WBEZ | babies http://www.wbez.org/tags/babies-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en List: Three completely unrelated observations http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/list-three-completely-unrelated-observations-105899 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2302665329_ba2f179a90.jpg" style="height: 186px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Flickr/Brian Auer" />1. Around the age of 33 is when an adult woman apparently finds the need to start referring to female friends as &quot;girlfriends&quot; as opposed to just &quot;friends.&quot;</div><p>2. Everybody uses a different voice when addressing a baby. Everybody. If you think you don&#39;t, you just haven&#39;t spoken to a baby lately.</p><p>3. I probably don&#39;t need to remove the stickers from my avocado before slicing it.</p><p><em>Discover other profound thoughts at <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 09:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/list-three-completely-unrelated-observations-105899 Join the grand tradition of looking kind of bad at your baby's baptism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8107081210_f8f5f11ea4.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><span id="internal-source-marker_0.5039652526344417">A friend of mine is having her baby baptized soon, which is very lovely, except for the fact that the baby is five months old already.</span></div><p>No, it&rsquo;s not a problem because the parents let the baby risk being alive all these five months before getting some nice-smelling oil rubbed on his little baby head. If it weren&rsquo;t for the cute frilly white dresses and the way everyone holds their breath when the baby gets the water splashed on the baby head, I&rsquo;d say no one should be baptized until they&rsquo;re 18 and have picked his or her religion.<br /><br />The problem is that this mother unfairly skirted the tradition (in the christening set) of Looking Kind Of Bad At Your Baby&rsquo;s Baptism.<br /><br />Looking Kind Of Bad is not at all the same as looking actually bad. You wouldn&rsquo;t find a picture of yourself in Glamour with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-19/cautionary-tale-anthropologie-sweater-sale-95008">a bar across your eyes</a> for Looking Kind Of Bad. It&rsquo;s just the sartorial result of being presented by the challenge of being required to look nice on a photo-op day that is a significant occasion shortly after you just had a baby. It&rsquo;s been difficult enough simply taking care of the child, taking care of the house not to mention keeping yourself together in the face of basic biology (wherein, post-birth, your boobs explode and your uterus falls out.) Then you have to find a dress that covers up your postpartum belly but is slightly hipper than a muumuu. And you need to find shoes and jewelry to go with that nonexistent dress and don&rsquo;t forget to do your hair and makeup. You could put your clothes on before you feed the baby but then the baby might spit up on you so hurry, hurry! Get dressed before you get to the church. Don&rsquo;t forget the undereye concealer, you waking zombie. So it&rsquo;s no wonder that mothers in their kids&rsquo; baptism photos look a tiny bit uneasy in addition to tired and happy. I myself purchased a Gap dress that was simultaneously gigantic yet also too short, but what really mattered was that it was a fun day, the baby behaved and we ate some delicious honeybaked ham.<br /><br />Looks aren&rsquo;t everything, especially when it comes to recording your kid&rsquo;s life. (This essay by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html">Allison Tate</a> &nbsp;encapsulates that beautifully.) We can&rsquo;t all look like <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/01/claire-danes-flaunts-post-baby-body-on-golden-globes-red-carpet/">Claire Danes</a> who looks like she must have given birth to a pea-baby. What&rsquo;s important on a christening day is health and happiness and family and whatever spiritual element one finds in the day (and of course whether the baby cries once its baby head gets wet.)<br /><br />But once I realized that feeling awkward in your clothes on a baptism day is a funny sort of tradition and not a curse, it seems like some sort of cheat, like managing to skip over puberty and going straight from adorable childhood to confident adulthood. So whether you&rsquo;re doing the christening late or you used a surrogate or adopted, just do the decent thing and at the very least, eat a big meal right before the christening, and join the club.</p></p> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 Zulkey bits and pieces http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/zulkey-bits-and-pieces-105082 <p><p>There are some little bits and pieces I would like to share with the Internet but none of them can really be turned into a whole post, so here you go: it&rsquo;s potpourri day.