Archives for September 2017

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Finding the Balance

Watching the numbers go up on the scale during pregnancy can be hard to bear for some moms-to-be, especially if they seem to fly by faster than you thought possible. For other moms, gaining enough weight to support their babies is a struggle.

Finding the balance for appropriate weight gain during pregnancy is harder than expected according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study reviewed statistics from 23 previous studies regarding weight gain during pregnancy. The results showed that nearly half of women gained more weight than recommended and approximately one quarter of women gained less weight during pregnancy than recommended.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Finding the BalanceRecommended Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The typical recommendation for weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds for women at a relatively healthy pre-pregnancy weight. Some women who are underweight prior to pregnancy may be advised to gain more weight and some women who are overweight prior to pregnancy may be advised to gain less. Moms who are carrying multiples will need to gain more weight as well.

The saying “eating for two” does not hold true and moms-to-be are urged to eat regularly during their first trimester, according to the CDC. Then expectant mothers should eat approximately 340 extra calories in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.

Risk of Too Much Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not healthy for moms or babies. Moms who gain too much weight during their 40 or so weeks of pregnancy are likely to have oversized babies and more likely to require cesarean sections rather than vaginal births. Additionally, it puts the baby at increased risk of obesity later in life.

Of course there are also health risks involved for mothers who are overweight postpartum. It’s difficult to lose baby weight while taking care of a newborn and being overweight or obese may contribute to diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions or diseases.

Breastfeeding is one way to support your baby’s best nutritional health because it provides the exact set of nutrients your baby needs to thrive. Studies show breastfed babies are less likely to be obese in childhood and adulthood. Also, breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and can help you slowly lose some baby weight.

Risk of Too Little Weight Gain During Pregnancy

On the flip side, babies born to moms who gained too little weight during pregnancy were up to 70% more likely to be born prematurely and underweight. Premature birth does not allow babies to continue to develop in the safe environment of the womb and can lead to many struggles as your baby tries to catch up on development while also surviving outside of the protection of a mother’s uterus. It may lead to birth defects, abnormalities or social, behavioral or cognitive differences in the future.

Often women who experience extreme pregnancy nausea and vomiting are among those who do not gain an adequate amount of weight during pregnancy. Also, being stressed or not prioritizing a mom’s own health can lead to too little weight gain during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding is also the best way to support a premature or underweight baby. The first breast milk a mother produces, colostrum, is rich in antibodies to help babies survive. As a mother’s breast milk matures, it becomes fattier and denser in calories to help babies grow bigger and stronger.

Sources: BabyCenter and LA Times

New Mom Resume: Part 2

New Mom Resume: Part 2After taking time off to raise children, many moms feel discouraged about their prospects of re-entering the workforce. We all know that being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but making employers see that, despite the smell or spit-up on your clothes and mac-n-cheese in your hair, you’re still highly qualified. In fact, being a mom may give us new perspective and renewed value in the workplace. Your new mom resume should reflect your skills and relevant experiences professionally and honestly.

Yesterday we discussed what NOT to put on your new mom resume, such as cute job titles with descriptions of your motherly duties, and what NOT TO FORGET to put on your new mom resume, including charitable work, freelance projects, volunteering, continued education and professional development. Today we’re offering advice on how to organize your new mom resume and other ways to use motherhood as an asset as you look for employment.

Organizing Your New Mom Resume

Most experts believe that a combination format resume is appropriate for new moms re-entering the workforce. This balances your career goals summary, qualifications, skills, work experience and education in a blended resume. It takes the focus off of the gap that would be highly noticeable if you used a traditional chronological resume format. It also doesn’t look like you’re hiding anything by not listing your employment dates at all, which would be a red flag to potential employers.

A combination new mom resume may begin with a brief summary of your career goals and then list out your core qualifications and skills related to the type of job you are seeking. Next it would list your related activities (the projects you may have done during your time off work) and your previous employment, including dates. Finally, list your education. There is not one right way to create a resume so play around with the format to ensure your strengths shine through.

