Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Birthmarks wants to help you find your tribe!  They have a passion for bringing like-minded individuals together to receive multiple services relating to a holistic approach to health, life, pregnancy and birth in their beautiful facility.  More than anything, their goal is to create a sense of community and support for the families they serve.

Read More

Community Partner: Barefoot Birth

Community Partner: Barefoot Birth

Barefoot Birth is a birth service company specializing in concierge home birth services, personalized prenatal care, doula support, childbirth education, massage therapy, postpartum support,  professional birth photography, and acts as a resource for expecting families. The Barefoot Family includes Charlie Rae Young LM, CPM, CLC , Jenn Stone LPN, CLC, Wesley Bozeman LMT, and Patricia Cannon CLC.

Read More

Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Welcome, new community partner, Birthmarks Maternity, where their mission is to honor the natural process of pregnancy and birth by serving women and families with a central source of holistic pregnancy, birth, and early parenting resources in a community of caring experts. 

Read More

Call the Midwife! And Doula! And Photographer! And...

Call the Midwife! And Doula! And Photographer! And...

Have you watched any episodes of this drama on PBS? (If you do, make sure to have tissues handy!)

On "Call the Midwife" the nurse midwives, who all live together, make a regular habit of discussing patients, births, methodology, new science and techniques, old science and techniques and other maternity-related topics.  Not surprisingly, one of them often has an epiphany or needs the information for a tense scene later.

Read More

Breast Is Best...

Breast Is Best...

Is it fair to say that the “breast is best” debate is over? Seventy-seven percent of women in America are initiating a breastfeeding relationship with their new babes…the real question for me is why only 16 percent (in FL it’s ten percent) are exclusively breastfeeding at six months postpartum.  Why do the numbers drop so drastically? Why are our long term nursing numbers lagging behind so many other countries? We know breastmilk is best, but why don’t/won’t we stick with it?

Read More



We are proud to be one of the partners with Barefoot Birth presenting a local screening of Breastmilk - The Movie from the people who brought you the film The Business of Being Born. 

"With unexpected humor, with an unflinching camera, with some guilt and some pain, this film takes the unusual risk of examining what breast milk truly means.

We are often told that breast milk is better. Better for babies, better for mothers, better for nutrition, health, well-being, and society. Many accept this and yet there are still very few women who succeed in breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months and beyond. What would it take to change?"

Watch the trailer here:

When: November 17th. The doors open at 4:30 and the film begins promptly at 5pm. There will be an interactive panel discussion to follow. 

Location: USF Marshall Center's Oval Theater 

Cost: $10 suggested donation which will go towards funding CLC training for women of color in the Tampa area.
Go to our Facebook event page to confirm yourself and invite others. Share this post with your friends, family and people you know. Our society at large (not just mothers) needs to be better educated on this topic. Nursing mothers are more likely to succeed when they are surrounded by support, encouragement and the feeling of security. Lets educate our community and help create that safe space for our mothers and babies to thrive. 

Breastmilk Poster.jpg

Dee Pullen,

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network! 

We are happy to give you our next post in this series, an interview with Dee Pullen, who has been a birth professional for eighteen years.  

Tell us what you do? 

I am a doula, HypnoBirthing® practitioner, lactation counselor, birth videographer and I also rent a water birth tub to moms having home births. 

What is your mission?
To educate and empower moms so that they have births that make them thrilled to tell their birth stories. 
What do your credentials stand for?
CHBP: Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner (a teacher of the program)

CHBPLC: Certified HypnoBirthing Labor Companion (advanced training in how to use HypnoBirthing techniques in labor.)

I will be getting my HypnoBirthing Professional Doula certification in October.
I am the only professional HypnoBirthing Labor Companion in the state of Florida. 
Some people don't know what HynpoBirthing® is. Can you tell us? 
Sure! HypnoBirthing is both a method and philosophy of natural childbirth education enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques that allows women to release fear and have an easy comfortable birthing experience as nature intended. Moms learn deep relaxation and breathing techniques as well as deepening techniques to take her deeper in hypnosis. 
How do you teach it? What does it include? 
I teach both privately and in groups. We use in-class discussion, videos and practice sessions. The course includes a book, 2 CDs and many handouts. Mom listens to the Rainbow Relaxation every night as well as doing a practice session with her partner or birthing companion. There are scripts given out in class and included in the book, HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method. 

