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parenting tips

Moms make easy crime targets, Tips to help you not become a victim

Unfortunately, the truth is mothers make great crime targets. Why?

1. They’re distracted.

2. They’re willing to do whatever is necessary to protect their kids.

3. They have a lot of stuff.

Those are the reasons offered by Jarrett Arthur, self-defense expert and creator of M.A.M.A. (Mothers Against Malicious Acts). But we can avoid being walking potential crime victims. We moms can prepare ourselves and take better steps to avoid or get out of a dangerous situation if necessary.
 Here are three suggestions Arthur offers:
1) Be aware of your surroundings and limit distractions. Generally speaking, violent criminals look for easy targets. When walking from point A to point B, being on your phone, listening to music with your earphones, sending texts or emails, rummaging through your purse or bag, or simply not being present in the moment (read: thinking about that incident at work, or your ever growing to do list) signals to a bad guy that you might be an ideal victim. 
Jarrett Arthur
2) Reduce the time it takes you to transition into/out of cars and homes. The entering or exiting of vehicles, buildings, and homes is often one of the prime times a violent criminal looks to make a move. Pay extra attention to your surroundings (including behind you) and potential hiding places, close and lock doors immediately, and limit the time it takes you to fully get in or get out of your home or car. Sitting in your car with the driver side door open while you gather or organize your belongings is a particularly dangerous habit to engage in.
3) Use verbal and body language boundary setting if you’re being threatened. You might not have the option to use verbal and body language boundary setting techniques to deescalate a potentially dangerous encounter, but if the incident hasn’t immediately started with a physical assault you could have the opportunity to establish your boundaries using a tall, confident body posture, eye contact, keeping your hand up in front of you in a “stop” signal, and in a clear, loud voice state the actions you want this person to follow, “Stop! Back up! Don’t come closer!”
Remember these suggestions and be safe out there moms!

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Winter Baby Checklist

Bellyitch Rewind

As the East Coast US digs itself out of record snowfall from this week, we thought we’d reshare our popular winter guide to parents of babies born in the winter. Here are some of the items you have to get to keep baby warm and cozy and safe:
Snow suit or heavy bunting Don’t rely on a heavy blanket to protect your baby from the elements. A warm piece that fits over her regular clothes is ideal when you’ll be moving heroutdoors. This should not, however, be used as her sole outfit; instead, dress your infant in layers and check her body temperature often. “Your baby is overheated if he is sweating, has damp hair, a heat rash, rapid breathing, or is restless,” says the University of Minnesota SIDS Center.
Hats, mittens, and foot coverings A knit hat and mittens will protect your infant from wind and chilly temperatures. Once indoors, these items can be removed to avoid overheating. Outfitting your little one with soft, warm baby booties will also prevent heat from escaping through his extremities.
Sweater (2-3) A staple item of any baby’s wardrobe, a sweater is an ideal layering piece. Look for a soft knit with easy buttons or snaps that will fit comfortably over her long-sleeved bodysuits.
Blanket Lightweight receiving blankets may not provide the warmth needed during colder months. A fleece cover retains heat while protecting your baby from winter elements including snow, sleet, and wind.
Footed sleepers and sleep sacks (3-5) Bundling your baby isn’t safe at night, when he can easily overheat. A footed sleeper or sleep sack allows him to stay warm and comfortable when temperatures drop, with the added convenience of not having to sort through layers to change that middle-of-the-night diaper.
Car seat cover and heavy stroller blanket Keep your baby warm and toasty while out and about. Your little one will need an added layer of warmth and protection to enjoy family outdoor activities.
Moisturizing lotion or body oil When purchasing skin products for your baby, look for non-perfumed lotions and oils specially suited to her sensitive skin. Seek out natural, soothing, and emollient ingredients such as almond, olive, coconut, or palm oil; calendula; or marigold. Most pediatricians recommend avoiding antibacterial soaps, baths, and shampoos. Also avoid any baby products containing artificial colors, allergenic or irritating preservatives (such as quaternium 15, imidazolidinyl urea, or parabens), diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA), and sodium lauryl sulfate or cocamide-DEA.
Home and car emergency kits As inclement weather sets in, it’s wise to have apreparedness kit ready in your home and car. In your car, you should have a first aid kit, portable radio, a flash light and extra batteries, ice scraper, a shovel and a bag of kitty litter (great for getting a stuck tire out of a snow bank), a warm change of clothes and shoes for each member of your family, extra hats, socks and mittens, a charged mobile phone, an emergency blanket and/or warm wool blankets, water, ready-to-eat-formula and a bottle for bottle-fed babies, and snacks. Home kitsshould include a fire extinguisher and first aid kit, set aside a shelf for matches and candles, an oil lamp and oil, flashlight and batteries, extra blankets, and winter clothing gear. Always keep a couple extra gallons of drinking water and a collection of canned goods or pantry items that don’t require cooking on hand. Winter storms can knock out electricity; if your family requires electricity for heating and cooking, you’ll need to be prepared.
Hand sanitizer Keeping yourself healthy is a vital part of caring for your baby. Hand sanitizer helps kill those nasty germs that lurk year-round, but whose effects are so devastating in winter months. While washing with soap and warm water is ideal, antibacterial gels help reduce your and your little one’s exposure to myriad contagions.

