Baby Steps Blog

How A Baby Learns to Love

Published February 12, 2013

…in order to develop normally, a child requires progressively more complex joint activity with one or more adults who have an irrational emotional relationship with the child. Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always. (Urie Bronfenbrenner, a founder of Head Start) The “serve and return” interaction between parent and baby – in which young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them – builds and strengthens brain architecture and creates a relationship i...

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Pain Relief for Natural Birth

Published January 2, 2013

Positive Birthing Techniques

When you hear the words natural birth do you think, “Oh what a martyr”? Or maybe you just wonder why any sane person would put themselves through the pain of childbirth. Yet women give birth without pain relief all around the world every day – some by choice, some because there’s no other choice. And then there’s things like Orgasmic Birth – really? Could that be true? Women’s bodies know how to give birth. To deal with the intensity of labor, women need support of many kinds. Here at the Birthing Center, we have lots of women who choose to use a...

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Know Your Body…Dealing with Tension and Pain

Published December 27, 2012

You would think, after years of teaching Lamaze classes, that I would be the Queen of Relaxation. I haven’t achieved jellyfish status yet – guess that’s a good thing! – and after a long weekend at home over the holidays, I actually started to notice some bad body habits that I could use as signals to relax. Whether you’re pregnant (why use up energy in your body during labor? Let your uterus use that energy to make the labor shorter!) or coping with the joys and challenges of a new baby, here’s some things to think about. You don’t have time to think about stress and how it’s affecting your body? Take a moment to breathe...

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Winter Safety for Babies

Published December 12, 2012

Dressing Children for Winter Newborn babies need to be protected from the elements. Dress them in several layers of light clothing to keep them warm. Avoid overheating. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same situation. Blankets, quilts, pillows, sheepskins and other loose bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and should be kept out of an infant's sleeping environment. Warm footed pajamas are preferred. If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around the crib mattress so th...

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Travel with Baby: The Airplane Adventure

Published December 4, 2012

Is travel in your holiday future? Take the plunge! First, a confession. I love to travel. Bus, train, plane, car – sign me up, I’m ready. There was no way I was going to stop going places just because I had kids. So I consider myself a bit of an expert – and now my grandchildren come visit from Alaska! There’s no better feeling in the world than seeing a five year old flying down the corridor at Logan with his eyes and arms wide open, screaming with joy to see you, and yelling, “Noni! We had an adventure!” (That’s after the fourteen hour trip.) How do you do it, and what are some things that help? Here goes! Prepare for t...

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Preventing Preterm Birth

Published November 27, 2012

In the United States, one out of eight babies is born prematurely. We talked last time about the challenges of being born early, and the importance of keeping babies inside as long as possible. The March of Dimes 2012 Report Card came out, and Vermont was one of only four states to get at “A”. (Our rate of premature babies was 8.8% - up slightly from last year’s 8.4%, but below the 2020 goal of 9.6%.) How do you keep a baby inside for as long as possible? There’s been a lot of research in this area lately, and here are some of the things we know. Smoking cigarettes is definitely a risk factor. Even “moderate” smoking (1 –...

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Go The Full 40

Published November 8, 2012

Do you like November?? It’s the month I was married, so I look forward to the grays and lavenders outside, and the sense that we are winding down the stress on the inside. Foliage just always seems so busy – as if I’m trying to get everything done that I meant to do during the summer. I need a little sit-around-and-snuggle time! I’ve been finishing up sewing projects, putting away the porch rockers. And of course now I’m starting to think about the holidays. So my few days of inner peace and calm may disappear pretty quickly. Where is this all leading? November is also Prematurity Awareness Month, so I want to talk about stayi...

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I Just Got My Flu Shot

Published October 24, 2012

I just got my flu shot. The cart comes around at the hospital, I roll up my sleeve, and it’s done. Working with pregnant moms, new moms and babies all the time – I like to do my part to keep everyone healthy. Flu shots aren’t perfect, but they are the best we can do right now – and I like to do my best too! Are you pregnant? Or do you have a baby? Or do you love a baby and hang around with a baby? I hope you will get your flu shot too. I remember how surprised I was to discover that pregnant women have depressed immune systems. What??!! I was eating well, sleeping lots (well, at least during the first two trimesters!), and the pregn...

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What to bring to the hospital

Published October 9, 2012

What to bring to the hospital Remember – you could walk in and have a baby without having any of this stuff! But many moms like to get packed when they’re about eight months pregnant. Keep the bags where you can grab them quick! FOR LABOR Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Most people wear their contacts, but if you had a cesarean you’d need to take them out, and you’d want to be able to see your baby. Toiletries: Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. We’ve got soap, lotion, and shampoo – but I bet your shampoo is nicer than ours! Something to wear during...

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Newborn Screening

Published September 18, 2012

Newborn Screening Sometimes it seems like we’re awfully mean to our babies. They are warm, cozy, drifting lazily in a world where they are fed and held 24 hours a day – and even hugged on a regular basis (that’s what those Braxton-Hicks feel like to them!). Suddenly they’re in a big, dry, cold world – thank heavens we can hold them as much as we want, although they’d like us to continue with the twenty four hour regimen! It can be a big bad world we live in, though. Mother Nature is not always kind. So I’m glad that there are a few things that are mean in the moment, that make a big difference in the health of our babies. ...

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