Parenting

5 Changes in the Last Year

June 30, 2011

Having a baby is the best event of my life, in particular because it is not a static moment wherein an event occurs, but rather a transcendental perpetual new existence that is forever changing, developing, and growing. When SuperBoy was born I could not have believed how profoundly our lives would change, inside and out. Looking back on this last year, here are five specific ways in which our lives have changed. 1) Selflessness. Much like our beloved dog pictured here, Nina, we as parents have learned to put ourselves second to SuperBoy’s needs, desires, and irrationalities. I’m sure Nina didn’t think she’d ever be anyone’s pony ūüôā Nor did I think that I’d ever be capable of getting over my own needs, desires, and irrationalities in order to care for him. Whether it be the first few months of poor sleep, continual nursing, and rapid diaper-making, or the middle months of toppling over and teething, or these latter months of this first year consisting of crawling, getting into everything, and asking for extra soothing at nap times, it’s all pushed me to give more. More than I knew I had to give, or could give! Same goes for AA who is a devoted dad despite working a very full-time (sometimes over-time) job in a difficult career. 2) A whole new love. He has increased my capacity for love. Not only insofar as how much I love him (infinitely much) but also how much my love has increased for my…

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Birth Plan: Why You Need One

June 16, 2011

Two articles came out recently discussing the need for women to prepare more for childbirth. One article in the L.A. Times discusses a recent study’s finding that fewer than 30% of expecting mothers attended a prenatal birth class with their first pregnancy. Whew! The article and research point out that women receive less information from OBs instead of midwives about their options. Additionally, it demonstrated that younger OBs considered epidurals routine and expressed more concern about vaginal birth than older OBs. A scary trend! The second article is on Babble.com and it’s an interview with one of my heros,¬†Erica Lyon. She is the author of “The Big Book of Birth” and founder of Realbirth Center in NYC and a veteran of 20 years in childbirth education. She talks about how education opens up choices for women, including the option of a more natural birth. She also emphasizes that women should feel safe, loved, and respected during the vulnerable time of childbirth. 1) Read these articles. L.A. Times Babble. 2) Encourage your friends to make a birth plan. People hear “birth plan” and think it necessitates medicine-free birthing. Not true! It just means sorting through you and your partner’s desires as to how your birth center will handle your labor, delivery, and post-birth. If you know you want an epidural, write that down. If you know you want your mother present, write that down. If you know you want skin-to-skin contact with the baby right away, write that down. The healthcare…

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Pregnancy Fitness Exercises

May 26, 2011

From my sister in New York, boxing trainer & mommy-to-be, Molly W: My experience as a boxer (both as a practitioner and a trainer) never prepared me for prenatal exercise. When I began feeling sluggish during my workouts about 6 months ago, I thought it was on account of all the holiday goodies I had indulged in. But when I discovered I was going to become a mommy, I turned all my energy on discovering how to build on my knowledge of fitness in the prenatal realm. I read everything I could find, talked to my doctor, consulted with my own trainer, watched videos, and began to try things out for myself. 1) Conflicting information. First of all, there’s a ton of conflicting information out there…people trying to sell products, self-proclaimed experts, systems that only work for certain individuals, etc. The field of prenatal fitness is relatively new. Up until 2002, the pros recommended keeping your heart rate under 140bpm. In my book, that’s a brisk walk. Now all the research shows that it’s not a matter of heart rate, but instead your own perceived rate of exertion. Some people can get a work out keeping their heart rate down, but if you are an athlete, or at least exercise on a regular basis, you may not even break a sweat at that level. The best guide is how you are feeling. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you are working out, but you should be…

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Reading Material for Pregnancy and Parenthood

May 7, 2011

The¬†short¬†list. If you aren’t a big reader, but want the basic coverage: 1) Labor & Delivery. a)¬†The Big Book of Birth,¬†Erica Lyon;¬†(an overview of labor and delivery options) b)¬†The Birth Partner,¬†Penny Simkin;¬†(preparing your partner)¬†and c)¬†Husband-Coached Childbirth,¬†Dr. Bradley¬†(partner as coach). 2) From birth onward. a)¬†The Baby Book,¬†Dr. Sears;¬†(the Bible of babycare)¬†and b)¬†HappyBaby: the Organic Guide to Baby’s First 24 Months,¬†Dr. Bob Sears (scientific specifics about “green” babycare). _____________________________________________________________ The¬†long¬†list, which includes¬†all of the above, offers greater depth on various subjects: 3) Pregnancy and Prenatal Care. a)¬†Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn,¬†Penny Simkin et al; b)¬†Mayo Clinic’s Complete Book of Pregnancy and Baby’s First Year, The Mayo Docs; and c)¬†Healthy Eating for Pregnancy,¬†Amanda Grant. 4) Natural Childbirth, Educated Decisions on Medical Interventions. a)¬†Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,¬†Ina May Gaskin; b)¬†The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth,¬†Henci Goer; and c)¬†Your Pregnancy and Childbirth, Month-to-Month,¬†American College of OBGYNs. 5) Breastfeeding. a)¬†The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,¬†La Leche League; b)¬†The Breastfeeding Book,¬†Dr. Sears; and c)¬†The Nursing Mother’s Companion,¬†Kathleen Huggins. 6) Infant Sleep. a)¬†The Sleep Book,¬†Dr. Sears; b)¬†The No-Cry Sleep Solution,¬†Elizabeth Pantley and Dr. Sears; c)¬†Sleeping With Your Baby, a parent’s guide to co-sleeping,¬†James McKenna; and d)¬†Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler,¬†Ann Douglas. 7) Child Development. a)¬†You Are Your Child’s First Teacher,¬†Rahima Dancy; b)¬†Naturally Healthy Babies and Children,¬†Aviva Rahm; c)¬†Boys and Girls Learn Differently,¬†Michael Guerin; and d)¬†Theories of Childhood,¬†Carol Mooney. 8) Homemade Baby Food. a)¬†Super Baby Food,¬†Ruth Yaron; and b)¬†The Petit Appetite Cookbook,¬†Lisa Barnes.

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Unmedicated Birth: You Can Do It!

May 7, 2011

You don’t die from pain in childbirth; you die from hemorrhaging. After much consideration, reading, consulting with other parents, and thought on the subject, my husband and I were determined to shoot for a natural labor. Were we crazy? Maybe. Did it work out? Yes. Would we go through it again without medical intervention or pain meds, in particular the beloved epideral? YES. This page is based on my experience. Unexpected things happen in labor and this is no criticism of mothers who do not end up going “med-free.” Rather, it’s an encouragement for all mothers to TRY to go “med-free.” 1) Why unmedicated? I thought you got pregnant, got bigger over 9 months, and then went to the hospital to delivery the baby. I assumed the doctors did their thing and then voila! the baby arrived. Labor and delivery are not so straightforward as this. Here are my two reasons for aiming for an unmedicated birth: 1) better for baby and 2) better for mama. The motivation to endure hard labor without pain medication is that simple for me. I read Erica Lyons’ “Big Book of Birth.” I talked to a close friend who had her son and daughter with midwives medicine-free. I watched a couple describe how the Bradley Method brought them even closer together throughout pregnancy, and then how it made the birth experience a mutual journey for them. I listened to accounts of infections at the site of the epidural (landing mama in ICU), moms being…

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Preparing & Including Your Partner in Birth

April 5, 2011

Some men are natural doulas, some men think labor & delivery is where they have a cigar in celebration after the nurse runs out of the Operating Room with the big news on gender. Mostly in our generation, men are ideally of the first ilk, though at the beginning of it all, the second sounds appealing to them.¬†All that hospital stuff can freak a partner out and cause him to question his ability to be your coach and your support through the great mystery of labor & delivery. Here are a few steps that can help bridge the gap: 1) Read aloud . . . From anything baby related. Expecting your husband to pick up your reading-about-pregnancy-birth-and-babycare habit isunrealistic (we’re talking men in general here). So as you peruse the Sears’ Baby Book, exclaim “Oo!” to entice his interest, highlight portions of a photocopied page and stick it on the bathroom mirror or fridge door, or ask him to take a look at a specific section or paragraph. 2) Share & make lists . . . From your favorite blog, book, or post-pregnant mama. Making checklists of what to pack for hospital, what to say, what not to say during labor, what to do at home when in hospital (pet care, etc), or a calling tree to share the good news. 3) Attend birth classes. Check out your local birth center for natural birth classes. Attend the hospital tour (if you’re birthing in a hospital) and any classes of interest.…

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