Have you ever considered hiring a doula for birth support? In the wellness community, we interact pretty regularly with doulas and others offering birth support, so we want to highlight the incredibly important work they are doing!
What is a doula?
A doula is someone who is not a medical practitioner (i.e. not a doctor, nurse, or midwife) but who is a trained and certified professional and a valuable part of your birth team and can offer a wealth of support for you and your partner in what YOU want both during pregnancy, birth, and during the postpartum period.
A doula can provide education to help you make informed decisions regarding your birth plan, and advocate for and empower you in your choices. This may include helping you find the most comfortable movement and positions during labor, helping your partner in supporting you, providing help with post-birth recovery (physical and emotional), assisting with baby-related tasks, or perhaps even making food for you or helping you find healthy and practical food solutions when you bring your baby home. A doula may also offer coaching on helping your baby sleep. Basically, a doula is someone who can respond to your individual needs to help you have the most positive possible birth and postpartum experience.
In terms of the research behind doula support, thank you to the wonderful Colleen Young and Patricia Conner of local business The Doula’s Daughter for highlighting the following study on their website:
According to the study “Continuous support for women during childbirth” (Bohren, Hofmeyr, Sakala, Fukuzawa & Cuthbert, 2017), “Continuous support during labour may improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labour, and decreased caesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five‐minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences.” In other words, having a doula can help you to have healthier and safer birth outcomes in a variety of ways!
And because we know that Black women in particular have significantly higher maternal mortality (as well as infant mortality) rates in the United States, access to doulas and higher quality medical care and patient advocacy before, during, and after birth is particularly crucial. Read more in Linda Villarosa’s New York Times article “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis” (2018) to learn about how a combination of toxic stress (Geronimus’ “weathering hypothesis” explains negative health outcomes as a result of living in a culture of discrimination and socioeconomic inequality) and a dismissal of symptoms by medical professionals creates greater risk for Black women and their babies.
If you are looking for local birth support for yourself, a partner, a family member, or a friend, here is a list of the doulas, birth centers, and other resources we have come to be aware of in the community:
Since we've been on the topic of children, a local business we’d love to tell you more about is Buffalo Baby Bums! According to owner Timea Braun, “Buffalo Baby Bums is a cloth diaper service offered in the greater Buffalo, New York area! Our online store offers a large variety of safe, tested, and environmentally friendly products for all things that revolve around your baby’s bum!”
In other words, Buffalo Baby Bums not only provides you with clean cloth diapering supplies (and picks up and washes the soiled ones to help support your choice to diaper more sustainably), but also makes it easy to get clean and safe products to use with your kiddos! (And, yes, you can get some Little Buffalo Balm from Buffalo Baby Bums!)
Timea is ALSO working on opening the adorable Tumbles Play Cafe, an indoor play cafe that will be offering “classes, events (movie nights, sleepovers, holiday spots), craft sesh's, messy play, retail, sensory boxes, and of course OPEN PLAY.” If you’re looking for a cool place to take your little ones, Tumbles is expected to open this winter!
Since we both use their products in our daily smoothies and they’re both helping our local community to maintain healthy immune systems, we wanted to feature two businesses this time - Life Itself and FreshFix!
When we tried the chaga mushroom tea from Life Itself a couple of years ago, we absolutely loved its yummy, earthy taste as well as how healthy it made us feel! How does it help us to maintain such a feeling of wellness?
According to owner Josh, "Chaga mushroom is an 'immunomodulator.' This means that whether your immune system needs support to fight off viruses, pathogens, bacteria, fungal infection, or other illness, chaga intelligently targets and subsequently releases white blood cells to the area of need. However, if your immune system is overactive, causing an autoimmune disorder, chaga will intelligently modify the release of white blood cells to end the body’s panic response, allowing inflammation to be reversed, resulting in the relief of autoimmune symptoms."
Life Itself's chaga tea has been popping up all over the Buffalo area, in shops and wellness studios as well as a variety of local markets - make sure to try it the next time you see them! You can also purchase from their website.
FreshFix is a local, family-owned business offering a weekly produce box delivered right to your door!
