When you’re a mama to fur babies, it can be tricky when an actual baby comes into the mix. Pets are often highly intuitive and can experience everything from jealousy to depression when a strange new creature enters their home – especially when this creature is garnering so much of your time and attention. These emotions can be so big that the initial introduction between pet and baby can be fraught with stress; but it doesn’t have to be. With enough planning, loving action, and clear boundaries the immersion of your baby’s presence into your pet’s life can be an exciting and heart-warming experience.
Smooth Out Unwanted Behavior.
If your pet has undesirable habits like jumping on people, destroying furniture, barking at everyone and everything, or forgetting where to use the potty, it’s ideal to support them in working their way out of those habits before your baby arrives. Animals are incredibly in tune with the vibes their owner is putting off, so if you’re stressed about the extra hassle they’re stirring up for you, it will likely be more difficult for them to make a connection with the baby.
Newborns typically sleep an average of 16 to 20 hours a day, leaving many parents wondering “is my newborn sleeping too much?”
Because the new parent mind can quickly fall down the rabbit hole of paranoia, this question can quickly lead to a catalog of more nerve-wracking questions and concerns.
So, first and foremost, it’s crucial for new parents to understand that a baby who seems to have little interest in anything but catching zzzs is not just normal, but doing exactly what their body needs to healthily develop – as long as they’re still getting in eight to twelve feedings over every 24-hour period.
Although newborns sleep a lot, they generally sleep in short intervals because their stomachs are so small. Newborns wake up, on average, every three hours to eat – this number varies between breastfed and formula-fed babies, with some formula-fed babies being able to go slightly longer stretches between feedings. If your pediatrician reports that baby is gaining adequate amounts of weight, let the sleepy times roll.
Pregnant women are constantly being told what they should and shouldn’t do: don’t eat that soft cheese, do 17 kegels every hour, put away your skis for the season, read these 25 books. While many pregnancy suggestions are put in place for good reason, there are others that can be crossed off the list.
The most surefire way to receive more pregnancy fact than fiction is to find a medical care provider that you trust, and feel comfortable asking all of the questions. But for now, we’ll help provide more clarity by dispelling ten common pregnancy myths.
Myth #1: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat Sweets
While large quantities of refined sugar is not great for the health of mama and baby, there is one sweet treat that can actually do more good than harm, when enjoyed in moderate doses: chocolate. A study of 1,681 women by Elizabeth Triche of the Yale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology found that women who reported regular consumption of chocolate (about one 25 gram serving a day) had a lower risk of developing preeclampsia. In addition, a study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic found that dark chocolate and other flavonoid-rich foods might help to prevent preeclampsia. Can I get a hallelujah!
Hopping on a plane, saying yes to a road trip, or setting off on a cruise with a baby in tow can cause even the calmest of parents to spin out. But, a combination of preparation and flexibility can cause your trip to be filled with enjoyment and relaxation, instead of irritation and meltdowns.
To set yourself up for success when traveling with your baby, try out the following tips.
Book A Non-Stop Flight That Suits Baby’s Sleep Schedule.
When possible, select a non-stop flight that is in the air when baby usually sleeps. Few things are as stressful as having a fussy baby on a plane, so being en route when they usually nap, or are down for the night, will infuse ample relief during transit.
While pregnancy can create a good amount of discomfort any time of year, this discomfort can be heightened throughout the toasty months of summer. Why is that?
During pregnancy, many women experience a spike in their body temperature because of factors such as an increase in the amount of blood pumping through them, extra fluid in their body that often leads to swelling, and a metabolism that’s working over time. While a slight spike in temperature is normal, it’s important to not overheat, which can be tricky in the summer. But, with the right cooling tips and tricks pregnant women cannot only stay safe, but comfortable as well.
It was 2am and I was sitting on a toilet seat in an airport bathroom, crying as a noisy machine sucked breastmilk out of me. I had a three-hour layover and I was pretty sure my boobs would pop if I didn’t pump. But, the only private space (that also had an outlet) available to me was the dingy handicap stall in the public bathroom. I felt ashamed and embarrassed over the 20-minutes I was sequestered in that stall – especially when someone pushed on the door or commented on the sound of my milk sucker.
Luckily, the ingenious ladies at Mamava saw me. Well, not me specifically, but all the women like me who are forced to submit themselves to embarrassing conditions each time they need to pump in public.
Their solution? Mamava Lactation Suites, which provide private, comfortable, and sanitary spaces for lactating ladies to feed their child, or drain that milk. The use of the pods is complimentary, as they’re purchased by the facility that’s offering the pod. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the founders of Mamava, Sascha Mayer, about the rights of breastfeeding women and how the pods can help.
Bailey Gaddis: What inspired the idea for Mamava?
Sascha Mayer: I was inspired by an amendment to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act that protected working moms from having to use their breast pumps in a bathroom. [According to the Mamava website, “The law mandates that employers provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space this is not a bathroom.”] We were also continuing to see women struggling with finding clean and comfortable spaces to breastfeed when they were out of their home and I just said, “this is broken and I have to fix it.”
Bailey Gaddis: What are features of the Mamava pods that make them so conducive to pumping and breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: The pods were designed with our two audiences in mind – the pumping mom and the breastfeeding mom. Moms want privacy, so the pods have a locking door. We also have an app that women can use to locate and unlock the pods. Inside, it’s very much like a kitchen with a bench, good lighting, and a fold down table that’s easy to wipe down. There’s also an outlet for the pump and a USB charger, because so many moms are multi-tasking. While the pods were specifically made for pumping moms, they’re also a nice private space for moms to breastfeed.
We also wanted to make sure that the pods made it easy for facilities to do the right things and provide this space for moms. So, they’re easily placed and can be installed in 2-3 hours, can be rolled to various locations, and are low maintenance.
Bailey Gaddis: Can you tell me more about the legal rights of breastfeeding mothers?
Sascha Mayer: The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act is a mandate that states that if you’re an employer with more than 50 employees you have to provide a space that isn’t a bathroom for women to use a breast pump. Some of the more progressive states have richer legislation that protects a breastfeeding mom’s rights even further. In San Francisco, for example, businesses have to provide a lactation room.
This is so important because now, moms don’t always have to be advocating for themselves. It’s hard enough if you’re a mom that has to go back to work – it’s important to have legislation that protects your rights.
Bailey Gaddis: How do you hope the Mamava pods shift the conversation around breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: We hope that our Mamava pods create more of a conversation around the lines of “oh, breastfeeding happens!” We want moms to feel celebrated and supported through these pods.
I hope our units being out and about also sparks a dialogue about the choices moms have in feeding their babies. If their choice is to breastfeed, they should be supported in that. Moms should do what they feel most comfortable with. And, we don’t want women to feel like they need to pass on the option of breastfeeding because our culture doesn’t make it easy to do when they are out of their homes.
Bailey Gaddis: What advice would you give to breastfeeding mothers who work in a space without a comfortable and private space to pump, who would like to broach this subject with their employer?
Sascha Mayer: I think it’s important for women to remember that it’s in their employer’s best interest to keep them healthy and happy, rather than risking the potential of losing them and having to find a replacement. So, women should feel confident that it’s within her rights to feel comfortable talking about it and asking for what she needs. It’s also important for women to remember that they’re not alone and can find support through places like Facebook groups. Over 3 million women are breastfeeding every year – there’s a lot of support our there.
Bailey Gaddis: How do feel that millennial moms are influencing the conversation around lactation rights?
Sascha Mayer: We’ve found that millennial moms are driving the conversation around lactation rights. They’re very different from Gen X moms and are empowered by the Times Up mentality. And, millennial moms speaking up about their rights inspires facilities to purchase Mamava pods.
Remember summer brain? That mental phenomenon where all the lessons learned during the school year slip away? And then bam. It’s back to school and our poor kids get a rude awakening as they try to get their brain back into gear after two to three months of lounging on the couch, bleaching their hair with sun and chlorine, and watching too much screen time after wearing their parents down.
So, what’s a parent to do? How do we create an epic summer for our kids while also stoking their brain with undercover learning? I asked my husband who is an educator in early elementary. His answer? Trick em’ into learning. That’s right, engage in some good natured trickery by mixing fun activities, laced with learning, into your child’s lazy summer days. But, because I can only come up with about three such activities on my own, I set out to find a resource – beyond my much beloved Pinterest – that would make things easy for me.
Enter, Education.com, a website I’m not being paid to promote – I just think it’s really helpful. While there’s an endless supply of learning resources on the site, all organized by age, my fave section is the activities. I checked off the preschool box and viola, I was met with enough activities to last all summer.
My son’s favorites have been making a city out of cereal boxes – an activity that can promote creativity and offers an opportunity to learn about recycling – and crafting “community helpers” out of paper bags, and other simple supplies, conveying the message that there are numerous types of people that keep the cogs of a community turning (this led to a one-hour convo about whose job it is to deal with all the poop, and if there is a poop fairy. Bless you sewage treatment plant operators.)
So, make your kid’s summer brain a little less mushy, while also creating sweet opportunities for bonding, by checking out Education.com
I would love to hear how it works for you, and what resources you tried (or the resources you skipped because you, like me, can only handle activities that require six or less materials.)
Here’s to a super chill, yet mind-stimulating summer.
Over the past year I’ve had more and more clients report issues with their children experiencing cyber bullying, and have even had some of my younger clients relay their first hand experiences with it. So, I’m happy to publish this guest post from Anna Blake who recently released an educational children’s book on Internet safety.
How to Prevent Cyber Bullying
By: Anna Blake
Cyber bullying is becoming an epidemic and it has a serious impact on the mental health of both children and adults. You or your child can fall victim to cyber bullies at any time, even if you did not in any way engage with the perpetrators or provoke the attack. It is important to know how to prevent cyber bullying before it gets out of hand.
You should actively monitor your children’s online activities, so you can identify possible cyber bullying situations. The internet provides a level of disconnect that emboldens cyber bullies to say and do things they wouldn’t do in the real world. Your child may not know how to handle these attacks, so it is up to you to step in and handle the situation for them.
Make sure to take screenshots and save any audio or video messages, if you can. If the cyber bullies are known to you or your child, take appropriate action to report their behavior. For younger kids, you can inform the school, as most districts have a proactive policy that aims to stamp out cyber bullying. Otherwise, you may need to contact the police and determine whether the issue is within the realm of their cyber bullying unit, or to ask for a referral to a local organization that can help.
Tell your child not to engage with the cyber bullies and block them once you have enough evidence of potentially unlawful activities. It is also essential you protect you or your child’s personal information, as cyber bullies will use it as a threat or means to intimidate. Ideally, you will have had a conversation with your child about not sharing personal information in group chats, forums, or social media platforms that they wouldn’t share in the real world.
Signs of Cyber Active Bullying
If you notice your child does not want to spend as much time online, it may indicate she is being cyber bullied. Handle the situation gently and discuss reasons why she does not want to go online. You cannot help your child resolve the issue if there is a barrier to communication. Cyber bullying can cause a child to feel embarrassed and weak, so an understanding and empathetic approach is ideal.
Look and listen for signs of cyber bullying when your child is online. Preferably, online devices should only be used when you are in the room and able to effectively monitor what is going on, without encroaching too much on your child’s internet time. If a child is making a conscious effort to hide the device screen, it should set off alarm bells that something is not right.
Children are not as equipped to handle conflict as adults are, so monitor your child’s emotions while online. If she seems angry or upset, there is a very good chance it is due to cyber bullying. Encouraging your child to discuss their problems at this stage may prove difficult. However, you need to establish what is going on in order to help.
When a child changes her name on social media or creates a completely different account for no apparent reason, she is likely being stalked and tormented by cyber bullies. If you ignore these signs, the issue will only escalate to the point where your child feels there is nowhere left to turn. She will become withdrawn and emotionally distressed in social situations. This is the time where you must let your child know you are a trusted ally who will stand by her side.
Due to the fact that cyber bullying has become such a serious problem, there is plenty of support available for parents and kids. If you are finding it difficult to help your child, don’t be afraid to reach out to schools, public authorities, and any local support groups that are involved in combating cyber bullying.
About Anna Blake
Anna is a stay at home mom, wife and owner of very demanding cat, from sunny Chatsworth, California. When she is not busy chasing her 2 year old around, you can find her trying out new salad recipes or re-watching favorite chick-flick movies.
Together with her hubby they educate kids and adults about internet safety through their website and recently created an educational children’s book Internet Kids – Road Trip.