Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Category

Babies…the movie

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I saw it with my daughters, we all really liked it.  Sitting in the first row of mezanine seats, helped.

I am sure you have heard the description- following 4 families, different countries, different cultures- in the babies first year of life. Namibian, Mongolian, Japanese (from Tokyo) and US (San Fran)

– 1hr 19min‎‎ – Rated PG‎‎ – Documentary‎ -
Director: Thomas Balmès – Cast: Ponijao, Bayarjargal, Mari, Hattie – : Rated 3.5 out of  5.0
Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. The film simultaneously follows four babies around the world — from birth to first steps. The children are, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her in San Francisco, Calif.
The Namibian family moved me the most. What seems to be a matriarchal culture, at least the raising the babies part (I didn’t see any adult males). These babies were give such a rich experience to explore their environments.
Here is a review:
Great go to- movie

New York New and Expectant Mothers Event

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

So- I was a part of the new and expectant moms event, yesterday.  It was sponsored by New York Family. I shared my table with Katie Kheil one of the dance instructors (and moms)  of Discovery Program (100th and West End).  Their program has been around since the 70s and provides programing for families from newborn through adolescents. Mommy/daddy and me, movement, dance, support, parenting programs and more

I got to see past participants from my groups and sleep clients on to their own mother-business ventures.  I have always felt that mother hood gives birth to new and different careers, as well.

I got to see friends and colleagues like Deb Flashenberg from Preantal Yoga Center, Felina from the Upper Breast Side www.upperbreastside, Joanna and Bianca from Metro Minis (, Laura Heller from babyfingers ( I met Lance of  NYC Dads Group, which is “an active group of involved fathers in NYC”.  Tracy Gary from . I got to meet people in person who I have only had a virtual connection with.  People like Lara Paul from ikidsny, The car seat lady and more

This is the first of one of these “trade show”  events I have embarked on.  I smiled a lot, schmoozed and collected a lot of goodies from the other tables.  They even had a free Gelato booth.  NO sugar for me tho, I kept a safe distance.

I also got to see a lot of my “past new moms”.  We are talking like moms onto their 2nd or 3rd baby- the oldest being 7 years and me feeling like the proud “grandma”- YIKES : )

I have been providing support and services to new moms and families for over  10 years.  Prior to this, I had worked with individuals and families; facilitating groups and providing service, for another 10 years. WOW, I’ve been at this a while. But it’s interesting, or maybe not.  It always feels new.

This work is something quite precious to me about working with a new mom or parent or family.  There is usually such an openness, a desire and need and want to build community around you and your (new) family. Each relationship, each family unit, each group of new moms finds a different energy and a different need and it’s great to be a part of this growth, inquiry and connection.

Thank you Mommies and New Families and Happy Mother’s Day!

Breastfeeding:Did you know…

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

information collected from the Healthy Children Project 2009/2010

Pumping at least 8 times a day for pump dependent moms helps establish and maintain adequate milk supply.

Pumping in short frequent intervals is very effective.

Ongoing nipple stimulation is required for ongoing milk production. Nipple stimulation triggers prolactin which causes milk to be made.

If you have mastitis, it is best to keep breastfeeding frequently from both sides.

Hurried and infrequent feedings have been found to be a significant risk factor for getting mastitis.

It is important to teat both mom and baby if one of you has thrush (cadidiases).  It is also important to clean all vectors (from pacis, to bottles,  things that go in baby’s mouth, nipple shields even towels being used).

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

Healthy Children Project

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Promoting breast feeding information, support and services to moms (and families).

Did you Know: Skin to Skin baby wearing keep babies warmer, calmer, babies can hear their mom’s heartbeat, milk supply is improved and initiates a positive start to breast feeding, bonding, feeding on cue, of course if you or your baby have problem with the skin, there are always specialized doctors like Dr. Betty Hinderks that can help you treat this issues.

Did you know: Getting off to a good start at breastfeeding means nursing at least 10 times in a 24 hour period.

Did you know: When your baby is in REM sleep (rapid eye movement, when baby is not deeply asleep) is a great time to nurse baby.  This will happen beofre baby cries.  Sometimes when baby is crying they are a bit to frantic to latch on properly.

Baby opening mouth, rooting, making sucking sounds are all cues for feeding time.

Information provided from Health Education Associates and the Healthy Children Project/

What’s scarier, the swine flu or Halloween?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

OK- I need to be writing an article about Halloween for my column in Manhattan Times News, but what feels a lot scarier than Halloween is The Swine Flu.  Is it the symptoms, the death talks or the hysteria fueling my fear.  Recently the New Yorker did a good piece on the science and the fear: Oinking aside, how much purell can I buy? My apartment is littered with it.  I have decided to get the shot, my kids have asthma, my mother has COPD and cancer and I work with pregnant women and babies. I have gotten the flu vaccine yearly since having children.  When my kids developed asthma the doctor encouraged us to get the vaccine and they tolerated it and did not get the flu.

My kids have gotten really pretty good about washing their  hands when they first come into the apartment .  I send handi wipes to school with them but is there anything else, short of wearing a protective mask?

How do we protect our selves and others and not become obsessed? Our government regulating the vaccines add to the controversies that will arise as a result of a new vaccine on the market.  It’s hard to keep in all straight and clear.  There was a good NPR (National Public Radio) piece done about a month ago that addressed questions and concerns

Juliet LeBien wrote an “editorial” while pregnant, lat month.  She is a social worker who works in infectious disease: She highlights the “higher risk” groups, such as pregnant women and young people.

In NY, there have been about 81 deaths attributed to swine flu; nationwide, over 600, putting the death rate at.04%. That’s the rate of death for seasonal flu, too. But here’s a contrast: the death rate for pregnant women who have contracted the swine flu jumps dramatically, and severe disease is far more likely. Mortality occurred mostly in the second and third trimester, with the third being seen as “more dangerous”, probably because the immune system is compromised for quite a while AND the lungs are “squished” allowing for the virus to overtake the lungs easily, pneumonias to set in, etc. Six percent of ALL deaths-around the world-are pregnant women. This constitutes, to those of us in stats, “unacceptable” rate. The Infectious Disease net noted early on in this pandemic that this particular flu seems to hit pregnant women very hard, with the theory being that maybe the deep penetration of the lungs causes severe disease.

NYC stopped publishing the “underlying conditions” of people who died of swine flu, unfortunately there have been some tragic cases of pregnant women in NYC and around the country and globe. These cases are very difficult for health-care workers. Many of the New Yorkers hospitalized for in “wave 1″ were pregnant women. I also know there were stories of amazing recovery! One woman (not in NYC) was put in a medically induced coma, C-sectioned, and aggressively treated. She did recover, after about 30 days post C-section and is now home with her child. Other women were successfully treated and could carry to full term, although they were women who caught the infection early on and took medication withing 48 hours of first noting symptoms. There is also a new therapy for severely ill people that involves IV administration of medication.

Just so you know, the flu shot is always a crap shoot, no matter what formulation of virus it has in it, so the risks are always the same. The flu is constantly mutating, so every year you’re getting a new, rather untested formulation. I’m heartened that this H1N1 shot is actually being tested on pregnant women shows me that people are serious about making sure it’s safe. The fact that this disease is really striking down younger people is troublesome. And while in most cases, people are fine, I can let you know that my 16 year old nephew in Louisiana who had it earlier this month was quite ill for a good 5 days (over 103 degree fever), with a cough that’s still lingering.
-Juliet Keeler LeBien, LCSW

The decision to inoculate is only part of  the battle, getting the vaccine is the other. Schools in NYC are supposed to be dispensing the H1N1 nose spray (not good for those with asthma).  Pediatricians are to receive it, but that’s a daily call to your doctor, so who knows when. The following site is the NY Gov site on flu vaccine and treatment:
City clinics aren’t due to distribute until November.

Alternatives to the vaccine, I just don’t know. I think no matter what, boosting our immune system, eating well, sleeping well, washing hands- are common sense actions to take. I wonder if Depok Chopra or Andrew Weil would suggest their grandchildren or pregnant family members get the H1N1 vaccine. I wonder if any of those individuals had  underlying conditions if that would influence their decision. I wonder if living in NY, riding the subway, going to a public school, being pregnant, having and underlying condition would influence anyone’s decision- in either direction.

And what about our childcare providers? In one of my groups yesterday, a mom asked if she could “make” her babysitter get the flu shot (her baby was under 6 months of age). I know at hospitals, right now, staff is required to receive a flu shot.  If your childcare worker is “on the books”  this might hold a greater influence for them.  The mom decided to pay for her babysitter’s vaccine and search for a convenient place for her to get it.  To get this shot is a personal decision, to ask your employee to get the shot and offer options for her, might be helpful. Forcing your provider to get the vaccine, I don’t see how that is possible.  You might want to review with your employee some calling in sick guidelines.  If your babysitter comes to work with a bad cold because she doesn’t want to “stand you up” this isn’t always helpful.  Decide what the parameters of coming to work when not feeling well are for you and your babysitter.

What are your thoughts about the swine flu and the swine flu shot? How are you addressing this issue? I’d love to know.
momsupport: Identifying the power to embrace the journey

Overview of flu trends in NYC