Jocelyn-Holzwarth-225x300In April 2012 I became a mommy to my first baby, Parker. Even though my husband and I had taken plenty of classes and I had created a local support system for myself through prenatal yoga, we still felt that we needed additional support for when the baby was born. We hired a local doula who visited the day we came home from the hospital to help with moral support, random questions related to bath, umbilical cord, feeding, etc. Let’s just say, all doulas are not created equal and this doula was not a good fit for us and did not help to calm any of our new parent anxiety. We felt all of her answers seemed really “canned” and not related to OUR baby. Fortunately, I learned that a childhood friend was a trained doula but wondered, “How could she help us being all the way in New Jersey?” Well, she certainly did….and then some! A month after Parker was born, I reached out to Devon when we became disappointed with our local doula. Parker is a very chill, easy, low-maintenance baby but as first-time parents we still felt like we wanted someone to lean on and guide us (We only bugged our pediatrician with medical questions). No matter what the question was (naps, bathing, breastfeeding, etc.) Devon replied quickly via email and text with thoughtful, clear answers. As situations arose I was in touch with her and in some instances she was even able to walk me through the process in the moment! Even though it seemed unlikely, having someone guiding us from the other side of the country who knew their stuff and really had their heart in the process was so much more effective than someone who did not right in our backyard. Parker is nearly 8 months old now and my husband and I both feel more confident and self-assured in our parenting. Parker sleeps 12 hours through the night, is in the 90-95th percentile medically and is overall a happy, healthy baby with happy healthy parents, much thanks to Devon, Mama’s Best Friend – Certainly she is ours!
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Jocelyn, Trey, and Parker Holzwarth – San Jose, CA
Josephine-Higgins-300x200Before I had my son so many questions ran through my head all the time. I thought about feeding schedules, sleep schedules, tummy time, teething, recovery from giving birth, etc. I could go on forever. Once I had him, my life changed (for the better!), but I realized that I needed help getting used to this change. I was absolutely exhausted. I found myself having a ton of anxiety. I wanted to try to find a way to make some sort of routine for the baby, my husband, and myself. I also had no idea how much I was supposed to feeding my son. Or how much he was supposed to be sleeping. Or how to have him sleep more than 3 hours at a time. That is when I turned to Devon! The first time I met with Devon, she started us on the right path. She listened to my concerns, asked lots of questions, and taught me about feeding and sleep rhythms. I tried her suggestions right away – It worked!! Ever since that afternoon that Devon came to my house, my son is a well-fed baby who sleeps through the night! I feel like a new woman! It also felt so great to know that she was there for me to reach out to whenever I had a question or needed some extra support. Meeting Devon was like meeting an angel! I had many doubts in myself about being a new mom. She really helped me believe in myself and give me the confidence I needed to get through the biggest change in my life. I am so thankful that I met Devon. I give her all the credit for my son being the well-fed, well-rested, and ever-so-happy baby that he is!
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Josephine, Jay, and CJ Higgins – Howell, NJ
I met Devon the evening I got home from the hospital with my firstborn. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and frankly I was scared. I had no idea what to do with a newborn, and I knew I needed help. Prior to my son’s birth, I thought I’d figured out just the type of help I would need and I hired a baby nurse, but I was dismayed to find out that what a baby nurse did was very different from what I wanted. Already a mother of two young children that I did not birth, I wanted to learn how to mother my newborn and care for my children and husband much in the same way I had before the baby was born. I wanted the baby to become part of our family and not take over our family. When I learned that the baby nurse would take care of the baby so that I could take care of the rest of the family, I knew I needed a different kind of help. I needed someone to teach me how to mother a newborn, and not mother my newborn for me. In a frantic search to find what I wanted, I looked online and came across Devon at Mama’s Best Friend. Devon explained that she was a “mommy supporter”, and that she helped new and overwhelmed moms become confident moms. In addition she was very knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding, which was very important to me. My sister and I only needed a short face-to-face interview with Devon to know that she was just the person I was looking for. Devon’s ability to soothe and comfort my newborn was apparent right away, and I found it easy to trust her with our newest family member. In the beginning Devon gave me time for naps, a walk and a shower. Before I knew it she was helping me take my baby on errand outings and get back to life. Devon was present as much as I needed and available all the time, yet she gave me enough space to become a confident and independent mom. In just 3 short months since my son’s birth, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come with Devon’s teaching, advice and support. My baby boy, my older children, my husband, and I are all happy and healthy and we owe a large part of our happiness to Devon!
The Hogshire Family – Princeton, NJ
Megan-Dimmick-300x199No amount of reading or talking to family and friends could have prepared us for bringing home our twin girls from the hospital. We knew it would be “tough” but one had severe colic, both had trouble eating, and they were underweight and needed to be fed every 2 hours around the clock. I was trying to breastfeed, and we were trying to handle learning how to be new parents to 2 difficult babies, on zero sleep. We were flailing…..and then we found Devon. Through phone calls, extremely detailed emails, and many many texts, Devon warmly, calmly, and confidently coached us through what was undoubtedly the hardest time of our life. She taught us how to teach the girls to sleep, how to get them on a feeding schedule, and truly was the one person who got us through. No matter what time of day or night, no matter what curve the girls threw at us, Devon was always able to give us a plan, and was almost always able to predict what was to come. She is extremely wise, very experienced, and truly an angel for any new parent. I really don’t think we could have gotten through the first few months without her. Now, the girls are 7 months, sleep through the night, and are an absolute joy during the day. I waited a long time to be a mom, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more!
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Megan, Chris, Delaney & Shannon Dimmick – Tuckerton, NJ
I wanted to give some hope to the moms with the non-sleeping 2 year olds and to also thank Devon again! It has been a week now and (knock on wood) I feel like I have a COMPLETELY different child!!! We went from throwing a fit for an hour and going to bed at 9:30 and waking up 3-4 x per night to going up with no problem at 8 MAYBE calling once at the most. She has not gotten up at night in a week and instead of getting up at 5 or 6 and ending up in our bed she sleeps till 7 and even 8 today!! The absolute best part though is that she is SO much better behaved with more sleep and is my sweet girl again!!! I’ve been a much happier mommy!
Beth Lenhard, CT
After the birth of my first son, I had people to help, I had family and support, people to take the baby, people to help with laundry etc. What I wished I had was a best friend who KNEW WHAT SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT, wasn’t an exhausted mother herself, (or someone whose children were grown – therefore their advice was outdated) and could not only be a voice of reason, but a resource, reference point in the insanity of information to help me filter through it and find the right solutions for ME and MY FAMILY. THAT IS DEVON. No one else. Just knowing there is someone I could call when things go south and I needed some support or suggestions is a fantastic thing, but also knowing that ‘someone’ trusts ME as a new mom enough to figure some stuff out on my own – that’s an empowering combination!
Lani Harmon – Erie, PA
DanyelleI was very excited for the birth of my first child and had lots of plans. A difficult emergency C-section, breastfeeding challenges, and a death in the family just before my son was born led me to quickly become stressed out and overwhelmed and I ended up developing postpartum depression. My doctor’s office referred me to Devon, who stepped in right away to help me care for my baby and myself. Her emotional support, teaching, and friendship immediately made me feel so comfortable, and sure of my parenting even with being a nervous, unsure mother with lots of questions. My son Fallon fell in love with her, because he could sense her gentle nature. Thanks to her help, I was able to get back on my feet, recover from PPD, and feel confident about my parenting skills. I don’t know what I would have done without her, and I wish I’d known about her before my son arrived so we could have avoided some of the bad stuff in the first place!
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Danyelle, Kevin, and Fallon Krafft – Toms River, NJ
NicoleDevon was my saving grace. When I came home from the hospital, I did not know what to expect. I had looked forward to being a mother for so long, and when it finally happened, I was scared and exhausted. Devon came over and eased my worries. She showed me how to do everything from bathing the baby to putting her to sleep. I learned techniques on how to calm my baby and how to soothe her when she seemed to have gas pains. Devon showed me how to “wear ” the baby, which was so helpful if you are trying to get anything done in the house. All in all, Devon made my transition to being a mother much happier. I know that I was much calmer and confident with my newborn girl through the skills Devon taught me. She was a pleasure to be around and we have continued to work together through my daughter’s first year and beyond! I look forward to using her again with our next baby.
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Nicole, Ian, and Ella Gilmartin – Kendall Park, NJ
Marlise-Asher-300x200I was definitely one of those people who had reservations about having someone come into my home to help me with my newborn twins. However, after just one night of having Devon stay I was a convert. As a doula, I found that Devon had the rare combination of being both respectful of our privacy while being proactive with everything that needed to be done. She listened to what I really wanted and found ways to support me and the babies that were most helpful for me. I really appreciated the fact that she gave me all the information on a given topic, and then stood back and let me decide what was going to work for our family. For example, when I first started breastfeeding I went through several difficult periods and thought that maybe I would stop nursing. Devon was supportive and encouraging without pushing any particular agenda. For me, this really took away any pressure I might have experienced and helped me feel more positive about working toward my goal (I was able to continue breastfeeding). For both me and my partner, the primary reason we feel so comfortable with Devon is that she has such a natural ability with children. She is absolutely excellent with newborns and very comfortable with multiples. She is very hands on, gentle and loving with the babies and truly cares about their welfare. Devon will always have a special place in our hearts for all the help and support she has provided our family. She is wonderful!
