Tag Archives: maternity

How to prepare to be a first time mom before looking into your baby's eyes.

How To Prepare To Be a First Time Mom

In the months before becoming a first time mom, you’ll hear dozens of opinions on what you need to buy and what you can do without. Most often, the advice will be conflicting and for good reason. No two babies are the same, nor are the needs of the parents. In my experience, you don’t need to spend a ton on your first child, but there are a few staples you’ll want to splurge on.

Whether you’re in a walk-friendly city or a rural “driving is the only option” neighborhood, a safe car seat is a must. As a first time mom you’ll need one to take your newborn home, especially if you are birthing at a hospital. The car seat is one thing you’ll want to buy new. Even my carless cycling friends have a car seat for their Bakfiets Cargo Bike to keep their daughter safe on the roads.

A safe place to sleep is important whether you’re planning to put your newborn in their own room right away or keep them near your side for several months. Buying a new crib that is up to current safety standards is a must, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Cribs come in all sizes and styles, as well as budgets. In addition, if you plan to keep your baby nearby, invest in a quality bassinet, rock-n-play sleeper, or co-sleeper.

If you plan to breastfeed as a first time mom, you won’t need a ton of feeding supplies right away. If you want to splurge, look into a high quality breast pump that is comfortable to use. If you aren’t planning to breastfeed, invest in a few different types of BPA free bottles. Newborns may be picky with how they feed. Instead of buying one kit, pick-up a few individual bottles until you find what works best.

You can save on pretty much on everything else! What you should think about is how your family operates. Will you be walking a lot? Then maybe a higher quality long lasting stroller may be a good investment. If you’ll be traveling, you might want to look at items that support simple travel, such as formula dispensers. These can save a lot of headaches when you are out for hours each day.

Second-hand items that work for most babies include strollers, swings, high-chairs, booster seats, and toys for older babies and toddlers. Luckily, children’s clothing is less expensive than it used to be, so if you don’t have a friend who can give you hand-me-downs, you can hit the sales racks and make out pretty well.

In the first few months, you really don’t need as much as the ads and magazines will tell you. Keep it simple and save your funds until your newborn is a few months old and you’ve gotten to know their needs a little bit better.

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Lactivism - SmartMom

Lactivism: Here’s the Bottom Line

Photo from the Normalize Breastfeeding IG feed  

On a recent play-date at the zoo, amidst bare-chested chimpanzees and matronly wallabies with their joeys, the exhibit I couldn’t tear my eyes away from was a buxom woman, bare breast exposed, nursing her child on a very public bench. Given the setting, it seemed oddly natural—mother nature in action. But nonetheless, it was disconcerting to see a naked boob on display with so many curious children around, mine included. “Must be one of those lactivists,” my friend observed.

Those what? I’d heard of feminism, Darwinism, even utopianism, but lactivism was novel to me. What the heck is lactivism anyway? Basically, it is the advocacy of breastfeeding over formula feeding. Lactivism is a contemporary movement striving to ensure that nursing mothers are not discriminated against in public places. Lactivists believe a woman has the right to breastfeed her child anytime, anywhere, in any way she sees fit.

Is That Legal?

Federal law states that a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if they are authorized to be present. Currently in the U.S., 45 states have laws allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (check your state’s laws here). That means it is discriminatory to deny a nursing mother full and equal enjoyment to goods, services, and facilities just because she is breastfeeding. The good news: if you are breastfeeding, the law is basically on your side.

Chick-Fil-A, party of 20

In 2013, a Knoxville, Tennessee Chick-Fil-A employee asked a nursing mom to stop. Soon after, a group of outraged lactivists staged a “nurse-in,” fashioned after a civil rights sit-in, except there were bosoms involved. Around 20 women entered the family restaurant and proceeded to breastfeed their children amongst diners trying to enjoy their meals. It was an effort to educate society about the state law, which allows women to breastfeed anywhere, public or private. It undoubtedly caused some indigestion.

Some call it breastfeeding brouhaha, others call it 100% justified, but lactivism has brought the fight for breastfeeding awareness into, literally, the public eye.

The Shocking Truth

Lactivism, like all great “isms,” is based on a righteous desire: to enable women to comfortably breastfeed wherever they may be. It’s what our bodies were made to do. Where lactivism catches a snag, is when it becomes self-righteous, with promoters denouncing formula feeders and feigning superiority over those who don’t, or cannot breastfeed. The shocking truth: formula fed babies turn out to be smart, beautiful, and talented children too.

The Bottom Line: 

When it does work, breastfeeding is beautiful. I’ve been able to breastfeed each of my three children, and to make breastfeeding successful, I’ve had to use my handy nursing cover plenty of times at the library, at church, even at amusement parks. Long gone are the days of my mother, when women locked themselves away in a room to breastfeed.

But can we meet somewhere in the middle? Bare boobs on public benches aren’t necessary. There are so many wonderful cover-up products out there that make it quite convenient to breastfeed your baby while maintaining privacy and appeasing other’s comfort as well. People today are much more accepting to public breastfeeding when it’s done tactfully.

Breastfeeding is one of the miracles of the female body. It doesn’t work for everyone, and those women shouldn’t feel guilty, or ostracized from other breastfeeders. The way you feed your child should not be an “us” and “them” issue. Instead, we should focus more on being the loving, caring mothers our children deserve.

 

Some moms can’t produce enough to even have this problem – here is some information on milk sharing.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Hi ladies, I have a question. What do you think about breastfeeding in public?

Breastfeeding in public… opinions? Suggestions?

“Hello moms! What tips do you all have for breastfeeding in public? I love feeding my dd but not sure how to go about doing so in public? By the way she is only 9 days old if that makes a difference.”

It really makes me mad when women get kicked out of public places for breastfeeding in public. We use covers and it’s a natural thing that shouldn’t be looked down on & people that get mad about BFing in public need to grow up a little.

Tips on breastfeeding the LO in public?

Public Breastfeeding Rant- having a debate w my mom on it is hysterical. She is so against a woman just whipping it out to feed. I’m on team whip it out and who gives a sh**. I’m done w having to be insecure about having a baby. How can a woman breastfeeding her child in public be offensive but the Victoria secret models breast blown up and plastered on the side of a store not be. And why do I have to cover up to feed my baby in public but a woman spilling out of a low cut top doesn’t have to?

Why does Breastfeeding in public have to be so taboo?! I hate not being confident enough to just do it. I even got myself a cute cover and everything but just find myself rushing home to feed my son.

“Hi Mommas! Have a couple of questions.

1) what do you all use to replace your coffee habits/cravings? I’m breastfeeding so have decreased my coffee intake, but miss my coffee. I miss the whole ritual. Had a Chai Tea Latte today, was pretty good!

2) where do breastfeeding moms duck out while breastfeeding in public? I’m pretty modest and sometimes have a tough time finding places.”

I went to Walmart yesterday with my 2 month old and he would not stop crying near the end and I couldn’t get anything done! It was because he was hungry but I’m breastfeeding and it’s hard to find a place to nurse him in public. Any advice on how to make it easier?

Was there always such a fuss over breastfeeding in public or do I just notice it now as a first time mom?

 

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ideas for a gender reveal party

Ideas for a Gender Reveal Party

One of the most exciting things about a pregnancy can be finding out if you are having a boy or a girl. We were able to find out with all three of our children before they were born. We did not have a party for them, but I really wish that we had. Gender reveal parties look like so much fun.

A gender reveal party is a way for the couple to share the gender of their baby with family and friends. In some cases they also decide to wait to know what they are having until the day of the party.  Here are some ideas for a gender reveal party.

Some people like to make a cake and put either blue or pink frosting in the middle of it. When their guests take a bite, they find out what they the couple is having. You can also make cookies and put in little candies to share the news. Another way to have a reveal party is to have a box filled with either pink or blue balloons. The future parents open the box and everyone gets to see if it will be a little boy or a little girl. Couples can get really creative with their parties. They can also include the baker or a photographer in the festivities.

It can be fun to play some games during the party. These games can incorporate everyone’s guess of what the baby’s gender will be, and those who guess correctly could win a prize.

Some couples might not want to do a gender reveal party because they want to keep the announcement more private. Others won’t even share until the baby is born or they do not want to find out for themselves ahead of time. Then, of course, there are babies that just won’t let you find out.  In those cases you could still have a party and simply use a neutral color such as green for the surprise.

If you have a lot of friends and family that cannot attend the actual party, you can do the revealing in a video and post it online. This is a fun way to have a similar experience if you cannot do it in person. It can still be exciting for others to find out if you are having a boy or a girl online.  Here and here  are examples of really cute ones I found online.

I love the idea of a gender reveal party because it creates a fun atmosphere for the parents to tell everyone what they are having. Most likely by this point in the pregnancy, many of their friends and family are already taking bets on what the baby will be. It is a great way to include others in the announcement and to share this day with those who also care about you and your baby.

When you are getting ready to have a new child, you want all the support you can get. A gender reveal party is the perfect way to include everyone and have a great time sharing the news about who you will be adding to your family.

 

If you’re having a boy, you may be thinking about circumcision. Here’s a little more information.

RELATED QUESTIONS

We’re finding out the sex of the baby in a couple if weeks. Can anyone suggest cute gender reveal ideas that don’t require an expensive photo shoot or throwing a big party? Thanks!

Hey moms! I want to do a gender reveal event/party for my second baby. So I was wondering if any of you have gender reveal ideas that are fun and affordable?

I’m going to a gender reveal party tomorrow. Am I supposed to bring a gift?

I need gender reveal ideas! I looked on Pinterest and am thinking silly string or bumble gum! Anyone have any ideas?

Would love some advice! We are expecting our 2nd baby and I would love to have a gender reveal party for friends and family…

I think I want to have a gender reveal party when I find out what I’m having. Does anyone have any ideas as to things I should do for it? I’ve seen a lot of things on Pinterest but none that I ” just have to have ” at my reveal.

Gender reveal parties? Yay or nay? Also, what exactly do you do at one? I know you reveal the gender but is it like a baby shower too or is that separate?

My best friend is having her gender reveal tonight and I am just too excited to find out what she’s having! It makes me miss all the excitement of being pregnant!

Any ideas on how to do a fun gender reveal if all our close friends and family live far away?

I keep hearing people talk about gender reveal parties. We wanted to do a reveal at our baby shower but our families got furious with us for not telling them…
 

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Birthing at Home - SmartMom

Why Some Moms Choose Birthing at Home

Photo by Rhonda Robbins

The reason I am a midwife today is because I had my son Larsen at home 22 years ago. Many people are embarrassed to admit this, but not me. The main reason I looked into birthing at home at that time was because the cost was lower than that of a hospital birth.

Today, home birth remains a safe, relaxing, and affordable option for birthing moms and their partners. Though everyone has different reasons for choosing a home birth, there are a few that are common among expectant parents.

Home Birth is Affordable.

In Utah, home birth costs approximately $3,000. It is my own belief that in most areas of the United States, the cost of a home birth remains much less than a hospital birth. For some, it costs even less than the co-pay for most insurance providers.

When I tell my prospective clients my fee, the most common response is an incredulous: “does that include everything?”  It does. Though extra tests like ultrasounds and lab work can add a few hundred dollars, those are not always necessary for everyone. In our world of rising health care costs, it amazes me that parents can welcome their baby into the world with an affordable option.

Home Birth is Nonintrusive. 

Many midwives offer what I call a “no-hassle” approach to childbirth.  Midwives generally believe that birth is a natural body process, not a medical emergency.  We subscribe to the belief that that if let alone, without disturbance, the birthing can master the task at hand – delivering her baby – better than she would with most forms of medical intervention.  In the case of a healthy pregnancy, the expectant mother simply needs good encouragement and support.

Home Birth Provides a Positive Environment. 

During a prenatal appointment, midwives typically take vital signs on the mom and baby, measure the baby, track maternal weight and do a urinalysis. These are all basic, non-invasive medical screenings that are simply good common sense. Assuming that a mom is healthy, we look for a healthy outcome from a pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if there Is a bit of a hyper vigilance in the medical community that can actually scare moms.  Of course, there are a few situations that require medical attention and intervention, but in a typical pregnancy, a more positive approach can lead to a more positive outcome.

This notion carries over to the baby’s actual birth as well as the prenatal care. In a healthy pregnancy, we believe it’s better to focus on the positive than to look steadfastly for a problem. When it comes time to deliver, a mom can labor and birth in a more peaceful, positive environment, free from stress. A mom who is fed, hydrated, rested, and comfortable will be more than adequately equipped to deliver her baby. As her care providers, her midwives and doulas become the true support staff with mom at the center.

Home Birth Allows More Creature Comforts. 

Many of the moms whose babies I deliver at home opt to have a water birth. Water can be a wonderful comfort during the most intense periods of labor. Some parents choose to buy, rent or borrow a special birthing tub, while others prefer to labor and/or birth in one of the tubs already in the home. We especially recommend “garden tubs” or “jetted tubs” as the most relaxing for a laboring mom.

To ensure that the baby is safe and healthy during delivery, midwives use Doppler technology to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. Most midwives even do cervical checks in the water – so the mom won’t even need to get up and move in the throes of a contraction.

Once the baby arrives, one of the best parts of having a homebirth is that your recovery process begins as soon as you deliver.  There is quite honestly no place like home, and once a woman has delivered her baby, she can go straight to her own bed.

When a new mom has great support and is able to rest at home, she’ll rest better than anywhere else on the planet.  With the right care and preparation, a home birth is a safe and healthy way to bring a baby into the world – surrounded by all of the comforts of home.

 

For information on C-Sections, read this post.

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What to Pack for the Hospital - SmartMom

What to Pack for the Hospital

Photo by Eden Frangipane

One of the first things that you’ll learn as a mom is that you need to be prepared for everything. Along with planning your baby registry, organizing and stocking your nursery and baby proofing your home, one more thing you need to prepare if you plan on a hospital or birth center birth is thinking through what to pack for the hospital.

To stay ultra-organized, have your bag packed before you hit full-term, which for most moms is 37 weeks. Before you stock up on nursing pads and newborn diapers, ask your hospital or birth center what supplies they provide — you might be able to save a few dollars!

Hospital Bag Must-Haves

Paperwork: Most hospitals and birth centers require you to have all of your insurance information and hospital forms filed prior to your delivery. Some will offer you the opportunity to preregister, while others will give you the forms to fill out at home. The last thing you’ll want to do when your water breaks is fill out your medical history!

Comfortable Clothing: Even though you’ll likely be issued an ever-so-stylish hospital gown, some moms prefer to labor in their own t-shirt or nightclothes. You’ll also want to have a warm robe or sweater on hand, as well as two or three pairs of warm, non-skid socks in case you need to walk the halls during labor.

A supportive maternity bra and nursing pads. If you plan to breastfeed, come prepared. Though many hospitals and birth centers have lactation consultants who will help you navigate those early days of nursing, it’s better you come equipped with the proper gear than have to send your partner on a last-minute store run.

Toiletries and personal items. Though your hospital stay might feel a bit like a weekend getaway, your bathroom won’t be equipped with hotel-sized shampoos and lotions. Pack your lip balm, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution. You might not care what you look like during labor, but afterwards, you’ll want to feel human again!

Headband or ponytail holder. If you have longer hair, you’ll want to bring something to keep it away from your face. Avoid clips or anything metal, as you won’t want any additional pain or distraction with a baby on the way.

Cell phone and charger. Hospitals aren’t known for having the best cell phone service, so be sure to bring your charger. You might want your smart phone to time your contractions — and to send your baby’s first photos to friends and family after the birth.

Camera, battery or charger. Even in the midst of your post-birth bliss, you’ll want a few snapshots of the special moment. If your partner is your labor coach, delegate the photographic responsibilities to a nurse.

Clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner. Even though the focus will be on mom and baby today, dad might want to take a shower and freshen up for the onslaught of visitors who want to meet your newest addition.

Clothes for your baby. Bring a few outfits for your baby, even though they’ll probably be fine in a diaper for the first 24-36 hours. Bring at least one “going home outfit” and then one or two more changes of clothes. If you’re planning on using cloth diapers, bring those along too, as most hospitals will provide disposables.

Hospital Bag Nice-to-Haves

Extra pillow. Hospital bedding isn’t the most luxurious, so if you’re in for a multi-night stay, you might want a few comforts of home. Outfit your pillow with a case that you don’t mind ruining or leaving behind.

Comfortable going-home clothes. Contrary to what you read about celebrities amazing post-baby bodies, it can take some time to get back into svelte shape. Bring maternity clothes to wear home, in six to nine month maternity size. Even if they’re too big, you’ll want to feel comfortable.

Birth tools or supplies. If you’re planning a natural childbirth, bring along anything that will help you focus, like a labor playlist loaded onto your iPod or an exercise ball for bouncing. Your labor room may be equipped with these, but if they’re essential to your birth plan, better that you come prepared.

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baby proof your home

How to Baby Proof Your Home

Photo by Jamie Jones

When your little bundle of joy becomes a baby on-the-go, you’ll sleep better knowing that your home is baby-proofed.  Most parents wait until their children start to crawl before baby-proofing the home, but to avoid a last-minute panic, you can begin the baby-proofing process  before your baby even arrives.

Whether you’re a first time parent or a veteran looking for a few more savvy tips, here’s everything you need to know about how to baby proof your home.

Straighten up with the “Toilet Paper Rule.” 

Once your baby can crawl, she’ll want to put everything in her mouth. Before your baby arrives, make sure that everything small enough to fit in a toilet paper roll is placed securely out of reach. Who has time to clean once the baby arrives anyway?

Cover Outlets and Install Latches.

Once your baby is here and you become consumed with late-night feeding schedules, it’s going to be harder to remember some of the most minute details. Simple outlet covers are available at your local hardware store or you can reduce clutter with a version equipped with cord shortener. You can also place child-guard latches on every drawer and cabinet that your little one can reach. It might be an annoyance at first, but you’ll be glad this is taken care of once they’re crawling or even taking first steps.

Place Potential Dangerous Items Out of Reach

You’re already nesting, so in between cleaning the house and stocking your the freezer, take a moment to assess what items could pose potential danger for a crawling infant. Place your cleaning agents, medicines, hand sanitizer, vitamins, toiletries and other potentially toxic items out of reach, such as on a high shelf or tall cabinet. Remove any houseplants that could contain potential toxins (such as philodendron) and move them out of reach.

Secure Unstable Furniture

Sometimes, the most fashionable and modern furniture for homes can be the most unstable and dangerous for babies. Attach corner and edge guards to any sharp corners, such as on your coffee table or bookshelves. If you have tall shelving units or chests of drawers that could topple over, anchor them to the walls. Anchor your flat-screen TVs or heavy lamps to sturdy furniture with safety straps so that they don’t fall over and keep additional heavy items as far from the edge as possible.

Check Loose Cords or Drapes

If your child can reach any cords or drapes in your home, replace or shorten them to avoid strangulation. If you can’t replace them, tie them so that they begin at a higher length and avoid placing your baby’s crib or play space nearby.

Are you baby proofing while pregnant? Here are a few helpful ways to prepare for a newborn from your mom friends at SmartMom.

RELATED QUESTIONS

My daughter has recently started crawling. Does anybody know how we can baby proof our fireplace? It’s brick and I’m nervous about the corners.

Any advice on baby proofing your house?

Tips on baby proofing the house what is most beneficial?

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What are some ways that you moms have baby proofed your houses?

I have not baby proofed my house yet. We moved to our house in November and may be moving into a different house again. (My husband is military). What are the basic necessities I will need? No stairs in this house currently, but our next one will. My son is turning 6 months on tues.

I have a wine rack built into the end of our cupboards. Our baby is now very mobile, I’m trying really hard to just teach him no instead of baby proofing, but I was hoping somebody might have some great ideas as to how to baby proof the wine to stay in the rack so he can’t pull it out.

Any baby proofing tips/tricks? I have twin boys who are about to start walking. Also, we live in a townhouse and the bottom level has concrete floors. I’ve already purchased a couple baby gates

I was so excited when Eli became mobile….then this happened. Guess I need to do some more baby proofing!

My 8 1/2 month old boy is crawling full time and pulling himself up. What are some things I need to watch out for that I may have missed. And what are some suggestions on baby proofing the house?

 

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Celebrity Moms Maternity Fashion

Celebrity Moms’ Maternity Fashion We Adore

There is no need to sacrifice style during pregnancy.  Gone are the days of hiding behind stretchy waistbands and oversized muumuus that match your living room upholstery. Pregnancy-friendly styles, smart fabrics, and affordable maternity brands have made way for huge trends in the world of maternity fashion.

Comfortable and versatile, these styles are designed to highlight and accent your belly- not make it disappear. With the help of these celebrity trend-setters, you can dress your baby bump in the latest fashions.

Gisele Bündchen

Gisele Bündchen via lilsugar.com

Gisele sports nautical stripes in an oversized cotton tunic for a laid back look.  Look for cotton tunics with cinched sides to accentuate long legs.

Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo via lilsugar.com

Ellen Pompeo shows how versatile a simple linen button up can be in this breezy look.

January-Jones

January Jones via lilsugar.com

A maxi dress is perhaps the most popular maternity fashion.  Add a high-waisted belt for a more put-together look.

Jenna Dewan does lunch for two at Urth Cafe

Jenna Dewan via lilsugar.com

Here’s another maxi-dress look.  Don’t worry about buttoning up your jean jacket – cuff the sleeves and leave it un-bottomed for a more casual look.

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell via lilsugar.com

A tunic or shirt dress with tights and heeled boots – this look can work even in very cold weather!  Heeled boots give you more ankle stability than regular heels, and still add a feminine touch.  Add a statement necklace for an extra pop of color.

reece witherspoon shirtdress

Reece Witherspoon via lilsugar.com

A shirt dress works well in the summer, too.  The draping effect is very flattering, especially when worn in the right fabric.

Sienna-Miller (1)

Sienna Miller via lilsugar.com

This is a great winter look, as well as a great reminder than you can wear many of your pre-maternity pieces even farther along in your pregnancy.  This wool coat ties Sienna’s whole look together without needing to be buttoned up.

Jessica Simpson and BFF Cacee Cobb Shop Up A Storm

Jessica Simpson via Celebrity Baby Scoop

Black is very slimming and a great classic for maternity-wear.  Worn with heels and a draping scarf, Jessica achieves a very elongated, sophisticated look.

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