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Pregnancy Study Looking for Subjects

Dr. Nichole Fairbrother, assistant professor, Island Medical Program, University of British Columbia, and head of the Mother-Infant Wellness Lab is conducting a study to assess a new measure of fear of childbirth. If you would like to participate in the study or find our more information, click here


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Getting Ready for Baby

The best pregnancy weekly planner organized
to help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy
and a smooth transition to life with baby



Breastfeeding Moms - Calm Your
Fussy Baby By Changing Your Diet!

The Calm Baby Cookbook

Only $19.99

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The Calm Baby Cookbook

What a breastfeeding mother eats can actually influence her baby’s disposition! A baby who fusses, cries or displays other colicky symptoms is most likely reacting quite negatively to something that his or her mother is eating. If a breastfeeding mother can eliminate certain foods on a short-term basis, her baby will become calmer and more relaxed.

The Calm Baby Cookbook outlines the foods that commonly causes breastfeeding babies discomfort and it provides 85 great tasting recipes to get started.


The Calm Baby Cookbook Features:

  • How Calmer Babies Bond More Easily
    With Their Families
  • The Reason For the Baby’s Discomfort
  • The Foods That Most Commonly Cause
    A Baby Discomfort
  • Tips to Convert Your Favorite Recipes Into
    Breastfeeding-Friendly Ones
  • What to Do When You Are Ready To Introduce
    These Foods Back Into Your Diet
  • What To Do If Your Baby Is Still Fussy
  • Tips to Help Make Breastfeeding Easier
  • Simple Ways to Calm a Fussy Baby
  • 85 Recipes To Get Started


How The Calm Baby Cookbook
Can Help To Calm A Fussy Baby

A fussy baby can cause great anxiety for a new mother. She knows that her baby is upset and uncomfortable, but is unable to calm her baby. If her baby continues to cry on a long-term basis, she begins to rationalize that she is the problem. Her self-esteem decreases and she begins to doubt her ability to parent. What many new mothers do not realize is that her fussy baby may be reacting quite negatively to something that she is eating. By simply changing her diet on a short-term basis, a new mother can calm her fussy baby dramatically.

Small particles of everything that a breastfeeding mother eats and drinks ends up in her breastmilk. Because the lining of a newborn’s gut is quite porous for the first four months of life, a baby can have difficulties digesting certain foods. There are approximately 10 different foods that consistently cause a baby discomfort and if the breastfeeding mother can eliminate them from her diet, her baby usually stops fussing and crying within a week.

Learning to parent a newborn can be difficult for some mothers. Parenting skills are fragile at first and new mothers can become overwhelmed with caring for a newborn. If the breastfeeding process becomes easier, the mother gains confidence because she alone is providing nourishment for her baby and her baby is happy. If the breastfeeding process is difficult, she can be more inclined to discontinue breastfeeding. Almost all studies on breastfeeding show that there is great benefit for both mother and baby the longer that they breastfeed. The goal of the Calm Baby Cookbook is to empower new mothers to breastfeed their babies with confidence and to enhance the family bonding and attachment process.

The bonding and attachment process between a fussy baby and his/her parents becomes challenging, as it is difficult to enjoy each other’s company when the baby is constantly crying. Calm babies bond more easily with their families and family life with a first baby becomes much easier to manage. There is simply less frustration and angst for both parents when the baby is calm. One mother who followed the Calm Baby diet remarked, “I feel that Ava is finally able to see me. Her crying has decreased and we are able to play together for the first time.”

The Calm Baby Cookbook includes information on:

  • How calm babies bond more easily with their families
  • The reason for the baby’s discomfort
  • The foods that most commonly cause a baby discomfort
  • Tips to convert favorite recipes into breastfeeding–friendly ones
  • What to do when you are ready to introduce these foods back into your diet
  • What to do if the baby is still fussy
  • Tips to help make breastfeeding easier
  • Simply ways to calm a fussy baby
  • 85 delicious recipes to get started


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Mom-To-Mom Tips

As mothers, together we can help each other along this journey of parenthood. If you would like to share any tips you have to help make family life easier for others, we will include them in the Mom-to-mom Tips section of our website. Please send them to tips@drmelaniebee.org

If we print your recipe or mom-to-mom tip, we will include your full name along with it. By sending us a recipe and/or a mom-to-mom tip, you give us full permission to use your submission in further editions of The Calm Baby Cookbook, or on the drmelaniebee website.

Send us your Breastfeeding-Friendly Recipes!

Our goal is to help new mothers succeed with breastfeeding. We welcome you to donate any of your breastfeeding- friendly recipes to be posted on our website or for future editions of The Calm Baby Cookbook. Please send them to recipes@drmelaniebee.org





Getting Ready for Baby

A practical five-step guide
to help you prepare for labour,
birth and for life as a family

  • Enjoy a healthier pregnancy

  • Be better prepared for life as a new mother

  • Assemble a dynamite health care team

  • Communicate more effectively with your health care providers

  • Organize yourself and your home to enjoy a smooth transition to family life

  • Bond more easily with your baby

    Only $ 21.95

    New Mother Gift Pack

    Getting Ready for Baby
    and The Calm Baby Cookbook

    for Only $37.95
    (Regular Price $41.94)


Chock full of tips from experienced moms, Getting Ready for Baby:

  • Begins with you – your pregnancy story, a letter to your baby, and more.
  • Helps you to decide upon your ideal birth.
  • Has a place for you to write your birth plan.
  • Includes dad in your pregnancy.
  • Is sensitive to single moms whose partner is not a part of her life.
  • Helps you organize your home and your life before your baby is born.
  • Includes a list for the people you want to call right after your birth.
  • Ends with you – your birth story and pregnancy highlights


To help you improve your pregnancy experience, Getting Ready for Baby:

  • Helps you establish your ultimate health care team.
  • Provides pages for you to write down how your body is changing, and your questions.
  • Offers suggestions to celebrate your journey to motherhood.
  • Lists what you absolutely need before your baby is born and the things that can wait.
  • Includes a list of items to pack if you are having a hospital birth, including natural remedies to help you recover more quickly.
  • And much more!


Organize your pregnancy into five manageable steps:

Step 1 – Decide on the type of birth that you’d like and then interview and select your ultimate health care team to support your choices for pregnancy, labour and birth.

Step 2 – Use the planner section to make note of your body changes and your questions so that you are well prepared for your appointments with your caregiver and support professionals.

Step 3 – Organize your homes and your lives to make a smooth transition to becoming a family.

Step 4 – Prepare for labour and birth spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Step 5 – Plan ahead to make life easier during those energy-charged first weeks after your baby is born.


Getting Ready for Baby:

  • Has a place for you to write down how your body is changing, how you are feeling and all of your questions.
  • Includes pages for you to organize your thoughts before your scheduled caregiver appointments. We’ve designed a place to write down the answers to your questions and record your test results.
  • Has a section for your birth plan.
  • Is beautiful enough to be a keepsake. We’ve designed a place to include pictures at each trimester so that you can look back and remember your body changes throughout your pregnancy.
  • Includes dad in the pregnancy and provides pages for him to write down messages from his heart as well as his perspective of your pregnancy and birth.
  • Is sensitive to single moms whose partner is not a part of her life. We have designed our planner to be able to remove the dad contribution pages if that is appropriate.
  • Has a section to record the fun things of pregnancy: how you found out that you were pregnant, how you shared the news.
  • Offers mom-to-mom tips throughout the book from experienced moms who have found easier ways to handle pregnancy, birth and postpartum recovery.
  • Includes a master to-do-list for tasks that need to be completed before the baby is born and weekly to-do-lists to manage your time.
  • Has a place for you to write down baby gift ideas that you would love to have in case someone asks what you really need or want.
  • Offers suggestions to celebrate your journey to motherhood and activities for you to prepare for your labour and birth spiritually, emotionally and physically.
  • Helps you become better informed and prepared for breastfeeding before you have your baby. Your chance of success increases significantly this way.
  • Has a list of baby things that are organized into what you absolutely need before the baby is born and the baby things that can wait for a bit.
  • Includes a list of items to pack if you are having a hospital birth, including natural remedies to help you recover more quickly. We’ve thought of a few things that many people forget and we’ve included spaces for you to add everything that is important to you.
  • Has a place for your birth story and to record all the information of your baby’s birth: time of birth, weight, length, attendants, etc.
  • Contains the essentials of a weekly planner: calendars, week at a glance pages, to-do-lists, contacts, favourite websites and baby gifts you receive when you are on the go.
  • Includes a page to list the people you want to call right after your baby is born. This is usually the partner’s job. If the names and numbers are handy, it is so much easier.
  • Has a place to look back over your pregnancy, labour and birth and note the highlights – the funny things, the challenging moments and how you have changed.

Both The Calm Baby Cookbook and Getting Ready For Baby are beautifully illustrated by Canadian artist, Cheryl Peddie.

Both books were created entirely by Canadians and printed in Calgary, Alberta.

