Where to Find That Holiday Glow


No matter what you celebrate this time of year, bringing light into the darkest days is a theme in many religions and winter routines. There is a special feeling that accompanies the sparkle of a string of lights or a flicker of a candle. Here we share some of the upcoming events in our communities to celebrate this winter tradition.

LL Bean Northern Lights

November 18-December 31 

LL Bean is changing things up this year. They are creating a Discovery Forest surrounding a geodesic dome featuring the aurora borealis, instead of their usual musical Christmas tree. The lighting and kick off celebration starts tomorrow (November 18th) at 6:45. The fun doesn’t end there, as Bean continues the holiday happenings with a model train village daily, and horse drawn wagon rides, reindeer barn (real reindeer!) and visits with Santa on the weekends. The events will wrap up on new year’s eve with their annual kiddo fireworks display. Check out their hashtag #llbeanmoment to share the fun!

Once you've enjoyed the epic holiday cheer at LL Bean, there are plenty of other wonderful TREE LIGHTING EVENTS around the state:

Christmas in Rockland

November 25-27th

These festivities kick off when Santa arrives by Coast Guard escort! He’ll help light the tree after a busy afternoon. The following day there are events all around town leading up to the Festival of Lights parade. The weekend wraps up with a breakfast with Santa on the 27th. A full family weekend!

Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse, York

November 26th 4:30-7p  

What is more Maine than celebrating the holidays at a historic lighthouse? Cocoa, carolers and a visit from Santa round out this lighthouse lighting celebration!

Also in York on December 3rd at 4:30 is their Festival of Lights parade. 

Christmas in Kennebunk

November 26th 5-9  

Santa lights the tree while carolers sing! Opportunities to skate with Santa.

Tree Lighting and Fireworks Downtown Kennebunk

December 9th 5:30

Tree lighting and fireworks display at Dock's Square to kick off the holiday season in downtown Kennebunk. 

Holiday Fest 2016 at Millcreek, South Portland

December 2nd 4:30-7pm 

Horse drawn carriage rides, a visit with Santa and a tree lighting!

Old Fashioned Christmas, Bath

November 26th-December 31st 

The lighting of the tree starts the festivities, but this town celebrates in such a way that you’ll be transported back to simpler times. One highlight is their red letter box, where children can post letters to Old Saint Nick.

Night Tree Event at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Freeport

December 3rd 9a-2p 

Get your tickets early for this family favorite! Admittedly, there’s no tree lighting here, but this sweet gathering follows the story of a family who feeds the forest animals by making special tree decorations. Each hour, beginning at 9am, the story is shared, then children can decorate a pinecone to bring into the forest on a short hike. A darling tradition to start with your young ones!

Light the Farm at Pineland, Gray

December 3rd 2-4:30p 

Face painting, candle making, walking the winter spiral will all precede the annual lighting of Pineland Farm!

Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Botanical Gardens, Boothbay

November 18th-December 31st 

A magnificent vision to behold as hundreds of thousands of holiday lights are strung amidst the beautiful gardens. Enjoy the sights as well as special food and drink at the cafe.

Festival of Lights Parade and Tree Lighting, Bangor

December 3rd 4:30p

This parade is sure to beam through the city, with over 70 entries set to dazzle with the theme "Holidays Around the World". At the end of the parade, the city will have its annual tree lighting.

Does your town have an annual holiday light display? We'd love to hear about it! Share in the comments.


Holiday Traveling With Baby

The holidays are finally here

That means plenty of family gatherings to bring you back and forth across county and state lines this season, with your new baby in tow. 

Holiday travel is challenging enough as one adult, a whole family including a new baby isn't for the faint of heart. Traveling with your baby can become stressful pretty quick, making your journey over the river and through the woods to grandma's house an adventure you're dreading. 

A little extra preparation goes a long way when it comes to traveling with baby


Packing a complete diaper bag might be the most stressful part of holiday traveling. Instead of overthinking your baby supplies, consider what will be available at your destination that you probably don't need to pack. You should bring at least two outfits for baby per day and plenty of diapers, wipes, bottles and extra pacifiers. Keeping a separate bag next to you in the car will keep certain items easily accessible like a diaper, wipes, hand sanitizer and water. 

Keep your bag organized so you aren't left rummaging through a cluttered diaper bag one handed. Packing your baby outfits in separate baggies will keep them clean in case something spills inside the bag and keeps tiny socks and accessories from getting lost. 

Long Car Rides

Car rides are boring for everyone, including your baby. Pack toys or distractions for baby to stay occupies that aren't too big or soft that could create a suffocation risk. Take turns spending some time in the back seat with baby keeping them company. Bring some stories to read to your baby on long car rides and keep your emergency bag nearby for any unexpected messes. If you can, travel during times your baby is normally sleepy to keep them from waking up cranky when you finally arrive at your destination. Before the big departure, make sure your baby's window is equipped with a sun shade and your car seat is installed correctly. Babies should be in rear-facing car seats until about age two, which definitely makes it easier to tend to them while you're in the back seat and they're buckled in. 


Navigating an airport with your baby might be an expert level parenting exercise, whether you're ready or not. TSA has a way of making air travel a little more complicated, however they do have some accommodations that will make checkpoints with baby a little easier on parents. That being said, plan to incorporate some extra time into your schedule for TSA checks, because your baby items must be meticulously inspected by security. Keep your baby's carry on organized, nothing in the basket under your stroller, and your baby dressed in easy to remove footwear. Freezing baby food puree flat in little labeled baggies can also double as ice packs in your diaper bag. Make sure your little one has their pacifier, bottle or nursing during takeoff because little ones are more sensitive to changes in cabin pressure. 

Traveling with your baby is nothing to panic about. 

Don't rush, take your time, and roll with the punches. 

Don't sweat the small stuff, the more upset you get the more fussy your baby will be throughout your holiday experience. 



8 Seriously Cool New Year's Eve Celebrations for Maine Kids


Fireworks, clam drops, and skating! What's on your agenda for counting down 2015 with your family? We searched the area; from Biddeford to Portland to Yarmouth to Freeport. Here are Maine Doulas' top finds for the seriously cool events happening on New Year's Eve day.

1. Yarmouth's 4th Annual Clam Drop at Yarmouth First Universalist Church

97 Main St, Yarmouth ME | 7pm

Steamer, the Clam Festival mascot, will be lowered from the church belfry at 7pm. Music, cookies and cocoa! What could be better (or more Maine)?

2. Children's Museum New Year's at Noon

142 Free Street, Portland, ME | 11:30am

Children are encouraged to wear their PJs to ring in the new year (at noon)! This shindig is free with admission to the museum. Be sure to arrive by 11:30 to join in all the fun. At 12 noon they will drop balloons to mark the occasion.

3. Portland Library 2nd annual Family Contra Dance

5 Monument Way, Portland ME | 11am

Learn a variety of fun and easy dances suitable for children and adults.  Maggie Robinson, who has been calling dances for 8 years, will be the caller and local musicians will perform. No experience necessary!

From the library event listing:

Contra Dance is a type of social dance where parallel lines of dancers stand opposite — or “contra to” — their partners. A caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced dancers alike through a variety of dances. Contra dancing is about social interaction, meeting people, and making new friends, set to music. The accompanying music for contra dances includes, but is not limited to Irish, Scottish, and French-Canadian folk songs. The fiddle is considered the core instrument, though other stringed instruments such as the guitar and mandolin are used as well.

4. South Portland Library's 3rd Annual Noon Year Party

482 Broadway St, South Portland ME | 11:30am

Can’t stay awake until midnight? Come ring in the new year with our 3rd annual Noon Year Party instead! This all-ages event will take place on Thursday, December 31 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Main Library. Featuring fun crafts, story time, balloons, and a fantastic countdown to noon, this is sure to be a blast for the whole family! Feel free to wear your favorite PJ’s, dress to impress, or just come as you are. We can’t wait to welcome in the new year with you!


LL Bean Campus, Discovery Park, Freeport ME

LL Bean always makes it exciting for the whole family. Ring in the New Year with their festive "KidNight," featuring live music from Rick Charette and a wintertime fireworks display at 6pm. 

There are a few venues for ice skating, which always has great opportunities for silliness and laughter. Not to mention how much energy it uses! Can you say "early night"?

6. The Rink at Thompson's Point

10 Thompson's Point, Portland ME

This is the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy some skating fun. With their beautiful warming room and heated lounge, there are great spaces for even the smallest ones to stay warm while family and friends skate. They also feature on-site food vendors and warm beverages to keep your energy up. A great NYE day adventure for everyone!

7. Biddeford Ice Arena

14 Pomerleau Street, Biddeford ME

Another great option for family fun. They offer snacks and cocoa to keep you skating the day away! Open for all ages and abilities.

8. Portland Pirates New Year's Eve Celebration at Family Ice Center

20 Hat Trick Drive, Falmouth ME | 1:20pm

Portland Pirates' New Year's celebration from 1:20pm-2:40pm will feature Salty Pete, a Pirate's shooting bay, free food, and giveaways!

Or how about these options? Cozy up with your favorite hot beverage & a winter fairy tale, or put on some festive music & have a rockin' living room dance party! 

Whatever you do, we hope this final celebration of 2015 brings you and your family lots of joy! Happy New Year!

Are you drinking that? I thought you were breastfeeding!

