Archive for July, 2007

bringing baby home on good morning america

Monday, July 30th, 2007

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This morning, Good Morning America featured Bringing Baby Home, a program Swellbeing is proud to offer as part of our parent workshops. The piece titled, “Baby Makes Three: Dealing with Children in Your Relationship” focused on the emotional toll welcoming a baby into the family may take on mothers and fathers and, subsequently, the marriage.

“Thirty percent of fathers have postpartum depression symptoms,” said Relationship Research Institute executive director John Gottman. “Fifty [percent] to 80 percent of moms have symptoms of postpartum depression.”

I must clarify that having symptoms of post partum depression and meeting the criteria are not the same thing. Experts generally agree that the incidence of PPD is between 10%-15%. Postpartum blues (“baby blues”) is the phenomenon whereby 50% or more of moms meet some criteria for depression, however those symptoms tend to lift within days to a few weeks. When those symptoms persist and worsen, they can lead to the more severe postpartum depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing some of the symptoms of PPD (lack of interest in anything, sadness or irritability, thought of harming self or baby, change in appetite or sleep), please contact a helping professional immediately.

During pregnancy a great deal of attention is paid to preparing for labor and delivery, and preparing the nursery, but very little, if any, attention is given to the most important building block of all: the parenting relationship. John and Julie Gottman have done extensive longitudinal research on relationships to understand and identify what makes a relationship successful. They have used their findings as the pillars of the Bringing Baby Home Workshop designed to prepare expecting couples and new parents alike for the changes that occur once the baby arrives. The goal of the workshop is to teach couples how to care for one another as well as the baby. The results for couples who attend these workshops are impressive: a drop in post partum depression rates from 67% to 23%.

Programs such as Zero to Three have illuminated the critical importance of those first few years in a child’s life developmentally. Unfortunately for most couples, these early years of family life are wrought with sleepless nights, marital tension and a lack of harmony.

“About two-thirds of couples had serious problems in the first three years of the baby’s life, where their happiness with one another went down,” said Gottman, who has researched relationships for 30 years. “Their hostility increased.”

Swellbeing is delighted to be staffed by Certified Gottman Educators. We are offering Bringing Baby Home workshops this September. Contact us for more information or to register: info@swellbeing.com

the birth survey – tell your story!

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

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If you are at all like me and want to tell every expectant mom (and anyone else who will listen) your birth story hoping it will embolden them to make good choices when it’s their turn, then read on. At last there is a place for you to share your birth experience that WILL impact those who follow. The Transparency in Maternity Care Project aims to “provide women with insight into maternity care practices in their community.” At the heart of this project is The Birth Survey, a 15-30 minute online survey collecting feedback on women’s experiences with their healthcare providers and birthing environments. The majority of the questions are multiple choice, which moves the survey along swiftly, and you can save as you go allowing you to work on the survey during naps or in-between client meetings. This survey launched in NYC this past weekend, and it will become available to women elsewhere in 2008.

This project is long overdue as a forum for women to document and give voice to their experiences from prenatal care through labor and delivery to postpartum care. Time and again I hear disappointed women recount their birth experiences only to justify the unmet expectations by the final result: a beautiful bundle of bliss. I know we deserve better and I’m delighted by the prospect of these surveys, coupled with statistical data from state departments of health listing obstetrical intervention rates, enabling women to make truly informed decisions as they move through pregnancy toward labor and delivery. This check and balance will hopefully compel practitioners and birthing environments to utilize the feedback to continually evaluate their procedures and care to best meet the needs of the women and families they serve. Furthermore, it will allow the cream of the crop to get the snaps and recognition they deserve.

