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Celebrity Babies: The Best Holiday Gift Ever!

We celebrate celebrity babies – and all babies – year round.  But we can’t think of a better way to get in the holiday spirit than by celebrating a new “baby on board” or the impending arrival of a soon-to-be famous tot.  Today we’re sharing the latest news on celebrity babies to help spread some cheer.  Go ahead, try not to smile…

Jennifer Love Hewitt_Courtesy of starpulse.comAmerica’s sweetheart Jennifer Love Hewitt had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  She gave birth to her first daughter, Autumn, two days before turkey day.  Jennifer met her husband on the set of her Lifetime show The Client List and they secretly married shortly thereafter.  Jennifer has longed for motherhood, especially after the death of her own mother to cancer less than two years ago.  “I’m ready to pass on to my child all the great love that my mom had for me,” she told People Magazine.

Kim Fields_Courtesy of thegrio.comAnother former teen star, Facts of Life’s Tutu, Kim Fields, started a new “circle of life” last week when she welcomed her second son, Quincy Morgan.  Kim, 44, and her husband had been trying to have a second child for several years and now their wish has come true, just in time for the holidays.

‘Tis the season for TV reporters to give birth, apparently.  CNN anchor Erin Burnett, host of Erin Burnett OutFront, gave birth to her first son Nyle Thomas the day after Thanksgiving.  Also, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Brooke Anderson welcomed her second child, Lily George, on November 30.  Lily arrived via natural birth promptly on her due date in “dramatic fashion,” according to Brooke.

The littlest rock star, or should we say caroler, entered the world in late November when No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and longtime girlfriend Erin Lokitz welcomed their second daughter, Saffron Rose.  Tony thanked his twitter followers for their well-wishes and said his family is “beyond humbled and filled with love.”

We also have some exciting news of celebrity babies on the way.  Congrats to the latest celebs awaiting their bundles of joy:

  • Michael Jordan will be a dad for the fourth time.  The legendary 50-year-old NBA hall-of-famer is expecting a baby with his wife of a year-and-a-half, Yvette Prieto.  We’re just wondering if they’ll try for a fifth to make a full basketball team.
  • Kelly Clarkson, who recently wed husband Brandon Blackstock in a private ceremony in Tennessee, announced her pregnancy on twitter.  “I’m pregnant!!! Brandon and I are so excited! Best early Christmas present ever,” she said.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas_Courtesy of todaysparent.comIn true Hollywood style, actors Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas met on the set of their hit series Once Upon a Time.  They wed privately and are now expecting their first child together. While they’re keeping the details close to the vest for now, we’re sure parenthood will be a fairy tale for this family.
  • Scott Wolf and wife Kelly are finally getting their girl.  The couple already has two boys, Jackson and Miller, and is elated to add a daughter to their family.
  • Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky are expecting their second child, joining 18-month old sister India Rose.  Both actors make parenting a priority, despite their busy film careers.
  • Lastly, Lost star Josh Holloway and wife Yessica are expecting their second child.  Josh finds it ironic that he was seen as a sex symbol when he’s truly a family man.  He says his biggest role now is being a good father.

Are you expecting this holiday season?  Share your own celebrity baby news with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Happy Holidays!

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Lactation Consultant: Should I bring my husband to my lactation consultations?

I always encourage new moms to bring their partners when they have an appointment with a lactation consultant.  In the early days of breastfeeding when new moms are exhausted and overwhelmed, it is nice to have someone else who is taking in the information alongside you.  Plus, I believe it is important to ensure daddy is part of the whole new parenting adventure.  There’s nothing like breastfeeding 101 to immerse a new dad in fatherhood!

Happy mother breast feeding her sonIn my early days of nursing my first baby, my husband would offer words of encouragement and suggestions he remembered from our breastfeeding class.  If you are having a particularly challenging time breastfeeding, the lactation consultant may give your husband tasks to help with feedings so it takes some of the stress off of you.

Remember, breastfeeding creates a bond between you and baby, but it is a decision you make with your partner.  Dads may not be able to produce milk, but they, too, want the best nutrients possible for their new bundles of love.  Involving them in breastfeeding – from lactation consultations to late-night feedings – will help dad experience and share in the beautiful bond of breastfeeding alongside you.

