Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Some quick food for thought…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Not necessarily related to my Sleep Workshops, but this certainly makes you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts..

My body knows it’s September

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The last three weeks before school begins my cellular memory kicks into gear, often with much ambivalence.  For blah blah years my body senses the  transition of back to school time and the busy-ness of September even before my mind realizes it. Since having kids this has continued and morphed into adding other’s schedules and fall plans into the mix while coordinating childcare, after-school programming and getting back into a daily routine.  I must remember to breathe!

We have kept back to school time conversations on the table, wondering about teachers, friendships and possibilities while exploring  emotions, intentions, hopes and fears around these and getting motivation from the best inspirational quotes online.  My almost 9 year old shared what she wished for herself, for the year. Wow, blessing the year with intention, what an incredible idea.  So, this evening we each went around and stated what we were interested in striving for this year.

And then there is sleep.  With the whole non-schedule routine happening, there had been a go to sleep late/wake up late thing going on. For the sake of everyone here we started working on this a few days before the first day of school. As a sleep consultant that works with families, I will put some of my own advice into actions.  1. Start with the beginning of the day, even if the night before was a late one.  By waking your child up at a particular time, going to bed at night might have  less struggle.   2. Keep the kids active during the day.   3. Start a wind down an hour before bed (for us this means turning off electronics and beginning our evening routine).  4. Lights out in time to have approximately 10 hours of sleep (for school aged children).

So here’s to September, the beginning of school, my daughter’s birthday month, my dog’s birthday month, my anniversary month and the Jewish New Year, kicking off my work season and whatever else life seems to offer. Hmmm, maybe I should take a deep breath and catch up to myself.

Lots Going On with MOMSUPPORT

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
  • Inwood Sleep Workshop: June 29th 12:30
  • Upper East Side Sleep Workshop June 30 at 1pm
  • Inwood Infant MassageJuly 1 at 11:30
  • Morningside Heights Sleep Workshop July 7 at 1:30
  • Prenatal Yoga Center on W 72nd: 3 Session Summer’s New Mom’s Group July 8, 22 and August 5
  • Riverdale Sleep Workshop: July 10

Keep your eyes and ears open for the upcoming Working Mother’s Support Group

Questions about these and my infant massage parties and sleep workshop private gatherings: Contact  Jessica  at 347-875 7123

Spa Castle made me feel like a Queen.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

So went to Spa  Castle in College Point Queens, right over the Whitestone Bridge. It’s such a vacation going there.  I”ll tell ya- it’s like Korean bath house meets Disney World.  It’s sparkling clean, relaxing and a fun family destination.  We spent 4 hours, which is our typical “run” when we are there. I take the girls and go to the hotbaths, off the women’s locker room.  We go from pool to pool, jet to jet.  Then we usually head upstairs to saunas (all different kinds). M loves the LED light sauna (different lights, different moods), J bounces from one to the other and I like the cold sauna.

We usually do lunch- where I stay away from the fries and sushi and head for the salads and fruit. Then we head upstairs/outside. There are hot pools and jets and massage showers.  IT’S GREAT.  It was beautiful out so it was glorious to be up there.  Highly recommend this place for the family or for your own escape.

New Mother’s Groups around the City: Discounts galore.

Friday, May 7th, 2010
Upper West Side: New Mom Support Group at Prenatal Yoga Center
for moms with babies 0-6 months
Attention: This is NOT a drop-in class!
Pre-registration required
Mondays or Thursdays | 2:30-3:30pm

Mondays, May 3 – June 28 (8 weeks, no meeting 5/31) a lovely group of women, space still available.  Pro-rated fee applies.

Thursdays, May 13 – June 17 (6 weeks)
Mondays beginning May 3 | $135 this is the pro-rated fee
Registration still open, call 212-362-2985 for details!

