.  And so if you just need somebody for the day, you know, if you’re running errands during the day, if you’ve got a daytime meeting, I think that age bracket is actually a more fun age bracket.  If your kids are between the ages of three, four to maybe eight or so, that’s a super fun age for that younger teen to babysit because they can be silly and they can be fun, and if they’re in your neighborhood, they can walk over, and how great is that?  So that’s super convenient, too.

Alyssa: Yeah, I think it gets easier as your kids get older.  When you have an infant, I’d say up until one, right, you really want somebody experienced.  I had one babysitter I trusted, and she was CPR-certified, and I knew her family.  So it’s different if you’re not hiring a nanny or a postpartum doula or you don’t have your mom, but even if you’re having a caregiver, like your grandparents as caregivers or baby’s grandparents, I got nervous about that when my parents watched her because they were 35 years out of the game, and they didn’t know all these things that have changed in 34 years.  Unplanned segue; we have The Modern Grandparent class that we teach.  So it just updates grandparents on all these things and how to be great babysitters.  Let’s talk about SIDS and crib safety, Back to Sleep, how to bottle-feed, how to support the mom if she’s a breastfeeding mom.

Cindy:  That’s a perfect thing to think about as well, because they haven’t been sitting; they haven’t watched kids in many, many years, and things have changed.

Alyssa: I mean, if your sister after 10 years forgot how to put a diaper on correctly, what do the grandparents forget in 35 years, sometimes 40?  We’ve got moms who are 40, so when you have grandparents as caregivers, it’s also a source of anxiety.  Babysitters in general, just especially for new parents; it’s stressful.

Cindy:  It’s so nerve-wracking.  The first time I left my daughter, I cried and cried and cried.  I had a miserable night out, and it’s because you feel as a mom like you’re the only person that can take care of your child.  And while you may feel that, that’s probably not true.  But you’ve got to really feel good about the sitter so that you can enjoy yourself because the whole purpose of having a babysitter is maybe to either reconnect with your husband, have a date night, go to meetings.  It’s so that you can really establish who you are again, whether that’s the work force or different groups or events that you were a part of before you had a baby.  You need to feel comfortable with that sitter so that you can get back to remembering who you are as a person before you were a mom, which I think is super easy for us as moms to forget about the person who we were before we became a mom.  I think we can kind of separate and draw a line: “Now I’m a mom; now I can’t do the things that I did beforehand.”  So finding that sitter, whether it’s a grandparent who has gone through the grandparenting class that you guys offer, or if it’s a sitter that actually has done some CPR certification training or is super involved with other kid groups or that’s she’s been around children a lot, so she is comfortable.  You just need to make sure that you’re finding a babysitter who you can completely trust so that you can enjoy whatever activity you’re doing to need the sitter in the first place.

Alyssa: Yeah, if it’s supposed to be an enjoyable night out, you want to enjoy it, and if you’re supposed to be at work, you need to be productive.  Crying at your desk all day is not productive.

Cindy:  Right, exactly.

Alyssa: Well, hopefully we gave everyone some good tips.  Babysitters can be tricky, but when you find a good one, don’t let them go.

Cindy:  Exactly, yeah.  They’re worth their weight in gold; they really are, so make sure that you find that one or two, and if you can have a couple, that’s nicer just because if you are – we had one that we loved when our kids were little, and when she wasn’t free, we didn’t go out.  And that’s also not really productive, either.  You really want to have a couple, a little group of sitters who you feel comfortable with and who your kids feel comfortable with.

Alyssa: We have several because some are high school students.  Some are college students.  Their schedules are all different, and I know that my high school girls are going to be graduating, and their schedules get different, and then the 14-year-olds are much more available than the 17- or 18-year-olds because now they’re getting into boyfriends and dating and all these events and maybe they have other jobs.  So I have to have a wide array because otherwise, yeah, if you have one sitter, you’re probably out of luck most of the time.  Because you’re not their only job; I bet they have other babysitting jobs.

Cindy:  Very true.

Alyssa: Well, thanks for sharing.  As always, you can find us at  Email us with ideas at  And then, Cindy, where can people find you?

