Friday, June 22, 2018

Boston, MA, USA

When Your Fur Babies Meet Your Human Babies with Danielle Engel 

[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

Hey Tranquility Tribe!  For those of you out there who are wondering how to introduce your fur baby to your new baby, this episode is for you!  Today, Hehe spoke to Danielle Engel, the owner of For the Love of Paws and an expert who is full of tips and tricks for helping your pet adjust to life with your newborn. 

Danielle grew up riding horses and learning about dogs from her aunt, who is a dog trainer.  For her whole life, animals have been her passion, and now she works with families and their pets in a wide variety of ways!  From helping to incorporate pets into weddings to making your pet’s introduction to your tiny human go as smoothly as possible, Danielle offers experience-backed knowledge to allow you to have the best possible relationship with your pet. 

Let’s start with dogs!

For almost all dogs, structure and routine are very important.  When somethings changes suddenly in your household, it can cause your dog a lot of stress, which may manifest in aggression or abnormal behavior, such as jumping, barking, being pushy, or not following commands.  Because of this, Danielle recommends beginning to prepare your dog for life with your new baby as soon as possible.  Dogs are very in tune with your emotions and the overall feel of the household, to the point where they may know that you are pregnant before you do!  By starting to prepare your dog early, even before you get pregnant if possible, you can help make the transition smooth and easy. 

So what are some ways that you can help prepare your dog?  Start by setting boundaries around areas such as your belly and your new baby’s room and toys.  Help your dog learn that those areas are off limits so that you don’t have to worry as much about teaching them after you bring your baby home.  And if your dog often does things that could be dangerous for the baby, such as jumping, try to correct those habits early. 

A few months before your baby arrives, start to get into a new routine that you feel reflects the routine that you will have when your newborn arrives.  Lessen the amount of playtime and attention you give to your dog, play recordings of baby sounds around the house, and even begin to acclimate your dog to smells such as baby powder and lotion.  Because dogs thrive on routine, you can help them adjust more easily by making changes gradually instead of all at once when your baby arrives.  This is especially important in that it will make it less likely for your dog to associate the sudden changes in routine and environment with your new baby, which could cause them to be jealous and aggressive towards your tiny human.

Before you come home from the hospital, try to bring home something that smells like your newborn, such as a hat or a blanket, to give to your dog so that they can get used to your tiny human’s smell.  And when you finally introduce your new baby to your dog, stay calm and maintain eye contact with your dog to help set a relaxed but assertive tone.  Your dog will most likely be very excited to see you, so Danielle recommends even going in before your baby and giving your dog some attention so that it doesn’t feel jealous or go too crazy when you bring in your baby. 

As your child gets older, or if you are introducing a dog to the family and you already have an older child, make sure that you also set boundaries with your child.  Teaching them not to pull on your dog’s tail or ears can help to make sure that your dog isn’t scared around your child, which can decrease the likelihood of your dog being aggressive.

If your dog becomes too aggressive or territorial, even after you’ve tried to prepare them and help them adjust, don’t hesitate to call in a professional to work with your dog and your family.  Your baby’s safety is the most important thing, and sometimes dogs have trouble acclimating despite your best efforts.  There is no shame in bringing in a professional, especially if it means keeping your baby safe! 

What about cats?

Although cats are different from dogs in many ways, Danielle says that the ways in which you can prepare them for your newborn are very similar.  Most importantly, start as early as you can – cats typically have more cautious attitudes and can take longer to adjust.  Allow your cat to explore their new surroundings and get used to life with a tiny human, and make sure to reassure your cat that you are still there for them.  Just like with dogs, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional if you feel that you need it.  And for both cats and dogs, keep in mind that your pet may not be well suited for family life, which could mean that you will need to find them a new home. 

Another important recommendation from Danielle is to stay away from litter boxes and stray cats while you are pregnant.  Because stray cats eat small mammals and birds, they may carry a parasite that can be passed on to your baby and cause toxoplasmosis, which can result in a stillbirth or other developmental issues throughout childhood and even into adulthood.  While this is rare, it’s important to try to avoid emptying the litter box or touching stray cats during your pregnancy. 

Pets and kids can be best friends

While it is important to keep in mind that your pets are still animals and you should never leave your pets and children unattended together because you don’t know how either one will react, kids can form very special bonds with your pets.  Try not to make them wary of each other; rather, let them explore safely together and get to know each other so that they can build that strong friendship. 

If you want to hear more from Danielle or ask questions, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @fortheloveofpawsboston.  Danielle also has a website,, and can be reached via email at as well.  In addition to helping dogs and families transition, Danielle will also work as a chauffeur for your pet during family photoshoots and she is offering a special discount for all Tranquility Tribe listeners!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

Learning to Love Your Body with Katherine Henry

Learning to Love Your Body with Katherine Henry

[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

Hello Tranquility Tribe!  I am so excited to tell you about this episode!  Today, Hehe talks to Katherine Henry, a boudoir photographer (that’s right, you read that correctly!).  Together, they talk about what Katherine loves most about her business and why you should consider doing a boudoir photography session yourself!

Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, Max (5) and Ivy (2).  For the past six years, she has had a studio in Reading, where she does all of her photoshoots.  

Why boudoir photography?

Katherine says that one of the things that she most enjoys about her job is the opportunity that it gives her to build self-confidence in women of all shapes, sizes, races, and ethnicities.  Before the photoshoot, she gets to know her clients by chatting over the phone or by email, and she always asks them what part of their body they are most self-conscious about and what part they want to highlight.  During the photoshoot, Katherine uses this information to both celebrate what her client likes about herself and also challenge what she isn’t as happy with. Through her photography, she encourages women to see past their insecurities and realize how strong and beautiful they are.  

And she’s often successful!  Katherine says that when she finishes editing the photos from a photoshoot, she likes to have her clients come back so that they can look at them together.  Her clients often come in saying that they only expect to like one or two of the photos, and they almost always leave speechless and in love with the whole collection.  

Considering boudoir photography?

Boudoir photography is a great way to take some time to celebrate yourself.  Whether you’re pregnant and want to document your experience or you just had a baby and want to reconnect with your body, there are countless different reasons to look into doing a photoshoot.  

Interested, but not sure if it’s for you?  That’s completely normal! As Katherine says, she doesn’t go into a photoshoot expecting her client to know exactly how to pose or what to do.  Before the photoshoot, Katherine shares lots and lots of sample pictures and tips to help her clients prepare. And during the shoot, Katherine even acts out the poses herself to make her clients feel more comfortable and really see what they should do.  Katherine also encourages her clients to bring other clothes in addition to lingerie so that if they aren’t as comfortable posing in lingerie, they’ll still have some pictures that they are comfortable with. As Katherine points out, these photoshoots are for her clients and it’s important for her to make sure that it goes the way that they want it to.  

Tips and tricks for the mom/businesswoman

If you’ve been following this podcast, you’ve heard the stories of many women who manage to be both moms and business owners by now!  Each supermom has her own strategies for juggling all of her many responsibilities, and Katherine was happy to share hers! One of Katherine’s most helpful tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance is to put her phone on silent and try to avoid using it as much as possible when she is with her family.  By focusing on being present and stepping away from electronics, she is able to enjoy each moment as much as possible and not get too caught up in her busy schedule.

Surprise, surprise - Katherine also believes in the incredible power of both her village and self-care!  From having her mom watch over her kids on the days that she has photoshoots to trading sleep-in days with her husband, Katherine depends on her village for support and encouragement.  Katherine also makes sure that she takes time to do activities that she enjoys; whether that means waking up early to squeeze in a workout session or just taking an hour to read, self-care allows her to stay sane and successful!  As Katherine shares, the biggest lesson that she’s learned through her journey is that sometimes, you just need to put yourself first (and not feel guilty for doing so!)

And for all of you who are thinking about starting your own business, Katherine says jump right in and go for it!  

If you are interested in learning more about Katherine and her photography business, visit or find her on Instagram at @kahenry!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

What You Need to Know about Midwifery Care

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Boston, MA, USA

Why You Should Consider Midwifery Care

[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

Hey, Tranquility Tribe!   Have you ever wondered about the differences between a midwife and an OB/GYN?  Are you considering finding a midwife but not sure what type to look for?  Did you know that many midwives do more than just birth work?  Today, Hehe sits down with Hannah Proctor, a certified nurse midwife who graduated from Vanderbilt, to talk about the ins and outs of midwifery!

Differences in approach

Midwives and OB/GYNs differ mainly in how they approach the birth process.  Midwives tend to have a more individualized perspective when interacting with an expectant parent, with a stronger focus on viewing the woman as a whole person and taking into account her hobbies, family, and past experiences.  Because of this approach, midwives typically think about an expectant parent as more of a partner than a patient.  On the other hand, OB/GYNs take more of a standardized and medicalized approach, which can make them especially beneficial when an expectant parent is high risk.

Another important difference between midwives and OB/GYNs is that midwives view the processes of pregnancy, labor, and birth as natural phenomenons that the body is capable of performing, even in the case of some complications.  This approach makes midwives especially suitable for women who want their births to be as natural as possible, although you don’t need to have a natural birth to have a midwife!  In addition, midwives tend to be present throughout the entirety of the labor, which is not traditional among OB/GYNs. 

Regardless of who you decide to name for your birth team, the most important thing is that you are aware that you have options and are educated about what those options entail.  It is your pregnancy and your delivery, so you deserve to make choices that will allow you to have the best experience possible.  And there are so many choices that can be made and so many options to make your birth experience just right!  There is way more than one right way to give birth.  This is especially important for parents who have previous traumatic birth experiences.  Giving birth is daunting, and even more so if a past birth did not go as well as planned or expected.  Making sure that the expectant parent knows her options and feels empowered to make decisions is a very important way to respect that everyone has their own story and is approaching birth in their own way.  Remember, you deserve to be heard!

Another decision that you can make is where you want your birth to take place.  From home births to hospital births and everything in between (like birth centers!), it’s important to choose a location where you will feel comfortable and supported.  Of course, as Hannah points out, there are some safety tips that need to be considered – for example, if the expectant parent is a high risk patient due to conditions such as preeclampsia or Type 1 diabetes, it might be medically necessary for her to see an OB/GYN and have her birth in a hospital.  However, just because you may be high risk does not mean that you no longer have choices for your birth.

So if you want a midwife, how do you decide which one is the best for you?

There are multiple different types of midwives, each with different types of education, scopes of practice, and levels of autonomy.  Certified nurse midwives, or CNMs, are able to practice in all 50 states and often provide a variety of services for all individuals between puberty and menopause, from primary care to family planning and even providing treatment to partners of patients who have been diagnosed with an STI.  On the other hand, certified professional midwives, or CPMs, receive their training through apprenticeship and more often work outside of the hospital, providing prenatal, pregnancy, and birth support in birth centers or at home births.  There are many options within these two categories – these options may seem overwhelming at first, but they are a great opportunity to help you to find the midwife that is just right for your birthing needs!

The rise of the midwives!

Midwifery is becoming more and more popular as an increasing number of expecting parents decide to choose more natural birth options and opt for providers that help them feel like their voices are heard.  Although there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the true abilities and qualifications of midwives, these practitioners are truly very qualified and safe options that women deserve to have.  An increasing amount of legislation around the independence and authority of midwives has helped to make midwives accessible options for a greater number of women, but more education about the abilities and benefits of having a midwife is needed. 

And these benefits aren’t just limited to the expectant parent!  Research has suggested that care by a midwife under the midwifery model decreases a woman’s risk of having a c-section, reduces the rate of labor induction, decreases the risk of 3rd and 4th degree perineal tears, and even decreases the costs of births to payers.  Furthermore, having a system of team-based care enables midwives to treat low-risk mothers with support from physicians only when necessary, which allows the physicians to focus more on the high-risk mothers who need more medical attention, creating a more effective and efficient system of labor and delivery. 

Regardless of the type of practitioner that you choose for your birth, the fact that there are so many options that provide women with more autonomy and support in the birth world is incredible!  Even if you aren’t expecting, don’t be afraid to speak up, use your voice, and get the care that you want and deserve!

If you have more questions or want to reach out to Hannah, email Hehe at!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University. 

Search This Blog

Powered by Blogger.
Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan

Your copyright

Copyright © 2019 - All Rights Reserved.