</p><p>1.) <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/funnyhaha.php" target="_blank">Funny Ha-Ha</a> is returning next month with a fabulous lineup! Check it all out in our gorgeous poster right here. <img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FunnyHaHaTriumphant-Large.jpg" style="float: right; height: 386px; width: 250px;" title="" /></p><p>2.) My husband Steve Delahoyde made a very nice short (as in three minutes long) piece about the origins of the poetry slam right here in Chicago (see below). You&rsquo;ll probably like it.</p><p>3.) I wrote this piece for the Hairpin called &ldquo;<a href="http://thehairpin.com/2013/01/that-baby-wants-to-break-you-up" target="_blank">That Baby Wants to Break You Up.</a>&rdquo; It should be noted that a.) Coincidentally, life seemed to get a lot easier right after I wrote it and b.) It&rsquo;s not meant as a cautionary tale against having children. I&rsquo;m just not likely to write a piece called &ldquo;Here Are All The Ways I Love My Adorable Baby.&rdquo;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s just meant as catharsis first, and maybe commiseration, second.</p><p>4.) Finally, Michelle Obama&rsquo;s bangs! I don&rsquo;t have much to say about them (they&rsquo;re fine? But she was also fine without them.) But my mother wanted me to mention that Mamie Eisenhower was also famous for her bangs. Duly noted. Eek!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mamie.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/57704802" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 08:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/zulkey-bits-and-pieces-105082 Maternity leave: Finding your new reality http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/maternity-leave-finding-your-new-reality-103688 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8107076002_69951db0aa.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: left; " title="Soaking it up (Claire Zulkey)" /></div><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.36721461067155736">First, let&#39;s get something out of the way: the phrase &ldquo;having it all&rdquo; needs to be terminated, wiped off the planet or made illegal. It&rsquo;s pure gobbledeygook nonsense, like &ldquo;losing weight and eating everything you want.&rdquo; Unless you actively dislike your child or you absolutely have no professional or creative ambitions beyond raising a child, it&rsquo;s simply impossible for a woman (or man) to &quot;have it all.&quot; Taking care of a kid means time away from other things and vice versa.</span><br /><br />Right after I had the baby I congratulated my husband and myself on our equal partnership. He was right there alongside me feeding the baby, changing him, going to the doctor&rsquo;s, everything. None of this too-good-for-a-poopy-diaper, you-get-up-instead-of-me stuff. It was great. I felt bad for women who had caveman partners.<br /><br />But then he went back to work and I stayed on maternity leave.<br /><br />There are a lot of great parts about maternity leave: Being able to wear sweatpants all day and catch up on TV; time to do the dishes and the laundry; being there for the baby.<br /><br />But those can also be the bad parts about maternity leave. I missed talking to adults and I missed having a place to go. I didn&rsquo;t think I resented spending time with the baby, except sometimes, like when Steve came home from work and would express frustration when the baby didn&#39;t cooperate. Then I thought, &quot;But I get this all day long and I put up with it.&quot; I knew the baby a little better than he did; I folded his little socks, ordered the diapers and massaged his blocked tearduct. But I realized that it wasn&#39;t awesome, all this incidental knowledge. Our equal partnership wasn&#39;t quite so equal anymore.<br /><br />We had a good &ldquo;come to Jesus&rdquo; talk last weekend, where I said, &ldquo;I need to vent to you but you can&rsquo;t take it personally.&rdquo; I told Steve that I felt very reduced, in a lot of ways, to this feeding, cleaning, providing automaton whose work was necessary but not exactly fulfilling in a way I was used to (finishing a load of laundry, for instance, feels a lot less satisfying once you already have half a new pile of dirty laundry built up from the time you started doing the laundry).<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sorry,&rdquo; Steve started to say. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just that&mdash;&rdquo; and I said, &ldquo;No, I need you to listen as my friend, not as my husband. Because I&rsquo;m not mad at you. I know you&rsquo;re not out there drinking beer and sitting around letting me do all this work that you have all the time in the world to pitch in on.&rdquo; Because he didn&rsquo;t. What was I going to do? Let all the housework pile up just to make a point? Force him to do things I had the time to do?<br /><br />Then Steve confessed that he, too, sometimes resented my role. He&#39;d be out working and getting tired, then he&rsquo;d come home and I&rsquo;d be in a bad mood when all it seemed that I had done that day was spend time with the baby and maybe have lunch with a friend. Even if I had gotten more bad time with the baby, I had gotten more good time with him, too, and he had missed that.<br /><br />It will all be fine. We&rsquo;re still luckier than most and are blessed to have support and health on our side. But the truth of the matter is that no matter how smart, ambitious or sophisticated you are, or how enlightened and helpful your husband is, at some point after you have a baby you are going to be The Mommy, doing Mommy Things. These are things that need to get done, but it&rsquo;s not the same as completing a good work project or finishing a race or something like that.<br /><br />I go back to work today. I am melancholy about this (sometimes heartbroken) and yet I know it&rsquo;s what I need. It will probably help me continue to find the new me and to be happy, and it&rsquo;ll be better for the baby as well.</p><p>Things don&rsquo;t go back to normal after you have a kid &mdash;&nbsp;you have to find a new normal instead.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/maternity-leave-finding-your-new-reality-103688 Another baby film by Steve Delahoyde http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/another-baby-film-steve-delahoyde-103587 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/baby mountain.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In case you enjoyed &quot;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-08/cone-sleeping-child-rearing-sensation-thats-sweeping-nation-101964">Cone Sleeping</a>,&quot; here is another video by my husband Steve Delahoyde starring our son Paul. Poor Paul.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/J6MI0RACstI" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/another-baby-film-steve-delahoyde-103587 Ugly pictures of cute babies, Part II http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/ugly-pictures-cute-babies-part-ii-103340 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8111137264_4110d0ff44_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="http://storify.com/WBEZ/a-multitude-of-unflattering-photos-of-otherwise-cu.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ/a-multitude-of-unflattering-photos-of-otherwise-cu" target="_blank">View the story "A multitude of unflattering photos of otherwise cute babies" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/ugly-pictures-cute-babies-part-ii-103340 Ugly pictures of cute babies (Part 1) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/ugly-pictures-cute-babies-part-1-103014 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/unflattering Paul pic Zulkey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.269534289025258">In the privacy of my own home, I find my baby quite adorable. However, I know this point of view doesn&rsquo;t lend itself to a lot of entertainment value or street cred on the Internet. </span><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/8056983264/in/set-72157631163664684">Of</a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/8010486384/in/set-72157631163664684">course</a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/8067488488/in/set-72157631163664684/">the</a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/8071180435/in/set-72157631163664684">baby</a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/8004728086/in/set-72157631163664684">is</a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/7964494558/in/set-72157631163664684">cute</a>. Every parent thinks his or her baby is cute. Big deal.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s why, when possible, I so enjoy sharing unflattering pictures of the baby. Ugly baby shots are amusing because, like unflattering dog pictures, you don&rsquo;t really think of babies or dogs having good angles, and it&rsquo;s strangely hilarious to see bad photos of a being that would seemingly have no ego, something whose innocence you&rsquo;d would think constantly would shine through.<br /><br />Plus, like a lot of new parents, I experience a struggle over my internal sarcastic childfree person versus my external vomit-covered parental self. So making fun (gently, in a non-emotionally-abusive way) seems to hit a nice balance. Yes I procreated and like taking pictures of my spawn but no, I don&rsquo;t take it incredibly seriously all the time.<br /><br />So in my (probably misguided) attempt prove to myself that I have a sense of humor about my kid (but also because, as already established, ugly pictures of cute babies are good), here are some of Paul&rsquo;s less-flattering pics.</p><p><strong>If you have your own bad photos of cute kids, share them and we&rsquo;ll round them all up in a post next week. You can do so by leaving a comment on this post&nbsp;</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;with a link to the photo as it appears on Facebook, Instagram or Flickr&nbsp;</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;or, tweet the link or photo to @zulkey with the hash tag #CuteBabyUglyPic.