My next group HypnoBirthing class is starting on September 8th. 

How is hypnosis actually used? 
Before labor we do in-class sessions and mom practices self-hypnosis with the Rainbow CD and her partner. During her birthing time she uses self-hypnosis to take herself into relaxation and achieve a 'Lucy limp' (aka totally relaxed) state so that her body can do the work of birthing. 
What differences have you see it make for laboring mothers? 
I've seen moms who came to me scared and traumatized by previous birth experiences lose their fear and go on to have comfortable, joyous births. This happens frequently. 


Describe the other services that you offer? 
As a doula I support women in labor to have easy, comfortable births. I answer questions for moms and help them figure out what is best for them and their babies. I help dads (and other family members) help mom too. I explain what is going on so that the family can make good decisions about their care and that of their baby. 

As a CLC, I offer breastfeeding support to help moms and babies get off to a great start in life. 

I offer sibling classes. These are private classes I hold for children already in the pregnant household. I talk with the moms prior and we discuss whether she wants me to show a birth video. If a birth video is okay, is the direct shot of the birth okay? The material I choose is based on the age(s) of the child(ren) in the class. We talk about what babies can and can't do, how they eat (breastfeeding), how the older child feels about several things surrounding pregnancy, how they can be helpful during birth if present, and how they can be helpful when the new baby comes. I also read several children's birth related story books. 

I offer classes in "how to be a family doula" where I teach family members how to function as a doula at a birth so they can better support the laboring mom in their family. 

I also offer water birth tub rentals so that home birthing moms can increase their comfort during labor. 

 Tell us more about you and how you got into this line of work? 

I am a homebirth mom of two. I homeschooled both my children all the way through their educational career up to post-secondary. I was a librarian for 19 years before I retired to become a full time birth worker and homeschooling mom. The short version of how I got into this line of work is that I went to work for the midwife who received both my babies.


I have been a doula and childbirth educator since 1995.  I am an active advocate of birthing women. I keep firmly in mind that your birth builds your memories. It's important that your memories be ones that make you feel proud. 
We know that you've been one of the founding members of our active birthing community. So tell us about some of the other activities that you've been up to? 
I was on the board of directors for a birth center and midwifery school (The Delphi Center for Conscious Birth and The Delphi Center for Midwifery Studies.)

I have been running breastfeeding support groups for years. These are free and open to the public. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at Totally Chiropractic in North Tampa. 

I have helped put together several birth related conferences and expos. I have attended 343 births, 348 babies! 


Are there any other statistics you want to share?
My c-section rate is about 14% out of almost 350 births. 
That is within the recommended rate set by the World Health Organization, and you're not even the primary care-provider for those women. Nice work, Dee! 
What locations do you service? 
Spring Hill to Sarasota, Gulf Coast to Lakeland. If a mom is within this geographical area, I will help her with her birth and breastfeeding.

And in closing...

My philosophy is that women are perfectly designed to give birth when empowered.  It’s my job to teach you to do that for yourself. I know that birth can be an amazing, life-changing event! 

If you'd like to reach Dee to inquire about her services visit her website here or give her a call at       (813) 933-2301. 

 For more information about HypnoBirthing check out 

Breastfeeding Support Tampa Bay

Did you know that we have many wonderful breastfeeding support resources right here in Tampa Bay?


You can find these individuals and businesses listed in the Tampa Bay Birth Network membership directory. As it is World Breastfeeding Week we thought we'd highlight them for you and make a list here on our blog that you can refer to when looking for breastfeeding support!


CLC = Certified Lactation Counselor

IBCLC = International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. 

