Archives for November 2013

Baby Milestones: When Do Babies Smile?

 Every parent knows which big developmental milestones are video worthy, but there are also smaller, poignant baby milestones that are worth remembering just as vividly. Loving Moments by Leading Lady chose its name because we believe in the tender, quiet moments a mother shares with her baby just as we do the larger celebrations shared by the whole family. We’ll feature a question that new parents frequently ask concerning when their child will develop a certain skill.

 

When do babies smile?

maternity-sleep-braAround nine weeks you can expect to see your baby’s first sweet smile appear. Whether you’re nursing your little one at night (easily done with Loving Moments’ nursing sleep bra) or playing with him or her during the day, a smile might appear in the midst of a peek-a-boo game. Cherish how naturally happy your baby looks in these moments, and remember that this is the first of many smiles you will enjoy. Soon that cheeky grin will be accompanied by your baby laughing, just three to six short weeks away.

You might have seen a smile cross your baby’s face before the two month mark, but this smile is a distinct sign of baby development—doctors indicate that babies learn “social smiling” as an intentional response to your interaction with your newborn. Before, a baby smiles as a means of exploring muscular responses. The “social” smile is how you and I smile at one another and is one of the sweetest and most interactive early developmental milestones your baby will exhibit.

Say cheese!

A picture is a great way to capture one of your baby’s first smiles. Making silly faces and singing to your infant are fun ways to coax out a smile, so make sure you’ve got a camera or your smartphone nearby for a quick snap. Recording baby milestones is important because you will be able to share these loving moments with family and friends for years to come.

 

Do you have pictures of your baby’s first smiles? Share them with us on our Loving Moments Facebook page!

 

 

 

Breastfeeding Tips: Activities While Nursing

Breastfeeding Tips: Activities While NursingAre you a new mom who’s getting into the swing of breastfeeding? We wanted to share the top five breastfeeding tips from womenshealth.gov that are great suggestions of activities a new mom can perform while simultaneously nursing. Most adults multitask throughout their day, and we love the compilation Womenshealth.gov put together for nursing moms. These breastfeeding tips are designed to help new moms acclimate to nursing as well as share breastfeeding with friends and family members in sweet, friendly ways. There’s no loving moment quite like breastfeeding, and we support the following advice from Womenshealth.gov! Go ahead, try to incorporate one of the following breastfeeding tips into your routine.

 

The following content originally appeared here on Womenshealth.gov.

 

1. Talk or sing to your baby

Your baby has been listening to your voice for the past few months inside the womb. So, to a baby, mommy’s voice is the most beautiful sound in the world, no matter what wrong notes you hit. Go ahead and sing any song or rap a few bars to your baby (you can even make it up as you go along). Or talk about your day, read out loud from a book, or share your hopes and dreams for the future. (Your partner can do this, too.) Even when your baby is just a newborn, you’re teaching him or her important language skills every time you speak or sing.

2. Eat

If your baby’s eating, why shouldn’t Mom grab a bite too? While some new moms get extra hungry, other moms actually forget to eat. Fortunately, there aren’t any strict food rules when you are breastfeeding — only to eat when you’re hungry. Making healthy choices will give you more energy to care for your baby, especially if you eat protein. Nuts, squeezable yogurt, peanut butter or turkey sandwiches, and hard-boiled eggs are easy snacks that you can eat with one hand, and they are all good sources of protein. Meals don’t have to be fancy. Just be sure to eat from the five food groups every day.

3. Drink water

Keep a glass or bottle of water right next to your snack plate. The breastfeeding process creates a hormonal reaction that can make you feel thirsty when your milk lets down. While breastfed babies don’t need water to stay hydrated, some babies tend to nurse more if it is hot outside. And, interestingly, your breast milk becomes more watery in hot weather to accommodate a baby’s need for hydration.

4. Bond with the family

Every mom deserves her alone time. But what better way to keep your family involved and supportive of your breastfeeding efforts than to bring them in? Those you are most comfortable with can be a great help to you. Beyond the social interaction, you can gain more confidence breastfeeding around other people, and your family members will better appreciate the mom-baby bond. Bonus: Your baby gets to hear everyone’s voices, which helps your baby bond with the family even more. Just be mindful that your visitors don’t interfere with your breastfeeding routine.

5. Catch up with your girlfriends

New moms can sometimes feel isolated. Don’t get upset if your phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Your friends might be trying to give you some space, that’s all. But trust us: Your girlfriends want to hear from you. Send an email, text message, or instant message, or make a good, old-fashioned phone call. Go down your contact list until you connect with someone to spark a conversation, get caught up, and have a few good laughs. You can even make a date for your friends to come see the baby. Sometimes it helps to give your friends a task: You could ask them to bring you food, pick up some magazines, or braid your hair (which you could also get done while breastfeeding!).

 

Do you have any breastfeeding tips that you think are missing from this list? Still looking for the perfect everyday nursing top that keeps you looking cute and comfortable even with your busy schedule? Check out our Active Crossover Nursing Top for the office-ready and errand-proof staple of your nursing wardrobe.

 

Maternity Belt: How a Maternity Support Band Can Help Relieve Back, Hip, and Pelvic Pain

Support BandIt’s not just about having good posture—new moms should be aware of too much back and pelvic pain after giving birth. While caring for your newborn is the most obvious priority, your own health should not go unchecked. New research shows that moms who ignore lingering back, hip, and pelvic pain may experience lifelong posture and structure problems if they don’t get checked in a timely manner.

It’s no secret that pregnancy and delivery cause tremendous stress on a woman’s body and structure. Major muscle groups and bones oftentimes find themselves altered after giving birth. While pregnant, a woman’s body naturally adjusts to meet the needs of physically carrying a baby—abdominal muscles stretch, the spine’s curve is more pronounced, hips and pelvis are knocked askew from the normal core position.

How can you prevent future back pain while pregnant? Try wearing a maternity belt for added support. Our Loving Moments Maternity Support Band is a soft maternity belt that you can wear over or under clothing. It helps relieve back, hip, and pelvic pain and promotes good posture. It’s a good idea to be conscious of your posture before giving birth and our maternity belt will be the perfect daily reminder for you to remember to care for your own health!

But these temporary body alternations may need help coming back into alignment after delivery. A checkup with your doctor or a physical therapist may save a new mom years of lingering pain and permanent scar tissue or muscle damage. According to Beyond Baby Weight: What to Expect After You’re Expecting (which appeared October 15th in the Wall Street Journal), women are recommended to ask her doctor or nurse to check her pelvic floor strength at the 4-to-6 week postpartum checkup. Remembering to do this might open the door to an important conversation concerning your body’s health.

Another important topic to address at the 4-to-6 week checkup is whether or not you can return to a normal workout routine or not. Though some moms might need more time before returning to exercise, others sometimes try to hit the gym before their bodies have enough time to recover. Weak core muscles or pelvic strain can turn into full-blown injuries during exercise, especially pounding workouts that include running, jogging, and jump roping.

Physical therapy can serve as the best reintroduction into an exercise routine after giving birth. Licensed physical therapists have the tools and resources to educate a new mom about realigning her posture, strengthening her core muscles in the correct way, and how to ease her body back into workout shape. Even if hard exercise is not your goal, a physical therapist is helpful to a mom experiencing pain that could damage her muscles or posture permanently. As a means to prevent future surgery, a visit to the physical therapist is a less invasive and educational alternative.

 

Pregnancy Health Tips: How to Sleep Better

Pregnancy Health Tips: How to Sleep Better

Pregnancy should be a great time for expecting moms to catch up on all the sleep they’re going to miss once baby comes, but in reality many pregnant women find themselves awake and uncomfortable at night. Major body changes are to blame for sleepless nights; baby weight creates more pressure on your back and hip muscles, your temperature rises due to your heart’s strain to pump blood, and you might be the victim of a random charley horse while lying down. How can you combat these pregnancy symptoms when it comes to getting more sleep? Here are a few health tips and tricks that might give you a little more peace of mind.