Cindy:  You can find us on our website.  It’s, and you can also email me directly at  We’re carried locally in the Harvest Health stores, Kingma’s, Hopscotch, and several other local retailers.

Podcast Episode #17: How to Find a Babysitter You Trust Read More »

Newborn Survival

Podcast Episode #10: Dealing with Modern Medicine and Your Mother-in-Law

On this episode of Ask the Doulas, Alyssa and Cindy talk about dealing with input from family members, including your mother-in-law, about parenting and about the role modern medicine plays in being a parent.   You can also  listen to the podcast on iTunes. 

Alyssa:            Hi, welcome to Ask the Doulas with Gold Coast Doulas!  This is Alyssa.  I am co-owner and postpartum doula at Gold Coast.  Today’s episode is sponsored by Cindy’s Suds, and we actually have Cindy with us again today.  We had a question from a client about dealing with in-laws in their home, and Cindy and I have had an interesting conversation with her background as a physician’s assistant and dealing with parents bringing their children in and then maybe the role of the in-laws in that situation.  And then I obviously deal with that in-home in postpartum support.  So let’s start by giving some background on you as a PA and then how your outlook changed after doing a lot of research and creating your natural product line.

Cindy:            Okay.  Well, I worked in family practice, and so that means that I saw everything from birth, pregnancy, all the way to, obviously, the elderly.  So I kind of saw the whole gamut, which I loved because I love that I could see somebody starting out in their 20s, then getting married, and then getting pregnant and starting a family.  I absolutely love that because I could grow with them and get a window into their world and see how they’re transitioning from being a single person to being married to being a mom.  So, super fun; I completely loved it.  I worked in family practice for about 14 years.  In that time period, when I started, I was a single person.  I hadn’t been married yet, and so it was interesting even for me professionally to grow from “this is what you do” to all of a sudden being married and being like, wow, there’s a whole dynamic here, being married.  And then wow, wait a minute, now as a mom, my whole “this is what you do” completely changed because no longer is it what the books say that you should advise a patient on.  Now it’s like, well, let me give you some background.

Alyssa:            I have some experience now.

Cindy:            I have experience in this now, so it’s really great, and I think that was just a really neat part of being a PA is being able to bring in my own experiences.  And that’s part of, I think, life anyway.  We’re all given so many different experiences; we can come along each other and say hey, this is what I’ve learned and if I can help you, then we can kind of help each other grow.

Alyssa:            In a supportive way.

Cindy:             In a supportive way.

Alyssa:            Because I can think it can end up being judgmental as well.  Here’s my experience –

Cindy:            Right, you do it my way or the highway.  And I actually saw that sometimes because sometimes a patient would come in with her brand new baby, and in tow would be either Mom or Mother-in-law, kind of this hovering presence, and instantly, as a provider, I would walk in and go, oh, I’m feeling the dynamic in the room; I’m feeling the tension in the room because you have Mom with her new baby, who is navigating the waters of what does it look like to be a new mom; what do I make of this; how do I do the best thing for my child?  And Grandma, who I know is well-intentioned, and Grandma has the biggest love and heart for Baby, too, but the way that it was done 40 years ago is not the way, even scientifically speaking, that we’ve learned may be the best way nowadays.  And so Grandma may come in with this preconceived idea of, “You do it my way, and if you’re not doing it my way, you’re going to ruin this kid’s life.”  And it’s really, really hard for the new mom to figure out how she can’t – you know, what do I do so I don’t offend my mom or mother-in-law, but also what do I do so that I’m being true to my own feelings and my own desires of how my husband and I want to raise our new baby?  And I feel like a lot of new moms are really pulled in different directions because they’re reading, and today’s mom is so informed, and they’re so much more educated in what it looks like to be a mom vs. when you had a baby 40 years ago.  Sometimes you were still knocked out; you woke up; baby’s in your arms.  This is what you do because this is what was always done.  It’s a very new world nowadays in parenting, and you have perhaps maybe a mother-in-law or mother that is coming into the situation with very different preconceived ideas than where you want to go parenting-wise.  So there’s a lot of – you’ve got to be kind of gentle on both sides because you need to do in your heart what is best for your new baby, but you also somehow need to teach Grandma that we really love your support, but this is the way that we’re choosing to do things.

