Most Common Causes of Premature Birth

For any expectant mother the idea of having our baby born prematurely is pretty terrifying. Particularly when the usual images we see of premature babies include them hooked up to a million tubes, wires, and other life-saving machines and eighty-five percent of neonatal morbidity and mortality is a result of premature birth. We hear about family or friends giving birth too soon and all the medical issues their babies face, if they are lucky enough to survive, even throughout their adolescent years.

Even in the last weeks of pregnancy when most of us are chomping at the bit to finally hold our sweet babies, we want to ensure that they are healthy and completely ready for the outside world before they make their grand entrance. Unfortunately the issue of premature birth is on the rise in the United States, with about 1 in 10 babies being born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation) in 2015. With numbers like that you would think prematurity would be difficult to prevent but the fact is many of the causes of premature birth are preventable, if you take the time to understand them.

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When does Colostrum come in?

When does Colostrum come in? - SmartMom

I was about 35 weeks along with my daughter and living in utter pregnancy bliss. With the exception of some morning sickness during my first trimester I was having an amazing pregnancy. I felt great, had an adorable basketball baby bump, and not a stretch mark in sight, when it happened. My breasts started leaking. Like really leaking. My breasts were leaking like I had already had my baby and had missed a feeding. No one told me about the leaking.

It looked milky but wasn’t milk.

It didn’t have a smell but was kind of sticky.

It had the amazing ability to soak through my shirt at the most inopportune times.

It was magical, mystical, nutritional colostrum although I was happy to see I was producing so much I was not prepared for its early arrival.

I dug a few nursing pads out of a gift bag I had received at a recent baby shower and put those bad boys to work, a little earlier than expected, making sure my shirts stayed dry. Had I known then what I know now about the amazing liquid gold that is colostrum, I would have invented some kind of pocket that could catch each and every drop. That might sound strange, and very unlikely, but when you learn how amazing and beneficial colostrum is to both baby and mommy, you’ll agree it’s definitely earned the name liquid gold. Continue reading

Baby’s Best Friend: How to Introduce Dog to Baby

How to Introduce Dog to Baby - SmartMom

A few months ago I was puttering around Pinterest when I stumbled upon a funny little saying about dogs and pregnancy.

“Dogs can tell you’re pregnant they just don’t know how many puppies you’re having.”

While it initially made me laugh I also couldn’t help thinking, “Ain’t it the truth!”
It might seem far-fetched but you’d be surprised at how aware your dog is of your pregnancy. I experienced it first hand during both of my pregnancies with our dog, Buster. Even before I knew I was pregnant I remember him curling up against my stomach one night as I was lying on the floor, something he never did. And during the last few weeks of both pregnancies he turned into my little shadow, following me around the house wherever I went. He knew something was up, like most dogs do, but not knowing exactly what was coming is why it was so important to prepare him for the arrival of each new baby.

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8 Best Essential Oils for Children

Best Essential Oils for Babies - SmartMom

We live in an increasingly crunchy world, especially when it comes to raising children. These days it’s all about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, organic eating, and home births and I for one am all about creating a more natural lifestyle for my family.  I can’t exactly label myself a full-fledged granola mama (thanks in-part to my complete inability to keep plants alive, ergo no growing my own food) but one thing I have really fallen in love with the use of essential oils for children. I started my own essential oil journey when I was pregnant with my second child and wanted an alternative pain reliever for headaches. A friend turned me on to peppermint essential oil and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’m passionate about enriching the lives of everyone in my family with the benefits of essential oils. But this is a mom blog so before I get too carried away on oils for the whole family allow me to share my four must-have essential oils and four must-have essential oil blends for children.
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Dealing with Opposition While Preparing for Natural Childbirth

Preparing for Natural Childbirth

When my husband and I announced that we were expecting our first child we were thrilled and touched to receive countless well wishes and messages of encouragement.


“You two are going to make wonderful parents!”

“So happy for you both!”

