Saturday, July 27, 2019

Join Me in Celebrating Breastfeeding Week at the Big Latch On

This year, Samantha Swartz Birth Services is excited to partner with Family Trees Doulas to help at the World Breastfeeding Celebration and Big Latch on in Lancaster on August 3 at Musser Park in Lancaster! 

Information for the Event:

"Join the Lancaster Breastfeeding Coalition and community as we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week! This is a completely free event for breastfeeding families. All are welcome, whether you are currently breastfeeding, used to breastfeed, or are an advocate for breastfeeding families...we would love for you to come and have some fun!

9:30am Music with Popovsky Performing Arts
10:30am Big Latch On11:00am Family Yoga

All Day Activities Include:

  • Face Painting by Mimzy's
  • Baby Weight Stations
  • Photo Booth
  • Music
  • Make your own nursing necklace/teether (while supplies last)
  • Snacks
  • Raffles and giveaways
  • Receive information on complimentary foods for breastfeeding babies
  • Learn about breastfeeeding resources in our community"

So many women around the world advocate for breastfeeding for many reasons, according to ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

Breastfeeding is best for your baby for the following reasons:
  • Breast milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for a baby’s growth and development. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to adapt to the baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  • Breast milk is easier to digest than formula.
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from certain illnesses, such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and allergies. The longer your baby breastfeeds, the greater the health benefits.
  • Breastfed infants have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breast milk can help reduce the risk of many of the short-term and long-term health problems that preterm babies face.

Breastfeeding is good for you for the following reasons

  • Breastfeeding triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract. This helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may decrease the amount of bleeding you have after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding may make it easier to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

So come join me for this fun, free event!  

For more information visit the links below

Monday, May 6, 2019

Under the Willow Tree

This past weekend ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) met in Nashville to discuss the quality of maternal healthcare. At their summit Dr. Timothy Draycott, a professor at the University of Bristol told an audience of mostly U.S. doctors "Meghan Markle has decided she's going to have a doula and a willow tree... let's see how that goes." His snarky remark was met with laughter. Currently, where Dr. Draycott lives fewer than 9.2 per 100,000 women die in childbirth, however in the US, where most of the doctors we was speaking to practice, about 26.5 per 100,000 mothers die. The US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world despite spending the most money on maternal healthcare.

I tried to find a video from the summit of Dr. Timothy Draycott's speech, but was unable to find anything. However, I can guess that what he forgot to mention was the evidence that shows a planned homebirth with a midwife is in fact, safer than a hospital birth in low risk pregnancies, such as Meghan Markle's. Another interesting study of homebirth vs hospital birth looks at babies microbiomes and interestingly enough, babies born at home tend to have higher levels of good bacteria and lower levels of bad bacteria compared to babies born in a hospital.

There are many studies and statistics I can show you that confirm home is just as safe, if not safer than the hospital, however that is not the point I want to make today. What women need to know from this is that they have options. Women have every right to do research, learn about the standard procedures in the hospitals nearest them, learn about the alternatives to those procedures, learn about their bodies physiology and anatomy, they have the right to interview and talk to a wide range of care providers, doulas, childbirth educators, etc. to find who will best support them and their wishes through their pregnancy, labor and birth. Women also deserve transparency from their care providers and they deserve to be respected when they make an informed decision about their health care. The bullying and fear-mongering I see from people who are supposed to be their care providers is unacceptable and needs to stop.

So what can women do to prevent themselves from becoming one of the 26.5 per 100,000 maternal deaths in America? How can they combat this statistic despite care providers not looking at the evidence? Become educated, empowered and learn how to advocate for yourself. Expecting parents already get a lot of unsolicited advice, but if I can give an expecting parent one piece of advice it would be to take an out of hospital childbirth class. Hospital based classes, although better than taking no classes at all, often emphasize to parents how they can best comply to hospital policy, when to ask for an epidural, etc. and rarely covers non-pharmacological comfort techniques, the benefits, risks and alternatives to interventions, etc. and can leave parents feeling overall overwhelmed and not truly educated on their options for their birth.

I don't deny that doctors and hospitals are important to women who have a higher risk of complications, but in my opinion (and what the evidence suggests) is that the hospital should be reserved for those high risk cases. Low risk women are not any safer at a hospital and in fact are put under added stress due to hospitals often outdated push policies.

The happy ending to all of this is that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry delivered their precious baby boy this morning, and although not many details have been given about his birth, it was suggested that she did have the home birth that she had planned for. Despite the laughs and criticism from doctors who rarely get the opportunity to witness a natural, non-pharmacological birth Meghan educated herself on the options and the evidence and chose what was best for her and her family. 


Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician

Differences in the fecal microbiota of neonates born at home or in the hospital

Saturday, September 22, 2018


I am so excited to announce and show off my new branding! I decided that with the addition of childbirth education classes (and pursuing a certification as a childbirth educator) in addition to wanting to pursue a few other certifications, it would be best to change my name from "doula services" to "birth services" and give myself a fresh new look! I wanted something light. floraly and modern.

Thank you all for your continued love and support as I grow and nourish my passion!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


It has been a crazy summer, that is for sure. I have been working hard to earn more certifications so that I am able to offer more services to my amazing clients. One thing I have learned about myself is that my passion for learning and my desire to continually grow has exploded in these last few years of my adulthood. 

With that being said, I am so excited to add Childbirth Education classes to my services. I am currently working on putting together my curriculum and hoping to offer my first class in October. Keep a look out on for an updated class schedule. 

