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5 Key Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding

  1. Hold off on buying the breast pump. They can be pricey, which is why many women choose to register for them. You could also rent a pump from the hospital or a medical supply store and see how things, er, flow before you commit to owning.

  2. Get only one nursing bra. Eventually you’ll need a few, but wait to stock up until about 10 days after the baby’s arrived, when your breast size has stabilized, says Freda Rosenfeld, a certified lactation consultant in Brooklyn, New York, and mom of three. Start off with a nursing bra that’s a cup-size larger than your current one; give it a test run before the baby’s born to get used to the hooks.

  3. Moisturize. Rosenfeld tells moms to rub a little olive oil—which is super-moisturizing—onto their nipples starting a week before they give birth. OK, so you might smell like a salad, but it’ll prevent soreness from the baby sucking on too-dry skin.

  4. Get yourself good support (and not just the bra kind). Consider taking a breastfeeding class, which will cover the basics; many hospitals offer one-time classes. You could also attend a breastfeeding group once or twice. “Even before you give birth, you’ll be tapped into a network of committed breastfeeders,” says Sharon Panzica, a mother of one in Willamette, Illinois, who started going to La Leche League meetings and liked them so much, she became a leader.

  5. Try not to worry. “Before my first child was born, I was stressed out about how breastfeeding would work," says Jessica Schwerd, a mother of three from Gansevoort, New York. “Worrying did me no good. Does it ever? Once I started, it took a little time to get into a good rhythm—but it took!”

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How To Create a Stylish, Budget Friendly Maternity Wardrobe

Pregnancy brings many changes to your body.Even before your bump becomes visible, you will find that buttons aren’t fastening as easily, and waistbands are getting a bit too snug. But don't go on a massive maternity shopping spree without following these simple tips for building a pregnancy wardrobe that won’t bust your budget.

Focus on basics.

Leggings, camis and t-shirts can grow and stretch with you throughout your pregnancy and will inevitably become staples of your maternity wardrobe. While it may be tempting to simply go up a size or two, true maternity clothes may be more flattering in the long run. They provide the extra fabric to expand where necessary without adding bulk all over. Stock up on neutral colors that you can mix and match through every trimester.

Don’t forget what you already own.

Cardigans, drawstring lounge pants, tunics and empire-waist dresses can help fill out your maternity closet for most of your pregnancy. Layering maternity basics under your regular clothes can stretch your wardrobe options for work and weekends.

Invest in high-quality maternity bras.

It’s tempting to skimp on bras since you may go through many sizes during and after your pregnancy – but don’t! Good pregnancy bras are made of fabrics that breathe and stretch while offering more support for your changing breasts. Get measured by a professional and find a couple of bras that feel comfortable since you may even want to sleep in them!

Accessorize to add style.

Jewelry can go a long way in styling a maternity look. Spice up your outfits with trendy, affordable pieces, like statement necklaces and bangles. Fun accessories can especially come in handy at the end of your pregnancy when shopping for new clothing becomes difficult.

Ditch the stilettos.

Unless you’re a reality TV star, it’s practically impossible – and completely impractical ­– to balance your growing bump atop four-inch heels on a daily basis. Opt for flats, low square-heeled boots or low wedges that provide cushioned support for your feet and body. Your legs and lower back will thank you at the end of the day. Your feet may also expand during pregnancy, so be sure to buy shoes with some give or try open-toed shoes to let your feet spread out.

Maternity clothes can be fashionable, fun and within budget – so enjoy this time and show off that bump!

Image: Getty

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14 Baby Shower Games with a Disney Twist!

We know that the baby shower is all about the baby gifts and honoring the parent-to-be, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun along the way, right?

Treat your guests to a little Disney magic with these new and traditional baby shower games—all with a Disney twist, of course! And then, don’t forget to check out Disney Baby baby shower supplies and registry ideas.

Find The Hidden Minnie Bows

Disney World is famous for its hidden Mickeys throughout the parks, so recreate the magic at your Disney baby shower by hiding Minnie Mouse bows around the shower. The guest to collect the most bows can win a prize! Print free Minnie Mouse bows (blue for a baby boy or pink for a baby girl!) here.

Disney Price is Right

Set up a display of Disney-themed baby products, and have guests guess how much each item is. The one who has the most correct wins.

Guess What’s In My Diaper Bag?

Pick up a Disney diaper bag for your guest of honor here and have fun stuffing it full of goodies! (Don’t forget to throw a few fun items in there to challenge your shower guests—we promise not to tell!). Browse Disney bags here.

Write a Diaper Message

Set out a basket of Huggies diapers with markers and have guests write funny or encouraging messages to the future parents-to-be. They will get a giggle when they most need it!

Blindfolded Diaper Changing

Keep those Huggies handy—and have your guests move to a blindfolded diaper changing station game to recreate those middle-of-the-night changes. Ready, set, and go!

Who Said It?

Print out your favorite Disney quotes and have guests match the character to the quote.

Give Your Best Advice

Have each guest pen in her best advice on life in a Winnie the Pooh journal for baby—fill it with pictures later. This is such a meaningful gift and activity all in one!

Mickey Mouse “Hands Down” Game

Print out these Mickey glove game cards and pass them out face down. On cue, have everybody flip over the cards. The goal is to be the first to unscramble the five words, each of which spells an object that a baby holds in his/her hand.

Sign a Favorite Disney Book

Set out a table with your favorite Disney books for kids and have guests sign them as a way to remember everyone who celebrated on the special day.

Mouse Up Your Pins

The clothespin game is pretty popular at baby showers—add clothespins every time you say the word “baby” or even the baby’s name, if it’s been chosen already. Ramp up the fun, Disney style, by adding Mickey or Minnie mouse ears to the clothespins before passing out to guests.

Make Pretzel Wands

For a game that is its own tasty reward, encourage your guests to make a wish with their own magic wands. Set out pretzel sticks, dipping stations with melted chocolate, and fun toppings like sprinkles for garnish. Yum!

Count The Candies in the Bottle

Set out Mickey or Minnie bottles at every table with varying amounts of small candies, like M&Ms, and have guests submit their guesses to how many candies are in each bottle. One winner per table! (Also, don’t forget to remove the candies before giving to the guest of honor to use for her baby!)

Remember What Was On The Tray

Set out a tray of essential baby items (think small items, such as diapers, bibs, bottles, teethers, or pacifiers), leave the tray out for a designated amount of time, then put it away and have guests try to write down everything they can remember. The most correct items wins!

Guess The Disney Baby Picture

Print out pictures of Disney characters as kids or babies and have your guests match the picture to the adult character. This is also fun to do with the guest as well, if you ask everyone to bring their own baby picture to contribute!

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Pregnancy Cravings: I Can’t Believe I Ate That!

“I used to get a sugar craving in the early afternoons, but I kept sweets in my house to a minimum. Out of desperation, I’d mix hot chocolate powder, peanut butter, and a bit of water in a bowl. It looked like icing and tasted just like cake batter. My husband was completely grossed out, so I’d eat it when he wasn't home. It honestly tasted much better than it sounds!”

—Pam M., mom of one, Atlanta, Georgia

“I bought gummy bears in bulk and ate all the clear ones first. I haven’t eaten them since.”

—Meredith E., mom of two, Glen Ridge, New Jersey

“For my first pregnancy, I was obsessed with crushed ice. I drank a ton of water, but still had my husband smash ice for me and put it in a huge mug, and I’d scoop it out with my fingers.

—Michele P., mom of two, Frederick, Maryland

“I ate hot-pepper sandwiches—bread, butter, hot-pepper rings, and hot sauce. With a huge glass of cold milk. Mmm, mmm good.”

—Jennifer M., mom of two, Ontario, Canada

“I craved garlic French fries dipped in vanilla ice cream. I can still taste it!”

—Patty H., mom of one, Buffalo, New York

“When I was pregnant I had many cravings, but the weirdest was the canned corn phase. Not fresh. Not frozen. It had to be canned. I ate a bowl of it for dinner almost every night for about two weeks.”

—Dani J., mom of two, Monroe, Ohio

"I was compelled to make and eat fruit pies—strawberry, apple, cherry, a combo of strawberry and blueberry, you name it. My husband said 'Yes, dear' to everything and just helped to eat a lot of pie!"

—Julia F., mom of two, Baltimore, Maryland


“I was a pregnant cliché. I seriously craved lots of ice cream—vanilla with chocolate sauce—and pickles too. But I managed to keep them separate.”

—Sarah L., mom of one, Indianapolis, Indiana


An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

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pregnant lady outside yoga pose

Headaches During Pregnancy: What's the Best Treatment?

What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication.

There's much you can do to prevent or relieve headaches during pregnancy without taking medication.

Start with simple prevention tips:

  • Avoid headache triggers. 
    Keep track of your meals, activities and headaches for several days to help pinpoint your headache triggers — then do your best to avoid your triggers.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
    Try a daily walk or other moderate aerobic exercise.
  • Manage stress.
    Find healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life, such as delegating tasks on your to-do list and spending time with people who lift your spirits.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
    Try calming activities such as deep breathing, yoga and visualization.
  • Eat smaller, more-frequent meals throughout the day.
    Regular meals will keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which can help prevent headaches.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
    Staying hydrated can keep you feeling your best.
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule.
    Fatigue and lack of sleep can contribute to headaches during pregnancy. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Consider biofeedback.
    With this mind-body technique, you learn to control certain bodily functions — such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure — to prevent headaches or reduce headache pain. If you'd like to try biofeedback to treat headaches during pregnancy, ask your health care provider for a referral to a biofeedback therapist.

When a headache strikes:

  • Rest.
    Lie down in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed.
  • Use a compress.
    Apply a warm compress (such as a hot towel) to your face, eyes and temples — or try a cold compress on the back of your neck.
  • Try massage.
    Ask someone to massage your shoulders and neck to relieve tension. You might rub your temples, too.

If these steps don't help, check with your health care provider about other treatment options for headaches during pregnancy.

Most pregnant women can safely take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to treat occasional headaches. Your health care provider might recommend other medications as well. As with any medication, though, make sure you have the OK from your health care provider first.

Herbal headache remedies, such as feverfew and butterbur, aren't generally recommended during pregnancy.


©1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.

 

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

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Back Labor

Back labor: Childbirth myth or reality?

Does back labor really happen?

"Back labor," a term used to describe labor in which the most discomfort is felt in the lower back, does happen. Back labor sometimes occurs when the baby enters the birth canal faceup instead of facedown. However, that isn't always the case. Some women simply feel more tension in their backs during labor and delivery than others do.

Although you can't prevent back labor, you can ease back pain during labor. Consider these suggestions:

  • Try a back rub.
    Ask your partner or labor coach to rub your lower back. Counter pressure against your lower back with a closed fist or tennis ball might help. Having one or two people provide pressure against your hips during contractions while you lean forward onto something might help, too. This is known as the double hip squeeze.
  • Change positions.
    Take a walk. Straddle a chair and lean forward or kneel against a pile of pillows or a birthing ball. Take the pressure off of your spine by getting on your hands and knees. To give your arms a break, lower your shoulders to the bed or a floor mat and place your head on a pillow. When you're lying down, lie on your side rather than on your back.
  • Apply heat.
    Soothe your lower back with a heating pad.
  • Consider medication.
    Epidural and spinal anesthesia can temporarily block pain in your lower body. Although not widely used, some research suggests that shallow injections of sterile water to the lower back can provide temporary — but potentially significant — relief from back pain during labor.

Work with your health care team to evaluate your options for pain relief during labor. Whether you experience back labor or feel labor pain elsewhere, being familiar with pain management techniques can give you a greater sense of control.


This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty


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Pregnancy Weight Gain: What's Healthy?

From Mayo Clinic

Like it or not, pregnancy weight gain is inevitable. Your baby's growth and development depend on it. Eating for two isn't a license to eat twice as much as usual, however. Use healthy lifestyle habits to control your pregnancy weight gain, support your baby's health and make it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.

Pregnancy weight gain guidelines

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. How much weight you need to gain depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Your health and your baby's health also play a role. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI less than 18.5) 28 to 40 pounds (about 13 to 18 kilograms)
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 15 to 25 pounds (about 7 to 11 kilograms)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 11 to 20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kilograms)

When you're carrying twins or other multiples

If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you'll likely need to gain more weight. Again, work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain if you're carrying twins:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 37 to 54 pounds (about 17 to 25 kilograms)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 31 to 50 pounds (about 14 to 23 kilograms)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 25 to 42 pounds (about 11 to 19 kilograms)

When you're overweight

Being overweight before pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Although a certain amount of pregnancy weight gain is recommended for women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy, some research suggests that women who are obese can safely gain less weight than the guidelines recommend. Work with your health care provider to determine what's best in your case and to manage your weight throughout pregnancy.

In addition, remember that if you gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy and you don't lose the weight after the baby is born, the excess pounds increase your lifelong health risks. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also increase your baby's risk of health problems at birth and childhood obesity.

When you're underweight

If you're underweight, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born earlier or smaller than expected.

Where does pregnancy weight gain go?

Let's say your baby weighs in at 7 or 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms). That accounts for some of your pregnancy weight gain. What about the rest? Here's a sample breakdown:

  • Baby: 7 to 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms)
  • Larger breasts: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Larger uterus: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds (about 0.7 kilogram)
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram)
  • Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
  • Increased fluid volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
  • Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds (about 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms)

Putting on the pounds

In the first trimester, most women don't need to gain much weight - which is good news if you're struggling with morning sickness.

If you start out at a healthy or normal weight, you need to gain only a few pounds (less than 2 kilograms) in the first few months of pregnancy. You can do this with an extra 150 to 200 calories a day, about the amount in 6 ounces (170 grams) of low-fat fruit yogurt.

Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters - especially if you start out at a healthy weight or you're underweight. This often means gaining 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms) a month until delivery. An extra 300 calories a day - half of a sandwich and a glass of skim milk - might be enough to help you meet this goal. If you began your pregnancy underweight, your health care provider might review your diet and physical activity level and suggest boosting your calories more.

The menu

It would be easy to add calories to your diet with junk food, but this won't give your baby the nutrients he or she needs. It's more important to avoid overeating and make nutrient-rich choices. Consider these suggestions:

  • Trade white bread and pasta for the whole-grain variety.
  • Choose a salad with low-fat dressing or black beans instead of a burger and fries.
  • Eat sliced fruit instead of a cookie.
  • Choose juices fortified with calcium and other nutrients.

Working with your health care provider

Your health care provider will keep a close eye on your weight. Do your part by eating a healthy diet and keeping your prenatal appointments. To keep your pregnancy weight gain on target, your health care provider might offer suggestions for boosting calories or scaling back as needed.


1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.


Image: Getty Images


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Doula: Do You Need a Doula?

Holding senior hand in the hospital

What are the benefits of having a doula?

A doula, or a professional labor assistant, provides physical and emotional support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

For instance, a doula might offer:

  • Suggestions on pain relief techniques, such as breathing, labor positioning and massage
  • Emotional reassurance, comfort and encouragement
  • Information about what's happening during labor and the postpartum period
  • Assistance with breast-feeding
  • Guidance and support for loved ones

Often, however, a doula's most important role is to provide continuous support during labor and delivery. Although research is limited, some studies have shown that continuous support from doulas during childbirth might be associated with:

  • A decreased use of pain relief medication during labor
  • A decreased incidence of C-sections and forceps deliveries
  • A less difficult childbirth experience

Keep in mind that while a doula might add another opinion to the mix when decisions need to be made about labor and delivery — a doula doesn't provide medical advice as a midwife or health care provider would do or replace the role of your health care team. Also, most insurance plans don't cover doula fees.

If you're interested in hiring a doula, ask your health care provider, childbirth instructor, family or friends for recommendations. You might also contact your local hospital or health department for a referral.

When interviewing a potential doula, ask about his or her training, how many births he or she has attended, his or her philosophy about childbirth, what services he or she provides and the cost. Also, discuss your preferences and concerns about pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Once you hire a doula, typically you'll meet with him or her during your third trimester to plan for childbirth.


This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

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Ready, set, register!

Step one: Make a list

You’re itching to wield the registry wand. But before you hit the shelves you should start with a checklist. There are lots of reputable baby gear book or web sites that can help you list out what and how many of everything you’ll need. Always be a little skeptical of any registry list supplied by a store itself.

Step two: Do your research

An alarming number of baby products, including cribs, crib bumpers, quilts, infant slings and bath seats have been associated with serious baby accidents but are still sold anyway. You want to make sure your list is only safe stuff that you really need. The Web site for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) is a good place to become familiar with baby product risks.

Step three: Field test

Don’t be shy about doing some hands-on field-testing for big-ticket items like your baby’s crib, stroller, high chair and car seat. Go to a store that lets you get hands-on and “test drive” models, buckling the buckles, taking high chair trays off or folding and unfolding the strollers. Remember, if a buckle is annoying or difficult in the store, you’re going to face that same problem a thousand times when you’re using it with your baby.

Step three: Edit down to your essentials

Here’s another money and space-saving tip: don’t register for too much of the fun stuff. Sure, the dress-up outfits, toys and novelty pacifiers are adorable, and if there’s something you’re absolutely dying for, put it on the list. But it’s also fun to let your friends and family surprise you with that cute-and-yet-totally-impractical stuff. Keeping a short and simple list will help your friends and family focused on what you truly need to keep your bases covered when the baby is born.

Step four: Exchange

If you do get a dozen baby monitors, save those gift slips and don’t hesitate to exchange extras for what you’re lacking. You can also get gift cards to use later — they will come in handy as your baby grows older to buy bigger sized baby clothes or even diapers and wipes.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Best Baby Gear. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble

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Pregnant Women and Nesting

You know the feeling—the nesting instinct that strikes mid-pregnancy when you suddenly feel compelled to alphabetize the pantry or dust every closet crevice before baby’s grand entrance. It’s totally normal, and you’ll feel even more so when you see how overboard some women go.

Deck (and deck and deck) the halls: "During my second trimester, I went over the top doing up the house for Christmas…before Thanksgiving even happened. I seriously had the house fully decorated and all of the Christmas gifts bought and wrapped. I then made it my mission to host every single Christmas party possible—mainly so I could use all of my newly-purchased Christmas dishes. My friends still laugh when they recall that Christmas season!"
—Sarah Beakes, mom of one, Wilmington, North Carolina

Too much TP: "When I was pregnant, I purchased toilet paper every trip to the grocery store—lots and lots of toilet paper. In my head I was preparing for the snowstorms, until April rolled around…and I was still purchasing toilet paper! One day, a woman looked at my grocery cart loaded down with paper products and said, ‘You’re nesting!’
—Jody Stacoffe, mom of one, Elkridge, Maryland

Special delivery: "A few weeks before my first baby was due, I developed a desperate need to bake as many cookies as possible. I’d bake dozen after dozen each day, then I’d walk outdoors and give them to neighbors. After I had the baby, I cut back but still baked. I needed the calories—at least that’s what I told myself."
Melissa Diskin, mom of three, Decatur, Georgia

A door for two: "When I was pregnant with our first, I convinced my husband that the door on baby’s bedroom needed to be a Dutch door—the kind where the top part opens, so I could hear her breathing, and the bottom part closes, so our dogs couldn’t get in (mind you, we had the gentlest pets on the planet). My husband quietly obliged my crazy request. He cut the door in half and re-engineered it. I think I actually used it as a Dutch door at most three times."
—Joyce Krom, mom of two,Huntington Woods, Michigan

Home makeover, extreme edition: "When I was pregnant with twins, I transformed from a frugal, sensible woman into a shopaholic. I wanted new flooring and new furniture in the entire house, not just the nursery. In the end, my non-hormonal husband convinced me to save our money and keep the flooring. But I got him to paint the house…and I still have my eyes open for new furniture!"
—Brandi Wallace, mom of two,San Diego, California

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