Shamina RaoShamina was essential in helping me establish breastfeeding with my son. He was born early at 33 weeks and we left the NICU a month later with him being exclusively bottle fed with expressed milk. I contacted Shamina a week after I got home and we started working to get him on the breast, and then to get him off the nipple shield. She was very knowledgeable and a treasure trove of information on babies. Her calm and assured way is a great comfort when struggling with breastfeeding. I would highly recommend her to anyone that is struggling.
Shamina RaoI attended prenatal yoga classes led by Shamina during my third trimester, and found myself wondering why I hadn’t started sooner! She has a very calming and intentional presence that sets a wonderful tone for her classes. I appreciated her guidance and wisdom so much from yoga that I asked her to support me after delivery with lactation consultation. It was as I expected - thorough, reassuring, and helpful. My husband and I walked away with practical information and tips on how best to feed our newborn, and we thank Shamina for being part of his growth journey in the first few months. Highly recommend!
Shamina RaoI experienced some difficulties with latch and milk supply the immediate few days after birth, and the lactation consultant at NYU recommended Cass Christopher's group because they offered weighted feeds and were in-network with my Aetna insurance. I contacted their group and was able to book a home visit with Shamina within 48 hours. Note that there is a $40 travel fee for home visits, which insurance does not cover, but it was worth it to not have to leave my home with my newborn after just giving birth. Since then, I've met with Shamina 4 times and each session has been supportive, practical and reassuring since I am a first-time parent who is exclusively breastfeeding. She helped us identify strategies to increase milk transfer with our sleepy newborn and also diagnosed a small anterior tongue tie that we had successfully clipped at the ENT. We did not use her recommended ENT or pediatric dentist since both were out-of-network with our insurance, but our baby's tongue tie was very minimal and did not require laser treatment or post-op exercises (we declined to perform these). Shamina took our lead on areas where we needed additional support and was always available to answer questions about clogged ducts, co-sleeping, breastfeeding in the carrier, pumping strategies, etc. Overall, I really enjoyed her down-to-earth, direct communication style and would definitely recommend her for others seeking an IBCLC for immediate postpartum support and beyond.
Review from the Spring 2023 Birthing SurveyWhat month and year was your child born? November 2022 Review: Shamina was truly a godsend. Hiring her was hands-down the best decision I made during pregnancy. She was there to answer questions after appointments during pregnancy, helped me navigate holistic ways to turn a breech baby, offered guidance for choosing a pediatrician, and comforted me through a medically necessary, but unplanned and not preferred, C-section and recovery. Additionally, as a doula and IBCLC, Shamina was critical to my ability to navigate breastfeeding. She. is. amazing. Shamina is an IBCLC and doula. She is the reason I'm still breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum. She helped me navigate a whole variety of issues. I highly recommend her. Any advice for people who are considering using a birth doula? If interested in hiring a birth doula, interview a few, and make sure you feel a genuine connection to the one you hire.
Shamina RaoWe contacted Shamina a few days after bringing our daughter home, when feeding wasn't going so well -- my supply was low and the baby had lost a concerning amount of weight following our hospital discharge. Shamina answered our initial email quickly and was able to visit us at home just two days later. That in-home consultation was incredibly helpful. Shamina stayed almost two hours, during which time she weighed the baby before and after a feeding; supervised a feed, advising on latching and positioning; and answered all of our questions about nursing, milk production and pumping. She even helped me create a DIY pumping bra from a sports bra since I didn't yet have a proper pumping bra. (Shamina also sent me a link to a pumping bra she recommends, which I bought and enjoy.) Throughout, Shamina was direct and never judgmental; very focused on helping parents achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Since her initial visit, my supply has increased, and I feel much more confident about my nursing. I would recommend her to any families who find themselves getting off to a shaky start with breastfeeding.
Shamina RaoAs a IBCLC lactation consultant, Shamina was a crucial support for me postpartum. She is the perfect blend of knowledgable and encouraging. Breastfeeding is hard! Her energy was super calming for me and helped me get through early days of positioning after a c-section, plugged ducts. I recommend her highly to anyone.
