Vitamin D in Pregnancy Leads to Stronger Babies

Vitamin D in Pregnancy Leads to Stronger BabiesLooking for an easy health boost this winter? Look no further than vitamin D, moms. Not only is the nutrient important in promoting healthy bone density and muscle functioning, but new studies show that pregnant women who consume more vitamin D give birth to stronger babies.

Researchers at the University of Southampton recently released a study that tracked vitamin D consumption in pregnant women. Findings showed that higher intake of the sunny nutrient (vitamin D is naturally absorbed through UV sunrays) lead to greater muscle strength in children around age 4. Even babies were tested to have a stronger hand grip than other newborns whose mothers did not consume high levels of the nutrient.

How can a pregnant woman incorporate more vitamin D into her diet? She can take vitamin D supplements with the rest of her prenatal regiment (easily found in many grocery and pharmacy stores). A mom-to-be can also add fish, egg yolks, fresh fruits and veggies, or enriched milk into her diet for an extra boost.

Researchers noted that the study’s implications about muscle strength are life-long: elderly people frequently suffer injuries or general health pain from deteriorating muscles. If we are conscious of muscle health in the womb, then a baby born with superior muscle strength and health has a better chance of experiencing fewer problems down the road.

Give your baby a healthy start and add some vitamin D-rich foods or supplements into your diet. Contact your OB/GYN if you are hesitant about which foods to choose or if you want a second opinion about adding more pregnancy vitamins into your diet.

Stay happy and healthy, moms!

 

Photo attribution

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

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!

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!

 

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?

The Loving Moments of Breastfeeding for Mom’s Emotional Well-Being

Happy baby and mommyThe benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, both for baby and mom.  But did you know that breastfeeding can actually make you happier?  Yes, our bodies are quite amazing and those “Loving Moments” you spend with your baby can warm you with a smile both inside and out.  There are three hormones that can evoke happiness from breastfeeding.  Here’s how it works:

The hormone that produces milk in your body is called prolactin and it relieves stress and promotes relaxation.  The hormone that stimulates the release of milk, or let-down, is called oxytocin; this causes calmness plus feelings of love and nurture.  For that reason it is often called the “bonding hormone.”  And finally, breastfeeding releases endorphins, the body’s natural analgesia and feelings of well-being.

Not only can we feel great about providing our babies the healthiest nutrition possible from our breast milk, we can also feel this “natural high” from the hormones breastfeeding produces.  Many researchers believe that nursing moms experience less postpartum depression and are less exhausted in the early months due to the hormone rush from breastfeeding.  And because new moms are more relaxed about their new role in life, they are often more responsive to their babies and find it easier to bond.

Happy breastfeeding, mamas! (pun intended!)

Amy Berry
Amy is a lactation consultant and proud momma of 7 (yep seven!) wonderful children all breastfed and a Loving Moments fan!