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Pregnancy is such an interesting time–it’s full of more changes than you ever imagined possible, and while most of those changes are wonderful, some can be rather curious or even agitating. What is Linea Nigra, or “black line” in Latin? A common pregnancy side effect that has no bearing on the mama or pregnancy itself. It’s unofficially known as the pregnancy line!

What is Linea Nigra?

Linea Nigra is a long line, or “stripe,” of dark skin that runs from the belly button to the pubic bone. For some women, linea nigra extends all the way up to the breast. It happens to approximately 75% of women, as a matter of fact, and though it is most often seen on burgeoning bumps, it can also be spotted on tiny ones too. Linea Nigra DOES go away eventually, but we’ve got some great facts on this ponderance of pregnancy.

Why is it Called “White Line?”

Depending upon skin tone, Linea Nigra actually shows up as all sorts of skin-altering colors, despite its name meaning “black line” in Latin. Linea Nigra was originally given the name to indicate what happens when the skin stretches and pigment changes during pregnancy, and this terminology has been around for hundreds of years with as many old-wives tales on why it happens. The condition is the darkening of your linea alba, the “black line” of skin you’d probably never notice that runs between your belly button and your pelvis. In fact, the skin all over your body becomes hyper-pigmented, or darkened, during pregnancy. Though the Linea Nigra is likely to be more pronounced if you have darker skin, it can show up for any pregnant woman.

Does it Mean Something’s Wrong?

Linea Nigra is merely an aesthetic mark or line, and has absolutely nothing to do with pregnancy health indicators or those relating to your baby. Linea Nigra is a naturally occurring pregnancy phenomenon that is added to the laundry list of ways in which a body can change while growing another person. It’s a beautiful reminder that something exciting is on its way!

Can I Cover it Up?

Though you can’t prevent this pregnancy line from popping up, you can lessen its appearance if you decide to do so–and also consider ways to not intensify it if it’s not your favorite pregnancy marker! If you plan on going out in the sun, cover up or wear a safe sunscreen. Sun exposure can “intensify the skin-darkening effects of pregnancy,” so try to keep your belly out of the sun and use proper sunscreen with natural ingredients. You can also try to amp up the foods you consume with folic acid, as some research links pregnancy lines to insufficient amounts of folic acid, but medical experts still aren’t sure if this is true. As always in pregnancy, this should be front-of-mind anyways–don’t take more prenatals, but eat great foods with folic acid like asparagus, citrus fruits, and legumes.

When Will it Go Away?

If you aren’t a fan of your new pre-birth mark, take heart: Linea Nigra does fade and eventually goes away postpartum. Many women even say they were a bit saddened to see this line disappear, as it meant they were no longer pregnant and that phase of life was done, either for now or for the long haul. With all things considered, it’s like any other “battle scar” earned during pregnancy–it represents the absolutely amazing fact that as your body grows and changes, with it comes a new and wonderful life: your baby!

Linea Nigra is nothing to be ashamed or scared of, but as always if you have any health concerns when pregnant, reach out to your care team for support and continued guidance. Keep loving the skin you’re in, mamas—it’s doing amazing things!


Johnson, Robert V. (Ed.). (1994). Mayo Clinic complete book of pregnancy & baby’s first year. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Cunningham, F. Gary, Leveno, Kenneth J., et al (2005). Maternal Physiology in Williams Obstetrics 22ndedition (126). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

As a mom who used to pump frequently–and at one point exclusively–I know how valuable every drop of breast milk is. We work hard for that liquid gold! So when it comes time to introduce a bottle to our babies, many moms begin to panic and wonder . . .

What if baby won’t take the bottle? What if he experiences nipple confusion? What if she won’t take the breast after feeding from a bottle? What if the breast milk gets damaged through the storage and preparation process? What’s the best bottle to give to a breastfed baby?

Don’t fret. All of these questions and concerns are normal. One of my recommendations to parents who are approaching this bottle-feeding milestone is to find the right baby bottle for your baby. With so many on the market it can be confusing and overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right one. We recently discovered a new baby bottle that we had to share with all of you! It was innovated specifically for breastfed babies, it won the Health & Wellness Award for top innovations of the year by TIME Magazine, it was named the Smartest Baby Bottle Ever Made by Business Insider and breastfeeding mamas are swearing by it. Let me introduce you to nanobébé.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

The baby bottle that’s turning heads.

What first intrigues parents about the nanobébé bottle–and makes them take a second look–is the unique round breast-like shaped design. Once you take a closer look at it you will notice that the bottle has a deep dome indentation in the bottom. It’s obvious that this baby bottle ain’t your mama’s baby bottle and that’s exactly what this company set out to do–create a revolutionary new design that protects the precious nutrients inside of breast milk.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

nanobébé is the first baby bottle specifically designed to protect essential breast milk nutrients.

How do they do this? It’s all in their unique concave design.

First of all, did you know that according to the FDA the amount of bacteria in fresh breast milk doubles every 20 minutes it sits at room temperature? This reduces both the nutritional value of breast milk and its immunological value, since breast milk uses its immune defenses to fight off the bacteria. Recent scientific research has proven that the temperature and the storage of human milk plays a vital role in preserving its natural nutrients.

And did you know heating milk over 40°C/104°F causes deterioration of the milk’s immunological proteins and enzymes? Overheating pumped breast milk may also reduce fat absorption which could lead to less caloric intake for your baby. Crazy, huh? This is why nanobébé stepped in.

Everything about their bottle design was intentional and serves a purpose to protect breast milk. Their concave design provides significant surface area exposure to the milk, which allows the milk to spread thin across the bottle. The concave bottle shape provides quick and even warming that doesn’t destroy precious breast milk nutrients. Similarly, the shape allows for rapid cooling of the breast milk, reducing bacterial growth.

Because of nanobébé’s revolutionary bottle shape, now you or a caregiver can store and warm the bottle at safe temperatures and feed baby quickly without destroying the nutritional value of your breast milk.

Why professionals love it

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

Professionals in the baby field love nanobébé for its health and safety features:

  • Quick cooling protects the nutritional and immunological value of your milk. The unique geometry of nanobébé’s bottle (and storage bags) allows breast milk to cool quickly, reaching its ideal refrigerated temperatures 2-3 times faster than standard bottles. This reduces the time that breast milk spends at room temperature, cooling as quickly as possible and limiting bacterial growth. This allows the immunological properties inside of the milk to go towards baby’s nutrition rather than to fighting off bacterial growth. 
  • Quick and even warming at safe temperatures helps to avoid damaging your milk’s precious nutrients. Overheating breast milk damages nutrients and increases the risk of hot spots, which are dangerous for your baby. As a live biological fluid, breast milk begins to deteriorate above body temperature, so it is recommended to warm it gently using warm, not boiling, water. nanobébé’s breastmilk bottle allows for fast and even warming at safe temperatures, to quickly and healthfully satisfy your baby’s immediate hunger needs.

Why parents love it

The all-in-one convenience and the high bottle acceptance rate are just some of the fun things parents love about nanobébé. Here’s the full list.

  • Nanobébé’s familiar breast-like shape, helps many babies to instinctively know where to place their head, hands, and mouth.
  • The familiar shape encourages a smooth and instinctual transition from breast to bottle for the times mom might need to be away from baby.
  • It’s easy to hold which enables them to learn how to safely self-feed sooner.
  • The shape of the bottle’s nipple mimics moms breast and is the slowest flow rate nipple on the market, most closely resembling actual breastfeeding.
  • The silicone nipples have an advanced 360° venting system to help reduce colic.
  • It warms up 2-3 times faster than standard bottles. Parents can soothe and feed their babies faster.
  • No hot spots are created with the geometry of the design, which means nothing will scald our babies!
  • You can pump directly into the nanobébé bottle using their breast pump adapter.
    • The nanobébé breast pump adaptor is compatible with all standard narrow neck breast pumps (the majority of the breast pumps on the market today) including Medela, Ameda, and many more.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

  • Nanobébé bottles can be stacked one on top of the other for better storage.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

  • Easy cleaning because all the parts are detachable.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

We can see that the nanobébé bottles were made to improve the entire process of feeding breast milk from a bottle!

If you’re interested in trying out nanobébé with your baby, we recommend their starter set. It includes all the essentials mom will need for baby: Breastmilk Bottles to help preserve breast milk nutrients during storage and warming, the nanobébé nonelectrical Smart Warming Bowl for quick and even warming of breast milk, as well as nanobébé Flexy pacifiers.

The Baby Bottle Innovated for Breastfed Babies | Baby Chick

What’s in the box:
1 x smart warming bowl
4 x 5oz/150ml breastmilk bottles
4 x slow flow silicone nipples
4 x travel covers
4 x storage caps
2 x breast pump adaptors
2 x 0-3m flexy pacifiers

Starter sets are sold at buybuy Baby, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond (online) and Target!