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Marlise, Linda, Nicholas & Lexi Asher – Little Silver, NJ
My husband and I were both very excited to be new parents, but had no idea what to expect! The first few weeks home with your baby are supposed to be wonderful, but scary. Due to Devon’s help, mine were just wonderful. She is extremely knowledgeable about babies and the needs of new moms and dads. Working with her was like having a great friend right there with me who just happens to know a lot about babies. Now, I absolutely love being a mom, and I know it’s because I got off to a great start!
Andrea, Warren, and Nathan Stock – Princeton, NJ
Katherine-Stech-300x291I did everything “right” but he just wouldn’t sleep! I breastfeed, I co-sleep, I babywear, I’m tuned into his needs, but he wouldn’t sleep. It took 30-90 minutes of nursing/wrestling to get him to sleep just to have him down for an hour at most. If he slept for 2 hours straight, I was giddy. I was cranky, short-tempered and unhappy. I thought, “It must be ME, right? I’m doing something wrong because I should be cherishing these sleepless nights. If everyone else can get their child to sleep, what is wrong with me?” I was really at my wits’ end, and so was my husband. He thought I was going overboard by suggesting a sleep coach but he was too tired to argue. Even I was skeptical. Devon was just what we needed. Was she an instant miracle cure for all our sleep woes in one night? No- She’s wonderful, but she isn’t magic. It took work and time, but she was definitely the key. Her detailed support and infectious positive attitude made all the difference for us. She set up a step-by-step plan for us to follow and was there to reach out to when something needed tweaking. And this wasn’t just “plan #2 from page 46” – it was a detailed plan for ME and MY BABY, dealing with our specific issues and not some generic template. Often I needed her support as much as, if not more than, I needed her ideas. Oh — and yes my baby sleeps now goes to sleep easily and sleeps through the night! (Most nights – this is still a baby we are talking about) AND he takes AMAZING, long naps! The best part? I’m a better mom for getting some sleep! Some cynical person actually said to me “Would a few hours more sleep really make you a better mom?” YES! Yes it would and yes it does!! I was no longer dreading the night, or the tired mornings! I had patience, I was in a better mood, and my baby was happier because of me. He was happier for the better sleep he was getting, but it was also better for him to have a cheerful, joyful more rested mom. Read Katherine’s full story here.
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Katherine, Carl, and Eric Stech – Madison, NJ
Kate-150x150Hiring Devon is the absolute BEST thing you could do for yourself and your children.I can’t say enough wonderful things about Devon. She’s warm, wonderful, flexible and very attentive. I’ve never met anyone else who can put a positive spin on any situation as Devon can.She’s more than a sitter, teacher, nanny, or doula. She truly is a mother’s best friend.She has set the bar high for me and no one else compares to her. Do yourself a fabulous favor and hire her ~ you will never regret it!
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Kate – Essex, CT
Leah-and-Hugh-150x150Devon has worked with us since my son was just a few months old. Every time Devon comes over, I learn something new from her about raising children! She has an amazing rapport with kids. My son is shy when meeting new people and hesitant to leave mommy, and I couldn’t believe it when he immediately wanted to play with her, go to a park with her, etc. She is truly a “baby whisperer” and a “toddler whisperer” (I’m sure she is also a “big kid whisperer,” though my experience with her has been with the former age groups). She is the perfect combination of youth and experience: she has the energy of a teenager but the wisdom and experience of someone well beyond her years.
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Leah, mom to Hugh (age 3) – Highland Park, NJ
She has incredible experience and knowledge with kids of all ages, is very loving and committed to the kids, and has a wide variety of skills. I would strongly recommend Devon to any family looking for help… she can do anything!
Erika – Highland Park, NJ
Devon is very dependable, intelligent, patient, giving and most of all understanding. She puts her whole heart into everything she does.Heidi-150x150
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Heidi – Brick, NJ
Devon is such a great asset! When I had my daughter it was nice to have help from someone I could trust and who was so knowledgeable on newborns. Thanks for your attention to detail and your help with calming a crying baby. You really helped me figure out which baby wraps to buy and how to use them best by experimenting with your collection, and your tips on how to give a baby message were just what I needed. Thank you for being with me during such a special time in my life!
Chantell – Bergenfield, NJ
Stephanie-150x150Devon is truly reliable, affectionate and fun to be around. She is also strongly well-versed in child development and confident in her abilities to make proper daily decisions for our children. Devon can relate to the kids in such a fabulous way, turning ordinary things into extraordinarily fun games. She was able to keep our older child well entertained while being able to care for our newborn. Not an easy balance! Devon is willing to be structured, but can also be extremely flexible with the needs of the family.
