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New Moms and Moms-To-Be: Weight Loss Tips

Are you currently pregnant and discouraged about getting back into shape after having your baby? Or maybe you're a new Mom who is exhausted and getting to the gym is the last thing on your mind! Either way, I hope the following tips help you lose that baby weight.

I don't have any fancy initials behind my name, I'm just a Mom of 4 kids. I've been able to get into my favorite Gap jeans fairly quickly after my babies, and I've observed that women who do the same have a few things in common. Here are my tips for losing the weight postpartum:

1) Don't use pregnancy as an excuse to binge.
Pregnancy is the time to get strict about nutrition. Eating junk food will produce a small baby and a big Momma. Make your pregnancy a time to turn over a new leaf if you are a junk food junkie. You'll be developing habits that will serve you well as you teach your children about nutrition.

At the same time, don't obsess about weight gain. I gained between 35-50 pounds for each of my pregnancies, and still didn't have trouble getting back into my old clothes within a few months postpartum. Focus on good nutrition, stay as active as you can, and you won't go wrong.

2) Breastfeed your baby.
Breastfeeding burns around 500-700 calories a day. Wow- that's not bad for sitting around relaxing on the couch! Your body puts on 9 pounds during your pregnancy specifically for the purpose of lactation. The extra weight is laid down on your thighs to make sure you will have enough fat to burn to make milk for baby. Call it "famine insurance" if you will. If you don't breastfeed, guess what? That 9 pounds stays.

Several studies show that nursing Moms return to their prepregnancy weight more quickly. Nursing also helps your uterus contract back to its prepregnancy size faster. Plus you'll have a nicer decolletage to boot!

3) Talk a walk every day
Walking is probably the perfect exercise for new Moms. It's not stressful on your joints (which are still loosey-goosey from the pregnancy hormones for a while after you give birth). It's free and doesn't require a babysitter or any special equipment. It gets you out in the sun, which helps regulates your sleep/wake cycle, causing you and baby to sleep better at night and possibly helping prevent postpartum depression. And you can do it with a friend. If you're sleep deprived and can't bear the thoughts of exercise, call up a buddy and make a date with her to walk several mornings a week. Then you can treat yourselves to Starbucks and gossip afterwards.

4) "Wear" your baby
In addition to the many other benefits, using a baby sling or other soft cloth carrier and wearing your baby will burn lots of calories during the day as you do your household chores or care for other children. It also makes it easier for you to be active. You'll be less tempted to sit around. Throwing on a sling and sitting baby inside it is much easier than lugging out and setting up a heavy stroller.

5) Curb those cravings

Postpartum Moms have cravings for several reasons. One is because serotonin levels are dropping, leading to cravings for sugar. Substitute snacking with another, health producing activity, like getting together with your buddy and going for a walk.

Another cause of cravings may be low blood sugar due to inadequate nutrition (eating too infrequently or eating too much refined sugar). Keep your blood sugar in control by eating frequent small meals that are balanced in nutrients. Keep snacks handy that you can grab quickly before you feed the baby. You need fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. Things like dried fruit and nuts, granola, full fat yogurt (buy the plain kind and mix in all-fruit jelly. Most yogurt has way too much sugar otherwise), kefir, vegetables sliced ahead of time and served with dips, hummus, whole grain pita bread, fruit smoothies, etc will keep your blood sugar constant and provide good nutrition. And keep taking your prenatal multivitamin to help prevent deficiencies that may cause cravings.

6) Avoid excessive caffeine
Drinking too much caffeine leads to insulin surges which cause your blood sugar to drop. When this happens most people head straight for the refined carbs to quicky bring their blood sugar back up. That's no good.

7) Get enough rest
Easier said than done for a new Mom, to be sure! But if at all possible, nap with your baby. When you are terribly sleep deprived, you tend to gain weight. Consider bringing baby to bed with you if you are nursing. You will sleep better, baby will sleep better, and Daddy will sleep better (making it more likely that he will take baby for a walk and let you nap some afternoons!). Women all over the world have been doing it for thousands of years. As long as you are not morbidly obese, using sleeping pills or inebriated, cosleeping is safe.

8) Focus on good nutrition
This is also a challenge for a new, stressed out Mom. Check out books like "The One Armed Cook" for ideas on how to prepare healthy meals with a baby in arms. Visit a La Leche League meeting and ask other Moms how they manage to eat well with kids in the kitchen. Some Moms who were former junk food junkies have done well with the following technique. Before feeding themselves a particular food, they ask: "Would I feed this to my baby?" If the answer is no, they don't eat it.

9) And lastly, give it time
Be realistic- don't expect yourself to be back into your favorite jeans within a few weeks of delivery. In the meantime, appreciate your new, womanly curves (especially the cleavage that breastfeeding gives you!). I noticed that my clothing style changes somewhat after I have a baby. My normal tailored, classic look gives way to a soft, feminine style that flatters my postpartum body more.

Rejoice in your body that can do such awesome things as give birth and nourish a new life! Likely, your partner is much more forgiving of your changing body than you are. Most of all, enjoy your new baby!

Baby Names: How To Find The Right Name For Your Baby

What’s in a name? Er…well, everything, really! Of course your little bundle of joy is the sweetest, most beautiful thing you have ever seen and you want to choose a name that reflects his/her individuality, spirituality, uniqueness and all-round special-ness.

But wait a minute!

Remember that the unique baby name you choose will help define junior’s life - how they are viewed and accepted - for many, many years. What sounds cute and original for a 5-year-old, may not sound so funky for a 15-year-old…and what about a 55-year old?

Time was when only celebrities could get away with unique baby names (Zowie Bowie, Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa, etc), but in the modern world, individuality is more prized than ever before, and increasingly, this starts with our names. Great idea – but don’t allow a flash of a self-indulgence to condemn your child to a lifetime of problems; it’s reported that a Chinese couple named their child “Saddam Sars” to mark the current world events at the time of the birth! I just hope it means something nice in Mandarin, or Cantonese!

This probably wouldn’t have happened in Germany, where names can only be registered if they recognizable, do not ridicule the child and are gender specific. Perhaps there is at least one Chinese child in the world, who will grow up wishing he/she were German!

So – assuming you are not German - what should you do if you want to create a unique baby name, without creating too many problems? Here are some tips and some warnings to make the process less painful:

1. Anagrams: try creating an anagram of an existing name.

2. Father and Mother: try using derivatives of one of the parents’ names, or a combination of both. Alternatively, how does the mother’s maiden name sound as a first name?

3. Telescoping: try dropping letters from another name or a word, until you get a nice-sounding name.

4. Spelling: an unusual spelling of a common name creates uniqueness. However, remember that your child will be condemned to a lifetime of “…that’s David spelt D..A..Y..V..I..D…” conversations.

5. Pronunciation: another trick is to pronounce a common name in an unusual way. But this can also lead to a lifetime of corrections and explanations – as well as teasing and accusations of pretentiousness.

6. History: do some research into names that were popular in previous eras, but have become less so.

7. Family History: are there any unusual baby names that can be used to honor family members or ancestors? But beware family politics…

8. Nature: many names come from the natural world, particularly flowers (e.g. Rose) and it’s a great source for unique baby names (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter Apple).

9. Geography: another useful source of great names - grab an atlas and start searching. David and Victoria Beckham called their first son Brooklyn, which many people think is a cool-sounding name. However, it’s reported that the choice was made because that’s where conception took place. Hmmm, imagine a lifetime in which your name is a constant reminder of your parents having sex! Eeeuuuuww!!!

10. Celebrities: famous people with slightly unusual names are a common source of inspiration. There are lots of teenage “Kylie”s running around the UK since Kylie Minogue’s arrival on the music scene at end of the ‘80’s, and her recent resurgence, will have created a second wave of them. And I’m sure many little “Be’yonce”s have been popping up over the last few years. The only problem is that names like these very soon begin to sound a little silly and “wannabe”.

11. Foreign Names: consider using a foreign version of a name, e.g., Pedro, instead of Peter. Or try using a name from a completely different culture.

12. Nicknames: try using a nickname e.g. Angie, instead of Angela or Angelina. However, make sure the name is will pass the “age test” – see number 17 below.

13. Middle Names: a great way to accommodate individuality when naming your baby, is to combine a common first name with a unique second/middle name. The benefit of this is that your child can avoid embarrassment throughout his/her life by ignoring it or keeping it hidden.

14. Initials: when you have settled on some names, check that the initials aren’t embarrassing. This is an easy trap to fall into and can lead to a lifetime of misery. “Zina Indigo” are may be nice sounding names for your lovely daughter, but make sure your surname doesn’t begin with “T”!

15. First Name-Surname: check how the selected first name combines with the surname. Make sure the two names do not create some something recognizable, to prevent a lifetime of teasing. Also, check the rhythm of the two names; a different number of syllables in each name usually flows much better. Avoid rhyming the 2 names at all costs or your child will hate you forever!

16. The loudness test:
try saying the name softly, at normal pitch and shouting it very loudly. You may be surprised at the results.

17. The age test: try to visualize your child with the name as a baby, as a teenager, as a young adult, a mature adult and as a senior citizen. A name can create completely different perceptions of the individual at separate stages of life.

18. The meaning: the final test of the name that you choose should be to check its meaning (if any). Don’t leave your child open to getting a nasty surprise later in life.

Whatever name you decide, don’t fall into the trap of self-indulgence. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s all about your child. Your grand design to celebrate the uniqueness of this new human being, may eventually lead to a lifelong, desperate desire for conformity and anonymity. Even Zowie Bowie eventually changed his name to “Joey”…

When Baby Gets Sick: How To Help Your Baby When He Catches The Common Cold

Remember how miserable you felt when you last had a cold? Can you imagine what your baby must feel when he experiences a cold for the first time?

Viruses are responsible for causing colds. Infected people spread the viruses when they sneeze or cough nearby healthy people. The virus gets into the nose and throat where it multiplies.

What Are The Symptoms?

When your baby has a cold, there will be a number of symptoms. He will be sneezing and have a runny nose. He may have a sore throat and it may be difficult for him to swallow. His glands may become swollen.

He may not feel like eating much and he could become irritable. A cough may develop. He may get a slight fever or have a body temperature of 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If your baby is three months old or less and has cold like symptoms, you should contact a pediatrician immediately. Cold like symptoms in a baby three months old or less are misleading and could lead to a serious ailment.

On the other hand, if your child is more than three months old you should contact a doctor if you notice that he is breathing loudly and his nostrils expand out with each breath. His nails or lips are becoming blue. His mucus is thick, runny and green. He has a cough that hasn't gone a way for more than a week. His ears ache. His temperature is more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit. He has become more drowsy or grouchy.

How to Care For Your Baby

Medical experts tell us there is no cure for the common cold. However, there are ways to alleviate the miserable symptoms your baby undergoes.

Make sure he gets plenty of rest and extra fluids. If he has a fever, give him acetaminophen or if he's older that six months he may take ibuprofen (but don't give it to your baby if he is dehydrated or continuously vomiting).

If your child has a cough and is under three years old, don't give him a cough suppressing medicine unless it was prescribed by a pediatrician. Coughing rids the lower respiratory tract of mucus.

If your baby has nasal congestion, you can use a rubber suction bulb to draw out the mucus from his nostrils. If the mucus is too thick, you can apply saline nose drops to soften the mucus before extracting with the bulb. A humidifier can also be used in the baby's room to help liquefy the nasal secretions.

Concluding Thoughts

The best way for your baby to avoid a cold is to not have him near people who are infected. But if your baby gets a cold, the best thing you can do is make it comfortable for him. Soon his cold symptoms will disappear and he'll be back to health, that is, until the next episode. But by now you'll be ready for that, won't you?

 


Development of Your Baby's Brain: How To Foster Your Baby's IQ

Have you ever wondered why toys for babies tend to have so many bells, whistles and lights? Or why they have so many different textures, and materials and colors? It's almost as if we want to provide young babies with a whole world of stimulation and we can't quite get it to them fast enough.

Play gyms or activity gyms as they are sometimes called tend to be a firm favorite with babies from newborn up to about 12 months. These play gyms and activity nests mostly come
in the form of comfortable, quilted or softly padded playmats, sometimes raised at the edges with a space in the middle for baby (like a ring doughnut). And these play gyms can be either brightly colored or in soft, pastel shades. But don't be fooled by thinking they are just snug and comfy resting places for babies to fall asleep in!

These activity gyms can provide a plethora of visual, audio and tactile stimulation for fast developing young inquisitive minds.

Often decorated with well known and lovable characters, Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Eyore, or farm and zoo animals as well, they can consist of detachable, hanging parts for small babies to try to grasp. They tend to have parts that are crinkly, soft, scrunchy textures for baby to touch, squeeze and stroke. Some come with bright twinkling lights and bells and others make funny sounds, or musical sounds, and some even do both.

You will often find mirrors attached to these activity gyms, so that your baby gets to find and see its own reflection, often providing hours of fun for babies and carers alike. All of this is extremely important for developing young minds.

Babies brains are like a sponge, they are ready to absorb whatever information they can. A lot of new research points to the first three years of life as being critical to a baby's developing brain. It is a known fact that during this period, not only does the brain triple in weight but it also establishes thousands of billions of nerve connections. Astonishingly, at the age of three, a young child has twice as many nerve connections as many adults. Therefore, in your role as a parent, or primary care giver, it is of paramount importance that you recognize this and understand just how much development is taking place inside your young baby's brain from birth until the age of three.

At birth, children have most of the neurons (brain cells) they need for a lifetime however, these brain cells are not yet linked (or "wired") together to form the complex networks that are required for mature thought processes to take place. And what happens is that in the early years, young children's brain cells form these connections, or synapses as they are commonly called, very very rapidly.

One of the crucial ingredients to aiding these connections to form, is experience, and repetition. In a word, the more times you repeat something new, like showing a baby how to scrunch up a ball, the quicker these connections are formed. Therefore, it naturally follows that the more positive interaction you give an infant or toddler, the more you are helping to stimulate young brains. This stimulation causes new connections to form neural pathways and strengthens existing ones. Playing with activity gyms, with all the bells and whistles that they offer or reading to a child, anything which allows a child to have positive, interactive processes, will aid your child's brain development.

So, as you lovingly sit and watch your young baby laughing and gurgling on the play mat or under the activity gym - do not underestimate the power of the changes taking place in the brain, all enriching an inquisitive mind and arming it with a plethora of knowledge and understanding for years to come.

 

The Baby Shower: Hosting 101

Are you ready to host the best baby shower ever but don't know where to start? Baby showers are fun, but planning one can be tedious. In this article we'll cover the basics to get you started.

So who should host the baby shower? Traditionally, only non-relatives are to host a baby shower -- co-workers, church groups, etc.; however, it has become more common and acceptable for mothers and sisters to host showers too. The important thing is that someone take the initiative to host the shower -- what a wonderful display of caring for a growing family and a special way to help welcome a new life into the world. It is also perfectly acceptable for more than one person to host a baby shower. It can be fun for a group of friends to share the responsibilities and excitement of planning and hosting this special event.

When it comes to inviting guests, you likely have some idea of those you want to invite to the shower, but it is always a safe bet to run the guest list by the mom-to-be to ensure you haven't left anyone out.

You can invite guests via a phone call or an e-mail (be sure they check their mail regularly!), but the written invitation is still the most preferable way to kick off a shower. You can even find baby shower ecard invitations online. Just do a simple search online and I'm sure you'll find one. No matter what type of invitation you use, be sure to include pertinent information -- whether it regards a theme, a note of where the mom-to-be has registered, a map or written directions to the shower, or any special item you want the guests to bring for the mom.

Showers are normally given a month or two before the mom's due date. It's a good idea to give the mom enough time following the shower to shop for items she didn't receive, yet wants to have before the baby arrives. And of course you don't want to hold the shower too close to baby's due date in case he or she makes an early arrival!

Baby showers are normally held in the home of the hostess. If desired though, you can certainly host a shower at a church fellowship area, a favorite restaurant, or even at a banquet hall -- it really all depends on what atmosphere you are looking for and how much money you want to spend. If the shower will be held in a restaurant, make reservations at least two weeks prior to the date. At one- week prior, one of the organizers should speak with the manager to confirm the details.

The shower should last around one and a half to two hours. Things may wind down early or they may likely continue on as guests chat together.

There are many variations on showers, but we have devised a general "schedule" for baby showers. You can add/remove any part and re-order it to your liking.

Greet Guests - serve light appetizers

After all or almost all guests have arrived, go around the room and have each guest introduce themselves and identify how they know the mother-to-be.

Play 2-4 Shower Games. It is good to play games at the beginning as ice-breakers. Remember some guests may not know *anyone* but the mother-to-be.

Let everyone go get whatever food may be available and then once everyone has been served, the mother-to-be can begin to open her gifts. Be sure to have someone write down each gift and who it is from. It will make sending thank-you notes a lot easier.

People chat and usually leave a few at a time. Make sure the mother-to-be gets to say goodbye to everyone and the hostess thanks the person for attending. If the hostess has shower favors, they should give this to the guests upon leaving.


 
 
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