La Leche League of Florida

The Fourth Trimester, Emily Seelig-Rohrhuber & Gladis Rubio, CLC

Better Birthing, Dee Pullen, CLC

 Barefoot Birth, Charlie Rae Young, CLC

Nurturing Connections Birth Services, Nicole Gillette, CLC

Seeds of Mommy Soul, Gaetane Joseph, CLC

Sweet Plum Photography, Patricia Cannon, CLC, La Leche League Leader

DOULA HELP, Postpartum Doula & La Leche League Leader, Christine Moss
Tampa Bay Area Lactation Network

CLC, Doula & Educator, Sydnie Arnold,
St. Pete CLC, Pamela Moore-Shear,

Pampered Postpartum Home Care, Susan Groulx, CLC,

Private IBCLC and Childbirth Educator, Robin Booth Watson,


Do you have a local business or resource that should be added to our list? Contact us and consider joining the Tampa Bay Birth Network. 

The Fourth Trimester

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network!

We are fortunate to have The Fourth Trimester, a Lactation Counseling & Breastfeeding Advocacy team in our community. We interviewed them and here is what they are all about!

 Emily Seelig-Rohrhuber & Gladis Rubio of The Fourth Trimester

Emily Seelig-Rohrhuber & Gladis Rubio of The Fourth Trimester

What is the mission of your business? 

 Our mission is to be a supportive, knowledgeable, trustworthy safety net that helps women to meet their own breastfeeding goals. We also participate with organizations (such as The Tampa Bay Birth Network) and work on advocacy projects like "Breastfeeding Welcome Here Initiative" that have focus on promoting and normalizing breastfeeding within our community. 
What services do you offer for mothers and babies? 
We have three service offerings; prenatal breastfeeding education, in home postpartum breastfeeding assistance, and back to work counseling for nursing mothers. We're also available to our clients by phone, text, and email to answer any additional questions that might come up after an in-person counseling session. 

 Gladis Rubio & daughter Penelope

Gladis Rubio & daughter Penelope

Who are the main staff that deliver your services? 

Gladis: There are two of us on our team, Emily and I. It's great working with Emily because we are able to benefit from eachother's strengths. We have a wide range of experience between the two of us, so we can accomplish more than if we were two Lactation Counselors working separately. 
How did you get into this line of work? 

Gladis: I was first interested in helping women with breastfeeding when my eight year old daughter was a baby. Nursing my first baby had been a struggle and I'd learned a lot of navigating through those issues, so it motivated me to help others. I thought, back then, how great it would be to create a regular place where women could go for breastfeeding support and education. I was initially envisioning starting a drop-in type resource center or support group. A few years later, I got to put those wishes into action when I started doing lactation counseling for WIC. Our incredible team was able to help moms with breastfeeding concerns over the phone and in the office during business hours, but often times the moms needing help the most were unable to come in to our office at the health department. It got me thinking about how great it would be to bring breastfeeding support directly to them! 

Emily: I felt called to serve women with lactation support after the birth of my second child nine months ago. He was born with unexpected metabolic, genetic and gastrointestinal health concerns that require us to see and follow up with many specialists. I knew in my heart that I was committed to breastfeeding my baby. The level of support from the many professionals we were seeing on an ongoing basis was not consistent during his most critical weeks and months. It became clear to me along the way in his journey, that when a mother says she wants to breastfeed her baby but is faced with challenges, compassionate and evidence-based support is what is most needed to help her overcome obstacles. I knew that my decision to breastfeed my baby was more than just a biological necessity; breast milk was also healing to his fragile little body. And it was my refusal to accept the notion that nursing my baby was merely a "lifestyle choice"; my baby needed my milk. I truly feel that all babies deserve what is not only "best" for them, but what is made just for them.


 Emily Seelig-Rohrhuber and son Marlin

Emily Seelig-Rohrhuber and son Marlin

Tell us about us how families will benefit from your services?
 We offer evidence-based information, but are also mothers with our own nurslings so we have a "real world" perspective and experience as well. Our prenatal breastfeeding education is designed to empower, enlighten, and inform soon-to-be parents about everything they need to know to get breastfeeding off to the best possible start. But sometimes, no matter how much you think you may be prepared for the arrival of your baby, concerns or difficulties can come up, and establishing breastfeeding may be more of a struggle than anticipated. In addition to caring for herself and her baby, a mom who's struggling is also expected to make appointments during business hours for this much needed help, get her baby ready to leave the house (sometimes with other children in tow), and deal with troubling feeding concerns at the same time. Maybe she has sore nipples and wearing a bra hurts, or maybe she's tethered to a pump because baby isn't currently latching. Our in-home service prevents them from having to run around to yet another appointment. We want to help our moms eliminate as many of the unnecessary stumbling blocks as we can. And the feedback we've gotten has been a resounding "Yes!" The new moms and dads we've worked with have been enthusiastic about wanting in-home support and education on how breastfeeding works. Preventing potential problems is absolutely the best way to make nursing a success. Education and support can help to prevent so many bigger problems. Everything from plugged ducts and mastitis (a breast infection) to low milk supply can be prevented or managed by getting adequate support and appropriate guidance.  

