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For many pregnant women, aches and various pains in the hips and lower back zone are part of the course.

In fact, according to a study conducted by researchers Jonathan N. Grauer and Jennifer Sabino, the incidence of lower back pain in pregnant women is between 50 and 80%, with one-third of women with child claiming that low back pain is a significant problem that alters their quality of life.

Another study reported that 76% of women reported some variation of back pains during pregnancy. Luckily, one of the ways to enjoy pain relief and many other health benefits is chiropractic care.

How Safe is Chiropractic Care for Pregnant Women?

Essentially, chiropractic care involves the health maintenance of the spinal column and the adjustment of misaligned joints by massaging certain key pressure points. The practice is based on physical therapy and does not involve any type of surgery or the use of drugs.

Even though chiropractic care is safe, pregnant women should always get a doctor’s approval before seeing a chiropractor. This treatment is especially not recommended if women are experiencing the following issues:

  • Moderate to severe toxemia
  • Placenta abruption or placenta previa
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Ectopic pregnancy

While all chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant, some of them specialize specifically in prenatal and postnatal care. With that being said, let us take a look at the benefits pregnant women can experience by seeing a chiropractor.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Pregnant Women

1.   Reduces In-Utero Constraints

Amongst the many changes that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy, one of them is an increased production of a hormone called relaxin. Its role can be guessed by the name – it helps relax the body’s ligaments so that the baby assumes the right position while the mom is moving.

In some cases, pregnant women may experience what experts called a subluxation, which restricts the motions of the pelvis. This, in turn, can cause in-utero constraint – when the stress placed on the ligaments is so great that they are unable to relax and allow the baby to change its position.

This condition can be prevented, and treated by chiropractic care, as it reduces the stress on the mom’s frame and, consequently, allows the baby to move freely. Another benefit of this practice is that it allows the baby to turn its head down, priming it for the day of delivery.

2.   Shorter Labor Times

This is arguably the benefit that women will be grateful for the most. The shorter labor times are possible thanks to the fact that chiropractic care prepares the mom’s body for giving birth by ensuring that the joints and spine are properly aligned. By correcting their posture, the nervous system link between the mom and the body is established, facilitating a smoother birth transit.

In fact, a retrospective review of statistics showed that pregnant patients seeking chiropractic care experienced, on average, 31% shorter labor times. Furthermore, according to Joan’s Fallon “Textbook on chiropractic & pregnancy”, women who sought chiropractic care enjoyed 25% shorter labor times.

Regardless of the statistics, the numbers look pretty good, as reducing labor times even by a little is a blessing, especially for first-time mothers.

3.   Reduces Lower Back Pain

As we have stated during the introduction, lower back pain is one of the most common symptoms that pregnant women experienced due to the extra weight they have to carry. Due to the additional load, the spine undergoes a series of transformations to accommodate the baby.

These transformations, in turn, more often than not result in lower back pains. As the baby grows in size, the pains get only worse. Chiropractic care can help correct the posture of the spine as the baby is developing, keeping the spine in its natural, intended curve.

4.   Chiropractic Care Eases Pregnancy Symptoms

Besides lower back pains and disjointed pelvic areas, other common symptoms that pregnant women experience are nausea and vomiting.

Chiropractic care is a great way of getting relief from morning sickness. If the nausea and vomiting are caused due to the nerves being pinched, or the vertebrae being out of place, chiropractic care is purpose-built to solve these exact issues. The adjustments and gentle physical care will put everything where it should be.

5.   Improves Postpartum Recovery

Finally, the benefits of chiropractic care extend way beyond pregnancy into the postpartum period. Being adjusted before, and especially after delivering the baby will help the body recover faster from the delivery process.

This is because the physical therapy enhances the alignment and flexibility of the woman’s spine, and stimulates the nervous system, helping it stay functional, balanced and healthy.

Conclusion

Chiropractic care is not only safe for pregnant women but also recommended to treat some of the more common symptoms associated with this phase, such as lower back pains and morning sickness. Adding to the list of benefits is the fact that it shortens the delivery time by a whopping 30%, and speeds up the postpartum recovery process.

All in all, seeking chiropractic care is a great way of making your pregnancy much more enjoyable – but make sure to consult with your doctor before seeing a chiropractor.

Giving birth can be such an amazing experience and something that moms wait up to nine or even close to ten whole months to experience. However, it’s often thought that moms-to-be can only give birth in a hospital. While this may be one of the more standard birthplaces, it is so important to know that you have options! In fact, you have quite a few options, and it will all depend on what you envision for your birth, your health, and what type of care provider you see throughout your pregnancy.

In this post, we are going to talk about the four different birthplace options for you to consider. Maybe this will get you thinking about what type of birth you would like to have and ease up some anxiety surrounding birth. If you know you have options, it can take some of those fears and anxiety away.

Choosing Where to Give Birth: Four Different Birth Options for Moms to Consider

Hospital

The most common place to give birth is in a hospital. Hospitals offer a number of benefits like the ability to get an epidural if wanted, a medical team in case of an emergency, in some cases a NICU, and of course an operating room in the event of a C-section. Hospitals feel safer to a lot of women since there are many interventions available if need be. A hospital is likely the place a momma will give birth if she has to be induced for any reason.

However, while a hospital may feel safe to some moms-to-be, others may experience anxiety when in a hospital setting. Fear and anxiety is not something you want on the day you bring your bundle of joy into this world. Not only is that not a feeling you want to experience on one of the happiest days of your life, but it can also stall labor. If you are looking for an intervention-free birth, and your care team has agreed that you and baby are healthy enough to have your baby outside of the hospital setting, this could be a good option for moms who want a more natural birth or for those who simply do not like hospitals.

Free Standing Birth Center

Birth centers are another popular option for pregnant mommas and are becoming more mainstream as more moms are looking for fewer interventions when it comes to birth. A birth center offers a more natural experience than a hospital in most cases, and they may even offer birthing tubs for water births. Giving birth in a birth center also almost always means you get to go home with your baby much sooner than if you had given birth in a hospital. Most moms go home the same day!

Birth centers are a great option if you are looking for a controlled environment to give birth with midwives present, but don’t want all of the interventions that a hospital setting can bring. Many birth centers have birthing rooms that may look similar to a room in your own house, so many mommas feel much more relaxed and comfortable in this type of setting. Birth centers do not offer epidurals or the ability to perform C-sections, so this is something to keep in mind when making your decision.

When it comes to choosing a birth center, you will want to find out where the nearest hospital is and what their hospital transfer rate is. You can also ask if the midwives will be present for your little one’s birth if you had to be transferred to a hospital for any particular reason. You may also want to ask if they offer any type of pain relief options such as nitrous oxide if this is something you would ultimately want available to you during labor.

Birth centers are an excellent middle of the road option for moms who want a natural birth, but still want a care team present and able to have the option to transfer to a hospital if absolutely necessary.

Birthing Center Within a Hospital

Another option that is becoming more popular are birthing centers within a hospital. Some hospital maternity suites are now offering a separate section for those who are looking for more of a natural birthing center experience. These areas of the maternity suite may have birthing tubs and midwives as opposed to OBGYN’s. This is an excellent option for the mom-to-be who is aiming to have an unmedicated birth, but would rather give birth in a hospital setting.

Home

And then there’s the home birth option. Many moms choose a home birth to completely eliminate the possibility of medical interventions during birth. While this option is not for everyone, moms who have had one home birth often swear they would never have it any other way. Some moms give birth in their home with just their support system present, but the more popular option is to work with a midwife who assists with home births. One of the many benefits of this is that your midwife will often come to you for prenatal and postnatal visits, so you can have your prenatal care in the comfort of your own home. Another big benefit is that you have access to your own home, your own food, and your own bed during labor and after your baby is born. While not for everyone, a home birth is becoming a fairly popular option among women who want an intervention free birth.

When it comes to giving birth, know that you have more than one option. Don’t let the fear of thinking you can only give birth in a hospital cause you anxiety! Knowing and understanding your options will only make for a more empowering birth, and if you are pregnant, there’s no better time than now than to start planning what you want your birth to look like.

As you’re approaching your due date, you’re becoming more and more ready and anxious to meet your little one. Your back is aching, your feet are sore, you can’t sleep comfortably, and most of all you’re so excited to finally see the sweet little face you’ve been dreaming about in person. It can be tempting to schedule an induction so that way you can plan exactly when you are going to meet your baby and make it sooner rather than later. This is why we call it “the seduction of induction.” How sweet is it that you can plan it all? Turns out, it’s not very sweet. I like to warn families that it has been proven that unnecessary interventions poses unnecessary risks. The major risk is a C-section.

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I will say, there are times when inductions are necessary for the health and well-being of mother and baby, but the majority of inductions scheduled nowadays are elective and unnecessary. I truly believe that babies come when they are ready, but if you are planning on having a hospital birth and your doctor is not allowing you to go too far past your due date (most doctors schedule inductions at or just after 41 weeks), you may want to do a few things to try to get your body ready and get labor going.

