Baby Steps Blog

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...

Read full post »

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...

Read full post »

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....

Read full post »

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...

Read full post »

Transformed Into A Mother

Published April 2, 2013

There’s lots of info out there about taking good care of yourself and your unborn baby during pregnancy. Most of that info focuses on physical things. But one of the secrets of pregnancy is: YOU ARE BEING TRANSFORMED INTO A MOTHER. People don’t like to talk about that. Don’t get so focused on labor and birth that you forget this incredibly important fact. Pregnancy is a time of opportunity: Give yourself permission to be good to yourself and be amazed at the growth that will come. Find a pregnancy mentor – an experienced mother whom you respect, that will answer questions and encourage you to grow. Learn to say NO. If you don’t ...

Read full post »

How a Mother Learns to Love

Published March 19, 2013

It’s a cultural belief that a mother will fall in love with her baby immediately when she sees that new little person. It sure didn’t happen for me with my first baby. Now, looking back through the lens of all the education and research and studying and work with new moms that I’ve done since that first baby made her appearance (thank you Phoebe, I’m sorry I thought of you as my little froggie), I know that I am not alone. There are examples I can think of, right off the top of my head. A mother was looking forward to having a girl, and when her first baby was a boy she was totally blown out of the water. She didn’t eve...

Read full post »

Pacifiers – A Real Hot Topic

Published March 11, 2013

Pacifiers are a real hot-button issue, like so many other topics when it comes to parenting. Are they a gift from the angels, or a tool of the devil? Is it better to use a pacifier or encourage a baby to suck their own thumb? What about breastfeeding and pacifiers? SIDS and pacifiers? It’s all so confusing! And most of us have an opinion. Usually one of the following: You will never catch my kid with a pacifier. You will never catch my kid sucking their thumb Don’t let that baby use you as a pacifier Here’s what the World Health Organization says about pacifiers for breastfed newborns in the hospital: GUIDELINE: Health ...

Read full post »

Waterbirth Planning

Published February 26, 2013

Today we are going to look at waterbirth – still an option for labor as well as the birth itself, here at BMH. Here are some things to think about as you plan. Prepare Your Mind Sounds funny, but the first thing to do is think about why you have decided to have a waterbirth. Is it something you are doing for yourself, or because someone expects you to? Are you strongly drawn to the idea of labor and birth in water? Can you see yourself in that tub, feeling comfortable, strong and confident? It is best to let go of rigid expectations about birth, and stay flexible. Plan and prepare for the waterbirth you want, but allow yourself the lux...

Read full post »

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...

Read full post »

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...

Read full post »