We all know that every baby is different and not every bottle is right for every baby. But for the families who are breastfeeding that are looking for the closest thing to mom’s breast, the nanobébé bottle might just be the right bottle for your baby.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, one of the questions I get asked most often when working with new parents is “what are the early signs of autism?” It is a very good question and requires a comprehensive answer.

The most important thing that I always tell parents is to educate themselves on typical early childhood development. When parents know what important milestones to expect at each age, if a developmental delay presents itself parents can identify it immediately and seek early intervention. Even though there is no cure for autism, early intervention makes a tremendous difference in a child’s outcome. Recent studies have found that autism can now be identified as early as 18 months and in some rare cases, intensive early therapy has actually reversed the effects of autism because the still-developing brain can be re-wired.

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I am always conscientious of saying early “indicators” of autism verses “warning signs” of autism as the latter carries with it such a negative connotation. It is important to remember that as devastating as this developmental disability can be, all children are unique, amazing, and individual. With the proper support network in place, children and their families can still thrive and live happy, productive lives. That being said, let’s collectively do all we can to give every child the best start possible!

What does it mean to be on the Autism spectrum?

According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disabilities that affect a child’s brain development. They are called “spectrum disorders” because they affect each child differently, ranging from very mild to severe. The primary types of ASDs are autistic disorder, often referred to as “classic” autism, asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Most of the ASDs are characterized by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, intellectual abilities, gross and fine motor skills, and attention.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for parents to understand typical development. ASDs are identified by the absence of typical behaviors, not the presence of abnormal ones. Parents can educate themselves in so many ways. There are countless DVDs, apps, blogs, books, websites, and magazines on early childhood development. American Academy of Pediatrics has a great website. Some wonderful books are Your Child’s Growing Mind by Jane Healy, Your Baby’s First Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Baby Development Everything You Need to Know by Dr. Claire Halsey.

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When parents have a good understanding of what typical development looks like, they are better equipped to spot delays or early indicators of ASDs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great page on Signs and Symptoms of ASDs. Autism Speaks also has a good page on early signs of autism.

Observe your children closely in different situations and do not rely on your pediatrician to point out delays. The delays might not present themselves during your ten minute doctor appointment. Your pediatrician is a valuable partner, but your own observations are most important.

Please remember that every child develops a little differently, and at their own pace, so do not panic if your baby is a little bit late to hit a milestone, and try not to compare your child to other children. Early development is very highly variable. Remember that ASDs involve a variety of developmental delays, so consider your baby’s social, emotional, motor, and cognitive milestones. Also developmental delays don’t always mean autism. In some cases they carry a heightened risk, but not always. Trust your instincts!

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Symptoms of autism usually start to surface between 12 and 18 months. The earliest signs of autism are marked by the absence of normal behaviors, not the presence of abnormal behaviors, so they can be hard to spot. Autism can sometimes present itself by what babies “don’t” do as opposed to what babies “do”.

The Don’ts of Autism

Babies demonstrate early signs of autism when they:

don’t respond to cuddling
don’t reach to be picked up
don’t make eye-contact
don’t smile when you smile at them
don’t make noises or imitate facial expressions
don’t point or wave goodbye
don’t respond to their name or familiar voices
don’t follow objects visually

There is a great assessment that parents can do on their own. It is called the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) and it can be found online. It is a very simple yes/no checklist and results can be printed and reviewed with your pediatrician.

ASDs are not only a hot topic right now with 1 in 88 children being diagnosed and the medical community scratching their heads about this staggering increase in cases, but it is also a very sensitive topic, as so many families are dealing with it on a day-to-day basis. This article is actually not just geared toward families with children who may be on the spectrum, but it is geared toward the community at large. Autism is all around us. Families need support and understanding. Everyone should have an understanding of autism and how to best support people of any age who are on the spectrum and their families.

With life pulling us in different directions, it’s hard to find the time to create a workable budget for your family — especially if you have a goal of becoming debt free. It’s important to take control of your family’s finances and to create a strong financial foundation.

You may be asking yourself, “why do we need a monthly family budget in the first place?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. Having a budget helps you control your money. You tell your finances what to do and when to do it so that you can reach your goals — becoming debt free, saving more money, funding your children’s college, etc. Without a budget your money can get out of control. Especially when you and your spouse look at finances differently.

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Creating a monthly family budget can take some time, so be sure to schedule a time for you and your spouse to sit down together and without interruptions. Make sure to grab bank and credit card statements for the last three months, recent bills and earnings statements before you get started.

How to Create a Monthly Family Budget

Decide How To Budget

Are you a paper and pencil kind of family or do you prefer something online? If you like the idea of keeping things simple then you can easily pick up a pad of ledger paper to get started; however, if you prefer to keep your budget online then you will have a few other options to pick from. You can create your own budget in Google Drive, use software like Quicken or use Mint.com.

Using a software can keep things easy on you since it will learn your spending habits and help automatically categorize your transactions for you.

List Your Income

Now is the time to list your sources of income — work, side jobs, alimony, child support, and so on. Don’t include any income from unpredictable jobs that you don’t have control over. You don’t want to depend on that income if it’s not guaranteed.

If you’re self-employed or commission based then use your three-month average (or 12-month average) as an estimate for your monthly income.

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Add In Your Expenses

Create a list of your fixed monthly expenses — mortgage/rent, utilities, child care, loan payments, car payments. Fixed payments are the ones that come every 30 days and you will know the total amount with almost certainty.

Next, create a list of your variable expenses, which are the bills that fluctuate from month-to-month. These can include eating out, groceries, gas, personal care, and so on.

As a family it’s hard to decide what is fixed and what is variable. A good rule of them is applying the want vs. need rule to your expenses. Do you need this to live or do you simply want it? For instance, your child’s monthly gymnastics expenses is a variable expense. It may be a set price that does not fluctuate from month-to-month; however, if money was tight this is an expense that could be cut so your mortgage or utilities was paid.

This is where your past three months of bank statements and credit card statements come in handy. Pull those out and sort each transaction into your budget categories. This exercise will give you a good grasp on your spending and knowing how much you should create your budget amounts.

Calculate Your Amount Left

It’s time to calculate your net income. Your net income is simply your take-home pay minus your expenses. This is the amount you have left after all your bills are paid. You want this to be a positive number so you can put this amount towards your financial goals. If you’re net income is a negative number then you will need to adjust your expenses in the step above.

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Adjust Your Expenses

If you had a negative net income you will need to adjust your spending. There are several ways to go about this, but the easiest is to look at your variable expenses. It’s much easier to adjust the number of times you eat out in a month to save a little money then it is to lower your mortgage payment. However, if you have tweaked your variable expenses as much as possible and are still coming up short then you might have to look at your fixed expenses. Talk with the bank to refinance your payments.

Be sure to evaluate your spending on a want vs. need basis. Simply wanting something is not a good enough reason to have a negative monthly net income.

Set Your Goals

Once you have a positive net income it’s time to set your financial goals. You and your spouse should set these goals together to be sure you’re on the same page. You can have multiple goals to work towards. I recommend having one or two short-term goals that will take less than a year to reach and one to two long-term goals to work on.

The amount you have left over each month is what should be set aside to reach your goals. If you’re working on more than one goal at a time, that’s fine you will just have to portion money out.

Track Your Spending

Now that you have your budget created, it’s time to put it to work. Be sure to track your monthly spending so that you can easily update your budget. That’s where a software comes in handy. Most can be connected to your bank account or credit card account and will categorize your spending for you.

Check In Each Month

It’s important to check in with your budget each month to make sure you’re on track. Going over your budget will help you determine where you are spending your money and if any adjustments need to be made. For instance, if you find it difficult to stick within your grocery budget month-after-month then you might need to increase it by decreasing another budget area.

Newborn babies have a lot of little quirks about them when they are born, one of which is often a yellow-ish tint called jaundice. Many new parents are very alarmed when they take baby home only to notice a yellowing of the eyes and skin, but physiological jaundice is actually an extremely common condition in newborns and can be easily treated with natural, at-home remedies.

So why, exactly, does jaundice occur? According to The Mayo Clinic, jaundice occurs due to an excess of bilirubin, which is a yellow pigment of the red blood cells. Most of the time, the baby’s liver just needs to mature a bit for the jaundice to go away, while other, very rare times, an infection could be causing the yellow color. Either way, be sure you let your doctor know of any symptoms you see to avoid further complications, especially since the onset of jaundice before baby’s second day of life can be a danger sign.

If your new bundle of joy does contract jaundice, here are a few natural ways to help treat the common condition.

Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice

Sit Near the Window

Sunlight is one of the best ways to remove jaundice from a newborn baby. Position your glider or chair near a window so the baby gets some natural light while feeding, burping or just laying with you. If the weather allows it, go for walks and allow the sun to touch your babies skin (just be sure they aren’t overheating or getting a sunburn!). Even if it is overcast outside, your baby can still benefit from the natural light, so open those shades and let the light in!

Feed Them Often

You may already feel like you are doing this as a new mama, but feeding your baby often is one of the best ways to get the bilirubin out of their system and get the liver working better, which is needed to get rid of jaundice. The more often baby poops, the more you should see the yellow subsiding.

Take Supplements

If you are breastfeeding your baby, any vitamins you take will pass to your baby through your milk. If you have a newborn suffering from jaundice, consider adding vitamin D to your diet, either through the foods you eat or through a supplement. The vitamin D is said to boost their levels and get rid of bilirubin.

Know Your Supply

This is for the breastfeeding moms: jaundice is a bit more common for your babies because sometimes, we just aren’t producing quite enough milk to keep up with our infants’ needs. In the beginning, this is okay, but if you feel that the jaundice is not getting any better, you may want to consider supplementing with donor milk or formula. Speak with your pediatrician to better know how well your baby is being fed and whether this is a necessary step, even if just for the short term.

Eat Your Veggies

Carrots and spinach are said to be two great veggies for getting rid of jaundice due to high nutrients levels. Try to incorporate both of these into your diet as best you can throughout the early stages. If you aren’t a veggie lover, consider mixing them into fruit-filled (or even chocolate-filled) smoothies each day—it will be a treat for you and a treatment for your baby!

Bring on the Juice

In addition to your spinach-enriched smoothies, there are other juices you can consider to help your baby recover from jaundice. Sugarcane, wheatgrass and tomato juice are all great options. Put a few drops into the formula, give it to your baby with a small spoon or drink it yourself to get it through breast milk.

If you try all of these natural remedies and are still seeing signs of jaundice, do not let it go untreated. Most babies will naturally get rid of the extra bilirubin on their own, but that is not always the case. When in doubt, always take them over to the pediatrician to take a look. Most importantly, though, don’t fret—the yellow tint can be worrying for new moms and dads, but your baby is just as adorable and will soon be yellow-free!

That first roll over . . . for many babies it is the first big milestone, the first thing to write in the baby book, the first time parents really witness their baby taking control of his body. Did you know that there are countless mini milestones that lead to this momentous event?

Around Four Months

Babies typically roll front to back around two to four months and front to side around four to five months and front to back around five and a half to six months. However, as in all early development, the timing of the first roll-over can be highly variable.

Of course, there are the fluke roll-overs that happen accidentally because the baby shifts her weight a certain way while in a certain position or a reflex kicks in at the right time to make it happen. These early roll overs are usually involuntary and unexpected and often don’t happen again until closer to four months. As a pediatric occupational therapist working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I see newborn babies roll over once in a while. I recently witnessed a roll-over from a three-week-old-baby who was just trying to fidget around a little bit and suddenly she flipped on her back, right up against the window of the incubator.

You may have a baby who experiences these little accidental roll-overs from time to time, but then begins to do it on purpose closer to four months. We differentiate these accidental roll-overs from purposeful roll-overs because purposeful roll-overs take a whole different set of skills. Let’s take a closer look at the mini milestones that lay the groundwork over the first few months of your baby’s life.

Milestones Leading to the First Intentional Baby Roll Over

The first thing we look for in newborns’ physical development is their ability to hold their head up against gravity. Parents are usually surprised at how well newborn babies can hold their heads up for short periods of time. Babies are typically born with enough strength in their neck muscles to lift their heads and look around for a few seconds. When placed on their tummy, babies are usually able to turn their heads to one side or the other and clear their airway so their face is not down in the blanket.

The second mini milestone that contributes to the skill of rolling over is mini push-ups. When babies are lying in tummy time, they will begin to push their upper body up and lift their head to a 45 or 90 degree angle. These mini push-ups develop strength through baby’s shoulders and upper body and start to create segmentation between their upper body and lower body. Upper body strength and the ability to activate muscles of the upper body are important skills in rolling over.

Around the same time, babies will start to develop an awareness and curiosity about the world around them. As babies’ vision comes into focus and they are able to see objects and people across the room and visually focus and track, they are more interactive and interested. This interest in their little world contributes to the purposeful roll-over, as babies often roll to get a better view of something or get closer to a toy that interests them. You can consider this new visual skill as a mini milestone along the road to the first roll.

6 Ways to Encourage Your Baby to Roll Over

  1. Provide your baby lots of tummy time starting right at birth. You can start with five minutes a few times a day and build up to 20 minutes a few times per day by three months.
  2. Allow your baby to look at visually stimulating toys and objects. Hold the object eight to ten inches from your baby’s face while she is lying on her back (that is the distance that she can best process vision). Move the object in an arc in front of your baby’s face and encourage her to track the item left and right. As she turns her head see if she turns her body as well.
  3. Hold your baby upright while snuggling and in vertical baby carriers against your body to help him develop trunk strength.
  4. Allow your baby to play while lying on her left or right side while you supervise her.
  5. Limit the time your baby spends in carriers, swings, car seats and strollers so he gets a lot of movement and practices the skills necessary for rolling.
  6. You can help your baby feel what it feels like to roll over by laying her on her belly on a blanket, then gently lift one side of the blanket and slowly keep lifting it until you are lifting the part of the blanket that is under your baby and the blanket causes her to roll onto her side. Go very slowly and see if she helps at all after she feels her body begin to lift.

The first roll over is sometimes opening the flood gates to constant movement! Gone are the days when you place your baby down and come back later and find her in the same spot!

Pregnancy changes many things about a woman’s body, but one aspect that often goes unnoticed (other than stretch marks–we all know too well about those!) is other skin conditions and problems. Some common pregnancy skin complaints are dark spots, due to the increase in melanin levels, melasma or hyperpigmantation, linea nigra, acne, spider veins, and varicose veins. These are all normal pregnancy skin issues that are caused from hormonal changes.

Pregnancy Skin Issues

Hyperpigmantation

Hyperpegmentation or “the mask of pregnancy” is the presence of brown patches on the skin. Melesama is hyperpigmentation on the face such as the forehead, nose, and cheeks. Ways to help treat this is to avoid sun exposure for the hottest part of the day, using SPF 30 sunscreen and wearing a wide brimmed hat while in the sun.

Understanding Pregnancy Skin Issues | Baby Chick

   

PUPPP

Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is a condition where red bumps appear on the skin and cause itching, burning or stinging. The bumps vary in size ranging from small areas to larger areas creating a plaque. These bumps are found on the breasts, abdomen, legs, arms or buttocks, and it should resolve after delivery. Some doctors may prescribe a topical cream to apply to the skin or an antihistamine. There are some home care steps you can take to alleviate the affects of PUPPs such as washing with lukewarm water, avoiding soap on inflamed areas, applying a cool compress or wearing loose clothing.

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Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are inevitable for most pregnant people, commonly found on the abdomen, buttocks, breasts, and thighs. While keeping the skin hydrated during pregnancy is a good idea, avoiding them all together isn’t very common. Once pregnancy is over, stretch marks will fade over time. There are old wives tales on how to get rid of stretch marks all together, but aside from laser treatments or prescription creams nothing has been proven to be a for-sure cure.

Skin Tags

Skin tags during pregnancy are common; they can appear on the breasts, neck, groin, and back. Unless they are getting irritated by clothing or frequent movement, they aren’t anything to worry about. If you do want to show your doctor they should be able to remove them for you. An at home remedy for skin tags is tying it off at the base with dental floss to restrict the blood flow, and then letting it fall off on its own. Some people have also had success rubbing skin tags daily with a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar.

Acne

You probably thought you were through with acne after your teen and young adult years, but it will often flare up again during pregnancy. Continue using good hygiene techniques such as washing your face with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser, keeping your hair off your face, and restraining from picking at any blemishes or absentmindedly touching your face. Some safe over the counter products can contain topical benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid.

Understanding Pregnancy Skin Issues | Baby Chick

   

Some medications that are not safe during pregnancy are hormonal therapy, retinol, oral tetracycline’s, and topical retinoid.

Vein Changes

Spider veins are small red veins that appear on the face, neck and arms. They are due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow. Varicose veins are large and painful created by increased weight and uterine pressure during pregnancy that leads to decreased blood flow to the legs. Varicose veins can be found on the legs, rectum, vagina, and vulva. They normally are resolved after delivery, but make sure your midwife or doctor knows about them.

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To limit the affects of varicose veins or to relieve symptoms try limiting your periods of standing or sitting, keep your legs uncrossed, keep the legs elevated when possible, exercise often, use support hose, and limit constipation by eating a well balanced diet and drinking 100 oz. of water each day.

Purirgo of Pregnancy

Purirgo of pregnancy is classified by small itchy red bumps that can be mistaken for scabies or bug bites, but are actually caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, affecting the immune system. Symptoms can get worse day-by-day and sometimes don’t resolve until months after delivery.

Pemphigoid Gestationis

Pemphigoid gestationis is an autoimmune skin disorder that is characterized by blisters on the abdomen or other parts of the body. It typically shows up around the second or third trimester but can also show up immediately after birth. This disorder can increase risks for preterm birth or a small baby.

Cholestasis

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a third trimester liver condition that causes severe itching with no evidence of a rash. Itching is generally on the abdomen, palms and soles of feet. The symptoms of ICP resolve after birth but, this does increase the risk of preterm labor and fetal demise.

Pregnancy does not always lead to glow-y, radiant skin; sometimes it can be downright painful and not beautiful at all. Talk to your care provider before trying any skin care regiment in hopes of taking care of these issues on your own!

We think of peer pressure stopping in high school, but it seems that the average adult is also more comfortable and content when they are more similar to those around them than when they are more different. Or at least most of us anyway. Right?! 😉

I mean, imagine walking through a mall and realizing that today was “wear pink day” and you were the only person that didn’t get the memo to wear pink. So in a crowd with thousands of people, you suddenly realize all eyes are on you! And in that moment, you find yourself either wanting to head to the nearest exit or head to the nearest rack of pink shirts and pull out your Visa.

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This phenomenon is why the start of motherhood can be overwhelming to many women at first. After you bring your child home from the hospital, you might be thinking 100 different things in your brain about motherhood. And you aren’t sure if any of those things are normal or if those thoughts make you crazy. You might feel like the single mom walking through a mall of moms that know the normal things to do and instead you are the one that missed the memo!

Well today I’m here to tell you that in motherhood I’ve learned there is no mall of how to feel about your child where everyone is wearing the same color of thought. No in fact, it seems to be just the opposite because there are so many different ways to feel and respond to your child. And if new moms were a mall, every mom would be in a different color because her experience with her child is not necessarily the same as your experience with your child. And that is totally NORMAL.

Here are just a few of the many normal new mom thoughts (as in many women have had them) I’ve collected from my experiences as a mom and from the feedback of my friends. See if you can relate.

1. This is confusing and very permanent. What do I do?

When some moms bring their baby home, the immediate adjustment to life with baby does not feel natural. They are confused with how to do their old life while having a tiny little baby by their side. They expected the adjustment to feel instant but instead it does not happen right away. This feeling is normal.

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2. This is easy. I was meant to be a mom.

Some women deliver their baby, and instantly feel overwhelmed with everything good and motherly. They have no trouble figuring out how to care for a baby. It just feels natural and right. And they love it! This feeling is normal.

3. I’m not sure I was meant to be a mom. Can I give it back?

For some moms, the feeling of being a mother is not natural at first. When they hold their baby, they do not necessarily feel bonded. They do not necessarily feel like they enjoy nursing or feeding every two hours and rocking and holding. This feeling is normal.

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4. This is kind of boring. All they do is sleep.

Some women bring the baby home and end up with a baby that sleeps 95% of the time and eats and poops the other 5% of their awake time with no real fuss. This woman finds herself feeling bored and confused that people describe newborns as difficult. This feeling is normal.

5. This takes up all my time. They never sleep.

Some women may be prepared to just feed, love and cuddle their sweet and sleepy baby and may find that their baby is awake all the time and constantly fussy. They may wonder how any mother could every describe their experience with their newborn as sweet and enjoyable. This feeling is normal.

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6. This isn’t fun. Crying is so stressful. I must be a bad mom.

Some moms have babies that cry a lot (like A LOT), and no matter how sweet and patient and in love with their baby they are, it is stressful to hear non-stop crying. Even the very best of moms do not enjoy holding a crying baby. This feeling is normal.

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7. I feel sad and do not feel bonded with my baby.

Some moms do not instantly feel bonded with their baby and may even feel sadness and lack of interest in their baby. This is likely a form of postpartum depression and while this is an experience of many moms, it is healthiest for you and your baby to seek treatment immediately in order for it not to continue and get worse. Why suffer alone when you can get treatment and enjoy your newborn? This feeling is normal.

8. I love breastfeeding. What’s not to love?

For some women, breastfeeding is natural and wonderful from the moment it begins. From the beginning, they have lots of milk and no pain when nursing. There is no stress because they just nurse the baby when the baby cries and all goes well. This feeling is normal.

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9. Breastfeeding is hard, but I am going to do my best to persevere!

Some women are determined to breastfeed but find that nothing about it works easily for them. They have low milk supply, cracked nipples, a baby with a poor latch and so on. Some women with these circumstances continue and some do not. This feeling is normal.

10. I have no interest in breastfeeding. I want to bottle feed.

Some women from the start feel pressure to breastfeed but know that in their mind and heart, it does not feel right for them. They know they function better with exact measurements and timely schedule and sharing feedings in the night with their partner. So they decide from the start that they do not want to breastfeed but instead choose to use formula. This feeling is normal.

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11. I want to have another one right away.

For some women, the thought of having another baby after just having their first baby or the thought of being pregnant once again sounds romantic and wonderful. And they begin craving doing it all over again almost from the moment they have their first child. This feeling is normal. 

12. Can I wait to have another one? I never want to be pregnant again!

In my life, it seems I’ve met an equal number of mothers who love being pregnant to the mothers who do not enjoy pregnancy. I know that the last thing I can ever begin to even ponder is being pregnant again after delivering a baby. Some women just need to wait! This feeling is normal.

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As I mentioned above, this list is not exhaustive of all the thoughts new moms have. In fact, I’m sure I could continue writing for days. But I hope that if you are a new mom, it has encouraged you to know, you are not alone in your experience of getting to know what feels right for you and your precious baby!

Today, I’m sharing my Summer Maternity Essentials Guide; a brief look at what you can’t live without this summer! Having a summer pregnancy can be challenging with the heat, but knowing some summer maternity essentials to get you through those hot days can really be a lifesaver! Now that summer is officially here, it got me thinking about a few must-have summer maternity essentials that would help all of our expecting mamas that want to remain comfortable and stylish. I’ve kept the list short and sweet, really focusing on the “must-haves” for the season.

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1. COMFORTABLE SHOES

Shoes are probably one of the most important summer maternity essentials for a few reasons. Your feet are your support and now that you’re carrying that precious bun in the oven, it means more strain on your feet! There’s also the dreaded edema that affects lots of expectant mommas. The water retention and swelling make it difficult to find shoes that fit but are still comfortable and cute! Supportive flip flops or open strappy sandals are a great option! Some comfy flats and sneakers are also good to have too. To keep swelling at bay, remember to exercise, to not stand in one spot for too long, to put your feet up at the end of the day, and to keep hydrated!

2. DRESSES

Dresses are your best friends if you’re pregnant in the summer. They fit your bump well and flatter your new, growing figure. Plus, they’re super breathable and look adorable! If you’re purchasing non-maternity dresses, I recommend buying them one size up. This way you can wear them again and again post-baby bump! Keep in mind that your bump will hike up the hemline several inches, so don’t get any that are too short!

3. SHORTS

Shorts are always a summer essential, and even more so when you’re pregnant! Invest in a belly band to extend the life of your regular shorts, or opt to buy maternity shorts that are a little longer, looser and comfortably hug that snuggly baby in your belly. Belly bands are great because: 1) it’s perfect for that in-between stage when your pre-pregnancy pants are just a little too tight and maternity pants are still too big, 2) it’s great for layering under maternity tops or for extra coverage while nursing, and 3) it can be used after baby, as you transition back into your pre-pregnancy pants. But having some shorts that are specifically for your pregnancy is a great way to go.

4. FLOWY TOPS & TEES

I find basic tops to be the most comfortable and versatile. Solid maternity tops and tees pair well with any bottoms and are really flattering! I love the styles that hug your belly as well as the flowy tops that give you room to grow. So invest in a few good, basic pieces to keep you cool and looking chic!

5. A FLATTERING SWIMSUIT

It’s hard to be excited about swimming in the summer with a growing belly. However, the upside is that people know you’re pregnant and you don’t have to suck in your tummy or worry about bloat! Haha! And what expecting mama doesn’t want to cool down in this summer heat in the water and take some of the weight off her back? Plus, showing off that sweet belly is so adorable by the pool or by the sea. There are cute one pieces and two pieces, so pick one you feel most beautiful and comfortable in. There are even more listed here.

6. A GOOD BRA

More than likely, if you’re pregnant, your cup size has gone up — perhaps dramatically. This can be a blessing or a curse, but either way you see it, you’ll need to accommodate your larger (and probably sore) chest with a supportive and comfortable bra! When your sleek and sexy undergarments no longer contain the girls, it’s time for a maternity bra. Specially-constructed, maternity and nursing bras afford a level of support that average lingerie just can’t match. Here are some of my favorites.

 

Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot on maternity clothes. Find what you already have in your closet first and look for regular clothing but in bigger sizes so they can be worn later with a little adjustment. Sticking to maternity basics, however, will allow you to be most comfortable and stylish, and will save you money as well. If you’re expecting, what are some other maternity essentials that you’d like to add?

To see more of our recommended products check out our Chick Picks Shop here. It’s our carefully curated shop of products we love and recommend! ❤️

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