Articles for new parents by Cheryl Murfin, CD

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Rock, Roll, Rinse, Lift

Supporting a woman in labor is not rocket science. In fact, at least while you are laboring at home, and even in a hospital setting, it often isn’t science at all.  I’ve been serving as a birth doula for 15 years, and in that time I’ve tried every new massage…Read More. . .

Top 10 Reads for New Parents

Sidle up to the “Parenting” section in your local bookstore, and it’s easy to feel a little intimidated, especially if you are brand-spanking-new to this parenting business. That’s why we turned to the experts – 50 Seattle moms and dads who have become first time parents within the past two years – and asked them to share their favorite books on parenting through the first year. Here are their picks. Read More . . .

Lying In: The Best Way to Spend 40 Days to Postpartum Recovery

The age-old idea of a new mother “lying in” bed (figuratively, if not literally) for several days or weeks with her newborn baby has its merits. According to Dr. Jane Dimer, an obstetrician at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, multiple studies show that maternal-infant bonding, milk production and the fragile physiology of the early postpartum period all benefit from a period of quiet... Read More . . .

FDA Warns Against Terbutaline, Popular Drug for Stopping Early Labor

After years of promoting the drug for use in maternity care, he U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is released a warning this week terbutaline injections should not be used to stop pre-term labor in pregnant women because the drug may "serious maternal heart problems and death." 

Tug-o-War: My Personal Account of Raising an Autistic Son

When my son Aidan was a toddler, we played a different game than the one he plays now. Now every night he comes home and asks "What's for dinner?" My part of the game is to answer -- even though it's always the same answer: "What would you like Aidan?" Back then, when he was a toddler he would stand up on his two skinny legs and scream. And I would race around the house, lifting toys, pictures, the cat, the garbage can, anything I could think of that he might be telling me – in his piercing way – that he wanted or was bothering him. The further I got from the object of his desire or ire, the higher-pitched the scream. I had heard such a sound only once before Aidan was born. The same blood-curdling, hair-raising, glass-breaking sound that caused one to stop dead in one's tracks, or want to crawl into a hole and bury oneself. Read More . . .

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IRS Gives Tax Break for Breast Pumps

Lots of Washington families will be able to take a tax deduction that was not allowed until this week – they can now claim rental or purchase of a breast pump as a tax deductible medical device. According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Washington State has…

Nursing After Breast Cancer

Like many breast cancer survivors who become mothers, Hope Hundley dreamed of nursing her baby after birth. Unfortunately, surgery and treatment for her disease meant that Hundley was unable to produce enough breast milk to feed her daughter. If you are a breast cancer survivor expecting a baby, you may be able to nurse. Here are wats to ncrease your chances of success. Read More.  . . 

Tips for Soon-to-Be Siblings

Welcoming a new baby into the world is a joyful thing. But it can be confusing to children who are all of a sudden thrust into the role of big brother or big sister. Once every month, longtime childbirth educator Penny Simkin teaches a class,...Read More . . .

The Great Ganja Debate: Marijuana in Pregnancy

Now that marijuana use is legal in Washington, some moms and childbirth professionals are hoping there can be an open discussion about its use to treat common pregnancy issues, including chronic vomiting, sleeplessness, anxiety, labor pain and postpartum stress. Currently, most health care providers recommend that pregnant and nursing women abstain from marijuana use. However, scientific research on the drug's long-term effects on children is incomplete and sometimes conflicting. Read More . . .

Reality Check (When Labor & Postpartum Don't Go as Planned)

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The dreaming starts the moment your pregnancy is confirmed: you’ll enjoy nine months of carefree eating and your libido will go into overdrive; your birth will come off exactly as you outlined in your birth plan, right down to your partner in tears as he cuts the cord; you will…Read More . . .

Think Breastfeeding Will Come Naturally? Maybe Not.

Jennifer, a new mom who delivered this spring in Seattle, didn’t expect breastfeeding her daughter Elena to go off without a hitch. “I'd heard that it wasn't always a breeze, but I was committed to breastfeeding 100 percent. I thought we'd figure out any bumps along the way,” Jennifer says.…Read More . . .

Is Your Newborn’s Yellowish Skin a Sign of Serious Illness?

Is it a medical crisis if your newborn baby suddenly turns as yellowish or orangey? The answer is probably not. About 70 percent of newborns get a mild case of neonatal jaundice within the first few days of life as their systems work to remove toxins built up in the…Read More . . .

This Tool Get's a TEN! (Using a TENS Unit)

Mind-altering narcotics or leg-numbing epidurals are not the only means of true pain relief in labor. There are alternatives, and one that is rapidly growing in popularity is the nonpharmaceutical TENS unit. . . .Read More . . .

