News: baby sleep tips

10 WTF Surprises of Being a New Mom That You'll Never Read in Any Book

By Gen Cohen

Like most women, I was nervous about becoming a mom and worried a lot about what it would be like. I tried to prepare myself as best I could, and while I didn't read all the baby books, I definitely asked around. Before I gave birth, I knew I might be surprised by the challenges of breastfeeding and the weird noises my newborn would make in her sleep. I heard all about the squeeze bottle I'd soon keep by the toilet. And I was warned to get my sleep in now.

But there are some things I realized soon after becoming a mom that no one ever told me and I certainly didn't find while flipping through What to Expect When You're Expecting, or even when reading articles online chronicling the "37 Most Shocking Things You Never Knew About Motherhood." Here, 10 of the real WTF surprises and pieces of advice for first time moms.

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We Let Our Baby Cry It Out, and 10 Years Later, This Is What Happened

By Gen Cohen

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18 Easy Christmas Crafts, Ornaments and Gifts

By Gen Cohen

This list is popping with inspiration, just like our fun kids' sunglasses are popping with color, and they fit perfectly under the tree, too! Check out our blue color changing sunglasses that will delight kids of all ages! Cute Christmas ornament crafts and gifts kids can make from our favorite craft blogs. 

Tags: Crafts, Christmas

By Lauren Passell

Soft Ball
Use up leftover fabric to make these unique ornaments from Everyday Beautiful. No two will be the same!

Photo Frenzy
If you want to take your snapshots to the next level, whip up these memory globes from Little Pink Monster, perfect for your mantle or as a gift for grandparents. Kids will love picking out photos and decorating their own.

Shoe In
Did you know you can make advent calendar out of a hanging shoe rack? Start collecting odds and ends to create this countdown-to-Christmas door decoration from Whimsy Love.

Can It
Tin cans are transformed into gorgeous, vintage-y looking ornaments in this easy project from Salsa Pie. Perfect to give to Grandma!

Pony Up
Here's a DIY craft for pony lovers! This felt pony farm from Smashed Peas and Carrots can be folded up so it's perfect for on-the-go. And her pony collection fits perfectly in the side pockets.

Have a Ball
For an easy project you can make from what you have in your recycling bin, try one of these pretty paper bulbs from How About Orange. Use wrapping paper or magazine pages to make the ornaments pop even more.

Jingle All The Way
These cute jingle bell hair clips from Little Pink Monster are fun to make and even more fun to wear. They're perfect for Christmas parties or to wear all season lon

Sweet!
Using real candies and yarn, you can brighten up the Christmas tree (or any nook in your house that needs some holiday cheer) with this sweet crocheted candy garland from Dollar Store Crafts.

Pin-Up
Old fashioned clothespins make great ornaments, and they only cost a few pennies each. These angel ornaments from Dollar Store Crafts can be decorated any way your kids can think up.

Stockings in a Flash
These stockings from Prudent Baby look like they're straight out of a catalog, but they can be whipped up in 15 minutes and require minimal sewing skills. 

Tag, You're It
These personalized photo gift tags from Fireflies and Jelly Beans are so cool they might get more attention than the gift. Use brown grocery bag for a vintage look.

Scrap That
Using fabrics scraps, you can make these pretty handmade notes from Smashed Peas and Carrots for a heartfelt way to say "Happy Holidays" or "Thank You".

Snow Daze
If subtle cheer is more your holiday style, try making these wooden snowflake ornamentsfrom The Crafty Crow. They're minimalist chic and easy to make.

Home Sweet Home
Here’s a sweet idea from Dollar Store Crafts: Pick up porcelain houses for a buck each at the craft store to make a pretty painted Christmas village. Kids will love adding their own touches, like feathers, glitter and fur.

Tech Cozy
Here's something kids can make for Dad that will bring back fond memories. This Etch-a-Sketch iPad cozy from Smashed Peas and Carrots is practical and will bring back memories of the days when he was writing Santa.

Tree Huggers
These ribbon trees from Fireflies and Jelly Beans are super easy to create, and make a big cheery focal point for your home. Make one or a whole forest, and don't forget the Christmas table centerpiece!

Take Note
These cute, colorful notebooks from the craft blog Whimsy Love, made from leftover paint chips, make great stocking stuffers.

Say Cheese!
We love to get Christmas cards in the mail, and these homemade photo ornaments from Fireflies and Jelly Beans are a great way to re-use them instead of throwing them away. Paste on a family pic to make it even more personal.

Gumdrop Snowflakes
Use your favorite gumdrop colors to make fun paterned snowflakes with toothpicks. 

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15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together

By Dallas Stevens

15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together



With the chaos of juggling our own schedules with our kids' calendars, it's easy for your quality time to be limited to carpool conversations and the bedtime routine. Penciling in some one-on-one time with your favorite girl may require a little extra effort, but it'll pay off in spades. Here, 15 ways to stop stressing and start making memories.

1. Ice Cream Outing

Because calories don't count when you're spending time with your favorite girl!

2. Sign Up For a Mother-Daughter Cooking Class

The weeknight dinnertime rush tends to take the fun out of cooking. Bring it back by devoting a few hours to hands-on foodie fun with your little one. Look up a cooking school in your area — you may be surprised to find how many kid-friendly classes are out there.

3. Spa Day

Source: Thinkstock

Instead of trying to squeeze in a mani-pedi while your kids are at school or during your lunch hour, schedule appointments for two after school or on a weekend afternoon. It's a fun opportunity to indulge yourselves in some girl time.

Keep reading for more great mother-daughter date ideas!

4. Farmers Market Fun

Give her a lesson in where her food comes from by taking your daughter out for a one-on-one farmers market outing. Let her have a say in your selections, and encourage her to help turn your produce picks into dinner once you're back home.

5. Play Tourist in Your Own Town

We often take for granted that our own town or city has some pretty amazing sites to see. Spend an afternoon exploring with your girl. Head off to a destination that you've always wanted to check out, or take her to one of your own favorite spots that she hasn't seen yet.

6. Get Crafty

Source: Thinkstock

Sometimes staying home is the easiest and best way to bond. If she's got siblings, plan some crafty QT during their nap time or when dad or someone else can take them out for a bit.

7. Volunteer

Source: Thinkstock

Do good while having fun by signing up to volunteer for a few hours. It's a great opportunity to learn which causes speak to your daughter and spark a conversation about the importance of giving back.

8. Invite Grandma Along

Source: Thinkstock

What's better than two generations of family fun? Inviting a third along!

9. Get Active

Depending on her age, bring your daughter along for a jog in her stroller, a side-by-side power walk, a class at the gym, or whatever other fitness fun suits your fancy.

10. A Night at the Movies

Let your little chick pick the flick, and treat yourselves to a movie date.

11. The 9-5

Source: Thinkstock

If you're a working mom, make arrangements to bring your daughter in to visit your office for the day (or, depending on her age, an hour or two). Give her a better understanding of what her mom does for a living, and spark a conversation of what she could see herself doing as an adult.

12. Day Trippers

Take advantage of a sunny weekend afternoon, and take a meandering drive down a scenic stretch near your home, either with a drivable destination in mind or just an openness for adventure!

13. Plan a Picnic

Take the experience of planning and preparing a meal together, and make it even more special by enjoying it al fresco — just the two of you.

14. Ladies Who Lunch

Source: Thinkstock

This weekend, skip brunch or lunch with your gal pals, and instead take your special little lady out for a date a deux. A one-on-one meal is a great opportunity to get her to open up on what's happening at school, in her social circle, and more.

15. Explore Nature

Source: Thinkstock

There may be a chill in the air, but don't let it slow you down. Bundle up, and hit up a local nature trail, park, or boardwalk (hot cocoa in hand, perhaps?) for some outdoor exercise and conversation.

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Some Preggers "Rules" Examined...

By Scott Morris

Really? No sushi, no lunch meat, and I can't touch kitty litter?? 

[reposted from Lucie's List] 

There are TONS of pregnancy myths and fact about what you should-- and shouldn't -- be doing during your pregnancy. Perhaps you've already been admonished by an annoying coworker about the dangers lurking inside your turkey sandwich. 
 
The truth of the matter is that the majority of miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects occur from reasons that are totally outside of your control. This will either give you comfort or totally freak you out; hopefully it's the former.
 
As it turns out, many of the rules of the pregnancy police come not from actual data or studies, but from the "why-take-a-chance" philosophy that pervades American medicine, no matter how infinitesimal the actual risk.
 
First, a biology lesson.
 

Mr. (or Ms.) Fetus

Only half of your tiny peanut is identical to your own biology (the other half belonging, of course, to your sperm-donor-of-a-husband, or boyfriend, or fiance, or one-night-stand --- no one's judging here).

Fetus: nooo, don't attack meee!!

Because of this dissimilarity, your little ball of baby cells would normally be rejected by your body's own immune system (much like with a transplanted organ). Thankfully, our immune systems have evolved to NOT attack the developing fetus.

Essentially, your whole immune system lets down its guard for the duration of your pregnancy. As a result, pregnant women are more vulnerable to nasty stuff. This also explains why you'll get every strain of cold under the moon during the 3rd trimester, even if you are normally quite healthy.

So which of the rules are justifiable and which aren't? Let's have a look at some pregnancy myths that have been debunked or confirmed.

Listeria Hysteria

Listeria is the big bad bacteria that you want to avoid during pregnancy, mainly because it can cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus, which can result in miscarriage or fetal death.

True, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeria than the non-pregnant, but EVEN SO, it is EXTREMELY rare, infecting about 50-100 per million for those with a bun in the oven (3 to 5 million without).

~ This is even less likely than your chances of dying in a plane crash (1 in 30,000). 

* For comparison's sake, 1 in 84 people die in car crashes.

It should also be noted that most listeria infections in pregnancy occur in the 3rd trimester, when suppression of Th1-mediated immunity is at its maximum.

The highest risk foods for listeria are preserved fish (lox and stuff), cheese from unpasteurized milk, and deli meats. Pate (pa-TAAAAAY). Under cooked hot dogs. Stuff like that.

Bottom line: With those kinds of odds, you should worry more about your driving and less about your turkey sandwich.

Sushi 

Most American OBs say, "No sushi for you!" However, if you look at the data, 85% of seafood illness comes from eating raw shellfish -- that's right, bivalve mollusks, namely, raw oysters and clams

If you take those out of the equation, the risk of falling ill from eating seafood is 1 in 2 million servings. [By comparison, the risk from eating chicken is 1 in 25,000.] So... can we agree that we won't eat raw oysters and clams? I mean, really? Millions of Japanese women are not wrong (and yes, with some of the best public health officials in the world, they've looked into it).

Furthermore, fish eaten in a sushi restaurant in the US is almost always flash frozen before it gets to the restaurant, so any parasites or bacteria in the fish would have been killed during the process.

Salmon-ella, ha!

Bottom line: No raw shellfish, but your salmon roll shouldn't be any more scary than your chicken sandwich.

Freddy Mercury

"You should eat lots of fish when you're pregnant." No wait... "You should avoid fish when you're pregnant."

Well, which is it?

"Between the warnings about parasites in sushi and about mercury in certain species of fish, pregnant women are being scared off fish altogether. And that's bad news, since the fatty acids in fish are the ideal nourishment for a developing baby," said Steven Shaw, a former food writer for The New York Times.

Furthermore, researchers found that greater maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids in fish was associated with better fine motor development, more pro-social behavior, and better social development.

So is there a "too much"? All researchers can do is guess at it, but many suggest that the warnings against seafood consumption are dramatically overblown.

In fact, a study in the Seychelles [a high fish-eating population] showed no link between the children's development over their first 6 years and the levels of mercury contained in their mothers' hair during pregnancy, which is a measure of the amounts to which fetuses were exposed.

Bottom line: Common sense would tell us to limit consumption of fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (sorry, no shark for you this week [snort]). 

The Truth About Kitty Litter

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite whose only natural host is the cat. Reeeer.

The truth is if you've had an indoor/outdoor cat for years, your chances of being immune from a previous exposure are fairly high - perhaps as high as 90%.

Studies show... of the 10% of pregnant cat owners that are susceptible, about 2% of those are exposed to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Of those (now 0.2%), only 30% of the 0.2% become infected. If infected (this keeps getting better, huh?), only 30% of those are "clinically infected", meaning their newborn will be impacted in some noticeable way.

Where are we on the math? About 0.0018 (or, 1.8 in 100,000) of the fetuses of pregnant cat owners will get sick from toxoplasmosis. You can see why doctors really don't see this very often.

Should you tell your husband or partner that this really isn't a threat after all?

Hell-to-tha-NO! Let him think it's highly lethal for, like... the rest of your life (come on, you can't get drunk for the next few months, the least he can do is scoop some kitty crap, yeah?). It'll be our little secret. ;-)


Conclusion: Ladies, I'm not saying you can't get sick from things like listeria, sushi, and kitty litter. I'm just saying they're fairly unlikely (k, so don't sue me). The beauty is that everyone can decide based on their own risk tolerance. I love 'dis country!

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GIRLS' WORLD MAGAZINE KIDS' SUNGLASSES REVIEW: THEY LOVES OUR BABY SHADES!

By Scott Morris

Upgrade your child’s accessories with these cool pair of sunglasses! Enter to win one of three pair of ro sham bo sunglasses.

Designed specifically for babies and children’s use, abuse and love of putting things in their mouths, ro•sham•bo are so durable that they can be bent, stretched, pulled, stepped on (they have even been run over and survived!) and bounce right back to shape; even a thirty year old man can’t break them! ro•sham•bo shades come in baby, junior and adult sizes.

Even celebrities like Jamie King, Reese Witherspoon, Tiffany Hornton, and Courtney Lopez (aka Mrs. “AC Slater”) are fans of these high quality sunglasses for little people! ​ ro•sham•bo shades make the perfect stocking stuffer, gift for a new mom, or holiday gift guide item, and a percentage of proceeds go to autism research! In fact, the name “ro•sham•bo” is a reference to “rock, paper, scissors,” a game many special educators like to play with kids that need some extra quiet attention without disrupting a classroom.

Visit www.roshambobaby for more information. Watch Vimeo to see how to rock these shades.

http://winit.girlsworldmag.com/sweepstakes/win-a-pair-of-ro-sham-bo-sunglasses-14111

 

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Baby Sleep: When to Let Your Baby Cry It Out

By Scott Morris

Baby Sleep: When to Let Your Baby Cry It Out (tips from Parents.com)

    The biggest lesson I learned when I became a mom: Nothing is predictable--except for a shortage of shut-eye. "It's a given that babies get up a lot during the first three months, and it's important to have realistic expectations," says Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the DVD and book, The Happiest Baby on the Block.

    By now, you've heard the basic tips for making those 2 a.m. wake-up calls more bearable: You know to keep the lights low and feed your baby before you hit the sack. So what else can you do? Get clued in to some lesser-known nighttime survival strategies.

    Don't make eye contact.

    You probably know to nix playing or singing during those wee-hour feedings, but you should also avoid gazing into your baby's eyes late at night. "When your baby locks eyes with you, it's almost like she's drinking a double latte-her heart rate speeds up, her blood pressure rises, and she becomes more awake," says Alan Greene, M.D., author of From First Kicks to First Steps. Do make plenty of eye contact during the day so she knows it's time to be awake (plus, it boosts brain development and bonding).

      Regulate the temp.

      You know how you sleep better when the room's a little cooler? Well, your bundle of joy is no different. Keep your baby's room warmer during the day and cooler at night, Dr. Greene suggests. The optimal temperature for infant sleep is between 65 and 70?F. If you don't have a thermostat you can control, leave the window slightly open or use a fan at night. (Just make sure your baby sleeps far away from windows and fans, and that the room never gets too hot or too cold.)

        Use dimmers.

        Light is one way to regulate babies' (and adults') circadian rhythm--the body's internal clock. Plug your lamps into dimmer units (available at hardware stores), and when the sun goes down in the evening, lower the lights--even if your baby isn't going right to bed. To reinforce these rhythms, make sure your home is brightly lit during the day, even if he's napping.

          Make some noise.

          Don't give your child the silent treatment. "Amazingly, the sounds they heard 24/7 in the uterus were about twice as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so babies love and need strong rhythmic noise," Dr. Karp says. Use a white-noise machine, a radio tuned to transmit static, or a nature-sounds CD?or let her sleep near the dishwasher.

            Do the swing thing.

            If you swaddle and use white noise and your baby's still waking up every hour or two, add the swing to the mix. Put your swaddled baby in the reclined seat and buckle her in. "It's a myth that you're starting a bad habit," says Dr. Karp, who adds that fewer than 5 percent of babies need the swing technique. You can gradually stop using it when she's better able to soothe herself.

              Cut the caff.

              You know too much java can rev you up and leave you wide-eyed. It can do the same for your little one if you're breastfeeding. Caffeine from coffee and soda can turn up in breast milk. "A large coffee drink can provide enough caffeine to affect anewborn," Dr. Greene says. "It accumulates in his body quickly and stays with him longer than it does with you?about 96 hours."

                Fill 'er up.

                Starting at around 5 p.m., decrease the time between your child's feedings. For example, if you usually feed her every three hours, do so every two hours in the evening. "This strategy gave my daughter a full stomach before I put her to bed and helped her sleep four- to five-hour stretches by week three," says Louise Johnson, a mother of two from Norwalk, Connecticut.

                  Give diaper duty a rest.

                  The truth is, you don't have to change your baby with each feeding. "If the diaper isn't soaked through or soiled and your child doesn't have extra-sensitive skin or existing diaper rash, skip this step," suggests Michel Cohen, M.D., author of The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent. Just use absorbent nighttime diapers and a thick diaper cream to protect his skin.

                    Bypass burping.

                    Many breastfeeding babies nurse less avidly at night, so it's not a must to wait (and wait) for that little gust of air. "At night, she'll probably be eating more slowly and therefore swallowing less air--so burping usually isn't necessary," Dr. Cohen explains. See how your child does without the burp; skipping just one step in the feeding routine can give you some extra shut-eye.

                      Hit the bottle.

                      If your breastfeeding newborn wakes often, make it a goal to get him used to drinking your pumped breastmilk from a bottle so you and your spouse can trade off feedings. By sharing the night shift, you both get to enjoy longer stretches of sleep.

                        Make over your room.

                        Everyone's heard about using blackout shades in the baby's room, but put them in your own too. You'll sleep better at night, later in the morning, and snooze more easily during the day while your baby's napping.

                          Do a quick spa treatment.

                          Studies done at the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that newborns who had a bedtime massage fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than those who didn't have one. Before bed, give your child a 15-minute massage using slow strokes, moderate pressure, and a baby-safe oil.

                            Breathe easy.

                            One way to get into--and pass on--a mellow mood late at night? "Slow down your breathing. It sends your baby a signal to be calm," explains Georgia Witkin, Ph.D., author of The Female Stress Survival Guide. To pace yourself, use headphones to listen to music that's slower than your heartbeat (anything with fewer than 70 beats per minute, like a ballad), then breathe to the rhythm.

                              Give her a cozy sleep spot.

                              A bassinet can be moved into your bedroom and may improve the quality of your newborn's snoozetime. "Babies tend to sleep better in bassinets partly because they feel safer and more enclosed there, and partly because they're closer to their parents," Dr. Greene says. A co-sleeper can have the same effect.

                                See the light.

                                When it's time to rise and shine, get into bright light ASAP. "Exposure to light tells your biological clock that you should be alert," explains James B. Maas, Ph.D., author of Remmy and the Brain Train: Traveling Through the Land of Good Sleep. Head out for a walk with your baby or sit with her by a sunny window. It'll stimulate both of you?and help you remember the one other thing that's predictable about motherhood: No matter how tough the night shift is, the sun will come up tomorrow.

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