Life On Hold

February 20, 2015 by ldecesare

life on hold, waiting on hold, huffington post leah decesare, phone calls, holding phone, Please click here for my newest post on Huffington Post: Life on Hold.

This is how it begins:

Yesterday, I dialed my insurance company, punched in my card number and then, while I wait on hold again, I grabbed the phone and started driving kids around. (For anyone who’s worried, my car has Bluetooth and we all had to suffer the hold music in the car without me having to touch the phone.) I picked up the neighbor, drove 15 minutes on the highway to tennis, waited for my daughter to come out, drove 15 minutes back home and was still on hold the whole time.

I’d been given the option to have them call me back. Sounds brilliant, right? Not so much. When I’d called the first time, before the kids were even home, I happily agreed and pressed “1” to have them return my call, all without losing my spot in the queue. Perfect!

Twenty minutes later the phone rang, I had since forgotten to expect the call back (does anyone else get sidetracked that easily?) Even if someone were home, no one in my family would dare answer the home line, so it was me who picked up the phone. Answering, I remembered, “Oh yes, great! Thanks for calling back. Wait? What? I didn’t want the billing department. I was on hold for the technical department.”

“Let me transfer you.”

“Wait! Wait, wait …” There goes that music and I’m back in the general queue all over again, 45 minutes after my original call. ARGH!

Click here to read more.

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2015

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50 Things No One Ever Told You About Babies

February 17, 2015 by ldecesare

50 Things No One Ever Told You About Babies | MothersCircle.netWhen you’re a new parent, there are plenty of things you can’t prepare for and may not expect. You’ll hear stories from friends, parents, in-laws, it’s hard to sort out what you should believe, what advice you should follow and even with all of those tales and tips, there will still be things no one ever told you about babies.

I’ve surveyed past doula clients and other new moms and tapped into my experience with families adding a new baby to the family to bring you this list of 50 things no one ever told you about babies in five areas of postpartum adjustment.

Things No One Ever Told You About Physical Recovery

  • It’s not all bad.
  • You get your bladder and lungs back.
  • Sleep is more physically comfortable (when you do sleep.)
  • Sleep deprivation cannot be described!
  • Everyone says “sleep when the baby sleeps” – do it, it’s really true.
  • Accept support – from mom, mother-in-law, friends, a postpartum doula.
  • Allow yourself one event (visitor, doctor, walk outdoors) and take two naps per day.
  • Stay in PJs until get your 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • For the hospital and after, pack clothing for nursing, something with access.
  • You’ll still need maternity clothes to wear after baby arrives, you won’t be back in normal sizes right away.
  • You may have constipation and you may feel like want to hold back. Prevent constipation with high fiber foods, dried fruits, water and movement.
  • Do what the baby does: Sleep – Eat – Poop but adapt for mom: Sleep – Eat – Feed
  • Your breasts leak in the shower – and other places, like during sex.
  • Even if your breasts got larger during pregnancy, they may get larger still after baby.

Things No One Ever Told You About Emotional Adjustment

  • One Mom: “Every day feels new and interesting!”
  • You may not feel like yourself, emotions may be hard to understand.
  • You may experience disappointments with birth and grieving the loss of your ideal.
  • It’s pretty normal to be crying one moment, laughing the next.
  • If you find it hard to find any enjoyment, take the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
  • Postpartum mood disorders are common and treatable. Get help if you don’t feel right.
  • Dad’s often have feelings of helplessness about the birth and afterwards. Dad’s can also experience postpartum depression.
  • The postpartum time can feels like an array of moments in time rather linear.
  • Mom can feel “stuck at home” and isolated with a new baby.
  • After a Cesarean section, moms can’t drive and may feel even more isolated.