Each Friday, subscribers receive an email with three produce box choices (combinations of fruits and veggies being harvested that week) AND you can customize your box with all kinds of add-ons, from extra produce, meat, eggs, and dairy to locally made food, beverage, and wellness products. (You can even get chaga tea from Life Itself in your box! How cool is that?)
Just finalize your box by Sunday night and it will be dropped off on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s super flexible and almost everything is locally grown.
Not sure what to make with a new vegetable you got? Their email newsletters include recipes for the produce of the week!
Going away for a week or two? Skip your box or donate it. You can also add a custom donation to your weekly order to support free and reduced-price food boxes that FreshFix offers to community members in need of nutritious food.
The produce is always excellent quality and you can know that you’re contributing to creating a more sustainable local food system for the community as well as a healthier immune system for your own body!
We got to know Mayra Luz Colón when we started selling our products at Buffalo Artisan Food Traders and saw her Healthy Rican adobo and sazón there! Why buy from Goya when you can buy local, right? If you have not used these spice blends before, here is Mayra’s description of them:
Our adobo includes mineral pink himalayan salt in a blend of garlic, pepper, oregano, coriander, and turmeric for it’s healthy anti-inflammatory benefits. Our sazón is a salt-free blend of annatto aka achiote, turmeric, garlic, with a hint of cumin and coriander, that will bring out a nice yellow-orange color with a hint of Latin flavor in your foods.
When we started using Mayra's products and realized we had other family members who would love them too, we ordered more from her and got to talk with her about not only her spice business but also her nutrition counseling business! Here’s how Mayra introduces herself and her business:
Hi, I’m Mayra also known as the Nutrition Dork! As a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who’s obsessed with superfoods and family meal time, I am on a mission to banish bland foods. I love providing tasty alternatives for everyday people who want to eat well. I’ve created the Healthy Rican Cookbook and Latin Spice Brand to bring tasty Puerto Rican recipes and seasonings to homes everywhere. I truly believe we can live a healthy life and enjoy our favorite foods. LET’S PUT THE LATIN SPICE IN YOUR HEALTHY LIFE!
We love how Mayra lets people know that they do not have to give up their cultural foods in order to be healthy, and that everyone needs to find the food combinations that work for them! And the fact that she has studied integrative nutrition means that she is looking at the root or source of the problem to help people feel better, rather than simply hiding symptoms.
If you’re interested in trying Mayra’s spices or getting her ebook (we definitely recommend the adobo & sazón intro bundle), check out the shop page on her website!
Did you know that lifestyle can be part of maintaining healthy magnesium levels and getting restorative sleep?
We want to give a shout out to our friends at Pour & Penchant because of how much we love their candles for self care, stress relief, and establishing healthy sleeping and waking routines!
We both love to light candles at home in the evening while we're reading or spending time with family, so we always make sure to pick up another one when we see Rick and Dominic at local markets! The candles smell amazing and give the signal to our brains that it's time to wind down, relax, and start to calm our minds for bedtime. It's part of our routine as much as putting on our Sleep Balm! Lavender Sage and Nightfall (amber, cedar, sandalwood, and benzoin) from their Signature Collection are two of our favorites for relaxing. (Which you can absolutely tell by how little of them is left, haha...)
And even during the day as we're working from home, we love some of their fresh, clean scents like Swept Away (sea salt, ozone, violet, jasmine, and oakmoss) to help keep our stress levels down. We find that candles can also be a great way to enhance yoga and meditation and create positive associations with those mindfulness habits so that we look forward to doing them each morning. Just like shutting off blue lights from screens at night in favor of candlelight signals to the brain that it's bedtime, getting exposure to bright daylight and doing some movement and deep breathing first thing in the morning signals to the brain that it's time to wake up and start the day.
Basically, it's all part of maintaining our melatonin cycles in a natural way! And we can do it while savoring these lovely scents and also supporting a local business offering handmade products. Their candles are high quality and burn for a long time so they can be enjoyed daily! So if you want to start using more candles in your daytime or nighttime routine, Pour & Penchant just released their spring Apothecary Collection today! Swept Away is part of that collection, and there are plenty more truly divine scents to check out on their Instagram page and website.