FYI: I’d like to add that new research shows that babies are healthiest when they stay in the womb until at least 39 weeks, so I don’t recommend trying these natural induction methods until you have reached or are past your due date.

Here are 12 things that you can do yourself to naturally induce labor.

1. Nipple Stimulation

Out of all the ways to naturally induce labor, nipple stimulation is one of the most reliable options. It helps release the hormone called oxytocin which is the hormone that causes your uterus to contract. (Oxytocin is also called the love hormone since it’s released when you feel in love. 🙂 ) Do not try nipple stimulation until you have reached or have passed your due date. If you are and you want to try nipple stimulation to bring on labor, there are a few ways to do it:

  1. You can roll or rub your nipples with your fingers. Basically you want it to mimic the suckling of a baby so you will stimulate one breast for 5 minutes, then take a break for about 15 minutes to see if anything happens before you continue to the next breast. If after 15 minutes the contractions begin to fizzle, stimulate the other breast. If they do start to increase, stop and let nature run it’s course.
  2. Your partner can also orally massage your nipples. 😉 This goes well with option number 2. Use the same time restraints as the first option.
  3. Or you could use your breast pump. Using a breast pump can be more effective since it is going to be more vigorous than you or your partner, but some women find the pumping and the contractions to be a bit too painful too quickly.

NOTES:

  • Only massage one breast at a time.
  • Don’t stimulate the breast during a contraction.
  • Do not use nipple stimulation after the contractions are 3 minutes apart or 1 minute long.
  • If contractions start coming close together, take a break and let nature take its course.
  • You also don’t want it to be too gentle. Babies have a strong suckle when they are on the breast so you want to imitate that intensity.

2. Sex

Pretty much everyone knows or has been told that having sex is the way to start labor. The reason for that is the act of sex can cause contractions. Not only that, semen contains a substance called prostaglandins which helps the cervix to ripen and efface so it’s best that he also orgasms. This prepares your body for labor. I know, I know. You’re not feeling very sexy at the end of your pregnancy and you may not be “in the mood” at all.

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When I tell women about this, most of them let out a groan and say they feel pretty uncomfortable at this point and they don’t think that sex will be comfortable at all. I then tell them that having an orgasm can also stimulate prostaglandins. So if you don’t feel comfortable having sex at this point of your pregnancy, you can still have an orgasm on your own to help start labor. Woohoo!

NOTES:

  • Having sex does not immediately cause you to go into labor. It helps your body prepare for labor, but it is something that you would have to do regularly to get faster results.
  • Do NOT have sex if your water is already broken. This can cause you to be at risk for an infection.

3. Exercise/ Cardio/ Stair Climbing / Squats

Use gravity to your advantage. Get up and start moving! Physical activity helps move your baby’s head down lower in your pelvis and that allows your baby’s head to put pressure on your cervix which helps it dilate. Try walking for 30 minutes every day. If you can walk up a steep hill, even better! This causes you to lean forward at an angle helping baby move in the right direction. Walking stairs and doing squats have also been said to be very helpful. So go ahead and get that heart pumping!

4. Labor Inducing Foods

To be honest, most of the foods that are said to help naturally induce labor are old wives’ tales, but there are a few foods that have properties in them that may actually help. It’s been said that pineapples may help ripen the cervix since it contains an enzyme called bromelain which can do just that. Other foods that may induce labor include spicy foods and foods that contain basil, oregano, and/or ginger. Spicier foods tend to work the best out of them all since it stimulates your colon. If you didn’t know, a sign of going into labor is diarrhea so when your intestines are stimulated/irritated it causes you to have bowel movements, which that cramping in your intestines can spread to your uterus which then can cause you to have contractions and go into labor. Voilà!

5. Raspberry Leaf Tea

Drinking this tea regularly can strengthen and tone your uterus and help those muscles in your uterus start to contract. You can get this tea at pretty much any grocery store. You can prepare it hot or make it an iced tea. That way you can enjoy it during the summer too. It’s also great to drink after you have your baby, again, since it’s strengthening your uterus. Bottoms up!

tea_ripeready

6. Labor Induction Massages

Getting a labor induction massage is a great way to get contractions going. As a licensed massage therapist myself, I have given many of these massages and have helped about 60-70% of them go into labor. This massage doesn’t always work immediately and may require two or three appointments to help stimulate labor. It allows you to relax your muscles around baby and it sends signals to your body to start the labor process. I highly recommend it.