Alyssa:            We actually created a class called The Modern Grandparent for that exact reason.

Cindy:             Love it!  Love it!

Alyssa:            We’ve had clients say these are really tricky waters to navigate.  “I want my mother or mother-in-law to be around.  They’re great caregivers, but they’ve been out of the game for 30-some years.”  And so the class actually, in a very gentle way, teaches them that this is your son or daughter’s family.  You have to let them parent the way they want to parent, and then update them on health and safety things.  You know, even talking about SIDS and that we keep the crib clean and we don’t lay them on their tummies anymore; it’s Back to Sleep, and just going over all these – you know, car seat safety, and really, really updating the grandparents so that Mom and Dad can feel comfortable with their parents as caregivers.  I think that’s huge.

Cindy:            Absolutely.  It’s huge because as a new mom, we all know how important it is to still keep that relationship strong with our husbands and still have a date night once in a while, but if your mom or mother-in-law is the babysitter that night, and you’re trying to have a nice dinner with your husband out, and you are terrified that Grandma is going to put baby to bed on their tummy or do things that you have specifically chosen to not do as a parent, it can really be upsetting, and you’re not going to be able to really let go.

Alyssa:            You don’t enjoy yourself.

Cindy:            No, you don’t.  Not at all.  So I think it’s great that you guys are offering this class because there’s a lot of education, I think, that needs to happen to grandmas, whether it’s your own mom or your mother-in-law, so that a grandma can now be a supportive person to you instead of more like a hovering “you do it my way” kind of personality, and that can just be so hard.

Alyssa:            How would you deal with that in the medical world?  Like this family comes in and you have the hovering grandmother?  Is she sometimes trying to tell you how to do things, or what’s best for baby?

Cindy:            A lot of times they can be fairly vocal and say, “Well, when my daughter was a baby…”  And then I kind of would gently say, “Well, gosh, you know, you’re absolutely right.  When you were parenting your daughter 35 years ago, that is exactly the standard that they said was the best.  But now there’s a new standard, and research has shown – etc.”  So I always try to validate that; “Oh, my gosh, you’re so right.  That’s exactly what was best protocol then” – because you don’t want Grandma to feel like, you know, what are you thinking by doing this or that?  Because she honestly is wanting what’s best for the baby.  So if you validate, “You’re right.  That’s exactly what was the right way to do things back then, but nowadays, they’ve really made some new headway in research, and they’ve discovered this, and they’ve discovered that.”  So kind of validating and then redirecting to the newer research and the updated research so that Grandma doesn’t feel like an idiot, number one, because she’s there to help and she loves the baby and she loves her own child.  So you really want to validate Grandma, but then steer them into the latest facts so that they know that there has been a change because they’ve been out of parenting little babies for that long.  So you really want to kind of gently segue into, “The latest research shows; the latest studies show–” so they don’t feel bad.  So that was my role as a provider.  Then the pressure’s taken off of the new mom.  So the new mom is no longer feeling like she’s battling with her mother or mother-in-law.  It’s kind of taken the weight off of the new mom, and I see that as a doula, that’s a perfect role too, because as a doula you can come in and say, “That’s so great that you want to help Baby.  That’s so great that you want to be a great caretaker.  Have you heard that some of the new research shows, blah blah blah.”  So that way, the new mom doesn’t feel like she’s trying to pick sides between baby and her parent.

Alyssa:            Yeah, and I think that’s so important.  You don’t want them to feel like they’re being attacked, and you don’t want them to feel silly.  Like, oh, I’m stupid because I’m looking at data from 40 years ago.  I think validating that is really important; saying, “You obviously did a really great job because look at your kids.  But now, you know, here’s what’s changed, and let me show you why.”  Yeah, that’s great advice.  So when you started your company, were you still a PA?

Cindy:            Yes, yeah.  So I was still working as a PA, and I had my company on the side, and so the very early years of my company, I very, very intentionally kept it small because my role was mom to young kids because my kids were all quite young at the time.  I was working as a PA, and I also homeschool, so that’s a factor, too; that was another job, right?  And so I very intentionally – I kept feeling like I had horse reins that I would pull back, pull back, because I knew how it could quickly snowball to growing so fast, and I didn’t want that because my kids were little.  I was working as a PA; I was homeschooling.  So yeah, I worked as a PA for several years as I had Cindy’s Suds, so I did the two things for a while.