What to Do if You Have Postpartum Mood Disorder

“I think I have postpartum.” These are words I hear repeatedly as women seek help with their difficult transitions to motherhood. Three to five years ago I rarely heard anything so clearly defined. Thanks to growing awareness, many women (or their family and friends) are able to recognize the signs…Read More . . .

Penny Simkin Looks Back on 50 Years Serving Birthing Families

Over the years, I’ve seen many fluctuations in maternity care, women’s lives, family structure, medical economics and the impact of risk managers and litigation lawyers in defining safety in obstetrics. It seems almost as if the well-being of mother and baby is only one of many dominant controlling influences. I…Read More . . .

Who's Best for You: A Midwife, Family Doctor or OB/GYN?

Youve gotten the clear POSITIVE on the pregnancy test, but the next big query on the path to parenthood can seem far less pink and white to expectant moms. Midwife, doctor, obstetrical specialist who should care for my baby and me? There are a...Read More . . .

Bringing Baby Home

Looking back on their pre-parenthood days, Dan and Deborah Baumfeld describe their marriage as very solid. When they were expecting their son Olen, now nearing in on 2, they made it a rule to carve out time for each other, looked forward to growing...Read More . . .

Meditation: The best Rx for New Parents

Clinical psychologist and best-selling author Laura Kastner is passionate when it comes to connecting parents with the age-old practice of meditation."Every parent should meditate – every parent," stresses Kastner. . .Read More . . .

Born to be Good: The Science Behind a Meaningful Life (Book)

Everything about Dacher Keltner's new book is about parenting. Not only does the science of emotion outlined in Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life provide ample clues toward raising happy, compassionate, emotionally secure... Read More . . .

 The Business of Being Born (Review)

After giving birth to her second child in her home with a midwife, television talk-show host Ricki Lake is on a mission: Birth is big business in this country, a billion dollar business, Lake recently told a Seattle audience. I think people...Read More . . .

Raising Financially Responsible Kids

Admission No. 1: A couple of years ago, I chose not to give my kids allowance. My philosophy was simple. I didn't want them to obsess about money. If they needed something, my thinking went, their father and I would get it for them. Clothes, shoes, supplies, fees, a little pocket cash, whatever they needed, we'd provide – within reason, of course. The choice not to give an allowance was directed at preserving childhood, at keeping the dark specter of materialism at bay, for as long as possible. Admission No. 2: I was so wrong. Read more. . .

Looking Back on the Last 30 Years of Parenting

Thirty years ago this month, Seattle's Child was born, becoming the first local parenting publication in the country and spawning a veritable publishing industry. Since then, the magazine has given parents a world of information. To commemorate our 30th anniversary, longtime Seattle's Child contributor Cheryl Murfin reached out to several of our region's leading experts, people who have become renowned the world over for their vast knowledge about kids and families. . Read more. . .

A Heart for Brooke

Mukilteo dad John Naab got the best gift he could imagine on his 50th birthday: his daughter Brooke turned 1. "She's worked hard to get here," said Naab, just a few days shy of Feb. 11, their shared birthday. "I can't think of anything I could want more than to share this day with her."There was a time when Naab and his wife, Rebekah, weren't sure that Brooke-ee, as they call their smiling cherub of a girl, would blow out her first candle. Or, if she did, whether she would be celebrating from a bed in the intensive care unit at Seattle Children's Hospital.. . Read more. . .

Nutureshock: New Thinking About Children

My 10-year-old son told me a little fib the other day. It was innocent enough. He told me that he hadn't been on the computer that evening. The browser history window disagreed. I know I didn't go to the Volkswagen Web site. Aidan is obsessed with all things VW right now. As he is a kid on the autism spectrum, I was operating under the myth — not sure where I heard it, but it made sense at the time — that kids with this issue are unable to lie. Boy, have I been taken for a ride! Turns out no child is immune from lying – no matter how obsessively fact-based their way of thinking... . Read more. . .

Baby Talk Leads to Better Development, So Goo Goo All You Want!

It turns out that the funny high-pitched voice so many parents use when oogling their babies is a developmental benefit to the wee ones. Research now shows using baby talk builds your baby's brain power and leads to better language development. Read More...

To Pump or Not to Pump

A breastfeeding mother should consider a pump “only if she anticipates regular separations from her baby, separations of more than three to four hours,” says Ginna Wall, RN, MN, IBCLC, head of the UW Medical Center’s lactation services. Wall is a widely known and highly respected instructor in the art and science of nursing. Read More . . .

The Diapering Decision

So many choices, so many considerations! Who would have thought that deciding how to catch your kid's pee and pood would be such a difficult and complicated decision? Learn about the politics of diapering. . .Read More...