</strong></p><p>Enjoy!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><object height="338" width="601"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fzulkey%2Fsets%2F72157631733354430%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fzulkey%2Fsets%2F72157631733354430%2F&amp;set_id=72157631733354430&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=121572" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fzulkey%2Fsets%2F72157631733354430%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fzulkey%2Fsets%2F72157631733354430%2F&amp;set_id=72157631733354430&amp;jump_to=" height="338" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=121572" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="601"></embed></object></p></p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/ugly-pictures-cute-babies-part-1-103014 Turning that first corner http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/turning-first-corner-102861 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8962625502539779">A few weeks ago I wrote a thing about how </span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/screaming-baby-syndrome-highly-contagious-102518">my husband and I were yelling at our infant son</a> out of frustration and exhaustion. And wouldn&rsquo;t you know, after I published that piece calling him out for being a pain in the neck, he straightened up (somewhat). As much as I&rsquo;d like to think that we scared him into being a better baby, however, it may just be time.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/portillos.jpg" style="float: left; height: 532px; width: 300px; " title="Our trip to Portillo's was a momentous day for the baby. (WBEZ/Claire Zulkey)" />So if you&rsquo;re a person who is doing the yelling-at-the-baby-thing right now, all I can say is that it gets better. That doesn&rsquo;t make it any easier in the moment, because the moment can really suck, but it does happen. Once we hit that six week mark, the baby started sleeping a bit more predictably, opening his eyes more during daylight hours, at least doing a decent impression of a smile and just being a bit more like a human baby and not a screaming ol&rsquo; blob (<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,242537,00.html">describing a newborn baby as a &ldquo;blob&rdquo;</a> may be the best thing that Angelina Jolie ever did, in my opinion).<br /><br />Dealing with more of a proto-person and not a howling abyss of poo has helped me, anyway, enjoy maternity leave more. I was sure I must have been doing something wrong if maternity leave felt more simultaneously boring and overwhelming than enjoyable and special. How could I yearn to trade places with my working-like-a-dog husband if all I could say I did all day was take care of the baby, do laundry and dishes? With everything I had going for me &mdash; healthy baby, healthy self, nearby parents, bills paid (in Internet commentary speak this all adds up to &ldquo;privilege,&rdquo; I know) &mdash; how come I felt so exhausted and not at all like I was soaking up once-in-a-lifetime memories that I should cherish forever? Many of my friends with older children had told me that I should remember these moments because they missed them. So not only was I run-down, depressed and confused, I beat myself up for feeling that way.<br /><br />I think now those friends didn&rsquo;t actually miss the first month at all. I think they confused the later months of infancy (I hear that three months is the real sweet spot where babies are more interactive but not running around either breaking your stuff or getting broken by your stuff) with those first few weeks. Those first few weeks, it&rsquo;s true, you are just surviving. And if you&rsquo;re like me, you&rsquo;re right that a lot of other people have it worse than you do. However, that doesn&rsquo;t mean you&rsquo;re obligated to feel great. Even under the best of circumstances, between taking care of a being that doesn&rsquo;t know how to express what it needs and a body that requires some serious recovery (and a modern-gal mindset that can&rsquo;t really accept this), it will be rough. Less rough than some is still rough.<br /><br />There was a day a few weeks ago when I broke down because it all caught up with me: the exhaustion and boredom and guilt and doubt. &ldquo;You should go out and do something for yourself,&rdquo; a friend told me, and I panicked because I couldn&rsquo;t think of what possibly that would be that would be practical and cost-effective that wouldn&rsquo;t involve the baby. This seemed to encapsulate my problems (or lack thereof).<br /><br />Eventually my body was my guide: later that day I cried and took a nap and cried some more and washed my face and talked to my husband and cried and washed my face again. I canceled my plans for the next day (when in doubt, parents of a newborn: CANCEL YOUR PLANS). The next day we took a long walk in the forest preserve and brought the baby along to Portillo&rsquo;s for some Italian beef and I felt better.<br /><br />Everyone needs that moment, I think, with a new baby: the crying-&rsquo;til-you-get-a-sandwich moment. (Maybe for you it&rsquo;s not a sandwich, but here the sandwich is a metaphor. I like my metaphor dry, personally, because I like to enjoy the bread.) I think once you find that moment, things start to turn a corner and you realize that you maybe can kind of do this. And the best part is, I know that a few weeks from now there&rsquo;s another corner, maybe this time one that comes with a cookie or a soft cheese.</p></p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/turning-first-corner-102861 Screaming baby syndrome is highly contagious http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/screaming-baby-syndrome-highly-contagious-102518 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.4379162789753476">Today I confessed to my husband that I yelled at the baby. </span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5400775250_0441de33ca.jpg" style="height: 375px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Oh, shut up already. (Flickr/Chris. P)" /><span>I&rsquo;m sure the baby couldn&rsquo;t hear me, as he was much louder than I was, but what they say about the sound of a baby crying being calculated to a certain pitch that drives you insane is true. I don&rsquo;t typically yell as a way of expressing frustration but it had been a rough couple of days. Our kid&rsquo;s not even </span>that bad in terms of crying; most of the time we can figure out what it&rsquo;s about and, blessedly, most of that time can do something about it.</p><p>But our kid hasn&#39;t yet figured out how to modulate his requests. Everything is an emergency &mdash;&nbsp;dire and desperate &mdash; and everything merits a scream at full volume. Somehow this one-month-old doesn&rsquo;t understand when I tell him, &ldquo;I will feed you shortly! I just need to finish making your bottle!&rdquo; He goes from sweet and sleepy to full-blown tantrum, which is hard to handle all day and all night. You wouldn&rsquo;t go to a restaurant and scream &ldquo;I&rsquo;M HUNGRY I&rsquo;M HUNGRY I&rsquo;M HUNGRY I&rsquo;M HUNGRY NOW NOW NOW WAAAH!!!&rdquo; even as you saw your food approaching the table, now would you? Also, this kid hates being naked almost more than he hates sitting in his own filth. You wouldn&rsquo;t go &ldquo;I&rsquo;M COLD OW OW OW OW OW I HATE THIIIIIIS!!!!&rdquo; while you were using the restroom, would you? I sincerely hope not.<br /><br />Fortunately, my husband didn&rsquo;t judge me when I told him that I did not react maturely to the baby&rsquo;s fifth fit of the day. In fact, he told me that he was worried he had woken me up the other night as he gave our baby a piece of his mind as well.<br /><br />I know how I sound as I confess that my husband and I tell the baby to shut up. (We&rsquo;ve also called the baby an a-hole and a sh*t, and we frequently mock him. Steve does a good impression of the way the baby furiously shakes his head back and forth before eating his own hand.) It makes us sound like <strike>abusive mean insane</strike> parents.</p><p>Unless you have a newborn that only makes tiny dainty noises when he/she is in discomfort (in which case, please keep it to yourself), the language barrier between new parents and kids &mdash;&nbsp;paired with the lack of sleep &mdash;&nbsp;can quickly make you nuts. There you were just a few months ago, lovingly folding baby clothes and looking forward to welcoming this new life into your world. Then your tiny new alien rewards you by throwing fits as you try to keep it alive &mdash; and attempt to engage its brain, nurture it and bond with it &mdash; while also trying to take showers, see friends, write blogs posts and whatnot.<br /><br />I love the baby (see: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/cries-moms-not-babys-102160">this earlier post</a>) but I won&#39;t mind when he&rsquo;s learned to express himself differently &mdash; or at very least has learned to smile at more than just his dreams.</p><p>In the meantime, just like at work, talking smack about &ldquo;the boss&rdquo; can really help you feel sane. I&rsquo;ll be the first to say that our baby looks like Jackie Mason, that he has a terrible attitude sometimes, that he&rsquo;s a fart marchine, that he&rsquo;s a disgusting eater. We even have something of a &ldquo;slam book&rdquo; about the baby: We are still keeping track of how much he eats, sleeps and poops, and the records we use have a comments section. Comments left behind have included notes like &ldquo;Worst baby ever!!&rdquo; or &ldquo;Baby 4 sale&rdquo; and &ldquo;Evil baby from nightmares.&rdquo;<br /><br />But we can say these things, because he&rsquo;s ours, and because for the time being, he can&rsquo;t understand what we&rsquo;re saying. Because he&rsquo;s yelling so loud.