Bathing Your Newborn: Why You Shouldn’t

Posted: 1994 days ago in Health Parenting Pregnancy Wellness


Why shouldn’t you be bathing your newborn?

Not long ago I was with a patient as she delivered her baby in a hospital. As soon as the cord was cut and it was determined that the baby was perfectly healthy, the nurse whisked her away for her first bath to “scrub all the gunk off her”. Scrub she did. It hurt me to watch.

Well, Nurse Ratchet, that “gunk” is there for a reason, you silly little wench.  Studies actually support a delay in bathing your newborn for several days.

The medical term for the cheesy white stuff that covers most newborns during birth is Vernix Caseosa (translation: cheese varnish – ha!), or Vernix for short. You can even see it in-utero…check it out here below.

Vernix is produced by baby’s sebaceous glands starting in the 3rd trimester. Rich in emollients and antibacterial properties, vernix protects baby’s skin while in utero. You know how your skin wrinkles in the bath after only a few minutes?   Imagine being in fluid for 40 weeks!   Vernix buffers the skin and prevents loss of fluids and electrolytes in utero. During birth, vernix provides an antimicrobial layer against the bacteria-rich vagina and protects the skin from friction as baby is squeezed down the birth canal – baby lube!

But what about after baby is born? Shouldn’t we wipe that shit off?   It’s gross!

Gross though it may be, vernix is thought to help with regulation of baby’s body temperature in the first hours after birth – it acts as an insulator. That’s a big deal, because it can be really difficult for babies to maintain proper body temperature.

It is also known to assist in the adaptation from life in the womb to life outside the womb. It’s a different world out there, people! Wet-to-dry, different pH, scratchy clothes, etc. Vernix is the perfect moisturizer/insulator/antibiotic ointment.

Johnson’s baby lotion has nothing on vernix (more on that train wreck later…but I’ll leave you thinking about why it’s PINK!)   If only we could bottle the stuff!

Rubbing your newborn with a soft towel or blanket after birth will help to stimulate respiration and rub some of the vernix in, without wiping it off.   There is no need to be bathing your newborn until day 4 or 5, when the great majority of the vernix will flake off by itself. A soft, wet cloth around the mouth, eyes and genitals will take care of hygiene needs until it’s really time for the first true bath.




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Posted: 2044 days ago in Parenting

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Childbirth Education Series: The Myth of the Due Date

Posted: 2089 days ago in Parenting

My Lactation Consultant Felt Me Up

Posted: 2124 days ago in Parenting


If you maintained any sense of modesty during prenatal care and childbirth, good for you.

The fun, however, is not over.

If you are one of the many who don’t take to nursing your baby with ease, you will probably end up having a date meeting with a lactation consultant. I am a huge fan of anyone who can help Mamas nurse their babies, so thank Goddess for these helpers. But – they will feel you up like you’ve never been felt up before, so be ready.

I mean, there you are, all laid up in the hospital or birthing center with a new little baby. Your mission is to get that baby to latch on correctly in order to nurse effectively. No big deal, right?

For first time moms, this can be the straw that breaks the milkmaid’s back.

What are the other straws, you say? Well, the Titty Fairy bestows these gargantuan boobies on you overnight, literally. Your netherlands are still bulging and weeping. You haven’t slept in days. And now you have to somehow shove a nipple the size of a yarmulke into your baby’s teeny, tiny mouth.


Enter the lactation consultant. In order to properly maneuver your 8 pound baby onto your 10 pound breast, she will need to fondle you, and I mean that with all the professional respect that these women deserve.

Just surrender to the process, be happy such help exists with a lactation consultant, and enjoy being boob-a-li-cious while it lasts.



Nursing 103: “The Football Hold”

Posted: 2187 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

Successful Nursing Tips

Posted: 2188 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy


Successful nursing starts before the cord is cut.

Best circumstances, you’re going to have the baby on your chest as soon as he/she is born, and while the cord is still pulsating. Unfortunately in a hospital birth, they take the baby after the cord is cut to be cleaned up. So an unmedicated – natural birth – can be in the hospital, but you will need to request that the baby is placed on your chest immediately following the birth. I also suggest requesting to let the cord naturally stop pulsating before it’s cut.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you how miraculous this process is – then watch this breastcrawl video (so long as you’re not faint of heart). It’s of a baby working its way up momma’s chest directly after giving birth. Babies have a rooting reflex where if their cheek and mouth is stimulated, and they feel the nipple, they will move toward it; it’s a natural reflex. Babies are hard wired to nurse, it’s us momma’s that need some training.

Here are some training tips.