Click here to see where our books have been sent
throughout Canada, the United States and Internationally


Listed Below are the most popular entries of
Dr. Melanie's Blog, The Melanie Bee Perspective

Click Here to view these posts in a user-friendly format,
or click on the headings of the individual posts


Everything You Wanted to Know About Babywearing

Dr. maria blois

One of the best websites that I've found that talks about babywearing is by Dr. Maria Blois (pictured above). If you are at all interested in learning about the benefits of wearing your baby, please check out her website and her blog in particular.

I've emailed her a few questions that many of my patients wanted to know and she was gracious enough to respond. These questions are about the basics of babywearing: , and we encourage all of our patients to learn more.

1. Dr. Blois, what is babywearing, anyway?

Babywearing is the simply the practice of holding your baby close in a soft carrier while you go about the daily business of life.

2. What makes it so special?

Well, first of all, it is wonderfully convenient for parents! Holding our baby in a soft carrier means that our hands are free to do other things. Baby is comfortable and content and we get to focus on something else besides baby care. Babywearing meets the needs of parents to "get something done" while also meeting baby's needs for warmth, movement and security.

3. What are the top three benefits of babywearing?

As it turns out, babies are some kind of clever creatures. Yes, babies want to be held, but it goes deeper than that. Studies show that biologically, babies need to be held in order to thrive. A review of current randomized controlled trials suggest that the benefits of holding for preterm babies include shortened hospital stay, decreased illness, higher exclusive breastfeeding rates/longer breastfeeding duration, increased weight gain, improved temperature regulation, and improved maternal sense of competence. Evidence-based benefits for full term babies include improved state organization and motor system modulation; improved temperature regulation; and an analgesic effect, reduced crying, improved maternal responsiveness, and babies who were more securely attached. Good stuff, all around!

4. Is a sling or a baby carrier better?

Any soft carrier that properly supports and aligns the head and neck of a young infant and that is comfortable for the caregiver is fine.

5. Is there anything else that you'd like us to know?

I am often asked about the dangers of "spoiling" a baby by holding them "too much." The thinking goes like this: If I hold my baby too much, then she will grow to expect to be held and then I will be stuck holding her all the time. In my humble opinion, this is a moot point. In our arrogance, we assume that we have created the need to be held by holding our babies, when in fact babies are born hardwired to seek out that which they need to thrive: food, warmth and human touch. Whether we hold our babies or not, they will still biologically need to be held. We cannot spoil a baby by meeting their basic needs.

6. If you had one thing that you'd like new mothers to know, what would it be?

Hold your baby, nurse your baby, love your baby, get to know your baby. Let the rest of the world move on by and take this time to focus on you and your baby. After mothering four of my own babies, I can say without hesitation that you will never regret the investment you have made in your children. They are worth it.

Thanks, Dr. Blois for taking the time for us!
You can find out more about babywearing at Dr. Maria's website


Simple Ways to Calm a Fussy Baby

As new parents, it can be overwhelming tosoothe a baby when they fuss and cry.  Here are some ideas that might help you to calm a fussy baby, they have certainly worked for us!

1. Dance together.  Gentle music soothes babies rather than fast music with a lively beat.   By swaying and humming to the music, you can entertain a baby enough to help him relax and stop crying.  If you can, make a tape or CD of your favourite slow songs and enjoy some bonding time.

2. Carry your baby with you wherever you go.   Babies calm down when they feel you close and hear your heartbeat; a baby sling or a baby carrier will support your back and make it easier to do this.  Newborn babies aren’t able to support their own body weight, so a baby sling works best for the first few months.  Once your baby is able to sit up on his own, a baby carrier is a great choice as it allows him to face outward and see the world. 

3. Swaddle your baby before you rock him to sleep.  New babies like to feel snug and cosy, and swaddling can create that feeling for them.  If you would like more information on how to swaddle a baby please visit www.drmelaniebee.org, click on the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding button, and look for Simple Ways to Calm a Baby on the left side of the web page.

4. Skin-to-skin contact helps.  One of the nicest ways to accomplish this, especially in the evening, is to run a warm bath, light a few candles and turn off the lights.   Sit in the tub, place your baby on your chest, and cover his back and legs with a warm facecloth.  Babies like the feel of the close contact, the warm water, and the pretty lights.  Bath time is an excellent way for dad to have special bonding time and it gives mom a bit of a break.

5. Infant massage provides great relief for babies, as it helps to promote bonding, relaxation and brain stimulation.  It also helps to improve digestion and results in a deeper sleep for your baby.  For more information about infant massage, please visit www.iaim.net.

6. Wrap up your baby warmly in your baby stroller and go for a walk.  Especially if you walk on a sidewalk, the rhythmic bumping movement can soothe a baby quickly.  You both get some fresh air and you benefit from adding exercise to your day.

7. Go for an evening drive.  Some babies like the hum of a running engine.  I found that if I placed two rolled up burp cloths on either side of my baby’s head and then tucked a blanket firmly around him as he sat in his car seat, it helped him to feel more comfortable and secure in the car. 

8. Rock your baby to sleep.  Rocking provides gentle movement that can calm a fussy baby.  Either hold your baby in the crook of your arm with pillows for support, or hold your baby on your chest as you rock back and forth. 

9. Vacuum the floors of your house.  Some babies find the hum of a vacuum to be calming.  Place your baby in a sling or a baby carrier and start vacuuming.  If your baby does calm down with vacuuming, you benefit in two ways: you end up with a calm baby and a clean floor.

Chiropractic Care Makes A Difference During Pregnancy

As I talk with pregnant women throughout my community, I can constantly surprised that many women do not know that chiropractic adjustments can help them to have an easier pregnancy and quite likely, an easier birth. The truth is that chiropractic care facilitates a more comfortable transition from early to late term pregnancy and through to postpartum recovery. 

As Chiropractors, we assess your spine and pelvic joints to see if there are certain areas that are not moving as easily as they could.  We perform many of the same tests that your physician does to determine that you are in perfect health: a complete history, orthopedic exam, neurological exam, and a postural exam to see how your body is adapting to your pregnancy. If we find that you have areas in your spine or pelvic joints are not moving properly, we usually adjust them.  The choice is yours as to whether we adjust or not. What is important to remember is that a chiropractic adjustment will allow the areas of your spine that are stuck to move again, which will relieve your discomfort. 

The pelvis is of great concern to Chiropractors.  The pelvis is essentially a ring made up of four bones: the sacrum, which is the triangular bone at the base of your spine, the tailbone that is attached to your sacrum, and the two hipbones of your pelvis.  These four bones are held together by many ligaments and connective tissue.  Relaxin, the hormone of pregnancy, is released in the body from early on in the pregnancy to soften these ligaments to allow better passage of the baby during labour and birth.  What can happen later on in the pregnancy is that the ligaments stretch quite a bit, to the point of overstretching.  The sacroiliac joints (where the sacrum meets the pelvis) can become quite moveable and walking can become a challenge.  The “pregnant waddle” can be noticeable as a woman walks because, at this point, the sacroiliac joints move too much and the body locks the sacrum into place by causing the woman’s feet to turn out and for her to lock her knees.  With a Chiropractic adjustment, the sacroiliac joints are able to move in a more normal position and the woman is able to walk more easily.

The goals of Chiropractic care during pregnancy are to ease the pregnant woman’s areas of discomfort and to help promote a more stable pelvis. A study done in 1990  showed that women who were under Chiropractic care throughout their pregnancies had reduced labour times.  First time moms experienced 25% less time in labour and birth and moms with previous babies averaged 31% shorter labour times.  Also, another study done in 1991 showed that women who experienced back pain during their pregnancies had a 72% chance of having back labour during labour and birth.  Back labour isn’t pleasant and Chiropractic care can help ease back pain.

Chiropractors are interested in relieving your aches and pains throughout your pregnancy and during your postpartum period.  Immediately after birth, your body experiences another great posture change and your back needs to adapt to not having a pregnant belly anymore.  The posture of breastfeeding can cause great discomfort in the midback, especially between the shoulder blades.  There is the constant lifting, bending, stooping, carrying the car seat about, rocking, walking and so on.  Life with a new baby is definitely another time where chiropractic care can help your body more easily. Once again, we keep the fixed or subluxated areas of your spine moving smoothly.

After birthing a baby, your body continues to produce relaxin for approximately the next four months, but in a gradually decreasing amounts.  This process helps the ligaments to slowly tighten back around the spine and the rest of the joints in the body.  Chiropractic care can keep the joints in your spine and pelvis in optimal alignment as your ligaments pull back into place around the joints of your spine.

To find a chiropractor near you, Canadians can visit www.ccachiro.org or www.icpa4kids.org.
Americans can visit www.amerchiro.org or www.icpa4kids.org.

For More Information on pregnancy and breastfeeding please visit Dr. Melanie's pregnancy and breastfeeding pages.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Baby’s Intelligence

After a baby is born, her brain and her nervous system get to work learning about how her body works and the world that she lives in.  Despite the fact that a newborn sleeps most of her day, her brain and nervous system are incredibly busy.  If fact, from birth to 2½ years old, a baby’s brain is the busiest that it will ever be in her entire lifetime as it learns to process information and to develop new skills. A baby learns that this is mom and that’s dad and how to move her body in space.  She learns how to recognize important people in her life and what certain words mean.

From the age 2 ½ to 5, to improve efficiency, a child’s brain starts to prune down connections (the technical term is synapses) that aren’t used as often as others.  If parents play and engage with their babies, they help to strengthen synapses within the brain, and reduce the pruning process.

In summary, from birth to 5 years old, parents have a great opportunity to stimulate their child’s brain to ensure that its connections within the brain and to the body are strong.  Here are some easy things that you can do to stimulate your child’s brain:

  1. Delay returning to work for as long as possible.  The first year of life is really important to establish the bonding and attachment process between a baby and her parents, especially with her mom.  If mom or dad can be at home that first year, your baby will have more secure relationships with you and everyone else in her life.
  2. Carry your baby around with you, wherever possible.  The physical act of moving back and forth as you walk and bend stimulates the part of your baby’s brain that tracks balance and position of the body.  Babies who are carried usually walk faster than babies who are not.

  3. Breastfeed your baby as long as possible.  Breastmilk contains all that a baby needs to support her developing brain and nervous system.  It gives a baby immunity from viral or bacterial infections, it provides comfort and enhances the mother/baby bonding and attachment process.  Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed have relatively higher intelligence than babies who are not. 

  4. Touch your baby whenever possible.  The physical act of touch is a great way to stimulate your baby’s brain.  Infant massage is especially beneficial because it provides the positive benefits of relaxation, improved digestion and an enhanced quality of sleep.  You can learn infant massage from a certified infant massage instructor, or you can read books or watch videos.  An added bonus is that the people who are giving the baby massage have improved health, reduced stress, and they sleep better, too!

  5. Respond to your baby’s needs in a timely manner.  When a baby cries, she is communicating a need for something that almost always is comfort, food, or a diaper change.  The saying that “you’ll spoil a child if you go to her whenever she cries” is simply incorrect.  When you respond to your child’s needs, your baby learns that mom and dad can be depended upon.  She also learns that she has value as a person.

  6. Read and sing to your baby.  Language and music are great ways to stimulate a baby’s brain.  We have a specific place in our brains that processes language and music and the more that you talk to your baby, the more stimulation that her brain will receive.  Classical, country or light rock music are the best choices as their beat is stimulating, but not overly so.  It is important to realize that television or radio programs are not a good substitute for a real conversation.  A baby is not able to follow a television or radio’s message, and most babies tune out television or radio sounds because they over stimulate a baby’s brain.

The underlying principle is that the more time you spend with your baby in play and one-on-one interactions, the more you stimulate your baby’s brain.  Add some of the above suggestions to your day and everyone benefits from time spent together because it’s just plain fun!

Organizing Your Life Helps Tremendously When You’re Having a Baby

Excerpted from Getting Ready for Baby

It is extremely helpful in during your pregnancy to eliminate the clutter in your mind and in your life so you can focus on family bonding once your baby is born. Tto start, brainstorm all the tasks that need to be completed. Take a large piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Designate one side for home tasks and the other for work tasks and then inventory your home and work life and list everything you find that needs completing, no matter how large or how small.

Here’s an example to get you started:

Unfinished Things to Do

· Take back library books

· Take in the van for an oil change

· Clean out room for baby

· Plan for maternity leave

· Clean out closets

· Buy nursing bras

Once you have made a list of all the tasks that you can think of, take three highlighter markers and go over your list again.

Color in yellow all of the things that are important for you to finish before your baby is born, such as special projects at work, choosing the paint color for your baby’s room, buying those nursing bras.

Color in pink all of the things that need to be done but aren’t important for you to do them. For example, could you have someone else take your car in for an oil change, and the library books back? Could you get a local charity to come and cart away the junk you’ve been saving for the garage sale that you’ve never got around to?

Color in green all of the things that really aren’t important for you to do anymore. Do you have unfinished projects that are taking up space in your closets and are no longer interesting? Do you have obligations at work that aren’t really necessary, or you can pass on to someone else?

Once you have finished highlighting your tasks, you’ll find that it now becomes much easier.

Yellow items are top priority for you.
These are things that you need to finish before your baby is born. Or, at least, these things would free up time and emotional involvement so that you can relax and enjoy bonding time with your baby. Number the yellow items in order of priority and give yourself a reasonable deadline to get them done.

Pink items are tasks that you can delegate to your partner, family members or friends.
Make a list of these items in order of importance. When anyone asks if there is anything they could do to help, simply pull out your list and find a job that they would be able to do for you.

Green items are projects and commitments that you need to purge from your life.
Get rid of that needlework that you’ve been pecking away at for the last six years and now decide that you don’t like very much. Throw away or recycle your unwanted items, you’ll feel light and free once you give up old obligations to tasks that no longer work for you.