Advice From Parents Who Have Been There, Done That

In the introduction to their book, How to Have Your Second Child First, Seattle authors and parenting partners Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen give a good reason for brand new parents to pick up this tome out of the hundreds of parenting books on bookstore shelves: "Second time parents – as savvy and unflappable as they seem when you see them in the park or the grocery store – have all been sitting exactly where you are," the authors write. "They were hovering over their babies, sweating about everything and they clearly remember what it was like the (nerve-wracking) first time around." Who better to know what works and what doesn't in the tough job of first-time parenting than those who have recently been through it and gained great perspective? Colburn and Sorensen's simple, 175-page book (published by Chronicle Books) offers 100 tips culled from second-time parents, including the authors themselves, rang- ing from philosophical jewels to practical advice. We asked co-author Kerry Colburn to discuss the book – what they learned and why they wrote it. Read More...

Tips From the Foster Care Front

Veteran parenting coach, child advocate and foster mom Ann Lokey and her family began welcoming foster children into their home six years ago. "Mark and I enjoy parenting, and we knew the schools were great and the community support was significant, so we thought it would be a good fit for us all," says Lokey, whose own sons were ages 12 and 10 at the time. "We decided as a family to foster – if you have a family and you are considering it, it is important to have everyone's buy-in before you start." Read more....

Bring mealtime rituals to the family dinner table

Great food is a good lure, but it's far from the only reason Seattle mom Leika Suzumura and her husband Silvio Dos Reis gather their family around the table. Mealtime for this family (which includes Saiyana and Oxani) is designed for connection. It's a time for sharing food, eating and life values, passing on traditions from past generations, and exploring the family's Japanese and Brazilian heritages. Suzumura, manager of Seattle Tilth's Community Kitchens Northwest program, says that program strives to achieve the same. Read more....

The Essential Guide to Homebirth

When it comes to books on birth, Seattle has a best-selling reputation to uphold.After all, this is where renowned doula, childbirth educator and author Penny Simkin has penned several revered books on the topic, including Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (now in its fourth edition) and The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (now in its third edition). This winter, the city became the birth place of one more essential tome –The Essential Homebirth Guide for Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home, written by local certified professional midwives Jane E. Drichta and Jodilyn Owen. Read More...

Keeping Up Home: A Breast Cancer Survivor's Story from Treatment to Birth

If little Rysing Trupin hears anything growing up, she'll hear this: She was a very wanted baby. So wanted, in fact, that her mother, Seattle resident Hope Hundley, said no to undergoing four months of chemotherapy when it was recommended to treat aggressive breast cancer in 2010. Determined to preserve her fertility from the ravages of chemotherapy, which often leaves women unable to conceive or carry a baby to term, Hundley opted instead for a mix of Eastern and Western medicine to treat her disease. Read More....

What she said: Local moms offer up the best and worst new parent advice they've received

We can’t help ourselves, we seasoned parents, childbirth professionals and child development experts. We see a pregnant belly or a couple in the throes of new parenthood and out it flies: Advice. Thankfully, a lot of it is helpful — if it worked for us, it may just work for another parent. But for all the great bits of wisdom we pass along about how to get through labor, feed a baby, get sleep or get a newborn to sleep, or otherwise deal with the challenges of bringing baby home, there’s just as much hooey. Read More....

The Taming of a Picky Eater

My son is proof positive that a young child can in fact survive on macaroni and cheese alone. Because that's what he did from age 2 to age 7, when, after my husband forgot to feed the little fellow dinner before trick-or-treating, he discovered chocolate. But from 2 to 7, he downed bowl after bowl of mac ‘n cheese, snubbing his nose at anything not made of semolina flour and bright orange powder. All the while, the parent judge that lives inside me dropped her gavel on a daily basis: "Guilty!" she'd boom. "I sentence you to self-loathing for the remainder of your picky eater's childhoodAt the time, Aidan's pediatrician assured us he was growing just fine. But watching his face turn an unnatural shade of orange each night, I worried we were starving his brain cells of smart juice in our inability to get any other food into his mouth other than the stray apple here and there. We resorted to guerilla tactics, for example: crushing up supplements and mashing carrots (they were orange too we reasoned) in the cheese sauce, offering chocolate just for trying something new, refusing to make the mac ‘n cheese ever again. All to no avail. When he was four we made the mistake of trying to substitute rice noodles for the semolina. Aidan, with a sour, hateful look on this face, stuck his lip out and wailed "That's POOP!" We were on retreat and sitting in the dining room of a large facility with about 70 other families at the time. The entire room fell silent. Ah, the picky eater. God love 'em. Read More...