New Mom on the Block

5 Ways to Track Your Baby’s Milestones

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in baby, General, New Mom on the Block, Toddler | Comments Off on 5 Ways to Track Your Baby’s Milestones

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Pregnancy and new motherhood are magical times. Many new moms feel that there’s no way they could forget their baby’s firsts—first smile, first word, first step…first tantrum. As many moms will tell you, though, the sleep deprivation and the busy-ness of motherhood don’t always lend themselves well to keeping your memory sharp. Here are 5 ways to track your baby’s best moments and milestones to ensure that you don’t forget them.

  1. Keep a Line-a-Day Journal
    One easy way to preserve memories and create an amazing, lasting gift for your children when they’re older is to keep a line-a-day journal. Pick out a journal (even a simple spiral notebook works fine), and write down one memory, event, or milestone each day. You and your family will appreciate all the little moments you thought you forgot later and you’ll keep track of the biggies!
  1. Make Memory Jars
    Label a jar or can with the year and cut a hole in the top. Keep a pen and some squares of paper next to your jar. Each time your baby hits a new milestone or does something you want to remember, jot it down on a square of paper and stick the memory into your jar. At the end of the year, you can more formally record each memory, stick the squares in a scrap-book or album, or simply collect your memory jars, compiling a gallery of memories for your family to go through.
  1. Use a Calendar
    If you know that the only way you’ll keep track of milestones is by putting forth the least amount of effort possible to do so, simply use a calendar. If you’re a paper person, write milestones down on the calendar on the day they occur. If you’re a digital gal, keep track of memories in your Google or Outlook calendar.
  1. Take Photos and Videos
    Even though you think you’ll remember your baby’s chubby cheeks, tiny voice, or the way she sneezed, chances are you won’t! Take a lot of photos and videos, you will be so happy you did in the future.
  1. Save Tidbits
    In addition to writing down milestones, it’s fun to save some visual reminders of special events. Save scraps of wrapping paper, family Christmas cards, etc. to compile in a scrap-book along with your memories and milestones for a beautiful family keepsake!

What’s your favorite way to preserve the special moments in your family’s life?

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5 Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in baby, breastfeeding, Fit Pregnancy, General, New Mom on the Block, nursing, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 5 Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

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So you’re a new mom who’s made the decision to breastfeed—congratulations! Breastfeeding offers many long-term benefits to mom and baby, including reduced incidence of postpartum depression, reduced rate of infant mortality and illness, higher IQ scores later in childhood, greater attachment bond between mother and baby, and reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer in mom.

While we hope you and your baby reap only the rewards of breastfeeding, we know how challenging it can be too. From latching and supply issues to mastitis and food sensitivities, you may encounter a few road-blocks on your breastfeeding journey. If you’re facing breastfeeding challenges, contacting your local La Leche League or the lactation consultants at your delivering hospital or midwifery center are great places to start getting support. In the mean time, here are 5 nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms to help set you—and your baby—up for nursing success!Baby's Own Room

  1. Eat Enough Calories
    Believe it or not, breastfeeding moms need even more calories than pregnant women. On average, breastfeeding can burn anywhere between 400 and 1000 calories per day, depending on how much your little one eats. To ensure that your supply stays up and that you, the mama, are getting enough nutrients and calories for yourself, make sure you eat at least 500 extra calories per day.
  1. Make Your Calories Count
    Many breastfeeding new moms find that the major hormone shift that occurs after birth leaves them queasy and kills their appetite, much like in early pregnancy. Additionally, a lot of new moms find that they barely have time to eat, and it’s easy to forget to feed yourself when caring for an newborn. Because you may not be on top of snacking and meals, when you do eat make sure your calories count. Healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables are great choices. Think mashed avocado on toast, “green” smoothies with an added scoop of almond butter or coconut oil, and a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit. One avocado alone contains around 250 calories, most of which come from good fats!
  1. Drink A LOT
    As we said, it can be easy to forget that mom needs taking care of, too, when there’s a new baby in the house. Enlist the support of your spouse, parent, postpartum doula, or whoever is around to help you remember to drink lots and lots of water. Those giant water cups hospitals give out in the maternity ward come in handy when you don’t have time to get up and down from the couch between nursing sessions to refill a measly 8 oz glass.
  1. Choose Foods Rich in Iron, Vitamin D, and Calcium
    These three nutrients are essential for the health of new mom and baby, and they also help stabilize your mood and hormones. Go for foods like beans, leafy green veggies, and yogurt. Because many babies are born with milk-protein allergies (and because you may need a little help getting your gut health back to normal, depending on how your delivery went), yogurt is a better choice than milk or cheese because it contains less of the irritating sugars and proteins that give babies gas, reflux, and colic. (Please note: before starting any kind of supplement while breastfeeding, ALWAYS check with your health care provider as well as your child’s).
  1. Avoid Highly Allergenic Foods
    In the first weeks and months of motherhood, it can be helpful to avoid some of the most common allergens in food—fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, and peanuts. Many babies have sensitivities to these allergenic foods, and these sensitivities can cause painful gas, reflux, rashes, and a host of other issues if they are not identified. By starting with a clean slate, you can add these foods into your own diet one by one to ensure that your baby doesn’t react to them.

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the help of these tips you’ll be off to a great start and will feel happier, more rested, and more energetic. Happy nursing!

 

 

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4 Ways for New Moms to Get Moving in 2015

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Fit Pregnancy, General, New Mom on the Block, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 4 Ways for New Moms to Get Moving in 2015

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If you’re a new mom in the new year, you have plenty of excuses NOT to exercise. You’re sleep deprived and exhausted, outdoor activities with a newborn or small child aren’t always safe or fun in winter weather, you hardly have time to comb your hair let alone exercise, your baby goes everywhere you go…the list goes on! While exercise is typically the last thing on a new mom’s to do list, if you can manage to work some movement into your day you might actually find that you have more energy, are in a happier mood, and sleep better—when baby lets you. The following are 4 ways to get moving as a new mom in 2015.

  1. Mommy Exercise Classes
    From Stroller Strides to Mommy and Me Yoga to Baby Boot Camp, the list of classes for new moms with a baby in tow gets longer each year. Performing a simple internet search for “mom and baby classes” or “mom and baby exercise” in your area will likely bring up way more options than you ever knew existed for classes you can take your baby to. You’ll usually get about an hour’s worth of exercise (don’t worry if you have to take a nursing break!), an opportunity to connect with other new moms, and a chance to model healthy habits right from the start.
  1. Dance Your Baby
    One of the best ways to lift your mood and energy in the morning or during the mid-afternoon slump is with a mini dance party. Turn on some kid-friendly tunes or anything that puts a smile on your face and bounce baby around the living room. Your baby will love it and you’ll get a great workout, even if you only spend 10 minutes dancing.
  1. Walks
    Taking a walk with your baby is the perfect way to get exercise as a new mom for a few reasons. First, you probably aren’t getting out of the house nearly as much as you did before parenthood and probably could use a change of scenery. Second, outside offers a whole new world of colors, shapes, smells, and sounds for your baby to enjoy. If it’s too cold or snowy where you live to walk outside, walk around a big mall! Finally, walking is gentle enough for post c-section and super sleep deprived moms but still effectively burns calories and gets your blood pumping.
  1. Music & Movement Classes
    If your baby is old enough to enjoy an infant class (most are usually recommended for children six months and older), sign up for a few. Music and baby “dance” classes (which end up being simple, fun movements) invite parents and babies to get moving in new, creative ways that are catered to children’s development and learning.
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3 New Year’s Resolutions to Make as a New Parent

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Holidays, New Mom on the Block, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 3 New Year’s Resolutions to Make as a New Parent

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Expecting parents do a lot of preparing, reading, and decision-making before their baby comes only to realize, one she’s here, that things don’t always go according to plan. As tempting as it is this new year to set resolutions that involve you being more perfect, working harder, and avoiding the messiness of life as a new parent, it’s probably more helpful to do just the opposite—set resolutions that help you embrace the enormous change that is becoming a parent. We’ve put together three New Year’s resolutions to make as a new parent. Use them or let them serve as a jumping off point.

  1. Be Perfectly Imperfect
    Most parents strive to be perfect. Whether your goal is to follow a certain parenting style to the T, never lose your temper, or eat 100% organic, the truth is that no one can be perfect all the time. In fact, making mistakes shows your children that it’s OK to be human. It’s important to set good intentions, resolutions, and goals, but of equal importance is adopting humility and choosing not to punish ourselves when we don’t do something the way we hoped we would. Parents are humans, too, and life is a complex process, not a neatly laid out series of steps. When you do make mistakes, learn from them, forgive yourself, resolve to do better next time, and move on.
  1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
    A great resolution that not enough new parents make is to prioritize what’s really important and let everything else go for a while. As a new parent, you simply won’t be able to give your kid everything he needs, be the perfect spouse, son/daughter, employee, housecleaner, family finance manager, and friend at the same time. While it’s important to strive for balance, balance doesn’t mean doing it ALL. The first few years as a parent are tough; you and your children won’t remember that the dishes sat in the sink an extra day or two, that there were always mountains of unfolded laundry sitting around, or that your backyard turned into a semi-jungle. What you will remember is the time you spent together. It’s also important to recognize that while there will always be bathrooms to clean and gourmet meals to cook, you won’t always have the early years with your kids—or your health, if you don’t take time for self-care. Family and friends will understand (and if they don’t, they’re adults and can manage their disappointment better than a baby). Be good to yourself and your children above all else and let the other things wait!
  1. Take Time to Relax
    Gretchen Rubin, a wise woman, once said about parenting that “The days are long, but the years are short”. Most parents will attest to the fact that while there are many tough, exhausting days, that the years of raising children go by in the blink of an eye. Setting aside time to relax each day—even if it’s only for 10 minutes—allows you time to step back and recognize what’s going on in your family’s life. It can serve as a reminder that time is fleeting and that these challenging, amazing years are a precious moment in time to be savored. Plus, as a new parent you need the rest and time away! Taking a time-out also gives you the much needed space to check in with yourself and your own needs.

What resolutions will you make as a new parent in 2015?

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To Use a Nightlight or Not to Use a Nightlight: That is the Question

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in General, Kids Room Decor, New Mom on the Block, Nursery, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on To Use a Nightlight or Not to Use a Nightlight: That is the Question

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Once your baby is transitioned into her own room you might start asking yourself if you should (or should not) be using a nightlight for your child during bedtime. You may worry that a light will keep her up and disturb her sleep – or perhaps your worry is just the opposite in that your little one will be scared to sleep in the dark. A good simple rule to follow is, if you’d like to use a nightlight then do so. Or if you feel that your baby seems more comfortable with a nightlight on then by all means have one. However, it’s important not to make assumptions right away that your child is scared of the dark. Small children – especially infants – are pretty much accustomed to dark environments due to the time they spent in the womb. I would recommend putting your baby to bed without a nightlight at first and see how it goes, if your baby seems uncomfortable in the darkness, then you could try adding a nightlight.

If child is a little older and does need the night light due to some developing fears of the dark or you may want some light in the room so you can see when you go in to check on them – it’s OK to do so. Research shows that nightmares can begin as early as two years old so when nightly fears develop, adding a night light could provide just the level of comfort your little one needs. It’s important to always be sure you understand why your child feels scared – addressing the core issue first is vital. If your child needs the night light for comfort then let them have it. If it means helping them feel safe and secure in their environment and promotes better sleep for all then it’s not a battle you need to bother having. Just remember if you do end up using a nightlight, be careful what watt bulb you buy. Aim for 4-7 watts, but no brighter to promote restful sleep.

 

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Summer Fun with Tots and Teens Together

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in General, New Mom on the Block, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on Summer Fun with Tots and Teens Together

African American Parents Boy Children Riding BikesSometimes it may seem like tots and teens are from completely different worlds, and the idea of them coexisting in peace nearly unattainable.  Rest assured, summer fun with tots and teens is definitely within grasp!  If done right (and smart) both age groups have a lot to offer and learn from each other.  Better yet, there is plenty of fun to be had right in the backyard without needing to spend much money.

Be physical!  Tots and teens typically have plenty of energy to burn.  With a few common household items, teens can set up a cool obstacle course that tots will love!  It is so good to keep kids active and moving.  Once the tots get worn out, the teens can have some fun adding in tougher maneuvers and more stations to take an obstacle course from beginner to advanced.

Get wet!  Who doesn’t love to cool off with refreshing water works in the summertime?  You really can’t go wrong with water play outside during hot weather.  Set up a sprinkler, and watch the tots and teens squeal in delight.

Chanel the inner artist.  Kids love sidewalk chalk.  Teens can draw big pictures for tots to color in.  It’s also fun to use sidewalk chalk to trace shadows every hour and watch how they change with the position of the sun.

Blow some bubbles!  Store bought bubbles are decent and cheap, but you can make your own for even less.  There are many different recipes online.  Some concoctions can make giant “tot encompassing” bubbles.

Get dirty!  Gardening is a fun and rewarding activity for people of all ages.  While letting your tot loose in the family vegetable garden may not be the best of decisions, letting your tot plant some pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be very educational and exciting. The teens can help with the weeding and watering, and once harvest comes, all can enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Teens may even want to try to grow a giant pumpkin (if space permits) and enter it into the local county fair.

Chill out!  There will be times when kids of any age need a break from the heat and decide to venture indoors.  Making popsicles can be fun and nutritious.  With teens running the blender and tots helping determine what goes in, you can have delicious and interesting flavored popsicles in no time.  Just poor the concoction into small paper cups, insert sticks halfway through freezing time, and then just chill.  Tots and teens will be more than happy relaxing in the shade and slurping their snack together!

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