Baby Steps Blog

Flu Blues?

Published November 14, 2013

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 th...

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Planning Ahead for Postpartum

Published October 3, 2013

I think the advice people get about bringing home a newborn baby sometimes begins and ends with “You will never sleep again”. That is not very useful! (Some people do get, “Sleep when the baby sleeps” which is better, but a post for another day.) Here are some practical things to think about when it comes to bringing home your new baby. Do some research, make your plans from there.

List some ways you will get informed about what it’s really like to have a new baby around the house. You would think this would be simple. But I’m a reader and when I went to Amazon and searched “new baby...

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Back to Work – and Breastfeeding

Published August 22, 2013

Four Do's and a Don't DO know that you will miss your baby like crazy. This is a given. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you how wonderfully satisfying it will be to leave your baby and go to work. Moms often feel guilty too. So if there’s a way you can bargain for more time at home, and you can afford it, don’t be afraid to do it. If you can work less, do it. And if you have to go back to work, know that breastfeeding will be a part of your reward – it will help you and your baby to continue the love affair that you’ve begun.Build some snuggle time into the reunion time of your day. Your child care provider may not mind if...

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Getting It Right for Moms and Babies

Published August 7, 2013

The numbers are in – and New Hampshire is the winner! As a Vermonter, I am envious. But I know we’ll be right up there next time. Ah, you say, The age-old Spat between the States. What’s this one about? Well, if it’s me doing the talking you know – it’s breastfeeding. And the facts revolve around another age-old tale: how you birth does make a difference.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a breastfeeding staff that includes two superstars, Larry Grummer-Strawn and Katherine Shealy. Back in 2005 they published a CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions...

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The Beautiful Round Headed Baby

Published July 25, 2013

How does your baby like to sleep? Since the mid-1990’s we’ve been educating parents to put babies on their backs to sleep. When we first started the Back to Sleep (now Safe to Sleep) campaign, many parents – and grandparents – wondered if babies really would be safe sleeping on their backs. (I think “what if she throws up?” was the major question.) When Back to Sleep began, only 17% of parents said they put their babies to sleep on their backs. By 2006 it was over 75% - and the rate of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death went down considerably. (Why? One theory has to do with slow wave sleep patterns – basically babies that sleep t...

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Good News Iron

Published July 9, 2013

We’ve heard a lot lately about the importance of folic acid, Omega-3’s, and Vitamin D during pregnancy. I was surprised to read an update today about the importance of an old friend – iron – during pregnancy. The study was funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It looked at record for nearly two million women, over nearly fifty years – from 1966 – 2012. That’s a lot of babies, and a lot of good information. Rather than a long study that ran all these years, the authors looked at 92 different studies that had already been done. What they found was that taking an iron supplement during pregnancy Leads...

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Breastfeeding Communities

Published June 26, 2013

I’ve just returned from a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska – my daughter and her family live there. We had a lovely time, and because my grandsons are four and seven, we spend a good bit of time in places where there are lots of families.

One thing really struck me. (Of course you are going to laugh at me – it has to do with breastfeeding!) If I didn’t know you could feed a baby at your breast, I would never know it from my time away.

Why does that matter? Well, we have a breastfeeding initiation rate around 90% here at the hospital in Brattleboro. Sometimes peopl...

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Breastfed babies are the original localvores!

Published June 11, 2013

This past weekend we celebrated  Strolling of the Heifers, where we celebrated the wonders of slow living, local eating, and a fresh approach to life. As you celebrate, remember that our babies, fed at the breast, are getting the very best of local foods! Infant formula is, unfortunately, full of genetically modified ingredients and manufactured ingredients – even organic formula is pretty far-from-mom. A recent New York Times article by well-known writer Michael Pollan was startling in its conclusions and based on recent research at the University of Idaho. The study of babies and their specialized diet has yielded key insights i...

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Every Mom Needs a Village

Published May 23, 2013

May is my Mom Anniversary month. My daughters were both born in May, and any mom will tell you – we don’t just celebrate our children’s birthdays: we also muse over their births, what they meant, how they went. What changes they bring to our lives! My first opportunity to support another mom has its anniversary this month too. One of the other students from my Lamaze class called me to talk. She had loads of questions and concerns about her baby. I kept thinking “her baby is three days older than mine – she should know more than I do!” But the other thing I kept thinking was, “This woman is so vibrant, smart and competent....

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Newborn as Human Being

Published May 6, 2013

I don’t usually gush about doctors, but I do want to give a shout-out this week to pediatrician Susan Slowinski. Our kids started going to her practice when she started in Bellows Falls – and my son was so fond of her that he argued with me about having to find a “grown up” doctor. He still calls her up and asks her questions when he’s ready to travel, and as far as I know she never tells him to shut up and go somewhere else. (Hey – I have good stories about our other BMH pediatricians too….) One time Mike came home and said “Dr. Slowinski said I should appreciate you more. She says you are respectful of babies.” I hav...

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