Keep those babies warm!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! – 10 Infant Sweetheart Photos to Recreate!

BellyitchBlog Rewind
Happy Valentine’s Day 
from all of us here at Bellyitch! 

And as a sweet gift to you, our readers, please enjoy these adorable Lovers’ Day themed cards featuring adorable babies from some talented photographers professional and momographers!










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20 Valentine’s Day Ideas for the Divorced/Separated Parent and their kid(s)

If you are a newly or recent divorcee or separated from your spouse this Valentine’s Day, whether you are already dating someone or not, you may rather spend Valentine’s day with your kid or children.  
If so, then if you are scrambling for ideas to celebrated this holiday of Love with your offspring(s), here are 20  last-minute ideas of things you guys can do together this Friday — weather permitting as the East Coast is experiencing severe winter weather.  There are some great at-home activities in here you can do nonetheless, with a few resources scrubbed off the internet! 
1. Have an Indoor Picnic in the Living Room
2. Have a Movie Night. Rent movies you both like, pop some popcorn and snuggle under the covers.
3. Make Pizza. Be your own Italian Chef.
4. Go for a Drive to the Country a little way from home and back. Use the time to talk and catch up.
5. Go out for Dinner. Get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant.
6. Go Roller Skating. Have some physical fitness and fun while skating to the hits and oldies at your local rink.
7. Make Soup for the Week. If you live in a climate experiencing winter, whip up several batches of different soups to eat and save for later. You can pick different recipes from online resources or your crock pot cook book
8. Go Bowling. You can never go wrong having a Bowling night.
9. Make Desserts. Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and Decorating fun designs is guaranteed fun.
10. Paint. Roll up the Sleeves, Get out some paper or a canvase and some paint and get creative. Frame your masterpieces and hang them up in your home.
11. Craft. There are loads of crafting projects online. Taking the time to create some crafts is fun and functional if you make some thing that you can use later like an oven mit or a frame.
12. Write Short Stories. Get your creative juices flowing. Get out some paper and pen and write up some fun stories to share or use to enter into writing contests.
13. Have a Game Night. Haul out the Connect Four, Checkers and Monopoly board games and have fun.
14. Head to the Beach. If you live near a beach and in a climate that works, pack a picnic and head down to the beach.
15. Have a Dance Party. Put on the Music Video Channel or Crank up the Stereo and Dance in the Basement or in the living room.
16. Have a Karaoke Night. Find Videos with Lyrics on YouTube and set it up so you can have a performance. 
17. Do Puzzles. Get out different puzzles, get on the floor and put together some pieces.
18. Tell Scary Stories. If you’re caught in the storm and without power still, it sucks but you can use that time under the dim lights to tell spooky ghost stories to pass time until the light comes back.
19. Go to Dave & Busters or Chuck E. Cheese. Fun Activity Centers always are good for a fun time.
20. Go to the Movies. Whether a matinee or to the theater that plays dated movies, get up and get out and head to the Cinema.

