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5 Excellent Tips To Baby Shower Hosting

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels

When one of your close friends is pregnant, it’s an exciting time — but there’s so much to do!

She has to figure out how to put in a car seat, decorate the nursery, and read through countless confusing parenting books. 

You want to throw her a baby shower to help take her mind off the stress and onto celebration. 

Need a little help?

Read our ultimate guide to throwing a baby shower the right way below.

1. Send out Invites Early

The first step of baby shower planning is getting those invites out early!

You want everyone the guest of honor cares about to be able to make it, after all. This also gives her plenty of time to set up and decide on the things she wants to list on her registry.

To get invites out ASAP, check out this free save the date template.

2. Get the Mom-To-Be’s Input

Remember, you’re throwing a baby shower for your friend, not for yourself. 

Always let her have the last word on any games, food, guest lists, and entertainment. You want her to be happy, not to resent you for insisting on doing things “your way.”

Photo by fu zhichao from Pexels

3. Find a Comfortable Hosting Space

Number one on the list of things you need for a baby shower?

A comfortable and cozy spot! The guest of honor will want to relax, spread out, and likely be in an environment she’s familiar with. 

If possible, try to host it in a friend’s home (not the mom-to-be’s own, as she shouldn’t have to handle the cleanup.) 

4. Avoid Stereotypical Games

Games are a huge part of throwing a baby shower, but things like racing to see who can change a diaper the fastest or forcing everyone to do a taste test of baby food aren’t fun for anyone. 

Instead, have everyone bring in an old baby picture of themselves and try to get guests to figure out who is who. You could also hire a singer, organize a betting pool about the time of the baby’s birth, and more. 

Any of these games are also a welcome alternative to the standard stuff. 

5. It’s OK to Serve Cocktails

Remember that just because the mom-to-be isn’t drinking doesn’t mean she doesn’t want her friends to have to do the same. 

Having a bottle of prosecco (or several more) around can make the experience of watching one person open gifts for hours much more fun. 

We also love the idea of creating a unique mocktail for the mom that’s named after her and includes her favorite alcohol-free ingredients. She shouldn’t have to stick to just sparkling water. 

Make Throwing a Baby Shower Easy with These Tips

Above all, remember that throwing a baby shower is something you do for a friend because you want to share her excitement and give her the chance to show off. 

You don’t have to spend weeks on end and thousands of dollars to make it memorable. 

Instead, focus on creating an event you know she’ll love. 

Need more tips on how to raise and celebrate a baby? 

Our blog has the advice you need. Bookmark us to stay in the know.

Breastfeeding Week: More Women Would Breastfeed If They Ignored People

Breastfeeding, believe it or not, is a controversial topic when it comes to discussing women’s rights to perform the act in public and the level of covering up society requires of them.

It is also contentious when images of breastfeeding is banned by social media algorithms that equate the flesh of a women’s breast with a sexual image and blocks it.

It comes with all sorts of myths and women who face diffuculty are vulnerable to quit too soon, especially when they are not supported by their partner, culture, home or work.

It is nature’s way of providing for a newborn but it is not easy for everyone.

If you are having trouble, ask for a lactation consultant to help while you are still in the hospital and before discharge. This service is usually complimentary or covered by many insurances including socialize forms of insurance like Medicaid in the US.

They can help you with issues related to latching, increasing supply, sore nipples, and any other questions you have.

Also, when you are discharge, you will hear lots of advice and opinion. Not all of it will be supportive. Take in the words but trust your own gut and desires and if all else fails, Google or YouTube to see if you can find online voices for support.

When I was expecting my first child, I got tons of support and encouragement from mom groups online. I am still friends with many 18 years later as our babies we were all expecting at the time prepare for their senior year in high school and to vote in the next election.

You are not the first mom to have difficulty. Getting help when you need it doesn’t make you worse at breastfeeding than others.

Among a long list of myths women have about breastfeeding is the notion that If You’re Sick, You Shouldn’t Breastfeed.

Just because you’re feeling under the weather doesn’t mean you can’t naturally feed your child, notes the site which boasts the best rated nursing covers.

In fact, “There are very few illnesses that require a mother to stop nursing,” explains the site, breastfeeding.

The site explains that your baby has likely already been exposed to the virus that is making you ill, and breastfeeding will actually help fortify your baby’s response to the virus through antibodies from your system.

Even being HIV positive is not a reason to stop breastfeeding, notes other sources (although antiretroviral drugs will likely be prescribed during the first year of breastfeeding).

Hopefully, knowing the truth bout when to get help and not falling prey to myths that prevent you from giving up too soon.

Yale OB/GYN Professor’s List of 7 Things To Give Up To Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

by Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Yale University

Every couple mired in infertility, every woman who has ever spent hours scouring the Internet for new breakthroughs and conception tips has had the same wish: For a clear-cut, easy-to-follow program that would guarantee a healthy pregnancy.

Unfortunately, a simple do-it-yourself plan doesn’t exist, but fertility specialists and women’s health experts agree that certain measures can create the best possible chances for fertilization to occur. So, without ironclad guarantees, here are 7 things to give up to help you get pregnant this year:

1. Alcohol. Studies focusing on alcohol’s effect on conception have produced mixed results, with some indicating that pregnancy is more likely if women give up drinking entirely and others suggesting that those who drink moderately might increase their chances of conception – perhaps because an occasional glass of wine makes them more relaxed. But experts agree that women who give up alcohol will increase their chances of a healthy baby once conception does happen, and that alone is reason enough for most women to quit.

2. Tobacco. Unlike alcohol, the data smoking’s correlation to pregnancy is undisputed. Both primary and secondhand smoke are detrimental to a woman’s chance of conceiving and to a developing fetus as well. Quitting is never easy, but resources and support to help you find a plan and stick to it.

3. Caffeine. As the daily substance of choice for most Americans, dependency on those morning cups of coffee is difficult to break. Try cutting back on your intake if you drink multiple cups a day- a recent study confirms ACOG guidelines that one standard 12 oz. cup of regular coffee (200 mg of caffeine) is safe for pregnancy.

4. Your Spot on the Couch. In other words, get up and move around! Couch potatoes aren’t helping any aspect of their health, but women who are trying to conceive have an extra-compelling reason to kick it into high gear. Experts agree that women who stay within their ideal weight have a better chance of becoming pregnant, and a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that women who exercise 30 minutes or more a day had a reduced risk of ovulation disorders, which often lead to infertility.

5. Junk food. Generally speaking, any change that moves you toward a healthier lifestyle will promote fertility. But when it comes to diet, advice seems to fall all over the map. Specific fertility diets advocate for eating foods like oysters, garlic and yams, but an extensive 2009 study advised women to follow simpler guidelines – healthy fats, selective proteins, whole grains and plenty of iron and other vitamins. It’s important to start taking supplemental folic acid to help prevent birth defects. The sooner you can start taking a prenatal vitamin with sufficient folic acid like vitafusion, the better! You should begin taking prenatals even before you begin trying to conceive. And, obviously, putting down the potato chips and the candy bars is an excellent first step to take to help you get pregnant this year.

6. Excessive Stress. Granted, this step is easier said than done, especially when the chief cause of the stress is the infertility itself. But if external factors are causing undue anxiety, a woman’s chance at conception can decrease, and the stress of waiting for that positive pregnancy test month after month could be the last straw for her emotional health. Give up extra responsibilities whenever possible, talk to your boss about reducing your job stress and work in regular “mental health” days to be refreshed by activities and people you enjoy.

7. Lubricants Containing Glycerin. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)’s “Guidelines for Optimizing Natural Fertility”, several leading vaginal lubricants (e.g. K-Y) may decrease fertility based on their observed effects on sperm survival. Another study showed that lubricants containing glycerin had an adverse effect on sperm motility. Fertility experts recommend using a fertility friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed that is specially formulated without glycerin that will not harm sperm and allows sperm to swim freely.

Like we said, there is no checklist you can complete that guarantees a healthy pregnancy, but giving up these 7 things can help you get pregnant. It’s all about creating the ideal environment for the pregnancy to happen; a healthy, happy and active lifestyle is a solid base and giving up the aforementioned things will get you there.

Mary Jane Minkin, MD is a clinical professor of obstetrics & gynecology at Yale University’s school of medicine. She is also the founder of MadameOvary.com, an educational resource for women’s midlife health.

3 Breastfeeding Myths Busted!

woman breastfeeding

There is so much to learn about when preparing for a new baby. Car seats, cribs, diapers, and breastfeeding.  Often confusing, and sometimes frightening, breastfeeding advice comes with different points of view and opinions. 

Here are three myths to bust!

1. HAND-EXPRESSING MILK IS A WASTE OF TIME



FALSE!

A recent study by Dr. Jane Morton revealed that hand expression of milk has been an under-utilized skill. There are many benefits of knowing how to express milk from the breast without the use of a pump. Learn more from Stanford Medicine, Newborn Nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

2. ZONING OUT IS BAD FOR BREAST MILK PRODUCTION.

FALSE!

In a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Feher, groups of moms whose babies were in the NICU and who had to pump their milk were given relaxation and visualization tapes to help reduce stress. 

After one week, the moms expressed 63% more breast milk! 

3. Herbal Lactation Supplements Must Have Fenugreek to Work



FALSE!

For centuries, certain herbs and foods have been used in different cultures to promote breast milk production.



While fenugreek has been the go-to galactagogue (a substance that increases milk supply) in the US for many years and works well for some women, others may experience some undesirable side effects while taking it. In one survey of nursing mothers in the United States, 85 had used fenugreek as a galactagogue and 45% of those mothers reported having experienced an adverse reaction from the supplement.

In fact, Luna Feehan, the owner of Legendairy Milk® experienced this firsthand with her son when her lactation consultant recommended she try a fenugreek tincture. After determining it was not a good fit for her or her baby, she began to research other galactagogues used in various parts of the world to support milk production.

There you go! Knowing is half the battle!

How To Ensure Your Family Has Clean Water

We all know how important water is to all forms of life. It is all around us, in the clouds, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is the single most essential aspect of our lives, and we can’t survive without it.

With a lot of tap water being known to contain contaminants, it is a good idea to look into alternative options, such as filtration systems to ensure that the water you and your family drinks is safe, clean, and tasting like water should.

Tap Water and Known Contaminants

Tap water has been shown time and again to contain contaminants that can be detrimental to human health. This is bad news for anyone who doesn’t have bottled water handy, who don’t have a refrigerator with a built in water dispenser, or just folks who want to know they are drinking safe water.

Did you know that estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that around 60,000 chemicals are added to public water sources in the United States? Shockingly, only 91 of these are actually regulated by the Safe Water Drinking Act. With the alarms sounding in many folks’ heads over lead discovered in the Flint, Michigan water supply, it is quite easy to understand why so many people are worried about the safety of their tap water.

Just two of the contaminants that are known to be in tap water include:

Chlorine and Chloramine: Disinfectants added to the water supply, chlorine is usually thought to be the main chemical added to swimming pools to make the water blue and crisp. This doesn’t, however, mean that it is safe for human consumption. Chlorine (and its longer-lasting and harder to filter chemical twin, chloramine), are known to have links to cancer, miscarriages, and more.

Lead: Lead finds its way into public water supply through outdated pipes. It can cause blood disorders and brain damage, and is also known to cause even more issues in children, such as developmental disorders and mental deficiencies.

With contaminants that are known to cause so many issues floating around in public drinking water, it is no wonder many people are looking into other sources for getting their drinking water, such as bottled water, digging a well, or looking into a whole house water filtration system to get all these bad chemicals out.

Home Water Filtration

Whole house water filtration systems can be an excellent way for you to filter out all these contaminants in your drinking water. There are all sorts of filtration systems out there for you to choose from, with great benefits such as easy installation, systems that can filter out the bad chemicals and leave in the healthy minerals that actually do help, and some that soften the water for you! A recent review by iPropertyManagement that compares the pros and cons of many whole house water filtration systems is worth reading.

With a whole host of filtration systems on the market, it may seem like a daunting task to decide which one is the best for you and your family. Luckily, affordable filtration systems are within reach for almost anyone looking to get into the water purification game. Companies like iSpring, Home Master, and 3M have you covered with wallet-friendly filtration options, so you can rest easier knowing you are putting only the good minerals found in your drinking water into your body, and not the potentially harmful contaminants.

The Good News

You don’t have to be content with the fact that public drinking supplies seem to be ridden with things that are known to be harmful to humans. There are many options available to you to make sure you are getting only the best from your water supply, and knowing just how important it is to drink plenty of water, you are naturally only going to want to drink pure water, not something laced with contaminants.

Well water is one way to truly own your water supply, but it can be out of the question for many families, as it can be quite pricey to dig a well. Many families opt to exclusively bottled water, but depending on how many people are in your family and how much water they drink, this can be a pricey option as well.

A water filtration system is a one-time, affordable purchase that will allow you to get the good from your water, without having to worry about the bad, and that is something to feel good about!

10 Creative Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy

Being original is what it is all about when revealing that you are pregnant, with some parents taking it that extra step when deciding to tell the world that they are expecting a little baby. Take these guys for example (pictured above) who have used the simplest of things to tell their own personal story. Yes, unique and humorous baby reveals have become incredibly popular over the last few years, with parents using whatever they find on the street as a means to let people know that they are adding an extra placemat to their dining table.

Check out these other 9 creative ways via Mom.com

Study: Pregnant Women Space Themselves from Others Farther Apart

man and woman in office standing far apart

Are pregnant women really more prone to forgetfulness and spacey behavior? Research looking into “pregnancy brain” have had mixed results.

But a new study from Anglia Ruskin University and Addenbrooke’s Hospital shows that pregnant women are much more alert and vigilant than their peers, even subconsciously seeking out more personal space – as much as 26 inches.

“Pregnancy involves massive and rapid changes to the body both externally, as the body suddenly changes shape, and internally, while the fetus is growing,” lead author Dr. Flavia Cardini of Anglia Ruskin said. “Our results suggest that when the body undergoes significantly large changes, at the stage when the abdomen is clearly expanded, the maternal brain also begins to make adjustments to the space immediately surrounding the body.”

The researchers used an audio-tactile test with more than 80 pregnant women in their second and third trimesters, along with 41 women who weren’t pregnant. In three sessions, they played threatening sounds and then used a small tapper attached to their abdomen to provide a “touch” sensation.

On average, personal space is the space within about an arm’s length, though that can vary by culture, age and environment.

And it can apparently also vary based on the stage of pregnancy.

The researchers from Anglia Ruskin and Addenbrooke’s found that during the third trimester, pregnant women subconsciously seek out more personal space. However, they showed little difference on space preference in the second trimester or after birth compared to women who were not pregnant.

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So Men Have Biological Clocks Too…

By Mark Trolice, M.D.

Women aren’t the only ones with a proverbial biological clock.

Despite many misconceptions and misperceptions, men are affected by infertility at almost the same rate as women. Not only that, as men age, their sperm is impacted—affecting the length of time it takes to get pregnant, the mother’s health during pregnancy, chances of miscarriage, and even health of the baby.

Only recently have any large-scale studies focused entirely on the impact of older fathers. One of the most recent and largest studies analyzed more than 40.5 million births at the Stanford University School of Medicine, concluding that “more than 12 percent of births to fathers aged 45 years or older with adverse outcomes might have been prevented were the fathers younger.”

The Stanford researchers also found that men over age 40-45:

·         Take five times as long to impregnate their partner compared with men under 25;

·         Are 14 percent more likely than men in their 20s and 30s to have children born prematurely with a low birth weight; 

·         As the fathers’ ages increased, their babies were more likely to need help with breathing and require neonatal intensive care;

·         Have a higher chance of the mother getting gestational diabetes;

·         Have a higher chance of the mother miscarrying, and;

·         Have a higher chance of children being born with birth defects, autism and mental health disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.

We are learning more and more about the impact of older fathers as the rate of births to men 40 and over continues to rise. Since the 1970s, the birth rate to men over 40 has doubled to about 9 percent as of 2015.

Biological Clock

While women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs, men start making sperm at puberty and continue this for the rest of their lives. As women age, declining egg quantity and quality puts them at increasing risk for infertility, miscarriages and having children with health problems due to chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome.

While women are technically considered fertile until menopause, their monthly odds of pregnancy decline from 20 percent at age 30 to 5 percent at age 40…until it eventually hits zero. These same ages see a miscarriage rate rise from 10 percent to 33 percent and continue to rise with her age.

Because sperm production doesn’t end, it was long believed that men would remain fertile their entire lives, without age having a significant impact on length of time to conceive or the mother and child’s health.

Causes of Male Infertility

About 12 percent of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, with the cause equally divided between men and women at about 40 percent. In about 33 percent of couples with infertility, both a male and female cause is found.

The most common causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production, function or delivery. Other causes include overexposure to certain pesticides or chemicals; significant alcohol, tobacco or marijuana use, and; the use of particular medications like anabolic steroids, antihypertensives and some types of antibiotics. Additionally, radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer can cause infertility by significantly impairing sperm production.

Can Men Optimize Their Fertility?

There are ways for men to protect and maximize their fertility:

Body weight. Higher body weight is linked with decreasing both sperm count and motility.

Diet. Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, vitamin E and CoQ10, to improve sperm quantity and quality.

Manage stress. Stress can cause lower sperm function and sexual performance anxiety – think stage fright! If you are experiencing stress with difficulty conceiving – and who isn’t? – reach out to your partner and/or a counselor for health coping strategies and stress-reduction techniques.

Exercise. Moderate physical activity can have positive or neutral effects on sperm, but intensive exercise can reduce sperm function. So, remember there’s a sweet spot with exercise intensity.

Don’t smoke. Men who smoke cigarettes inhale passive smoke are more likely to have impaired sperm and higher rates of genetically damaged sperm.

Limit alcohol. While there is debate on alcohol’s effect on sperm, prolonged abuse can cause impotence.

Talk to your doctor about medications. Many medications impact fertility, including calcium channel blockers (reduce fertilization), testosterone and anabolic steroids.

Avoid exposure to toxins. Exposure to environmental toxins, especially phthalates (used in many plastics and hundreds of products) may reduce sperm function.

Stay cool. Increased temperature to the scrotum can impair sperm production. Wear loose-fitting underwear, avoid saunas and hot tubs and limit scrotum exposure to warm objects (such as laptops.)

About the Author

Mark P. Trolice, M.D., is a Board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist who founded and directs Fertility CARE-The IVF Center in Winter Park, Fla. He also is associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando.

How to Pick the Right Pregnancy Footwear

When you’re pregnant, you’re not only growing a tiny human – your body will also undergo a range of amazing (and not-so-amazing) changes, as well. One common change experienced by expectant moms is weight gain, which tends to make your feet swell and ache. If you’re pregnant with sore feet, then you’ll know exactly how uncomfortable this can be. So, the best thing that you can do for yourself during pregnancy is to invest in some comfortable, supportive shoes. 

Why is the Right Footwear Important During Pregnancy?

Even if you haven’t gained much weight as a result of being pregnant, the additional weight from your growing baby bump can make your feet swell up. As your body grows and changes shape, your center of gravity will also change, which affects the way that you walk and impacts your back, ankles, and feet. The right footwear is crucial for getting the best support and avoiding symptoms such as feet and leg swelling, varicose veins, heel pain, ligament trauma and sprains, and back pain. 

What to Look For:

When your feet are comfortable and supported during pregnancy, you’ll also feel happier. So, take the time to choose the right pair of shoes for your needs. When shopping, it’s worth buying footwear that is a size or at least half a size bigger than the one that you would normally go for. This is because if your feet do swell up during pregnancy, your normal size may become uncomfortable or even painful for you, so give your feet some extra room. And, it’s a wise idea to opt for shoes that offer a good arch and ankle support. They will provide comfort along with helping to reduce joint pain and aches that you may experience during pregnancy. 

Wearing Heels During Pregnancy:

You’ve probably seen glamorous photographs of celebrities wearing heels whilst heavily pregnant, but bear in mind that wearing heels for too long or too often during pregnancy isn’t always a good idea. This is because the changing center of gravity of your body will mean that you walk less steadily when pregnant. In addition, loosened ligaments can make you more susceptible to muscle and joint instability. As a result, most pregnant women are at a higher risk of suffering a fall from wearing heels when pregnant. If you need to wear heels for an event, it’s a wise idea to opt for a more supportive style, such as block or wedge heels. 

Top Tips for Selecting the Right Shoes:

When shopping for shoes to wear during pregnancy, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice, so keep these top tips in mind:

• It’s best to opt for flat shoes, but if you need to wear heels, wide and low ones are the best option.

• Avoid footwear with stiletto heels or more than two inches of heel.

• If you are unable to find footwear with the right kind of arch support, consider wearing additional insoles to offer extra support and comfort to your feet.

• Opt for footwear that allows your feet to breathe and does not make them sweat. Mesh and canvas are great options.

• Opt for footwear that has a wider toe area, rather than narrow or cinched.

• Loafers are usually a safe option; they are both smart and trendy along with being extremely. comfortable.

• For the summer, flat sandals are a great footwear choice.

Opt for High Quality:

You will be pregnant for nine months and if you expect to be on your feet a lot, you will want to get footwear that’s going to last you for the entire duration of your pregnancy and beyond. If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, choose shoes that you know are able to continue offering the support and comfort that you will need as your bump grows. High-end sneakers are a great choice as many designs can be paired with both smart and casual outfits, whilst offering superb comfort and support thanks to the quality of materials and craftsmanship used. Gucci sneakers are a popular choice; they are stylish, whilst very comfortable to wear.  You can look for sneakers on the SSENSE website; there’s a large range of sporty and trendy styles to choose from on this designer footwear site

Choosing Shoes for Work:

If you are working throughout most of your pregnancy, it’s a wise idea to avoid wearing heels for work. Unless your place of employment has a relaxed dress code, wearing comfortable sneakers may no longer be an option. In this case, you may want to consider supportive flat ankle boots, dolly shoes or smart loafers instead. 

It’s important to choose the right footwear to support you through your pregnancy and lessen the impact your growing bump will have on your feet. Do you have any shoe recommendations for expecting moms? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

How to Tell If You’re Having a Boy Or Girl {Infographic}

boy or girl photo

Here is another Flashback Friday gem of a post from the past including a PregnancyZone inforgraphic about how to tell if you’re having a boy or girl that I’m resharing while the kids have me busy during Spring break:

Some old wife beliefs to know if it’s a girl or a boy are given in the following part of the article. If you are having a boy then some of the indications include having a heart beat of more than 140 per minute, an out front bulge, basketball looking belly, large and dark nipples, bright yellow color of the urine and having amazing looks.

Some of the signs indicating a baby girl includes heart rate of less than 140 per minute, bulges in the back and the hips, watermelon looking belly, dull yellow urine color, breasts that are blossom and appearance less than normal.

If your wedding ring movement on belly is in circular motion then it is considered to be a boy whereas the sideways movement indicates baby girl. Craving for salty and sour foods are known to be there in case of baby boy whereas sweets and orange juice cravings indicate baby girl.

Another way to find out is by adding your current age to the month of perception and if the number comes in even then it is a boy and if it comes an odd number then it is considered to be a girl.

If you wish to conceive a baby girl then prescribed diet includes food items like corn, eggs, yogurt, coffee, beans, plums, fish, meat and liver. The restricted food items should be oranges, watermelon, alkaline foods and potatoes.

If you wish to conceive a boy then you should include lentils, pine nuts, sprouts, almonds, avocado and royal jelly in your diet.

Dairy products and foods having calcium and magnesium should be avoided.