Thursdays beginning May 13 | $135

Inwood: New Mothers Support Group at Bread and Yoga
8 session series, a lovey group of women with babies aged 3 weeks to 4 months.  Ask about pro rated and sliding scale fee.
Tuesdays at 12:30
Washington Heights: New Mothers Support Group at Wiggles and Giggles
8 session series, baby’s age range 2 weeks to 4  months. Pro rated fee $110.
Thursdays 11:45
Call to register:
Upper East Side Group at  Metro Minis:
Wednesdays 11:30
A facilitated support and discussion group for moms with their babies (newborn – 6 months), led by certified social worker and mother of two, Jessica Shapley. Find the power to embrace the journey of motherhood with confidence and connect with new moms just like you. Share experiences, ask questions, and make supportive friendships. Topics include: mom and baby wellness, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, introduction to solids, sleep issues, staying at home versus working outside the home, isolation, childcare, family life, self image, and more.

Washington Heights in the Bloggersphere

Friday, May 7th, 2010

New kids on the block in Washington Heights

Posted on November 9th, 2009 by Yaffi Spodek in Education, Featured, Living

Reported on Oct. 22, 2009

A typical morning for 20-month-old Josie Dean includes painting, singing, baking and knitting, all done in the company of several friends. Whether it’s story time, music class or “Mommy and Me” yoga, there is no shortage of kid-friendly activities in Washington Heights.

“It’s just a great place to raise children,” said Josie’s mother, Jennie.

As younger families populate Washington Heights, the numbers of infants and toddlers are noticeably increasing. According to the 2000 census, there were 14,389 people under the age of 5 living in Washington Heights and Inwood, comprising 6.9 percent of the district’s population. A 2008 census analysis by the American Community Survey found that the number of children in the area under the age of 6 totaled 21,594, accounting for 9.9 percent of the population.

The baby boom is not unique to northern Manhattan. In 2006, The New York Times documented a similar increase in the rest of the borough, as the number of children under age 5 grew by more than 32 percent over the last decade, and anecdotal evidence supports these statistics.

“From my own observations, I can definitely say that the rate of births is up, and yes, there are more children,” said Ebenezer Smith, district manager for Community Board 12. “Just walking on the street, you see so many mothers pushing their baby carriages.”

Others, like social worker Jessica Shapley, have noticed the trend as well. For close to nine years, she has been leading support groups for mothers in Washington Heights. A new group starts every eight to 10 weeks, Shapley said, with more than enough new parents to attend each cycle of sessions.

I started this group out of my own need when I first moved here because there was nothing,” she said. “Now there are definitely more children and young families than ever before.”

Shapley also moderates a “Parent and Me” Yahoo! group, which boasts over 1,000 participating families from Washington Heights and Inwood.

One local hub for kid-friendly activities is Fort Washington Collegiate Church. The church hosts an educational program called Bloomgarden, which began there in early October and meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. The program, which emphasizes artistic expression through interactive classes, now caters to a small group of eight parents and their children, with expansion plans on track for next semester.

“We wanted to create a place where parents and children can grow together, and ‘bloom,’ so to speak,” said Rachel Lederman, Bloomgarden’s co-founder. “It’s a place for creative expression.”

The Tuesday Toddler group, a free program funded by optional donations, features story time, guitar-led singing, and free play. Nearing the end of its fourth year, the program has expanded well beyond its original eight families, and now attracts close to 80 families each week.

“It’s a chance for both kids and parents to socialize,” said Troy Schremmer, the church’s director of education who runs the program. “It’s really about meeting a need for young parents in the community.”

What Shapley likes about Washington Heights is that “it’s a unique place with a small-town feel, where people really know the faces of their neighbors,” she said. “These different programs speak to the needs of the community, and people are moving here from other parts of Manhattan because they want that kind of kid-friendly atmosphere.”

New programs continue to spring up as more and more people opt to raise families in the city. On Nov. 1, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood started a lending service for maternity clothes and baby supplies that includes pregnancy and parenting books, and items such as best double stroller for infant and toddler, swings, and booster seats.

“I had been receiving phone calls asking for baby items,” explained Anat Coleman, community affairs officer for the Jewish Council, a not-for-profit organization that provides a range of free social services. “In the last five years, I have seen many young families moving into the area, and many don’t have space in their apartments or can’t afford to buy these items, so this was created in response to their needs.”