If you take the time to organize the clutter in your life, you will find that once your baby is born, you will be able to relax and enjoy your time together. Taking the time you need to bond with your baby is quite simply one of the best gifts that you can give yourself.


Expert Advice on Birth Plans - a Conversation with Dr. Marsden Wagner, author of Creating Your Birth Plan

 In our latest book, Getting Ready for Baby, we recommend that pregnant women read Creating Your Birth Plan by Dr. Marsden Wagner.  Well, luckily enough for us, Dr. Marsden Wagner, author of Creating Your Birth Plan, has graciously given his time to answer a few of my questions on advice that he would give to pregnant women. 

Dr. Wagner is an independent consultant on maternity care and has been featured in US News and World Report, Health, Mother Jones, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as appearing on Dateline and Good Morning America.  He is a former director of Women’s and Children’s Health for the World Health Organization, and the author/editor of eight books including Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth.

Dr. Wagner’s personal story about how he has come to view a woman’s birth and the power that she has is found in his book.  He has given me permission to print the following excerpts:

The first time I was present at a natural, unmedicated birth a transformation took place near the end of the woman’s labor.  Her face began to glow and she shouted her feelings of determination to everyone within earshot.  She was going to do this! The moment she pushed the baby out of her body, she triumphantly yelled, “I did it!” Then she leaned over, took her newborn infant in her arms, and looked around the room proudly, wearing an angelic expression that would have put Michelangelo to shame.  It was awe inspiring. Every woman should feel as much pride and euphoria at her labor’s end.

As for me, at that moment my understanding of childbirth would never be the same.  Even with all my experience as a physician, it was surprising for me to see a woman give birth in her full power and autonomy: making strange sounds, moving however she wanted to make herself comfortable, and clearly demanding her needs be met—and having her birth attendants support all her choices.  It was unlike most hospital births.  I had been trained to take charge of birth and use my medical skills to make sure that women in labor wouldn’t be harmed, to arrange the risks with technology and action.  I had been trained to believe that I “delivered” a baby, even though healthy women push out their babies.  Before that day it never occurred to me that a healthy woman having a normal labor wouldn’t need my services, that there would be nothing to do— except give her room and stand by.  But on that day my medical approach was superfluous.  This event helped me understand that there needed to be a better balance of medicine and nature.

There is a biological as well as a psychological explanation for what I had just witnessed.  The birthing woman’s amazing transformation—her clarity of purpose and strength—was the result of the release of endorphins (naturally occurring hormones in the body that relieve pain and enhance the sense of overall well-being),  basically acting like an internal dose of morphine without any of the risks or side effects.  Athletes call the painkilling and euphoric effects of endorphins the “second wind” or “runner’s high.” It was the powerful sensations of childbirth itself that triggered her rush of endorphins.  Her pride of achievement was also based in knowing that she was a capable woman.  She had risen to the occasion, handled the physical challenges, and brought forth a new life.

More than four million American women give birth each year, with more than 95% of them in hospitals.  They choose hospitals for a variety of reasons having to do with the incorrect idea that hospitals can provide the safest births.  Although women sometimes choose to labor in hospitals because they have no access to a home-birth midwife, or because an insurance company mandates the decision, often it’s because they believe that a doctor can guarantee their safety in case of an emergency. While midwives oversee some hospital births, obstetricians and labour-and-delivery nurses manage the majority. Another reason women choose hospitals is to have access to strong pain medication—epidurals.

As a result of our reliance on hospitals and doctors, birth in America has come to be perceived as a medical event rather than a natural one—we literally view it through the eyes of doctors.  We spend twice as much as any other country in the world per birth, because medical technology and drugs are highly esteemed and widely available, and we want to purchase the best care.  Even in normal pregnancies, our rate for interventions, like electronic fetal monitoring, labor induction and augmentation, and cesarean section is skyrocketing. Nonetheless, many other countries get better results than we do using less technology and fewer medications.  What are the pregnant women and the maternity caregivers in those countries doing or not doing that would benefit you?

Creating Your Birth Plan will explore the standards of care in hospitals, out-of-hospital birth centers, and at-home births.  According to scientific evidence, do hospitals and doctors adhere to the best and safest practices? Do midwives adhere to the best and safest practices? Under what types of emergency conditions is it important to be under the care of an obstetrician? What factors are valuable for you to take into consideration before giving birth in a hospital is an independent birth center, or at home? What would a truly natural birth, one without any interventions and medications, be like?

As an expectant mother you need to be an active participant in your own care.  You need to know how to recognize excellent professional caregivers as well as how to protect yourself from the less-scrupulous type of practitioners who allow fear of litigation to influence their decision-making about childbirth and outweigh research studies.