Shamina RaoWords cannot adequately express how fortunate my husband and I feel to have had Shamina Rao in our corner before, during, and after the birth of our baby boy. Shamina worked with us as a birth and postpartum doula. As first-time parents, there was a lot we didn’t know. For that reason, we decided to enlist the help of a doula. Early in my pregnancy, we set out to find just the right person. We met with many prospects. However, we didn’t really click with any of them, causing us to conclude that a doula simply wasn’t the way to go. Sometime during the third trimester, we decided to give it one last try, on the off chance that just the right person for us was out there somewhere. And she was! This is where Shamina entered the scene. We loved everything about her, including her experience, common sense, balanced views, interpersonal, and technical skills. During pre-birth meetings, she consistently offered helpful insights and perspectives. We felt supported and empowered, not judged. During the birth, she was there every step of the way, helping to advocate for us without alienating hospital staff. Her presence and coaching smoothed the way. Afterwards, her support was invaluable. She listened, offering ideas and solutions, without pushing. There were some very challenging moments in the first weeks of parenthood. Shamina’s responsiveness, guidance, and know-how got us through those early days, including when breastfeeding wasn’t going so well. Thanks to Shamina’s intervention and all-around support, we overcame those hurdles. We gained peace of mind as well as the confidence and skills to move forward. Breastfeeding is now a breeze. I’m not sure we would or could have persisted without Shamina. It is December 31st as I write. Reflecting on the past year, there is so much to be thankful for. Shamina Rao tops that list. She has a special place in our hearts, and we recommend her wholeheartedly.
Shamina RaoMy husband and I had a fantastic experience working with Shamina during my pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after. Her deep knowledge and calming presence both served me well throughout my pregnancy journey. The prenatal visits were very helpful for preparing mentally, physically, and with all the practical logistics. Shamina’s guidance and support during labor were game changers - thanks to her, I was able to labor at home for a significant chunk of my labor. I had really bad lower back pain during my contractions and Shamina’s counter pressure and other movement techniques eased that pain noticeably. Once I got to the hospital, Shamina continued to be a reassuring presence for me and my husband. She kept us updated on what we could expect next, seamlessly worked alongside the hospital staff, and provided much appreciated encouragement along the way. I’m so grateful that she thought of all the little things that would not have occurred to me and my husband in the moment, like grabbing lunch for my husband while I was resting, offering to take the now-treasured photos of us just after I gave birth, and many other details that she took care of over the course of labor and delivery. Her help with breastfeeding in the hour after I gave birth was instrumental in getting my baby and me off on the right foot as well as giving me a much needed confidence boost as I began my breastfeeding journey. The post-partum visit was also critical for my breastfeeding experience as Shamina observed and then provided really helpful feedback on technique. Lastly, Shamina has been very helpful with my post-partum questions. I wholeheartedly recommend Shamina as a birth doula! Thank you, Shamina!
Shamina RaoWhen choosing a doula, I knew I wanted someone who was well educated/informed, compassionate, patient, and supportive. I know giving birth, especially in a NYC hospital can be crazy, unpredictable, and sometimes unpleasant. I wanted someone who would be on my side and advocate for what is best for me and my baby throughout my whole pregnancy and labor experience. I am so happy and grateful that I found exactly that in Shamina. From our very first meeting I felt her positive energy and had confidence in her expertise. Whether we met virtually or in person, she made sure all my questions were answered and that we discussed options for all potential plans. When my labor day came, Shamina was in constant communication with us until she arrived to the hospital. At the hospital, she made sure I was comfortable physically, mentally, and emotionally, that the doctors and nurses stayed true to my birth plan (with safety), and that I was well taken care of. She provided a very calm and cool energy while also standing strong with my wishes. After the birth of my daughter, Shamina stayed to help with our bonding and breastfeeding. She continued to maintain communication with me days after and provided additional support for breastfeeding. I cannot imagine my birthing experience without her assistance and presence. I would highly recommend Shamina as a doula!