Looking for Employment as a New Mom

There is no denying that your life has changed since you had children. Own the new woman that you are now that you’ve added mother to your life’s resume. That means being honest with potential employers about your time out of the workforce to raise your children, which can be briefly explained in a cover letter and in interviews. It is respectable to explain why there is an employment gap, how you kept yourself relevant in your field and how you can add value to a company. Ultimately, if the employer is only willing to hire someone who currently holds a position, you won’t be any worse off for this truthful approach.

Perhaps equally as important as your resume is using your new mom networking skills to find employment. Reach out to people you know and follow leads to make connections that could lead you to the perfect position for you. Never turn down a meet-and-greet opportunity or informational interview that could spark new ideas of where to seek employment. It only takes one magic connection to land your dream job.

Also, when you meet with people face-to-face, you may have a natural opportunity to intertwine the “mom-genuity” you’ve gained through motherhood into the conversation. This shows that being a mom is an asset to what you can bring to the workplace and one that can and should be valued by employers.

Sources: SheKnows, Monster, AdWeek, The Muse and Resume Genius

New Mom Resume: Part 1

Returning to work after taking some time off to focus on family feels daunting for many moms. Besides the obvious employment gap in your resume, you may feel your parenting skills put you behind those who have been steadily working in a professional environment. But many moms are in the same position and your new mom resume can truly highlight your strengths without being a deficit to your hireability.

What NOT to Put on Your New Mom Resume

Stop for a moment to consider the skills you have gained as a new mom. You can multi-task like no one’s business (such as breastfeeding while making dinner while reading to your preschooler while negotiating a lower rate on your cable bill, for example), your ability to build partnerships and networking skills are through the roof (as evidenced by the gaggle of New Mom Resume: Part 1new mom friends you have made), you are highly productive on little sleep (you’re sustaining an entire human life on milk that you yourself have made) and you are a terrific problem solver (like new and exciting methods of distraction or rigging child-proofing measures in an otherwise adult-centric home).

While the skills you have mastered as a new mom are beyond impressive, your new mom resume must reflect what you can contribute to the workplace in a professional way. It’s tempting to add these cute entries to your new mom resume – one organization, Mother New York, even created an “employer” called The Pregnancy Pause to help moms account for time out of the workforce – but your potential employers may not find it quite so adorable. The last thing you want is not to be taken seriously.

The only time when the “labors of love” of motherhood may be appropriate to list on your resume is if they are directly related to the position you are seeking, such as being a nanny, house manager, day care provider or teacher.

Focus Your Roles in Motherhood into Resume Boosters

Laundry, cooking, cleaning and breastfeeding may not be among the activities you should list on your resume but volunteer projects, charity work and freelance assignments are. All of the work you’ve done in your community – whether that’s through a religious organization, school or other group – can speak to your organizational, inter-personal, multi-tasking, problem-solving and results-oriented mentality. It also shows you’re a go-getter and passionate about goals that affect you and your community.

Examples may include being a committee chair at your child’s school, organizing a fundraiser and sharing the resulting money raised, joining a community task force, being a weekly volunteer at a local non-profit, holding a board position within your religious group, or blogging for a community website.

Also include any continuing education and professional development you may have completed during your time out of the workplace. This shows dedication to your field and a desire to advance your skills even without current employment. It will prove you are keeping up with industry trends, new strategies and technology that make you relevant to an employer.

Tomorrow we’ll talk more about organizing your new mom resume and other ways to highlight your talents to seek employment. See you then!

Sources: SheKnows, Monster, AdWeek, The Muse and Resume Genius

 

 

U.S. Birth Rate Reaches a Historic Low

U.S. Birth Rate Reaches a Historic LowOver the past few years the birth rate across the country has been on the decline. Now data shows the U.S. birth rate reaches a historic low leaving some experts to believe we may have a national emergency if the trend continues. Others, however, claim that this is the natural ebb and flow of the human population and the numbers will rise again soon enough.

