Is Your Baby Safe When Sleeping?

January 2, 2015
Sleeping Baby
Is my baby safe when sleeping?

Gina Potts, M.D., Pediatrician

8 ways to reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS

All parents worry about their baby’s safety and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. Nearly 4,000 infants in the U.S. die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. Most occur while the infant is sleeping in an unsafe sleeping environment.

The following are 8 ways to reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS:

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Have your baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep on an adult bed, couch, chair, or with you or anyone else.
  • Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.    The risk of SIDS increases when a baby shares a bed with a smoker.
  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep. Dress your baby in no more than one layer of clothing more than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
  • Give your infant plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching.

While research continues to determine what causes SIDS, we do know that by following these preventive measures, you can reduce your baby’s risk while giving him or her the best care possible.


Guest Blogger

Gina Potts, M.D.
Memorial Hermann Medical Group
2520 B F Terry Boulevard
Rosenberg, TX 77471
P:  281.342.6006

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It’s Hot in Houston – Keep Baby Cool!

July 3, 2014
keep baby cool

Infants and toddlers can easily dehydrate in the summer heat. Since they cannot tell their parents or caregivers they are hot or thirsty, it is very important to prevent them from becoming overheated.

Meredith Stedham, RN, LPC and VP of the Motherhood Center said, “Summer in Houston is a time when we all need to be mindful of staying hydrated, however it is especially important to make sure that infants and young children are drinking adequate fluids because they have smaller bodies, which also means smaller fluid reserves and an increased risk to more quickly become dehydrated compared to adults.”

Tips on Keeping Babies and Children Cool in the Summer Heat:

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationMake sure your baby drinks extra fluids. If he is too young for water, increase fluid by giving him extra formula or by nursing more frequently. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer.julbo, julbo sunglasses, baby glasses, baby shades, baby sunglasses, motherhoodcenter, eye protection for baby

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationDress your infant/toddler in loose-fitting, lightweight garments. Cotton is a great natural fabric which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. Also a wide brimmed hat is a wise choice to protect their precious faces from the suns rays.

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationNever leave an infant or toddler in a hot room or parked car. Even a few minutes could cause their temperature to rise drastically and become dangerously overheated.

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationIf using a baby carrier, be aware that the combination of your body heat and the carrier’s restricting space can raise the infant’s temperature. Choose a carrier made from lightweight material rather than a heavy fabric. If a child’s face begins to look flushed, remove her from the carrier immediately.

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationThe sun is most harmful between 10am and 2pm. Plan outdoor activities either before or after this time period.

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationWhen playing outdoors, look for shaded areas, under trees, canopies, or umbrellas. Sunglasses for your little one is a good idea too. Make sure the lenses block UVA and UVB rays. Julbo Baby and Toddler Sunglasses provide essential eye protection and can be found at the Motherhood Center.

sun, baby, keep baby cool, houston, motherhoodcenter, hydrationLook for fun indoor activities you and your baby/toddler can enjoy! Mom and baby yoga or mom and me yoga is a fun way to interact with your little one during the hot summer months. The Motherhood Center offer a variety of Mom and Baby Yoga classes. Check the schedule here: Motherhood Yoga

Summertime should be a fun time. Use these tips to make sure your baby and toddler is cool, hydrated and protected from the summer sun.

About Motherhood Center:  The Motherhood Center is a unique space for moms-to-be, new mommies, and families in the heart of Houston, Texas. MHC offers the support and services all mothers need, from pregnancy to parenting. To find out more, visit

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Q&A with Motherhood Center Photographer- Jessica Matos

October 18, 2013
Jess Matos | Motherhood Center

jessicaWe sat down with MHC photographer, Jess to discuss everything from how she manages fussy children during photo sessions to shooting live births.

Upon meeting Jess, you instantly get the feeling you’ve known her your entire life. Her big smile and warm, bubbly personality puts you at ease instantly. Being photographed is a rather intimate and personal experience, one that requires trust and a strong level of comfort. Mom to 20-month old Brody and one baby girl on the way, no one can relate and understand Motherhood Center moms better than Jess. With the ability to make any woman feel like her best friend, it’s easy to see that the majority of her photography clients have remained loyal over the years. She brings her expertise, experience and gregarious personality to the Motherhood Center family.


How did you get into photography?

I’ve always taken pictures. I got my first camera from my grandfather as a graduation present. It was a Cannon 35mm film, which I still use today. I like to shoot in film and digital.

In college, I was a pre-med Biology major up until my junior year. Even then, I was always taking pictures! I was the Historian for my sorority, so I shot all of our events. I was also the “go-to” person in my family to take pictures for every holiday gathering or birthday party.

How did you go from pre-med to photography as a career?

I had taken some time away from school and began nannying for a family, still taking classes here and there. When I finally went back to school full-time, I took a Black & White Film photography course as an elective, and my passion for photography grew even more! That next semester, I changed my major to Photography and Art and never looked back!

What do you love about Photography?

 It makes me happy! Sometimes I feel like when I’m shooting a session, I am enjoying it more than they are! I love the connection that photography allows with families and especially children. Maybe it is because I came from a big family or my time as a nanny, but my whole life has revolved around family and children.

It’s all about connection! I need to have a connection with the people I’m shooting because it reflects in the photographs. It’s apparent in a photo when there is no connection with the photographer.

What’s your favorite kind of shoot to do?

I can’t decide which I like more, maternity or newborn! Both are such a wonderful, exciting, happy time in your life. It’s so nice to be invited into that moment of their life, when everything is new and full of love! It’s nice being able to experience that with so many people.

What makes a session ‘great’?

It’s a good session if they are having fun. If they are relaxed and are truly enjoying the moment, it creates the best photos.

Photography Philosophy.

Capture the moments they can’t see. The way your husband stares at you when you aren’t looking. The way his hand softly sweeps the hair out of your face or lovingly grazes your belly. That’s why I love shooting in people’s natural environment—their home or favorite location. I want to give you what you cannot see. I want to capture those emotions and feelings in a photo, and give you the beautiful moments that are often overlooked.

When is the best time to have your maternity photographs taken?

32 to 36 weeks! This insures you have a great looking belly. It’s right before the time during pregnancy when bloating becomes common, and you’re still feeling good enough to be photographed. Then we can get the photos edited and printed before baby’s arrival! We can also get the ball rolling and secure priority scheduling for the newborn session.

How do your clients approach a pregnancy shoot?

Everyone is different. Every woman has a different image in their head of what they want. Some know exactly what they want, and others don’t have a clue. Both approaches work. For women who have a vision for their maternity shoot, it gives me a starting point. The ones who don’t know what they want are usually pretty open. That allows me to be creative and try new ideas.

I have women who come in here and strip down, and others who are dressed head to toe in boots, scarves and sweaters. Both can be equally beautiful and desirable!

How do you approach capturing flattering shots for pregnant women?

It’s all about angles—angles, hand placement, and lighting.

What brought you to Motherhood Center versus another studio?

I love the hands-on approach and being able to interact with new moms every day—taking prenatal yoga with them, taking my 20-month year old son to Motherhood Music class, and developing real relationships and friendships with women in the same walk of life as myself.  I am a mom (with one on the way!). I relate to everything they are going through!

Favorite part of your job.

My favorite part of my job is being able to watch your family grow, and capturing all of those special moments and memories along the way. I love becoming a part of families, and witnessing the evolution from baby bump to a growing family and everything in between. That’s special.

How do you handle cranky or fussy children that aren’t thrilled with having their picture taken?

I don’t like to push anything. If the baby is fussy or hungry, we take a break. The session is on their terms, and should accommodate them. Take a break. Revisit it.

If a toddler is cranky and doesn’t want to take pictures, it always works to tell them, “Okay. You don’t have to take any more pictures. I’m going to shoot mommy and daddy for a little while now.” 9 times out of 10, the toddler wants back in the shot if they feel left out.

What are you tackling next?

I am most excited about shooting live births! Some women are totally opposed to the idea, and others welcome it openly. Again, it goes back to capturing the priceless moments that you might miss.

That would make you on-call.

I don’t care at all! That’s exciting to me! I would be thrilled to be awoken in the night to drive to the hospital and shoot a live birth. That is one of life’s most beautiful moments, bringing a new life into the world. Those are moments that deserve to be captured.



Motherhood Center Photography Studio

MHC Photography services are offered at our in-house studio, at your home or on-location. Jess is available for maternity, newborn, family and live-birth. For more information or to book your next session: (713) 963-8880 x 108.

Now taking appointments for: Halloween Mini Sessions & Holiday Family Portrait Sessions. Book now!

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It’s So Good to See You!

October 4, 2012
houston childrens classes

By: Stephanie Duhon

“Hello everybody, it’s so good to see you …” I can’t get this song out of my head because Nicole has requested the “good to see you song” every day for the past week! We have to say hello to the family and all of her stuffed animals!

Nicole had a great time during Prelude class on Friday. We sang “Crawdad,” which is her favorite song after the “Hello Song.” She really gets into the song and is requesting that one a capella lately too. Guess my singing isn’t too bad if she constantly wants to hear me sing!

Prelude Class One thing I’ve noticed about Nicole this semester compared to semesters past is how much she concentrates on choosing instruments during free play. She used to just play whatever I would play, usually a drum or sticks, or sometimes nothing at all! Now, I’ve noticed she plays one instrument for a bit, puts it down for another and ends up playing 3 or 4 instruments during the song instead of one. She also pauses for a minute, like she is listening for the beat before playing. It’s these small, but significant, changes I’m noticing that make me realize just how much she is learning in each class, even when it seems like she is not paying much attention.

I also enjoy how much I am learning about music in this class. Emily mentioned that most music is in a major key with 2 beats. It’s the format most people are familiar with. Music Together® offers songs in a variety of formats: major key, minor key, ending on a resting note and various rhythms. The purpose is to expose children to as many formats of music as possible so they will develop full music competence. Emily also mentioned that babies pick up resting notes first and it’s often the first note you’ll hear your child use.

Learning music reminds me a lot of how you learn a foreign language. The earlier you learn (especially before age 5), the easier it is to pick up that language and the better the pronunciation.I grew up in Cajun Country and have studied French since I was a little girl. While I did fine in school, I didn’t really pick up the language and feel somewhat fluent until I did an immersion program in high school. When I was completely surrounded by the language 24/7, I realized just how much I knew from having been exposed to the language at an early age. I bought some French language children’s books for Nicole with the hopes of introducing her to French early too so that she will be able to more easily pick up any of the Romance languages later. True fluency comes with time and practice, for languages and music.

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Baby Safety Month: Why You Should Take an Infant, Child and Adult CPR Class

October 3, 2012
baby cpr houston

By: Stephanie Duhon

Having or taking care of a child means you are responsible for that child’s welfare. Do you know what to do if the child starts choking or stops breathing? According to the National Safety Council, choking and suffocation is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death for infants under age 1. Babies put anything in their mouths. It’s part of how they learn the world around them. Keeping small objects out of baby’s reach is the best way to prevent an injury, but it’s still crucial to know what to do in an emergency situation just in case. A CPR class can teach you life-saving techniques.

The Motherhood Center offers the American Heart Association’s Family and Friends CPR course. The class teaches techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver, chest compressions and basic first aid. While there are many websites that cover basic CPR, this class gives you actual hands-on training and a chance to ask questions. Each attendee practices with an infant-sized doll to better understand how to properly do each maneuver. The instructor goes over the differences between treating an infant, a child or an adult. The basics of using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) are also covered. This knowledge is especially useful for people who work on a campus or in an office building with access to an AED.

In addition to parents, we recommend that anyone caring for your baby, such as grandparents or babysitters, should take a CPR class. Infant, Child and Adult CPR is offered twice a month on Mondays and Saturdays. You can find our more or register here.


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I’ve Got Rhythm … How About You?

September 24, 2012
childrens classes houston

By: Stephanie Duhon

Nicole was a bit crabby as we arrived for our Prelude Music class Friday morning. I’m not sure why, but she was just in one of those moods. Thankfully as soon as Miss Emily began playing the “Hello Song,” she perked up and it was not long before she was spinning around in the middle of the circle dancing away!

Prelude Music Class One of the first songs we sang this week is an old favorite of mine … “This Little Light of Mine.” Often Nicole roams around the room, but for this song, Nicole sat down quietly and was enthralled watching and listening to Miss Emily sing. She actually sat still long enough for me to snap a picture! Later in the class, she really got into “Singin’ Every Day.” She started dancing in a circle with her arms out. So cute! I love how she responds to each song in such a different way.

It amazes me sometimes how it seems so much easier for Nicole and the other kids to keep the beat than it is for me! I often end up being slightly off beat by the end of the song, especially if we are all singing different parts. But one added perk of the class is I feel my musical ability is improving with every class too!

It’s a good thing I’m feeling more confident in my own singing ability because Nicole has started requesting that I sing the “bah-bah” songs. I certainly have many opportunities to learn them. We listened to the Music Together® CD every day last week, sometimes more than once! So far, her favorites from this collection are “Crawdad,” “A Ram Sam Sam,” “Sweet Potato,” “I’ve Got the Rhythm in My Head” and “Singin’ Every Day” (anyone see a trend?). She likes me to sing “Sweet Potato” and the “Hello Song.” We have to sing hello to everyone in the family!

The Music Together CD has also helped us with a new bedtime issue. Nicole usually does well going down for her nap and at bedtime, but this past week, she has been finding every excuse to delay bedtime (she needs water, she wants to rock, she’s missing a stuffed animal, etc.). My husband and I decided to try a “bah-bah” CD and it worked! Now she walks into her room before nap or bedtime and turns on the CD player to start the music. She can’t wait to talk to her stuffed animals while listening to her CD before falling asleep!

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Baby Safety Month: Baby proofing Your Home

September 20, 2012
baby safety houston

By: Stephanie Duhon

Babies are naturally curious. They learn through all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. That’s why baby proofing is crucial. Babies don’t know what is safe to touch or taste. They all have a stage where they will put anything in their mouths. As babies become toddlers, they run around, climb on furniture and pull down anything within their reach.

An estimated 22 million children are hurt in accidents in their homes and yards each year. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 16,000 children under age 5 went to ER in 2006 with injuries caused when furniture fell on them, such as TV sets, bookcases and other appliances. The good news? Many of these accidents can be prevented with a few simple precautions.

Experts recommend parents begin baby proofing before your baby can crawl and to modify the baby proofing as the child gets older.

Baby proofing tips:

-Install electrical outlet plugs

-Lock all windows

-Remove or shorten any cord within reach (Blind or drape cords can cause strangulation)

-Secure furniture so it can’t fall or tip over

-Keep older kid’s toys out of baby’s reach

-Keep all cleaners, medicine and makeup out of reach

-Never leave water sitting in a tub

-Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in home (one per floor)

-Put up baby gates if you have stairs or want to block off an area of the house

-Cover sharp corners with corner guards (such as coffee tables or end tables)

-Keep floors clean and vacuumed (make sure there are no small items lying around, such as buttons or marbles)

-Make sure garbage can has a tight lid

-Install latches to keep cabinets/drawers closed

Not sure what else your baby can reach? Get down on all fours and crawl around to see your home from your baby’s point of view. What items are within reach? What would be tempting to a young child? As your baby begins walking, get down to their new level and look again. Child proofing is an ongoing process.

Child holding cookie boxAnd keep in mind that accidents will still happen. Toddlers who are just learning to walk are often clumsy and may fall. And I know from personal experience that kids can often get into mischief faster than you can turn around! I am extremely vigilant about keeping an eye on my daughter. I am always worried she will hurt herself, but children are fast! I remember one time I was cooking dinner and my daughter was on the floor playing with some pots.She had just started walking and I learned that day, she also knew how to climb! I had left a box of cookies on the table and next thing I knew she was ON THE TABLE WITH THE BOX OF COOKIES! She didn’t get hurt, but it reminded me to make sure my table is always clear so there is no temptation for her to climb where she shouldn’t. These small, but significant, safety measures will at least help reduce the risk of severe accidents.


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To Thine Own Self Be True

September 18, 2012
thine own self

by: Kimberly Bowman

The definition of selfish is: “concerned chiefly or only with oneself, without regard for the well-being of others.” Think about the last time you heard someone identified as selfish. Was the description accurate? Often times when we use this label we are actually talking about someone (usually a woman; the words we use to describe this same trait in men generally have a different flavor.) who is protective of their energy, time and sanity or they simply have a good handle on their capabilities.

