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Baby Schedule: Getting Back on Track after the Holidays

Leading Lady BreastfeedingMost moms agree, having a baby schedule is generally a good idea.  Babies thrive on routine because it gives them a sense of what to expect in a world that is very much out of their control. It can also help moms be prepared when caring for babies, who are often unpredictable.   Many moms and babies naturally develop a feeding and sleeping schedule soon after birth.  But sometimes putting together your baby’s schedule may require you to assist Mother Nature just a bit.  Either way, knowing the general path your day will take is helpful to both baby and mama.

During the holidays, our schedules understandably get off track.  You may be traveling, which can interfere with naps and bedtime.  Changing time zones is especially confusing to a baby’s internal clock.  Staying up late, being surrounded by new faces and a whirlwind of activity may have your baby all out of sorts.

Now that the holidays are over, you may be concerned about how you’re going to get back to your routine.  Here are some helpful tips on how to easily get back on schedule:

Down on Sleep

If your baby has not been getting enough sleep due to your travel schedule or some late night parties, you have some work to do.  The theory is that sleep begets sleep, but conversely, the more tired your baby is, the less she will sleep.  And the less sleep, the more cranky babies tend to become.  It’s important to push for sleep when trying to get back on schedule.  If your baby gets drowsy during breastfeeding, throw in extra feedings when you want her to sleep.  Make sure sleeping accommodations are most conducive for good sleep, including good air circulation, darkness and whatever noises (or lack there of) make your little one snooze best.  Also, some sleep is better than no sleep.  So even if a nap happens later than desired, let your little one sleep so that she isn’t so sleep deprived that she doesn’t want to sleep later.

baby with clock_courtesy of pregprep.comTime Zone Change

Babies adapt to gradual changes more easily than abrupt shifts in schedule.  You’ve probably noticed this as your baby slowly starts sleeping through the night, drops naps or needs a later bedtime.  You can make the gradual time zone shift before you return to your local time zone or after, but start adjusting naps and bedtime in 15 minute intervals to ease baby back into her regular schedule.  She probably won’t notice these minor shifts and it should make for a smooth landing into local time.

Bedtime

With so much to celebrate, baby may be staying up late to visit with family or attend gatherings.  If you are hoping to reinforce a firm bedtime, get back into your bedtime routine.  This may include a bath and a story.  Maybe you nurse and rock your baby to sleep.  Or you may simply send your good-night wishes to all of her toys.  However you typically get ready for bed, picking back up this routine is important to getting baby in the mindset for sleep.

Playroom Overload

With everyone spoiling your little one during the holidays, your playroom may be exploding with new toys for baby.  Too many mind-blowing toys can cause sensory overload for babies so it’s smart to limit time with loud, light-changing and video-oriented toys.  Rotating toys in your playroom will ensure you have a good mix of developmentally appropriate toys that will interest your child without them getting stale.  Introduce new toys every 1-2 weeks and remove a few as well.  You’ll be astonished by how quickly your little one will latch on to a new favorite toy and learn to master a new skill from it.  When you reintroduce toys, your baby will likely play with them as if they were new again, making it a win for both of you!

We hope you had a lovely holiday season and we’re wishing you much luck getting your baby back on schedule.

New Years Resolutions: The Parent Edition

This time of year, most of us are doing a bit of self-reflecting as we make our New Years resolutions.  Like all jobs and roles in our lives, there are usually ways we can make improvements.  Parenting is no exception, whether it is being a little more patient, learning to let go of the small things, or simply taking some time out for ourselves.  So now is a great time to sit back and think about some changes you might want to make in 2014 and set goals for yourself as a parent.

We all know there is no perfect way to be a parent.  Along with the tremendous joy, satisfaction and endless love you feel as a parent, parenting is also an ever-revolving door of learning, changing, doubt and trying to make the best decisions we can for our families.  And of course, just when you think you have something figured out, new transitions are on the horizon.

We can’t stop change, but we can set goals for how we want to respond to it and how we want to improve ourselves as parents.  We’ve put together a list of some things you may want to consider for your parenting New Years resolutions this year.

Accentuate the Positive

Happy mom and babyResearch shows that having a positive attitude and displaying it through actions and speech can improve our overall well-being and happiness.  Most parents would agree that they want their children to grow up in a happy, healthy environment.  That starts with us as parents.  Being optimist and solution-oriented teaches our children to overcome obstacles and approach problems without anger and fear.  Using words like “no,” “stop,” “don’t” and “can’t” are negative influences on your child.  While using these words is sometimes unavoidable for your child’s safety, use them sparingly so they have more impact when you need them.  You’ll be surprised what a positive and pleasant household you can create with this shift in your outlook.