 

Pregnancy pillow

Maybe you’ve never slept with a full-length body pillow before, but pregnant women usually find nighttime relief using pregnancy pillows. Unlike ordinary pillows, pregnancy pillows are wider, longer, and encourage doctor-recommended side sleeping positions. You’ll be able to rest your baby bump with a little lift from the pillow so there’s less tension in your back, hips, and legs. You can even sleep with the pillow between your knees to further relieve lower back pressure. There are all kinds of pregnancy pillows to choose from and most major retailers carry a variety of styles. When shopping for a pregnancy pillow, make sure you try and feel each option so you get an idea of the firmness, especially if you’re partial to a harder or softer regular pillow. You might be uncomfortable at night if you choose a pillow too unlike what you’re already used to sleeping on!

 

Take time to relax

Ahhh…deep, even breaths and smooth exhalation might do wonders for your sleeping pattern. Try taking a warm shower or bath before bedtime or reading a book in bed. Disconnecting yourself from your smart phone, television, or even a magazine at least an hour before you sleep will help your mind unwind. Relax without the bright, colorful visuals that you encounter during waking hours! If you’re constantly checking your phone in bed, try to charge it overnight in another room. You might be able to have more success relaxing without hearing your phone’s notifications buzz throughout the night. Those emails can wait until morning!

 

Try a sleep brasleep bra

Don’t be surprised when you jump two or three bra cup sizes while you’re pregnant! Many women struggle to fall asleep at night because of new breast soreness. A breathable cotton bra with light support might be just what you need to make sleeping more comfortable. Rest easy in our Loving Moments Sleep Bra that’s comfy and made from cozy cotton. And bonus: the front wrap cups pull aside perfectly for easy breastfeeding access.

 

Surround yourself with comfort

Lavender is a soothing fragrance—try lighting a candle or two in your bedroom at least an hour before bedtime so the scent has a chance to fill your room. If you’re not too hot, wrap yourself in your fluffiest blanket for maximum comfort. Take some time to snuggle with your partner, kids, pets, or a combination of the three. What’s better than being surrounded by the ones you love the most? Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to basic comforts!

 

Any additional tips you’d like me to share? Leave me a message in our comments!

 

Sweet dreams, moms!

 

Thanksgiving Activities for Kids: My Grandma T’s Pie Crust Recipe

There are so many things for which we can be thankful:  family, friends, health and freedom are at the top of my list.  What are you thankful for this year?  Whether you are celebrating with family, friends or both, Thanksgiving is a time to come together to be thankful for all of the wonderful things in our lives.

I love to spend the holiday with my family, and this year for us that means planning Thanksgiving activities for kids.  You can spend time together doing a variety of things, from taking a fall hike, to doing a craft together, to volunteering in your community, or cooking.  I like baking, and creating all sorts of treats can make for fun Thanksgiving activities for kids. Just make sure you pick the right recipes, and plan ahead.

One of my all-time favorite recipes is my Grandma T’s easy pie crust.  It always gets me in the Thanksgiving spirit, and I bet it will do the same for you.  Get your kids involved by having them help you measure (for older kids) and pour (for younger kids) the ingredients.  In the end, this is one delicious treat for kids of all ages!

Danah and Taylor_Pumpkin PatchGrandma T’s Pie Crust

Ingredients:

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1.5 cups butter or Crisco

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

½ cup cold water

Directions:

  1. Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until the pieces are pea-sized.
  2. Mix egg, sugar, vinegar and water
  3. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until it forms a ball
  4. Roll into pie pan

*Keeps up to 2 months in the freezer!

Of course, when you’re done making the crust, picking out the pie filling can be an equally delicious activity for the kids to enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Danah

Danah Bordner
New Mom, LPGA Professional Golfer and Loving Moments Spokesmom

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Maternity Fashion: Mixing Pre and Post Baby Wardrobes

So you just gave birth—first, a big congratulations! Your wardrobe will not be the first thing on your mind, but after a few days of nursing and adjusting to life with a newborn, you’re going to have to reevaluate your closet contents. We know that the 9 months leading up to your infant’s birth were filled with both joy and pants with stretchy waistlines. Now that you’re a mom, your wardrobe is going to change again. Here are two staples that you couldn’t live without during pregnancy that transition perfectly into life with baby too. Why pack away your favorite, most versatile pieces of maternity clothing just yet?

Maternity Leggings

Maternity Leggings

We know you probably lived in your leggings during pregnancy, but what’s the rush to jump right back into denim and khaki now that you’re a mom? Plus, leggings are the ultimate layering piece and make a great foundation to virtually any outfit. You can wear them under a skirt, a dress, or with a tunic top. Our Adjustable Maternity Leggings are soft and stretchy and will pair well with a patterned skirt or brightly colored dress without taking away from your outfit. With the adjustable side bands you’ll get a snug fit every wear. Dressed up or down, our leggings are a fashion must for your post-baby wardrobe.

Crossover Nursing Top: Maternity to Nursing Active Crossover Top

Active Crossover Nursing Top

Every new mom needs a go-to nursing top that she can pull on whether she’s running to the grocery store or going to work. Our Active Crossover Nursing Top is a great transitional piece for nursing moms because of the added length and stylish wrap cups. It hugs your curves in all the right places without being too tight. With a blazer, cardigan, or lightweight jacket our nursing top becomes office ready in no time.

Maternity fashion doesn’t have to end after pregnancy! Which maternity clothes are still some of your cute wardrobe staples?

Developmental Milestones: When Do Babies Crawl?

Your baby’s developmental milestones are always video worthy whether they’re big moments or  smaller, poignant baby milestones that you’ll remember just as vividly. Loving Moments by Leading Lady chose its name because we believe in the tender, quiet moments a mother shares with her baby just as we do the larger celebrations shared by the whole family. We’ll feature a question that new parents frequently ask concerning when their child will develop a certain skill.

Active Crossover Nursing Top

At the eight month mark, you can expect your baby to truly crawl for the first time. And once he or she gets the hang of it—hold on! You can count on a quick learning curve as your baby gets faster and more assured with movement. Good thing Loving Moments’ Active Crossover Nursing Top helps mom stay comfy and cute while chasing after her munchkin.

Make sure that you pay attention to your baby while he or she is getting the hang of crawling–there are sure to be a few bumps and bruises as baby navigates your living room terrain. Watch out for chairs, coffee Sports Bratables, and other furniture items that have sharper edges that baby could accidentally crawl into. You might want to try our Maternity to Nursing Sports Bra that’s perfect for keeping up with your baby on the go. It’s adjustable and features a mesh racer back so you’ll stay cool and comfortable all day.

When your little one tires after a full day of crawling exploration, enjoy the quieter moments of relaxed snuggling. Because after a night’s rest, your baby will be ready to work on motor skills again!

Until the next baby milestone, enjoy this one while you can!

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Kangaroo Care: Skin to Skin Contact Essential for Successful Breastfeeding

Danah Bordner with baby Taylor

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her baby in the delivery room are well documented, but still woman who intended to exclusively breastfeed after birth leave the hospital using formula instead of natural milk. Why is this? Recent studies have exposed that lack of proper breastfeeding support or information work against a mother’s wish to breastfeed. Also, lack of initial skin-to-skin contact plays a role in steering a mother away from nursing. But in order to overcome these obstacles, it helps when new mothers have the intention to breastfeed before giving birth.

A recent study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference found that if a mother shares skin-to-skin contact with her baby in the delivery room, her chances of successfully breastfeeding her infant are better than a mother’s who does not share the same initial physical touch. The study, “Early Skin-to-Skin Contact in the Delivery Room Leads to an Increase in Exclusive Breastfeeding during the Newborn Hospital Stay,” analyzed 150 newborn hospital records from a New York hospital. Researchers took into account other situational factors, including mother’s age, if she planned on breastfeeding before birth, the number of formula feedings during hospital stay, as well as baby’s birth weight and other physiological tests.

Intent to breastfeed is an important factor in the study—without prior commitment to try nursing, it is hard to say whether skin-to-skin contact would sway a mother whose intent was to formula feed from the beginning. But in the case of mothers unsure of their feeding methods, studies like this one could point to the importance of having prolonged physical contact between mother and child as early as the delivery room. Study author Darshna Bhatt, DO, MPH noted the “synergistic effect” that occurs between mother and child.

Bhatt contends that t a mother’s intention to nurse her baby plays a key role in her own breastfeeding practices, aside from lack of support in a delivery room or family setting. “Breastfeeding is one of the easiest things we can do for babies to make sure they’re growing up healthy.  While skin-to-skin contact is associated positively with exclusive breastfeeding, the statistically significant factor is intention,” Bhatt stated.

A renewed look at the Kangaroo Care method—named for the maternal marsupial whose joey pouch fosters close contact—has seen a resurgence in breastfeeding communities. This simple care method advises mothers to directly snuggle their infants (who should only wear a diaper) onto their chests for at least an hour. According to “Skin-to-skin is in,” which appeared on Pregnancy & Newborn’s online magazine, the kangaroo method can “accelerate brain development, reduce stress and tears, regulate body temperature, improve quality of sleep…and encourage breastfeeding behaviors” in newborns. Fathers can also practice the kangaroo method with their infants and reap the same benefits.

Loving Moments by Leading Lady spokesmom Danah Bordner shared her own Kangaroo Care experience in an interview with Best for Babes in June 2012. Bordner talked about having every intention to breastfeed as soon as her daughter, Taylor, was born, and what her delivering hospital’s policy did to encourage Taylor to nurse: “when Taylor was born, during the first hour they put her skin-to-skin on my chest covered with a blanket. They didn’t take her away to weigh her [until later], or to see how long she was or anything.” Bordner credits Taylor’s easy transition into nursing to her delivery room staff’s Kangaroo Care practices. Bordner said, “I think that Kangaroo Care is a big reason we’ve had success.”

Instinct needs guidance—that much is clear concerning breastfeeding in today’s world. Even though breastfeeding is touted as the natural, healthy choice by major pediatric organizations, there are signs of deficiency in delivery rooms and hospitals that do not give proper nursing advice to anxious mothers. By creating an stress-free environment around nursing, mothers might feel more comfortable to pursue breastfeeding even after a few rocky first attempts. We need to encourage a culture of patience while a mother gets used to breastfeeding, especially if it is her first time.

New products that help facilitate skin-to-skin contact include the NuRoo, a shirt designed to cradle a baby close to a mother’s chest. Nursing bras that feature cups that fully drop down or pull-aside cups also expose more skin for contact during nursing. Any time that a mother can use to establish intimacy with her baby is beneficial to both mother and child. Though a free hour seems like an impossible dream with a newborn (not to mention if a mother has other children, too) some of the Kangaroo care products include support belts to assist with no-hold care time. A mom can also pair a looser t-shirt with a Loving Moments Maternity Support Band to create a pouch-like environment for her baby to snuggle in while relaxing.

Traveling with a Baby: The Nursing Mom’s Holiday Travel Checklist

Whether you’re headed to grandma’s for the holidays or taking a much-needed family vacation, you may have some anxiety over traveling with a baby, especially while breastfeeding.  As you have discovered already, the key to any outing with a baby is preparation.  And an extended trip needs just a little more than your average stocked diaper bag. To ease your mind, we’ve put together a checklist of some essential travel items you’ll need for your upcoming holiday trip:

Nursing CamiComfort is the first step to stress-free travel.  Whether by land, road or sea, it’s important that mom and baby are both comfortable while traveling.  Be sure to wear something with easy access for breastfeeding, such as a button down blouse with a nursing tank top underneath.  Bring lots of nursing bras that are both comfortable and functional to wear throughout your trip.  We hope you won’t be doing laundry as often as you would at home, so bring extras in case of spit-up.  Also make sure baby is comfortable on travel days.  A simple bodysuit with extra blankets and sweaters will allow you to layer according to the temperature throughout your trip.