Another project I have been working on is re-branding. I have a new logo designed and have been working on updating my website as well. Look out for my new website to go live soon! 

Be sure to follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter for updates and events and subscribe to my mailing list at 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How Do I Soothe my Colicky Baby?

Parents and caregivers alike often refer to fussy baby's as a colicky baby. Most also associate colic with having stomach issues. But, a Colicky baby is defined as one who is healthy but cries uncontrollably for at least 3 hours, 3 days in a row usually starting at around 2 weeks of age, peaking around 6 weeks and lasting up to 3-4 months of age.

What causes colic? 
We aren't too sure what exactly causes colic. Some theories include:
  • A growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm
  • Gas
  • Hormones that cause stomach pain or a fussy mood
  • Over-sensitivity or over-stimulation by light, noise, etc.
  • A moody baby
  • A still-developing nervous system
Remember, these are all theories and every baby is different, which is why there isn't one answer on the best way to treat a colicky baby. However, this study of exclusively breastfed infants suggests that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri greatly reduced crying time in colicky infants. It is important to note that there have been studies for other treatments, however double blind or placebo controlled studies were not done at the time of my research to verify the results of these treatments. In addition, there are other reasons why a baby might be fussy including food allergies, an infection, inflammation, etc. If you are concerned with your baby's colic it is important to talk to your doctor to rule out any medical concerns. 

How can I soothe my colicky baby? The best way to sooth your baby is with the 5 S's.

1. Swaddle
I like to call this the baby burrito. Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. Wrapped baby's will respond faster to the other 4 S's and stay soothed longer as long as their arms are wrapped tightly and can't wiggle. Wrap their hips to be loose. Baby's should not be swaddled all day or for long periods of time, just while they are sleeping or if they are fussy.

2. Side or Stomach Position
While holding baby, put them on their side or on their stomach over your shoulder. Remember that the back is considered the safest position during sleep.

3. Shush
Your baby has spent the last 9 months hearing muffled sounds from inside your womb, so some white noise and shushing sounds will bring comfort to baby. White noise is not all the same however, ocean sounds and fan noises may not do the trick. The best way to imitate the sounds from inside the womb is to "shush." close to their ear and at the volume at which they are crying. Contrary to popular belief, silence is not calming for baby.

4. Swing
Like the shushing sound, recreating what life in the womb is like is very comforting. For the last nine months they have jiggled around as you walked around, climbed steps, etc. so faster, tiny motions are more productive at calming baby than slower rocking. Remember, never shake a baby.

5. Suck
Many fussy babies will fall into a deep relaxation when they suck, either a pacifier or if you breastfeed and it's meal time, offer your breast.

Check out this video for a quick example of the 5S's.

More Resources:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

First Blog Post of 2018!

This year I made a resolution to blog more. It's now February and this is my first blog post of 2018! Better late than never though right? I thought I'd start this year off with answering some questions I've been asked lately, especially by people who aren't too sure what a doulas role is or are confused by how a doula supports a birthing woman.

Don't doulas just help women who have home births? 
No! We support women in any and all kinds of birth scenarios. A home birth, birth center, hospital, Cesarean section, vaginal birth, natural, epidural, induction, twins, triplets, etc. In addition, a good doula will not judge or decide what type of birth you have. Instead, we are here to support and educate you. Do you want an epidural? Great, let's talk through what that will look like so you are prepared. Are you unsure about or struggling with breastfeeding? We can answer basic questions and refer you to a lactation consultant we know and trust. Ultimately our goal is support YOU and YOUR decisions. 

What does doula support look like? 
This answer can vary depending on the needs of the birthing woman. Some women may prefer their doula to be a little more hands on and touchy- offering shoulder rubs, double hip squeezes, wiping their foreheads with a cool cloth etc. while others like a more hands off approach and prefer their doula to offer words of affirmation while handing them a cup of water. Whatever support you prefer in birth, that is what a doula is here for. While nurses and doctors are in and out of your hospital room, a doula is there the whole time to support you. 

What about the father? Can't he support me at my birth?
Absolutely! We love and encourage dad's to be involved in the birthing process and we are not here to take that experience away from fathers. But doula's bring a level of skill, experience and education to a birth. Although we are not considered medical professionals, we have a level of understanding about what is going on during the birth process and can offer different comfort techniques, basic childbirth education, while also being there to help your significant other support you! Dad's bring the love and affection to the birth place, doula's bring skill, experience and education. 

So here is to 2018! Keep an eye out for my blog posts coming soon! 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Year in Review

2017 has been a pretty awesome year for me and I hit some pretty great mile stones. Although I started exploring the idea of becoming a doula in 2016, it wasn't until 2017 when I started my journey. Here is a list of what I accomplished on my doula adventure in 2017

  • Started my doula training
  • Received my certification in birth and postpartum doula support
  • Attended my first birth
  • Helped families with postpartum doula support
  • Designed and launched my doula webite
  • Launched a doula blog (but let's be honest, I've been lacking in posts these last few months!)

And I can't post a new years post without adding my 2018 goals
  • Assist more families in postpartum doula support
  • Become a certified Childbirth Educator through Lamaze 
  • Create a schedule in which I can attend more births
  • Connect and network with more doulas/childbirth educators/lactation consultants and other birth workers and birth advocates
  • Blog more often and gain more social media followers

Thank you to everyone who made 2017! I am looking forward to 2018 has to hold. 

Happy New Years Everybody!