Miriam Šmahel Kalisová advises: “Don’t underestimate newborns.”
Many people only view Miriam Šmahel Kalisová as a pretty face from the TV screen. To us, however, she’s an example of a mother who, after her first child, has dedicated her time to helping other mothers give birth with smiles on their faces.
How has your life changed after you’ve had your daughter, Mia?
It’s been an unbelievable change. Nothing is the same as if was before. Everything is happier and colorful. It’s amazing but also very hard.
What can you tell us about giving birth? I’ve heard that the method you chose wasn’t entirely traditional.
Actually, it was completely traditional. It was natural and beautiful. When Mia was born, my first thought was that I want to experience this again at least once in my life. It’s one of the TOP moments of my life. There’s nothing stronger and more beautiful.
Elimination Communication Method
You’ve tried the Elimination Communication Method with your daughter. Why have you decided to try this alternative?
I haven’t really tried anything with my daughter, she was the one who demanded it this way. People who don’t know much about this method may think that leaving a baby without a diaper it’s just some crazy experimenting but, thanks to it, we’ve had the calmest baby in the world. Sometimes a mom can get desperate because she’s done everything necessary, fed her baby, changed its diaper, held it close but it’s still nervous and crying. Maybe all she needs to do is take the diaper off and hold the baby in a ball above the sink and it would all become a lot better.
So all you need to do is watch your baby and trust your intuition?
Human babies are like any other newborns. It’s in their nature to not want to make their ‘nest’ dirty. It’s unnatural for them and so they may become nervous and cry until their mother comes to take the diaper off so they can do what they need to do. Of course, they will eventually get used to a diaper and it will become natural for them, too. Mia always had a choice. When she was 5 months old, she would always give me signals to let me know when she needed to go potty. Even at night. We only used about one or two diapers per day and we were both satisfied with that. Since she was about 4 months old, we always went potty without a diaper. I wanted her to have a choice.
Did this method help eliminate the use of diapers?
When Mia was a year and a half, summer arrived and our transition to panties was very quick and easy. We removed diapers completely, which was a rarity in our surroundings. Of course, it’s true that the muscles which allow the baby to hold it in fully develop around the age of 18 months, but even before that age, babies can announce that something is about to happen. They know when they need to go potty and they will announce it to their mother if they want to. They will either use words or, if they can’t speak yet, they will give certain signals, such as specific noises or fidgeting around. Every mom knows her baby and she will know these signs, too. Newborns shouldn’t be underestimated. There are big things going on in their little heads and they realize many things.
What was the hardest challenge for you when caring for a baby?
I don’t think there was one. I remember this time fondly. Though, I feel it’s gotten very challenging now that Mia is 2 years old and she has her period of defiance. When a person doesn’t want to yell at their child, they have to have a lot of patience and love. It can be done, of course. We explain to her and explain some more and we always try to accept her the way she is. We respect Mia and we demand that she respects us in return.
Babywrapping and doula courses
Many moms these days return to babywrapping with scarves. Did you do the same?
I’ve started babywrapping with a scarf since the very beginning. I changed to Mei Tai and a carrier that I still have. We use it sometimes if it’s needed. Mia still likes to be carried, but not for too long.
There’s information on your Facebook profile that you may become a doula. Can you tell us more?
Yes, I have great news. I’ve been accepted to a course for doulas which lasts for a year. Next year I should be present at two births as a doula-in-training, write a thesis and pass an exam. So I’ll be studying for two years. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge for me and I hope I’ll make it. I feel that this is what I was born to do, to help women give birth with a smile and to look forward to the experience.
The little cook and her sibling
You’re a great cook. Which of your recipes are most popular with Mia?
It always changes. Now that she’s 2 years old, she doesn’t like the same food she did when she was 9 months old. Luckily, now she can ask what she wants to eat, so it’s a bit easier for me. When we cook together, she eats everything. Whenever we start cooking together, I take out aprons for both of us and she says: “Now we’re cooks, so we can go cook!” She really wants to become a cook, my darling.
You already have one little princess. Are you and your husband planning any more children?
Right now I’d like to get some rest. Mia will go to kindergarten in September and I’m looking forward to a bit of relaxation. My book will also be finished and printed, so I’ll just take care of my blog and I’d like to start a series of video recipes. I’ll have a bit of time to myself. I became pregnant when I was 27, so I think I still have time for another baby 🙂
You can find one of Miriam’s healthy and sweet recipes for children in our article Children and Treats? Try the Healthy Way!