I took the survey and found that the questions themselves unearthed choices I didn’t realize I had. My eyes are open wider as a result of this survey. I trust that my feedback will make a difference for someone who is already on their expectant journey, or will be someday soon. Now run along and tell your story!

nyc healthy birth fair

Friday, July 20th, 2007

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Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day – the kind of day you want to spend outdoors, likely at one of NYC’s beautiful parks. Might I propose one park in particular: Union Square Park. In addition to the bountiful farmer’s market there each Saturday, tomorrow from 11a – 7p, for the first time ever, there will also be a healthy birth fair to raise awareness of maternity-care issues. Choices In Childbirth, along with The Grassroots Advocates Committee of CIMS and Friends of the Birth Center are hosting a fair to help improve maternity care for women in New York City. This is in light of the fact that the World Health Organization states that the rates for c-sections should not exceed 15%, however the 2004 rates in Manhattan on average were nearly double that.

Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Childbirth Connection gave a report in December 2006 titled “Giving Birth in the Dark: City Hospitals Still Failing to Provide Legally Mandated Maternity Information:” in which she outlined the following,

“In 2004, the average cesarean rate in New York City was 28.6 percent, a 2 percent increase over 2003, when the rate was 26.6 percent. Many New York City hospitals now have a c-section rate over 30 percent.”

The New York Healthy Birth Fair will launch a few important initiatives at tomorrow’s event that aim to illuminate the truths about maternity care as well as reshape the landscape of birth in New York City. These projects include: 1. the New York City pilot of The Birth Survey; 2. the release of the 2nd edition of The New York Guide to a Healthy Birth; and 3. the public announcement of plans for an independent Manhattan-based Birth Center.

Swellbeing will be there tomorrow in support of these initiatives. Please come down and stop by to say hello. Whatever you do, get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!

how’s YOUR nanny?

Friday, July 20th, 2007

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Swellbeing has a new friend in HowsMyNanny.com. None of us wants to worry about worst case scenarios, especially where our children are concerned, but wouldn’t it be nice to know others are looking out for our shorties when we’re not able to?

Jill Starishevsky, a child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor in New York City was home on maternity leave with her second child recently when she got the idea for her business. This service provides license plates for strollers with a unique identifying number on them enabling the public to anonymously report praiseworthy or concerning nanny observations. Registered parents then receive an email alerting them of the report. There are checks and balances built into the system to ensure the claims people make are credible.

This community watch is catching on like wildfire and has already received a lot of media attention. You can check them out on the Today Show during the week of July 23rd.

The program works on a membership basis at the rate of $50 per year. Swellbeing parents who register will receive a 20% discount. Enter this code: 8743re3e.

sleep and obesity in children

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

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Here it is, another compelling reason to establish good sleeping habits with your children – it could prevent obesity. Oh, the other reasons: children are happier, more adaptive, and better able to concentrate and learn, not to mention they simply need sleep to grow. And, during a time when children are met with unrealistic ideals about body image and the rate of juvenile diabetes is soaring upward, it just makes good sense to give your child every advantage possible. I won’t get on my soapbox here, but read on to see the latest on sleep and obesity.

Researchers at Northwestern University have concluded from a study on sleep and obesity that as little as one hour more of sleep makes a big difference.

“Our study suggests that earlier bedtimes, later wake times and later school start times could be an important and relatively low-cost strategy to help reduce childhood weight problems,” says Emily Snell. Snell is co-author of “Sleep and the Body Mass Index and Overweight Status of Children and Adolescents” in the Jan./Feb. issue of Child Development.

The long-term study, published in the Society for Research in Child Development’s journal, tracked the sleep habits of nearly 2,300 children over a five-year period, then correlated those findings with weight gain. The study focused on children 3-18 years old and showed that sleeping an extra hour at night reduced a child’s risk of being overweight. For children 3-8 years old, later bedtimes appeared to be the culprit. One speculation is that a lack of sleep disrupts metabolic hormones leading to overweight kids. We also know that kids who are tired tend to be less active and more awake time equals more time to eat. All the more reason to establish healthy sleeping habits sooner than later!

Welcome to the new Swellbeing Blog!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

At Swellbeing we aim to stay connected with all that is parenting. We’re opening this blog to share everything from parenting tips, to delightful things we find on the web.

We hope you’ll come back often and enjoy the Swellbeing Blog.