Babysitters…….even tweens can do it!?

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Received this on a local yahoo group I moderate. Liked it and want to pass it on! Enjoy.

Lessons from The Baby-sitters Club
Posted: 24 Mar 2010 09:56 PM PDT
Hi Folks! Here’s a lovely essay by The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Vanderkam
about, well, the cultural significance of The Baby-sitters Club.

Yes, I know how ridiculous (or at least American Studies for Dummies) that
sounds. And yet — you don’t sell 176 million copies of any series without making
some kind of impression on society. And the impression young readers got from
the girls in the Club was that kids their age could actually be responsible and
make money. Like adults! As Ms. Vanderkam puts it:

Hidden in the plots that show that friendship is good and that teasing, racism
and bossy boyfriends are bad, [author Ann M.] Martin imparts two more important
messages that modern readers need to hear: Teen girls are capable of handling
far more responsibility than we give them credit for, and they, like the rest of
us, can choose to make their own way in the world.

Right on! One of the Free-Range notions is that kids long to be adults, and
that’s a good thing. The human desire to grow up motivates kids to learn and
strive and get a paper route. (Remember paper routes? Remember papers?) It is
our job to help them along that path, rather than putting up a big, “CAUTION!”
sign and marching them back to the ExerSaucer.

About a year ago I posted a query on this site asking, “What age did you babysit? And what
age babysitter would you hire now?” The discrepancies amazed me. Grown women who
had cared for kids, even infants, at age 10 or 11 now wouldn’t let their
13-year-old stay home for an hour alone at night. And they sure wouldn’t trust
their toddlers to a 12-year-old.

Scholastic’s Baby-sitters Club, about to be re-issued (with a new prequel,
too!), reminds us that not very long ago at all, we trusted “tweens” to do more
than just text. God, maybe we didn’t even call them tweens. — Lenore

Yoga Therapy: The Pelvic Floor and More!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Yoga Therapy: The Pelvic Floor (and More!)

Date: February 28-March 4, 2010 (Sunday-Thursday)

Hosted By Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health  (Lenox Mass)

The pelvic floor is comprised of muscles that are often elusive and seem
beyond our conscious control. Yet, the perineum and the pelvic girdle are an
integral force behind most human functioning. By bringing awareness,
strength, and suppleness to these muscles, you can address incontinence,
alleviate pain in the pelvis, hips, knees, and back, breathe more
efficiently, increase sexual fulfillment, assist childbirth, and facilitate
many functional activities like lifting heavy objects, rising from chairs,
and walking up stairs.

This week, you will learn low-tech, noninvasive techniques that draw from
yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, and conventional rehab therapies to
guide people toward improved health and function. This accessible program
will also familiarize you with the anatomy, pathology, pain mechanisms,
physiology, kinesiology, mind-body energetics, and psycho-emotional aspects
of pelvic floor concerns.

Bridging East and West and addressing mind and body, this program is
designed for physical and occupational therapists, yoga and qigong
therapists, psychotherapists, Pilates teachers, fitness professionals,
somatic therapists, midwives, and everyone with an interest in the pelvic

Presented by: Bill Gallagher, Richard Sabel, and Jessica Shapley

Go Here to Register:
Or Call Kripalu for Details on Accomodations: (800) 741-7353

For Information on Course Content Email or call
(800) 297-3815

Presenter Bios:

Bill Gallagher, PT, CMT, CYT, is director of the East West Rehabilitation
, a master clinician in integrative rehabilitation at Mount Sinai
Medical Center
, and an instructor in clinical physical therapy at Columbia
. Bill has developed a uniquely integrative approach to optimize
pelvic health. By integrating the physical therapy traditions of the East
with therapies of the West, Bill helps his clients maximize function and
minimize pain. He sees a broad spectrum of clients with pelvic floor
concerns in his practice including incontinence, pelvic pain, coccydynia,
and prolapse. Bill can be reached at

