Expert Advice We're serving up our favorite pieces of wisdom from our Babe community.

By Babe | Photo by Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher

We culled the far reaches of Babe to bring to you some of our favorite expert opinions on everything from baby-raising to love-making, featuring the best childcare (and women-care) professionals in our orbit. Read on, mama.

On Feeding

“I think the tone you set for starting solids is more important than the actual choices you make starting solids, and the tone should be that mealtime is a social, happy, relaxed environment. You also don’t want to force an amount of food on kids. You want to take the opportunity to watch their cues. If they’re shutting their mouth, don’t shove a spoon in it.”

Dr. Aliza Pressman

On Discipline

“Discipline starts early on, before you can even believe it. The word is actually derived from the Greek root “to learn.” So if you think of it that way, it can start as early as birth. From the beginning of your baby’s life, think about discipline in terms of your role as a teacher and guide, not about control and punishment. Then, keep your language with your child to help them learn what to do, instead of telling them what not to do.”

Dr. Aliza Pressman

On Navigating the First 40 Days

“Allow people to help you and support you. If you can’t afford postpartum support or care, then lean on those friends who say, ‘Hey! If you need anything….’ Those are the people you respond with, ‘Yes, I do.’ Even if you don’t, just have them come over and I can guarantee you they’ll find something to do, even if it’s holding the baby while you take a shower.”

Brandi Sellerz

On Surviving the 4th Trimester

“Most women have no idea what they’re doing. They’re trained to excel in school and work but they have no clue how to handle beings.  That’s the cultural shift in family ecology. We only had extended families hundreds of years ago.  Today’s moms don’t think they deserve any help. Normal mothers suck it up and deal with no help and they don’t complain because “you asked to have a baby.” That’s one of the reasons families are disoriented and dissolving. They’re so sleep deprived, it’s literally torture. But there are simple techniques that can make you much more successful, and that’s my life’s mission. You must help your baby start to sleep.”

Dr. Harvey Karp

On Embracing the Fifth Trimester

“I teach a lot of reframing. Those early days of motherhood can be very isolating. It’s this incredibly universal experience, yet OMG why is this so uncomfortable for me? Am I doing something wrong? I help moms attribute it not to their own supposed shortcomings, but to the way the culture is set up to not support new moms or dads. Geographically, people are more spread out and public policies are not set up to support new moms. You have all of that working against you but in the isolation of new motherhood, it doesn’t feel good. So it’s helping them realize those feelings are due to external forces. I’m really allergic to the term “mom guilt.”

Lauren Smith Brody

On Getting Back Into the Bedroom (or Not) Post Baby

“Have the anxiety, it is rightfully deserved. I have two feelings on this. One, is that the answer has to do with physical pain depending on how soon after you delivered. If you delivered vaginally, then your vagina is literally beat up. Even if you didn’t deliver vaginally, but you’re nursing, your vagina is less elastic, and it hurts like you’re in menopause. What’s even more important is your total lack of libido for many reasons. You’re exhausted, you’re in love with someone else, you’re nursing, and your hormones actually don’t want you to have a libido. You have a decrease in estrogen because nature wants you to spread your babies out by at least a year. 

The other feeling is that I believe it’s really unfair in the modern world that there is this six week mark when you can suddenly do all the things. Go exercise! Have sex! One, it gives women the impression that they should want to, and if they don’t, then they must be broken. First and foremost, we need to educate men and partners on nature and how natural it is for postpartum women not to want to have sex. Let’s talk more openly about it.”

Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, OBGYN

On Finding Your People

“Some of my best times as a young mom involved going to a friend’s house and hanging out while the babies rolled around on the floor. Anything women can do to cultivate community, whether gathering around causes or getting involved in the PTA, it might feel uncomfortable putting ourselves out there, but it’s as important as getting a stroller. Having community is as important as anything on a mother’s to-do list. Consider it health related.”

Dr. Darby Saxbe