NEW YEAR, NEW BABY CONTEST WINNER: Alexander Logan Niemtzow

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Alexander Logan Niemtzow

9.5 pound, 20”, born September 7th at 1:29pm, NYC

Proud Parents: Jennifer Feder and Michael Niemtzow

We searched high and low for the perfect new baby of the new year…and we found him! Alexander Logan Niemtzow, born September 7th in New York City. Read on to hear his parents kvell over their little miracle!

“It’s crazy that he’s been around for a week and has totally changed our lives,” says mom Jennifer. “He has changed our perspective on things; he’s a great little guy.”

Jennifer and her husband Michael call baby Alex ‘a miracle.’ “We were really lucky, we got pregnant on the first try and I had an easy pregnancy. The most surprising thing for us is that he was really big. I’m 5’1” and I was 100 pounds before I got pregnant. He came out of nowhere. He was great in the womb, active, but that translates into the kind of baby he is. He seemed to move around when he needed to. But the whole experience was easy for me. I feel very grateful.”

Did you know you were having a boy? “I was always inclined to think it was a boy but my husband had been convinced it was a girl. I gave my husband a look at our 20-week checkup that said, ‘I told you so!’ We just wanted a healthy baby; we didn’t care if it was a boy or girl.”

Did the birth feel even more special because he was born on the Jewish New Year? “The fact that he was born during the Jewish New Year was a coincidence because of the timing of the pregnancy. As we explained during the bris, Alex is named after my grandmother Annette who passed away in December. The last thing she said to me was, ‘You guys need to have a baby; I really want a great grandchild.’ She passed away three weeks later and I conceived around the same time. We’re convinced she had a hand in it.”

What is the most surprising thing about Alex? “The sense that I would do anything for this child. You hear people say this all the time but you don’t quite expect that you automatically go into mommy mode. I don’t like when he’s crying or when I feel like he’s hurt. I thought I would be OK during the bris–I’m pretty strong–but I couldn’t watch.”

What makes him unique? “He’s really calm. I’m very type A. My husband and I are pretty driven but my husband is calmer than I am. He’s a pretty chill baby. He only fusses when he needs his diaper changed or he’s hungry. Otherwise, he just hangs out. He’s very alert, always looking around, and seems inquisitive. His disposition is much calmer than I thought it would be.”

What do you look forward to doing with him? “Everything! We love traveling and we’re excited to show him the world. It will be really fun to get to see it through his eyes when he’s older and see his perspective on things.”

How is your husband managing in his new role as dad? “He’s amazing. He’s always been really good with kids. After having a C-section, I can’t do too much. I didn’t change diapers till a few days ago–my husband has done pretty much everything. My husband is surprised at how good the baby is. He expected Alex to be more challenging. Now it has become more difficult for him to leave and go to work. He checks in on Alex all the time, he’s focused on what he is eating, whether he’s sleeping, and on making sure the baby and I are OK. I always knew he would be like this but seeing it in person is really nice.”

Were you happy with the bris? “It was an amazing ceremony. Lucy was unbelievable. I got a number of comments from family members who said it was the nicest one they have ever been to. Lucy is really sensitive to what it’s like to be a new mom, and sensitive to my husband who’s not religious. She incorporated the limited info that she knew about us and talked about tradition, explaining the meaning of what we were doing. She really touched a lot of people. We knew it would be nice but it was even better than we expected.”

To book a bris, email Lucy@birthtobris.com. To follow Lucy on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/lucywaldman. To follow Lucy on Twitter, @mamamohel. For press inquiries, contact karenwbrooks@gmail.com.

 

Mama Mohel Presents the First Annual NEW YEAR, NEW BABY CONTEST

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The First Baby Born in 5774 Wins a $100 Gift Card for Diapers.com

and Will Be Featured on Mama Mohel

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          If you know someone who is scheduled to have a baby around Rosh Hashana, they can win this New Year, New Baby contest.

Email lucy@birthtobris.com or tweet @mamamohel by 5PM on Sunday, September 8th with your baby’s name, sex, weight, a pic (optional),and a cute comment about him/her.

All comments will be posted on facebook.com/lucywaldman. The winner will be announced on FB/Twitter/LinkedIn on Monday, September 9th.

Who will be crowned the first baby of 5774?

Stay tuned…

*For more info, go to www.birthtobris.com. To interview Lucy, contact Karen Brooks, karenwbrooks@gmail.com or 917.561.5656.

Home Births: Now Safer Than Ever

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For many women, home births are the way to go.  They choose comfy pillows and their favorite CD’s over stiff sheets and a room within earshot of other delivering moms. Now, there’s evidence that they just may be doing the right thing for their child’s safety.

I perform many circumcisions for moms who have had successful home births and I respect the fact that they prefer the intimacy of a home and a family-centered experience to a more clinical hospital setting. Not everyone agrees–and some are all too vocal about this very personal choice. 

Cafe Mom’s The Stir posted an article entitled 16 Things Not To Say To A Mom Planning A Homebirth–something we should all read and abide by. 

A few months back, the American Academy of Pediatrics released home birth recommendations. To sum them up for you, the AAP advocates hospital births, yet some studies show that homebirths are just as safe — if not safer. In fact, home births are becoming more and more popular every year. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of home births in the U.S. increased by nearly 30 percent. Interestingly, home births are more common among white women aged 35 and over, and among women who have had other children. The exact reason for the rise is not clear, but experts say it may have to do with women wanting less medical intervention during their birth experience.

But no matter the reasons, it’s important to recognize that we all make different choices when it comes to labor and delivery (and well on into the child-rearing years). Some of us will choose hospital births and some will choose home births and why we do is nobody’s business but our own. Let’s respect and honor each other’s choices. 

Click here to hear some of the things you should never say to a mom who has chosen a home birth

http://thestir.cafemom.com/pregnancy/159513/16_things_not_to_say

Whether the women you know choose to deliver at the hospital or in their homes, it’s their choice. I do circumcisions in both locales and I’m happy to report satisfied client everywhere.

For more info or to book your child’s bris milah or bris bat, go to birthtobris.com or email lucy@birthtobris.com.

The Dog Days of Summer

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“It’s normal for pets to miss the kids when they’re at sleepaway camp,” says Dr. Cindy Bressler, a housecall veterinarian in New York City and The Hamptons who launched JetSetVets.com to cater to pets while traveling via air. “To help ease their anxiety, let them smell your kids’ clothes, cuddle in their blankets and sleep in their beds. Give them extra attention until the kids get home so they know they are well-loved.”

We left Ollie home with Dad while the boys and I went off to NJY Camp Nah Jee Wah for a couple of weeks. Recently, we got word that he really misses us! He keeps looking around for us, darting to the car, he even paws at my side of the bed. The poor thing must think we all abandoned him. He is in for a big surprise when we arrive home on Thursday with open arms, anxious to give him lots of hugs. 
I couldn’t help but think of Ollie when I saw these pics of kids with their pups–adorable!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/dogs-and-babies-sleeping_n_3332420.html

 

Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat [Part lll]: The Jewish Baby Naming Ceremony

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The Bris Milah, Bris Bat and Jewish Baby Naming Ceremony

A Bris Milah or Bris Bat ceremony is a special event in every Jewish family’s life. But if you haven’t planned one before, how do you know where to start? In my article, Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat, which appears on MazelMoments.com, I offer advice on making your baby’s naming ceremony a meaningful and memorable event.

“Similar to a bris milah, the baby girl is welcomed into the room with the same words as a boy, “Blessed is He/She” and placed in a ceremonial chair, on which Elijah, the prophet who protects us and our children, also sits. Your mohel might have a ceremonial dressing for this special Elijah throne. From the lap of Elijah, a boy baby is placed onto a soft pillow and is readied for circumcision. By the same token, a girl baby is placed on a pillow and wrapped in a prayer shawl, or talit. Then, your baby is blessed with requests and hopes for a life of knowledge, the joys of sacred relationship (ie; marriage) and a life filled with good deeds.”

Oftentimes, family members are honored by having the baby named after them.  Ashkenzi Jews traditionally name their children after departed relatives; however it is not uncommon that Sephardic Jews will name their children after parents or grandparents who are still living. The child will often have both an English and a Hebrew name. During the ceremony, your mohel will incorporate the story behind the child’s naming into the ceremony. Since this is a joyous occasion, celebrated with family and friends, parents sometimes extend honors by inviting a few guests (family or friends) to share in some of the readings of blessings and prayers.  The choice is yours. Lucy assures, “Your ceremony can be as broadly inclusive as you might like, or you may choose to keep things simple. This is your decision, and your mohel can help by providing ideas like a special candle-lighting and readings for your loved  ones.”

