Thankful Ever After

Amidst turkey gobbling and pie indulgence, we’ll all be taking a rare moment this week to just STOP! Alongside our nearest and dearest (and perhaps in some cases, the ones who test our patience the most! ????), we will be remembering just how lucky we are this Thanksgiving.

As parents or parents-to-be, we have so much extra to be grateful for – those kicks, those smiles, those cuddles, those tiny little hands in ours, as well as those bigger hands who might pretend they don’t need us so much anymore.

It feels good doesn’t it? Taking a moment to reflect on what we have. You’re rich! I bet, you promise yourself every year that you will do it more often…but c’mon, raise your hands, how many of us stick to it?

The truth is, life is busy. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in work deadlines, feeding schedules, school runs, meal plans, unexpected diaper explosions, laundry, tantrums, playtime….we’re exhausted just typing it! Parenting feels like a lot of giving, giving, giving. And sometimes, we seem to give everything BUT thanks when we are deep down in the parenting trenches.

If like us, you’re determined to try a little harder this year, you might enjoy this article we discovered on Aha! Parenting. It’s all about establishing family gratitude traditions, for Thanksgiving and beyond.

We LOVE the idea of starting a family gratitude jar (#3) on the list. Can you imagine sitting down at the end of the year, opening up the jar and reading aloud all the good things, feelings and thoughts (big and small) that you’ve each felt this year? All those forgotten smiles and blessings REVIVED! What a tonic for even the toughest of years.

#6 Appreciation photo is a favorite of ours too. And if you have a tiny budding photographer in your household, you could get them involved. Find out what’s beautiful and magical in your little one’s eyes when you set them loose with a camera. This will open your mind to all the hidden beauties of the world that us busy grown-ups can sometimes miss.

Our take out from this article is that it’s not enough to simply promise to remember to be more grateful. We need to change our habits, and ultimately, change our mind set. In regularly incorporating grateful ‘tasks’ like the gratitude jar in to our lives, we will gently reprogram our brains and find ourselves counting our blessings more often! And if we can trickle this mindset down to our children, and get them involved, what a wonderful, healthy and happy foundation to grow upon!

There’s no better time to begin than Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVNG EVERYONE! We hope it’s a special one to remember.

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Preterm Birth Has Increased in the US

preterm birthNovember 17th is World Prematurity Day.

In fact, March of Dimes is working hard throughout the whole month of November to put premature birth in the spotlight, claiming it as Prematurity Awareness Month. We couldn’t be cheering more loudly for their wonderful work!

In a month that will see many national landmarks turned purple for the cause, March of Dimes kicked off their campaign with the 2016 Premature Birth Report Card, – a simple way of getting people talking about the problems, risk factors and ways in which we can reduce premature birth.

Unfortunately, the 2016 Report Card reveals that the nation’s preterm rate has worsened for the first time in eight years. While the US as a whole earned a “C” grade, California individually got a “B”. Washington, Oregon, Vermont and New Hampshire were the only states with an “A”.

“The March of Dimes research shows an unfair burden of premature birth among specific racial and ethnic groups as well as geographic areas,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, yet we see this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. Babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth.”

Premature babies (born before 37 weeks) come with an increased chance of health issues, and may face long-term problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision. Throughout November, March of Dimes draw attention to these challenges, but also the lifesaving research, treatments and support out there for families. Let’s do our part this month and join the global movement – let’s keep the conversation and support going!

This recent Huff Post story of ‘Preemie Prince’, born at 25 weeks had us all ugly crying at Babies in Bloom – what a remarkable little man! Small but mighty. What wonderfully brave and proud parents! And what a little beacon of hope he is!

The fight, the support and the research in to prematurity must go on! Spread the word.

For the full 2016 March of Dimes Report, click here: http://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/premature-birth-report-card-united-states.pdf

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Packing Your Birth Center Bag

packing birth center bagSo, there’s only a handful of weeks left before you welcome your little one in to the world. Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover it!  You might also be wondering… “What do I pack in our birth bag?”… especially if it will be your first experience in a birth center.

It’s common to stay at a birth center around four to six hours after the birth, meaning you won’t need to pack as much as you might for a longer hospital stay. There are also more home comforts at a birth center – from full kitchen facilities to bath tubs to soak in – which again can influence what you might want to bring with you.

To help you get started, we’ve pulled together a recommended checklist for you. Use it as a rough guide and simply add to the core list to personalize it for you and your partner. Remember, if you have any questions or worries, don’t hesitate to call your birth center – they are there to help you get the birth you’ve always dreamed of!

Things to pack for you:

  • Your birth plan
  • Insurance card and phone number
  • Comfortable clothes (and shoes / slippers) to wear during labor, (and perhaps a sports bra / bikini top if a water birth is your preference)
    • Top tip: if you are planning a photographer to capture this special arrival, think solid block colors and minimal logos for both you and your partner
  • Headband and hair ties to keep hair out of your face during delivery
  • Favorite drinks – think juice, coconut water or electrolyte drinks – and nourishing snacks for both labor and postpartum.
    • A lot of birth centers like ours, have cooking facilities for you to use, so you can even some of your home cooked favorites with you for a well-earned post labor treat!
  • Essential oils and massage oils
  • Back labor massage tools
  • Rice sock / heating pad
  • Books, magazine, games for relaxation
  • Hand-held fan
  • Your preferred toiletries  – we’d recommend some soothing lip balm too.
  • Glasses / contact lenses and solution
  • Phone / camera / video camera, plus chargers
  • Call list (if you’re old school and like to have a hard copy)
  • Music player – for your relaxing labor playlist
  • A fresh nightgown, nursing bras and spare old dark underwear for post delivery
  • Maternity pads
  • Comfortable going home clothes
  • Loose change for unknown expenses, like parking fees. Just in case.

 

Things to pack for Baby: 

  • A few different outfits and hats – including accessories for newborn photos, plus the outfit you want baby to go home in
  • Blankets, including a swaddle blanket
  • Cloth diapers (if choosing to go cloth) or disposable diapers
  • Wipes
  • Burp cloths
  • A gift from baby for big brother or sister for that precious first meeting
  • Infant car seat
    • We’d advise playing around with the seat prior to baby’s arrival, just to ensure you feel confident installing the seat in the car, as well as securing baby safely in the seat. If in doubt, go to a car seat inspection spot for installation support.

Just to be super prepared, you might also want to pack a hospital bag in case of transport, consisting of additional spare clothes, pads, toiletries, diapers, wipes etc.
We hope this helped. Good luck mamas to be, you will be great. You’ve totally got this!

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To Reveal or Not to Reveal?

gender revealThat is the question.

There doesn’t seem a day that goes by without seeing some ridiculously cute gender reveal photo or video on social media. And the reveal tactics are getting more elaborate aren’t they? We’ve gone from simple colored cake filling and confetti filled piñatas, to home run color explosions and squirt guns filled with either pink or blue paint.

Creative stunts aside, what do you think about gender reveals in general? Did you find out? Did you tell? Or did you keep everyone in suspense?

Some people are planners. And that’s totally fine. Especially if it is Number 2 or 3. It’s always nice to know if you need to go out and invest in some first time girl or boy clothes. And what about the name…if you already know the sex, you’ll be cutting your workload in half when it comes to brainstorming names right?

Some people just can’t contain their excitement. And we don’t blame them. It’s a MAJOR discovery in a major chapter of their life – it would be hard not to want to scream it from the rooftops.

Some people can’t stand all the speculation and old wives tale predictions. If you are carrying high, it’s a girl. Low, it’s a boy. Craving salt? It’s a boy. No pregnancy glow? It’s a girl. And so on. A gender reveal is the easiest way to stop all those guessing games.

But then there is weeks of gender stereotyping to think about. If you reveal the sex pre arrival, you run the risk of people telling you what little boys do and what little girls are like – for weeks on end. Some people don’t want to find out the sex to simply avoid this kind of generalized small talk. There’s plenty of time for that postpartum.

Not finding out also means you won’t get a ton of people buying you the standard pink frills or t shirts with footballs on. Some parents hate the idea of being pigeonholed. Friends and family have to go neutral and play it safe if they don’t know the sex. Think yellow, greens, greys and beige. At least until your little one makes an appearance.

And for some people, it just comes down to sheer surprise factor. Some people like the surprise. They simply don’t want to know. It just doesn’t matter.  They know it will be worth the wait. And that’s just fine by us too.

In the age of social oversharing (thanks Facebook!), it’s easy to feel pressured to spill the beans. While each couple will have a different opinion about gender reveals, only they will know what will make them happy. And that’s what really matters -not the way in which you find out, or share the news, but the way you WANT your story to go. Stay strong and do it your way!

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