 What locations do you service? 
We serve much of Pinellas, Pasco, and parts of Hillsborough. You can visit our website for more information on our coverage area. 
Are there any statistics you want to share with us that parents might want to know? 
Yes! Studies show that prenatal breastfeeding education does matter! In one study, it was found that moms who had at least one exposure to breastfeeding education during pregnancy, on average, nursed their babies twice as long as those who didn't (Reifsnider and Eckhert, 1997). Another study showed that women who received personalized prenatal education were twice as likely to still be breastfeeding at six weeks postpartum as women who did not receive prenatal education (Kisten et al., 1990). And families that exclusively breastfeed for one year can save up to $1200 - $1500 by never having to buy formula. There are also significant savings for breastfeeding families in their healthcare spending and medical costs. In 2011, the Surgeon General published data relating to health risks faced by babies who are not breastfed. Ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, and necrotizing enterocolitis are all more than 100% more common in babies who are not breastfed (
Anything else you want to share about your business? 

We are very excited about bringing the Breastfeeding Welcome Here project to the Tampa Bay Area, so stay tuned for more information about that in the near future!  
To connect with The Fourth Trimester visit their website here!


World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st - 7th, and what better way to celebrate breastfeeding than to show it off in all its glory. Thank you to all the beautiful families in Tampa Bay for sharing these pictures with us. Breastfeeding is normal, healthy and beautiful. We support it 100%! 

"Mother's milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies because it is nature's perfect food." - Robert S. Mendelsohn.


Laura Irmis - Artist, Educator, Doula

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network!

Let us introduce you to Laura Irmis.

 Laura Irmis, Artist, Educator, Doula

Laura Irmis, Artist, Educator, Doula

Tell us about you? 
I am a childbirth educator, henna artist and postpartum doula working to normalize and revalue all aspects of motherhood in our society via education, outreach, support, community events and activism. I am passionate about educating and empowering expectant mothers and couples about their options and choices for a beautiful birth journey. 
How did you get into this line of work? 
Birth changed me. During my first pregnancy my husband and I took Bradley Method classes and the passion of empowerment overtook me. I consumed myself in understanding birth and American birth practices. I wanted to make my own decisions about my body and my birth. As I continued to transform as a mother I realized how impactful birth could be for the rest of our lives. I felt the need to share this with other mothers in hopes they could feel the same joy and empowerment in their birth(s) and lives. 
What services do you offer? 

I am a Certified Childbirth Educator in the Bradley Method, however I offer both private and group classes. The childbirth classes I teach prepare the couple together on their journey. My classes stress the importance of Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother and Healthy Families. I attract families who are willing to take the responsibility needed for preparation and birth. I share a wide variety of information making each course specific to the students needs; it's a very custom and comprehensive course. Think of it as an all-in-one childbirth class. 

With my henna art, I create designs or freehand style to make the pregnant mother feel even more magical! Henna body art is an ancient way to honor the pregnant woman's inner strength as she prepares for birth. I combine essential oils in henna paste, a natural stain found in crushed henna leaves, for a beautiful expressive experience. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 10.25.05 AM.png
As a postpartum doula I offer support during the postpartum phase and "mother the mother." Things I can help with are: 
  • Routine newborn care and education in bathing, cord care, diapering, calming techniques, and newborn nutrition and development.  
  • Assistance in unexpected outcomes in providing support, guidance, and information
  • Help taking care of you and your baby so you can rest
  • Breastfeeding support and education
  • Pumping assistance
  • Phone and email support throughout your pregnancy and early postpartum period
  • Access to my lending library of childbirth materials to support your learning in preparing for birth, breastfeeding and newborn care.  
  • Newborn care in general.  
  • Helping care for siblings.  

