Baby Steps Blog

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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We are not meant to mother alone

Published September 11, 2012

We are not meant to mother alone Here’s a shout-out to my friend Susan Lanterman, who took me under her wing when I was a bewildered new mom. Susan had three kids – and she had breastfed the first one for a whole six months, longer than anyone I knew! He was so cute and smart. It seemed like she didn’t sweat the small stuff, and she loved those kids to pieces and wanted to do what was right. She was just the right mentor for me in those early days. Soon we were running a mom’s get-together, and later I became a La Leche League (LLL) Leader. I learned so much about mothers and babies and group process! One of the most importa...

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Loving Environment II

Published August 28, 2012

Loving Environment II This is part two from last weeks blog posting Falling in Love: The New Family Breastfeeding mothers are often accused of being fanatics (or worse). They are often bewildered over the accusations. Another phrase you sometimes hear is “overly attached.” Why do breastfeeding moms seem so addicted to their babies? Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg, a Swedish physician and researcher, noticed personality changes when she was nursing her babies: she felt calmer, more open, and more empathetic. She decided to embark upon a series of experiments to see whether the oxytocin that works so powerfully to help with breastfeeding was al...

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Falling in Love: The New Family

Published August 21, 2012

Falling in Love: The New Family I love working in the Birthing Center. I wake up in the morning looking forward to work, and when I’m at home or away, I’m thinking about how to do my job better. I know – I’m really lucky! Sometimes people say, “Oh you are so lucky! You get to hold babies all the time!” Well – no. In fact, I try NOT to hold babies all the time. And you can’t be effective working with babies unless you are ready to hold new moms and new dads too. What does a new family need most? An environment that leads to love. We learn best about people and relationships when we are using the right side of our brai...

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Just Another Way to Fight? When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work

Published August 7, 2012

Just Another Way to Fight? When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work I’ve been helping women breastfeed for over twenty five years. I love watching mothers learn to read their baby’s cues, and help them figure out how fun and easy it can be to breastfeed. Here in Vermont and New Hampshire, most babies begin their lives breastfeeding. (In 2007- the latest data available - 86% of Vermont babies began their lives breastfeeding, at 6 months 58% were still breastfed. In New Hampshire the numbers were 78% and 50%.) Fun and easy? Well, maybe – when the baby is about two months old. But I hate it when everything seems to go wrong, especially when I...

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Don’t Stop Now!

Published July 31, 2012

Breastfeeding your baby? Congratulations! You’ve made a great choice for yourself and your baby. But does it feel that way, today? Breastfeeding may be perfectly natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s always just naturally perfect. Many moms find that the first weeks of nursing a baby are a real challenge. After all, you’re both learning a totally new skill. The question is, how do you hang in there until the honeymoon? (more…)...

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Postpartum III – Misery and Moms

Published July 17, 2012

Postpartum III - Misery and Moms Are you struggling with feelings of failure, fear, or depression? Get help! It’s not only for you that you are getting help, but also for your baby. Scandinavian researchers who worked with depressed moms and their babies published their results in 2001, finding that there were differences in the baby’s brain wave patterns, an increased risk for social difficulties, and they described babies as “more likely to have an insecure attachment, or a secure attachment with restricted joy.” Dr. Cheryl Tatano Beck, a nurse researcher at Yale New Haven, described moms in her research in a “spiraling down...

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Postpartum II – Misery and Moms

Published July 10, 2012

Postpartum II - Misery and Moms One night when I was teaching Lamaze, a grandma-to-be asked, “Are you going to talk about – postpartum?” I must’ve looked confused. From the look on her face and the tone of her voice, it seemed to me she was talking about something besides “the time after childbirth”. That’s because that grandma-to-be had been separated from her own mother as a baby, because of postpartum mental health challenges. Was it a deep depression, or even a psychosis? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s a topic we don’t discuss much. Are we afraid we will make it happen if we acknowledge it?? (It’s not exac...

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Published July 3, 2012

Conventional wisdom says the birth of a baby is a joyous and exciting time in a mother’s life. Certainly there is joy and excitement, but there are many challenges too. And for some women, the emotions of new motherhood are downright scary. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 70–80 percent of women experience the “baby blues” after childbirth, and around10% develop postpartum depression (PPD), a serious medical condition that develops during the first months after childbirth. We’ll take a more in-depth look at these numbers in coming posts, and we’ll be looking at some of the ways our Mod...

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New Babies are Amazing, Miraculous – and Pretty Scary

Published June 26, 2012

New babies are amazing, miraculous – and pretty scary Have you ever read that “you will quickly know what your baby’s cries mean?” That statement struck fear into my heart as a new mom – and that was with my first, second and third kid! If you go to a fancy human development textbook, they will tell you that there are six states of consciousness for babies. I don’t remember what they are, because I ran across Janice Tedder’s Give your baby a HUG program. Janice is a nurse practitioner and parent educator down at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She says our babies have three zones- the Three R’s of baby ...

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