This information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2016 population data and has been analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics. Overall the nation’s birthrate in 2016 was 1.87 percent, which equates to 62 births per 1,000 women between 15 and 44. That’s down 1 percent from the previous year. The average replacement rate for the U.S. is 2.1 percent.

The records show a decline in younger mothers and an increase in older mothers. Here’s an overview of the findings:

Teens: Teen motherhood is on the decline and changed most drastically – 9 percent – since 2015. Teen moms have slowly decreased by 67 percent since 1991. This is great news!

Women 20-24: Four percent decline since 2015

Women 25-29: Two percent decline since 2015

Women 30-34: One percent increase since 2015

Women 35-39: Two percent increase since 2015, the highest rate since 1962

Women 40-44: Four percent increase since 2015

Women 45-49: 0.9 percent increase since 2015

Why the potential national emergency? Some experts claim that without a significant young population, there will not be enough people in the U.S. to support the aging community both logistically and financially. But others say the birth rate will rise again and elderly care will not be an issue, at least not from a population standpoint.

Further analysis showed that more than 28 percent of white babies, nearly 70 percent of black babies and more than 50 percent of Hispanic babies are born to unmarried parents.

Preterm birth, defined by babies born prior to 37 weeks of gestation, increased by approximately .20 percent since 2015. Hispanic babies have the highest percent of preterm births and Asian babies have the lowest, in the U.S.

Cesarean births were on a slight decline from 32 percent in 2015 to 31.9 percent in 2016.

Sources: BabyCenter, New York Times and Washington Post

 

 

 

Pregnancy Myths: Part 2

It’s hard to get through your 40 or so weeks of pregnancy without hearing pregnancy myths. While they are fun to consider, there is little truth to most of these tall tales and their widespread retelling can lead to some confusion for moms-to-be.

We’re debunking pregnancy myths to keep you on a path to health and truth during your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myths: Part 2Pregnancy Myth #8: You Should Limit Your Physical Activity

Unless your physician indicates otherwise, exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended. Your body is going through a ton of changes and you can help your heart and blood circulation keep up with the challenge by working out. Plus, exercise is good for stress relief, helps stretch and loosen muscles and joints that are being used differently during pregnancy, and can prepare you for labor and delivery.

You may, however, need to adjust your workout routines to be more appropriate, especially as you progress through pregnancy. Any activity where you may be more likely to lose our balance or fall, such as biking, horseback riding or mountain hiking, is not a great choice at this time. Stick to walking, swimming, prenatal yoga and the likes to elevate your heart rate and stay safe during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #9: You Can Predict Your Baby’s Gender With a Game

Have you heard the one where you dangle your wedding ring from a strand of your husband’s hair over your belly to determine your baby’s gender? You know, if it spins it’s a girl and if it swings it’s a boy. NOT TRUE! Like we said yesterday, your baby’s sex is determined at conception and there’s not a game in the world that can change that.

Pregnancy Myth #10: Don’t Eat Any Seafood

Actually, you SHOULD eat two or three weekly servings of fish rich in essential fatty acids during pregnancy as long as they are low in mercury. Great options include salmon, tilapia, canned tuna, shrimp and cod. Seafood that is high in mercury can be toxic to your baby’s developing nervous system so avoid seafood such as tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackerel. Also, never eat raw or undercooked seafood. That means it’s best to skip the sushi or sashimi for awhile.

Pregnancy Myth #11: You Should Not Fly

The radiation you experience from an airplane, x-ray machines and other aviation equipment is minimal. It would take many times the level acquired from flying to do any harm to your baby.

Many parents use the time before their baby arrives to take a vacation. Some airlines have restrictions on flying in the last month of pregnancy so you may need a doctor’s note if you plan to fly in your third trimester. Be sure to hydrate during flight and walk around to help maintain good blood circulation.