Shamina RaoShamina was the beloved doula for the birth of our first child in March 2021 - I truly cannot recommend her enough. Approaching your first birth is scary, exciting, confusing, shattering - we knew from the start that we wanted to have a doula present with us to help guide us through this experience. In addition to the services leading up to birth that most doulas provide such as the prenatal appointment, birth exercises, etc., Shamina was generously available along the way. She explained things I was hearing at my doctors appointments that I didn't understand and shared countless recommendations for everything from acupuncturists to foods that would stimulate labor. She was my first text when I thought I was in labor and then...when I actually was! Having that kind of love and support through such a sensitive time gave me the confidence I needed to head into delivery with a strong and determined attitude. In the delivery room - Shamina was a force! She has a very unique ability to be incredibly calming while also being a STRONG advocate for your needs. Delivery can get pretty chaotic and when it's your first time, you don't always know what you NEED. That's where Shamina comes in. She was able to articulate and advocate for my needs where I otherwise wasn't able to. Her presence made me feel truly SAFE, regardless of what was going on with labor at the time. My partner would say the same. Because we had the utmost confidence in Shamina, he was able to relax into the experience and we were able to focus on being the birth partners we prepared so much to be! I will be forever grateful to Shamina for being a part of our family story :)
Shamina Rao doulaI cannot recommend Shamina’s services as a doula highly enough. From the beginning, while I was still Pregnant, through labor, and into the first postpartum week she was attentive, compassionate, and never impatient with my many questions. She is a lovely balance of grounded and holistic. During labor, I was stuck in triage (this is during covid) without my partner, and she was the single force that supported me, guided me, and honestly, the reason I was able to make it through active labor without medication. She also was a great communicator with my wife, which made a huge difference from start to finish, but mostly while I was pushing! I think my wife also felt seen, supported, and very confident in Shamina’s knowledge and abilities. Shaminas post partum visit was especially generous and kind. She spent several hours with us and our new baby, just talking, offering gentle but very useful suggestion. In all, I felt well taken care of from start to finish. Most importantly I felt empowered and held through labor. I absolutely feel she (and having a doula) made a massive positive difference in my experience having a natural childbirth experience.
Shamina RaoI had my first baby on October 7th, 2020, and hired Shamina when I decided to transfer to the Brooklyn Birthing Center for an unmedicated birth. It turned out to be the best decision I made! Shamina gave practical advice leading up to the birth on everything from helpful yoga poses to recommendations for childbirth classes. She even helped me navigate the stress of going nine days past my due date, talked to me about what induction methods I was comfortable with, and recommended a great acupuncturist. During the birth, we were fortunate that the COVID risk was low enough for everyone for her to come in person to our apartment, and she guided me through the entire first stage of labor at home while communicating to the Birth Center for me. She taught me how to breathe through contractions in a way that made them so much more manageable, and I know it would not have been as easy without her. Once we were at the Birth Center, it eventually became clear that the baby was not positioned to come out naturally, and we had to take an ambulance to the hospital for emergency surgery. She rode in the ambulance with us, helped check me into the hospital, and even after they kicked her out (COVID rules?), stayed in contact with my husband during what turned out to be a long night of surgery and recovery. After the birth, when my milk didn't come in for a week, she made a plan for me and the baby to get breastfeeding off on the right foot. She has a plan for every problem and works with you in a way that is both supportive and practical and evidence-based. We are so grateful to her and highly recommend her!
Looking for queer friendly POC doulaI just gave birth September 4th. (Unmedicated delivery at Methodist.) My wife and worked with Shamina Rao, and we really loved her. She herself is (as far as I know) straight identified, but she is a POC and definitely queer loving. I had a great experience with her.