What locations do you service? 

St. Petersburg and surrounding Tampa Bay areas. 

Could you share a success story from a family that received your services?

I have several testimonials that my students have given me; here is one of my favorites:
 "My birth was the most exhausting, yet the most exhilarating day of my entire life. I just want to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart for teaching me, encouraging me, etc. I couldn't have done it without you and trust me when I say you are going to make such an impact on so many people's lives if you continue on the path you are on. I have never felt so strong in all my life and I have such an amazing sense of pride that I didn't even know was possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you... A million times thank you!" - The Millers 

Are there any events coming up that people should know about? 
My next Bradley Method class begins September 11, 2013 at the Growing Up store in St. Pete. Seats fill quickly, sign up now! 
The Improving Birth rally will be happening on Labor Day, Monday September 2nd, 10:00 am - noon. We are working on finalizing the details and will announce the final location and specifics very soon. You can visit or find us on facebook here: 

Anything else to share? 
As a ceramic artist, I have been super busy creating birth focused work. I am getting my hands dirty creating a new series including meditation labyrinths, "Fruitful Sculptures", inspirational hearts, essential oil burners and functional pottery. Visit here to see my work. 
To connect up with Laura check out her site at: or give her a call at: 727-560-0340.



Seeds Of Mommy Soul

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network! Our next installment.  


We interviewed Gaetane Joseph (pronounced Guy-ton), the face behind Seeds Of Mommy Soul. She is a Birth Doula and a Certified Lactation Counselor with a lot to offer our community. Let us introduce you! 

 As a Birth Doula what is your mission?

My mission is to provide quality services to expectant mothers and families with ongoing emotional and physical support during pregnancy and labor because ultimately every birth should be empowering, uplifting and positive. 

How did you get into this line of work?  

After the birth of my son in 2008 via cesarean, I had a very hard time breastfeeding. Not being one to give up, I exclusively pumped for 13 months in order to provide my son with breast milk. I soon became a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor volunteer which led me to work for Healthy Start. During my 2nd pregnancy, I began learning more about ways to prepare for my birth. In 2010, I delivered my daughter at home with the guidance of my Midwife and Doula. The compassion and attentiveness that my Doula provided was indescribable. I realized that it was a role I had envisioned for myself as a child growing up and into adulthood. I became a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) and Birth Doula soon after. Now as a mother of three, I have first hand experience with the true beauty of pregnancy and birth. As a Doula, I believe every expectant mother should experience the beauty of her birth as well.  

Tell us about yourself?
I was born in Haiti and raised in Miami where the multiple dynamics of cultures is prominent. At a very young age I became fascinated with pregnancy and birth and wanted to become an OBGYN. In high school I volunteered at my local hospital in labor and delivery. I witnessed two births during my volunteer work which became the catalyst to further my education. I graduated from USF with my Bachelors in Africana Studies and Women Studies after realizing Obstetrics wasn't really the direction I wanted to go. Ultimately, I wanted to care for laboring mothers not only physically but also emotionally; becoming a Doula would allow me to do so.


What services do you offer? 
I offer Doula support to a laboring mother and her family. As a trained Doula I am equipped with the tools to assist a laboring mother with comfort measures, initial breastfeeding support, and information for each family to make informed decisions. 
I also offer lactation support to mothers who are having some difficulties with breastfeeding. I assist mothers with initial breastfeeding, evaluating a proper latch, and referring for additional breastfeeding support as needed. 

What locations do you service? 
I service Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk County. I will support families in the comfort of their home, hospital, and birthing centers. 

How will families benefit from your services? 
Families will benefit from my services by having access to communicate with me all throughout pregnancy (via email, voice, or text), receive information and resources from me to help them make informed decisions, receive assistance in initial breastfeeding support, and receive encouragement during such a precious time in their lives. 
Anything else you want to share with us? 
As a mother, I have had the honor to birth my children and have taken into account all the support that comes along with this role. Being equipped with the resources to birth your baby is fundamental to having the birth you want. As a Doula I respect the mother and partners choice and am always honored to be a part of their journey. 
You can reach Gaetane at her Seeds Of Mommy Soul website and check her out on facebook at: