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Archive for the ‘baby’ Category

Do you remember what it was like to be a new mom?

I remember staring at his little feet for hours ( thinking, wow- I grew those! and  goodness are they cute!), sleepless nights, baby’s first smile and endless amounts of  laundry…

Those first few months can be the most wonderful experience with all the fascinating  things your little baby brings. After the glitter settles, the in-laws leave, and the  stocked freezer is dwindling some moms ( and dads!) can find parenthood isolating.

Think back to that time and think about what you really needed or wanted. Someone  to talk to and share all the awesome poop stories with? The crying to stop and for  baby to sleep? Help feeding your baby? Time with your spouse or partner? We all need  help throughout parenthood- as the saying is true- it really does take a village to raise  a child.

Here is a starter list of things you can do for your friends, or even that mom at Trader Joes you see struggling with her newborn and toddler:

1) Bring over some yummy food or snacks– Make some lasagna, veggie soup, or a big hearty salad. Bring a bag of snacks: almonds, cheese and crackers, or smoothies. anything that could be a quick pseudo meal for momma or papa.  Don’t have time to cook? Drop over takeout from her favorite place. She’ll be glad you did!

2)  Offer her resources: Tell her where the mommy party is at: Do you come to New Mom’s Group? If you do, you know how valuable it is to hear that no-one’s-baby-is-sleeping-through-the-night-at-3-months-old and  yes you are wearing the same shirt as yesterday.  Have a favorite class or place to visit with your little one? Tell your friend or even a random stranger about it. It’ll be your good deed of the day and it will make theirs.

3) Offer to baby sit: Many moms are reluctant to leave their new precious cargo with a sitter they don’t know, but would be more apt to go our for that post pregnancy glass o’ wine with the hubs if you were on duty. They may return from their date after only 30 minutes and may call every 5, but you remember what that was like don’t you? 

4) Do a load of laundry: I will NEVER forget my aunt coming over after my son was born for an hour. She did a load of laundry and it meant the world. I had to choke back tears of thankfulness to have one load in the wash and one folded ready to be put away. It’s amazing what clean clothes can do.

5) Writer Ann Douglas is responsible for our last piece of advice which is wonderful and true: “Help her to feel that she is part of a chain of women that spans from generation to generation. This is her time to receive. She will have plenty of time to give. For now she should just relax and accept the love and gifts from other women. That will be your greatest gift to your friend.”

There are dozens more things you can do for your friend or a stranger- what say you? Did someone do something above and beyond after your child came into your life? Please share!

 

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A few people emailed me after a recent enewsletter where the following article appeared, so I thought I’d add it to our blog.  Feel free to mail a link to this article to anyone you know who is expecting a baby!

As a childbirth educator, birth doula and mother, I’m frequently asked many questions about birth.  I have plenty of answers, but I can’t say which ideas and suggestions you’ll like or take, since everyone is different and everyone’s birth is different.  I do know for sure, though, that there are four keys to opening the proverbial door to an amazing birth.  Yes, I said “amazing”.  I’ve witnessed it and heard it from parents–those who LOVE their birth experience.  It’s true:  parents who feel informed, respected and supported are much more satisfied with their birth experience than those who weren’t.  So how do you get informed, get respect and feel supported?  Let me count the ways…

  • Take a thorough, fun and high-quality childbirth class.  A great class provides you with all the information you need to decide what you want for your birth and the care of your baby so you can have productive and intelligent conversations with your care providers.  A top-notch class focuses on you and your partner’s needs and desires.  A fa-anta-astic class should make you feel more relaxed about becoming parents and feel empowered to make decisions that feel right for you and your baby.  And hey, it should be fun!  You’re having a baby–it can’t all be serious–this should be a fun time in your life!  The classes at Mothers & Company do everything stated above and are small, comfortable, fun, interactive, thorough and customized to ensure you get what you need. And we’re here for you after class via phone and email to keep supporting you even after your baby is born!  Why not start with the best when all you want for your baby is the best?
  • Choose the right care provider for you.   Interview a few.  Find a care provider that fits your personality, has the medical background you feel most comfortable with in relation to your level of health and who catches babies in your preferred birthplace.  Do you like spending a lot of time getting to know your provider or are you a no-frills kind of person that likes to get in there and get out quickly?  The right answer is your honest answer.  And what are your wishes for your birth?  You should like and trust your care provider and feel comfortable discussing your wishes with him or her.  Are you interested in natural childbirth (no medications) or planning an epidural?  Find a provider that has a track record of supporting families in the kind of birth you seek (when medically possible, of course).  Feel free to email us for recommendations of care providers of all kinds (obstetrician, family physician, hospital midwife, birth center midwife, homebirth midwife, lactation consultant, chiropractor, acupuncturist and others).  Do you love your care provider?  Tell them to come to our Meet the Doulas and Care Providers event so we can get to know them and refer to them, too!
  • Hire a doula.  Ideally, you’ll have your partner with you or someone else who cares for you on an emotional level.  And of course, if your mother, your best friend, your aunt or your sister are people who you know will make you feel more supported, then yes, invite them!  But a doula is a wonderful option as an addition to your supporters.  She is a woman trained and experienced in birth who provides you with information and emotional and physical support before, during and after birth.  She supports you and your partner continuously.  She knows what you want and helps you feel supported no matter what happens.  Research has shown time and time again that it’s continuous support in labor that makes a huge difference.  If that support person has skills and knows how things work at your birthplace, then bonus, it makes more of a difference!  Check out the Doula tab of this blog to learn more about why every woman (and her partner deserves a doula).  And don’t forget about the option of a postpartum doula, too.  Come to our Meet the Doulas and Care Providers events or contact us for recommendations!
  • Trust that your body rocks and that your baby is smart!  So much of labor and birth is mental.  The more you can work on your mind to reach a point where you can believe that billions of women have given birth before you because birth works, the better off you’ll be trusting that your baby can be born easily, too.  And babies are smart: they know how to get out.  That’s what babies do–they come out.  The more you can do to make your body and mind healthy, the more satisfying and better your birth will be.   Getting quality prenatal care with a care provider you like and trust, doing prenatal yoga (we have classes on Wednesdays) taking long walks, eating healthy foods, immersing yourself in a high-quality childbirth class, visiting a chiropractor who is expeMoCo Logo leaves parentingrienced in working with moms and children, having good supporters around you cheering you on, receiving prenatal massages and perhaps even acupuncture and other bodywork like reiki–all of these help increase your physical and mental health and prepare you well for an amazing birth.  And who doesn’t want that?

What all of us here at Mothers and Company wish for you is an easy pregnancy, amazing birth and smooth transition to parenthood.  And whether it ends up being easy or not, we’re here for YOU.

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I bought my Kozy Carrier when my son was 3 months old. I was looking for a
carrier that I would be able to use on my front or back. I was also looking for
a carrier that would be very comfortable for both my husband and me to use.

I was first drawn to the Kozy because of the mei tai style. This means that the
straps tie on, giving you a custom fit every time. You do not need to adjust any buckles or anything to switch back and forth between mom and dad (or any other helper). The padded straps help make it comfortable for wearing for a long time.

In the beginning, I used it on my front with my son’s legs tucked inside in a “froggy” position. He loved it from the first time. He could always fall asleep in it, even during his first fireworks show last July! As he got older I learned to wear him on my back and on my hip as well. I still love all three of these positions. Wearing him on my hip is great because he can see what I’m doing. The back carry is nice for outdoor activities like hiking and going for walks. Every carrier feels different on different people so I would definitely recommend trying before you buy, however I know the Kozy carrier has been a great fit for my family for the past nine months!

What’s your favorite carrier?  Why do you like that one?

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Each year I try and do what I like to call an ‘Earth Day Resolution.’ It’s kind of like a New Year’s Resolution but without the gym membership I rarely use, or the juicer that only gets used on special occasions. An Earth Day Resolution can be as simple as using one roll of paper towels between shopping trips, or as big as removing paper towels from your house all together.

dining room garden!

This year my Earth Day Resolution was to plant seeds with my son. We picked out vegetable seeds, carefully planted them in little biodegradable pots and then watered them each day. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow. As an adult I kinda forgot how cool seeds really are! We look forward to planting them in the ground once it gets a little warmer.

At MoCo we are holding an event on April 23rd called the Great Cloth Diaper Change. The goal of this event is to have the biggest simultaneous cloth diaper change globally. Pretty cool to think that thousands, possibly millions of people are changing dipes and changing the world at the same time right? If you don’t cloth diaper considering getting a few prefolds and a cover or borrowing from a friend so that you can attend the event and make history.

If you haven’t already picked your Earth Day Resolution I encourage you to check out Change 3.  Cotton Babies, one of the largest cloth diapering companies, has started a movement calling on at least 100,000 parents commit to changing just 3 cloth diapers during the day that will equal:

  • Thirty to fifty million pounds of prevented landfill waste.*
  • One hundred million disposable diapers not purchased.*
  • A combined savings of over $24M in the next year.*
We interviewed one of our clients, Tina from Millbury, who is taking the challenge:

What made you want to participate in change 3? 

I decided to “change 3” because taking care of your children extends beyond their childhood.  If we all don’t make changes, they will be the ones to suffer for it.  Making an impact on their future, and their childrens’ future are all part of how we raise them.  Our children will follow in our example, and we need to make those good examples.  If one small change can make such a big difference, how could you not?

What is your favorite part about cloth diapering?

My favorite part of cloth diapering has to be all of the cute options that are available.  Watching your little one wiggle around in a cute fluffy diaper is so much nicer than a crinkly paper thing.  Also, no more chemical burns or diaper rashes. 

What advice would you give someone thinking about trying cloth diapering ? 

Do your research.  Read reviews, and find out what diapers will work best for you, then only buy one.  Test out a diaper before you make a big purchase, because even the best ones don’t work for everyone.  Also important is to learn how to treat your diapers.  You don’t want to ruin your investment with incorrect care.

We would love for you to try cloth. To make the trial even easier we are offering a special Change 3 deal til the first week of May:

1 Imse Vimse Cover + 3 Prefolds = $13.00

That is a pretty sweet deal.

Regardless of what you chose for your Earth Day Resolution make it something fun that your whole family will enjoy. The more fun it is the more apt you are to try again next year!

To enter our giveaway please leave a comment: 

What are you planning for Earth Day? Will your family try an Earth Day Resolution?

We will select TWO winners on Monday! ( And the prizes are AWESOME!)

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Massage, massage, massage.  Doesn’t just reading it three times make you relax just a little?  “Who doesn’t love a massage?” I always say, but how early can we start giving massages to our babies?  Someone recently said that she had heard that newborns were too little to be massaged…so I thought it would be a good thing to explore and discuss with our infant massage instructor and with YOU!

Touch is one of the ways that we communicate with each other as humans.  It feels good to be touched (isn’t that how babies are made in the first place!?).  Touch soothes our babies and “skin-on-skin” (also known as Kangaroo Care) is one of the very best things you and your partner can do for your baby.  Skin-on-skin not only increases bonds, it helps a baby and its parents adjust to each other.  It also helps stimulate breastmilk production in lactating mothers!).  Having a baby’s skin touch his or her parent’s skin stimulates a baby while at the same time soothes the baby because the baby hears the parent’s heartbeat, voice and breathing.  Babies’ breathing patterns and even their temperatures are helped by the parent, when babies are skin-on-skin.  Did you know that a mother’s breast will change temperature to heat or cool her baby?  Amazing, isn’t it?   To read more about the amazing facts of skin-on-skin, see the Kangaroo Mother Care website.

Infant massage is a loving way that a parent or caregiver can also bond with a baby, soothe the baby and help with baby’s sleep and digestion, too.   So, yes, it’s a good thing to massage a baby, but how about a newborn (within the first month)?  I asked our certified infant massage instructor, Laura (who is also the mother of two and an occupational therapist), the question, “it is okay to massage a newborn?”

Here’s what she said:

Yes, it is definitely beneficial to a newborn baby to be touched and massaged. Taking the class earlier vs. later is beneficial in that the family will have more “infant time” to massage their baby before baby starts to crawl and move about.

Also, the earlier it starts, the more the massage becomes part of the family’s routine and the baby receives all of the many benefits of being massaged earlier in life.
It helps with the development of so many developmental skills.

When to take a group class depends on the family and their child and their comfort level in taking a very new newborn to a group setting.

In the very early days, it does depend of the health of the newborn, if the newborn baby was born early or “on time”, and how much sensory (touch, auditory, visual) stimulli the newborn can tolerate. The room can be noisy if the class is very big.

The youngest baby I have seen so far in my classes is 3 weeks.  For this family, most of the time was spent nursing and cuddling their newborn while observing the strokes. This is perfectly ok and is recommended.  Newborns often only tolerate up to 10 minutes of massage at a time.

The class is designed to respect the needs of the babies during class and babies are only massaged when they are in “quiet alert”.  We discuss what this means in the class and parents observe their infants throughout class to see when baby is ready.  Babies are fed, changed, cuddled, and held by their parents throughout the class while strokes are being demonstrated on a doll by the instructor. Babies are massaged by their parents throughout the class when each baby is ready.

Sometimes, 2 adults come with the youngest of the babies so that one person can hold and take care of baby and the other person can practice the strokes on one of my dolls.  As baby gets older week by week, baby will tolerate more and more massage time.

Handouts are provided in class to help remember the strokes at home.

Most of the babies who have attended a group class lately have been 2 -4 months, but starting massage earlier is beneficial.  Expectations for the amount of time baby will be an “active participant ” at the time of the class are just lessened if baby is only a few weeks old.

Thanks, Laura!

If you’d like to bring your baby to one of our Infant Massage classes, see our website for more information and a link to find a class.