Shamina RaoIn the hours after our first baby was born and over the months since, my partner and I have said over and over to each other that we don't know what we would've done without Shamina. She made the experience perfect. From the start of pregnancy, I knew I wanted a birth doula, because I was worried about feeling intimidated, confused, or uncomfortable when in the hospital. I'd heard stories from friends about getting overwhelmed in the medical setting. I really wanted to build a relationship with a firm, compassionate, supportive doula who would help me advocate for myself during this high-pressure moment. As soon as we met Shamina, we knew she was the one. She listened carefully and nonjudgmentally to our concerns and offered insights from her own experience. She was wonderful. The coronavirus pandemic upended all my expectations about pregnancy and birth. But Shamina adapted her usual practice to fit the changing times. First, she offered virtual support and empowered us to learn more about the birthing process than we ever would've otherwise, so we felt confident and capable as my due date approached. Then, in the final days before the birth (and once NYC's cases were more under control), Shamina offered to come to our apartment in person while I was laboring. This was hugely generous of her. Her presence was calming and stabilizing, leaving me and my partner feeling great, truly, as labor progressed. When it was time to go to the hospital, Shamina assessed the risk of exposure at that moment and decided to accompany us into labor and delivery. We were over the moon. My experience in L&D turned out to be far from intimidating – the medical staff was fantastic – yet having Shamina there made all the difference in our progress. When I was pushing, she literally coached me into the position that got the baby out! She left us glowing about how positive it all was. We will be grateful to her forever.
Shamina Rao DoulaWhen we found out we were pregnant with our first child, we knew that we wanted to have a doula support us through the journey. Shamina was reccomended to me, and from our first conversation I knew she was the perfect fit. She was matter of fact, gentle, calm, and knew the NYC landscape inside and out. We began working with Shamina when I was around 20 weeks and her advice and guidance was invaluable. From helping us select a provider we trusted, to being available with suggestions on how to manage pregnancy aches and pains, it really felt like we had a partner walking us through every step. She met with us for many hours as my due date got closer and sent us everything from hospital packing lists to a prenatal yoga sequence to make us feel truly prepared. When labor actually began, Shamina was there for us. She was available on call at all hours of the day and night and really championed us through some tough moments and decisions. In the hospital there was so much happening at once, and it felt reassuring to know we had someone in the room who was giving us the advice that we needed to hear and in line with what was truly best for us. After the baby was born, we were busy experiencing a rush of emotions and it was Shamina who recommended when we tried to get the baby to latch during our skin to skin time. I truly feel like having her in those moments helped us have a smooth transition to breastfeeding, and given her expertise with lactation, I never worried once about breastfeeding because I knew I would have help on hand if I needed it. I've sent her name around to all my pregnant friends and can't recommend her enough for anyone who is looking for a solid friend, partner, confidante through all the experiences of pregnancy, labor, and motherhood!
2020 ReviewHaving Shamina as my doula was the very best decision I made about my pregnancy and birth. I could not imagine my birth without her. From my first interactions with her, Shamina was knowledgable, kind, and responsive. She listened to my wants, needs, and fears about birth. During labor and delivery she was a calm presence and was my advocate with doctors and nurses in the hospital. She guided me through each phase of labor and helped me understand what was happening to my body. I wasn't scared during labor and birth and I can attribute that directly to her. Shamina also provided a lactation visit after birth which answered so many questions about breastfeeding. I am still breastfeeding well 2 months later thanks to the advice and support she gave me! I highly, highly recommend Shamina!