“We’re so excited for your new adventure!”

There was nothing better than feeling like we had an army of friends and family who were going to be a steadfast support system during this new chapter of our lives.  We felt so incredibly blessed!

Then we decided that we wanted to have a non-medicated, husband-coached, ‘natural’ birth using The Bradley Method ©. As we begun preparing for natural childbirth, suddenly congratulations turned into are you nuts?
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Why a Weekly Father Daughter Date Night is a MUST

Father Daughter Date Night - SmartMom

Growing up I was always thankful for the close relationship I had with my father. I have such fond memories of loving that he was my soccer coach, laughing when he tried to scare my hiccups away, running to him as my loose-tooth expert, and helping him cook breakfast for our church’s men’s group. Being around him was, and still is, always fun and I looked forward to the one-on-one moments we spent together. But it wasn’t until I got married and had a little girl of my own that I realized just how important that bond ended up being in my life. The impact it had on the way I expected to be treated by the guys I dated, what I looked for in the man I ended up marrying, and what I expect my husband to provide for our daughter cannot be overrated. Now I am thrilled to watch the bond between my husband and daughter flourish as he teaches her all the essential lessons that only a father can bestow on his little girl. One way I encourage their relationship to grow is through a weekly father daughter date night. Continue reading

Surviving the Baby to Toddler Transition

Surviving the Baby to Toddler Transition - SmartMom

The first time my father told me my son was no longer a baby I wanted to scream “NOOOOO!” at the top of my lungs, scoop my little one up in my arms, and snuggle him for hours like I did when he was itty-bitty. It didn’t matter that he was walking, babbling, eating finger foods, and climbing on everything he could. No number of toddler-like behaviors could keep me from getting choked up at the thought of him no longer being a baby. While I know my son will always be my baby, the fact that he’d transitioned to full-on toddler mode was one slice of reality I wasn’t quite ready to swallow. It may seem like an insignificant change in a child’s life, especially when it tends to happen in the blink of an eye, but going from baby to toddler is a big deal. Everything that had become the new normal with your baby shifts and throws you a colossal curve ball complete with everything from new foods and physical milestones to sudden personality peeks and big boy beds. Continue reading

The Father: Ways to Tell Him You’re Pregnant

Giving these little baby shoes as a gift could be one of the ways to tell him you're pregnant.

Whether you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant or are totally completely surprised by those solid pink lines, one of the most exciting parts of learning you are expecting is telling your beau the wonderful news! Thanks to creative minds sharing their ideas all over Facebook, Pinterest, and the Twitter-sphere, there’s no shortage of unique ways to spill the beans. So to get your synapses firing I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ways to tell him you’re pregnant, including one of my own, that may help you plan your own perfect reveal.

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Kids not listening? 6 Ways to Get Their Attention

While two kids are having a pillow fight, the mother has to deal with her kids not listening.

Once your children get to the point where they no longer run to you with arms outstretched and love being by your side, the task of getting their attention can be down right impossible. Thanks to all the books and toys you’ve bought them over the years, there’s a mountain of distraction keeping them from turning their focus on you when you need it. Pair that with an endless amount of technology at their disposal and we moms swiftly slip to the bottom of their priority list. Thankfully there are a few tricks to steal back the attention when you’re dealing with kids not listening.

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How to Treat Your Baby After Vaccination

A baby in a hood looks up at her mom for comfort after vaccination.

Whether you are a first time mom or a veteran child-wrangler the one thing that no mom enjoys is watching her child get a shot. No one likes getting shots and anyone who says they don’t hurt is just trying to act tough. As adults, we know things like aches and redness can accompany vaccinations and so we take the appropriate measures to feel more comfortable after getting them. When it comes to our babies and young children who can’t quite justify the pain of a shot, it is our job to ease their discomfort post-prick. There are a number of effective ways to treat your baby after vaccinations, so be sure at least a few of these are in your arsenal the next time you head to the pediatrician’s office.

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