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Sep 22 2014

The Importance of Being Honest About First-Time Parenting

By at 10:05 am

newborn

After giving birth to my second child about a month ago, I shared a hospital room with a woman whom I’d describe as one of the most cheerful and glass-half-full people I’ve ever met. Mara–the polar opposite of a jaded New Yorker–is a midwestern transplant to New York whose optimism felt contagious.

Despite having just come out of a very difficult 24-hour labor, she was nearly all-smiles–friendly and kind to everyone who came in and out of our room (and anyone who’s given birth in a hospital knows that lots of people come in and out post-labor). I will never forget how excited she got each time she was served the hospital food, which I, of the more jaded New Yorker variety, barely touched, and managed to complain about plenty.

It wasn’t until after several unsuccessful attempts to breastfeed her less-than-one-day-old son that I saw Mara’s optimism hit a bump. I could tell just how frustrated, guilty and disappointed she felt because–like every mother on earth–I had been there too, during those early days of motherhood. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 16 2014

MIT Research Group Asks: Why Does the Breast Pump Suck So Much?

By at 2:12 pm

breast-pump

Hate pumping? You’re not alone. Most of those human milk machines are loud, clunky, uncomfortable, and prone to spillage. The double breast pump is especially creepy looking. (Kveller’s Director of Operations, Meredith Lewis, wrote about her love-hate relationship with the breast pump here.)

But pumping is important, not just for working moms who want to stay connected to their infants, but for premature and orphaned babies that rely on pumped milk for survival.

That’s why MIT Media Lab is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Organized by a group of students and researchers at MIT who are also parents, between 60 and 80 designers, engineers, lactation consultants, parents, and public health researchers have gathered together to brainstorm ways to make life easier for moms and their babies. Cash prizes range from $1,000 to $3,000, sponsored by breast pump manufacturers like Modela and Vecna Technologies. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 12 2014

Motherhood Brings Out My Superstitious Side

By at 9:45 am

Alicia-Elija

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ki Tavo. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Sometimes, during these first few weeks of my newborn son Elijah’s life, I find myself overwhelmed by gratitude for him. I tend to write about the harder parts of motherhood, but in this moment I’m just bowled over by the beauty, mystery, and ridiculous cuteness of this little guy in a froggie onesie.

What do I do with all this raw emotion, this overwhelming love? Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 8 2014

Is It Too Early to Call My Baby a Girl?

By at 10:14 am

baby in turtle pajamas

I don’t like surprises.

That’s how I explained our decision to find out, as early as possible, if we were having a boy or a girl. And as soon as the verdict was in, out it went on Facebook and into excited texts to our parents. My mother-in-law found out while she was in an airplane, en route to Maine for Christmas, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she told the whole plane.

So there you have it, right? Penrose is a girl. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 7 2014

The Trauma of First-Time Parenthood

By at 10:02 am

Tamara-newborn-nap

When we brought our newborn daughter home, she nursed around the clock with a ferocious latch. It felt as if I was putting my nipple into a stapler and then having the milk sucked out by an expensive Dyson.

If I were a first-time mama, I would have been convinced I had no milk and faulty nipples. I would have probably also convinced myself that my baby was tongue tied, lip-tied, or whatever bad-latch karma was going around the internet at the time. But what I now know to be true, after successfully nursing her two older brothers, is that I always have nipple sensitivity in the first few weeks and my daughter was gaining more than enough weight, despite a small mouth and slightly shallow latch.

As expected, after two weeks it all went away. She still nurses around the clock, but it is normal–even biological–for her to want to be nourished by me, held by me, and comforted by me. She won’t always want to be this close to me. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 27 2014

What If Moses Just Needed an Afternoon Off?

By at 11:34 am

HOMEBIRTH

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Hukkat. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Like many of us modern, educated ladies, I was spectacularly ignorant about babies until I had one a couple years ago. So the learning curve, similar to my pregnancy weight gain, was pretty damn steep.