NOTE: Make sure your massage therapist is knowledgeable about giving labor induction massages.

labor induction massage

7. Warm Baths

Soaking in a warm bath may help to get labor going. The reason why? Soaking in the tub helps to relax you. There is evidence that stress and being uptight may keep you from going into labor. This is why massages are also beneficial. Almost anything that gets your mind off of the fact that you are still pregnant that can get you to relax can help.

8. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil (EPO) can also be used to help soften the cervix. EPO contains a chemical that the body convert it to prostaglandins. Some doctors don’t recommend this since research has been inconclusive as to whether or not EPO is actually effective at inducing labor. They normally recommend sex over EPO since semen has prostaglandins. However, many midwives recommend it to their patients to prepare for labor.

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To use EPO, you can break the EPO capsule and rub the oil on your cervix at nighttime, or you can insert the capsules vaginally before you go to bed. The moist environment of the vagina will melt the capsule and disperse the gel throughout the cervix. Be sure to wear a pad or have something under you while you sleep since it can leak. Another option is taking it orally.

NOTE: Speak to your healthcare provider before trying this option.

evening primrose oil

9. Castor Oil

Let me first say, I am not a big fan of castor oil. It is a major controversial induction option. The reason is it can cause intense intestinal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea because it acts as a strong laxative and it just tastes nasty. There are some midwives that still recommend it and some women swear by it. Other women say that it gave them nothing but a bad case of diarrhea. No fun. If you are desperate and spoke to your healthcare provider and got their approval, here’s how you can take it rather than just by taking a shot:

  • Get 2 ounces of castor oil in a glass of orange juice and quickly drink, or
  • Get 2 ounces and mix it with ice cream. The flavor might be hard to slowly get down though. It bothers some women more than others. Just a heads up!

Castor-Oil

10. Membrane Sweeping/Stripping

This one can be quite uncomfortable. It hasn’t been proven to be one of the most effective forms of induction, but it is an option. This is something that your doctor or midwife could do at one of your prenatal visits. What happens is your doctor or midwife will do a vaginal exam and they will reach all the way to your cervix to check your effacement and dilation. Once they can feel that you have had some progress, he/she will run his or her fingers around the edge of the amniotic sac and the uterus and gently try to separate it from your uterine wall. This can send signals to your uterus that it’s time for labor and can cause contractions and the release of prostaglandins which may jump start labor.

11. Acupuncture & Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure is another natural method for inducing labor. With acupuncture, a practitioner places fine needles at various points along the body to balance your energy flow. Acupressure is the same concept, but instead fingers are used to apply pressure to pressure points. These are also pressed during labor induction massages. A couple of pressure points are thought to cause contractions. One is located in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. The other is located just above your ankle. Applying pressure to either of these two pressure points may help bring on contractions.

acupressure

image via wikihow.com

Acupressure-to-Induce-Labour-ankle

image via wikihow.com

12. Herbs & Tinctures

You should consult your doctor or midwife before considering herbs to naturally induce labor. Herbs are not regulated by the FDA and can be dangerous if not taken at the proper dosage. This is why it is important to work with your midwife or an herbalist for instructions on when and how to use them. Some herbs that have been used to induce labor include black cohosh, blue cohosh, false unicorn root, and motherwort.

There you go! Twelve different ways to naturally induce labor. I will say, even these methods are interventions and it’s always best to eat right, exercise, rest and enjoy those last few days of pregnancy as much as you can because the safest and healthiest labor is one that starts spontaneously. But for the ladies that need a little extra help to get things going, I hope that these options help!

Did you try any of these methods? If so, which ones and were they successful?

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Mom life can be crazy! You’re feeding the baby, running to carpool, meal prepping, cleaning, working, and so much more. I totally get it. With so much to do and so little time it can be difficult to accomplish everything on our never ending to-do lists. Thankfully, I recently became a Sam’s Club Plus Member, and I have been BLOWN AWAY by the number of time and money saving products and services available to me at my Local Club. It’s great to be able to find a place where I can knock out several of our to-do list items in one location. As a mom, I want to share with you why Sam’s Club has been the secret to saving my sanity and why being a Member has been great for me and our family.

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1. Sam’s Club saves you money and time—and it’s not just about buying in bulk! With a $100 a year Plus membership, you’ll earn cash back on qualifying purchases, get early morning access to Sam’s Club locations, and receive free shipping on most of your online orders. No need to fight the crowds with your screaming toddler in tow.

2. Sam’s Club provides a one-stop shopping experience with Premium brands including Member’s Mark their exclusive brand you’re sure to love. It’s so easy to navigate the brand choices: walk down an isle and you’ll see a brand name on the left, and the generic version on the right. Compare prices and ingredients and go!

3. Need an eye exam? With the Plus membership, you’ll get 20% off a complete set of glasses and free shipping on contact lenses at their Optical Center if you don’t want to use your insurance.

4. If you’re little one got sick as school, they have pharmacies and prescription pickup. Select prescriptions are free, with many others under $10! That Plus Membership can really pay off!

5. Tires low on air? Need a new car battery? No problem. Sam’s has you covered with new tires and car batteries available for purchase.

6. As moms, we have so many photos on our phones of our kids and I’m always saying that I am going to print them out, but don’t. Since I became a Member, it’s been easy for me to place my printing order and pick up at their Photo Station while I’m there. Our albums and frames are finally being filled!

7. Select locations even have a gas station with special member pricing for your mama mobile. You can do it all at Sam’s Club!

8. Sam’s Club has also been an awesome place for me to do our weekly family grocery shopping. The value and selection of the produce and meat at Sam’s Club is incredible. Buy for this week and freeze some for later!

9. Have a little one’s birthday coming up? Sam’s Club is a legitimate toy store. If you’re a mom, the brand names LEGO, Play-Doh, Melissa & Doug, Tonka, and Fischer-Price may ring a bell and they have a TON of exclusives.

And while you’re out shopping, pick up a little something for yourself, too! Find beautiful fresh flowers and an awesome selection of premium wines in many of their locations. You deserve it!

10. Something else I love? Sam’s invest in their associates with pay increases of up to $7 more per hour for associates who complete specialized fresh training certification. It’s designed to improve the company’s fresh-food departments. Associates will be trained specifically to their departments. The next time you pick up a beautiful and affordable cake, a tasty pie, or your morning bagels, you’ll know that your baked goods were made with love.

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11. So once you’ve loaded up your cart and are dreading the checkout line, have no fear. Sam’s Club has invented the ultimate happy mom time saving tool: Scan and Go! Open up the Sam’s Club app, log into your account, scan products as you put them into your cart. Use the app to easily add or subtract the quantity, or delete an item when you change your mind.

When you’re ready to checkout, order your basket through the app and it will pull up a barcode upon purchase, walk yourself to the exit, and a greeter will scan the barcode and you’re good to go!

12. I understand that potty training or teething can leave you with no time or energy to go shopping. So another perk is that you can order online with Club Pickup and Sam’s will have a basket prepared with your name on it. Drive up and load it all into your car. Voila! Best of all? No additional fee.
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I know that I’ve listed a lot of reasons, but these are definitely the perks that I’ve experienced and wanted to share with all of you. Sam’s Club currently has nearly 600 clubs around the US. Hopefully there is a Club close to you. If so, I recommend becoming a Member so you can also conquer your mommy-to-do list!

One of the biggest budget mishaps happens at the grocery store each week. You walk in feeling in control with your list in hand ready to conquer your budget. But then something happens. You get distracted, your kids want this or that, and next thing you know you’ve overspent. It happens. However, there are steps you can take to help you save time and save money on grocery shopping. Here are some great tips to help you stay on track each week.

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How To Save Time and Save Money on Grocery Shopping for Your Family

1. Create A Smart List

When you randomly jot down items on a to-do list then head to the store you will find yourself wandering through almost every aisle. Which inevitably means you’re going to spend more money at the checkout. One way to save money on grocery shopping is to create a smart list.

Before you leave for the store spend a few minutes to re-write your shopping list. Your list should be in order of your store so that you can spend less time backtracking, which means less distractions and chances for impulse shopping. More than likely, you know your grocery store like the back of your hand — that’s mom life, right? Create your shopping list in order of your store and try to group items together that are near one another. This makes shopping so much easier!

Here’s how to do it: If you first enter through the produce department then start with those items at the top of your list. Then as you create your list go in order aisle-by-aisle so you don’t have to wander back and forth throughout the store. This should also encourage you to purchase more whole foods found around the outside of the store!

This is also a great time-saving tip when it comes to grocery shopping. You’ll be more efficient while in the store, which means less time inside and also less time for your little ones to help add items to your cart.

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2. Utilize Money Saving Apps

There are quite a few rebate apps and savings apps that help you either get money back or pay less in store. Make sure you find one or a combination of a few different apps to help you save more money.

Here are a few you should check out:

You can use one app or many apps. It’s up to you, but to ensure you actually utilize these apps get into a routine. Make sure to enter your purchases and scan your receipt before leaving the parking lot or as soon as you get home. By creating a habit of scanning receipts after each purchase, then you will be sure to get the most benefit from money saving apps.

3. Meal Plan

Spend a few minutes each week to plan out your breakfasts, lunches and dinners. By having a good plan you can easily create your weekly shopping list to make sure you buy what you need — and only what you need.

To create a money saving meal plan make sure to review what you already have on hand first. Go through your cabinets, pantry and freezer to make a list of what you have then work on creating a meal plan based on those items.

4. Grocery Pick Up

If you struggle with impulse shopping, try out your local store and their grocery pickup option. Most stores have been rolling out programs where you use their app or website to add items to your cart then after you checkout you schedule a pick up time. This works great if you need to avoid any and all distractions. You can use your meal plan to help make sure you stay on top of what you need.

Most families can see a decrease in their budget categories by utilizing grocery pick up. You will be more likely to buy only what’s on your list and avoid any impulse shopping. In addition, you’ll be able to save a lot of time each week by avoiding weekly trips inside your store.

5. Switch to Cash

If you struggle to save money on grocery shopping, then try switching to cash. Review your budget before heading to the grocery store and decide on how much you can afford. Make your list and then head to the bank to pull out the right amount of cash. When you head to the store leave your wallet at home (or in the car–hidden, of course) and only take in your cash. This will force you to pay attention to prices and stick to your budget.

Is your baby irritable? Is he or she crying and fussing during a typical feeding session? Your baby may have thrush, an infection in their mouth. And while your first instinct as a mother is to worry and panic, thrush is actually pretty common and very treatable.

What is thrush?

Thrush is the most common oral fungal infection in babies. Candida, the fungus, likes to grow in moist areas like under a babies drooling mouth and chin, inside their mouth, or even on diaper rashes. Although it’s usually something your baby will develop on their own, it can be passed onto your baby if you’re pregnant with a yeast infection or if simply your nipples are affected and you’re breastfeeding.

Why does thrush affect babies?

Newborns have such vulnerable immune systems and while Candida is a naturally occurring fungus, it can sometimes be too much for a newborns immune system to regulate and control, thus leading to an infection.

If you’re a first time mom, you’ve probably Googled symptoms and started to panic over the various diseases your child could have. Well here are some symptoms of thrush to help eliminate other diseases and ease your mind:

  • Milky white patches inside the mouth and/or on the tongue
  • Redness or even bleeding around the white lesions
  • Cracking on the corners of the mouth
  • Pain when nursing or drinking a bottle
  • Fussiness and refusing to feed even if there are no visible symptoms

So what do you do if your baby is affected by thrush?

Often, thrush will go away on its own within two weeks and you’ll just have to monitor that the lesions aren’t getting any more painful or bigger, but you definitely want to take your baby to a doctor and have them checked out. Here are some remedies for thrush:

  • Prescribed gel that can be rubbed around the tongue and mouth.
  • Lactobacillus which treats growth of such bacteria and can be found naturally occurring in yogurt; make sure it’s something that your baby can consume at their age, or eat it yourself if you are breastfeeding so that this good bacteria can be passed onto your baby!
  • Do not stop breastfeeding! Many moms think that because they have thrush on their nipples and their baby may be infected, that they should stop breastfeeding, but keep on breastfeeding! Your milk is specific to the needs of your baby and will help pass good bacteria to fight off this infection.
  • Coconut oil or tea tree oil; this is a great remedy when both moms nipples and baby’s mouth are affected, because your nipples may be cracking and painful so rubbing some coconut oil on will ease both of your pains and get rid of that cracking.
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 3 teaspoons of warm water and use a Q-tip to rub this around your babies tongue and mouth, or on your nipples.
  • Or, ½ teaspoon of salt mixed with a cup of warm water rubbed around your babies tongue and mouth. If you are rubbing this solution on your nipples, be aware that it may sting a little.
  • Tumeric, oregano oil and clove oil (which is often used for teething as well) are some other at home remedies you can use to help sooth your babies infected mouth.
  • And be sure to consume lots of Vitamin C to help fight off this infection!

Good luck, mama!

Many women don’t know that they can actually set up consultations with pediatricians for a prenatal visit/ consultation. This is a great opportunity to pick the best doctor for your baby. Rather than picking someone last minute, or having the hospital pick a pediatrician for your baby while you are in the hospital, you have the ability to interview and feel good about your baby’s doctor for the next 18 years.

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These interviews usually take only fifteen to thirty minutes. Before you get there, save time by calling ahead to ask if the doctor is running late. When you get there, note whether the waiting room is well equipped with toys and books to keep a child entertained. Also, seek advice from others in the waiting room, especially about the average time they wait. You can learn a lot about a practice by the way other parents feel about the doctor, and you will get a firsthand view of how the staff handles you and your child.

To make sure you are covering all the important questions, bring this printout with you:

  1. What is your medical education, training, and certification?
  2. Why did you choose pediatrics? Open-ended questions like this will reveal much about the physician’s personality and attitudes. Can you ask a silly question or does the doctor intimidate you? She shouldn’t be impatient or condescending with you either.
  3. How long have you been in practice?
  4. Will you examine my newborn infant in the hospital? How often?
  5. Where do you stand on the issue of _______? You should also raise some of your values and your philosophy of mothering for discussion. Choose subjects that are important to you, such as:
    • Allowing your baby to sleep in your bed
    • Breastfeeding/bottle-feeding
    • Circumcising
    • Feeding on demand
    • Placing a six-week-old or twelve-week-old in child care
    • Starting to feed solid food
    • Bonding immediately after birth
    • Pacifier/thumb-sucking
    • Phone management of childhood illnesses
    • You should expect to receive literature regarding nutrition, development, and safety, as well as information about classes and other child-related activities.
  6. Do you have children? It may be comforting to know if your doctor has children.
  7. Are you part of a group practice? If you go with a doctor in a solo practice, find out who covers when he’s/she’s away. If he’s part of a group practice, ask about the background of the other doctors. Some practices have pediatric nurse practitioners. They are fully trained nurses often with an MA and specialized training.
  8. Do you have call-in hours?
  9. What are your office hours?
  10. When are you available?
  11. How long does a typical check-up last? Ideally, it should last at least 20 minutes.
  12. Who will be answering questions? Often a busy pediatrician will have a medical assistant or nurse practitioner take care of the common, non-urgent problems. Some offices actually have a 24/7 nurse’s line just for this purpose. Are you or a backup doctor available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?
  13. Do you separate well-being and sick-baby appointments?
  14. What is your policy on medication?
    • Do you prefer trying noninvasive aids first?
  15. How do you handle emergencies? The answer will tell you about hospital affiliations and what procedures to follow in the case your child has an emergency. It should include directions about who to call after office hours.
  16. Do you make house calls? Under what circumstances?
  17. What do you charge for office visits, lab tests, and immunizations?
  18. Will I be charged for telephone consultations?
  19. Will I be charged for a canceled appointment?
  20. Will I be billed for a visit or will I have to pay at once?
  21. Will your office accept a credit card or a check?
    • If a medical procedure is expensive, will you be able to pay in installments?
  22. Does your staff do the paperwork or must I?

Once you’ve narrowed your decision to two contenders, trust your instincts to pick your baby’s health-care provider you can trust and with whom you can talk openly. You won’t want to feel as if she or he can’t talk at your level, and you don’t want to feel as if the doctor is too busy to answer your questions. You want a pediatrician who you respect, who will meet all your needs and your child’s needs, and who will be available for the long-term as your child grows.

We are officially digging ourselves out of the trenches of winter. And although that first snow was beautiful, that was in November! Winter is never ending in my New York town, and January-March is by far the most snowy, cold and dreary months of the year. When the sun isn’t present for days on end, I often find myself feeling more tired, drained, and moody than ever. During these tough times, it helps to remember ways of finding joy (or creating it) in the simple stuff when my world is looking grim.

1. Focus on my family.

Although this is a part of my daily routine, I seem to really be able to focus on my family during the long winter months. Shorter amounts of natural light and bitter cold force us inside and it’s the perfect setting for family time! Cocoa, movies, games playtime–the simple stuff–occupy us, and the extra baby snuggles make being stuck indoors so much more pleasant.

2. Get caught up on housework and projects.

Definitely not my favorite thing to do, but with all that extra time we have, it makes sense to check off some of that “Honey Do” list. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than a fresh coat of paint, or a cleaned and organized basement. Having a fresh space always lifts my spirits, and helps me with finding joy the multitude of blessing that I really have.

3. Head to the gym.

A great workout always makes me feel better. When my body is run-down and sluggish, it often reflects in my attitude. I find that after a tough, but encouraging class, my pessimistic attitude has reversed, and I’m ready to face the rest of my day. It is also a great stress reliever, which is nice, especially when your child is potty training.

4. Hit the town.

Even though it is nice to get those house projects done, and have all that extra family time, sometimes you have to get out of the house before you go stir crazy. Hiring a babysitter, and going to dinner or a movie with your partner can refresh even the weariest person. If you’re looking for a family outing, a simple google search will provide you with a plethora of ideas to do with your little ones. From sporting events, play gyms, or Storytime, to a simple trip to the mall for shopping and snacks–it’s the simple stuff; getting out of the house is vital for finding joy when those winter blues are at their worst.

5. The food.

There is a reason why it’s called comfort food! Nothing nourishes better than a bowl of stew during the winter months. Sipping a steaming bowl of soup, or preparing a roast helps with finding joy when you live somewhere its cold and snowy half the year. Having family or friends for dinner, makes said meals even more enjoyable. Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do. From preparing a meal to sharing it, there is something heartwarming about having dinner with those you care about. So, next time that snowstorm hits (literally) and your feeling like this dreary time of year will never end, try to seek out the simple stuff, finding joy in the winter season.

Toddlers can be described in many ways, but patience and attention span are not usually words included in that description. Patience and attention span are important ingredients in having the ability to persevere. Persistence is sometimes an innate quality in young children, but sometimes it needs to be taught or reinforced. You may be a parent of a toddler who is already very persistent and maybe you even see this as a characteristic you are not interested in encouraging, but if channeled appropriately, it can serve your child well in the future.

If your toddler is so persistent that she wears you down when she wants something, spends hours getting her Lego castle just right, or relentlessly picks at her brother until he is in tears, she may just need some redirection of her persistent nature. You may also have a toddler who quickly gives in to frustration, rarely completes a task, and gives up as soon as something does not go exactly his way. Either way, your toddler’s ability to persevere probably has a lot to do with his temperament, but there are some parenting strategies to support and teach persistence.

Many successful people value their innate persistence as the reason why they are accomplished and successful in the first place. That attitude of “never giving up” is usually an important part in accomplishing ones’ goals. So, how can you teach persistence to your toddler in a manner that will set them up for success? Here’s how.

1. Set him up for success!

If a challenge is just too great, your toddler may be more apt to throw in the towel. Try to set up the activity so that your child can achieve success. For example, maybe you are trying to teach your toddler to put on his own pants and after two tries of getting his legs in the correct holes, he gives up and throws his pants down in fury. There is a strategy that we use a lot in occupational therapy called “backward chaining.”

In backward chaining, we perform the first 5 steps of an activity, then have the child perform the last step, then praise the child. Then we do the activity again and this time, the child performs the last two steps, and so on. So in the scenario of teaching your toddler to put on his own pants, you would arrange the pants correctly, help him step both feet in, pull them up, align the snap, then have him push the snap closed as you talk through each step one by one. After he snaps his pants you say, “Great job! You put your pants on!” Next time you do all of the steps except aligning the snap and snapping them shut, until eventually he performs every step. You are there to help and support and guide and ultimately, he performs the whole activity himself. This is especially helpful with teaching shoe-tying! By staying close and talking him through the activity, you distract him and keep him motivated to complete the task and he has the satisfaction of doing that last act.

2. Praise every attempt!

Pay close attention to your toddler during play and activities and praise all the little challenges she overcomes. If she struggles for a few minutes to get a square into the shape sorter, then finally gets it, praise her and congratulate her for sticking with it. Praise the action, but praise the persistence as well. Say “you really worked hard and kept trying until you got it in! Great job!”

3. If your child is already persistent, count down to transitions.

Children who get very focused on a task often have a hard time with transitions because it is challenging for them to switch gears and stop what they are doing to move on to something else. It might be helpful if you count down when it is time to move on. Starting five or ten minutes before the transition, give your child warnings at certain time increments. Perhaps you say, “You can ride your tricycle on two more loops, then we are going to leave the park.”

4. Practice the old mantra, if first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Encourage your toddler to try again when they fail. If she tries to get the ball in the basket three times, then falls into a heap of tears when it doesn’t go in, make it a fun game and help her try again. Maybe you grade the activity so it is slightly easier so she experiences the satisfaction of accomplishing her mission after persevering.

It is important that your toddler sometimes gets the reward of accomplishment after putting forth the effort, although sometimes in life, even after persistence, things don’t work out like we planned. There is an important lesson in that as well. Talk to your toddler about trying harder next time, finding something else she is good at, and not giving up just because she wasn’t successful on the first try.

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