As a physician and scientist, and a former director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization (WHO), I headed a team for fifteen years that gathered scientific data on different forms  of maternity care throughout the worlds’ industrialized nations. We investigated everything from labouring postures and whether or not a woman should eat, drink, and move around, to the efficacy of electronic fetal monitoring, ultrasound, intravenous drips, anesthesia, episiotomies, forceps and vacuum extraction, and cesarian section. Creating Your Birth Plan incorporates those findings.

In North America today, there is often profound misunderstanding and mistrust of the midwifery model of care that other highly industrialized countries worldwide embrace and find essential for the management of normal, healthy labor.  Statistics have shown that home birth and hospital birth managed by midwives tend to be safest for women and their babies, as well as most fulfilling.  Hopefully this book can help you understand midwives, so that you can carefully evaluate the services they provide based on facts, not myths.

Producing a healthy baby is a major goal of birth.  But a successful birth outcome involves so much more than mere survival.  We should not disregard the human impact of childbirth. Positive laboring experiences set women up to become good mothers and more confident people.  Some people climb mountains or run marathons to find out what they are capable of.  Giving birth presents a comparable opportunity for the woman who decides to become a mother.  It can reveal her to herself and transform her self-image.

My questions for Dr. Wagner were asked specifically for pregnant women who need to know about birth plans, what they do and what they should consider when they write theirs.

1.     What would you say are simple things a pregnant woman could do to positively influence her birth?

Choose a midwife to be your primary birth attendant.  Choose a free-standing birth center for your birth or choose a home birth.  

2.     If your daughter was having a baby, what would you like her to know? 

Obstetricians are surgeons who have never seen a normal birth and don’t know what it is so they medicalize all births they attend.   A hospital is for sick people so a birthing woman who is not sick should not go there any more than she should go there to have sexual intercourse.  A Cesarean section is major abdominal surgery with serious risks for both woman and baby.

3.     What do you wish that medical doctors would do differently with respect to birth? 

I wish that medical doctors should stop being responsible for normal, low risk birth and focus strictly on high risk pregnant and birthing women who have serious medical problems.

4.     What could a labouring couple do in a hospital setting to reduce their levels of anxiety? 

A laboring couple in a hospital should bring along their doula and put a door stop under the door to their room so that anyone wishing to come in must knock first and ask permission to come in.

5.     Do you have any advice for a newly pregnant mom with regards to her birth plan? 

Pregnant women should read my book Creating Your Birth Plan early in their pregnancy.    

We recommend Dr. Wagner’s Creating Your Birth Plan in our clinic for new moms and we urge all pregnant women to get a copy and read it from cover to cover.  You will be better informed to make the choices that only you can make when it comes to birthing your baby.

Regarding birth plans, I'd also like to add a quick plug for our latest book, Getting Ready for Baby, which helps pregnant women everywhere have a healthier pregnancy AND organize their homes and their lives to make a smoother transition to motherhood.

For more information about Getting Ready for Baby, The Calm Baby Cookbook or information on pregancy or breastfeeding, please visit Dr. Melanie's website.


It was just SOOO funny

Last week, my family was dining at a fast food restaurant, and during a conversation with my 5 year old, we began to talk about her life when she grew up.  When she mentioned having babies, I was surprised, but I played along.

"When you have a baby, you'll be the mom and I'll be the grandma," I said.  And then my beautiful girl looked and me and said, "but mom, I'm never having a baby."

"Why not?" I asked.

Amanda then (in the middle of a crowded restaurant) lifted up her shirt to expose her chest. "BECAUSE THE BABY IS GOING TO CHEW ON THESE!!!"

Once I had gained control, I tried to explain that it really does feel nice... and then I laughed for days.


Getting Ready for Baby - Our Story

We have had so many questions about Getting Ready for Baby, that I thought I'd tell you about it in this blog and refer interested people here.

Just after having my first baby, I had a chance to chat with someone who had children that were older than mine.  We were living in Vancouver at the time and my husband was traveling a lot because of his job.  I was overwhelmed with learning to care for a baby and starting a practice and one day, over coffee, I just looked at my friend and asked, "Benita, do you ever feel..."

And she cut me off with a twinkle in her eye, "you feel tired all the time and lonely with Bruce gone so much.  There is so much to do and you just can't keep up.  You sometimes want to scream because there is no time for you, and you wonder if you're doing everything wrong." Well, in thirty seconds she had summed up my life.  "How did you know?" I asked, thinking that I must be pathetic if it was that obvious.