Richard Sabel, MA, MPH, OTR, GCFP, is educational director for the East West
Rehabilitation Institute
, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and clinical
assistant professor
at SUNY Downstate’s program of occupational therapy.
Richard has successfully integrated Western therapeutic practices with
Eastern philosophy into a distinctive therapeutic approach to help clients
who have been limited by pain and disability reengage in meaningful
activities. He regularly leads community programs and works individually
with clients to address pelvic floor concerns. Richard can be reached at

Jessica Shapley, LMSW, CIH, CMT, utilizes a strength-based approach to help
women cope with physical and emotional challenges. She facilitates groups
for new mothers in Manhattan, providing a safe space to get support for the
changes new mothers face, including pelvic floor concerns like incontinence,
pelvic pain, and intimacy. Jessica holds a master’s degree in social work
from Columbia University and is certified in Integral Health Counseling by
the California Institute for Integral Studies. A mother herself, Jessica is
a certified massage therapist, a licensed social worker, and the director of She also teaches infant massage. Jessica can be contacted at

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Winter Newsy-Ness…

I am bringing New Mom’s Groups and New Parent Programing to you.  My goal is to connect mothers and families, answer questions and ease transitions.  I provide sleep workshops, teach infant massage and facilitate new mother support groups around the city, in a neighborhood near you.

I am thrilled to add The Discovery Program in Morningside Heights to my list of venues.  This is a wonderful program that has provided programing for families for over thirty years. Morningside Heights has continued to grow into a wonderful family centered community.  I am happy to join their commitment to serving new moms and families in and near Morningside Heights.  With the New Mother Support Groups moms will find their power to embrace the journey.  See you in the neighborhood.


Schedules: Programs and Places

Discovery Program Morningside Heights
New Mom Support Group
251 West 100th Street
New Mom’s Support Group
Wednesday February 3 at 12:30
Attention: This is NOT a drop-in class! | Pre-registration required

Prenatal Yoga Center: UWS
West 72nd Street

  • New Mom Support Group for moms with babies newborn-6 months

Attention: This is NOT a drop-in class! Pre-registration required
Mondays Class
Thursdays Class
both 2:30-3:30pm | 8 weeks | $155
Next Monday group: February 8 – April 19 (no meeting 2/15, 3/1, 3/29)
Next Thursday group: March 11 – May 6 (no meeting 4/1)


  • Mom Support Group- Settling Baby: Settling Mommy(for moms with babies 5-12 months)

Attention: This is NOT a drop-in class! | Pre-registration required
$155 for new participants | DISCOUNT! $135 for returning 0-6 month group members
Mondays, 4-5pm | 8 weeks
February 8 – April 19 (no meeting 2/15, 3/1, 3/29)
212-362-2985 for discount!

Kripalu Lenox Ma
The Pelvic Floor and More

Bread and Yoga Studio Inwood
4951 Braodway at 207th 212 569 4112

  • Sleep Workshop Jan 12
  • Infant Massage January 26th at 12:30 to registser call 212 569 4112  $25 in advance, $30 at door
  • New Mom’s Support Group Feb 2 at 12:30. This is not a drop in class $125 to register call 212 569 4112
    ask about discounts if you sign up for more than one of Jessica

Wiggles and Giggles Playhouse Washington Heights
West 181st St at Riverside Dr 212 543 2393

  • Sleep Workshop for babies newborn-1 year January 21 at 12:15 register with Wiggles and Giggles 212 543-2393
  • New Mom’s Support Group Weds 11:30-12:30 Feb 3 $125 8sessions
  • Infant Massage

Metro Minis: UES
821 Park Ave at 75th
212-313 9600

  • New Mother’s Support Group begins March 1 at 11:30 $125 Register with momsupport 212-781-6368
  • Sleep Workshop January 27 12:30 ($20 pre pay, $25 at door)
  • Infant Massage January 30 3pm

Program Descriptions:

  • New Mother’s Support Groups: 8 session series for moms with babies newborn-5 months

A facilitated support and discussion group for moms with their babies (newborn – 6 months)
Find the power to embrace the journey of motherhood with confidence and connect with new moms just like you. Share experiences, ask questions, and make supportive friendships.
Topics include:
mom and baby wellness
breastfeeding/bottle feeding
introduction to solids
sleep issues
staying at home versus working outside the home
family life
self image, and more.