The venue choices for a bris milah or a bris bat are broad. My son’s bris was in our home; but I have attended many in synagogues, restaurants and community centers.  You should just make sure that the venue will accommodate your guests (seated at tables) and that there will be an area designated for the ceremony which will also allow for guests to congregate around the ceremony area.

To add to the festivities and add even more special meaning to the celebration, you may want to include your wedding kiddush cup or one that is a family heirloom. Some families prefer to buy one especially for the ceremony. Though it is not mandatory, many include a challah and kosher wine for the blessings before the meal. Yes – a meal – What is a Jewish celebration without a celebratory meal!  If you are holding the bris in a synagogue or Jewish Community Center, check with the rabbi or executive staff for recommended or preferred kosher caterers.  If you are having the bris in your home or a restaurant, be sensitive to the kosher observances of your guests and plan your meal accordingly. Your child has been welcomed into the Jewish community and traditions and can now be called by his/her given name.

At the end of the ceremony, (hopefully the baby is back asleep!), and the last piece of cake is eaten (or saved for later on!), you will receive a bris certificate with the date of birth, date of the ceremony and the names of the parents, your baby, and honorees. Many Judaica artists also create custom art pieces of blessings for a boy and blessings for a girl as well as bris certificates which can also be framed and given as beautiful and commemorative gifts to the couple.

Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat [Part II]: Finding a Mohel

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Finding a mohel may seem like one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make. But comprehensive research and planning can help you make the right choice. In my article, Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat, which appears on MazelMoments.com, I offer advice on choosing a mohel or mohelet.

Since the ceremony for the son is almost always performed eight days after the birth, it’s important to find and interview the mohel before your child is born – even if you do not know whether you are having a boy or a girl. “You should choose a mohel with whom you are comfortable. Once your son is born, time to plan is limited since our tradition is to have the brit milah on your baby’s eighth day of life.”

Here are some questions to ask so your mohel (or mohelet) can tailor your ceremony to your needs.

  1. Evaluate the mohel’s experience,  and certification requirements (medical or religious background only). If you are an interfaith couple, check to be sure he, or she, is comfortable working with an Interfaith family.
  2. Don’t hesitate to ask specifics about the circumcision. Does your mohel use a type of anesthesia, and if so, what is it?  Which circumcision tools does he or she use, and are they sterilized in an autoclave?

With a newborn daughter, you are not bound by strict Judaic law. A bris bat ceremony can be held on the baby’s eighth day, but it can also be held at a later time. The ceremony can be performed by the parents, a rabbi, cantor or mohel.

For the complete article, go to…

http://www.mazelmoments.com/blog/1426/planning-your-childs-bris-milah-or-bris-bat/

To plan your son’s Bris Milah or your daughter’s Bris Bat, please contact lucy@birthtobris.com.

Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat [Part 1]

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You go from being pregnant to having a baby to planning a Bris Milah or Bris Bat in just a few days! It can all be overwhelming. In my article, Planning Your Child’s Bris Milah or Bris Bat, which appears on MazelMoments.com, I simplify how to handle it all.”

Bris Milah or Bris Bat?

Mazel Tov!  You’re having a boy!  Whether you find out that you are having a son beforehand or on that big day, Jewish parents look forward not only to welcoming their son into the world, but also to the Jewish convenant. The Jewish son will have a bris (also known as a bris milahbrit or brit milah). The bris bonds your son to thousands of years of tradition, in the the presence of family and friends.

Mazel Tov!  You’re having a girl!  Don’t we also want to welcome our daughter to the Jewish convenant? Isn’t there a celebration of her birth?

Lucy Eisenstein Waldman, a mohelet (female mohel), explains how Jewish parents celebrate the birth of their son or daughter.

Bris Milah

“The bris” Lucy states, “bonds your baby (boy or girl) to thousands of years of tradition, in the presence of family and friends. The Hebrew word bris, or brit, translates to covenant or agreement.” On the eighth day of a son’s life, the Jewish parents ‘agree’ to do a medical procedure, commonly known as a circumcision. The circumcision is performed by a mohel incorporating certain Jewish traditions and blessings and often followed with a celebratory meal.Mohels and Mohelets receive special training and certification to perform a bris and may be rabbis, cantors, medical doctors, or midwives.

Bris Bat

Lucy goes on to explain that “daughters are welcomed into Jewish traditions with a ceremony called a bris bat, also known as a simchat bat. Simchat bat translates from Hebrew into the ‘joy of a daughter’. In both ceremonies, families and friends are invited to connect with your new baby and an almost six thousand year old history of Judaism.”

For the complete article, go to…

http://www.mazelmoments.com/blog/1426/planning-your-childs-bris-milah-or-bris-bat/

To plan your son’s Bris Milah or your daughter’s Bris Bat, please contact lucy@birthtobris.com.

Mohelet Makes A Mitzvah More Meaningful

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Certified Nurse Midwife/Mohelet Lucy Waldman

Helps Parents of Newborns

Seal Their Infants into the Jewish Heritage

New York, NY (July 2013) – Watching a birth on TV is enough to make any five-year-old run for the hills, but Lucy Waldman found it mesmerizing. It was this awe-inspiring experience that set her on the nursing career path and it was her time spent working on the labor floor of a highly touted hospital where laboring moms were being treated poorly that sealed her fate as a midwife.

“My first experiences doing circumcisions were as a midwife for my patients who had baby boys and wanted circumcision,” says Waldman. “Then I had my own son and I was the bris mom. I was the mom who stayed, not in the back of the room, but right next to the mohel, looking over my baby. I was horrified at the amount of bleeding my son had. My circumcisions had never ever looked anything like that. My baby was then referred to a urologist to see if he had been damaged. No new mother should have to experience this.”

Waldman chose a different mohel for her twin sons two years later. Again, she was required to make several visits to a urologist afterward and surgical revision of the circumcision was recommended. Again, the results were unacceptable.

“With the birth of my fourth son, I searched once more for a mohel. With great upset and irritation, I told my rabbi how I wished I could do my own son’s circumcision so I would be assured a good result and high competence as opposed to my and my sons’ experiences with various mohelim. My rabbi, Steven Bayar (of the conservative Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, NJ) then advised me to ‘Go get certified!’ (as a mohel). He said, ‘Our community needs you.’ That made sense to me.”

In 2010, Waldman—who was already certified as a Nurse Midwife with a Masters’ degree from Columbia University and had a Bachelors of Nursing degree from the University of Pennsylvania–became a Certified Mohelet by the Reform Board of Brit Milah at Hebrew Union College. She has officiated at more than 200 brises since.

Performing the actual bris is just part of her job; putting the parents and the baby at ease is the other. “I always acknowledge that their concern is legitimate,” says Waldman. “I tell them, with sincerity and honesty, that I will take excellent care of their baby, make sure he is comfortable and that he will continue to be super handsome from his head all the way down to his toes when I am finished. I reassure them that their pediatrician will rave about how well the circumcision turned out when doing well visits. I have often received comments from pediatricians like, ‘You could not ask for a better circumcision. This is one of the best I’ve seen.’”

Superior skills aside, Waldman is known throughout the tri-state area for her warm, touching, relatable service. “My primary concern is for the mother, father and baby, all together,” she says. “After that, I want everyone in a bris room to understand what is happening in the ceremony. My focus is on keeping everyone calm and reassured, validated and engaged.”

“I am a Jewish woman, I am a mother, I am a midwife; all of my personal experiences have shaped my practice,” says Waldman. “My mohelet practice is a reflection of what I wish had been done for me. It’s an example of, ‘If you want something done well, do it yourself.’”

Since Reform Judaism recognizes paternal descent, Waldman also performs interfaith brises, where the father is Jewish and the mother isn’t, but both want to bring Judaism into their child’s life.

Through her work with Birth to Bris, Waldman merges contemporary medical practice with a gentle and caring philosophy. She provides pre-bris preparation and event planning, a memorable ceremony including song, prayer and historic references, a ritual prepared under sterile conditions with modern instruments and local anesthesia to minimize the baby’s discomfort, and post-bris care instructions and follow up.

For more information, testimonials of past clients, or to book a bris, please visit www.birthtobris.com.

For press inquiries or to interview Lucy, please contact Karen Brooks, karenwbrooks@gmail.com or 917.561.5656.  

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