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lehigh valley maternity

I had the wonderful experience of speaking with Brooke Volpe, Doula and Mid-Wife student from Solace Birth Services. I’m happy to share a Q & A I shared with Brooke who serves as a Lehigh Valley Doula and Bucks County Doula.

What drew you to being a doula?

When I got pregnant with my first child, I had a vision of what I wanted my birth to look like.  So I started googling….”Water birth near me….”

I landed at a Bucks County birth center in Huntingdon valley.  I fell into midwifery care before I knew that’s what I wanted. 

I started reading a book called “Gentle Birth Choices” by Barbara harper, which solidified my choices and what I didn’t want.  A dear friend of mine at the time told me she had doulaed her sister in laws birth and offered her support.  Fast forward, she was present at both of my births, and I started preparing myself by studying to begin my career in birth work.  

bucks county maternity session

What made you know that becoming a doula and helping other women through pregnancy was your calling?

My midwife told me it was a calling that was hard to ignore, and she was right.  So I answered the call and felt comfortable in this work.  I get along with everyone and can find ways to connect with people, so once that bond is formed, the trust is, too, and they would invite me to be in their intimate space in labor and birth.  So much support comes from knowing what is normal and what someone is hoping for in labor, understanding their options, and guiding them to come together. 

bucks county studio maternity session

Where is Solace Birth Services located?  Do you have an office, or do you exclusively travel?

Solace Birth Services is located in Perkasie which is in Bucks County, PA.  I am taking my doula hat off as I study for midwifery and will be offering home birth midwifery to our community in 2024.  I am actively finding us a home in this immediate area, so follow along to see where we land.  We have great things planned in a collective community model.

lehigh valley doula

How long have you been a doula?  What kind of experience have you gained in this field?

I have been a doula since 2016 and have attended about 230 birth as of today.  

My experiences include hospitals, birth centers, and home births.  I have learned a lot with that experience as I scale down to one location.  I prefer home birth and appreciate it’s not the best option for some.  I have learned what birth yields as far as needs.  Some births are straightforward and fast, while others are hard and long and require tools to help it along, like epidurals or surgery.  There is a time and place for all of it; it’s just unfortunate because these tools in the hands of burnt-out providers can be abused and overused without repercussion to them but can leave someone feeling robbed of their birth experience.  Bucks county has a unnecessarily high cesarean rate.  

light and airy maternity session

Do you have children of your own?  If so, what were their birth stories? 

I have two children and had two vaginal, unmedicated births with both of them.  I ended up in a higher risk category for unknown reasons, but I had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy with both.  My first was born in a hospital setting with my midwife, doula, and husband, and my second was born in a birth center with the same team—both different experiences but beautiful and full of support.  Knowing what I do now,  I definitely would change some of the things that happened, but what knowledge I had then from what I was able to gather, process, plan, and learn was incredible and different from the many experiences I knew. 

If you could give an expecting mom one piece of advice, what would it be?

Assess your risk – if you are healthy and low risk, please opt for midwifery care.  Understand that hospitals are not created the same; the #1 risk is the doors you enter to have your baby.  I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but it’s true.  

Leapfroggroup.org publishes hospital statistics, showing how hospitals vary in outcomes.  The main difference is providers and how they choose to practice.  Sure, insurance and liability can guide some of that.   

Consider an out-of-hospital birth location if you have no plans to use epidurals or need extra surveillance in labor/birth.

Educate yourself with an out-of-hospital birth class.  

Hire a doula!  The best way to find a bucks county or lehigh valley birth or postpartum doula near you would be using DONA.org website and/or doulamatch.net.

Lastly, I wish you the best in meeting your baby. 

It’s a fantastic experience becoming a parent.  I never knew who I was until I was a mom.  

light and airy maternity session

Love Brooke and want to connect with her and Solace Birth Services?

You can find Brooke and Solace Birth Services on her website. You can also follow her on Facebook here.

studio maternity session

If you are interested in documenting your Maternity and Newborn journey, I can help you. You’ll never regret having these precious moments captured before they are gone. As a Mom to 4 little girls, I know how fast it goes.

Photos were taken by BreeIsForBeauty Photography, a Lehigh Valley + Bucks County Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer at her studio located in Center Valley, PA.

Bucks County Doula | Solace Birth Services

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Lehigh Valley Studio Maternity Session

Family is everything. If there’s one thing I want my children to know when they grow up, it is that their family will always love them, support them and be by their side. One of our greatest blessings is when your family grows. I had the best time photographing this beautiful family for Taylor’s Maternity […]

Lehigh Valley Maternity Photographer

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It’s time to start planning Christmas looks for your kids! Everyone is gearing up for Christmas card photos, and it can be overwhelming trying to style your children and family for your Christmas photoshoot. I wanted to take some of the guesswork out and provide you with direct links to these timeless outfits that will be perfect for your Christmas photos and for Christmas day.

Christmas is definitely an occasion to dress more formal. We all have those Christmas photos from when we were a kid that we love looking back on! Seriously Mom, you put me in that outfit?! Oh, the memories.

Christmas Mini

I am so excited to be offering Limited Edition Santa Sessions at BreeIsForBeauty Photography’s studio located in Center Valley, PA. You can learn more about booking your session here.

Some tips when choosing an outfit for your little one and preparing for your Christmas photoshoot.