Alyssa:            And so you’re researching, studying medicine, and very westernized medicine, and having this mindset, and then you start to research this more holistic, natural – these remedies for very common ailments.  How did that affect how you treated clients, and did that become hard?

Cindy:            It did.  It really, really did because so many people want the quick fix, and so they would come in and say, “I don’t feel good.  I need an antibiotic.”  And I tried to be gentle and sit down and educate and say, “Well, let’s first see if there’s anything bacterial going on because if there’s not, really, viruses take about five days to completely run their course, and you just need rest.  You need to give your body some time to heal.  You can symptomatically treat if you want to with Tylenol or Advil, but you don’t need an antibiotic.” And I actually had several, several patients get angry.  “Well, I want one.” And being very adamant with, “This is what I want.  I came in; I need to be fixed.” And so it was hard because I’m trying to educate them on the fact that there are natural options out there; there are other things that you can do to stay healthy, to be healthy, and not necessarily turn instantaneously to prescriptions.  But I think there still is a large part of the population that is resistant to that and they want the quick fix.  We live in such a quick-fix-me world that people want that.

Alyssa:            Yeah.  But do you think just like with the mother-in-law who had a baby 40 years ago and thinks things are this way – is it that same age group thinking that well, an antibiotic fixes everything?  And they don’t know that, okay, let’s get enough sleep; let’s eat healthy; let’s cut out processed foods; let’s drink a lot of water and exercise; probiotics; all this good stuff – they have no idea.

Cindy:            Yeah, for sure.  And I think that’s where a lot of the education was coming in, that I would sit down and I would try to educate them on these things, but a lot of it is generational.  And so generationally, if this makes no sense to you, if you sound like you’re talking voodoo to them, they just – sometimes they just don’t get it, or maybe their minds are a little bit more closed off.  They may be a younger person.  Sometimes they do try to learn and be like, “Oh, I had no idea.  I’ll try that.”  But there are also others that were generationally – they were kind of set in their ways and their thought patterns, so it really depended on the patient, but it did get hard because I really felt torn because I really felt like there are so many great things to try first, and I’ve not turned my back on western medicine.  There is certainly a time and a place to use prescriptions and all the great things that have been discovered and new medications that are out there.  But first do no harm.  First try things that are safe.  First try things that are natural, and if these aren’t getting you to a place of healing or wellness, then start looking around.  What else could be going on?  And obviously if it’s something that’s obviously needing to be treated, you go right to that treatment first.  I mean, you’re not going to turn your back on, oh, this person has pneumonia.  Go home and rest.  But obviously you’re using your head in those situations, but a lot of times for the smaller, easier things, it’s just –

Alyssa:            Well, I think that’s preventative, right?  A lot of it is just, let’s prevent this small stuff.  I mean, there’s obviously big things.  Like you said, they’re going to happen.  You can’t just rub coconut oil on it and have it go away.

Cindy:             Right, exactly.

Alyssa:            So then your transition from the medical world to just doing your business – and you had said in our last episode that a lot of it was friends.  You had this overabundance of supply.  Your friends were like, “Oh, you should just sell this.”  You got into craft shows.  How much of that, like leaving the medical world to do this, had to do with this pull from, “I can’t really do this western medicine anymore.”  Or was it just more purely business?

Cindy:            It was actually several factors.  So I wouldn’t say that, oh, I left being a PA to exclusively focus on Cindy’s Suds because that’s not entirely accurate.  There were many things changing within the whole physician assistant profession that was bothersome to me.  The insurance companies were dictating so much of what we could and couldn’t do.  So you would come in and see me, and I’d go, oh, you know, listen, this is what you have; you need to get, say, a cat scan of your shoulder, whatever.  I would first have to look at your insurance and go, oh, gee, you’ve got this insurance.  I can’t do that yet.  I have to go to step one first, and then if step one fails, I have to go to step two.  So there were so many legalities that had changed –

Alyssa:            Even though you knew what you needed to do.