Do Unto Others

The golden rule is a great New Years resolution.  Yes, we all learned it in pre-school, but it is so simple to forget when we’re bogged down with the daily responsibilities of parenthood.  As a parent, doing unto others as we would want done unto us is about respect and being a good role model.  Respect your children as you wish for them to respect you.  Use your manners when asking your children to follow your directions: “please set the table” or “thank you for using your inside voice.”  When you respect your child by using kind words, your child will learn this behavior from you.  Also demonstrate respect for those around you, including your spouse, family, friends and even complete strangers.  Little ones learn how to interact with the world from our actions.

Foster Independence Within Boundaries

Most parents would agree:  we wish to raise well-adjusted, independent, productive children.  To do this, we have to give them a little space to make decisions, make mistakes and learn valuable life lessons.  We all have rules for the safety of our kids, and some rules Foster independenceare for our own sanity as well.  But create small spaces in your life where your kids can make their own choices.  For instance, declare one day a week when your little one can select her own outfit.  Make it a game by challenging her to ensure it is seasonally appropriate, includes shoes and perhaps a certain color of the week.  Another idea: let your kids decide the menu for one family dinner a week.  It has to include something from each food category and the whole family will eat it together.  Or if your goal is to spend more time exercising outdoors, let your child pick which sport or games to play. The freedom to make decisions will foster a sense of independence and pride in children.  If they discover they don’t like their own selection, they are more likely to make better choices next time.  Plus, giving your kids a say will likely cut down on arguments.

Spend Some Time Away

Kids need time to be kids just like adults need time to be adults.  Schedule time to get away from parenthood.  For you that may mean a far-away vacation or simply a night at a coffee shop with a good book.  Whatever your “away” may be, do take the time to escape from toys, crafts, meal preparation, diapers and laundry every once in awhile.  Relaxing and taking your mind off your day-to-day tasks will ultimately rejuvenate and re-energize you as a parent.  So do it for yourself and your kids!

Make Your Goals Known

By writing down or verbalizing your goals, you are more likely to feel accountable to yourself and your family.  If you set a goal to breastfeed for one year and your family knows it, they can help you achieve it with encouragement and other forms of help, like being mindful of feeding schedules and watching older children so you can bond with your baby.  Your parenting goals will only work if you can keep them, so set yourself up for success. Also, discuss joint parenting goals with your partner so you know you’re on the same page and can support one another throughout the year.

We wish you all a very happy New Year filled with love, joy, family and fulfilled New Years resolutions!

Breastfed Babies Score Higher in Child Development Tests

When it comes to feeding, there’s more good news about child development for moms who choose to breastfeed their babies. 

Breastfed babies score highest in skills tests

A new study out of Greece’s University of Crete followed 540 mothers and their children from nine months of age until the children were 18 months old. Each parent was asked how long she nursed her little one, and researchers evaluated each child’s cognitive, communication, language and motor skills at 18 months of age.   

The findings? The toddlers who were breastfed for any amount of time as babies had higher cognitive, language and fine motor skills skills scores than children who were not breastfed. The children that were breastfed for more than six months had the highest overall scores. While researchers say that the study does not prove that breastfeeding is the sole reason for better development, it certainly points to a strong association. 

So who knows? By following the World Health Organization’s recommendation to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of her life, you could be helping her learn to master the Greek language…or at least, her ABCs. 

Breastfeeding in Public and Breastfeeding around Family

Breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding around family are always topics we like to discuss around the holidays. We’re all out-and-about, enjoying holiday festivities this time of year.  And many of us will be getting together with family, perhaps for their first introduction to your new baby.  If you are breastfeeding, all of this action might make you a little anxious.  Beyond concern for sticking to your schedule, you may find yourself breastfeeding in new environments.  If these worries are on your mind, read on.

Breastfeeding with Leading LadyBeing away from home and breastfeeding in public can be nerve-wracking for many new moms but we’re here to settle your fears.  First and foremost, breastfeeding is one of the most natural and nurturing acts of love on the planet.  Plus, you know that breast is best for your baby.  This amazing gift should be the first thing you think about to calm your nerves when breastfeeding around others.

But let’s face it, not everyone in the world knows and understands the superior nutrition and emotional value of breastfeeding for both baby and mama.  And ignorance often breeds intolerance.  We’ve all heard shocking and infuriating stories of breastfeeding moms being harassed and even kicked out of establishments for feeding their children.  As we gasp in horror, we also feel for these mothers who are nurturing their babies.  While some states are better than others are protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, not one state prohibits it.