2019 ReviewShamina is an exceptional doula and we are so grateful to have found her. She is passionate about her work and this shows in all she does - from her willingness to call the hospital on your behalf to ensure they have resolved a water issue, to her ability to swiftly track down and retrieve birthing props from the labor and delivery floor that she intuitively knows will help you. We worked with Shamina during our second pregnancy, which was a challenging one from beginning to end. We appreciated how she really took her time to understand the issues, listen to our concerns and respond with knowledge, compassion and support. Throughout the pregnancy and delivery Shamina created and held a safe and supportive space for my husband and myself. We were thoroughly pleased with her care before, during and after the delivery of our son. Shamina provides comprehensive care and is deeply knowledgeable about pregnancy issues and complications, labor and delivery, postpartum care and breastfeeding. She is also extremely generous with her time and resources. Shamina provided me with well-vetted referrals for acupuncture, physical therapy and pre natal massage at a time when I desperately needed relief. She made herself available whenever we needed her and responded in truly thoughtful and helpful ways. Shamina is a great listener and is patient. She helped guide us through the induction process, offering advice for how to delay Pitocin use and helped us to find our voice and navigate this part of the process ourselves. Once my labor started she continually checked in and offered advice but waited for us to let her know when we needed her there. This empowered and provided us with some very memorable and precious time to labor alone as a couple. There are things about Shamina that we believe are hard to find and set her apart from the rest. One is her breadth of experience and passion for helping clients deliver naturally in a hospital setting. This is not an easy thing to do and she is great at it. Her skill and confidence really put me at ease, which in turn further supported us in achieving our goal of a natural delivery. Shamina is a quiet but powerful force. She has a gift for knowing just what you need while in labor and delivering it with confidence and calm. During labor Shamina read the room and my body with ease. She effectively applied counter pressure and massage without me even having to ask during the most trying parts of the labor. Her skillful assistance was a big reason why I was able to stay the course of an unmedicated labor. When postpartum complications with preeclampsia sent me back to the hospital, Shamina provided informed and calming support. Her advice while establishing breastfeeding and help thinking ahead to my return to work were extremely helpful. It is our belief that having the right doula by your side is essential. We have no doubt that Shamina will be the right doula for you.
Shamina Rao - doulaI gave birth to my first and only child in November. Shamina’s support before, during and after my delivery were indispensable. As a forty year old, single, first-time mom I was a little anxious to say the least, and being of “advanced maternal age” the medical world only added my anxiety.From our first meeting it was clear that Shamina was knowledgeable, resourceful, sensitive and kind. I didn’t reach out to her much after our initial meeting other than some communication about my birth plan, but she was available and communicative. At our 8 month visit she met with me and my mom. To be honest that visit is a bit of a blur, but I do remember feeling comfortable and confident that Shamina was someone who would represent my best interest, advocate for my birth plan and help me navigate what ever complication or issue I may run into. And she did. At 38 weeks, after a precautionary non stress test, my doctor sent me to deliver. Although my wish was to have a natural birth, I knew this didn’t forebode well. After I paged my midwife and called my mom, I reached out to Shamina. Shamina arrived to the hospital shortly after I was admitted. At this point as a result of my consulting drs orders that I deliver I was anticipating a Caesarian so we discussed my options around that. Fortunately, we didn’t get to that point, but talking to Shamina helped me feel comfortable with whatever course my labor and delivery was going to take. Throughout my labor and delivery Shamina was a strong, reassuring, sensitive presence. Along with my friend and midwife I felt secure that I had everything I needed and could focus purely on the process of delivering my daughter. I did not know how challenging the postpartum period would be for me and Shamina continued to provide me with critical support as I recovered emotionally and helped me keep a clear head around what my daughter needed. I can not recommend Shamina more as a doula. She exemplifies what it means to provide support and guidance during such a critical time in a woman’s life.
2018 ReviewI found Shamina at the recommendation of a doula that my obgyn had mentioned. I was hoping to have a natural birth at NYU, and knew I would need an advocate. Of course, nothing in labor goes to plan: I was induced 10 days late, and ended up getting an epidural. Throughout the experience, Shamina was calming and resourceful. She helped me manage the pain (I made it to 7cm before getting the drugs) and talked me through my options at every stage. We had a couple of scary moments (baby's heart rate dropping, etc), and I was so glad to have her there. Plus, while I was in active labor, Shamina's husband broke three ribs and punctured a lung after taking a bad fall, and she didn't say a word! She stayed with us until the baby arrived--I had no idea anything had happened until much later. After the birth, she also helped me with breastfeeding and pumping, and was always responsive to questions via text. I'd happily recommend her to anyone.
