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How to stop a baby from crying by Katy Perry Dark Horse

August 5, 2014

Next time I’m feeling grumpy I may try this…

Four Tips for the “Fourth Trimester”

June 27, 2014

Four Tips for the Fourth TrimesterWe know about the first trimester and, of course, the second trimester; can’t forget about the all-too-long third trimester. Did you know there is also a fourth? Yup, the fourth trimester is the concept that for the first three months, you and your newborn are just getting used to life outside the womb. When we think about it, our babies really didn’t experience hunger or the new and the strange; they were put gently to sleep by us in the dark womb and constantly nourished through their physical connection with us. With that in mind, it seems pretty difficult for them to just adjust to life ‘Earth-side’, doesn’t it?

It might seem daunting at first, but as a new parent, chances are you already want to spend your whole day staring lovingly at your newborn!  This is the best way for you and baby to get through the Fourth Trimester happily and hopefully a little less sleep deprived. As parents in the early stages of babyhood, it can be incredibly hard to let go of some of the “advice” we are given. What exactly can we expect to be doing in the “Fourth Trimester”?

  1. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs – Don’t worry about the “myth” of spoiling your newborn. Be sure to shower your new bundle with lots of love and kisses. Before being in your arms they were able to be close to you whenever they wanted. Whether its mommy’s or daddy’s warmth, the easiest way to soothe a newborn is with skin-to-skin contact.
  2. Take care of yourself – It can be so hard for a new mom to remember to take care of herself. But when we catch a few minutes to grab a shower, or even when someone makes dinner for us, we should definitely take advantage of these opportunities for all-important recharge and refresh time.
  3. Don’t get too caught up in routine – Lots of families really prefer routine, and so do lots of babies. But for the first few months it’s just better to drop it, this need for routine, that is. Instead of focusing on what you should be doing, stay in the moment and cherish what you are doing (even if it’s cleaning spit-up off a new shirt).
  4. Enlist the family – Whether you’ve had a vaginal or C-section birth, you might be hurting a little, so gather siblings, friends, or grandparents to help you out when you need some extra TLC.

The “Fourth Trimester” can be a difficult time as baby and family learn what works for them and as mom heals and gets into a post-partum rhythm. It should be filled with patience and of course lots of love and adoration for your new bundle. Remember that New Mom should be taking care of herself in any way she knows how, but also keep in mind your newborn needs a lot of care the first few months of development, and that is completely normal (and even encouraged). Don’t get too caught up in routines, and allow yourself some you-time whenever possible by asking for help when you need it. Raising a baby can be hard, but we all know how rewarding it really is. With a few of these tips you can take the Fourth Trimester head on and enjoy every minute with the newest member of your family.

Conquering the 3 Woes of the Terrible Twos

June 25, 2014

Conquering the 3 Woes of the Terrible TwosWhether you’re a new mom or a mom for the second or third time, when those notorious terrible twos creep around the corner, it can bring along a case of the mommy-blues. You may not know what to expect even after reading all the parenting books and taking all the wonderful advice your mother can offer. Each toddler is different. For the first year or so of your child’s life, you have coddled and groomed that baby. Now your little bundle of joy has transformed into a little bundle of personality! Here are a few tips and advice on conquering the 3 woes of the Terrible Twos:

1 – Potty Training

Potty training is that hurdle that every parent and toddler must jump. In the beginning, your enthusiasm and excitement for the new milestone your child is preparing to achieve will be at an all time high. You purchase videos and books and a cute little potty seat for your toddler and you’re all set. Each child is different and each mother’s potty training experience varies.

Advice: The best time to potty train your toddler is when they show signs of controlling their bowels and bladder, i.e. after staying dry throughout the night. Make sure your toddler is emotionally ready to potty train. Avoid training during uncooperative stages and encourage your child with positive reinforcement. Most importantly, know that you and your child will eventually get to the finish line. It can become discouraging at times, especially when your child has frequent accidents and other kids of similar age are fully trained. Eventually, you will clear this hurdle.

2 – Tantrums

We’ve all been the onlooker at some point watching as a blushing mother in the grocery store struggles to assert her control over the screaming, rolling, and kicking toddler. And now…you’re that mom! Tantrums can come unexpectedly and it’s easy to give into the desire to avoid drawing more attention to yourself by raising your voice and putting on the disciplinarian face.

Advice: The best way to handle tantrums is to ignore the onlookers. Don’t be concerned with how you look in front of people by putting on the meek, librarian voice and “asking” your child to behave accordingly. Your toddler won’t respect you this way and may walk over you in public places. Be as stern and serious as you would be at home so that your toddler knows that mommy means business. One way to eliminate tantrums is to keep your word. If little Billy knows that mommy never buys him any candy at the check-out when he misbehaves, then he will take heed of the consequences of his behavior. Never give your child what they want when they are screaming for it. You want to show your child that tantrums are not rewarded; good behavior is rewarded.

3 – Testing Boundaries

Toddlers love to test the boundaries while in the Terrible Twos. With new-found mobility, toddlers are full of adventure and the desire to explore. That curiosity is what makes them want to touch when mommy says, “Don’t touch!”

