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Learning to “Speak Baby”

by Angela Jernigan 

My six year old tells me from the back seat of the car, “Mom, babies are really very smart, it’s just that they don’t speak like bigger people.” She is looking at me earnestly in the rear view mirror with her serious blue eyes, “If only grown ups could learn to speak baby, they’d know: babies have lots to say.”baby dad

I think my daughter knows exactly what she’s talking about. She was, after all, a baby who had a lot to say.

Even from our very first long night together after she was born, my daughter cried a lot. Until dawn she fussed and squawked, wriggled and writhed, her belly against my chest, my body exhausted from giving birth and aching for rest.

But the rest never came. After a few weeks, I began to face it: I had a fussy, sometimes inconsolable, baby. It was harrowing. My husband and I called on doctors, lactation consultants, baby massage teachers, cranial sacral practitioners. No one could find a problem, yet my daughter still could not find peace. She cried so much, my little one, while I work anxiously doing whatever I could think of to stop the crying: bouncing, walking, sound machines, sh-shing, standing in the backyard in the middle of the night, sobbing to myself.

By the time she was four months old, I was desperate and utterly exhausted.

And then I learned about a a way of listening to babies and children called Parenting by Connection from a woman named Patty Wipfler, and everything in our life slowly began to change. Continue reading

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Trust Yourself, Mom!

By Stacia Biltekoff and Terry Landey (from BirthWays.org’s summer newsletter)

Trust yourself, mom! You are a wise authority.New Baby, New Mother

If you’re anywhere along the pregnant/postpartum journey, you will doubtless have been inundated with advice and opinions on how you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing it. Given that parenting wisdom and know-how changes on a monthly basis, how does a new mom begin to discern what choices she wants to make for her baby and herself? How do you sift through the mass of opposing wisdom and remain calm in the face of it all? Continue reading

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The Insanely Simple Tool for a Resilient New Mamahood

by Lindsay K. Germain, Certified Postpartum Doula
(originally published by BirthWays in spring of 2014)

When you welcome your new baby into your home, you’ll find that time tends to shift in mysterious ways. Especially in the early days, chores that used to take an hour might start to take four hours, or even a few days.

Your time will be more precious, and likely more stretched, than ever before.

Unlike adults, who sleep for a long stretch at night, newborns tend to sleep in short naps and aren’t yet able to consolidate their sleep.

In a sea of short naps and night and day feedings, it can be a real challenge to get good, nourishing food into your body.

It’s hard to have patience for fussiness, nap strikes, and other challenges of early parenting if you’re tired and hungry. The more you can get good, small meals and snacks throughout the day, the more resilient you’ll feel.

path on bridgeIt’s easy to go hungry when you’re holding, feeding, and caring for your wide-awake baby. If you skip meals, it’s much harder to take care of yourself and feel good about your baby. Breastfeeding mamas need to eat an extra 200 to 500 calories per day.

Lots of moms figure out ways to get quick, nourishing bites when they need to refuel.

If you plan just one thing to make your postpartum transition feel smoother, set up a way to have convenient meals and snacks.

Eating small meals throughout the day helps stabilize your mood and energy. You can use a baby carrier to keep your hands free to snack.

Here are my favorite tools for mamas to help make meals easy:

Continue reading

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More Talking to Babies Helps Their Brains

Baby newborn holding handBabies are born with the capacity to learn, communicate, and connect. They develop pre-langauge skills from a very early age.

New research shows that talking to babies before they can speak is key to developing a rich vocabulary later in life (Neergard, AP). There are some surprising insights in the full article, which you can read here.

Source: Lauran Neergaard, AP