"We all feel that way." And those words changed my life.  I was NOT alone, and I was NOT a failure as a mother if everyone else felt the same.  To my relief, I realized that I was doing just fine.

Life was more manageable after that day. Once Cody was older, and I was working, I noticed that the pregnant mothers in my clinic were experiencing the same doubts and fears that I did.  They weren't sure of their options for birth or what to do next, they were given all sorts of conflicting advice and they always wondered if they were missing something important.

One day, inspiration struck: there was a way to help.  Pregnant women needed a guide- something to help them organize their lives so that they could find their way to becoming mothers easier.  As a journal and a weekly planner combined, it could serve to improve communication with their health professionals and include advice from moms with hard-earned experience.

What a great concept! Ideas just flowed onto the page.  But, a few months later, we moved back home to Calgary...and along came Kayla, our girl with the wild hair and the sweet smile. Then Amanda, our little miss sunshine, and even though I was busy at home and at work, throughout this incredible journey, the pregnancy journal was always in the back of my mind, simmering away.

So now, after ten years and three kids, the pregnancy journal that I had the idea to write is now complete... and it is more beautiful than I ever imagined.  This is thanks to many wonderful women in my life who have read the book and offered their ideas about what they needed to hear during their pregnancies. 

The book's beauty is all due to the incredible talent of Cheryl Peddie, her artwork and book design.  It could never have happened without her, and I am grateful to call her my friend.
As for the rest, time will tell.  People are very interested in the book and we are selling them over the Internet from our Heartlights Publishing website.  The Dr. Melanie Bee website offers information about Getting Ready for Baby and The Calm Baby Cookbook (Dr. Melanie's first book for breastfeeding moms) and many articles about pregnancy, breastfeeding and general health questions.  Both websites offer more in depth information about the books and sample pages for you to see how wonderful they are.  We welcome you to visit our websites to take a look!

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Praise for
The Calm Baby Cookbook:

"I first met Dr. Melanie when she gave a presentation to our doula organization and I was thoroughly impressed with her knowledge. I was very excited to hear that she had written a book on foods that calm baby during the breastfeeding period. This book is user friendly and informative. I find it very well written and easy to navigate. I now give it as a gift to each of my new moms as a valuable aid for them.

I would highly recommend that every new mom has a copy of this treasure."

- Jennifer McGuire
Hip Mamas Doula Services

"My beautiful Sydney was cranky and screamed for the first six months of her life. I had been counseled to eat a lot of yogurt to get enough calcium while I was breastfeeding, which I now know caused all of Sydney’s distress. When Owen came along, I followed the diet in the Calm Baby Cookbook. He slept well and was quite a happy baby."
- Tiffany B.

"The Calm Baby Cookbook offers one the best explanations of foods breastfeeding mothers can eat to avoid having their babies be fussy with intestinal discomfort. I am glad to finally have nutritious foods and recipes that I can provide to parents with confidence. It is an inexpensive book so everyone can afford to purchase this fantastic cookbook. Mothers have told me they like it because it has foods that are usually in their homes already (or are easily obtainable) and recipes that are easy to follow.

Please take a good look at The Calm Baby Cookbook! I believe you will be pleased and agree with me that this book should be part of every post partum doulas professional bag of information for parents."

Debra MacFarlane
Three Wise Women Doula Services

"As a first time Mom I was pulling my hair out as to why my newborn son Garrison was crying so much. Once I changed my diet it was like I had a new baby. Thanks Dr. Melanie, you've made a world of difference for the whole family!!!." - Kim W.

"After I was referred to Dr. Melanie, she helped me with my breastfeeding technique and through the process of elimination, we ensured that there were no foods in my diet that were upsetting baby Ava’s tummy. Within a few weeks Ava was crying less and we were able to play and cuddle together more." -Alexa L.


Thoroughly “user friendly,” The Calm Baby Cookbook will prove a simple godsend for parents driven to distraction by a cranky, screaming, crying, distressed newborn during those critically important first few months of life.

- The Midwest
Book Review

The book is awesome!  I have given copies to several patients who run lactation departments at the local hospitals -- they are forwarding your website to many patients as they want copies for themselves!  Way to go!!!  We save copies of your book for our midwives and also in our lending library.

Dr. Amber Gardiner
Grimsby, Ontario

The reason I want your cookbook is because all four of us in the family (husband, 5 yr, 10 mos and me) all have sensitivities to dairy, wheat and sugar.  Your cookbook has recipes that don't include those items.  It will be nice to choose from one source, instead of poring through all my books at home to find acceptable recipes. 

A friend of mine bought your book and recommended it.  Word of mouth is still the best!
I really appreciate your email and look forward to using your book.
Tara  L.





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