  1. Baby positioning is really important – baby’s chest to mom’s breast is the mantra/visual to have when nursing your baby. Many moms make the mistake of holding their baby in a traditional cradle hold (face up in arms) – necessitating that baby should turn its head to nurse. Have you ever tried to swallow with your head turned to one side? It’s pretty hard to do. Position your baby where his or her head is in a neutral position when latching on. For a visual on this, watch the video below.
  1. Make sure that baby’s mouth is really wide open, and literally shove as much of your breast as you can into their mouth. A lot of moms make the mistake of just trying to pry the nipple into the mouth, when really the whole areola  should go into the baby’s mouth.
  2. I’m a big fan of letting the baby nurse on demand in general, but definitely in the first week. The more baby sucks, the more your body stimulates the production of milk – you cannot spoil baby at this age.
  3. Rooming in – i.e. keeping baby close to you is critical for getting to know your baby’s signs, especially those signs telling you that they want to nurse. That’s why I’m not a big fan of babies being in the nursery down the hospital, or being in their own room the first few weeks.breastfeeding
  4. I would avoid giving a bottle at all cost, it creates nipple confusion. A baby has to work in order to get milk from a breast, and has instant gratification of high volumes of milk from a bottle. They will definitely boycott the breast if a bottle is introduced too quickly. Eventually I love the idea of pumping, and letting dad feed but I would hold off for at least 6 weeks or more before bringing a bottle into the picture.
  5. A lot of women feel pressured to supplement with “formula” because they’re told that they are not producing enough milk, or their baby is losing weight. It is very normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of its body weight after birth when nursing. As long as baby is wetting his/her diaper, you should be fine. If you have a serious concern, consult with your doctor.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns – I’m happy to help.

Good luck to all the new moms!

Thank You. Gracias. Danke. Merci.

Posted: 2195 days ago in Parenting



What a difference a year makes! 12 months ago I was doing a back handspring as we approached 3,000 Facebook likes. Can you imagine how excited I was when we hit 10,000 fans recently? I might just have peed my pants a little.

I am humbled. I am excited. But most of all, I am so incredibly grateful for all of you.

Whether you just occasionally read a post or come back day after day after day to support me, you are the reason I have a love affair with my laptop. When something funny or profound happens to me I can’t wait to share it with you. When I stumble upon a great recipe or piece of advice I immediately start working on a way to get it to you, ASAP.

boardYou are my people. And I am so, so grateful we found each other.

I wanted to share a little art project my hubs and I put together last year for Thanksgiving. We love it so much that we left it up all year, and our friends and family continue to add to it. Check it out:

We nailed a few pieces of barn siding together, added tacks and twine, and voila: art with a (grateful) attitude! I find myself going back time and again to feel the love. The love of: pumpkin pie, hot yoga on a cold day, dark chocolate, holding hands with my husband, being fortunate enough to help others, happiness, love.

There’s aren’t guidelines for this sort of thing because what you’re grateful for is unique to YOU. I wish you and yours a day filled with full tummies, close friends and family, and a whole boatload of things to be grateful for.

Hugs and kisses,

Are You a Sucker or an A$$hole?

Posted: 2197 days ago in Parenting


Hopefully, most of the time, you are neither of these.

But in times of conflict or confrontation, I find that most people tend to be consistently one, or the other.

Me? I’ve been a sucker for most of my life, but I gotta tell ya, I think it’s time to start being an a$$hole.

“One of my main regrets in life is giving considerable thought to inconsiderate people” – Jarod Kintz

divider2Some minor examples?

  • Letting the gal with a full grocery cart unapologetically cut you off in the express lane with nary a word or a dirty look.
  • Or, saying “yes” for the hundredth time to picking up the slack for a co-worker when a firm “no” is in order.
  • How about it being someone’s turn to buy snacks for your kid’s team and they conveniently miss that day every. single. time.

Maybe I should have exercised being a little less of a sucker over the years, because right now I’ve got one foot on a banana peel and one on the land of being a permanent a$$hole.banana-peel

I have just plain had it with being a sucker.

So if you are the unfortunate recipient of my a$$hole-ness, I apologize in advance, especially if it’s your first attempt at being one yourself.

My rant is over, but I welcome yours if you have a story or two to share!

Mediocrity Works for Me

Posted: 2205 days ago in Parenting


Some days, our girls think I’m a nut-job. Let me explain why.

Our back-to-school conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: Don’t push yourselves too hard. Take a breather from homework. Skip a practice. Sleep in tomorrow.

Kid: What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging me, not discouraging me???!

Am I really the anti-parent? I don’t think so.

When I was growing up (and yes, we did have color TV and cars then!), my school day was from 9-3 with an hour lunch and at least one recess. I went to Girl Scouts once a week, and I think there may have been a few months when I took gymnastic lessons. That did not end well.

So yes, my mom pushed me to excel in school, seek out service opportunities and “go outside and play, dammit!”.

My kid’s day? It starts at zero-dark-thirty. Out the door at 6:45 and not back in until 8:00 most nights. Oh, but they get to have a whopping 20 minute lunch break! They play volleyball pretty much every day, all year long. They rush from the recycling club or National Honor Society meeting so they won’t be late for practice, throwing a protein bar in their mouths so they don’t collapse. Then it’s zooming home for dinner and 3-4 hours of homework. On a good day, they get to bed by midnight.

And guess what? My kids are slackers compared to most. I mean it.   Many kids juggle two sports year round, hold offices in student government and are active in their churches and other organizations.

I’m exhausted, and I’m just the taxi driver.

So yes, I am fine with mediocrity. In fact, I encourage it.

I would much rather my kids have some downtime for ‘Cultivating Boredom‘, let some creative juices flow, or just plain rest.

It’s all about balance. I wish that for your kids, and for you.

Nursing 102: “Chest to Breast”

Posted: 2215 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy