New, working moms come to Tamara Hawkins for a birthing and breastfeeding plan, but what they get is the permission to abandon beliefs about what the experience should be. What they get is the insight to define their own journeys to and through motherhood—one unpredictably beautiful step at a time.
What they get is the confidence to toss the textbook “What to Expect” aside and to trust their own yes.
As the Director of Stork and Cradle, Inc., a passion-fueled prenatal education group specializing in childbirth classes and lactation consultation based in New York City, Tamara brings over twenty years’ expertise as a Maternity Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner to deliver classes and programs that blend holistic knowledge and clinical care for mothers and their babies. As instructors and consultants, Tamara and her team offer insight and advice that is data driven, educationally sound, but most importantly, empowerment focused. With Stork and Cradle, women soon realize that their success as moms is not determined by epidurals or pumped ounces, but rather by the power that comes with honing their intuition and simply flowing and flourishing with their babies.
An impassioned advocate for birth and breastfeeding equity, Tamara speaks to audiences nationwide. She currently serves as the President of the New York Lactation Consultant Association, and she is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a Certified Holistic Health Counselor.
How it all began
I’m Tamara Hawkins, founder of Stork and Cradle. In 2001, I developed Stork and Cradle out of my own frustration with teaching childbirth classes at hospital and birthing centers. I flipped between two entirely different teaching agendas, and each one made couples feel their way was either right or wrong, when, in fact, they were both perfectly workable methods! The hospital class was very clinically focused - timed and directed pushes, getting an epidural at a certain time - while the birthing center class concentrated on the avoidance of pain medication and ‘going with the flow.’ I saw so many families leave their respective classes feeling well prepared, but when they went into labor, suddenly found themselves conflicted.
The tipping point
I thought a lot about how a mother in the birthing center was supposed to handle her feelings, if the pain was too much for her to handle, and she wanted an epidural after being taught pain was natural and manageable. And about the mother that continuously tried talking to her care provider about having an unmedicated birth, but her doctor or midwife kept insisting on an epidural or avoided the conversation? Then parents who took hospital tours and get bombarded with dry clinical messages about the care they can expect to receive rather than questions of what they would like to experience. I felt I failed some families by not teaching them a holistic approach to all their options, giving unbiased information and empowerment instead of ‘birth defense’ skills.
My own birthing experience
Off I went to NYU School of Nursing to become a Midwife, and in my freshman year, I suddenly found myself pregnant. I don’t know how, but I just knew the baby was a girl. I also knew I wanted a waterbirth, thanks to all the reading I did on birth, breastfeeding and midwifery starting in my sophomore year in high school.
Well, we all know what happens to our best-laid plans, right? I ended up needing a C-section, and breastfeeding was more than a challenge – it sucked. I couldn’t even find La Leche League for help. The Lactation Consultant in the hospital wasn’t helpful - at all, and it was Christmas. Perfect. I just wanted to get out of the hospital. I thought the reason I had a terrible birth and breastfeeding experience was because I did not attend a Lamaze class. What can I say? I just didn't have the time. It was either finish my organic chemistry class or learn how to breathe through a contraction. So, I just read a Lamaze book and breastfeeding book instead.
Too bad nothing went like the book said it would. I had my rolling pin, tennis ball and oil for pain support. I was in the shower for hours and moaned my little heart out until the nurse convinced my boyfriend I should get pain medication. He then convinced me I should get pain medication even though I insisted I wanted a drug-free birth for nine months.
Looking back, I now know my baby needed the cesarean, and after more than 48 hours in painful labor, you better believe I was begging them to stop this madness and get this baby OUT. I know they were trying to support my wish of no cesarean, but at that point, I was exhausted. My water finally broke, and it looked like split pea soup coming out, and that spelled danger. They yanked my bed from the wall into the OR, and I remember my smart ass saying to the doctor, “I told you so!”
The birth of Stork and Cradle
I really wished I took Lamaze classes and was curious about what I missed and what one learns in a childbirth class so I became certified as a childbirth educator in 1999. I don’t blame the hospital for the loss of my ideal birth and opportunity to breastfeed successfully. I wish I knew then how important it was to have a mentor discuss the milestones of labor and birth, what to expect emotionally and physically, and have some real-life stories and practice for pain relief, different scenarios of conversations for exhaustion, vomiting in labor, shakes, intense contractions towards the end, and how to start breastfeeding successfully... the list goes on. This is what led me to ‘birth’ Stork and Cradle.
I became a childbirth educator instead of a nurse midwife because of my own birth experience and my experience as a labor and delivery nurse in both a high risk hospital and birthing center. I worked with the women who wanted a water birth but need a cesarean, or who need an epidural and how they still had beautiful and successful birth experiences. They just need to know the options ahead of time in case their birth experience doesn’t go as planned. I knew families needed the personal attention during the months of pregnancy and not just during birth. I felt awesome
teaching and mentoring families. I chose to build a team to:
Your journey with Stork and Cradle
Stork and Cradle classes will empower you. We will give you the information you need to make the right choices for you, along with your care provider, to keep you and baby safe and healthy without compromising your dreams and wishes.
We understand the value of everyone on your team, and that everyone wants you to have a positive birth experience. Stork and Cradle helps you manage the anxiety, confusion, and stress you may be experiencing and gives you the tools and confidence to prepare for birth.
HOW WE THINK
Trust is earned,
we earn it
We know that trying to research your choices can make you want to tear your hair out. There's just so much conflicting information out there, especially online, and it's difficult to know whom to trust. We want to help you take back control and get rid of the anxiety and fear. We want you to feel empowered and confident. Our promise is to always tell you the truth and do it with love and compassion. We work tirelessly to deliver content that will support the birth you desire.