Things No One Ever Told You About Caretaking

  • You’ll get pooped on.
  • And if you have a boy, cover up that little penis when you’re changing diapers.
  • Babies are really slippery when wet.
  • How do you put these onesies over the head?
  • There are hundreds, thousands of ways to change diapers, give baths, and care for babies. You’ll find your own ways to do things. baby sitting under yellow towel, baby under blanket, baby happy, tips for babies, tips for moms, new parents, help for new parents, what to expect for new parents
  • Taking care of a baby is ongoing, seemingly endless, and repetitive.
  • It’s okay to feel like caretaking tasks are a little boring.
  • Babies are resilient and if you try, they know you are responding to their needs.
  • Remember to break the latch on your breast before you take the baby off!
  • You’ll get advice from everyone (you don’t need to follow it.)
  • You will know your baby’s temperament best, trust yourself.
  • Trial and error is often what it’s all about. You’ll develop your parenting style and learn about your baby.
  • Much of parenting is learned. Read books, blogs, seek help from trusted sources.

Things No One Ever Told You About Attachment

  • Attachment is the work done to form relationships – the prospect of this relationship is the main reason for having a baby.
  • Bonding is already occurring during pregnancy.
  • Attachment takes time and work and sometimes it doesn’t happen right away.
  • Attachment doesn’t end, it’s ongoing, and requires change.
  • It used to be believed that babies didn’t interact but they do engage their parents. The relationship is reciprocal.
  • Healthy closeness in infancy leads to healthy emotional closeness in adulthood.
  • Most attachment has both positive and negative elements (meaning it’s not only one single emotion.)
  • Some situations may make attachment work more challenging (baby’s health, birth experience, mom’s health, etc.)

Things No One Ever Told You About Relationship Changes

  • Mom quote: “It’s hard to be a ‘non-producer’ and being home every day after years of working outside the home.”
  • Mom quote: “It felt like an assault on our marriage.”
  • Some moms can feel disappointed in their partner during the birth and/or with the new baby.
  • Your relationships will shift with your own parents and in-laws, your siblings, your friends as well as your spouse/partner.
  • Allow time to adjust and communicate about your feelings.

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© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2015

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What I Love About Snow Days

January 27, 2015 by ldecesare

What I love about snow days | MothersCircle.netI love snow days!

I love the disruption in our normal schedule and the community feeling of hunkering down. I even love the preparation and the anticipation of a storm coming.

I love that regular responsibilities and expectations fall away – drifting with the snow. Obligations forgiven.

I love how the snow absorbs the sound and how neighbors come out waving and shoveling walkways after the storm. I love the sounds of the kids laughing and sledding and playing.

I love hot cocoa and marshmallows and remembering my mom having it ready for us when we came in from a snowy day. I love kissing the kids’ rosy, chilled cheeks and noses when they finally drag themselves in from the snow.snowy branch, Juno, blizzard, kids in snow, snow days fun,

I love how snow days slow us down. It’s what I crave and snow days grant us – or force us – time to stay still, to be home with family with nowhere to go or be. Snow days make us live in the moment and be present.

That’s what I love about snow days!

Share with us – what do you love about snow days?

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© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2015

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Feeding Your Preemie in the NICU

January 19, 2015 by ldecesare

Feeding your preemie in the NICU | MothersCircle.netThank you to Prolacta for this guest post on feeding your preemie in the NICU. It’s stressful, emotional, and challenging to have a baby who’s born early, and as parents, you want to learn about and do what’s best for feeding your preemie. Here is some science behind NICU infant nutrition.

In honor of the nearly 500,000 babies born prematurely each year (according to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s 1 in every 8 infants born in the United States), we’re sharing good news about the latest in medical advancements that are helping more preemies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survive and thrive.

Critically ill, premature infants have special dietary needs requiring higher levels of fat, protein and calories than full-term babies need. Mounting scientific research supports the use of an exclusive human milk diet for preemies and this has led to a rise in use among NICUs across the country. Based on this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a recommendation that all preterm infants receive breast milk, be it a mother’s own or donor milk.1

While feeding preterm infants a diet of 100% breast milk may seem like an obvious solution to those who breastfeed, the reality is that for generations, preemies in NICUs were fed cow-milk-based formula. Even if a mother’s own breast milk was available, it was typically “fortified” (to add extra nutrients) with a fortifier containing cow-milk protein.

A peer-reviewed analysis by Steven A. Abrams, MD, Medical Director of the Neonatal swaddled baby, soothing babies, learning about babies, learning to comfort baby, parenting classes, birthing classes, should I take a childbirth class?, dads and birth classes,Nutrition Program at Baylor College of Medicine, found that as the volume of milk containing cow milk-based protein fed to infants in the control group increased, so did the likelihood of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or sepsis.2
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is inflammation which causes death of intestinal tissue. It most often affects premature or sick infants and occurs when the lining of the intestinal wall dies and the tissue decays. NEC affects up to one in six babies weighing 1250 grams (2.756 pounds) or less at birth who receive bovine (cow) components in their diets.3,4 NEC is one of the leading causes of mortality among preterm babies.5

Sepsis is a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the bloodstream resulting in widespread inflammation.

Leading hospitals across the country currently provide an exclusive human milk diet to preemies in their NICUs through the use of specially formulated human milk-based Neonatal Nutritional Products from Prolacta Bioscience that are clinically proven6,7,8 to improve health outcomes and decrease mortality9 for critically ill preemies in the NICU. Prolacta’s products are derived from 100-percent human breast milk and are formulated to meet the needs of extremely premature infants in the NICU. Some hospitals have also partnered with Prolacta for a donor milk program in which mothers can donate their excess breast milk to support their local community hospital.

The statistics on preemies are staggering: more than 40,000 babies are born each year weighing less than 2 pounds 12 ounces – so small one could fit in the palm of your hand. These fragile preemies are fed through a tube, and spend the first 70-90 days of their life in the NICU where specialized nutritional support is vital to their survival.

Another study published in the Journal Breastfeeding Medicine concludes that a diet of 100 percent breast milk results in lower mortality for extremely premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).10 It is encouraging that much scientific evidence demonstrates that an exclusive breast milk diet has the best health benefits and outcomes for extremely premature infants. With greater awareness for prematurity awareness, and the growing science in the field on human milk-based nutrition, the outlook for feeding preemies in the NICU is brighter than ever.


1. American Academy of Pediatrics, “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.” Pediatrics. 2012;129:e827
2. Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285
3. Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567
4. Cristofalo E, et al., “Randomized Trial of Exclusive Human Milk versus Preterm Formula Diets in Extremely Premature Infants.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;163(6):1592-1595
5. Ganapathy V, et al., “Long Term Healthcare Costs of Infants Who Survived Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study Among Infants Enrolled in Texas Medicaid.” BMC Pediatrics. 2013;13:127
6. Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567
7. Cristofalo E, et al., “Randomized Trial of Exclusive Human Milk versus Preterm Formula Diets in Extremely Premature Infants.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;163(6):1592-1595
8. Hair A, et al., “Randomized Trial of Human Milk Cream as a Supplement to Standard Fortification of an Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet in Infants 750-1250g Birth Weight.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2014;165(5):915-9209. Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285
10. Ganapathy V, et al., “Long Term Healthcare Costs of Infants Who Survived Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study Among Infants Enrolled in Texas Medicaid.” BMC Pediatrics. 2013;13:127

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Reading With Robin is Back!

January 16, 2015 by ldecesare

RWRlogo_finalMy dear friend, Robin Kall, will be back on the air today with her Reading With Robin program after a two year hiatus. Lifetime lover of books, radio host, and entrepreneur, Robin works tirelessly to advocate for all things literary.

Affectionately referred to as the Fairy Bookmother, Robin connects writers to readers, hosts beloved authors events, and is never without a book. When we go out, I have to bring a notebook to record the names of authors I need to read and all the fun ideas we brainstorm together.

Please tune in today and every Friday afternoonReading with Robin, Robin Kall, RI Robin, book lovers, for the return of Reading With Robin, 4-5:00 pm eastern. You can also listen to AM790 WPRV on the i Heart Radio app.