Our limits are something that through the experiences of life we hopefully come to understand and learn to stay within. In doing this we protect ourselves from sure destruction. This phenomenon is called self-preservation. For many women this is difficult. There are many metaphors – if you only make withdrawals and not enough deposits, eventually the bank will be empty, learn to exercise your “no” muscle, a tree with enough chops at its trunk will someday fall, etc. etc.

When we try to please everyone one of two things will happen. You will either try to do it all, inevitably fail all the while punishing those you are trying to please for their lack of comprehension that you are there to make their lives more wonderful, or you will try to do it all, inevitably fail and end up in the fetal position in the back of your minivan amongst the groceries and the mulch. Both scenarios end with everyone neither helped nor pleased.

The metaphor about exercising your no muscle is a favorite. Like everyone else, we were probably quite adept at using this word when we were toddlers but along the way seemed to get the impression that we should instead be saying oh, of course, yes, absolutely, sure, I can be there, do that. Saying no is not about selfishness or being a charity miser. It is not about lack of manners or laziness. It is about guarding your soul. It is about knowing who you have time for. Since they are the one in the mirror and those most precious to you, that knowledge is golden.

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It’s Time to Sing and Dance!

September 17, 2012
kids music class

By: Stephanie Duhon

“It’s “bah-bah” time!” exclaimed my 2-year-old daughter, Nicole, as we drove up to The Motherhood Center for our first Prelude Music class of the semester.

Nicole LOVES to listen and dance to music. Her daddy plays piano and guitar, so she has been exposed to music since before she was born. In fact, my husband used to sing to her while she was still in my belly and she would kick or move around in response!

So it’s no surprise that Nicole feels right at home in a Prelude Music class, where we learn the Music Together® curriculum. This is our third semester of the program and she becomes more comfortable with the class and format each session. We listen to our Music Together® CDs pretty much every day, especially in the car. If my husband or I put the radio on, it takes less than a minute for Nicole to request her “bah-bah” CD! If we are at home, she specifically asks for the “spin around” songs, or the upbeat ones, so she can dance in a circle. I know that I, for one, am thankful for multiple collections of Music Together so that we can switch out the CDs every now and then!

If you’re wondering why she calls her Music Together CDs “bah-bah” … it comes from a tonal pattern she picked up during our first semester. She was just learning some words and phrases and “bah-bah” was how she related to the classes. Now she can ask for the CD itself, but often just says she wants to dance to “bah-bah” since she knows I understand what she wants!

The first day of the Fall semester did not disappoint. I think the Fiddle collection just might be my favorite so far, and I haven’t even heard the entire CD yet! I grew up in South Louisiana, so hearing the fiddle makes me feel at home. One of the first songs we sang was “Crawdad.”What a fun and upbeat song! In the past, Nicole would usually just observe on the first day since the songs are unfamiliar, but this time, she seemed more comfortable and danced a little bit. Not as much as she dances at home, but more than she has before in the first class of a session.

I think Nicole’s favorite song from the first class was “Apples and Cherries.”She loves fruit and got really excited and was trying to tell Ms. Emily how much she loves blueberries and strawberries as we sang the song! I appreciate how the songs are so relatable to the children.

I know we’ll be hearing a lot of “bah-bah” this week as we get to know the songs from the Music TogetherFiddle collection. Can’t wait for next week’s class!

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Preparing Big Brother or Sister for a New Sibling

September 10, 2012
new sibling houston

by: Angie Graumenz

Sibling Harmony

Parents often take classes to prepare for the arrival of a new baby, but what about siblings? In TMC’s sibling class, children learn about how their family is about to change. We show big brother or big sister what to expect when the new baby comes home. Each child will get to practice feeding, changing, swaddling and holding a baby doll. We will show a short movie about a real baby who changes and grows. Children in the class will get to draw a picture of their new family and get their picture taken for our new bulletin board of Brothers & Sisters at TMC.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health website, “a review of the recent literature substantiates that sibling preparation classes help to ease the transition into being a sibling. Studies have shown that as a result of this preparation, children who become siblings exhibit fewer anxieties, are better able to express their feelings, and the mother feels better able to cope with the older child when the infant arrives.”

Interested in learning more? The next session of Sibling Harmony is September 14. Register today!

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