This sweet little boy graced our newborn studio with his presence and all his smiles.
Sweet baby Saige turned one and we helped capture this BIG milestone. We offer milestone mini sessions which are great for 6-month-old portraits, first-year portraits and every milestone to follow.
What’s in a name? If you believe the experts, the answer is everything from behavior, to success in the job market and more!
Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg says choosing your newborn baby’s name is so important because of what people really hear when they hear someone’s name. “We all read a lot of information into a name. You hear a name, it’s not just the sound. It’s age, religion, ethnicity and gender and a whole world of culture packed into those few letters.”
Wattenberg wrote the book “The Baby Name Wizard” which is now in its fourth edition. She also started the website Namerology.com which is all about the art and science of baby naming.
Wattenberg says when couples argue over their newborn’s name, there’s usually a bigger issue lurking. “Big name conflicts usually are deep down relationship conflicts. If you find yourself in a big conflict over baby naming, it’s worth thinking about what’s really going on because it’s one of the first of a million decisions you’re going to have to make together as parents.”
Katy Queen is the mother of five children, so she’s been through the process five times. Some choices were easy, others not so much. “We disagreed a lot with some of the kids,” said Queen. “Our first we didn’t know the sex. We easily came up with a boy’s name. Girls were harder, we actually never agreed, so it was good he was a boy. Our second we went until 32 weeks, not agreeing or liking anything then one night we were joking around and the name came to us. Our third was very similar. Our fourth, pretty early on my husband came home with the perfect name. I don’t love his name but it was the right name. Our most recent baby is named after a very important person in my family. When my husband learned about her and how much she meant to my dad, he said we had to use it! We had her name picked out for 3 years!”
Sometimes couples settle on a name that’s not either partner’s favorite, just to have peace and be done with the task. “My husband and I have totally different tastes in names,” said Ashley Taylor. “I like more unique names like Oakley, Arlo, and Sebastian. He likes traditional, like Tom or Thomas for example. So imagine our surprise when the same name made it on BOTH of our lists of baby boy names: Harrison. It wasn’t my number one favorite and it wasn’t his either but it was within the top five on both lists, so we now have a newborn baby Harrison!”
Sometimes disagreements over baby’s name selection can linger. “It’s been two years and my husband is still upset we didn’t name our youngest son Archer,” says Haley Helms.
To add to the pressure of picking a name, researchers now say the right – or wrong – name can affect how well your child does in school, what subjects she’ll be interested in studying, and how successful he or she will be in the job market.
Consider the results of multiple studies on the impact of names:
What trends are coming up in names for 2020? Wattenberg sees a couple of patterns developing.
“Today’s name sound is very smooth and liquid. Lots of vowels, lots of smooth sounds. No hard edges to anything. We are pushing that style to its limit. We have drummed the hard sounds out of our names to an extent,” says Wattenberg.
And what about the trendiness of unisex names? Wattenberg says that’s a bit of an illusion. “What’s happening is there is such a movement towards creativity, parents want names that sound fresh and interesting, so they’re creating new names, inventing something new or turning a word or surname into a first name. Those new names don’t have any traditional gender association. What’s really happening is that we’re no longer naming kids John and Mary so inevitably a lot of names are used for both boys and girls. I don’t see evidence that parents are more eager for unisex names than they were in the past.”
What were the top names of 2019? For the girls, here are the names that topped BabyCenter.com’s baby name report.
Is Using a Doula the Right Choice for You and Your Baby?
We all need somebody to lean on — especially when giving birth. It may not be enough for some mothers to rely on doctors, nurses or partners to get through the painful labor process. Sometimes, a different kind of helping hand is needed.
That’s where the doula comes in. Not to be confused with the midwife, the doula is a trained professional who provides physical and emotional support to women during pregnancy, labor and early postpartum.
What Does a Birth Doula Do?
Where midwives tend to assist more physically with the actual process of labor, doulas provide emotional and educational support throughout the whole processes of pregnancy, labor and after. They are there to offer information and education to mothers and their partners and offer guidance.
“We help Mom and her partner to be as prepared as possible for their baby’s birthday throughout pregnancy,” said Cara Mehlon, a doula from Carmel, Indiana. “During labor we help her feel as comfortable as possible using relaxation techniques, comfort measures and position changes to help labor progress comfortably and safely. Once baby is born we are able to help with breastfeeding as soon as baby is ready to nurse. During the postpartum period a doula comes to the home to check in on the family, discuss how the birth went and support the family with newborn care information including local resources.”
Are Doulas Licensed?
There is no required license to become a doula, but many, like Mehlon, are trained through the Doulas of North America (DONA). With this training, doulas use massage therapy, homeopathic remedies and other tools to keep mothers calm and reassured during the birth process.
Why Hire a Doula?
There are many reasons women choose to use doulas and many things to look for when considering bringing one into your life for your birthing experience.
“Some women may need someone who is more nurturing and others may need someone who will be more straight and to the point during labor,” Mehlon said. “Both are fabulous choices. As a massage therapist, I find many women love receiving massage during labor and then others don’t want to be touched at all. Having a doula that meets with you prior to your birth to get to know your needs and desires for birth is very helpful for everyone involved on your special day.”
For Caitlin Balgeman, the potential for “the unexpected” is what made her want to hire a doula.
“I wanted to have support through my labor, with the goal of having an unmedicated labor but understanding that things don’t always go according to our plans,” Balgeman said. “If the unexpected happened, I wanted someone who knew my wishes and could help advocate for me, as well as helping my husband and I navigate any decisions we might have to make.”