‘Tis the season for holiday gatherings, celebrations and festivities. For breastfeeding mothers it often feels like a really gray area – breastfeeding and alcohol consumption. Champagne toasts, festive cocktails, egg nog, hot toddies, wine with dinner or appetizers, whatever you like to indulge in during the season it all comes into question when we are now breastfeeding a new or even an older baby. What are you supposed to do? Pump and dump? Supplement? Breastfeed as usual? It's all so confusing!


Let the doulas and the lactation professionals ease your mind a little bit.

Current research shows that the occasional use of alcohol does not appear to be harmful to breastfed babies (1-2 drinks) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that no more than 0.5 g alcohol per kg of body weight – SAY WHAT? 

Here's the breakdown -  a woman weighting about 60 kg (132 lbs) can have approximately 2 oz liquor, 8 oz wine (two 4 oz glasses) or 2 beers (two 12 oz beers). They recommend that nursing should take place 2 or more hours after the alcohol intake to “minimize its concentration in the ingested milk”. But when it comes to pumping and dumping breast milk, let's use our judgement and consider all the facts: 

  • Less than 2% of the alcohol you drink actually reaches your blood and milk and alcohol peaks in your system ½ - 1 hour after ingestion (of course variables include whether you've eaten or not, your body weight, percentage of body fat, etc.).
  • There is nothing that shows it speeds the elimination of the alcohol from the breastmilk. 
  • Alcohol does not hydrate you, in fact it does the opposite so it will not increase your milk supply
  • Alcohol can also slow the milk ejection reflex or “let down” process so it may take longer to let down during your post alcoholic beverage nursing session.
  • Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk.


What does that look like to the breastfeeding mother at a holiday party? 

One option might be to nurse your baby before the alcoholic beverage and, if it makes you feel comfortable, wait two hours after the beverage to nurse the baby again.

Fairly simple, right? 

With all the information out there, and guidelines available, the bottom line is use your best judgment: if you don't feel able to drive, you should not breastfeed your baby. 

We hope this eases your mind a little to enjoy a beverage or two at your festivities this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays and Cheers!

Our contributor today is the lovely Alison Vanderburgh; CLC, and birth & postpartum doula. She is mom to son, Luke, 4, as well as two step-daughters. Her passion for breastfeeding education and support was ignited when her son was born and she hasn’t looked back! It is her goal: 

to support mothers and partners through this incredibly life changing time.  To help mom bring her baby earth side in a peaceful, loving, supportive manner.  To help support mom transitioning to a new normal in the postpartum period and facilitate feeding assistance and education when needed.  I am honored to be chosen by you and consider this time very sacred.

You can reach her at alivanderburgh@gmail.com or 207.446.0276.

What's at Play with Those After-Meal Naps? Your Thanksgiving Experience ByTrimester


Sounding strangely like the substance which drains Superman's powers, tryptophan has long been the scapegoat for a long post-dinner nap on Thanksgiving. But are there other things at play?

According to the New York Times, the amino acid tryptophan "is a precursor for the brain chemical serotonin, which is associated with healthy sleep". Unfortunately, for your uncle dead asleep in front of the Bears/Packers game, turkey doesn't contain any greater amount of tryptophan than other meats like beef or chicken. And while tryptophan on its own could make you sleepy, turkey contains many other amino acids which limit the effect.

So what's going on? Why are your family members spread upon the soft furniture like the sandman got carried away?

Consider the feast of the day. On a day when loading up your plate three or four times before the dessert course even makes it to the table is not only acceptable, but encouraged, it makes sense that everyone feels a bit sluggish. Add to that a glass of wine or a seasonal brew. Oh, not for you? You're pregnant, you say? Well, have I got a story for you!

  • 1st Trimester: If you're just starting this great adventure, your body is busy creating the entire life support system for your baby. This includes growing the placenta. As your metabolism increases, your blood sugar and pressure lower. Then add to that whatever excess you can manage around the meal+hormones+emotions = Hello naptime!


  • 2nd Trimester: This trimester you may feel a renewed sense of energy. You might have adjusted to your new hormones, and be in a sweet spot with the size and shape of your new belly. You might feel like you can fit just one more piece of pie and shuffle around for that family football game, but don't be surprised if they find you in a bed of leaves by the third quarter.


  • 3rd Trimester: As baby grows, there are more demands on your body. Your sleep at night may be disrupted by practice labor or frequent bathroom trips. In general, you are just feeling a bit slower and sleepier. So the indulgences of the day are a perfect excuse for a well-deserved nap!

Wherever you are in your pregnancy (or parenting!), you deserve a rest! So take advantage of the extra hands, leave the dishes to your dad, and put your feet up. Just let them know,  "My doula said I should probably take a nap today"

Your body will thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!