Archives for December 2013

New Years Resolutions + The Best Things You Can Do for Your Baby in 2014

Ah, a New Year is upon us!  It’s a time to make some New Years resolutions and start afresh.  As a new or expectant mom, you probably have a ton of ideas about the mother you want to become for your baby and are making plans to implement those ideas.

Just as you might set goals for yourself at work, when trying to lose weight or any other project in your life, mapping out goals as a mom is a smart way to parent, especially when those precious moments with your baby are so fleeting.  We’ve all heard that the first few years of your baby’s life are so important for development.  So take this time when you’re setting goals for 2014 to determine how to be the best mom you can be by knowing the best things you can do for your baby.

Breastfeeding_New Years ResolutionsBreastfeed

Breast is best!  The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of your baby’s life, and acknowledges positive benefits for extended breastfeeding as well.  Not only is breast milk the #1 nutrition in the world for your baby, but studies show the amazing cognitive, physical and social advantages of children who were breastfed.  Plus, breastfeeding encourages quicker bonding between mother and baby, easier weight loss for mom, lowered risk of post partum depression and lowered risk for breast and ovarian cancers in mothers.

Set yourself up for success by having a wealth of support.  Arm yourself with information about breastfeeding through online resources, books, experienced mom friends and classes.  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about nursing and discuss ways for your partner to be involved in the experience.  Also, be prepared for breastfeeding with the few essential items necessary for the most gourmet, homemade, wholesome food on the planet:  at least three great nursing bras, a nursing pillow and some cooling pads or cream.

Be a Chatty Cathy

Talking and reading to your newborn, infant and toddler is one of the most educational gifts you can give your child and we highly recommend it for your New Years resolutions this year.  Speaking to children constantly makes them more intelligent and will expand their vocabulary…eventually.  Even if your little one is nowhere near saying her first word, chat away at her about anything in the world – the economy, the latest Hollywood gossip or the weather.  Narrate your life for your child.  You will be stunned at what she will eventually learn to say based on your early one-sided conversations.  Also, instill a love for reading early by doing it often.  Be sure to pick age-appropriate books that will capture your baby’s attention and imagination, like those with textures, bright colors and simple storylines.

Show Love and Affection

New Years Resolutions_LoveOne of the most instinctual ways we care for our babies is by simply loving them.  Babies need tons of affection and attention to feel comfortable and safe in this great big world.  Having come from such a warm and intimate place in your womb, that’s understandable!  Many parents make the mistake of trying to teach their babies a “lesson” by not always going to them when they cry.  Save that lesson for older children and always comfort your baby when she requests your attention, however loudly and however often.  Babies cry because they need something.  It may just be that they need to feel your touch, but nonetheless, they need you.  Psychology Today cites that babies who are tended to quickly after crying actually cry less and become more independent, explorative toddlers.  If you have a fussy baby who wants to be held all of the time, we recommend baby-wearing.  It allows for excellent skin-to-skin contact while also freeing up mom to get some things done.

Create a Village

Stress is bad for everyone, including babies.  For independent women, the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality can be difficult to accept.  But getting some help now-and-then, beginning during pregnancy, is important to relieve stress.  Babies both inside and out of the womb are super sensitive to stress and that is certainly not something you want to transfer.  It can cause developmental and behavioral problems down the road.  Villages are made up of all sorts of people.  If your relatives don’t live nearby and babysitters aren’t in your budget, find some good friends, neighbors or community organizations that can offer a few hours of childcare when you need a moment to breathe.

Interact and Have Fun

Monkey see, monkey do is the name of the game with kids.  Even if babies cannot mimic your actions yet, they will certainly appreciate silly faces and funny sounds.  Make a game out of it.  Use the “peek-a-boo” concept with everything, from sticking out your tongue to, singing a silly song or playing a freeze dance game.  Your baby will delight in stop-and-go motions.  And if you haven’t learned this yet, nothing is better than watching your baby’s face light up from sheer joy.

Have a happy and joyous New Year!

Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas

My little Taylor, enjoying the sunshine just before Christmas!

Christmas is a beautiful time of year because we get to celebrate our Christmas traditions. And for my family, children make this holiday time much more exciting. We have several wonderful Christmas traditions, new and old.  Some have been part of my family for decades.  Others we have introduced since Taylor was born.

One tradition we started with Taylor is baking a cake for Jesus. We want her to know the true meaning behind the season.  By starting this tradition, we are able to talk about our beliefs while doing a fun family activity.

Another tradition my family has revolves around food and golf…are you surprised?   We make homemade biscuits and gravy, then go out to play golf before Christmas dinner. I realize this isn’t typical for most families, but after spending over 30 years in Florida during Christmas, it seems it is the thing to do!

Whether you’re celebrating with family or friends, enjoy the many blessings that surround you.  Wishing you much joy and love during this holiday season!

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

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The Rise of Food Allergies in Children and Babies

Dairy, eggs, peanut butter, strawberries, soy—it seems as though every year the list of common food allergies grows longer and involves more food groups. Food allergies appear in babies and children without much real explanation. Doctors and lactation experts agree that a mom’s diet while breastfeeding does not create allergies in a child. How can you anticipate you child developing food allergies?

Some scientists believe that the rise in food allergies may be connected to overall improved public health. Because our sanitation systems are effective, scientists think that our immune systems are more susceptible to food allergies and other diseases. Without a clear picture though, parents worry about what kinds of food to feed their children.

The Rise of Food Allergies in Children and Babies

In general, pediatricians recommend not feeding a child peanut butter until he or she is at least three years old. Other advice advocates introducing new types of food slowly to a baby—over the course of a week—to give your child ample time to show an allergic reaction if they are sensitive to the food type. This practice will make it more apparent which food set off a reaction if a child should display signs of food allergies.

Food variety is not as important to a baby as it is to an adult, so don’t worry about diversifying meals at the risk of exposing your child to a food allergy. Doctors do attribute 90% of food allergies to the following 8 food types—peanut butter, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, shellfish, wheat—so be cautious and make sure to talk to your pediatrician before letting your baby try these foods.

With the rise of food allergies, gluten intolerances, and other dietary issues it’s hard not to wonder if food processing techniques and ingredients are actively altering our allergy tolerances. Soy products have become increasingly more prominent in our national diet as a substitute for cow’s milk.

Kids with food allergies are susceptible to anaphylactic shock and other health issues, so it’s important to have the necessary inhalers and medications ready if your child does have a food allergy. A talk with the babysitter or preschool teacher will let them be aware of your child’s condition and what steps they should take to help in an emergency situation.

Do you have a child with a food allergy? What steps have you taken to avoid certain foods in your child’s diet? Share your advice with us in the comments.

Photo attribution

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom Guide

The beginning is always the hardest; that’s true of any skill when you’re learning the ropes. Breastfeeding is no different. New moms are often overwhelmed by how consuming breastfeeding becomes from the first feeding: latching techniques, constant feeding schedules, different hold positions—the list goes on! We have some breastfeeding tips that address the first three days of nursing and serve as a blueprint of what to expect. From hospital to home, let these breastfeeding tips (adapted from Pregnancy and Newborn online magazine) guide you through the first days of nursing and into a seamless routine.

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom GuideOnce you’ve delivered your baby, ask to hold your newborn so you can experience skin-to-skin contact. Establishing an external connection with your baby as quickly as possible will aid breastfeeding. If you can, you should try to nurse the first time you hold your baby as well. Be patient as your infant tries to latch for the first times and look for signs that she is properly sucking and consuming milk.

Watch to see if your baby’s mouth is open wide (most of your areola and nipple will be covered) and listen for firm, sucking sounds. If you think the latch is too light, gently break her suction with your fingertips and try the latch again. If you have concerns, ask for a visit with a lactation consultant and have her guide you through a successful latch. Once you know what to expect and roughly how nursing will feel, you will find that some of your initial breastfeeding anxiety is quieted.

If your baby is soiling diapers, you’re providing milk, even if it doesn’t seem like a large quantity.

Breastfeeding at home

Once you’ve begun to nurse, you have to establishing a breastfeeding schedule. Try to nurse every two hours in the beginning. While at home, continue this routine as best you can. If your baby exhibits signs of hunger, though, try to feed even if it throws you off your schedule. Keeping a basic log of your breastfeeding schedule will help you stay on track and informed of your nursing progress. Note things like diaper changes, length of breastfeeding sessions, frequency of sessions, and how successful your baby is at latching on. This information will be helpful in your first pediatrician visits.

Enlist your partner to help you keep your sleep schedule. For the first days, you may want to use a bassinet in your room to make nighttime feedings more convenient. Your partner will be able to help you get up or assist you with feeding if you, baby, and partner are in the same place. You’re all sharing the same goal of successful breastfeeding for your infant’s health, and creating a comfortable, nurturing space together will make round-the-clock feedings easier.

Around the end of your first week of breastfeeding, be conscious of your breasts becoming engorged. Engorgement varies is pain between women, but using ice packs or cabbage leaves are common ways you can ease some of the pain you might feel. If your breast pain becomes severe, call your doctor and see what he or she can prescribe that’s safe for you and baby.

Just remember—at the end of your first week, you’ll have learned so much first-hand information about breastfeeding! Stick with it, because nursing your baby is the healthiest, most natural way you can feed your baby. You’re giving her so much when you offer her a breast to latch onto.

Have any tips for moms-to-be you learned from your first few days breastfeeding? Share with us in the comments.

Babies Meeting Pets: Safety Tips to Follow

pets-and-babies-Eeleco-cramer

Photo by Eelco Cramer via Flickr Creative Commons

Sharing the holidays with friends and family exposes your baby to new, smiling faces. But if you’re hosting out-of-town relatives or friends, it can also mean significant environment changes. If one of your guests brings a pet into your home, there a couple of steps you should take to properly introduce your baby to the pet. Even when an animal is trained it can act irrationally or unpredictably around a baby.

Playing it safe is the best bet when your baby is around new animals; with encouragement and patience your baby and the pet will be fast friends. Here are some friendly safety tips we encourage you to follow:

Make the pet’s owner a part of the process

A pet will be most comfortable around their primary owner. When your guests arrive at your home, don’t immediately push for your baby to meet the pet. Let the owner walk the pet through your home (or the at least the rooms the pet is allowed in, depending on your feelings about pets in the house). Everyone should be at ease when meeting—you, the owner, the pet, and your baby. Keep in mind that you and the owner set the tone for your baby and the pet! If you’re visiting a home for a party, politely ask your host or hostess if they wouldn’t mind introducing their pet to your baby in a quiet space.

Have treats on hand

Gentle, encouraging words will go a long way with a pet. As the pet sniffs or inspects your baby, both you and the owner should reward good behavior with words and dog biscuits. Make the pet aware that patient behavior is expected and will be rewarded. Do not rush the introduction—slowly bring the baby and the pet together once they’ve been in the same room. Avoid anything that makes the pet anxious or too excited. A calm atmosphere and tone of voice will ease the pet’s anxiety about strangers and new smells.

Keep the pet included in the fun

No one likes to be left out—pets included. If your family is gathered in the living room, reminiscing about past holidays, carve out a space where the dog or cat can comfortably relax with the group. Don’t forget to scratch behind a pet’s ears every once in a while! Pets act out sometimes because they feel like their being ignored (much like children!) so don’t exclude them from the fun. Furry creatures like to spend the holidays with their families just like us, so do what you can to make the atmosphere ideal for pets and humans alike!

Prenatal Vitamins Not Just for Women, Men’s Health Affects Conception Too

Prenatal Vitamins Not Just for Women, Men’s Health Affects Conception Too

New research suggests that women aren’t the only ones who should alter their diets for better chances at conceiving—men who lack B9 (folate) vitamins were found to have lower chances of sperm-to-egg connection. Additionally, researchers at McGill University found that men with B9 vitamin deficiencies also have an increased chance of producing a baby with birth defects. Looks like women aren’t the only ones who need prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive!

Folate is naturally found in green leafy vegetables, fruits, meat, and cereal grains. Folic acid is said to reduce the chance of a miscarriage or birth defects in babies, which is why women generally take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy.

Women typically focus intensely on their bodies while trying to get pregnant; they keep fertility calendars, take prenatal vitamins, and sometimes abstain from drinking alcohol. There’s no shortage of advice for a woman trying to get pregnant, and with this new study’s findings, men should not ignore their own diet and lifestyle choices.

Couples can make the healthy diet switches together to make the acclimation easier. Sharing the same goal—conceiving—can make quitting fast food and eating more kale less stressful. If you’re planning on a baby right now, include your partner in your weekly workouts or try your hand at new recipes that feature ingredients high in folic acid. You can take turns throughout the week trying new kitchen creations.

Hey, maybe you can get him to try prenatal vitamins too!

Do you have any tips for adding folic acid into a diet? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Photo attribution

Breastfeeding in Public: Eliminating the Stigma + Tips for Avoiding Uncomfortable Moments

Without fail, every year around the holidays, we hear news of discrimination against breastfeeding in public.  Whether it is a major retailer or restaurant that asks a mother to leave or cover up, or harassments from an unknowledgeable public, it will inevitably happen again this year.  Why the ignorance?  Why the obsession with how someone else nurtures their baby?  Why the intolerance?

We may never know the answer to those questions but the truth is, breastfeeding in public is not against the law in any U.S. state so you cannot get into legal trouble for doing it.  In fact, it is one of the most natural things a mother can do for her baby.  But still, many moms face criticism, ostracism and are made to feel uncomfortable.

Breastfeeding in PublicAs more people learn about the benefits of breastfeeding, our society will hopefully become more tolerant.  Global and national educational initiatives such as World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month are designed not only to assist mothers in getting more information about feeding their children, but also to enlighten the public and inspire acceptance.  You, too can play a part by spreading the word about the positive effects of breastfeeding.

If breastfeeding in public is not part of your daily routine, you may be reluctant to do it.  But when your baby is hungry and you’re out-and-about with your family during the holidays, necessity may require a feeding in public.  Obviously exposing yourself publicly is not a common practice, but when your breasts are a source of food for your baby, it may be impossible to avoid.  Remind yourself of just that: your breasts are a source of nutrients for your baby, the best source in fact.  It may help alleviate some of the embarrassment.

You can always bring a nursing cover or find a private lounge to breastfeed, whenever possible.  Dress for simple nursing by wearing easy-to-lift or button-down tops, many of which can act as a cover-up as well.  A nursing bra or nursing cami always comes in handy, too!  Many people find that bringing a friend along, perhaps an experienced mom, can boost their confidence.  Chat and make eye contact while nursing to draw attention away from the feeding.  Chances are, most people won’t even notice what you are doing.

If you do get some unwelcome comments, make a choice to be the bigger person.  Ignore them, smile or caress your baby instead.  And if you are asked to leave an establishment, look into informing corporate headquarters.  As in most cases when breastfeeding moms are harassed, companies and the media side with the mother.  It’s important for companies to know what is happening at a local level so they can correct it and help inform their employees to support moms and babies.

On the flip side, if people smile at you or give you encouragement, thank them for their kindness.  Moms and breastfeeding advocates should support one another on their mission for healthy babies, healthy mommies and healthy families.

Happy holidays and happy breastfeeding!

Pregnancy Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

Do you have a heart condition but want to start a family? We’re sharing a few health tips you should follow before and during your pregnancy to combat heart disease.

Regardless of your condition, schedule an appointment with your doctor before getting pregnant. If you have a heart condition, keeping your doctor up-to-date about your pregnancy plans means getting the best health information for you and your future baby.

Pregnancy Health Tips for a Healthy HeartIf you’re taking medication for heart disease or other heart-related issues, make sure your doctor and OB/GYN are aware. Keeping your medical professionals in the loop about your medications and past issues will ensure that you’re receiving the right treatment.

During pregnancy, expectant moms sometimes find themselves with higher blood pressure levels than before their pregnancy. If you already have high blood pressure then you’ll need extra monitoring while pregnant! To lower blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends working out for a minimum of 30 minutes 5 times a week. Obviously your exercise levels will change once pregnant, so consult your OB/GYN about appropriate workout routines.

You don’t have to work out alone! Grab a friend (pregnant or not) and try to make a schedule you both can stick to. Prenatal exercise classes are great for staying healthy and making pregnant friends. As you move into your later weeks, make sure to listen to your body’s cues so you don’t push too hard while working out. Your heart and your baby will thank you!

A healthy heart makes all the difference while pregnant. Making the right diet and exercise choices can sometimes be difficult, but if you focus on making good habits out of eating and working out, chances are you’ll find pregnancy easier and less stressful. Treat your heart well!

Stay healthy, future moms! Share some health tips of your own in the comments.

Kerry Washington’s Pregnancy Will Not be Featured on Scandal Season Three

Kerry Washington

Photo by George Biard via Wikipedia

Scandal fans take note—ABC recently cut 4 episodes from season 3’s line-up. The original season plan included 22 episodes, but with star Kerry Washington’s recent pregnancy announcement, there’s speculation that those final four episodes coincide too closely with Kerry’s delivery date.

Kerry Washington portrays Scandal’s Olivia Pope, the wildly popular and stylish crisis management expert both critics and fans adore. Kerry is an Emmy-nominated actress who married NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha in June 2013. She first announced her  pregnancy at the end of October.

Shonda Rhimes (creator of Scandal and other successful television shows like Grey’s Anatomy) and her team have decided not to integrate Kerry’s real-life pregnancy into her character Olivia’s storyline.

Scandal’s costume department will have to take advantage of trench coats and looser blouses to accommodate Kerry’s pregnancy while filming. Season two of Scandal ends May 16th, 2013 (we’re approaching the mid-season break now!) so filming schedules will undoubtedly be changed to fast-track new episodes while Washington is still in the early stages of her pregnancy.

Fans will be sure to enjoy Scandal’s third season, even if it means less episodes. Who knows? Shonda Rhimes and co. will probably amplify the drama and suspense in the next 18 episodes to keep us on the edge of our seats!

How to Get Pregnant: Health Tips for Conception

How to Get Pregnant: Health Tips for ConceptionThinking about getting pregnant? Wondering how to get pregnant? Besides the obvious, many women worry that their lifestyle choices may make conceiving more difficult. We’re here to bring you a couple of health tips that may boost your conception chances.

Dr. Jane Dimer, OB/GYN, sheds some light on the correlation between a mom’s health choices and her baby’s future health: “If mom starts good habits before, babies are going to be stronger, fitter.” Mom is her baby’s first link to the world—how would you like to introduce your baby to the world? We know that you only want the best for your baby, and these health tips will improve your chances of getting pregnant. Let’s start out your future pregnancy on the right foot!

Do you break a sweat on a daily basis? If so, then keep up the good work—regular exercise lowers a woman’s chance for pregnancy complications like high blood pressure and diabetes. If your workout routine isn’t as defined, try getting between 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. If you’re not a gym person, take the opportunity to try a yoga class or go on a brisk morning walk before work. Staying physically fit increases your chance of getting pregnant and keeps you healthier and happier too. Looking for some pregnancy workout clothes? Our maternity leggings and sports bra look great and are easy to work out in.

Consult your doctor or OB/GYN once you are pregnant and you’d like to keep exercising. You may have to modify your routine and a medical professional can give you guidance about keeping you and your baby safe while working out pregnant.

When was the last time you visited your general practitioner and had the basics checked out? Dr. Dimer recommends checking in with your regular doctor before getting pregnant. How easy it is for you to get pregnant might be linked to family illnesses or traits, and talking to your doctor can shed light on some of these issues. Even making sure you’re up to date on your immunizations is important before conceiving.

With the holidays on the horizon, it’s easy to lose sight of healthy eating habits. If you’re trying for a baby, remember to refrain from overindulgence—especially alcohol. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to indulge a little than ignore holiday cravings altogether (who can resist a good Christmas cookie?!) but remember that keeping your diet consistent helps regulate your body. Vitamin intake is important while trying to conceive, so replace some sugar and starch with healthy veggies and fruits.

There’s no step-by-step playbook on how to get pregnant, but leading a healthy, active life does improve conception chances. Do you have any tips you swear by? Share with us!