Balgeman also recalled feeling comforted by the presence of Mehlon throughout the span of pregnancy and labor — a presence that most new mothers come to realize is needed if it is their first baby, or if their partner is “squeamish.”
“I think the first word that comes to mind when I think of having a doula is ‘presence,’” Balgeman said. “Cara was such a calming and constant presence throughout my hospital labor, even though I wasn’t always consciously aware of all the work she was doing in the moment! I liked being able to talk through labor and different possibilities with her beforehand, and practice different labor positions with my husband and her. I was able to text her when I had questions, and I was able to call her while I was laboring at home so she could help me gauge how I was progressing and when it was time for us to head to the hospital. It was great to have multiple support people so that I didn’t have to rely on only one person the whole time — it allowed my incredibly loving and also somewhat squeamish husband the chance to have a break, and to have someone he could rely on to know what was happening.”
Though research shows a very small percentage of mothers use doulas to help with their pregnancy — less than 10%, in fact — it also shows that those who do choose to hire a doula are less likely to have pre-term births. A study also found that hiring a doula can lower a woman’s chance of having a cesarean by up to 28%.
The cost of hiring a doula can vary. Only two states currently allow mothers access to hiring doulas through Medicaid — Minnesota, and Oregon. The cost of hiring a doula ranges from $800 to $2,000.
Knowing if a doula is right for you and your baby can be tough. Balgeman claimed that she could think of nothing she didn’t like about Mehlon’s guidance in bringing her newborn into the world.
“Every labor is different and ultimately unpredictable,” Balgeman said, “but doulas are there to help you navigate whatever comes your way. Go ahead and ask any potential doula of yours lots of questions — they can handle it! They want you to feel totally comfortable and safe with them, and communicating any questions, worries, and thoughts is all part of that process.”
Learn More about Doulas
To find out more information or to find a doula in your area, visit dona.org.
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New moms know that breastfeeding has many benefits for both mothers and their babies. There are physical benefits for baby’s health — lower risks of asthma, diabetes and gastrointestinal issues — but also emotional benefits as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s women’s health site, being physically close with mom is important for newborns; it gives them comfort, warmth, and security. It can help strengthen the connection between mother and baby.
But can that connection be disrupted when a breastfeeding mother is scrolling on her smartphone?
According to experts, that is a possibility. This concept, which has been called “brexting” is a trending hashtag on Twitter. And it has become a popular topic of conversation with new moms offline too.
Health officials believe that being distracted while breastfeeding compromises a developmental process that happens when a baby sees and responds to their mother’s face.
A study performed in 1975 concluded that when mothers approached their babies without smiling or talking, the babies would become distressed and turn away, whereas, if the mother cooed and smiled at the baby, he would smile and move his arms and legs.
Another study from Harvard found that if a mother breastfed with a blank expression, their baby would react anxiously. Experts believe a newborn will likely have a similar reaction if her mother is distracted by a device such as a smartphone.
For new mother Ellie Brackman, whose newborn came into the world in January, deciding to breastfeed was an easy choice.
“With everything in pregnancy and birth I wanted to be as natural as possible,” she said. “I had this mentality of ‘My body is designed to do this on its own, so I should let it.’ So I gave birth without any medication and wanted to breastfeed. I also think it is super cool that with breastfeeding my body can recognize when or if my baby needs certain nutrients. If she’s starting to get sick, my body will pick up on that and send more antibodies through my breast milk to her. Also, it’s a more economical choice for my husband and me. Babies are expensive and not having to pay for formula definitely helps. For me as a new mom, it feels really special that I’m the only one who can give her exactly what she needs. I’m her whole world right now, and I love that.”
Brackman is not familiar with the concept of brexting. She said that while she believes paying attention and being present while breastfeeding her newborn is important, she’s not sure that being productive during that time is necessarily a bad thing.
“I think it’s just like anything else with technology — you have to stay in control of it and be aware of your time spent with it. I spend a minimum of four hours a day breastfeeding my baby. That time adds up, and breastfeeding is not an easy thing to do. I’m the type of person who can’t just sit all day; I have to get things done or be busy or I go crazy. Even though breastfeeding is hard work and a far cry from just sitting on the couch all day, I still need to do something with my mind during that time.”
She explained that while she breastfeeds her newborn, it’s not uncommon for her to Facetime with family members who live far away or read articles about childcare or shop online for things her baby needs.
“However, even though I use my phone while nursing, I never spend the entire time scrolling,” Brackman said. “I have to pay pretty close attention to my baby while she nurses because I actually overproduce milk and she tends to chug really fast. I also have to keep her awake during feedings or she will just fall asleep and not fill her belly. I can see how there might be a possibility for some women to scroll the whole time they nurse and that could lead to some disconnect between mother and baby, but I think overall brexting isn’t a major issue. I think being a new mom is pretty tough both mentally and physically. If checking your Instagram while you nurse gives you the mental break you need then take it. You can’t care for your baby very well if you’re frazzled.”
Though some think brexting could potentially lead to over-feeding, which could subsequently lead to other issues like obesity, there is not enough evidence yet to conclude this.
More studies are being conducted now to find how brexting affects a child. So far they have not found anything conclusive to confirm that the specific distraction of smartphone use while breastfeeding is technically harmful. And the reality is that even before smartphones were in the picture, many mothers did other activities during breastfeeding, like reading or watching TV, that would be considered distracting. Smartphone use has become prevalent for everyone; no one is immune to its potential for distraction. But mothers are often shamed for a variety of choices they make when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childcare, so it is not necessarily surprising that the concept of brexting is so heavily debated online.