  • You can never go wrong with neutral colors. Accessorize with a festive bow, tie or fancy shoes.
  • Choose something with some texture! Christmas time is all about glitter, velvet, tulle and faux fur. Have fun with it! Who doesn’t love looking a little fancy every once in a while?!
  • Make sure your clothing is steamed and pressed. There is nothing worse than having a beautiful outfit, but being distracted by all of the wrinkles.
  • Have manicured nails (no chipped nail polish or dirty fingernails) and a fresh haircut. Don’t forget to brush your child’s hair and to clean their face/wipe their nose.
  • Don’t forget clean shoes. I know, it’s hard justifying the dress shoes when you think they may only wear them a few times, but having dressier shoes will complete the Christmas photo look and your child will look so polished.
  • Talk about Santa before your session. Show your child some photos of other kids sitting with Santa, find a fun video, look back on old photos of other family members with Santa and prepare your little one for their session. It’s typical for some tears from little ones. Sometimes the man in red with the big beard can equal stranger danger, so set your expectations low and just embrace the moment whether your child is thrilled or not. Sometimes the crying photos are the funnest to look back on!

Time to shop! Looks for her:

You can shop these looks for girl here: https://liketk.it/3RT4v

Time to shop! Looks for him:

You can shop these looks for boy here: https://liketk.it/3RT4Z

Photos were taken by BreeIsForBeauty Photography, a Lehigh Valley, Bucks County and Philadelphia Newborn, Milestone, Motherhood and Family Photographer. Her studio is located in Center Valley, PA. Clients have access to BreeIsForBeauty Photography’s curated client closet which is filled with beautiful dresses and clothing for your whole family.

Lehigh Valley Christmas Photos

BreeIsForBeauty Photography is offering Limited Edition Santa Sessions at her Center Valley studio. You can find more details about her sessions here.

Christmas Looks for Kids

Christmas, Holiday, Limited Edition Session, Style Guide

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Lehigh Valley Zoo This zoo is the perfect size for smaller kids and is located in Schnecksville, PA. The Lehigh Valley Zoo has some fun events coming up in the Fall including Ottertoberfest and a Boo at the Zoo. They also have a Fall Wine Festival on Saturday October, 1st! Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom […]

Things to do in the Lehigh Valley with Kids this Fall

Mom Life

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Hi Mama! Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I am so excited to work with you and document such a special time in you and your family’s life. Having a new baby is quite the whirlwind. You blink and they are suddenly 1 month old. You blink again and it’s their first birthday. You’ll never regret preserving these special moments shortly after their arrival!

I wanted to share a guide so that you feel fully prepared for the day of your newborn session. You will be sleep deprived and still recovering from childbirth, so I hope this gives you some clarity leading up to your newborn photography session date. Parents often find themselves stressing over their baby and if they’ll cooperate for their session. Going into your newborn session prepared will help make the experience as enjoyable and as seamless as possible!

studio maternity session

Before your baby arrives, we will schedule a tentative date based off of your due date. If you are having a scheduled c-section, we can chose the actual session date based off of that. You will complete the Newborn Session Questionnaire and share your color choices so I can customize a newborn session for you. I put together premium wraps, headbands, bonnets and props to create a look that you’ll find similar to my portfolio. You will want this art displayed on your walls for years to come!

main-newborn-photographer

You will then contact me within 24-48 hours after baby’s arrival to schedule the actual session date and time. All newborn sessions are held at my in-home studio and scheduled during the week in the morning hours when babies are sleepiest and most cooperative. I recommend newborn sessions to be scheduled within 14 – 21 days after birth when baby is sleepiest and most flexible for all of the cute little newborn poses I will guide your baby through. If your baby is older than 21 days, rest assured, we can still capture plenty of wrapped poses and lifestyle shots to create beautiful memories.

The studio will be prepped and ready for your arrival. Baby’s love warmth, so a space heater and white noise machine will be running to create a calm and gentle environment. Be prepared to sweat and feel free to bring a change of clothes!

Depending on how far you live from the studio, you will either feed your baby right before you leave (this is if you live close), or as soon as you arrive at the studio (if you are traveling from a distance of further than 30 minutes). When you arrive, I will strip baby down and wrap them in a neutral swaddle. During this time, you and your family will change into the looks you chose from my curated client closet. Feeding your baby before your session is one of the most important factors when preparing for your session. A full baby is a happy baby and babe should be quite sleepy after a nice full feeding. This is also why it is very important to arrive on time, or even a few minutes early to your session!

Be sure to bring along plenty of diapers/wipes. If your baby does pee or poop during an unwrapped pose in the session, do not feel embarrassed as I use pee pads under my blankets and as a mother of 4 – I am no stranger to baby poop! Also, bring along a pacifier if your baby is using one. A pacifier can be very helpful with soothing during the transition of different poses if they do wake.

Your child’s safety is my number 1 priority. I will not attempt any poses I do not feel comfortable with and work best when allowing baby to guide us through the session based off of their comfort. As a Mother to 4, I am skilled in soothing a baby and am focused on keeping them safe and comfortable throughout the session.

Newborn sessions last up to 2 hours, so be sure to bring along a snack and I will provide some water and coffee or tea. There is a comfortable seating area for you to relax while I photograph your sweet baby. I only recommend bringing siblings along if you plan to have them in the photos with baby. If siblings are coming along, bring a tablet or a toy to keep them occupied. If you are having family and or sibling photos taken, I always complete this part of the session first. This gives Dad the opportunity to step away with any older siblings during the rest of the session, as they typically become restless while waiting for their new baby sibling’s photos to be taken. It is best to have minimal noise and distraction so that baby is not startled.

boy newborn session

Having family photos during your newborn session and not sure what to wear? I recommend neutral, cream tones and soft hues for an intimate look. All clients will have full access to my curated client closet which is filled with various sizes and silhouettes that are perfect for your postpartum body! Be sure to wear nude undergarments and bring a strapless bra.

One thing is for sure; you’ll never regret being able to look back on those precious memories of your newborn baby. I still have my wall adorned with all of my daughter’s newborn photos and will always cherish their teeny tiny features.

Preparing for your Newborn Session

Mom Life, Newborn Photography

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