Bellies-2-Babies Opens in Downtown Lake Wales
Janet Farmer Offers Birthing Education and Support
Last updated 5/8/2019 at 11:20am
People embarking on a travel adventure do research and consult professionals. Janet Farmer says new parents also should be fully prepared for what she calls the adventure of childbirth.
"I feel like birth is the trip of a lifetime. It's an epic adventure and it takes preparation," Farmer said.
That's why Farmer opened her new "gathering place," Bellies-2-Babies, in the historic downtown Lake Wales arcade, where she'll offer "workshops and doula services to help families prepare for an amazing birth." Chamber and city officials along with Farmer's friends and family gathered Friday, April 26 to celebrate the grand opening of the new business at 229 E. Stuart Avenue, Suite 8.
"The idea is to provide a sense of community for childbearing families, a place for them to come and get evidence-based information to help them navigate the pregnancy, birth and post-partum period from a birth professional," said Farmer, who has been a childbirth educator for more than 25 years.
Farmer also is a certified doula, a birth educator and breastfeeding support specialist, and she's obtaining the credentials she needs to train others.
Bellies-2-Babies feels like a comfortable living room, decorated with photos, collectibles and sayings like "It is more than the birth of a baby, it's the birth of a family" and "Your birth, your journey."
Farmer said she presents information and discusses options with parents and helps create a birth plan that is right for them. If they want a water birth, Famer says, they can't go to a local hospital, but will need to choose a birthing center or midwife to assist them at home. She helps clients determine if a care provider is a good fit and what interventions they would be comfortable with should the need arise.
Farmer demystifies the birthing process for new parents by simulating an actual birth using a pliable fabric pelvis and baby doll complete with umbilical cord and an amniotic sack.
"Wouldn't you want to consult with people who have navigated that path, people who have been there, people who have the most up-to-date information to help you decide how you want the birth experience to be for you?" Farmer asked. "People have choices but if they don't know their options they don't really have any."
The spouse or partner is important to the process and Farmer teaches a one-night class on comfort measures and what to expect during the birth process. Part of her service is to attend the birth and assist the partner in providing comfort and encouragement during the birth process.
"The birth partner knows the mom and we know birth. Together we make a great team," Farmer said.
Farmer also can help after the birth by going to the home and assisting the new mom with breastfeeding, diapering, swaddling and other activities that might be new to her. Sometimes Farmer just gives the mom a break or cares for the baby so she can get some sleep.
Farmer uses the "Birth Boot Camp" curriculum, which has four, six and 10-week course options. She also does a one-day class "Life with Your New Recruit," covering how to care for the new baby.
An introductory class "Preparing for Pregnancy" will be held May 8 or May 13 from 6:30-8 p.m. for a $25 fee. Participants, who are encouraged to bring a partner or support person, can register and pay online. The comprehensive 10-week Birth Boot Camp program costs $425. Additional information on the various programs and fees can be found on the website https://www.bellies-2-babies.com/
Farmer is the only educator using the Birth Boot Camp curriculum in Polk County, so she expects people from nearby cities and counties will drive over for her services. She has been working in Lakeland and is pleased to be back in her hometown: "Lake Wales has my heart. I love this town and this community."