Cindy:            Oh, my word.  And it was – you felt like your hands were tied.  So even though – when I started practicing in 1996, it was a very, very different world than when I left in the late 2000s because you had to really check into what the insurance company wants me to do first, and I really felt that I could not practice with my head and my heart knowledge anymore.  I had to go see what this third party said that I could do to you and for you.  That was very frustrating.  At the time, my boss wanted me to work more, and that was also a factor.  My husband and I had decided we weren’t going to allow that to happen to our family because we had set up an amount of hours that we felt comfortable with me working per week, and adding to it was just not in the equation.  So it was that, and it was growing my company, as well.  So it was multi-faceted.  It was not just one thing, but the frustration with the current state of practicing health care was very, very high on the list, just that frustration of “I want to treat you this way, but I just can’t.  My hands are tied.”  And so that became a big factor in it, as well.

Alyssa:            I feel like that probably hasn’t gotten any better since you left, right?

Cindy:            It hasn’t, no.  My friends that still practice – it’s a very frustrating aspect of trying to practice modern medicine nowadays.  Very frustrating.

Alyssa:            Well, I think you gave us some really, really good tips in many areas.  So thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Cindy:             Absolutely.

Alyssa:            We will have you on again soon.

Cindy:             That sounds great.

Alyssa:            And you can find Cindy at

Cindy:            Absolutely.  We’ve got our website there; you can look on the website.  There’s product descriptions.  You can also contact me via the website or at if you have specific questions that I can help you out with.

Alyssa:            Awesome.  And you can find us at  Email us at  And you can find us on Facebook and Instagram.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our iTunes podcast.  Thanks.


Podcast Episode #10: Dealing with Modern Medicine and Your Mother-in-Law Read More »

Baby Shower Gifts

[un]common sense: Buy them what they asked for

[un]common sense is a blog about navigating through everyday life, using some common sense tips to make it just a bit easier, and sometimes a little more fun. Alyssa is a wife, mother, and postpartum doula who has some tricks up her sleeve and wants to share them with the world. Well now, don’t you feel lucky?

I recently attended a friend’s baby shower; the first I’ve been to in years. I was surprised to see that not much had changed since I had my own (over five years ago). The mother was showered with gifts alright, most of which she did not register for.

There’s nothing more annoying than opening boxes and gift bags filled with presents that your Aunt thinks “Is just the most adorable outfit ever” or your Grandmother says,”I just couldn’t pass up when I saw it!”

They have the best of intentions, but when it comes to having a baby, or babies, you don’t need extra stuff just because it’s adorable. You need practical, useful items that will make your life easier, not just make the baby or nursery look cute.

I remember after my baby showers having a pile of baby blankets, toys, and stuffed animals. What the heck was I going to do with all of it? I didn’t register for any of them, most of them were hideous, newborns don’t play with toys, and most importantly you can’t put any of that stuff in a crib, so why in the world would anyone think a baby needed all this stuff?

I returned what I could (blankets, onesies with silly phrases, gigantic toys, fancy pacifiers, stuffed animals) and donated whatever came without receipts and the stores wouldn’t take. I wonder how many hundreds of dollars were spent on those gifts, wasted. Wasted because it was not what I asked for! People took it upon themselves to decide what I needed for my baby instead of buying what I requested. It made all the time I spent researching what I needed, then registering for it, seem pointless.

So, I watched in agony as my friend opened up gift after gift that she did not register for. I watched as the mound of “Oh my god, it’s sooo soft!” blankets grew, the pile of “So stinkin’ cute!” stuffed animals overflowed, and the boxes of expensive newborn outfits began to stack up.

I wonder when people will get it? Baby showers are about the Mom and baby, not about them.

In-home support from a postpartum doula is the most wonderful gift you could give to new parents. If I could have taken the hundreds of dollars wasted on fuzzy leopard print blankets and extra large stuffed animals and put it toward a doula, you better believe I would have! My friend ended up getting a very generous amount gifted toward postpartum help because she requested it in her baby shower invites along with her registry.

If you are pregnant and planning to have baby showers, contact Gold Coast Doulas about a customized invitation stuffer. It’s an easy way to ask your friends and family for postpartum support.