2018 Birth SurveyShamina's grounding presence was invaluable during my labor. Both at home and at the hospital, her calm and supportive energy helped me a lot. Particularly when I felt frustrated that things were not going how I might have liked, her experienced advice and hands-on support (including some reiki!) were key in helping me and my partner shift that energy towards calmer acceptance of the situation, which ended up culminating in a birth experience I felt really good about.
2018 ReviewShamina was present for our third daughter‘s birth. Having given birth twice before (once with a doula and once without - I would never ever recommend going without a doula!), I knew exactly what I wanted from a doula - and Shamina was easily able to provide that and more. My labor was intense as I had to be put on pitocin and without Shamina I 100% for sure would not have been able to achieve my goal of giving birth without pain medication. From suggesting different positions to providing counter pressure and helping my husband and sister help me, she was able to navigate me through the pain and provided me with the experience I had always wanted during childbirth, but had not yet been able to achieve. And yet I knew at the same time that should I not have succeeded she would have provided me with nothing but support for an epidural or anything else I might have required. She was such a calm and soothing presence and kept me calm and collected through what could have easily been a very stressful experience as my daughter came 5.5 weeks early. We are ever so grateful to her and recommend her without hesitation. I am sad we will not be having any more children as I would have loved to have hired her again for another birth.
2018 ReviewAfter having a first birth that was far from my ideal vision, Shamina took on a challenge with me. I was putting unreasonable pressure on making this second birth happen naturally and I had a lot of trauma to work through. Shamina not only supported me in my pregnancy journey as I sifted through these feelings - offering accompanying practices to help clear and prepare my body and mind - but was the perfect balance of gentle and confident when labor finally began. She helped me access my own inner strength while offering external support as needed. In short, Shamina escorted me through one of my proudest, strongest, most successful experiences and helped gift me the birth that I wanted so, so badly. I am forever grateful to her and recommend her with all 8lb 6oz of this new little nugget!
2018 ReviewWe had a wonderful experience with Shamina and I strongly recommended her! Initially I was not considering a doula for our son’s birth, but Shamina came highly recommended, and after our first meeting I understood why. Shamina’s caring and thoughtful approach came through from the start. During our first meet and greet and subsequent prenatal meetings she took the time to really get to know myself and my husband and our expectations, needs, and concerns. Shamina made us feel incredibly comfortable which is so important since a doula sees you at a time when you’re most vulnerable and the doula/client relationship is so intimate. Going into the birth and during it Shamina made me feel supported, secure, and confident about decisions in my control and out of it. For example I went 10 days past my due date and ultimately had to be induced. This was not part of my birth plan - I was hoping for as little intervention as possible - and I was so anxious! Shamina called or texted almost ever day during the 10 day waiting period, keeping me calm and recommending different techniques to help bring on labor. As a doula and a mother Shamina has tons of knowledge and experience that’s invaluable and she cares deeply. She could help me anticipate, understand and plan. For example Shamina walked me through the induction process so I would know what questions to ask and what to expect. She was on top of all details right down to her list of recommended things to bring in my hospital bag which is the product of her learnings over many births what a mother truly needs to be comfortable. Following her guide ensured I was prepared. Shamina’s expertise, positive attitude and calm demeanor allowed us to be truly present and at ease during and after our son’s birth. Shamina was with us at the hospital through the entire birth (18+ hours), supporting and caring every step of the way. If you plan to breastfeed, having support and guidance in the beginning is critical. Shamina patiently helped me through early breastfeeding issues in the days right after the birth when I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and got me and my son off to a solid start. I’m so grateful we met Shamina and had the opportunity to work with her. I couldn’t imagine my son’s birth without her as part of it.
Review submitted via the PSP Birth SurveyReview your contract carefully as I should have hired a doula who would move more hours to post-partum when we found out we’d have a planned c-section. This was on me as her contract was very clear. Based on a September 2017 birthing experience.
Review submitted via the PSP Birth SurveyGood but, because I had an emergency C-section within a few hours of our arrival, she really couldn't do too much of what we discussed. She stopped by our house postpartum to check in. Probably the most helpful part was that she accompanied me to the hospital (husband had to meet us there from work). Based on a April 2017 birthing experience