We are driven by love
Our team is just full of love - love for babies, love for parents, love for families and love for those who sometimes need to make hard choices. Every day, we come to work excited and delighted to be part of so many people's lives. We get satisfaction from knowing there's one more family out there who has received the best information, support, and service.
We pledge to give you excellent information
Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting isn’t meant to be a time full of doubt and confusion. It’s meant to be a jazzed, empowering experience. We pledge to bring programs and workshops that will enrich your experience as expecting mothers, loving dads and grandparents and of course help you navigate the 4th trimester as well as the 1st year of your baby’s life. We will take to heart your feedback and give everything you need to rock this parenting gig.
Everyone is welcome, everyone is supported
Every new birth is about family, and no matter what that looks like, we know the most important thing to you is your baby's wellbeing. We will support you every step of the way, whatever your race, religion, sexual or gender orientation, or culture. Even though we absolutely support and promote exclusive breastfeeding, we realize that's not everyone's choice or ability and we are down for whatever works for you.
tricks or fads
We are sick of seeing kick back driven information (blog posts) full of sale pitches for products that have baseless claims or wishy washy research. We don't give a single piece of advice without it being evidence-based and fully backed up. We promise not to feed you frivolous information just for the sake of appearing trendy, and we don't base our information on who has the loudest voice and the best marketing team.
MEET THE TEAM
Margot Hodes, Ed.D, M.A, CCCE
As a childbirth educator, Margot Hodes considers it a privilege to play a small part in an expectant family's big journey to parenthood. Margot is a Certified Cooperative Childbirth Educator (CCCE), Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), DONA trained Doula and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She received her Ed.D. in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and taught as an adjunct faculty member there for many years. She also has her Masters in Counseling from New York University and has worked in community health centers and other non-profit agencies with parents, families and adolescents toward their goals of achieving healthier living since 1994.
Her goal is for clients to leave class feeling they have the tools and support systems for a safe, positive and fulfilling birth experience. She believes childbirth education should be evidenced based, family centered and provide expectant parents with a range of options and coping strategies for labor and birth.
Leigh Kader, CCCE, CD (DONA)
Originally from Ohio and raised in the splendor of northern New Mexico, Leigh has called New York City home since attending Barnard College (last century!). Propelled by the birth of her first child in 2008 to explore a career change, she is a trained childbirth educator with the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and a certified birth doula with the Doulas of North America . Experienced at supporting laboring women in a variety of birthing facilities from hospital and birthing center to home births, Leigh appreciates that childbirth is an intensely personal experience that each family defines differently. Her goal is to help women and their partners attain as positive a birth experience as possible. Leigh currently teaches group childbirth preparation, and is an active doula living in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Leigh also enjoys jogging in Prospect Park and catching up on ten-year-old television series.
Rooted firmly in the belief that childbirth is a normal, physiological experience, Leigh strives to present topics in an evidence based manner, along with a healthy dose of humor. Pragmatic and down to earth in nature, her goal is to help families feel confident in their abilities and prepared for the unpredictability of birth and beyond.
Kate Sharp, LCCE, IBCLC, LLL
Kate is a prominent leader in the breastfeeding and birthing world since 1982. She has represented La Leche League International, which has consultative status as a non-governmental organization, at the United Nations. Kate is a member of the New York Lactation Consultant Association, and have assisted in many educational opportunities for local Lactation Consultants. Kate currently works as a Lactation Consultant and teaches Lamaze Childbirth classes with the goal of empowering women to have a beautiful birth.
Eden Bertrang, LCCE, IBCLC, CD (DONA)
Eden Bertrang is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Certified Cooperative Childbirth Educator (CEA/MNY), and DONA-certified labor support doula. She is passionate about teaching because she believes parents have the right to make informed decisions about pregnancy, birth and parenting. Eden fulfilled her clinical supervision through the Lactation Internship Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and under the guidance of New York City's most experienced IBCLCs in private practice. She also completed the Midwifery Assistant Training with Ina May Gaskin at The Farm and in 2010, volunteered in a birth center in Senegal through the African Birth Collective. Eden currently serves as the President on the Board of Directors for the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York (CEA/MNY) and is a member of the New York Lactation Consultants Association (NYLCA), the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), and the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA).
Patricia McGuire, BS, IBCLC
Patricia McGuire teaches pre/postnatal breastfeeding and newborn care classes at a variety of institutions throughout New York City. She also works as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in private practice serving NYC area since 2008. Patricia has a BS degree in Public Health and Media from City College.
Her goal as an instructor is to present clinically up to date information about infant care and breastfeeding in an easy to absorb, thoughtful and humorous way.
Ismael Galvez, EMT
Ismael started his life saving career in the early 1990's as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) trained in terrorism response within the in Miami and Tallahassee communities. He worked as a Trauma ER Nurse Specialty Technician before becoming a Wilderness EMT and joining a search and rescue team. In 2008, he became a Life Support Instructor at Miami Children's Hospital and a Liaison for the American Heart Association (AHA). Since his move to NYC in 2011, Ismael continues to work as a certified AHA instructor focusing on healthy living community education focusing on heart disease, obesity and diabetes with an emphasis on early childhood health and safety educating parents on CPR and first aid skills.
2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Harlem Pediatric Associates
NYC, NY 10027
11 E. 86th St
Pediatrics of New York
NYC, NY 10028
Babies R Us
24-30 Union Sq E
NYC, NY 10003
NYC, NY 10035
Harlem Pediatrics Associates
2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd
NYC, NY 10027
40 Exchange Pl
NYC, NY 10005
Company Contact Info
Stork and Cradle
Phone and Fax # 646-627-7334
Hours: M-F 10a-6pm