Top 5 NYC Go To Resources for Expectant Parents

In CategoryBaby-Safe Manufactures, Breastfeeding, Eco-Baby, Eco-Consumerism, Food and Nutrition, diapers
ByThe Green Doula

New York City has many wonderful resources and stores for the family and earth conscious parent. Here are my picks for the top 5 NYC go to resources for within the 5 boroughs:

Best New Life Style Store: Caribou Baby

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This go to spot, located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn offers not only, food, diapers, clothing and skincare products for baby and mom, but Caribou Baby also offers an array of birth preparation and parenting classes and workshops.

Best Cloth Diapering Resource: Doable Diapers

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Regardless of which borough you live in, Doable Diapers’ online store helps to make cloth diapering much easier for you. From newborn to beyond, they carry an array of products and accessories. They have you covered.

Best Breastfeeding Resource: YummyMummy

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YummyMummy… I love that name. I love that this store embraces, celebrates and encourages breastfeeding. Whether you are in need of breastfeeding classes, breast pump rentals, nipple butter or an easy access shirt, this UES gem is a go to resource. Delivery is available in Manhattan.

Best Fresh Baby Food Resource: Petit Organics

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After 6-8months of exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding, baby is ready for solid foods. Parents want to give their baby the healthiest nutritious food they can provide. Though my pick for best local baby food resource is not in everyone’s price range, the concept behind the company and their offering is pretty awesome, especially for on-the-go parents. I also want to put out there that as opposed to asking for a lot of clothes or toys at a baby shower ask for friends and family to donate for a fresh food fund for when baby is ready. Petit Organics delivers 100% organic, fresh , vegan, wheat-free and non GMO prepared food to the Manhattan area and has a pick location in Park Slope.

Best Parent & Baby Activity: Karma Kids Yoga

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Bonding with baby is one of the most important and fun aspects of motherhood and fatherhood. Mom/Dad & Baby Yoga at Karma Kids is a wonderful way to connect with baby as well as giving your body a little restorative love. They also have story time as well! I am definitely an advocate for creating a tradition of storytelling in the family :)

Igniting a Birth Revolution through Film

In CategoryBirth, Inspiring Stories, Media
ByThe Green Doula

Hello Readers,

I wanted to share with you the trailer for the wonderful initiative and documentary project, Oneworldbirth. The film makers/couple behind this project where activated to embark on their creative advocacy journey after they experienced the loss of their power and ownership during their first westernized birth experience.

Eventually there will be a full-length traditional documentary released, but in the meantime, One World Birth will be uploading footage and interviews so that they can keep the community dialogue and platform open. They are driven to build a global community of parents, midwives, doulas, educators, everyone to “inspire and to help deliver change, to make birth better and safer everywhere”. Check it out and sign up on their website to stay up to date on the evolution of the documentary and to be a part of a global revolution.

A New Study on New Mom’s Brain After Childbirth

In CategoryBirth, In the News, childbirth
ByThe Green Doula

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Not only does a mother’s capacity for love grow after giving birth, but now researchers are saying that her brain grows as well. The American Psychological Association released a small study in its October issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which connects the growth to the change in hormone levels after birth. The particular areas within the brain that expand after birth are within the areas associated with behavior and motivation. In essence, this study suggests that a new mother’s desire to look after her baby may be driven by the brain’s expansion more so than instinct. Though, I come from the school of thought that our brains and the rest of our body are our tools that can also serve as our instinct. I think that this study is good to post as a reminder as to how intuitive the female body really is if it is given the freedom to follow its cycle.

Within the group of women who were evaluated, the mothers who had more enthusiasm for their babies had the largest growth. The researchers suggested that mothers who suffer from postpartum depression might experience reductions, instead of growth. The study compared MRI images of 19 women (average 33 years old) that were taken two to three weeks and three to four months after they gave birth at Yale-New Haven Hospital, in Connecticut. All of the women were breast-feeding (though the frequency was not specified in the article I came across), nearly half had other children and none had postpartum depression. What was not mentioned in detail was the context in which each of these women gave birth. It would be interesting to see how they established the difference between the enthusiastic mothers and non. Further more, it would be interesting to see amongst those women, who had a natural birth, utilized medication and/or had a c-section. These various birth story outcomes could be linked to the levels of oxytocin (the love/bonding hormone) existent in the mother at the time of birth.

Small yet significant increases in gray matter volume in various parts of the brain were discovered as well during this study. The increases occurred in the areas associated with maternal motivation (hypothalamus), reward and emotion processing (substantia nigra and amygdala), sensory integration (parietal lobe) and reasoning and judgment (prefrontal cortex). This small yet significant change is quite telling for significant learning is an effect of growth of gray matter.