Now, with baby #2 due in a month, I’ve been noticing how different it feels this time around, and taking stock of what I’ve learned…(Though yes, I know every baby’s different and I’ve been told a million times how much harder it is with two kids!) Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2014

Why I Changed My Mind About the Tdap Vaccine Booster

By at 11:22 am

tdap-ryan-gossling-meme

I’m entering into my ninth month of pregnancy; I’ve lost all verbal filters that I normally employ and for the most part I either explode or cry. I wasn’t this bad when I was pregnant with the boys (although I was still, admittedly, super crazy) and perhaps it is a combination of managing my 4-year-old’s emotions and chasing after my toddler with fierce hip pain and heartburn, but I want to verbally assault anyone who even looks at me wrong. I’m cranky. So that’s where I’m at.

Around my 27 week prenatal visit my midwives gave me a generic CDC handout offering me a Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis) booster. The standard guidelines are for the vaccine to be boostered every 10 years and the sheet also said “or with each pregnancy.” Since I was boostered 18 months ago when my second son was born I felt like it was overkill to do it again. I asked both the midwives and my children’s pediatrician what the rationale behind the “with each pregnancy” was and neither had any convincing talking points. The midwife said, “there may be waning immunity during pregnancy.”

I am not one to decline vaccines. My husband is a doctor and we both have Master of Public Health degrees. But I like to educate myself about the options and make a decision based on current evidence-based research coupled with our personal family circumstances (or, like, just go with the opposite of anything Jenny McCarthy says). The information provided wasn’t compelling enough for me to vaccinate myself again. I had just finished up 20 weeks of painful progesterone injections and have bruised hips to show for it. More needles? No, thanks. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 7 2014

The Disturbing Reaction to a Certain NY Mets Player’s Paternity Leave

By at 1:47 pm

daniel-murphy

When NY Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, got word that his pregnant wife’s water broke on Sunday night, March 30th, he traveled from New York to their home in Florida, arriving in time for the birth of his first-born child, Noah, via C-section. Murphy then took the three days paternity leave permitted for Major League Baseball players to be with his wife before returning to the team. He missed two games including the Mets home opener.

Murphy has now come under fire on a few radio shows for choosing to be with his wife instead of immediately rejoining the team.

I immediately felt a fire within myself when I heard this criticism. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 24 2014

If You Don’t Vaccinate, Keep Your Kids Away From My Baby

By at 4:39 pm

vaccine

I’m a pretty laid-back parent about most things. My kids eat dirt, play with (plastic) knives, and spend a lot of time on the counter helping me cook. I rarely think to warn others when they have colds (I’m trying to remember!), because I would never expect the same. Colds are a part of life, and will probably help them in the long run, as frustrating as they are now. My kids run around, make messes, get sick, get better, and generally (I hope) have a lot of fun. (It’s not always fun for me, especially the mess part.)

But yesterday I did something totally not laid back, and to date, totally out of character. I e-mailed the director of their daycare to check on the vaccination policy, essentially to make sure that it required all the kids to be current in their vaccines (with exceptions for medical or religious issues.) My girls, who actually attend the daycare, are totally up to date, and I’m not worried about them. But there’s a little guy as well, not quite 1, and not quite ready for the MMR vaccine, and he comes with me most days to drop off his sisters. And he’s swarmed by all the adorable preschoolers who just love little guys and want to love him with their hugs and kisses, which, usually, he loves. And there is a measles outbreak a couple of states over and a couple of little ones (also not quite 1 and also not quite ready) are really, really sick.

I don’t want my little guy to get really, really sick, and the thing is that he could. He easily could right now, as the number of unvaccinated children is growing and growing. If one of them was carrying the disease (possibly without showing symptoms) and came into contact with my vulnerable little guy, that could very easily be it for him. Too easily. This time, it wouldn’t be an annoying and even deeply frustrating cold, or fever, or even something worse that would be rough for a while but he would ultimately recover from without any lingering effects. Not necessarily. Measles, for some kids, are really really bad. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 10 2013

Postpartum Plane Crash

By at 3:58 pm

plane crash“Wow, you look like you just survived a plane crash,” said my relentlessly honest friend as I staggered out of bed at 9:30 a.m., red eyed and disheveled, after yet another sleep deprived night. No, blessedly no plane crash, just a 2-week-old baby who has yet to embrace the joys of sleep.

Based on my postpartum experiences, a plane crash is a pretty solid metaphor. Read the rest of this entry →

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