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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions: An Interview with Blythe Lipman

Blythe Lipman has taken care of over 1,000 babies in the past twenty-five years. She worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Boston as a volunteer while attending Boston University and is now the president of Baby Instructions in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has set up infant rooms with turn-key operations in many preschools throughout the country.

Blythe works extensively with new parents, providing seminars, tips and daily phone calls of reassurance. Blythe presents workshops sharing her expertise and easy-to-use tips to make those first years the easiest and best! Her parent books have won numerous awards of recognition.

Though I’m not currently a mom, I know if I ever become one, Blythe's books will become permanent fixtures by my bedside! I was really excited to talk to Blythe about all her wonderful insights.

Shelly Rachanow: I LOVE the title of your book, Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions. Tell us more about it.

Blythe Lipman: Here's the Story: One day when I was running an infant room in a preschool, a mom brought little 5 ½ month old Sophie in for her first day. As she walked in with Sophie in her car-seat she said, “You have to help me. Sophie has been sleeping in her car-seat since she was born. I don't know how to get her to sleep in her crib, she just cries!” That night when I went home from work, I sat down at my computer and started writing the first page of my book.

I always knew there were no instructions for new parents and the book had been in my head for years, but little Sophie was the baby that pushed me to sit down and start writing. And my thought was to have a book that was in list form so parents only need to go down the list and pick the tip that works best whether it be crying, sleeping, eating, bathing and a myriad of other topics. Let's face it, when a baby cries, moms don't have the time, patience or energy to sit down and read cumbersome chapters in a book or on the internet. They want their baby to feel better immediately and that is what my book does...provides those tips to help NOW!

P.S. Little Sophie was sleeping in her crib that first night. I taught her mom how to put her in the crib using a swaddle and sleep positioner so she felt safe and cozy in her crib.

Shelly Rachanow: One of the biggest things that's always scared me about being a mom is that I would do something “wrong.” What words of wisdom do you have for parents who may feel the same way?

Blythe Lipman: I don't think there is a parent in the world that isn't afraid that they are going to make a mistake. Here are my words of wisdom for every new parent: Each baby is wrapped up in it's own unique little package. They are all wonderfully different. So there is no right or wrong when caring for your baby. What works for one baby may not work for another baby and that's okay. Just go with your gut and your heart when caring for your baby. You will receive lots of well-meaning advice, just smile, say “thank you” and do what works best for you and your baby. While I give new parents lots of tips when caring for their babies, I teach them confidence. When a parent is confident, then the rest is easy.

Shelly Rachanow: These days, many people live away from their families and don’t always have their own parents, grandparents, or siblings around to lend a hand with a new baby. What advice do you have for people in that situation?

Blythe Lipman: Don't ever be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help, whether it be from a babysitter, husband or a friend. Being a parent puts many new pressures on us that aren't always easy. And trying to be a “Supermom” won't make any difference to your baby, it will just exhaust you! Remember to take care of yourself, too. When the baby naps, you nap...the dishes will still be there when you get up!

Also, pick one book or reference, (hopefully my book!) to use when you have questions. Too many resources can be confusing and frustrating. You know the old adage: “Ask ten people the same question and you will get ten answers!”

Shelly Rachanow: You have some wonderful tips in your book for what to do when a baby won’t stop crying, for making sleep time easy, and so much more. Give us a small sample of things people can do in those situations.

Blythe Lipman: Some ideas include:
  1. Put a receiving blanket in the dryer for a few minutes and make it warm and toasty (not hot), then swaddle your little bundle in the warm blanket.
  2. Turn on your clothes dryer and lay a receiving blanket on top of the dryer. Then gently lay your swaddled baby on top of the dryer on her back. Gently stroke her cheeks with your fingertips and say “Shh.” The warmth from the blanket, the vibration from the dryer, and your calming presence should stop the tears.
  3. If you know your baby isn't hungry, doesn't have to burp, her diaper isn't pinching and she is just having a cranky day, walk outside with her. Just open the door and step outside, the change in scenery usually calms any baby!
Shelly Rachanow: What’s the most important thing you want new parents to know?

Blythe Lipman: Babies grow up so quickly. Don't expend your energy worrying about your parenting skills. Just enjoy each and every moment and be confident that if your baby is eating, sleeping, growing and giving you lots of smiles, then you are doing a great job!!

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” – Don Herrold

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Blythe Lipman: If I ran the world I would make sure each woman gave herself permission to be exactly who she is, to make decisions based on her knowledge, experience and confidence. And to take care of herself first, not last. We women are very strong but tend to put ourselves last, and if we don't we are considered selfish. That's the wrong message to teach our daughters (and sons).

So many times I thought, if I just finish this task then I can take a nap, eat a piece of chocolate or do something just for me. It dawned on me a number of years ago that I will never take care of me with this attitude. It's like doing the laundry, there is always another piece to wash...it's never done! So now...the “new me” takes a minute to stop, breathe and think about what I am doing and if it's working.

I do realize that age and experience play a part in getting to know yourself, but maybe with a different attitude and more confidence, we'll take better care of ourselves sooner.

For more information or to contact Blythe, visit:

Website: http://babyinstructions.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baby-Instructions/10150134590360453
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BabyInstruction
Radio Show: http://toginet.com/shows/babyandtoddlerinstructions
Podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/baby-toddler-instructions/id342291190
Arizona Midday Channel 12 KPNX

And to set up an in-home, video or telephone consultation, as well as a workshop, contact Blythe at babyinstructions@cox.net.




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