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Stephanie – Hoboken, NJ
While we have been fortunate to have no complications associated with prematurity, we wanted anyone who cared for our twins to have a special interest in supporting their development and promoting their skills. Devon’s training and experience working with young children, including preemies, was obvious when watching her interact with Edward and Cameron.We were immediately impressed with Devon’s professional approach, attention to detail and calm but fun demeanour. She inspired confidence to leave our boys in her care and follow the suggestions she gave. She was always a pleasure to be around and has helped us gain confidence as first time parents.
Lisa – Melbourne, Australia
Devon is a certified teacher who was able to tutor one of my daughters while she was at my home. She has such a wonderful way of relating with children that my daughter didn’t even know she was being tutored. She simply thought she was playing word and math games. The difference, however, that it made in my daughters performance at school, was tremendous.
Patricia – Brielle, NJ
I’m doing everything “right” but he just won’t sleep! I breastfeed, I co-sleep, I babywear, I’m tuned into his needs, but he won’t sleep. If there was a book, I read it. A group, I joined it. I talked to moms, grandmas and even helpful strangers, still he won’t sleep! It takes 30-90 minutes of nursing/wrestling to get him to sleep just to have him down for an hour at most. If he sleeps for 2 hours straight – I’m giddy. He hates sleep. He fights sleep with every bone in his chubby little body. He has to be the hardest baby ever to put to sleep. Oh I shouldn’t say that about my own baby, what’s wrong with me?! I’m trying to do everything “right” but it’s not working for us and it is taking its toll on me. I’m cranky, short tempered and unhappy. It must be “me” right? I’m doing something wrong because I should be cherishing these sleepless nights, right? More snuggles and a better attitude, that’s all I need. There must be just that one thing I’m missing; maybe I’ll read another book. Oh this book is great, she had a “terrible” time getting her baby to sleep through the night, tried this one simple thing and voila! So it really must just be me! Or him, he HATES sleep! Everyone has advice, even my husband’s co-workers, even the pharmacist, so if everyone else can get their child to sleep, what is wrong with me? I swear I’m doing everything “right.” There has to be a better way….and there is! I just needed a new best friend, specifically Devon “Mama’s Best Friend” I was really at my wits end, and so was my husband. He thought I was going overboard by suggesting a sleep coach but he was too tired to argue. Even I was skeptical. It took me over a month to reach out to Devon after I found her. I though a sleep coach would just give you ear-plugs and tell you to toughen up. I couldn’t be more wrong. Devon was just what we needed. Was she an instant miracle cure for all our sleep woes in one night? No- She’s wonderful, but she isn’t magic. It took work and time, but she was definitely the key. Her detailed support and infectious positive attitude made all the difference for us. Everyone I talked to had one maybe two kids and hence one or two experiences of getting a child to sleep. Devon had LOADS of experience and a wealth of knowledge with all sorts of sleep issues. My baby isn’t the hardest baby to get to sleep ever! There is HOPE!! She set up a step by step plan for us to follow and was there to reach out to when something needed tweaking. And this wasn’t just plan #2 from page 46 – it was a detailed plan for me and my baby dealing with our specific issues and not some generic template. Often I needed her support as much as, if not more than, I needed her ideas. She was there to acknowledge that yes this is hard, and no, it isn’t just me. Sometimes, without me even realizing it, I tended to focus on the negative. “Oh he woke up 4 times last night” but Devon would point out “Isn’t it wonderful how he went to sleep in only 10 minutes?” That’s right! He did! WOO HOO!! She was there to give encouragement when I was ready to give up. One night was really rough and I was done. “I’ll never sleep again and that’s fine with me, I just need to come to grips with that and join my local Zombie chapter.” But Devon was right there, urging us to try just one more night, and that night turned the tables! My goodness, those successes are so wonderful even just thinking back on them gets me elated! Oh and yes my baby sleeps now goes to sleep easily and sleeps through the night! (Most nights – this is still a baby we are talking about) And the best part? I’m a better mom for getting some sleep! Some cynical person actually said to me “Would a few hours more sleep really make you a better mom?” YES! Yes it would and yes it does!! It started with the naps. The first time I put his down and he went right to sleep… I could have flown to the moon on joy alone! Then at night I started to get a few good stretches of solid sleep. My goodness how that changed me! I was no longer dreading the night, or the tired mornings! I had patience, I was in a better mood and my baby was happier because of me. He was happier for the better sleep he was getting, but it was also better for him to have a cheerful, joyful more rested mom. There were still rough patches but I could handle them SO much better! Yes, sleep does make me a better mom! My only regret is that I didn’t reach out to Devon sooner!
Katherine Stech – Madison, NJ