The most common question I get asked as a Postpartum Doula is “What do you do for families?” It’s hard to answer because I consider my work to be fluid. It will change from family to family, and even day to day with the same family. One day a mother might need a nap, so I make sure the baby is cared for while she lies down, and maybe pick up the house a little or do some meal prep while she sleeps. The next day the same mother (because she got a nap) may be full of energy so we take our first outing together, be it to the grocery store or a walk around the block. If the mother has older children, she may feel like they’ve been neglected and want to spend some quality time with them; so again I will care for the newborn so she can focus on the older siblings.

Our services allow a mother to a nap or shower, drink a cup of tea, or finish her thank-you cards. We offer local resource suggestions for health care providers, chiropractors, mother’s groups, kid-friendly restaurants, or maybe the best place to buy a bottle of wine. We are also there for emotional support. We let her talk, cry, whatever she needs to do. And we make sure she is heard. A Postpartum Doula is an expert voice of reason that will not offer opinions or judgment.

Oftentimes new parents just need someone to guide them through the first few weeks or months with a newborn. Breastfeeding is often harder than expected. Parents finally understand what sleep deprivation means. They may be scared to give the first bath or clip baby’s nails the first time. A Postpartum Doula’s role is so very important. We are your village. We are here to support you and your family, judgment-free with no hidden agendas.

Contact Gold Coast if you have interest in any of the services we offer.

Bedrest Doulas, Birth Doulas, Daytime and Overnight Postpartum Doulas, Customized Baby Shower Stuffers, Lactation Consultations, or any of our classes including HypnoBirthing, Newborn Survival, Breastfeeding, Preparing for Multiples.


[un]common sense: Buy them what they asked for Read More »


The Modern Grandparent

Understanding the Modern Parent

First of all congratulations on becoming a Grandparent! Whether this is your 1st or 5th, it is a very excited time for the whole family.

Gold Coast Doulas offers in-home private classes for The Modern Grandparent. We are not currently offering group classes.

This 2 ½ hour class will break down the generation gap, giving soon-to-be grandparents the most up-to-date information while dispelling myths in a non-threatening, engaging way. Health and safety recommendations are always evolving and many things have changed since most grandparents had their own children.

Topics include:

  • Caring for the family after baby arrives
  • Handwashing, bathing baby, diapering, etc.
  • Car seat safety
  • Baby technology and gadgets
  • SIDS
  • Formula feeding and breastmilk
  • Babyproofing

A particularly interesting topic that we cover in the class is, Understanding the Modern Parent. Here’s a brief snippet of what we talk about for this portion of the class.

Understanding your adult children and their choices can be a challenge at times, even during the best of times. One of the keys to understanding the choices your adult children make is understanding the differences between the generations and how they view the world. In 2002 Landcaster and Stillman published “When Generations Collide”. This paper took a look at inter-generational differences in the workplace.

Many of the grandparents who take this class will be the parents of those who are considered late Generation X or Millennials. These generations tend to have differing views than previous generations when it comes to Communication, Money and Authority. Being aware of the attitudes and approaches of the differing generations will help you to understand the choices your adult children may make and where they are coming from.

Sometimes it’s as simple as understanding these differences that avoid many family conflicts as families grow. Grandparents have to realize that their children deserve the respect and have the right to raise a family (their grandchildren) however they choose.

Today’s parents face different challenges than their parents faced, and even more different ones than their grandparents faced. The balance of work and family life can be very stressful. Thankfully there are grandparents like you willing to help relieve some of these stresses by simply not judging them. Your compassionate support allows your children to raise your grandchildren properly and also maintain a healthy relationship with their spouse.

Many parents today appreciate the help from their parents and welcome the non-judgemental support. While you are visiting ask, “What can I do to help you today?” There might not be anything needed other than holding the baby while mom showers or playing with a sibling while mom is breastfeeding; but by just asking, you are showing you are supportive and that will go a long way with your children. Asking what they need instead of offering what you think they need is critical.

Interested in becoming a Modern Grandparent? Contact Gold Coast Doulas about a private in-home class today!







The Modern Grandparent Read More »