Advice: Unfortunately, toddlers sometimes learn from experience rather than instruction, though we prefer it the other way around. After a few bruises and scratches, they will learn to listen to mommy’s warnings and instructions to avoid dangerous places and activities.

Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful in your journey through the Terrible Twos. You will experience some of the woes of the Terrible Twos, but most importantly, you will find that the Terrible Twos aren’t so terrible. Enjoy the journey and cherish each moment with your tiny toddler because they are growing quickly.

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Top 10 Must-Haves for your Hospital Bag

June 24, 2014

Top 10 Must-Haves for your Hospital BagIt’s a question that all first time moms ask themselves: “What do I actually need to bring with me when I have my baby?” Well ladies, I can tell you that it’s probably not as much as you think.

Packing your hospital bag is an extremely exciting, calming, and personal experience. During my pregnancies, I spent a lot of time focusing my attention on preparing my hospital bag.

Deciding what to bring with you on the day that you will meet your child is a huge thrill. So take your time. Pack and re-pack as often as you like, check off those checklists, and buy yourself the cutest duffel. It’s worth it!

Below I’ve compiled a list of my top-ten must-haves for the hospital bag:

1. Toiletry Items

Though the hospital will provide some of these things for you, you’re likely going to want to have your own shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. I suggest buying the travel size containers and filling them with your own products. It’s cheaper than buying the pre-filled travel size bottles, but either way, travel size is the way to go, especially since you’ll want to save space for all of your fun baby things.

2. Socks

I cannot stress enough just how cold hospital floors are. Perhaps they affected me more than they might you, but just trust me, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pack yourself a few of your favorite no-slip slippers. Helpful tip: you’ll be thankful for longer ones when it’s too difficult to shave your legs, post birth.

3. A Journal

I bought the Peter Pauper Press “Baby’s First Year: A Thought A Day Journal”. I used it up until my daughter was about 3 months old, before things got too hectic. However, I’m so grateful that I documented those first few days. You are likely to be exhausted and drowsy during the first days of your baby’s life and will be thankful for any journaling you did during that time some day when you’re reflecting back on that amazing experience.

4. Electronics

It goes without saying; you’ll want to bring your camera. But in addition to the baby-image capturer, make sure you pack your cell phone, chargers, and any extra batteries that you may need.

It’s also not a bad idea to bring with you a list of people to call and update on any baby news. Include their name and number on the list. Some hospitals have terrible cell reception. Therefore, if you haven’t memorized the numbers of important family members and friends, it’s a good idea to have that with you.

5. Take-Home Outfit for You and Baby

When choosing the take-home outfit for your newborn, keep in mind that they will need breathing space for the cord and that you will likely be changing their diapers frequently. Maybe avoid things with zippers or a lot of snaps. A cute two-piece layette with a matching hat and no-scratch mittens should do just fine. Let’s face it; your baby will look cute in anything.

When packing your outfit, remember that you will have just have had a baby. Bring a comfortable maternity outfit and include a pair of comfortable shoes. You are likely to have post-birth swelling and won’t want to worry about sore feet; there will be plenty of other aches and pains that you’re likely to be experiencing.

6. Snacks

During labor the doctors and nurses will limit your food and drink to ice chips (no, unfortunately that’s not just something we see in the movies).  This prevents you from feeling sick during labor  and helps prepare your body in case of an emergency C-section.

Chances are, after giving birth, you will be tired and hungry. While you will receive meals from the hospital, and there are likely vending machines, the machines can become expensive and hospital food is not always the most filling. It’s also very possible that you will give birth during a time when the cafeteria is closed.

Bring yourself a nicely packed Ziploc bag of snacks. Include things like crackers, chips, cookies, and/or fruit. It’s important you keep your energy up and stay healthy for baby.

Insurance often doesn’t cover your partner or any family member eating while staying with you in the hospital. It’s a good idea to have snacks on hand for any support person(s) you may have staying with you and your baby.

7. Nursing Gear

Make sure you plan on bringing a maternity bra or two, and don’t forget the nursing pads. Even if you don’t plan on nursing, you’re likely to fill up with milk and there is bound to be leakage. There are many options for nursing pads, such as reusable, cotton, or gel inserts. Do a little research and check out your local baby store and choose what you think will work best for you.

Also, bring along your nursing pillow and an extra slipcover. Nursing pillows are extremely helpful in supporting you and your baby while maneuvering the logistics of nursing. Get a FREE nursing pillow when you enter promo code: BABIESONLINE at checkout!

8. Special Item for Baby A.K.A. “The fun part”

The hospital will provide all diapers and wipes during your hospital stay and will most likely give you extras. They also have pacifiers and blankets (though it doesn’t hurt to bring some of your own).

While packing for your baby, keep your focus on clothing, comfort items, and sentimental things. I’m sure there is a special item you have in mind for your new little one – perhaps a handmade blanket or special gift from a loved one. Though your baby most likely won’t be interested, it’s more of a symbolic item to attach sentiment to. Something you can show your child and someday say “This was your very first blanket, teddy bear, pacifier, etc.”

Keep in mind that you should not put a lot of blankets around or on your baby and you should leave all pillows and stuffed animals out of the baby’s sleeping area. This is a preventative method to reduce your child’s risk of SIDS.

9. Distraction Tools

If you’re like me, once you’re admitted into the hospital and the waiting game begins, you will likely be far too excited to get any rest. Especially if this is your first labor, it is likely to take a bit longer to progress. So take a few things to keep you entertained and calm. An iPod, a book, or a magazine will give help take your mind off of the excitement of seeing your baby or any worry you may have over what’s to come. Perhaps bring something you and your support person can enjoy together. Crosswords, Mad Libs, or a deck of cards would work nicely and provide some last-minute one-on-one bonding time. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who finds it easy to sleep, but just in case, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

10. Gifts for Nurses

This is a big one. Chances are, you’ll have a wonderful, helpful, gem of a nurse. The nurse on shift will provide you with about 90% of your care and, in most cases the doctor doesn’t come in until the very end. During my deliveries (at two different hospitals in two different states), the nurse did everything but physically deliver my baby. In both cases, she coached me through my contractions and helped get the baby as close to being out as possible before the doctor came in. Basically, the doctor acts as the baby catcher. It’s wonderful to have them there of course, if something goes wrong, but otherwise it’s the nurses who will serve you and your family with the utmost care and attention.

Having a thank-you card on hand, or some fresh-baked cookies (homemade or store-bought, either way, it’s a free cookie), is a good way to say “Thanks!”

On the off-chance you get stuck with a less-than-friendly nurse during delivery, rest assured you’ll encounter many nurses and nurse’s assistants during your stay. One of them is bound to be somebody you’d like to show some extra appreciation to. Otherwise, keep the cookies for yourself. No harm in having some extra cookies around.

So there you have it ladies: my top 10 must-haves for your hospital bag. I hope this has been helpful to you, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! Here’s wishing you all the best on your birthing journeys. Be sure to check back for more tips and articles. From conception to parenthood, has you covered.

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Common Traits of Newborn Babies

June 10, 2014

Common-Traits-NewbornsFor any parent, the experience of meeting your newborn on his or her first day ‘Earth-side’ is the ultimate blind date. You’ve undoubtedly compared, and might have even argued over, whose hair will cover that tiny pink head or whose eyes will be staring back at you when those peepers take in their first blurry sights. We’ve all seen those adorable baby photo-shoots with the newborn perched perfectly among gauze blankets, adorned with the odd decorative headpiece, and sleeping away blissfully. You might be in for a shock when you see what these little humans look like at first glance, but don’t worry: you’ll still find them to be cute. So what do newborns actually look like after birth? Here are a few common characteristics your baby may or may not acquire.

Misshapen Happens

When giving birth, your educational class may have taught you that the baby descends down the pelvis, into the birth canal and out the vagina. What you may not know is that plates in the baby’s still-soft head slide over one another to make sure he/ she fits through any size or shape. This causes the “cone head” effect to appear immediately after birth and is technically deemed “molding”; nothing to worry about though, it typically corrects itself in a few weeks.

Say Cheese!

You may have heard friends talk about their “cheesy baby”; it’s surprisingly not the food they’re speaking about but a substance called vernix. All babies in utero are covered in a thick, white coating that protects their delicate skin from the constant bath of amniotic fluid; most of this coating slowly disappears before birth and is more commonly found on preterm babies and babies born closer to their due date rather than farther. Most are quick to wipe vernix off, but leaving it on a newborn for an extended period of time can actually act as a moisturizer, leaving your wee ones skin even softer, as if that’s even possible!

Roses Are Red, Babies Are … Blue?

Your partner in the birthing room may get to cut the cord, the umbilical cord that is. The tie that connected mom and baby is cut and clamped with a cord clamp for baby’s safety. Sometimes this clamp is then wiped with an antibiotic that potentially leaves a blue, purple or yellow stain. Before you take your new love home, the clamp will be removed and an umbilical cord stump will fall off after a few days or weeks revealing a rosy, kissable tummy.

In a nerve-wracking but common turn, some newborns are born sporting blue or purple extremities; this is known as peripheral cyanosis or acrocyanosis and is a result of decreased blood flow to, typically, the hands and feet. It may be a little scary to see, but this is no issue in newborns and can even last a little while at home as the baby’s system gets used to the hard work life on the outside. Massaging the extremities lightly can help in bringing around blood and might even grant you with one of those squishy-faced newborn naps.

Genes, Genes, The Musical Fruit

Will your baby be blue eyed with brown hair? Blonde with freckles? That’s up to your genes.  When playing the guessing game on your new baby’s looks, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with all the possibilities nature provides. Although we can’t predict all the traits of your newest family member, there a few we can prepare you for, like the “conehead” or the thick “cheese” that sometimes covers preterm babies, or even the frightening but common blue hands and feet combo ( nobody panic!). When it comes to the first day of meeting your newest bundle, you can be sure those beautiful eyes and little noses will be well worth the surprise.

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