Cover up if that makes you feel better about breastfeeding in public.  If you prefer discretion while you breastfeed, bring a nursing cover or use your baby’s blanket to drape over your chest while nursing.  Try to find a quiet corner for feeding, either at an airport terminal or by staying in your car in a parking lot.

Bring your breast pump, just in case.  Your baby’s schedule may go astray while traveling, especially if there is a time change.  Your breasts, however, may not adjust immediately.  With your breast pump and any necessary attachments (shields, cleansers, cooler for transporting milk, bottles, etc…), you can pump if baby isn’t ready to eat when your milk is ready.  Also, expressing milk might give you time to sneak away with your partner while the grandparents have some bonding time with baby.

Traveling while breastfeedingBreast milk is an approved liquid for air travel.  We recommend bringing some expressed milk in case your baby is too distracted to nurse.  Although you can bring more than the usual 3 oz. of liquid, be prepared for your milk to be inspected.  Also, if you’re travel includes a flight, the sucking motion of nursing or taking a bottle during take-off and landing can help your baby’s ears adjust to changes in pressure.

Hydrate at every opportunity.  Breastfeeding is naturally dehydrating, yet you need plenty of water (and other sustenance) to produce milk.  Also, air travel and high altitudes may cause dehydration so drink extra water and snack often.

Act like you’re on vacation — because you are!  Babies are more adaptable than we think, and sometimes more adaptable than we are.  As long as your baby responds well, be flexible with her schedule.  Traveling with a baby is exciting yet tiring for everyone, so try to relax and let your baby tell you what she needs and when.  If you’re not accustomed to breastfeeding in public and you get intimidated, remember, you’re doing one of the most natural acts on the planet.  Also, don’t get caught up on simulating your at-home breastfeeding environment.  You can find a comfy chair almost anywhere in the world so take advantage of the change of scenery and let your baby explore something new.  But do bring a few familiar toys and blankets to give your baby a sense of security.  Between that, and being in your arms, she’s sure to enjoy the sights and sounds she experiences along your travels.

We wish you safe travels, happy breastfeeding and warm holiday wishes this season!

Celebrity Parents Show Support at Baby2Baby’s 2nd Annual Gala Event

Celebrity Parents Show Support at Baby2Baby's 2nd Annual Gala EventOn Saturday, November 9th some of Hollywood’s most well-known moms and dads attended the second annual Baby2Baby Gala. Baby2Baby is a Los Angeles-based charity that collects new and gently worn baby clothes, toys, and other essentials and distributes them to needy families around the greater L.A. area. This year’s Gala was held in honor of Drew Barrymore, who recently announced her second pregnancy with husband Will Kopelman. Celebrity moms like Rachel Zoe, Jessica Alba, Nicole Ritchie, Jaime King not only came out to the silent auction to help raise money for distressed families, but Ritchie and Alba also serve as board members for the foundation. Alba’s company, The Honest Company, is a sponsor of Baby2Baby.

Baby2Baby was founded in 2006 by Kelly Patricof and Norah Weinstein who now serve as co-presidents of the foundation. According the official website, “Baby2Baby supplies Los Angeles families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children up to age 12. By distributing new and gently used items to over 50 non-profit organizations, including homeless and domestic violence shelters, Head Start programs and hospitals, Baby2Baby serves over 67,000 children each year.” Patricof and Weinstein’s first Baby2Baby gala, which featured a catered dinner prepared by famous chefs and a silent auction, successfully raised $1 million dollars. Hopefully this year’s gala exceeded the funds raised last year so more children can benefit from the foundation in 2014. Judging by the amount of celebrities who attended Saturday’s soiree, there’s a good chance that Baby2Baby will be able to expand their circle of partners and help more families in need!

It’s always heart-warming to see celebrities dedicate time and effort for important causes. Even though we’re not all big screen actors and actresses, many famous people are still moms and dads, first and foremost, and get involved because they know how crucial it is that babies and children have access to the basic necessities. Thanks to all those who attended the second annual gala, keep up the philanthropy!

Visit Baby2Baby’s official website if you’d like more information about donation services.