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Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Promotes Discussion About Pregnancy and Family Planning With Female Employees

Lean In Sheryl SandbergAt a recent conference in San Francisco, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg talked about a subject that many employers often avoid: pregnancy in the work place. Sandberg, whose impressive resume includes past jobs at Google and the United States Secretary of the Treasury, has two children of her own. With the release of her book, Lean In, Sandberg has been promoting the idea of being open with female employees about family planning.

Sandberg’s argument is that employers too often shy away from the topic and alienate working women who also plan on having children while employed. With recent stories of pregnancy discrimination and breastfeeding woes at work, it’s easy to see why the subject carries an air of taboo at the office. But, as Sandberg argues, talking about family planning doesn’t have to remain off-limits; her logic is entirely reasonable: “for too long women were afraid it would be held against them if they were pregnant or even thinking of having children…we don’t help women enough. We don’t acknowledge that this is complicated and help them plan for it.” With proper HR limits set, Sandberg’s idea of meshing family and work life will make it easier for women to navigate starting a family without automatically feeling as though they are putting work aside once they become pregnant.

Sheryl Sandberg Lean InSheryl’s “script” offered to those attending her seminar is simple; her suggestion for an employer is to open the conversation with three basic statements: “You may want to have kids one day. My door is open. Come talk to me anytime.” Sandberg believes that these suggestions can assuage a lot of fear working women sometimes feel about being passed by for promotions, good work projects, and other work place incentives. In a perfect world, women would not associate having a family with losing good opportunities at work. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sandberg herself even admitted that bypassing the family planning conversation itself would be ideal if it were a common understanding that a women’s worth in the work place did not hinge on whether or not she wanted a family. We will not reach that point though until we begin conversations like the ones Sandberg has suggested.

Realistic, honest support in the work place can go a long way towards fostering positive relationships between female workers and employers. With so many women contributing to household incomes and working full-time, there is no way to further avoid a woman’s worth at work. Sandberg’s crusade is far from complete, but is heartening to see a woman in a powerful position champion family planning as a practical conversation instead of a potential trap. Motherhood does not change a woman’s working skills and her value should not lessen based on her plans to strike a balance between her family and work lives.

Healthy Eating: Boost Your Breakfast

fruit-and-oatmeal-theunintentionalvegan.com

 

Do you have the breakfast blues? Don’t worry—we’ve got some great suggestions to spice up your morning routine that are baby and kid friendly. Healthy eating is made simple with these easy adjustments to your standard bowl of oatmeal. Many lactation consultants recommend eating oatmeal to nursing moms as a way to produce more milk. Because oatmeal is loaded with iron, it’s not only healthy for you but your baby reaps the benefits as well.

Instant vs. rolled oats

Whether you use your microwave or stove top, cooking oatmeal is quick, easy, and mess-free. You can buy instant oatmeal packets or entire containers of steel cut oats that are affordable for all grocery budgets. I recommend trying steel cut oats for your next oatmeal batch because there are no additives and extra sugars in most bulk oat containers—just oats! You get to decide which sweeteners and additions to add.

Healthy eating details

Once you’ve successfully cooked your oatmeal (quick recipe see here) it’s time to think about toppings. Most oatmeal connoisseurs like to add some kind of sweetener—maple syrup, agave syrup, honey, or brown sugar are all wonderful, tasty options. Crushed almonds, walnuts, or pecans are great nut options that will add fiber, healthy unsaturated fats and other nutrients to your breakfast. Oats themselves are loaded with antioxidants and word to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Since you’re starting with a healthy base, it’s a good idea to only add other food items that are both delicious and healthy. There’s nothing like starting off your day with a good, filling breakfast!

Outside the box with healthy eating

So you’re looking for oatmeal toppings that are out of the ordinary—look no further! Have you tried mixing oatmeal with an exotic fruit spread? Try a lingonberry jam instead of your typical strawberry or grape spread; it’s a Scandinavian berry that doctors have touted as a “superfruit.” You can find it in specialty grocery stores or home goods shops. You can mix pomegranate seeds in your oatmeal for a tart sweetness and surprise crunch factor too! Pomegranate is a natural antioxidant and helps to lower blood pressure as well as boost the immune system. It’s a great breakfast addition that helps fight against cold and flu season all winter long.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to involve complicated or labor-intensive meals; as long as you’re using healthy ingredients and avoiding unnecessary additives, you’re on the right track! Make healthy eating a habit by starting with your breakfast routine.

Thanksgiving Activities: Teaching Children about Thankfulness

Organizing Thanksgiving activities for your kids is an excellent way to begin teaching them about thankfulness.  Gratitude can be a hard lesson to comprehend for little ones because they live a very self-centered existence.  Let’s face it, even some adults struggle with this concept!  In the infancy stage, the world revolves around your baby and she has little regard for others’ needs, desires or feelings.  As she gets older, however, it’s important to help her explore the many wonderful ways she fits into the world.  And thus – the lesson of thankfulness truly begins.

Happy BabyOf course the first way most parents begin to teach gratitude is by repetition of the words “thank you.”  This means that parents model the behavior, thanking everyone around them when appropriate, including thanking the child.  Once your baby is able to communicate via sign language or words, you can encourage the behavior by ensuring your little one signs or says the words in every reasonable instance.  It will slowly become a habit, and you’ll be off to a great start!

There are many more ways to reinforce thankfulness than by simply showing appreciation for small gestures and having good manners.  Taking time, especially around the holidays, to do Thanksgiving activities, can be a terrific way for children to grasp the concept and put it into action.

One of the easiest activities is to talk about why you are thankful.  Start by giving some examples of your own and then ask your child how she is thankful.  You may get some silly responses, but keep in mind, your child’s world is still so small and showing gratitude for the small things is a step in the right direction.  Next help your child see the bigger picture. Explain how being thankful for bananas shows that they also appreciate that they have enough food to eat, are thankful for farmers who grow crops and the earth for helping us get the nutrition we need to stay healthy.  Teach them how thankfulness for their toys even helps us learn new information and skills so we will be smart, resourceful and good problem-solvers.  You can also have your children make art projects, such as a collage, calendar or photo journal from their list of thankful things.

Encourage your children to thank people in their life personally, either by telling them directly or creating cards to express their feelings.  Take the lesson a step further by helping them perform acts of gratitude and pay their good fortune forward.  This can include thanking people who indirectly make their lives better, such as making cards or care packages for the troops, local police officers and fire fighters, or helping those who are less fortunate by donating gently used toys. When your kids are old enough, do fun family volunteer activities like environmental projects or lending a hand at an animal shelter.  This generosity will serve your children well throughout their lives.

We hope you and your family enjoy some of these fun and useful Thanksgiving activities during your holiday week.  Remember, even small lessons will enrich your little ones’ lives and start them on a path to having good manners, being altruistic and showing gratitude towards others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Celebrating 2013′s Newest Word With Cute Babies

The following photographs appeared on Buzzfeed.com.

baby-selfie-close-upHello, world!

Welcome to the dictionary, “selfie”! The newly-minted noun was deemed the official new word of 2013 by the Oxford Dictionaries committee this week. A selfie is “a photograph baby-selfiethat one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” and rules today’s social media landscape. You can’t visit Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter without stumbling across a selfie or two. Teenagers are typically the biggest selfie sharers, but celebrities, athletes, and even astronauts alike have shared their selfies with audiences across the globe. Cute babies are no exception!

To celebrate selfie’s inauguration into the English language, we’re sharing some accidentally hilarious Baby Selfies that appeared on the internet in March. This compilation proves that babies are born with a natural sense of humor. Enjoy the following cute baby selfies and maybe you can snap a couple of your own with your willing baby.

 

A real beach baby, this baby selfie captures the true meaning of vacation!

beach-baby-selfie

Grumpy baby selfie? Too bad he’s still a cutie pie.

frown-baby-selfie

This baby’s precious pout is sure to win over moms and dads everywhere!

cute-baby-selfie

Have a great baby selfie of your own? Share it with us on our Leading Lady Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

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Packing for Baby’s Arrival: Your Essential Hospital Bag Checklist

Collage courtesy of Polyvore.com

Collage courtesy of Polyvore.com

You’re pregnant and pushing that 37-to-39 week window where your baby is expected to arrive at any time. Just like when you were younger and in girl scouts, you write in and cross off items on your hospital bag checklist with the same ferocity you once played “deserted island” around the campfire. You remember the game: You only get five items on a deserted island. What do you choose?

Sure, the circumstances are not exactly the same, but you’re trying to plan for an efficient and safe hospital stay while you deliver your baby. You can read magazine articles or watch countless Youtube videos made by seasoned moms whose neat piles of luggage look intimidating and overwhelming. And the last thing you want to be is overwhelmed by what to pack for your stay when you’re welcoming a new baby into your life.

There is no universal hospital bag checklist that will suit the needs of every mom. But, we’re suggesting a few, essential items that we think you might love during your hospital stay. We’ve also hand-picked a nursing bra and a nursing cami that will be indispensable if you’re planning on breastfeeding, and even if you’re not sure you’ll nurse your newborn, it doesn’t hurt that our Santoni Wirefree nursing bra is made from the softest, silkiest microfiber and can help soothe and give comfort unlike a regular bra. So don’t cross nursing bras off your hospital bag checklist just yet!

The Most Comfortable Nursing Bra in America© sounds like something you’ll definitely want to choose if you’re a new mom stranded on a deserted island with a hungry newborn! Even though that won’t be the case (I hope!), our microfiber nursing bra should top any hospital bag checklist. It’s silky, supportive, and boasts a body responsive fit that moves with your every bend and stretch. It even has removable pads for modesty and nursing clasps that are snap open and close with ease.

You should have a pair of warm, comfy socks on your hospital bag checklist. Hospitals are not often the warmest buildings, and having toasty feet could ease any overall discomfort you might feel after giving birth. Also, when you get up in the night, you don’t have to worry about freezing cold linoleum. A pair of snuggly slippers is also a great addition to any hospital bag checklist. Plus, you’ll make less noise if you’re moving around in the night so your newborn won’t wake up as easily.

A nursing cami will been like one of your trusted friends throughout breastfeeding, starting with your hospital stay. Not only does it feature all of the wonderful elements of a nursing bra (the drop down cups, nursing clasps, and inner support slings), but it also covers your tummy and is perfect for layering without compromising breastfeeding ease. Our Leading Lady nursing cami is perfect for daytime wear when family and friends come to visit you and the little one at the hospital. Our cami is made from soft cotton and has a built in shelf bra for added support. Pencil one in for your hospital bag checklist!

Lastly—don’t forget to pack a camera for your hospital stay. Smart phones and most cell phones have cameras, but you might want a disposable or digital camera to record the first of many precious moments once the baby comes. Besides, with all the well-wishers calling to congratulate you on your new family, you don’t want to miss any pictures because of a low cell phone battery.

So with those essentials in mind, you’re off to a good start with your hospital bag checklist!

Any items I missed that you think I should reconsider? Let me know in the comments!

Dinovember Celebrates Imagination and Creativity for Parents and Kids

Dinovember_courtesyofRefeTuma

Have you stumbled across articles or photos of the latest viral sensation this November? No, this is a departure from Movember (the movement dedicated to growing a mustache throughout November)—I’m talking about #Dinovember, the brain child of writer Refe Tuma and his wife. What Tuma calls “a month-long imagination invasion” is really an elaborate game involving plastic dinosaurs, living room space, and an endless stream of pure creativity.

The concept is simple: Tuma and his wife arrange the plastic dinosaurs in various acts of mischief and fun while their children sleep. Using common household products, the scenes parody activities the children might find themselves performing during waking hours. But, of course, these are a tiny herd of plastic dinosaurs, so the fun is magnified and Tuma’s photographs perfectly capture the whimsy of each fantastic scene. Tuma reminds us how much fun it is to play make believe.

It doesn’t hurt that the dinosaurs are a comical group who love drawing on the walls and making a mess in the kitchen. What initially began as an essay on Medium turned into an official Dinovember Facebook page so others could follow along the fun throughout November. The page has 217,000 recorded likes just 19 days into the month.

Like so many tales before, Tuma tells us that “It began modestly enough. The kids woke up to discover that the dinosaurs had gotten into a box of cereal and made a mess on the kitchen table.”

Dinovember_courtesyofRefeTuma

How can you not love the lengths to which a parent will go to entertain their children?

Tuma’s explanation of why he and his wife created Dinovember is simple:

Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.

To follow the fun, visit Dinovember’s page here.

Breastfeeding in Public and Other Helpful Holiday-Time Tips

As we head into the holidays, we’re spending more time doing family activities outside the home.  It’s an exciting time to incorporate your newest family member into your holiday traditions.  If you have a little one, that may mean breastfeeding in public.  For some new moms, breastfeeding on-the-go is an everyday activity.  It certainly allows you the freedom and flexibility to be out-and-about during the day.  For other moms, breastfeeding is a more private experience.  Either way, we’re here to help with some tips and reminders to help prepare you so you can enjoy this holiday season.

Mom breastfeeding babyBreastfeeding in Public

Whether you breastfeed in public daily or not, the holidays are a busy, crowded time.  There may be more on-lookers than usual so it’s important to be confident in your choice to breastfeed.  If you are self-conscious, bring a nursing cover or blanket for discretion, or find a lactation room or lounge for privacy.  Regardless of where you breastfeed, be sure to wear easy nursing attire, like a nursing cami, or button-down blouse with a nursing bra underneath.  (Psst, shop now and enjoy 10% off all nursing wear!)

If you do get unwelcome stares or snarky comments, have a plan of action.  Either choose to ignore them, or have a line prepared.  We recommend taking the high road.  Rather than being rude back, inform the person why you’ve chosen to nurse and that breast is best for babies.  Ignorance is often the cause behind judgment so help improve the problem by educating others.

Start Traditions Early

Think about what you want your holiday traditions to be and start them during infancy.  Your tradition can be anything, really.  Maybe it’s baking holiday cookies, starting a snow globe collection, taking a picture with Santa or enjoying a multi-generation wintertime hike.  You’ll love being able to tell your little one stories about your fun family activity when he was a baby or show him pictures.

Mama and babyMark the Occasion

We know babies thrive on routine and rely on it for comfort.  But you can also use the same concept to mark special occasions.  Believe it or not, by incorporating baby in holiday decorating, baking, shopping and other family activities, he will recognize this as a special time.  He will begin to identify the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday, and understand how these differ from other times of year.  From an early age, you can teach your little one how to get into the holiday spirit!

Stay on Track

While the holidays often mean late nights, lots of sweets, crowded places and perhaps a family invasion, try to keep some sense of normalcy for your baby.  If you stray too far from your usual schedule, not only could baby be overwhelmed, but it may also be difficult to get back on track when the holidays are over.  When babies are overwhelmed, they often become fussy and don’t want to eat or sleep.  This behavior will make the holidays unpleasant for everyone!  Do your best to keep a somewhat regular schedule, and be sure to spend some time alone with your little one away from the chaos of the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Bra Fitting for Pregnant and Nursing Moms

The Perfect Bra Fit for the Pregnant or Nursing MomLeading Lady Santoni Nursing Bra

As a bra fit expert for women of every age and lifestyle, pregnancy and nursing are one of the times most important in terms of the right bra fit. When considering a bra fitting for a pregnant or nursing mom, I use a three step method for making sure a new mom has the support and style solutions that works for her. Here are three bra fit factors for getting the right size for nursing bras:

1. Correct Band Size:  When bra fitting, you should always be able to hook the bra in the center position without a struggle. If you can only hook it in the first position “only”—this is not correct. This indicates wrong bra size, it’s too tight. If the band feels loose and you hook it on the last position, it is too large. Hiking up the back is a big no! Your natural, desired shape wearing bras is created by the correct fit proportion. You can look pendulous or “low” if the brand size is not fitting around properly.
2. Coverage in the Cup:  This is super important for pregnant and nursing moms. During a bra fitting, if you are spilling out the sides or over the top of your cups, then your breasts are not being supported. The wrong size bra can actually cause lactation issues and breast pain. To avoid this situation, check our size chart or do a visual fit check. You should have separation in the cups. Overflow and baggy cups are both signs of “wrong fit.”
Leading Lady Lace Nursing Bra3. Correct Bra Style: Depending on your size while breastfeeding, some moms can grow from a “C” to a “DD” cup size or larger. Did you know that your size can change up to four times while nursing? Select a nursing bra style that works for you. You can select from underwire bra styles,  wirefree nursing bras, nursing camisoles or even a nursing sports bra for getting back in shape post baby. You may want to consider trying all styles. Each one has specific lifestyle benefits. Having a diverse bra wardrobe is ideal when you’re nursing. Create a bra collection that helps you get dressed effortlessly.

Enjoy being a new mom!

Lisa Cole is the Founder/Fit Expert of StyleFitSolutions.Com.  She provides advice on all aspects of style as it pertains to bra fit and body confidence solutions for women.  She is a speaker and hosts private events around the country. 

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