Oh, and don’t forget that YOU need a massage once-in-a-while, too!  If you’d like a referral to a masage therapist for grown-ups, just let me know at jeanette@mothersandcompany.com!

Have you been using infant massage with your baby?  Share your experience with it with comments to this article.  Thanks!


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Thanks to the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition for notifying us of this great news!  Now we just need to work on insurance companies!

—-

US Congress:  Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 10, 2011

CONTACT:  Mike Westling (Merkley) – 202-224-7871
Justine Sessions (Harkin) – 202-224-7977

Josh Drobnyk (Levin) – 202-225-4961
Jon Houston (Maloney) – 202-225-7944

IRS Decision a Victory for Nursing Mothers Everywhere

Breastfeeding Equipment to be Allowed as Medical Tax Deduction and Reimbursed by Flexible Health Spending Accounts

Washington, D.C. – In response to a request from Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they will reverse a ruling that denies equipment used to help women breast feed from being covered as a health care expense.  The previous ruling excluded breast pumps from coverage under flexible health spending accounts and made them non-deductible on tax returns.

Merkley, Harkin, Levin, and Maloney wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in November to call for the decision to be reversed.  Senators Merkley and Harkin were joined by 9 other Senators; 32 other House members joined Reps. Levin and Maloney.

In response to today’s decision, Senators Merkley and Harkin and Reps. Levin and Maloney released the following statement:

“Today’s decision is a huge victory for nursing mothers everywhere.  Modern medicine has documented numerous health benefits linked to breastfeeding, including a reduced risk of illness in infants and a reduced risk of cancer in mothers.  And because breastfeeding is so effective in preventing disease, it also happens to save billions in health care costs.  We thank the IRS for their careful consideration and quick response.”

A PDF of the complete House members’ letter to Commissioner Shulman can be found here; the Senate version is here. (They are identical.)

###

Additional Background

A tax ruling by the IRS last year disallowed breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies as medical deductions, thus also excluding them as permissible expenses under flexible health spending accounts.

Rep. Maloney and Sen. Merkley secured a provision in health care reforms passed earlier this year that employers of hourly workers are be required to provide breastfeeding employees with “reasonable break time” and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday, up until the child’s first birthday.

Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization for all children under six months.

Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace; fully 43 states and the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws which allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

View the list and more at the National Conference of State Legislatures:  http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/Health/BreastfeedingLaws/tabid/14389/Default.aspx

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Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your families. We sure did!

We are very excited to announce our first MoCommunity Toy Swap.  Have you been to a toy swap before ? How’d it go ? DId you leave with something your child loved? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Here are the details of our swap:

MoCommunity Toy Swap

Saturday, January 15, 3:00 – 6:00 pm

The cost to participate in this event is $5 per person.

Light refreshments will be served.

Non-mobiles babies welcome.

Register now by clicking here!

  • Please bring toys appropriate for kids aged birth to 5 years old.
  • Each person may swap 5 toys.
  • When you arrive and drop off your toys your name and the number of toys you have brought will be recorded on a ticket. All tickets will be put into a barrel and drawn out one at a time (as quickly as possible) and this will determine the order in which participants get to select toys.  Only 8 participants will be in our Green Room for swapping at a time.  We’ll have light refreshments in the Shop for those who are waiting (so come together and enjoy chatting with each other!).
  • All toys must be new or gently used in good working condition, with all pieces. Small pieces must be enclosed in a cloth or plastic bag (and be well-labeled).
  • Toys must be clean and not included in any recall (to check if they have been recalled, please see www.cpsc.gov).   This is an honor-based event.  We expect that everyone will have checked on safety recalls before submitting items.
  • Peaceful toys only (i.e. no war-related toys, guns etc.).
  • No books this time around.
  • Keep in mind this is a sharing event. Your swap may not be the exact same monetary value as the toy you brought but you may leave with something your child will love even more!
  • If more than one adult wants the same toy:  See if you have a toy you could trade for it.  Try being kind and letting the other person have it.  If all else fails, see a MoCo Momma for a coin-toss tiebreaker.
  • This is a one-to-one swap. In other words, if you bring in 3 items you can exchange them for three other items. If you bring in items but don’t see anything you would like to take, you will still be expected to leave your items for donation. Participants may not return for items after the swap. That said, we ask that you keep this in mind when selecting items to bring.
  • All leftover toys will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation.

*** This is our first time hosting this type of event we ask for your patience and understanding****

Giveaway!

In an effort to get some ideas of what people plan to bring and what people are looking for we have a lovely giveaway for the top 3 comments.

Please let us know, what will you bring to the swap? What would you like to see a the swap?

Winners will be announced this Friday! Goodluck!


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