Pregnancy Myth #12: Morning Sickness is Only in the Morning and Ends After the 1st Trimester

Unfortunately some women experience morning sickness around the clock and throughout their entire pregnancy. Morning sickness is more likely in the morning since your body has been fasting overnight and nausea tends to peak when your body needs nourishment and blood sugar levels are lower. But this could happen at other points during the day as well and sometimes even eating doesn’t subdue morning sickness.

The majority of women experience less nausea and vomiting after the first trimester when pregnancy hormones change and your body gets used to being pregnant. Again, this isn’t the case for everyone and some moms are queasy throughout pregnancy. Ginger, lemon and mint can be helpful to reduce symptoms of morning sickness.

Pregnancy Myth #13: Avoid Sex

Sex is not off limits during pregnancy, ladies! In fact, some women feel heightened sexual pleasure during pregnancy, thanks to all that extra estrogen. Sex may help you relax and feel closer to your partner as you experience the ups and downs of becoming a new parent. Unless your doctor says otherwise, indulge and enjoy!

Pregnancy Myth #14: You Will Crave Your Favorite Foods

Pregnancy hormones change the way you experience food. Your favorite foods and foods you never liked before may taste different now. Therefore, you may not overdo it on chocolate even if that’s your favorite treat. And you may actually enjoy kale more during pregnancy than ever before. It’s a good reason to rediscover new, healthy foods.

Also, if you’re waiting for the urge for pickles and ice cream, it may never come. While that’s an infamous pregnancy combination, it isn’t a craving for all moms-to-be.

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble

 

 

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1When it comes to pregnancy and babies, everyone seems to have an opinion. Unfortunately, not all the unsolicited advice you get will be accurate, much less something you really want to heed anyways. Pregnancy myths are as common as morning sickness and swollen feet for moms-to-be. This week we’re debunking some of the major pregnancy myths so you can get to the bottom of what really matters in a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #1: You’re Eating for Two

You may feel a bit hungrier than usual but you actually don’t need much more food to sustain yourself and your growing baby. About 200 to 300 extra calories should do it. Many moms-to-be find it easier to graze on small meals throughout the day. This can curb pregnancy nausea and help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

As you progress throughout your pregnancy you may even find eating large meals difficult because your baby is compressing your stomach making it not able to hold very much at one time.

Overeating during pregnancy can lead to an excessive weight gain and a host of health problems for you and your baby during and after pregnancy. Physicians recommend a weight gain between 25-35 pounds for most women during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #2: You Can’t Take Any Medications

There are plenty of OTC medications that are safe during pregnancy including certain pain relievers, antacids, cough medications and allergy decongestants. Check with your doctor to make sure you select something safe for you and your baby. You may be able to continue taking pre-existing prescription medications or may be prescribed a new baby-safe medication during pregnancy to relieve symptoms. If you were taking something that is not safe now that you’re pregnant, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative drug.

Also, pregnant women should get a flu shot for the protection of herself and her baby. The flu shot for expectant moms does not contain the live virus and is completely safe and recommended for moms-to-be.

Pregnancy Myth #3: Heartburn Means Your Baby Will Be Hairy

The old wives’ tale about heartburn and your baby’s likelihood for excessive hair is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be, although there may be some truth to it. Plenty of moms with heartburn give birth to bald babies, but sometimes the pregnancy hormones causing heartburn are the same that stimulate hair growth for babies. So, if your heartburn is indeed from your hormones and not the hot tamales you ate last night, your baby may be hairy…or he may not.

Pregnancy Myth #4: You Can’t Drink Coffee

Studies show that caffeine in moderation is completely acceptable during pregnancy. Previous research indicated caffeine may lead to preterm birth or low birth weight but this myth has been debunked. In fact, eating chocolate – a food with natural caffeine – is healthy during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #5: Don’t Dye Your Hair

There is no evidence that the small amount of chemicals used to dye hair will affect your baby. It would take many times that level of toxins to do any harm to your baby and it certainly would have affected you long before your little one. If you need to touch up your roots or have a hankering for an entirely new hair color before your baby arrives, go for it.