The Question of When and Will it be Possible Then?

In CategoryResources, women's health
ByThe Green Doula

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There was an article in the Toronto Sun which highlighted the growing amount of women holding off motherhood due to misleading information about advances in fertility science. The paper interviewed Judith Daniluk, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, who counsels many women trying to get pregnant in their late 30s and early 40s and sometimes older.

“Many of these women were surprised to learn that their chances of a successful pregnancy were significantly reduced based on age-related fertility declines — declines that couldn’t be compensated for by the use of assisted reproductive technologies and treatments. It was heartbreaking to see their disappointment and despair when they were unable to achieve a viable pregnancy,” she said.

Daniluk is conducting an ongoing study to assess why women are putting off pregnancy and to identify the sources from which women are gathering their knowledge regarding fertility. Already, her study is finding that 45.5% of the respondents expect to give birth between 36 and 41, and 13.2% think they will have children at 42 or older. Nearly half said they expect to use a sperm donor, an egg donor or invitro-fertilization to achieve their goals. More than half said they were likely to freeze and store their eggs.

Daniluk calls out misleading websites, uninformed doctors and high-profile middle-aged moms like Celine Dion as some of the sources which enable women to think they can delay childbirth. What often is left unsaid, or buried under the surface of fertilization treatment discussions is that is extremely expensive and not very reliable for anyone over 34. It also comes with higher chances of multiple births, miscarriage, pregnancy-induced hypertension and birth defects the older the candidate.

“We need to be sure women and their partners have accurate information upon which to base their child-bearing decisions, but we also need to ensure family physicians are provided with continuing education about the advances and limitations of assisted human reproduction,” she said.

Of course one of the major underlying causes of delay in pregnancy among women today is the current climate of our modern society. Daniluk goes on to point out the modern life challenges facing women today further in the article. Speaking for myself, I would love to have baby and be a mother, but first I would love to fall in love with a great man here in NYC, feel grounded in my career and financial security, etc. Myself, like many women are experiencing more difficulties balancing family goals with our career, education and wellbeing goals.

Before I began the path of doulahood, I too had it in my mind that I could easily delay pregnancy till I was in my later 30s early 40’s if I had to (not to say that I still can’t).Now, I am more familiar with the realities that lay underneath the surfaces and am finding that I am being to dip my toe into the consequences of such delays. Women should be encouraged to discuss their concerns and fears about delaying pregnancy freely. Such discussions with friends, partners and honestly ourselves, can give way to a new dialogue which could help women as we continue to figure out our next steps on our life paths. It is very important to hold mirrors in front of our faces when we ask why the delay. Acknowledging and being with the truths, whatever they may be are the first steps to getting to where we need to be. Ironically, as it is in birth, mothers tend to birth quicker the more they let their fears and worries flow and go.

A Compostable Maternity Garment

In CategoryDesign, Eco-Consumerism, Fashion, Holistic Pregnancy
ByThe Green Doula

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While I don’t think that delivery gowns are the next big “it” thing, Pretty Pusher’s organic delivery gown maybe on to something when it comes to the world of maternity fashion. The gown, which also comes with a matching headband, is compostable.

I try to shy away from covering too many clothing/fashion stories, as for both expectant mother and baby, each of their bodies change so rapidly that the concept of spending money on new garments is inefficient. I mostly recommend using bellybands, friend’s clothing, or purchasing garments from thrift shops during pregnancy and for rapidly growing babies. Fashionistas, don’t worry though, you can find several fashionable pieces via this method. Even if a garment is not made with organic materials, if you buy it from a second hand vendor or borrow it from a friend, you are still doing your part when it comes to protecting the environment by extending the garment’s lifecycle.

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If more maternity garments and infant clothing pieces were as fashionable (as is this gown, which can easily be used as a sexy night gown as well) organic and compostable as this Pretty Pusher’s piece, it would definitely be an incentive for the the ecoconsumer to purchase. This niche(yet popular) maternity industry can benefit by adapting more from the cradle-to-cradle mentality.

An Ergonomically Correct Toddler Ride

In CategoryBaby-Safe Manufactures, Design, Eco-Baby, Eco-Consumerism, On the Shelves
ByThe Green Doula

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I just discovered the baby carrier brand, Boba, who is based out of Boulder, Colorado. What struck me most about Boba, aside from their passion to provide the means for parent to raise confident, joyful, compassionate children, is their attention to ergonomics. The parents and founders of Boba choose to run their green business in their hometown of Boulder with the help of local mountaineering professionals. Together, Boba manufactures ergonomically correct well-designed handmade carriers for toddlers 15lbs to 45lbs.

To enable a healthy sitting position for child, the carriers were design with foot straps. These straps help to anchor the toddler’s weight and alignment while it is being carried. Ultimately, the toddler is guided into a natural position, which naturally tilts the pelvis, fills out the hip sockets, and aligns the spine.
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Here are more of its benefits:

*the more leg support the less pressure absorbed by the spine
*takes the pressure off of the hamstrings
*reduces the leg dangle
*gives feet a place to rest
*ensures complete blood flow throughout legs
*no pinching of the major nerve behind the thigh
*envelops the whole back while securing your toddler
*gives them the option to put arms in or out
*pulls them closer to you
*prevents the “leaning away from you” feeling
*reduces shoulder strap pressure
*allows you to stand straight as you should
*brings your center of gravity toward your body

The organic Boba carriers are made with 100% soft brushed GOTS certified organic cotton straps and trim, 100% certified organic cotton canvas panel and consist of no buttons or snaps for added soft comfort. The organic carriers range from $118- $125 and you can purchase them online or at your local retailer.

Boba 2G on the Today Show from Brad Young on Vimeo.

In addition to having a wonderful product collection, Boba’s parent company, Nap, Inc. has strong CSR virtues. Management commits to using bicycles for at least 50% of their local transportation needs, the company uses only virtual business cards, packaging supplies are either recycled or donated for re-use and the company supports several organizations.

Popular Culture…How Far Have We Come?

In CategoryBirth, Celebrity Moms, Media, childbirth
ByThe Green Doula

Media Pregnancy

It was only in 1948 when the television series, Mary Kay and Johnny, “showed” a woman’s pregnancy on television. Then on December 8, 1952, the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Is Enceinte“, aired. Enceinte is French for excepting. Producers did not want or nor allowed any mention of the word pregnant on the show. As they could not deny the fact that their star was in fact pregnant, they incorporated her pregnancy into the story line. Lucy was excepting a baby:

“Lucy Goes to the Hospital”, aired on January 19, 1953. The original airdate was chosen to coincide with Lucille Ball’s real-life delivery of Desi, Jr. who was born via c-section. The episode was watched by 71.7% of all American television sets, which beat out the current record of that time as the most watched event in the country. The second highest rating of that time was Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration coverage, which pulled in a 67.7% rating. Talk about influencing a generation.

Who doesn’t love I Love Lucy? It was a hilarious show, but being that this was such a source of cultural influence, it had in fact negatively contributed to society’s altered perception of birth and how to embrace the natural process and what it truly entails. Fast-forward to today’s popular culture and how birth is portrayed and received:

There are too many misguided celebrity and media figures who continue to pump fear driven jargon about birth and pregnancy. One would think that in 65 years of broadcast, a more realistic, empowering portrayal of birth would be streamed over the main stream as well as be supported when done so.

Birth is a beautiful and powerful experience. Women are more than capable to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. It can and it should be approached as a natural process and event, and conveyed as an exciting life passage instead of a dreaded/feared event. Women should be educated and empowered to know their choices, options, ways to ease labor pains and discomfort and the support available to them to help them create a beautiful birth experience in addition to more transparency when it comes to drugs used for labor and their effects, c-sections and formula vs. breastmilk. there are a lot of producers, writer, marketers and reporters who need to look at themselves in the mirror more often before willingly contributing to the defacing of women and their natural strengths and gifts.

Elders Elect Candidates for New Midwifery Program

In CategoryBirth, Holistic Pregnancy, Inspiring Stories, Uncatergorized, childbirth
ByThe Green Doula

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This week, NPR highlighted an 18 month midwifery education program in Badakhshan Province’s Shatak village (Afghanistan). Funded by USAID, an independent federal government agency, and implemented Jhpiego, the program was created to address the poor quality of the village’s maternal health care. In 2004, the village lost 54 mothers and 46 newborns, but with the introduction of this new midwifery model, the health care in the village has improved greatly. The proof, two babies passed away as compared to 46 as was reported before.

“These women are like guardian angels for infants and mothers.”
Zafaran Natiqi, head of women’s affairs in Badakhshan.

Normally, due to Afghanistan’s culture, young and married women are unable to work outside of their homes. Fortunately, the village elders are in support of this program and their women. They actively participate in the selection of midwife candidates from within their community.

Learning that the elders of this community are breathing life and encouragement into such a program, reminds me of an organization I just learned of called The Elder’s organization. The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. One of the organizations mission is to gain equality for women and girls around the globe.

I was watching this clip below by former president Jimmy Carter last week and after reading the NPR article, I see, even more so than before, the importance of support and wisdom from such a generation’s counsel and advocacy. It seems that a new breath of coherence is taking place in the world.