  • Settled Mother’s Support Groups: 8 sessions series for mothers with babies 5 months to 12 months

A weekly facilitated discussion on the journey from infancy to babyhood into toddler-hood. Connect with other moms and discuss:
-Sleep issues
-Behavioral issues
-Eating solids
-Breastfeeding or weaning
-Introduction of siblings
-Childcare solutions
-Returning to work
-Family dynamics
-Tapping into your own personal growth

  • Sleep Workshops: 1 to 2 hour group sessions for parents with babies newborn-1
  • What does a schedule even look like?
  • My spouse comes home in the evening and riles up the baby.
  • Is it OK to rock my baby to sleep?
  • Should I put my baby on a schedule?
  • How do I cut down on night-time feeding?
  • Can I sleep with my baby?
  • I feel guilty asking my partner to help at night.
  • My baby is 3 months, can I still swaddle her?
  • Is crying it out the only way?

Your questions and opinions are welcome!

  • Infant Massage: For precrawling babies

Massage is great addition to your toolbox of techniques to sooth and bond with your baby. Massage assists with sleep, colic, communication and relaxation.  Learn the techniques, routine and benefits of massaging your baby.

Infant Massage is taught in a relaxed, hands-on, one hour session with  Jessica Shapley, certified infant massage teacher, practitioner and licensed social worker.

Infant massage is a gift each parent will be able to share with their child throughout a lifetime.

Returning to Work

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I always thought I would return to work after my maternity leave.  Why wouldn’t I?  It was a no brainer. (I also thought I could “throw” the kid in the back pack and hike the Himalayas….not so much!)

After a  fearful start to motherhood which included  lactation issues, heightened anxiety and sleeplessness (duh)- 3 months came around and I was gearing up to return to work and low an behold, I was beginning to feel more comfortable in this foreign role as mom.  While trying to wrap my head around leaving my baby for a full time job (i did not love) was daunting and I was given the opportunity (family support) not to return to work and that became the “no brainer”.

This isn’t always possible. Moms return to (outside of the house) work in all sorts of ways;  Full time, part time, staying at home, daycare,  babysitter etc. As I often tell the women in my New Mom’s Groups: “No camp is perfect”. There are often challenges and positive parts to whatever we end up doing. For example, if you are at work all day and come home at the end of the day- you have a different freshness for being home with your little one.  You are able to be in that moment with your baby that  perhaps staying home all day and trying to get anything else done at home can actually keep you out of all those “baby moments”.  While working all day and missing the details of your baby’s day can be painful, some people use skype, a communication log and phone call updates to get them through the day.  My friend, who returned to work after her 3+ months off, told her babysitter “please don’t tell me when my baby does something new.  I want to discover it for myself. “  I also will add, after a year, back at work, she quit her job and stayed home full time (she had a second baby and gave birth to a second career, since).

There is  a lot of new that comes out of being a new mom, of course I haven’t even brought up work/career/identity/identity integration (that’s another blog entry).  I also have not mentioned the logistics, including  pumping and introducing bottles for breast feeding moms.  Often thinking outside the box, can be helpful (think flexible hours and schedules or  job sharing, babysitter shares).

No matter what, when deciding to return to work childcare is one of the main issues. I will say that once this is in place (and hopefully somewhat in advance of your first day) the focus then can turn to enjoying your baby, processing your torn feelings of sadness about leaving  her or perhaps  guilt about feeling excited about returning to your work environment (one you hopefully enjoy). It takes a lot of advance thought to figure out when you’ll pump, how your day is going to look and will your baby be happy that cannot be predicted it has to be experienced.

The New York Times recently had an article about returning to work (and even being pregnant at work) that addresses some of these issues  Also a book that I recommend is Nursing Mother Working Mother by Gale Pryor.

Whatever you decide to do, whatever you have to do, you’ll make it work out.  It might not be what you had originally in mind, but it might be what evolves as your are paying attention to the details of your decisions. Oh, and by the way- it actually is not a no brainer