Good Luck and have fun!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The 7 Type of people you will encounter in the Labor and Delivery Waiting room

Getting down to the wire to have your baby?
You and your partner, mom, siblings or friends who may be hanging in the labor and delivery waiting room as you give birth to your baby may be curious of what to expect. 

Doula Robin Elise Weiss from About.com‘s pregnancy page has broken down the 7 types of people you can expect to encounter in the labor & delivery waiting room:

The Extremely Proud Grandma
The Oversharer
The Know-it-All
The Chatterer
The Sleeper
The Snacker
The Pessimist
They are funny but true. Check it out HERE

How to gift your baby a global world view from birth

Parents, there is one sure fire way to make sure your child is aware that the world is massive and will not be limited by the confines of her city blocks, tiny town or small village she is born in: 
Step 1: Upon birth, immediately apply for and get her a passport. By taking the steps to get a passport, you are putting into the universe the notion that travel is in her future.
Step 2:  Set up an interest bearing savings or low risk investment account for travel and adventure and have $10 -$25 of each paycheck deposited into this account.  Travel cost money and at any given moment, there may be financial constraints on your budget that could prohibit it, but not if you plan.
Step 3: Buy him a globe and when he is a little aware and into visual screen stimulation, spin the globe and have him close his eyes and stop it with a finger. Whichever place his finger is on, do a Google images search and show him and her this new part of the world. Let him know that there is an account set up for him to let him travel.
Step 4: When she is old enough to travel, whether before college or instead of or whenever, for an abroad program or student exchange program, she will have enough saved up to afford to go. 
Not only will this exercise help your child expand his world knowledge and awareness, it will help focus him on goals and aspirations because he  or she will have some independent travel to look forward to. That way, if there is something in his/her path that could mess up that future adventure trip away, s/he will think twice about engaging in risky behaviors or doing something to mess it up !
Good luck! 

5 Ways to Keep your Kid from Catching a Cold

Staving off a cold in the height of cold and flu season is no easy task but our partners at becomeananny.com offer these five tips for trying to fight off the airborne germs’ attempt to infect your kid with a cold:

  1. Try to keep ahead of the germs.  Disinfecting wipes or a water and bleach solution can be used for this task.  Make sure that you are regularly cleaning door knobs, handles, cabinets, toys, and anything else that little hands might come into contact with.  For every gallon of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of bleach should be added to create a solution to disinfect surfaces and toys. For diapering and toileting areas, 1 tablespoon of bleach can be added to 1 gallon of water. Let the bleach solution sit for 2 minutes before wiping it down.  If you are worried about your child coming into contact with chemicals, look for all-natural sanitizing solutions.  You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the house frequently washes their hands with warm water and soap. 
  2. Change toothbrushes often.  Toothbrushes can harbor germs and re-infect your child if the germs are not killed.  Dentists recommend that toothbrushes be replaced every 3 months if you are healthy, more often if you are not.  Toothbrushes should also be replaced after an illness. To kill germs soak the toothbrush in antiseptic mouthwash for 5 minutes or run your toothbrush through the dishwasher.  Warning: Boiling your toothbrush or running it through the dishwasher will wear out the bristles faster.
  3. Feed your child a healthy diet.  If your child eats a proper diet it will strengthen his immune system and he will be better able to fight off cold-causing germs.  Make sure he eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, as these contain the proper vitamins and minerals needed to build up his body’s natural defenses.  Eating foods high in vitamins is better for absorption of those vitamins than taking vitamin tablets.
  4. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water.  Water not only keeps your body hydrated during the very dry winter season, but it helps your body flush out unwanted toxins.  Water also helps your lymph system run better, which is part of your body’s immune system, and it fights off illness.
  5. Make sure your child gets enough sleep.  Sleeping is extremely important, and most people don’t get enough of it.  Doctors recommend that children sleep 10-11 hours per night.  A lack of sleep can affect how well your child grows because the body produces a growth hormone during sleep.  Digestion also takes place during sleep.  Bodies need this down time to recover and rebuild after a busy day of being a kid.  By getting enough sleep the body is better prepared to fight off germs. 
Good luck and stay healthy!

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Hand-Me-Down Baby Gear Handling Guide

There’s no denying the fact that babies are expensive, and many families work hard to lessen the expense that comes with having a baby by searching for good deals on all of the items that are needed. When given the option of cutting costs by buying second-hand gear or taking hand me downs from friends and family members, most new and expecting parents leap at the opportunity. While some items are perfectly safe to be used after a previous owner unloads them, there are some that should not be used and guidelines for how others should be handled in order to ensure that they’re up to snuff and safe for your little one. Here are five of the rules that you should take into consideration before you stock up on second-hand baby paraphernalia.

  1. Check Recall Information – The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is the single most valuable resource for recalls and safety warnings that the modern parent has at their disposal. Their website is a wealth of information for both new and used baby items; parents should make a habit of checking it regularly or signing up for their free email list in order to stay abreast of any developments regarding future recalls.
  2. Be Sure That Older Furniture Meets Modern Safety Guidelines – If a hand me down crib was made after 2011 it’s almost certain to meet modern safety standards. Cribs before then should not be handed down because they almost certainly are out of compliance and do not include the most lastest minimum safety requirements. Measure the space between slats to ensure that they’re no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and check to make sure that any paint on very old or antique cribs is not lead-based, that models of any age have not been recalled, and that your mattress fits snugly into the crib with no more than two-fingers width between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the crib. You’ll also want to be sure the headboard and foot board have no ornate cutouts that could post an entrapment risk. Changing tables should feature a railing or raised edge that’s at least six inches higher than the changing surface and safety straps or harnesses to keep wiggling babies in place; high chairs should be checked for stability and any broken or deteriorating pieces.
  3. Skip the Second-Hand Car Seat – One thing that should not be purchased second-hand, or accepted as a hand me down donation, is a car seat, due to the extreme concerns about their safety and functionality in the event of a car accident. Car seats should always be discarded and replaced after an accident, even if they seem to be intact under close scrutiny. Often, inner workings and safety measures can be compromised after an accident, rendering them practically useless in a second crash. Unless you know the history of a car seat intimately and are absolutely sure that it was never in so much as a fender bender, it’s best to opt for a new model to ensure your new baby’s safety.
  4. Give Items More Than a Once-Over – A quick glance is usually not sufficient to ensure that all parts of an item are in good working order and that nothing is missing, so take the time to carefully examine a second-hand item. Make sure that all screws and bolts are tight, that surfaces feel stable, and that nothing wobbles; toys should have all pieces intact and present no danger of breaking into smaller parts that could present a choking hazard, and strollers should have working breaks and be free of any rusting, sharp edges, or frayed seams.
  5. Clean, Clean, Clean – No matter where a second-hand item came from or how clean their houses are, it’s important that you clean them thoroughly to remove any mildew or mustiness due to the item languishing in a storage building, stains of indeterminate origin, bacteria, or foreign bodies. While you’re scrubbing look for corrosion from leaky batteries or expiration dates; some items are made from plastic that degrades over time and may no longer be suitable for use.

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5 Tricks for taking out stains from the baby’s clothes


From spit up to spinach, there’s nothing less attractive than when your baby sports a sweater with a yellow stain running down her side. While stains from food and bodily fluids can be stubborn, they are not impossible to remove.

Here are 5 tips for removing stubborn stains from your baby’s clothes:
1. Use an enzyme detergent to remove protein based stains. By breaking down the proteins found in food, formula, and bodily fluids such as vomit and diarrhea, enzyme based detergents are powerful stain busters. Detergents like Wisk or Era Plus are formulated to eat away at protein based stains and can restore fabrics to their prior stain-free conditions.
2. Use cornstarch to remove oil and grease stains. By absorbing the oils left from diaper cream, petroleum jelly, or baby oil, cornstarch or talcum powder may lift off the stain. Apply cornstarch to the affected area and let it sit on the stain for about 20 minutes. Scrape off the cornstarch before laundering.
3. Use a paste made of club soda and baking powder. For stubborn, set-in stains, make a paste of club soda and baking powder. Put it on the stain and let it sit for a half hour before scraping it off and laundering as usual. You may need to use a gentle bristled brush to work out the stain.
4. Make a Biz bin. Combine ¼ cup Biz Stain fighter, ¼ cup clear liquid dish soap, and 1 ½ gallons of boiling water. Soak your item until the stain is removed and launder as usual.  If the water gets dirty, drain and repeat before laundering.
5. Pre-treat fruit, veggie, and berry stains with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water. After washing your baby’s clothing item in cold water, apply an equal solution of rubbing alcohol and water to the stain. If the stain does not come out, treat with a product such as Shout or Spray ‘n’ Wash.
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8 tips for baby-proofing the Kitchen

Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is an eye-opening experience for first-time parents’, showing them a new world of lurking dangers that went entirely unseen while the house was inhabited solely by adults. Knowing that your tiny bundle of joy will be crawling, and then walking, is what makes the chore of childproofing seem like a fairly urgent one. The truth is, there’s no time too early to childproof, even if your newborn is still learning to focus their eyes; kids grow up quickly, and it’s better to be well-prepared in advance than have the need for childproofing measures present themselves after your pride and joy has already had a mishap.

  1. Place Safety Gates at Entrances – Whenever feasible, it’s best to keep babies out of the kitchen altogether. This holds especially true for times when you’re not in the kitchen to supervise, and placing baby safety gates at all entrances keeps a crawling baby or shambling toddler from slipping into this household danger zone without the knowledge of an adult.
  2. Install Cabinet Locks – Aside from the dangerous substances, utensils, and other items that are often stored in lower cabinets, there is also a very real risk of injured hands and fingers. Should tiny digits be smashed by a cabinet door they could very easily be injured more severely than you might imagine; to prevent this and accidental poisoning by household chemicals, install a set of cabinet locks on all lower cabinet doors.
  3. Consider a Drawer Guide System – Toddlers are usually just tall enough to open a drawer and close it again, though they may not have enough height to peek inside at the contents. Still, drawers can slam on small fingers too, inflicting painful damage to their fragile fingers. Installing a drawer guide system designed to insure that drawers close softly and smoothly every time might help to reduce this risk.
  4. Invest in Electrical Outlet Plates – The small, translucent plastic outlet covers that most adults remember from their own childhoods are still commercially available; they do, however, present a choking hazard and can also be quickly figured out by observant toddlers. Kids learn by mimicking adults, so it won’t take too many instances of watching you remove an outlet cover before using it for your child to grasp the concept. Since small outlet covers may not be ideal, it might be wise to consider full outlet plates that cover both sockets and immediately slide back into place after use.
  5. Install an Oven Lock – Ovens can be purchased with a factory installed lock, but if your oven doesn’t have one you can purchase after-market varieties that can be installed on your existing oven as well. This will prevent curious little hands from landing themselves in the emergency room with severe burns. They’re not always the most attractive feature in a kitchen, but sacrificing style in the interest of your baby’s safety is perennially en vogue.
  6. Move Cleaners and Other Chemicals to Higher Ground – Installing cabinet locks is a wise idea because they can keep kids from pinching their fingers or accessing dangerous items inside. However, parents can’t rely solely upon a cabinet lock to keep determined pint-sized investigators out, so it’s advised that all cleaning fluids and other potentially harmful chemicals be moved to upper cabinets, way out of kids’ reach
  7. Stow Away the Garbage Can – While a rational adult would assume that the off-putting odor of a garbage can would be repellent enough on its own, there’s something about the refuse heap that captures kids’ curiosity. To keep your baby or toddler out of the smelly, dirty, and bacteria-laden trash, move the can to a cabinet or invest in a model with a childproof lid.
  8. Train Yourself to Unplug Small Appliances – Unplugging a small appliance, like a blender, mixer, or toaster, can be a difficult thing for new parents to remember; after all, adults know the very real risk that dropping these items in a sink full of water presents. Small children may not be able to grasp this concept for a while, however, so it’s advised that new and even expecting parents get themselves accustomed to the idea of doing just that to prevent tragic accidents.

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