<br /><br /><em>Postscript: Of course, after I wrote this the baby proceeded to have a nice, quiet night and is being a complete angel this morning. I think that this is how they get you&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash; they&nbsp;</em><em>break you down.</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/screaming-baby-syndrome-highly-contagious-102518 Hospital regulators let formula vie with breast milk http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Vanessa3.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 199px;" title="Lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes says Cook County’s Stroger Hospital has a long way to go. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></div><p>A new French study shows that breastfeeding may have lasting benefits for a child’s metabolism. Other studies suggest breastfeeding helps prevent infections, chronic diseases and obesity. Evidence like this has moved the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend giving babies no food or drink other than breast milk for their first six months. At many Chicago-area hospitals, though, breast milk competes with baby formula. At some of them, the real stuff usually loses. From our West Side bureau, we compare how the area’s hospitals approach breastfeeding and see whether watchdog agencies are paying much attention.</p><p>MITCHELL: Certified lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes landed a job in December.</p><p>STOKES: I was excited just to get to that place to really make a difference.</p><p>MITCHELL: That place was the maternity ward of Cook County’s Stroger Hospital. Stokes was there to encourage and train moms to breastfeed. But she noticed the hospital giving them signals it was OK to feed newborns formula.</p><p>STOKES: I saw bottles in the cribs.</p><p>MITCHELL: Then Stokes met one of the hospital’s newest mothers. Like many patients on the ward, she was young and black. What was less usual was her file. It showed she’d been planning to breastfeed.</p><p>STOKES: The baby was born and then, at night, she had some problems with latch-on, which happens. She said, ‘The nurse told me to give the baby a bottle.’ That’s what she told me.</p><p>MITCHELL: You believe her?</p><p>STOKES: Yes, I do. Most nurses, they just don’t want to take the time to help moms. They have a million other things to do.</p><p>MITCHELL: And there was no breastfeeding peer counselor or lactation consultant on duty overnight?</p><p>STOKES: No.</p><p>MITCHELL: One of Stokes’ supervisors at Stroger confirms that the hospital keeps bottles in cribs and that the nurses sometimes give out formula without any medical reason. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals">Birth-certificate data</a> show that less than 60 percent of infants born at Stroger get to breastfeed there. And there are more places like this. A dozen Chicago-area hospitals have even lower rates. The data show there’s one on the South Side where just 10 percent of newborns start breastfeeding.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door closes.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): I’m inside that hospital now. It’s called Holy Cross. I’m taking an elevator to the 6th floor to see Anita Allen-Karriem. She directs what Holy Cross calls its Family Birth Center.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door opens. Intercom voice. Birth Center door opens.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem shows me around the ward.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: And, as you can see, this is our rooming-in. And our moms are here and they can have their baby here 24/7...</p><p>MITCHELL: She says Holy Cross initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: My nurses have the tools that they need to assist with breastfeeding the mom. And we encourage breastfeeding on demand.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): How many lactation consultants do you have on staff?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: We don’t have any. Our volume does not support that at this particular time.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): Any peer counselors that come in as volunteers? Breastfeeding peer counselors?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: No, we don’t have that at the present.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem says convincing her patients to breastfeed is not always easy. She says most have not received any prenatal care before showing up in labor. Even more than Stroger Hospital, Holy Cross lets breast milk compete with formula. Allen-Karriem says her hospital sends moms home with a few days worth of formula. The idea’s to tide them over, until they get into a federal nutrition program that provides more.