What Is A Birth Plan and Why Do You Need One?

What is a birth plan? - SmartMom

As you prepare for the birth of your baby, you may have heard about the necessity of writing a birth plan in order to inform your caregivers about your preferences for labor and birth. You may have also heard that you should NOT write a birth plan, because it can be a self-fulfilling prophesy for bringing about everything you did not want for your birth into reality. 

A birth plan can be an excellent tool, but as you’re about to learn, its usefulness may be for reasons you did not expect. We’re going to unpack what is a birth plan, and just as importantly, what it’s not.  Continue reading

Start Potty Training in 3 Days

Start Potty Training in 3 Days - SmartMom

While I was pregnant with my daughter, my 21-month old son started going to a toddler program at a local Montessori school. Children in the toddler community, who started attending as early as 15 months of age, did not wear diapers in class. Parents were encouraged to continue their child’s “toilet learning” outside of school. It took some work to prepare our home environment for my son and develop patience with new routines, but I was determined to start potty training in 3 days. However, my son was out of diapers during the day by the time he was two and completely potty trained several months later. Having him start potty training in 3 days meant he was out of diapers by the time my daughter was born and one less kid in diapers to worry about! Within two years, my daughter was out of diapers too using the same method. Continue reading

Let’s Discuss the Benefits of Montessori Education

Benefits of Montessori Education - SmartMom

Dr. Maria Montessori was a visionary who studied and documented the developmental stages of children in the early 1900s. From this research, she created a method of education that respects and celebrates the whole child. Montessori education made its way to the United States in the early 1900s but really didn’t take hold until the 1960s. Despite the increase in the number of Montessori schools around the country over the last fifty years, the Montessori Method is often misunderstood by those who are accustomed to the typical model of traditional elementary education. Parents who go against popular practice and send their children to an accredited Montessori school, however, are often pleased to discover the benefits of Montessori Education. Continue reading

3 Steps for Introducing a New Sibling Into the Family

An older child looks onto their brand new sibling while she sleeps.

Expecting a baby is an exciting time for a mother and father. It may not, however, be very exciting news to a brother or sister-to-be. A child may not really understand the implications of having a newborn in the household while his mom is pregnant. After the birth, however, reality will hit and parents will need to be ready with extra compassion and attention to curb potential sibling rivalry. With careful preparation, parents can help an older child adjust to the family’s new addition. Here are three important steps for introducing a new sibling into the family.

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Creating New Mom Groups in Your Community

As a mother plays with her baby in the park, she's hoping to start one of those new mom groups.

Gone are the days when extended families lived nearby, offering an automatic circle of support to new mothers. Stay-at-home moms may face times of loneliness and long for adult interaction. They may wish for the company of other moms to get questions answered, share stories, and find friends for their kids. Moms who work also long for support and friendship as they seek to find balance between family, work and friendships.

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All About the Newborn First Month

A mother staring at her baby thinking about the newborn first month.

You’ve waited a long time for your baby’s arrival. Before birth, your baby was comforted 24/7. He was curled up in darkness and warmth, received nutrients automatically, and was lulled by the constant sound of your heartbeat, your voice and your movements. Now that he’s on the outside, he must learn how to cope in a brightly lit world, quell his hunger, and get his needs met by you. It is a joyous time, but you are likely affected by exhaustion and the learning curve of figuring out how to meet your baby’s needs. Here are some changes you can expect to see in the newborn first month.

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All The Signs You Are In Labor

Pregnant woman trying to recognize all the signs you are in labor.

Contrary to what most tv shows and movies would have you believe, the onset of labor is not typically marked by sudden, gripping and panicked contractions that require an immediate rush to the hospital. In fact, the portrayal of a typical woman’s uncomplicated labor and birth would not cause a network’s ratings to skyrocket. Labor is a process that is individual to each woman and is on her own timetable. While one of the most obvious signs you are in labor is the steady progression in length, intensity and frequency of contractions, there are a number of events that leads up to a baby’s birth day.

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The Importance and Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact

benefits of skin to skin contact

Skin to skin contact, also known as Kangaroo Care, is the practice of placing a naked (or near-naked) baby with his chest down onto his mother’s bare chest. Research has shown that the earlier (ie: immediately after birth) and more frequently skin to skin contact is made by mother and baby, the more beneficial it is for both of them. The benefits of skin to skin contact are astounding, including the health and progress premature babies make with this kind of care.

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Everything to Avoid During Pregnancy

Everything to Avoid During Pregnancy - SmartMom

Photo by Andria Lindquist

Growing a baby is a lot of work. In order to ensure your body is functioning at its best and that your baby is developing in a safe and healthy environment, it is important to know what can be detrimental to the health of you and your baby. Here is a comprehensive list of everything to avoid during pregnancy.

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Four Ways to Save for College for Your Children

ways to save for college

Each year, college expenses grow at about twice the rate of inflation. According to the Scholarship Workshop, the average cost of attendance – including tuition, room, board, books, travel, and miscellaneous expenses – at a four-year public institution for the 2014-2015 school year weighed in at $29,110. The average cost at a four-year private university was $62,740. With an approximate 8% increase in tuition per year, it’s possible that college for your infant will be up to three times today’s costs in 18 years. Many parents will agree, that knowing ways to save for college now is important, and indeed vital, information.

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