Pregnancy Myth #6: You Should Always Feel Happy During Pregnancy

Sure, you’re excited, optimistic and eager to start a new life with your bundle of joy, but you may also be anxious, scared and stressed at the same time. Pregnancy hormones can leave you with a mixed range of emotions that are often confusing when you believe you’re supposed to just be thrilled about your baby all the time. Especially when pregnancy symptoms are at their worst, feeling happy isn’t always on your agenda.

Don’t feel guilty, these are normal feelings. Try to find a balance between everything you need to maintain in your life and supporting your physical and emotional needs at this critical time. Also, lean on your partner, friends and family to help you work through some of your feelings.

Pregnancy Myth #7: Carrying Low, Carrying Wide and Dark Nipples can Determine Your Baby’s Gender

All of these things may happen to you, but it isn’t an indication of the gender of your baby. Whether you find out your baby’s gender in advance of birth or not, your baby’s sex is determined at conception. Nothing that you do, say or believe is going to change that.

The way you carry your baby has much to do with your body type, your baby’s position in the womb, and your stomach muscles. If you have a shorter torso, your belly may protrude outward more because you have less “built-in” space for your baby. Stronger abdominal muscles tend to help moms-to-be hold babies higher. With each pregnancy your muscles may become more elastic and cause you to carry lower.

The darkening of your nipples is actually a wonderful way your body prepares for breastfeeding. It occurs due to hormones and some experts believe it is to help your baby, who has poor vision at birth, more easily find your nipples for breastfeeding.

If you’re shocked by these pregnancy myths, stick around for the second half of our series tomorrow!

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Stephanie from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s WIC Program

Breastfeeding Success Story: Stephanie from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s WIC Program“Before the birth of my first child, I knew I wanted to breastfeed her. I was very determined about my decision and did everything I could to educate myself on breastfeeding and its benefits. I remembered being met with a lot of encouragement and optimism from other mothers, my midwife and the staff at the Mount Sinai St. Luke’s WIC program. I also appreciated those who advised me that breastfeeding sometimes doesn’t workout for every mother and not to feel guilty if it didn’t for me.

Once my daughter was born, I tried not to put too much pressure on myself and took breastfeeding one day at a time. I was blessed to have an abundant milk supply, a happy baby and great support system at home.

Breastfeeding was not always easy but my love for Emma and rewarding feeling I got from giving her the best I could outweighed all negative feelings. I breastfeed her for as long as my current pregnancy allowed me to, which was 11 months. I’m really excited to continue my breastfeeding journey when my new daughter arrives this fall.”

Stephanie from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s WIC Program

Breastfeeding Success Story: Candice from Cloud County WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story:  Candice from Cloud County WIC“My name is Candice and this is my breastfeeding story.

I have four boys, my oldest is 9 years and my youngest is 7 months. When I had my first, I struggled with breastfeeding greatly. It was very painful and stressful. I was too scared and I suppose modest to get help from a breastfeeding counselor or the Le Leche League and I regret that so much looking back. I only made it maybe 6 to 8 weeks breastfeeding him.

With my second, while in the hospital, the breastfeeding counselor visited me and brought me a pump because my baby was in NICU and she was going to show me how to use the pump. When I went to put the flange up to my breast she said “oh hey you have inverted nipples” and explained to me what that meant and that I needed to use a nipple shield in order for it to not hurt and be able to nurse correctly. She said pumping after every feeding and as frequently as possible would also help break up the cartilage in my nipple and help pull the nipple out so that I could eventually hopefully quit using the nipple shield. I ended up being able to breastfeed my second baby for about 15 months.

When I had my third baby I started out using the nipple shield. After a couple of months with breastfeeding him, I was able to donate about 2000 ounces of breast-milk to a friend in need. When he was about three months old I came down with mastitis and lost about half my Supply. I worked so hard pumping and feeding trying to get my Supply back and came down with mastitis a couple weeks later in the other breast and lost all that I gained back. I continued to pump and feed as much as I possibly could Around the Clock and when he was 6 months old the doctor labeled him with failure to thrive and we were having to supplement. At that point I lost the rest of my breast milk supply and we were done breastfeeding. I was absolutely devastated. I felt like I was failing my baby.

With my 4th baby, who is currently 7 months old, he has never had a drop of formula. Breastfeeding is going wonderfully. I ended up with mastitis a few months ago in which we powered through very awesome like. I did not lose my Supply at all. He ate and ate and ate off the side with mastitis and we conquered it. When he was about 5 months old I developed Thrush, which is basically yeast infection in your nipple. That was I think more painful than the mastitis ever was for me. It felt like glass shards coming out of my nipples every time I fed him or pumped and it was almost unbearable. I contacted my breastfeeding counselor, who is Amazing by the way, and my doctor and was able to make some homemade cream to put on my nipple and we defeated Thrush. Currently we are at 7 months going strong and hoping to make it to 2 years this time around.”

Candice from Cloud County WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Lindsey from Metro Nashville South Nutrition Center WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Lindsey from Metro Nashville South Nutrition Center WIC“The following is a story about our WIC client, Lindsey, who persevered through some very tough life obstacles and is determined to exclusively breastfeed. She was raised in an orphanage and had no exposure to a breastfeeding environment.

 

Lindsey’s first breastfeeding experience was painful and she had no support. The father of the child consistently encouraged her to stop trying to breastfeed and just give the baby a bottle. Lindsey refused. The more he suggested using a bottle the more determined she was to perfect the latch so it would not be painful. Finally, mom and baby got it right and she breastfed the first child for eleven months.

 

The next child was born five days ago. The father of this child abandoned them one week prior to delivery. Again, she was in the same situation as before, left to give birth alone. She googled and joined a birth support group on Facebook. The group referred her to a group of local labor doulas. A labor doula was her support for the birth of the second child.

 

Currently she is breastfeeding like a champ! No sore nipples, perfect latch, and the enjoyment of bonding time. The mom says her and baby lay around all day in their under wear breastfeeding and watching Netflix.”

 

Lindsey from Metro Nashville South Nutrition Center WIC

New Research on Baby Sleep

New Research on Baby SleepNew research on baby sleep indicates the ideal age to move a baby to her own room is 4 months. This proves to give babies the most amount of sleep, including the most continual sleep, while also reducing risk factors for SIDS.

Baby sleeping habits is one of the most important aspects of caring for an infant, and it is often a struggle for many new parents. Developing good sleeping habits in infancy supports better brain development and physical strength, and helps babies learn to self-soothe and sleep independently.

In keeping these goals in mind, parents must also weight the risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which affects around 3,700 babies every year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends rooming in without co-sleeping in the same bed so parents are more in-tune with their baby’s breathing during sleep hours. Plus, this makes nighttime breastfeeding easier so everyone can get more rest.

However, rooming-in can lead to unsafe sleep habits when parents allow their babies to co-sleep in an unsafe baby sleep environment. Babies can easily suffocate from sheets, pillows, blankets and even stuffed animals during sleep. That’s why an independent sleep space free of any extra items other than a fitted bottom sheet is recommended. And regardless of where a baby is sleeping, she should always be placed on her back.

The new study published in the journal Pediatrics looks at baby sleep from a different angle: quality and quantity. Newborns need the comfort of their parents close-by but older babies may be more distracted by their parents’ presence, especially as separation anxiety develops around 9 months.

The research reviewed baby sleep habits from 230 families. It indicates that babies who slept with their parents longer than 4 months got less overall sleep, slept for shorter periods at a time, and the risk of SIDS – as related to unsafe sleep habits – was higher.

Room separation at 4 months is contradictory to the AAP’s recommendation of room-sharing for 6 to 12 months to reduce the risk of SIDS. Understandably this new research on baby sleep can lead to some confusion for new parents. Ultimately, parents should evaluate their own situation, consider all safety concerns and make a choice that is best for the wellbeing of the family.

Sources: CBS News, Self Magazine and NPR