Nesting Days and Kanga Kare are sending a joint message to the world of the amazing benefits of skin-to-skin care for premature and full-term newborns, both here and around the world

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We’re so excited to share our holiday special–Buy one, Give one!

Starting Thanksgiving Day until January 1st, 2014, we will donate one Nesting Days Newborn Carriers for every newborn carrier sold online to the Kanga Kare Project, sending a joint message to the world of the amazing benefits of skin-to-skin care for premature and full-term newborns both here and around the world.

My involvement started when Asad Akbany approached me about attending the Art of Nesting Workshop to learn more about my involvement in skin-to-skin, and we realized we have the same mission: To change the way babies are being welcomed into the world.

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Asad is part of a five person team of undergraduate students (including Ian Shain, Lucas Gérard, Gary Duan and Pieter Doevendans) taking a social entrepreneurship class at UC Berkeley. The students are working on a product called Kanga Kare to help premature babies in Lampang, Thailand. They will be receiving the Nesting Day’s carriers on behalf of the Lampang hospital for distribution to parents in need.

“We got the idea of developing an inexpensive, skin-to-skin transport device that maintains the ill/premature infant’s temperature in lieu of expensive incubators and emergency vehicles not available in most developing countries” — said Asad Akbany, who was a born premature, ”when we found Julie’s project, we had to meet with her and get advice on our Kanga Kare Incubator.”

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We decided to donate Nesting Days Newborn Carriers to mothers in need through their group as a way to give back this holiday season.

Nesting Days already has a program to give Newborn Carriers and skin-to-skin education to at-risk babies and mothers at San Francisco General Hospital, partly funded through their recent Kickstarter Campaign. I’ll be hosting another Art of Nesting workshop at Carmel Blue on January 18th, 2014 for expecting parents wanting to learn more about the benefits of skin-to-skin care and safe babywearing. You can read more about Kangaroo Care in the practical guide by the World Health Organization below.

So this season — when you buy one baby carrier – you are really buying two. Share the gift of life, the knowledge of evidence-based science, and the power of skin-to-skin! Give away!

-Julie

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Shop local this Black Friday!

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We don’t really think there is anything you can buy that can replace the nesting days–except of course the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier. We made this offer just for you to use if you are expecting — or will be expecting soon! Get the baby carrier checked off your list early so you can focus on the more important things.

How much is too much?

Miriam, Rowan and family

Miriam, Rowan and family

The youngest attendee at The Art of Nesting Workshop this weekend was a little show stealer named Rowan. He came with his mother, Miriam, and when they first arrived, I hardly noticed the tiny face peeking out from behind the polka-dot ‘wing’ of the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier his mother was wearing.

Miriam settled herself into a comfy chair with Rowan in the carrier, where he slept peacefully for the next hour and a half, demonstrating better than any of my prepared material, what the optimal environment for a newborn looks like.

At one point one of the soon-to-be mothers asked, ‘how much is too much?’

I was relieved that I had research to back me up and could say with confidence, “it’s impossible to spoil a baby by holding or responding to their needs too much”.

In the last decade, neonatologists have come out in strong support of responding to a newborn’s cues and meeting their basic needs, but the question, “am I spoiling my baby?’ still lingers.

“A challenge of the newborn is getting to know that the world is somehow reliable and trustworthy, that his or her basic needs will be met,” says J. Kevin Nugent, director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston and a child psychologist.

“A spoiled child is one that’s manipulative, but babies don’t learn until they’re about 9 months that they can cry to get you to do something for them,” says Dr. Barbara Howard, assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on psychosocial aspects of child and family health.

Spending lots of skin-to-skin time in the first 3 months in particular, provides the newborn with the sense of security it needs at this early stage of development.

Miriam and Rowan Nesting Days

Miriam and Rowan nesting in Nesting Days

The Nesting Days Newborn Carrier lets you spend the hours of skin-to-skin time your baby needs, frees up your hands so you can get a few things done, and provides the sheltered, warm nest that provides the optimal environment for the newborn birth to 3 months. It really is the ultimate mother-baby bonding experience.

Just ask baby Rowan and his mother.

Honoring lessons from the past and bringing new ones to life

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When I was in college studying Early Childhood Education at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute in Detroit Michigan, I had the good fortune of having a teacher named  Luella Lutz.

I credit Mrs. Lutz for sparking the passion in me that still burns bright, forty years later, and has lead me to this point in my life, and to Nesting Days.

While I was her student this grey haired lady (she was younger than I am now)  went to Botswana, Africa to study the child rearing practices of the bush people, and came back to share her stories with us and her theories about ‘nurturing’.

One story that has stayed with me all my life, and is responsible in part for the creation of the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier, is the story she told about how the mothers held their babies out over a bush when they had to urinate or move their bowels. (There were no diapers in the village.)

Amazed at how easily they did this, she asked them how they knew when their baby needed to relieve themselves? Their answer was simply, “how do you NOT know?”

Her teaching technique was Socratic, and she left us on our own to come up with an explanation, without ever telling us ‘the answer’.

I ask you, the reader,  how do you think the mothers knew? (Hint: the point of this story in not about early potty training!)

Recently, neuroscience has rediscovered the wisdom of these ‘primitive’ women, and has presented us the answer: skin-to-skin contact not only stimulates the newborn’s innate survival instincts and reflexes, enabling it to survive, but also the mother’s maternal instincts and her ability to bond and care for her young.

My teacher could have told them that 40 years ago and saved a lot of new mothers a lot of hear-ache. I know my teacher would be delighted to see these changes taking place as a new generation has access to the latest research and tries to reconcile it with the vestiges of the past hundred years, which pretty much said the opposite and saw the woman in Botswana as uneducated and backward (my teacher being the exception).

I’m am also confident that she would be very proud of the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier I’ve invented and would want me to have it reach as many new mothers and their babies as possible, across all economic and social segments and around the world, and that is my plan!

However, she also instilled in me the realization that the human nest is more than a place. Our nests are where the roots of love are sewn and the early experiences in the first three months of life can have a profound effect on a little life.

With her, and all of the mothers and babies I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since then, I’ve created a workshop that explores the union of recent scientific breakthroughs and ancient wisdom, and how to use that information to create the optimal environment for  your newborn.

I’ve called it, The Art of Nesting, to honor the lessons of the past and to bring new ones to life. 

This workshop is really for anyone who is in interested in learning about the newborn’s natural habitat and how it shapes the infant’s world, but is especially helpful for expecting moms and parents with newborns.

We will delve into the role skin-to skin plays in both the newborn’s and mother’s well being and glimpse the world through the ‘senses’ of the newborn.  We will look at how quieting your analytical left-brain can free your intuitive right brain, rediscover the power of instinct and intuition and explore some old and some new techniques in breastfeeding and newborn care.  And finally, there will be time for Q&A, and a practical guide to take home with you to help you make the most of your nesting days.

The location of the workshop is at the beautiful new business hub called NextSpace, at 365 Vermont Street, on Potrero Hill.

I hope to see you there!

Julie,

Your Chief Mother Officer