Archive for the ‘new mother's support groups’ Category

It’s been a while and now I am sandwiched.

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I have hand written blog entries, thought about blog entries, wanted to list a few things and say a few things but, alas, it has take a few months to do it.

I, actually, had to relearn how to post.

Well, it’s a snow day and boy oh boy am I happy about that. I’ll still run my new mom’s groups but NOT HAVING to get the kids up, ready for school, dog walked  and everyone out the door (let’s add a parent-teacher meeting this morning) before 8 is a huge relief. I will also add that life has taken a way too busy turn.

You know when the baby boom media talks about the sandwiched generation? Well, here I am.  Sandwiched between my parent’s declining well-being and my kids struggling preadolescence. And this is where it sits, let alone what it feels like when i project into the future and start predicting stuff.

I asked my kids, “How do you define being a grown up”?  Their answers were “when you can tell someone else what to do”, “when you can do what you want” , “when you can drive”.  Their answers are very reminicent.  The feeling of freedom, of choice, of independence.  I think as a kid I  had those feelings, too;  “when I can wear makeup, when I can go to bed when I want”.  However as an adult,  a defining moment of being “grown up” has been caring for my aging parents. Some might say that’s strange since I became a mom years befoe that happened.  I had been in the work place and on my own even fruther back.  The  first, concrete,  glimpse at being gown up, or maybe an adult in a new way, was when my mom had open heart surgery about 8 years ago.  I remember bathing her and her allowing me to help.  Her revealing her vulnerability and letting me assist. WOW! She let me take care of her.  It was profound, sad, sweet, and moving.

Fast forward to today. My parent’s wellness is on an obvious decline. While they balance the tightrope of being able to be independent (sort of) and could easily be completely dependent on the other side.  A moment, and hour a day makes the difference. As the adult child, I am needing to shift constantly.  What my parent’s don’t realize is how much I do for them and how much more they need done. I have found a big part of  my role with them is to care with respect.  I don’t want them to think they are burdening me, I don’t want them to give up ALL aspects of independence, but there are times that they need to know this is either too much for me, or too much for them.

A great challenge to me is balancing this and the emotional (and logistical) tug  of my kid’s growing needs (school, behavioral, relationships, food/shelter etc) with my parents growing needs (0versight, safety nets, backup plans etc).While my kids are entering their middle school years, academics have taken on a new look and behavioral changes or exaggerations are precarious. If you are partnered, the relationship can be strained during this time or can be a strong piece to holding it all together.

Oh, have I forgot to mention my New Mom’s Groups, my private practice, my sleep consultations work? I have really cut down on promoting my practice.  I am fortunate I am partnered with some wonderful places that do the administrative pieces: the outreach etc (Prenatal Yoga Center, Discovery Programs, Wiggles and Giggles Playhouse and Bread and Yoga), but my involvement with pulling in people has had to give.  I have whittled my practice down to the essence, lending support, assisting new moms and parents in identifying and building on their strengths as women, moms, dads and parents.  Sometimes we just need to know we are on the right course or need some support in steering the ship from an outside perspective. well, that’s no different for moms and dads of school aged and adolescent kids, or of adults taking care of their aging parents.

Whatever adult stage of development one is  in there are challenges and joyful moments. Each needing to be acknowledged for what it is (emotional, logistic, financial, pure, muddled, whatever). I need to remember that I am not in control of all things around me and that my daily life with my kids have all these components  (sometimes in the moment and sometimes with some perspective) and even my relationship with my folks at this point still hold all of these components.  This is what life looks like for me right now.  Much I am overwhelmed by, some of which is me, some of which is the situation.

So, how do I take care of myself during all of this. It’s is very easy to disconnect, to retreat.  I feel a bit flat, socially, sometimes. Like, when you are a new mom- you’re home with the baby and it’s like WHOA! How’d this happen? Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? But as you reach out to others, talk, connect, take in the support, care, love (where you can) those feeling of self appreciation and care build. So, while you still might have struggles with nursing or your baby still might not be sleeping, the support around you helps  hold up and build your own self confidence.

