Tag Archives: Mary Esther Malloy

skin-to-skin-campaign

Kangaroology: The First Thousand Minutes

By Mary Esther Malloy after a lecture by Dr. Nils Bergman at New York University in February, 2016 (she apologizes to Dr. Bergman if she’s mottled his words. She was writing as fast as she could)

I.

Neuroscience on the screen.

A packed room of maternity care professionals.

Our brains trying to understand our brains.

Once upon a time not so very long ago, Dr. Nils Bergman launched a mother-baby skin to skin revolution.

I get it, I think.  But I am about to be radicalized.

stock mama baby skin to skin

Dr. Nils Bergman speaks:

Skin to skin unlocks the neuroscience.

Think of the layered, interconnecting jungle where everything functions in relation to everything else. The brain is a jungle, not a computer.

There are more synapses at birth than stars in the universe.

He tell us

It matters how we are born…Early experiences fire and wire the brain…Pathways are connected…Networks make lights go on…Development is ordered…Foundations are laid upon which higher circuits can be built…Critical periods come and go in which aspects of our genetic inheritance are activated.

What is activated depends on the baby’s environment.

The environment tells our DNA:                                                                                                       The world is safe.                                                                                                                               Eat. Rest. Grow. Connect.                                                                                                                       Oxytocin flows through the circuitry.

OR Continue reading

Malloy-Article-pic-9-cuddle

Mother-led Skin to Skin: The First Minutes

Open Letter to Dr. Nils Bergman                                                                                     By Mary Esther Malloy

Your research has shown the world

a baby belongs on its mother,                                                                                                                     skin to skin.

You argue:

a baby on its mother,                                                                                                                                      it is where we lay the foundation for healthy people and healthy societies.

You say:

Skin to skin must start at birth,                                                                                                                     Skin to skin must be continuous.

Kangaroo Mother Care is not yet the bedrock of maternity care you’d have it be, but the world is listening. We are reconsidering one of the 20th Century’s grand experiments: the practice of separating mothers and babies at birth.

Now, when it is possible, a baby is delivered to its mother’s chest.

Immediate skin to skin.

But, what if we were to trust birth and women even further? What if, instead of delivering a baby immediately to her mother’s chest at the moment of birth, what if the midwife or doctor simply guides the baby down where she is born? …what if everyone pauses… and leaves the mother to initiate the skin to skin, on her time frame?

What might this look like? Continue reading

Delayed Cord Clamping: An all of human history practice (20th century exempted)

By Mary Esther Malloy, MA

Asthma-PlanThere are many things that help our children to be as healthy as possible during their first minutes, hours, days, months and years. If the findings of some new research are correct, then ensuring that our babies get their full volume of blood as they are born might be one of the more important steps we can take for the well-being of our children.

Here is the problem: while studies are showing us that there appears to be no good justification for the routine clamping and cutting of a baby’s umbilical cord seconds after the baby is born, survey after survey shows most obstetricians and many midwives still clamping and cutting cords very soon after delivery, with some rates as high as 95% (Downey and Bewley 2012; van Rheenen, 2011).  Dr. Jose Tolosa and colleagues write, “Although without clear benefit and no rationale to support it, early cord clamping remains the most common practice among obstetricians and midwives in the western hemisphere” (Tolosa et al., 2010).

What can we do about the disparity between evidence that strongly supports delayed cord clamping and widespread habits of practice that we know are not benefiting our children? We can educate ourselves. We can share research with our doctors and midwives. We can advocate for a change in business as usual. I’ve written this article to share an emerging perspective (that many have long held) and to make some of the research easily available to expectant parents. At the close of the piece I’ve included an except from a recent editorial in the American College of Obstetricians and Gyncologist’s journal that you might share with your doctor.

Don’t leave your child behind in the 20th century

Continue reading

Mary Esther’s Story: I am not sure that I have ever been so present to another human being

1-Mary Esther seeing her daughterOn November 4th, 2010, I met my third child in what I can only describe as the most ecstatic of ways. After an unexpectedly long first stage and a shockingly speedy second stage, I birthed my baby on my bed in the all fours position. As my midwife guided my baby down below me, I was thrilled to finish a labor that had seemed to last an eternity. But it is the next moments that are forever seared in my memory. As I saw my daughter below me… as I touched her meaty little arms and legs, took in her strawberry hair, watched her first breaths, felt her cord pulsing with the life force we had shared for so long, and finally – when I had really SEEN her- picked her up, the experience was nothing less than euphoric. I knew from watching others that not hurrying a baby onto its mother’s chest left the moment open to be what it needed to be. But I had no idea that being upright for this precious first meeting … with my daughter below me… no one hurrying her or me … would feel so powerful. I don’t think I have ever looked so hard at another human. I feel that I now understand in a visceral way what we mean when we talk about the imprinting that takes place at birth. It was an extraordinary gift to be able to truly see and take in this brand new person in the moments in which she arrived.

Continue reading