With Education & Support Services During the Perinatal Period

First Breath

Supporting Family Growth

 


My name is Nicole Barrette.  I am wife to Justin and mother to 9 year old Joseph, 7 year old Hudson and 4 year old Marlaina.


My family and I love ALL animals and being outdoors as much as possible.  We like hitting the trails, running or cycling with our dogs every chance we get.  


Sharing good food with good friends and family is all we need to have fun on Friday night.  It's just hard to agree on who gets to cook as there are a few chefs in the family.  Nobody likes doing the dishes though!


But what I'm wildly passionate about is the miracle of life.  Pregnancy, birth (of babies and families), breastfeeding, placentas and everything in between.  I have become a certified doula through Childbirth International and feel incredibly grateful to be a part of such an intimate and personal experience as having a child is.  


My experience and services have grown over the years and so has my love for it all.  I can't imagine ever getting bored of this work.


I am an active member of the community and I have volunteered my doula services for MANY parents as well as having seriously discounted various fees on many occasions. The first 2 years of my doula career were focused on volunteering for those in need to gain experience.


I have been a peer breastfeeding support provider since 2007.  I facilitate monthly meetings providing free breastfeeding and parenting support to mothers in my community.  I promote the group in the community, aid in fundraising and group management, as well as recruiting and training new Leaders.  I did phone/email support and home visits from 2008-2011.


I fulfilled a short contract as the Guelph Community Health Center's WE Breastfeed program's co-promoter (November 2014 - March 2015).


I have volunteered with WE Breastfeed since December 2012 and in 2015 initiated an advisory board for the program. I facilitate Breastfeeding Cafes as well as providing continuing education the the volunteers.


Along with 4 esteemed colleagues (Kathy Venter, Tania Archbold, Rebecca Serroul and Michelle Buckner) I have revised and presented (in Guelph and Kitchener Community Health Centers) an 18 hour World Health Organization Lactation Training for Peer Support Providers.


Along with the manager of reproductive health from our local Public Health agency I co-chair the Community Breastfeeding Collaborative of Guelph. 

The collaborative consists of:

  • the Ontario Association of Doulas - WWDGR (Wellington-Waterloo-Dufferin-Guelph Regions) -thanks to me!
  • La Leche League Canada - Guelph
  • the Guelph Community Health Center
  • the Guelph General Hospital
  • the Guelph Midwives
  • Family Midwifery Care
  • the Guelph Family Health Team
  • Beginning Pregnancy Care Center
  • Public Health Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph
 

I also volunteer on School Council at my children's school.


I hold memberships with the Ontario Association of Doulas, La Leche League Canada, BFI Ontario and Waterbirth International.  And the Dave Matthews Band fan club :0)  I hold insurance on my practice.


I have been asked to speak for groups of health professionals and parents on numerous occasions about the value of doulas and peer breastfeeding support, and I happily volunteer to do so.  I have assisted in BFI (Baby-Friendly Initiative) work at the Guelph General Hospital.


I am currently initiating collaboration projects and networking opportunities with other doulas and perinatal professionals in the surrounding communities.  If you are a perinatal professional or aspiring to be please click here.


In January 2015 I founded the Guelph Doula Network. The focus of 2015 is outreach to our community. In May 2015 I will launch the first Meet the Doulas event that will re-occur every other month.



Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.  Thanks for visiting!


Those who know me know how I completely adore all animals, but particularly dolphins.  They are very intelligent, curious, and playful creatures.  But there is something else that deepens my love for them; they are extremely drawn to children and more so pregnant women.  They have been known to come into shore and play with children and treat pregnant women like royalty, bringing them gifts like shells and fancy stones.  I fantasize of birthing a baby surrounded by dolphins.


As you see to the right dolphins are born "breech."


When a dolphin is giving birth her pod (family) creates a birth circle around her.  One or two other female dolphins enter the circle to support the birthing dolphin, like midwives and doulas.  The pod echos her every rush (contraction).  The doula dolphins support her weight when she needs a rest and help her to the surface for a breath of air.  The pod remains in the birth circle, with doulas inside through the entire labour, birth, and up to 6 hours after the baby has been born to keep them safe. 


After the baby is born the "doulas" help mom and baby to the surface for the baby's first breath and encourage baby to nurse as soon as possible.  Females in one pod are known to share nursing and parenting responsibilities.  Dolphins have mammary slits that the babies stick their snouts into to nurse their mother's milk with a special straw like tongue.  The milk is very thick and pasty.  Dolphin lactation is among the least understood lactation processes of all the mammals.