I do believe reaching out for support and finding the right people to surround yourself with can give the journey perspective and insight.  Can help build one’s own confidence and to help feel cared for (while caring for all these other people and situations). Life is messy much of the time, can be uncomfortable and can require more from you that you think is possible. I need to remember I do have my limits, I will do nothing perfectly but I can do things to the best of my ability (which has its variables).

So, perhaps if I am part of the sandwiched generation, the supports and  friendships are the condiment.

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.”

Upper East Side and Inwood Groups and Events

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Metro Minis: New Mom’s Support Group- with Jessica Shapley

Wednesdays at 12pm starting April 14 at 12pm
6 session series
$120

http://momsupport.org/blog/?page_id=41

Bread and Yoga: New Mom’s Support Group - with Jessica Shapley http://momsupport.org/blog/?page_id=41

Tuesdays at 12:30 – Spring session begins April 20th

For moms and their babies, newborn-6 months

Topics in the group include: Mom and baby  wellness, breast  feeding,  bottle  feeding, sleep issues, staying at home versus working outside the home, isolation, childcare, family life, self image & more. Be a part of a growing community of new  families right here in  your neighborhood

Sleep Workshop – Tuesday, April 6th at 11am http://momsupport.org/blog/?page_id=41

Explore sleep solutions for the whole family. A talk for parents with babies newborn-12 months. We’ll talk about schedules techniques for calming age appropriate expectations and more……..plenty of time for questions

Infant Massage Workshop - Sunday, April 18th at 2pm http://momsupport.org/blog/?page_id=41

For parents and caregivers with babies newborn to pre-crawling
Massage is great addition to your toolbox of techniques to soothe 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. It is a gift each parent will be able to share with their child throughout a lifetime.
  • Please bring and extra blanket
  • dress your baby in 2 piece outfit
  • bring food grade vegetable oil (ie. olive oil, grape seed oil)

Calender of Events:

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Sleep Workshop: Feb 22 at 12pm $20

for parents with babies newborn to 1. Talk about schedules, age appropriate expectations, calming techniques, identifying sleep windows and more.  Plenty of room for questions.

At: Discovery Program 251 w 100th street  (Morningside Heights)

Register with Discovery Program: 212 749 8717

New Mom Support Group: in Morningside Heights at Discovery Program. For Moms with babies newborn-6 months

Topics include: mom and baby wellness, sleep, bottle feeding, breast feeding, changes within yourself, changes within your family, childcare, returning to work and more

8 session series introductory fee of $120

At: Discovery Program 251 w 100th street  (Morningside Heights)

Register with Discovery Program: 212 749 8717

Mom’s Group for mothers with babies 6-12 months: Prenatal Yoga Center on West 72nd street.  212-362-2985
8 session series

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.

Jessica

Schedules: Programs and Places

Discovery Program Morningside Heights
New Mom Support Group
www.discoveryprogram.com
251 West 100th Street
New Mom’s Support Group
Wednesday February 3 at 12:30
$155
Attention: This is NOT a drop-in class! | Pre-registration required
212-749-8717

Prenatal Yoga Center: UWS
prenatalyogacenter.com
West 72nd Street
http://www.prenatalyogacenter.com/cmps_index.php?page=events
212-362-2985

  • 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)

212-362-2985
http://www.prenatalyogacenter.com/cmps_index.php?page=events

  • 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!
http://www.prenatalyogacenter.com/cmps_index.php?page=events

Kripalu Lenox Ma
The Pelvic Floor and More
http://www.kripalu.org/program/view/YTEW-101/yoga_therapy_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
http://store.metrominis.net/index.php

  • 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) http://store.metrominis.net/index.php
  • Infant Massage January 30 3pm http://store.metrominis.net/index.php


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
isolation
childcare
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.

New Groups In Manhattan

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

January check out my sleep workshops, infant massage classes and New Mom’s groups in Washington Heights at Wiggles and Giggles and in Inwood at Bread and Yoga Studio as well as in February at the Discovery Program in Morningside Heights.  See my calender for details of where and when. January:  http://momsupport.org/calendar.asp?mm=1&yy=2010

Febrary: http://momsupport.org/calendar.asp?mm=2&yy=2010

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  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/jobs/22career.html.  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