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: Is it the best method of nutrition? No, it is not. Breastfeeding is. However, it’s the mom’s choice. If she wants to exclusively breastfeed, we do not send her home with formula. However, because she has not chosen to breastfeed, would you send her outside your doors with no way to feed her infant and no way to buy any formula?</p><p>MITCHELL: Again, Holy Cross is at the bottom when it comes to breastfeeding rates in Chicago-area hospitals. Experts say that’s not a big surprise since it doesn’t have lactation consultants and gives out all that formula. But some hospitals are taking a different tack.</p><p>INTERCOM: Stroke alert for the Emergency Room...</p><p>MITCHELL: Like Stroger and Holy Cross, Mount Sinai on Chicago’s West Side serves mostly low-income patients. Last year about half the babies born at the hospital were getting breastfed there. To lift that rate, Mount Sinai says it’s planning to apply for a pro-breastfeeding designation from the United Nations called Baby Friendly.</p><p>SAIDEL: This is the room where the hearing screen is done...</p><p>MITCHELL: Lou-Ellen Saidel is one of two half-time lactation consultants on Mount Sinai’s maternity ward. She says you can see the effect of the Baby Friendly program right in this room. Saidel says the nurses used to quiet down babies for hearing tests by giving them formula. Now, she points to a big sign at eye level.</p><p>SAIDEL: It says, ‘Bottles should only be given for a documented medical reason.’ So now they don’t use formula on breastfeeding babies anymore in here.</p><p>MITCHELL: Saidel says Mount Sinai puts almost every staffer who comes into contact with new mothers or infants through breastfeeding training...</p><p>SAIDEL: ...from registered nurse to secretary. This is a process of people acquiring skills that were not taught in nursing school and medical school.</p><p>MITCHELL: For the Baby Friendly designation, some Sinai staffers will need more training. The sessions won’t cost the hospital much money but will eat up staff time. That could explain why no Chicago hospital has applied for the designation. But a lot of breastfeeding experts say the hospitals should give it a try.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Breastfeeding is one those priority areas that are life-and-death for their patients.</p><p>MITCHELL: Rachel Abramson is a former post-partum nurse who heads a Chicago nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Those of us who grew up thinking that formula feeding is the norm and perfectly adequate have a hard time shifting our vision to see the risks of illness in the first year of life, juvenile diabetes, of breast cancer for mother, of obesity and diabetes — lifelong — for mothers and babies.</p><p>MITCHELL: Abramson says the costs for treating these diseases often ends up on the shoulders of taxpayers. If that’s the case, you might think the government and hospital oversight groups would push hard for better breastfeeding rates. But they don’t push. They mostly nudge.</p><p>MITCHELL: One group with some accountability is the Oakbrook Terrace-based Joint Commission. It accredits hospitals. Ann Watt helps direct the commission’s quality-evaluation division. Watt says about a year ago the commission published some standards for hospitals to measure whether newborns were breastfeeding.</p><p>WATT: Our medical experts have indicated to us that this is a best practice.</p><p>MITCHELL: But these commission standards are voluntary. In fact, just three Illinois hospitals have adopted them.</p><p>MITCHELL (on phone): Could a hospital be performing poorly by these measures and still get accreditation?</p><p>WATT: Yes.</p><p>MITCHELL: Another group with some say is the Illinois Hospital Association. I asked the group whether it would support more public oversight of hospital breastfeeding practices. A spokesman declined to answer on tape but sent a statement saying the rules should not be rigid. The statement says breastfeeding management should begin with prenatal care, not the mother’s hospital stay. The hospital association also points out that the decision to breastfeed is personal.</p><p>MITCHELL: The folks with the most to say about hospitals breastfeeding rates are at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The department is in charge of enforcing the state’s hospital-licensing code. The code requires hospitals to follow basic breastfeeding guidelines that two physician groups published in 2007. In a statement to WBEZ, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it investigates breastfeeding infection-control issues. Otherwise, though, the department says it does not enforce the guidelines. That leaves public policy on breastfeeding largely up to individual hospitals — places like Stroger, Mount Sinai and Holy Cross.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Baby Friendly effort. Chicago officials announced in August 2010 that Mount Sinai was seeking the international designation. The hospital registered to begin that four-phase process in September 2011.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk