five + two =

0-6 months

Client Case Study: Newborn Twins

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 11:39 pm | By Stephanie Woo

A new client of mine** adopted a set of newborn twins. Born at 33 weeks, these babies are ready to leave the hospital after a 3-week stay in NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit). Their feeding tubes have been removed. They are breathing and eating well on their own. But even more importantly, when you look into their eyes, they are awake, alive and eager to interact. 

These twins were separated shortly after birth. Twin A stayed at the same hospital. Twin B needed urgent care and was moved to a bigger hospital. Twins need each other as much as they need their mothers. Since their mothers were giving them up for adoption, these twins needed to be together. I knew the situation was urgent due to the neurological, emotional and psychological implications of the matter. As soon as my client signed the legal papers, I coached him to speak to the hospital staff, as well as to the baby. Everyone worked together intensely and prayed. Two days later, Baby B got moved back and the twins were reunited.

Then the real work began. Our texts, phone calls and emails included the most important things to buy for the babies at this stage and the next month. Make sure the onesie opens in the front, not over the head. I coached them on what to look for in a baby carrier, helping them weigh the pros and cons. I coached them on how to care for the baby, like bathing. Make sure the baby has enough water underneath them so they can float. Apparently the nurses were amazed to see what their babies were doing in the water. I coached them to keep those babies together as often as possible. The more skin-on-skin time, the better.  I also coached them on activities to do with the babies, from talking, singing, reading and more. And I prepared them for the next stage: what to do once they get home and how to support their developments of the upcoming months. 

Doctors can help you make sure your babies are growing well. But to thrive, babies need much more than that. Whether they are premature or not, they need the most exquisite care during the first 8 weeks. Because they don’t yet have words, their feelings about the world becomes imprinted in their body, heart and soul. We adults can compartmentalize or rationalize experiences, but babies cannot. Good experiences or bad experiences become part of their norm and their impression of how life is. And they carry those impression forever. That’s why it’s critical to help your newborn begin their journey on this earth with pleasure, security and trust. 

These parents were amazing. They were open. They did everything – and more. With every new picture, I saw those babies waking up and becoming more alive. Pictures speak a thousand words: those newborns were thriving. 


Every mother needs a coach to help you navigate these critical times. Give yourself (or someone you know and love) the gift of a one-month Private Consultation this holiday season and get 2 free weeks! Read this and then email me to schedule your 20-minute complimentary introduction call: stephanie@stephaniewoo.com

**Story and picture shared with permission

The best shoes

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 7:55 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Love these shoes. It is soft, which is excellent for young walkers. And when I say soft, I mean SOFT. There are many baby shoe brands that claim they are soft because you can bend the shoe when you apply adult strength. That does not qualify as soft for a baby’s developing feet.

These Swedish-made shoes are great for indoor walking and small amount of outdoor walking. They don’t come off easily because they wear more like a sock than a shoe. I’ve done my research on shoes and these really are the best. Read more about the best kind of shoes for your babies.

How do I improve my child’s motor skills?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 3:41 pm | By Stephanie Woo

I’ve been letting Brooke and Mackenzie loose at the park. They love to pull up on the park benches and strollers (especially ones with dangling new toys that are not ours). They’ll walk along the bench or the stroller to play with toys and each other. Mothers with toddlers who are older but not yet walking have asked me, how come B and M were already cruising at 9 months old?

Babies who are held or placed in high chairs/strollers/walkers ALL THE TIME are often severely behind in their gross motor skills for one reason only – they haven’t had enough practice! Montessori has the perfect set-up for babies to practice their motor skills. Aside from the floor bed, which gives your baby ample freedom to move, the most important thing you can prepare for your baby is the movement mat, mirror and shelf.

Mackenzie doing tummy time on her mat at 2 months old

Movement Mat

The movement mat can be located anywhere in the house, but it needs to be in a consistent place for the baby until he starts to crawl. This is the place where the baby does tummy time while he is awake. This is a time for him to be on his own, without anyone talking or playing with him. Start with a little amount of time and increase that amount of time as he gets older.

The movement mat can be any of the following

  • A piece of foam that you cut to twin-size
  • A folded blanket or quilt (put a non-slip surface underneath) to make it flat
  • A piece of carpet with a sheet over it
  • A thick yoga mat

The general purpose of the mat is to give the child some cushion so he doesn’t bump his head too hard on the floor but at the same time, provides a surface firm enough so he can get some resistance when he pushes against it. If he falls asleep on the mat, move him to his bed. This is not the place to sleep. It’s important that he can make a connection between a place and its function: this place is for sleeping, this place is for moving. Read more about this here.

Mackenzie (left) and Brooke (right) at 4 months old hanging out together on their mat


Place a full-length mirror turned on its side along the edge of the mat. The mirror is excellent for developing his cognitive skills. It also lets him see himself and what he is doing. At first, he will think the image in the mirror is a friend, but at some point, he will see you in the mirror and see you outside of the mirror and he will understand, that is a reflection. It’s a profound moment! Watch a video of Brooke playing in the mirror at 5 months old.

Brooke and Mackenzie at 7 months old. They spend 70% of their waking hours on their floor mat exploring their environment and practicing their gross/fine motor skills. The mirror is behind them.

Low Shelf

Also, place a low shelf nearby, where the child’s toys and materials can be kept. Before they start pulling up, you can use a wooden shoe shelf. Once they start pulling up, they will love to pull up on this shelf, so make sure you have something sturdy.

Toy shelf for our 10 month olds. A 7 month old should have just 4-5 things on the shelf. Younger babies should have 2-3. Always keep the toy shelf orderly, everything has its place. Babies cannot maintain the order, but they crave the order you create for them in the house.

The shelf should contain a few pieces of material that the child is using at the time. These materials need to be applicable for his age. Babies can be easily over-stimulated, so they should not have many things. Little by little, they will slide to the shelf and take what they want to play with. Always keep the toy shelf orderly, everything has its place. Babies cannot maintain the order, but they crave the order you create for them in the house. Do not put all their toys on the shelf, pick a few that will fit nicely on the shelf, then rotate them weekly.