Joy Haskins, Founder of Happy baby consulting firm discusses being a doula and tips to help new parents.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I am a 28-year-old Birth and Postpartum Doula and Infant Care Professional from Baltimore, MD currently living in Tampa Bay, Florida. I moved to Tampa after spending the majority of my adult life in DC working as a Private Nanny. Currently, I offer Doula and Baby planning services to local and virtual clients. I help expecting parents prepare their minds, families, and homes for their new addition whether it's through pregnancy, surrogacy, fostering or adoption. I am not a medical professional, I offer support and resources to my clients to assist them in making decisions in preparing for and caring for their new babies and themselves during the 4th trimester.
I help my clients create birth plans and help mentally prepare them for the birthing and newborn care experience, by getting their home baby friendly and assisting with packing hospital bags, personal shopping, and baby shower registries. I also help new parents process their birthing experience by creating printed birth story bound books for keepsakes.

Where did the idea to start Happy Baby Consulting Firm come from?
This year makes the 10th year that I’ve been a nanny so I have always felt like my calling was somewhere in child care and/or education. I became interested in the world of birth work as a young nanny when one of my first clients had her second home birth. I found that there is a divide somewhere when it comes to birth and postpartum care for mom and baby, especially in Black communities. A lot of things just aren’t talked about and that is an issue when the rates of infant death, Postpartum Depression, and other things are affecting our people at higher rates. I feel likeoffering education and support to Black families starting at pre-pregnancy up and throughout infancy will lead to a huge decrease in the disparities that are plaguing Black parents and newborns.

The one thing new parents dread is finding childcare. You hear so many horror stories of trusted” centers having incidents. What are some things you do to reassure parents their children are safe?
As a childcare professional, and someone with a heart, it is absolutely devastating to hear stories when children are harmed or killed due to negligence or abuse from those entrusted to care for them. Never feel bad about doing what you have to do when it comes to protecting your child. Technology is so advanced now that childcare providers, public and private, should offer ways for parents to stay connected with their little ones when they are not in their care.

Which leads me to my next question, what are some tips for parents when choosing someone or a childcare center for their baby?
Please do not go to a childcare provider simply because that's who you think you can afford. Childcare as a whole is expensive but properly vetting providers is very important. Choosing providers who are trained and up to date on current standard and emergency procedures, state laws, first aid & CPR is crucial. Do your research, search local blogs and parent groups for personal reviews about childcare options in your area. Visit as many as you need to and take a list of questions that you would like to ask. If a friend or family member is caring for your child in the home, make sure they have been properly trained also. Are they First Aid & CPR certified? Do they have emergency plans in case fire or other emergencies in the home? Do they have reliable phone service and transportation? Are they responsive and good communicators? These are key things to pay attention to when selecting care for your child, in the home or out of the home.

You are now furthering your education to become a doula. What are some interesting things you’ve learned that you didn’t know before?
The major thing I’ve learned since becoming a Doula is that women have options. Birth does not look or happen one certain way. You can birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home. You can birth on your back or in a pool on all fours. You can have a doctor or a midwife, you can have a doula. Your birth experience will be different than anyone else's and it will be special with every baby you have. My job as a doula is to help support and educate you on this exciting journey in your life. Whether you are pregnant, adopting, or fostering, when a baby is born, so is a parent.

Do you have any tips or advice for first-time moms or moms to be?
Breathe, mama. There is no rule book or map of parenthood. What works for some may not work for you and that's perfectly fine. Take your time, learn your baby, learn yourself as a parent. Enjoy your new family and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody has all the answers but someone may have one or two. It takes a village to raise a child. Build your own village too.

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