What should you do if you get unwelcome comments or nasty looks while breastfeeding in public?  Your response is a personal choice.  We recommend taking the high road:   Ignore when possible and focus on your baby.  If ignoring is not your style, inform people why you choose to breastfeed.  If you are concerned what others may think and say, try to find a private area away from onlookers.  This may be less-distracting for your baby anyhow.

Leading Lady Nursing CamiWhether you are breastfeeding out in the open or in a nursing lounge, you and baby will welcome easy-to-open nursing bras and nursing camis.  Simplify feedings by being prepared and wearing comfortable, supportive nursing bras while you’re out of the house.  This way you can easily feed and be on-the-go again in no time.  Right now enjoy 15% off all nursing wear site-wide here at LeadingLady.com!

Sometimes even our own family members are the culprits of unsolicited and annoying comments about breastfeeding.  This behavior may come from generation-based values and misinformation.  For instance, older family members may not have breastfed because the value of breastfeeding was not as well-known at the time and breastfeeding support was not readily available.  Not having been exposed to breastfeeding may cause bias and discrimination.  Family members of your own generation may take exception because they aren’t around babies often or perhaps were not able to breastfeed their own children.

When it comes to breastfeeding around family, we recommend a longer conversation about the health benefits of breast milk for babies and how breastfeeding improves a mother’s health as well.  Your family may be surprised to learn all of the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding and thank you for the education.  If you’re worried about exposing yourself to your family, males in particular, bring along a nursing cover so you don’t have to miss any activities or fun family moments while breastfeeding.  Also, try to incorporate your family members into the experience.  Let them tickle baby’s toes to keep her awake, burp her between breasts or change her diaper.  Being part of the process may help them understand and appreciate the special bond breastfeeding helps you create with your baby.

We hope these tips and insights make you feel more confident about breastfeeding in public this holiday season.  Happy Holidays and Happy Breastfeeding!

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Drew Barrymore Adding another Girl to Family

drew-barrymore-pregnancy

Photo courtesy of Drew Barrymore’s Instagram

Drew Barrymore’s daughter Olive has a little sister to look forward to! Barrymore revealed her baby’s sex—she’s having another girl—on Wednesday, December 11th in an acceptance speech at the Beauty Inc Awards.

Drew received the “Newcomer of the Year” award for the release of FLOWER Beauty, her cosmetics line sold exclusively at Walmart. “I am so proud to accept this in celebration of women, including my daughter and my future daughter” Barrymore told the crowd. Her press representation has confirmed to multiple outlets that Barrymore’s expecting a daughter as well.

Earlier in December Drew teased her Instagram followers with this picture of her blue and pink manicure. Fans were kept guessing about her baby’s sex until Drew’s big reveal at the awards show.

Congratulations, Drew, Will, and Olive! We can’t wait to see what adorable outfits the unnamed baby girl sports. We’re sure she’ll have plenty of fashion help and sisterly advice from adorable Olive.

 

Parental Anxiety Soothed: Moms and Kids Share in Adorable Video

All parents worry about parental guidance—do they make the choices for their children? Do their children take away the right message from the lessons they try to teach? No matter what age your child, every parent has had a moment of doubt about their parenting skills. This is why this video compilation is the perfect balm to ease parental anxiety.

A group of moms get the chance to hear what their children really think of them thanks to a dual interview process. The results are heartwarming; whereas the moms are critical on themselves as parents during the interviews, their children have very different responses to questions about their moms. Take a few minutes to watch the video and you’ll see how often kids appreciate the small, thoughtful things moms do. So take a deep breath, trust your parental guidance, and watch this video for an instant pick-me-up feeling.

Happy Friday, Leading Ladies!

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Baby Gifts: The best, wholesome holiday gifts for babies

Most people searching for baby gifts head to the nearest toy store or department store.  While these retailers offer plenty of options and babies should have developmentally appropriate toys, there are many other ways to shower your baby with presents this holiday season.  We’ve put together our list of wholesome baby gifts to help inspire you to think outside the toy box this year, foster creativity in your baby and yourself and help teach your baby the true meaning of the holidays.

Baby GiftsBreastfeeding

Of course our #1 idea for babies is the gift of perfect nutrition for immediate and life-long health.  Study after study shows that benefits of breastfeeding for a baby’s cognitive development, digestive system, metabolism and overall well-being.  We can’t think of a better way to share your love with your baby than starting her off on the best diet in the world: breast milk.  This emphasis on health from an early age continues to every stage of your child’s life.  Start early, do it often.  Breast is best!

Family Traditions

Whether your new baby is the first or your fifth child, incorporate baby into your family traditions at a young age.  She may not fully understand what’s going on as you bake decorative sugar cookies or sing holiday tunes around the fireplace, but she will soon enough.  One day you can remind her she’s been part of these traditions since she was a baby, giving her a special sense of her place in your family and encouraging the holiday spirit in her for years to come.

Homemade from the Heart

LeafBlanket_Photo courtesy of Craftsy.comIf you have a special knack for crafts, spend time making a holiday gift for your baby.  Knit a blanket, hat or sweater.  Paint a mural on her nursery wall.  Create a mobile of colorful objects to hang in her playroom.  Record a CD of yourself singing lullabies.  Make a scrapbook of her life thus far.  These items will delight your little one now, but also become a special keepsake as she grows older and remembers the love you put into making her a gift.  Also, encourage siblings to hand-make presents rather than asking for money to buy them.  This instills a sense of pride in creating a gift out of love and creativity, and takes the emphasis of the holidays off commercialism.

Experience the World

The holidays are the perfect time to share experiences that seem almost impossible to enjoy during the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.  Spending time together as a family is the ideal gift for your baby, especially if she doesn’t get much one-on-one time with you otherwise.  During the holidays, carve out time to take your baby on an adventure, perhaps to a children’s museum, aquarium, zoo or theater performances designed for the very young.  These places foster exploration and imagination.  Watch your little one soak in the environment as fish swim past her, monkeys swing from tree branches or a puppet comes to life.  Trust us, you will get just as much joy as she does when you see her face brighten with enchantment.

Be One with Nature

Breastfeeding in NatureDepending on where you live, try to spend time outdoors.  A nature stroll, building a snowman or going apple picking are great new sensory experiences for baby.  Let her touch different types of rocks, gravel and sand.  Have her listen to the wind, rustling leaves and bird calls.  Let her taste safe natural foods such as fruits or even snow.  Encourage her to smell flowers, trees and perhaps the scent of a warm fire.  Fresh air is important for children and you can foster an appreciation for nature and the environment at an early age by teaching your children about plants, weather and topography.  For a fun activity, pick up some things in nature – sticks, shells, leaves – to use in an art project.

Baby gifts need not center around expensive toys and clothes.  Wholesome, heart-felt gifts, from breastfeeding to family experiences, are all a baby needs to feel your love this holiday season.

Happy holidays, from our family to yours!

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Vacations Before Baby: Babymooning Tips

Thinking about vacationing before the baby comes? You’re not alone; many couples find themselves squeezing in a pre-baby get away before the due date arrives. This trend even has a cute name: babymooning. Typically billed as a couple’s last chance at alone-time before baby, babymooning provides the luxury of rest and relaxation before life is quickly filled with sleepless nights and feeding turns.

vacations-pregnancy-thecmrThe American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends babymooning while in the second trimester. You’re less likely to run into travel problems (especially with airlines) before your third trimester. Just to be safe, check with whatever airline you’re using about their flight policy for pregnant women traveling so you’re not stuck at the gate on the day of your flight.

While planning your vacation, think about what activities you can physically do versus what activities you’d like to do. Strike a balance between you and your partner’s vacation expectations. An easy way to rule out certain adventures is to consult your OB/GYN pre-babymoon to discuss what travel restrictions you may need to follow. It’s important to make sure you’re planning around your health and baby so you can vacation with ease.

A few vacation quick tips to keep in mind: stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, get up and walk around every few hours (especially if traveling in the car), don’t push your body past its comfort zone. Babymooning is about sharing time with your partner before your little one arrives; make the most of your vacation by relaxing and laughing together.

What would your dream babymoon destination be? We’re thinking anywhere with a beach and surf looks good to us!

Happy vacation, moms-to-be!

Fertility Calendar: More Women Are Getting Pregnant In December

If you’re currently keeping a fertility calendar, look to December as the month where most women get pregnant!

pregnant-woman-sanaakosirickyleAccording to the U.S. census, most babies are born in July (with August being the second most popular birth month), which indicates that many women get pregnant during the coldest months in the Northern hemisphere—October, November, and December. This pregnancy trend could be influenced by seasonal advantages not found in warmer months. Talk about a cold-inclined fertility calendar!

For couples that live in colder climates, winter draws people together and typically keeps them at home more. Holidays also mean more time off from work and extra quality time for couples.

Parenting.com claims that cooler weather is healthier for sperm production, which could explain why women have an easier time getting pregnant in the winter.

Whether it’s coincidence, old wives’ tales, or scientific reasoning—if you’re trying to get pregnant, take advantage of the season! You never know: a pregnancy could be the greatest unexpected gift of the season for you and your partner.

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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