On today’s show, I’ll be calling in to talk about Naked Parenting and my book signing next week on January 22nd at Symposium Books in East Greenwich, RI.

She’ll be sharing her favorite authors, telling stories and having a great on-air time. Today’s show is going to be a free-for-all so we’ll see what happens. After all, it’s LIVE!

Break a binding, Robin!

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More Favorite Books For Book Clubs

January 14, 2015 by ldecesare

More favorite books for book clubs | MothersCircle.netLast summer, I listed some of my favorite books for book clubs, after another year of reading, here are some more favorite books. At the end of this post, take a peek at some of the author’s I’ve met – and I absolutely recommend their books, too! Loved Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, The Baker’s Daughter, Those Who Save Us, The Beauty of Humanity Movement and others by the authors in the photos! ENJOY!

My newest Favorite Books for Book Clubs:

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
I’ve loved Liane Moriarty’s work and this one was intriguing and left our book club discussing a lot of what ifs. The husband’s secret was nothing like I thought it would be!

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Get out the tissues! I couldn’t put this book down and loved the contrast of the two main characters one an adventurer but unable, the other able but inhibited. So many wonderful discussion points and seriously, even my friends who are non-criers, cried. Sign of a good book if you ask me!

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
The paperback cover GLOWS IN THE DARK! Most fun discovery as I turned out my lights and saw it glowing on my nightstand! Hearing Robin Sloan speak was a blast, too. One of my favorite lines was when the protagonist is explaining developing a computer model of the book store and I was thinking, “Wow, that’s impressive.” The very next line in the book was, “And if you’re impressed by this, you’re over 30.” I fell over laughing! YUP! I am!

(Did you see my post 44 and Pregnant on Huffington Post? Tells you I’m way over 30!)

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
I loved both of these and couldn’t help but see tons of parallels and similarities from the importance of a tree in both and the main character being a red head with freckles. The stories are both written beautifully and I deeply enjoyed both.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
I love symbols and love gardening. This book both broke and warmed my heart. It also made me want to open a flower shop!

Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch
Read this over the summer in a flash, enjoyed it, fun story and well-written. It’s been months since I’ve read this and so as perimenopause steals  my memory (good excuse), I don’t recall if this had topics that are in-depth enough to spark lively book club discussions, but I do know I liked it!

good reads, book club books, what to read, reading suggestions, meeting authors, signed books

Not only do I love reading, I am crazy for meeting authors! I love to hear authors speak and to get my books signed. Here is a little photo gallery of some of the authors whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Many thanks to my friend, Robin of Reading with Robin, and the fantastic author events she plans for our small state with big readers!

© Copyright Leah DeCesare

Elin Hilderbrand, The matchmaker

Elin Hilderbrand, her latest book is The Matchmaker

Image Camilla Gibb, Camilla Gibb author, photo camilla gibb, Leah Decesare with Camilla Gibb, Leah DeCesare, book signing, author book signing, signed copy of beauty of humanity movement, beauty of humanity movement writer

Camilla Gibb, author of Beauty of Humanity Movement

those who save us, The Muse Jenna Blum, Storm chasers,

Jenna Blum is a treasure to writers! So supportive and encouraging! Read Those Who Save Us and Storm Chasers.

Love Sarah McCoy's book The Baker's Daughter. Reading her newest, not out yet, The Mapmaker's Children right now! LOVE!

Love Sarah McCoy’s book The Baker’s Daughter. Reading her newest, not out yet, The Mapmaker’s Children right now! LOVE!

Susan Jane Gilman, John Searles, Dani Shapiro, Leah DeCesare

Loved meeting Susan Jane Gilman (Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street), John Seales (I want him to be my friend! Author of Help for the Haunted) and Dani Shapiro (Devotion).

saving grace, tempting fate, another piece of my heart

Jane Green writes two books a year! Her newest, Saving Grace, will be out in January.

Robin Sloan, Penumbra's 24 hour library

Author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan