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  • When Should Baby Start Day Care

    Sending your baby to daycare is a major step as a parent. For some, the choice to attend day care is a given. For others, day care may be a decision reached due to a variety of factors. Regardless, finding a daycare that works for you and your family is important. Be sure to inform yourself on all of the local options available to determine which daycare you feel most comfortable bringing your child to. An equally considerable choice is deciding when your baby should start day care.

    Consider your family’s schedule. There is no blanket answer to when a baby should begin daycare, because there is no one family routine. Take a moment and look at the routine and rhythms of your own home. What is your work schedule like, and how would childcare overlap with work? If you or your partner is a stay at home parent, is there a period of time during the day when your baby could attend daycare? Do you need full time care, or a supplement? If both partners are working full time, daycare will likely begin earlier for baby. If there is flexibility in the family schedule, then you may choose to ease into daycare, waiting until you feel more ready.

    Choose the best daycare for your baby. There are many factors to consider when searching for a daycare, and be sure you understand the style of the care center you eventually choose. Some daycares have a busy atmosphere with lots of stimulation, music, and activity. This can be ideal for an active baby, always on the go. But it might overwhelm a more timid child. Other daycares follow a specific education style, like Waldorf or Reggio Emilia, but geared toward infants. These can be very calm places, but also might be more restrictive in their rules and philosophies. For example, some centers with an educational philosophy might not play music as ambient noise or implement restrictions on certain types of foods. You may choose a care that takes place in a daycare center. These usually offer care for your child in large, classroom-like groups. One pro of a daycare center is that they usually have a more sizable staff, which means your baby will have time interacting with a variety of adults. In-home daycares are also a choice. These tend to be smaller operations, and their legal requirements vary by state. For a child who loves to be active and see new faces, a daycare center might be better suited. In-home day care might be more appropriate for a shy child who thrives in very small groups.

    Be mindful of your baby’s personality. Just like some adults prefer extra social time, a quiet space for downtime, or adventurous activities, babies are all different, too. Think of your baby’s personality when you begin to consider daycare, and the frequency of time spent there: does your baby adapt well to new people? Does he adjust easily to new environments? Is she overwhelmed by busyness around her? Does he like to be a part of everything, or does he tend to hold back and observe? The answers to these questions will inform you when you think about when, and where, your baby should attend daycare.

    There is no one correct time to begin daycare. The best time to begin daycare is when it’s right for you and your baby. Young children will adjust to their care environment in different ways, and there will be a transition period no matter what. Reflect on what you and your family need in terms of childcare. Think about how your baby might thrive in a daycare environment if she is showing signs of social readiness. Some babies need more in terms of social interaction and stimulation, and they could be ready for low-stakes daycare earlier. If you have the option, you can also do a “slow start” by sending your baby to daycare just one or two mornings a week and gauging how the transition is working.

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  • Top Tips For The Second-Time Around Mom

    Congratulations! Now that you’ve mastered your first child, another new baby is on the way. If you’re expecting your second (or third, fourth…) baby, you might be in for some surprises. And this next baby might be exactly like your first, or entirely his or her own. Either way, things will change for you and your family, and it’s just as important to be prepared now as it was the first time around. With another baby, there are new questions and challenges, but it’s not all unfamiliar. There’s no reason for you to reinvent the wheel, and much of the same advice for your first carries on to your subsequent babies. But there are some tips specifically to prepare you and your family for the new arrival.

    Make “Let it Go” your new mantra. With another child on the way, feel free to lower your expectations a little. Clean house, folded laundry, adorable matching outfits and uber-healthy homemade snacks are probably not in the cards while you’re settling in with your expanded family. It will even out eventually (and probably sooner than you think!) but for the first several months, don’t stress out about doing everything - or anything - perfectly. Decide where it’s most crucial you spend your time, whether it’s packing healthy lunches or reading extra stories at bedtime, and prioritize those things. Don’t worry, the vacuum cleaner will still be there next month.

    Optimize what you can. The reality is that you have a new little person to care for, but you didn’t grow another set of hands or an extra 6 hours to the day. This is the time to learn little tricks to help you get everything done at home and work efficiently and effectively. One great second-time around hack is to carry the new baby in a wrap or other carrier. Whether you’re around the house or out and about on errands, this will help you get chores done or play with your older child while keeping the baby close and cozy.

    Be realistic about baby gear. Think back to your oldest child’s infant days. What were the most useful, the most indispensable items that got you through the day-to-day? If you still have them stored in the garage, dust them off and get them ready for the new baby. If not, get them again. The gear that made your first baby a happy camper will likely do the trick for the second or third. Be aware, though, that every baby is different. That baby swing your first practically lived in might terrify your next child. Don’t be afraid to let go of items if they’re not working. And definitely don’t feel pressure to pick up the gear that you barely used the first time around.  

    Adopt a flexible schedule. Remember how long it took to get out of the house with a newborn? Spit-ups, diaper changes, and other curveballs can end up monopolizing an entire morning. Now, that’s multiplied by two (or three). You may need to cancel or change plans at the last minute, and that’s okay. If those derailments mean that your older child misses something fun, like a party or a playdate, do your best to reschedule soon so he or she doesn’t miss out. Whether you need to be somewhere at a certain time, or you’re simply trying to go for a walk around the block, give yourself extra time to get out the door and plan on the unexpected delays.

    Involve the first child as much as possible. Give them small tasks that are easy for them to manage: bringing you a diaper when it’s time for a change, singing to the baby at naptime, restocking the pile of burp clothes by your bed. One sweet and meaningful activity you can arrange for your first child is for him or her to give the new baby a present when the siblings meet one another for the first time. It can be anything, from a blanket to a special toy to a crayon-drawn picture. You can also have a present waiting for your oldest child/children “from” the new arrival. Instant sibling bonding!

    Watch your language. As hard as it may be for you to adjust to another creature in the house, your oldest child or children are experiencing their own challenges. Let the older sibling know that the entire family is going through a transition, and frame it in a positive way. Blaming the baby for things you suddenly can’t do (“don’t be loud, your sister is sleeping” or “we can’t go to the park because your brother needs to nurse) could possibly plant seeds of resentment in your older child. Change the way you discuss the day-to-day as a family without centering “don’t’s” around the new baby. Say things like “I can’t wait to go outside and be wild after your sister wakes up” or “Let’s go to the park tomorrow when it’s nicer. We can do a picnic inside right now.”

    Be gentle with yourself and your kids. Just like when your older child was a newborn, every day was a learning experience for you. The same goes for your second or third baby. You’re managing another family member (who is at his/her neediest) while trying to keep on top of your other children, making sure everyone is getting their needs met. That’s a tall order, on a good day! Remind yourself that you’re learning - and creating - a new family rhythm with new norms, new traditions, and new relationships. That takes some time.

    Trust what you already know about being a mom. You’ve likely honed a pretty stellar mommy-instinct with your first baby. That intuition is still there, and it’s still strong, even if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a newborn around. You have your experience to call back on, which can alleviate any fear around pregnancy, childbirth, feeding, or the dreaded diaper blowouts.

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  • Top 5 Instagram Dads To Follow This Father's Day

    Father’s day is just around the corner, so here we are bringing you our list of top 5 Dads to follow on Instagram!

    Josh (@tiesandfries)

    Josh, father of three and husband of beloved instamom @taza, will inspire you to pick up your family and travel the world. His feed is constantly updated with high-quality, breathtaking photos of the couple with their children in their hometown of New York City and around the world. We particularly loved vicariously enjoying the Washington DC cherry blossoms with the fam.

     

    Cody Andrew (@codywestonandrew)

    Don’t ever let your hubby catch you scrolling through instadad Cody Andrew’s feed! Conquering the world with his three kids Beckam, Mara, and Wes, Cody makes parenting look fun and easy. His spontaneous life with an must-have style are GQ-worthy. We are so jealous of fellow insta-famous mom, Christine Andrew @hellofashionblog.

     

    Mike Quinones (@lifewithmicah)

    When dad Mike Quinones and wife Amanda Booth discovered that Micah had Down Syndrome, they hoped to inspire others with Micah’s story. "With social media you can connect with people and actually see what these babies are capable of doing. It made everything seem really light instead of really heavy." Today, it has become a platform to educate other families on what life  is like with the condition. How can you not fall in love with those beautiful blue eyes?

     

    Matthew Novak (@mattjnovak)

    Along with his daughter Lola and his wife Zoe, North Face ambassador Matthew pushes us to travel the unknown. We love following the family’s rustic adventures. Get lost in the photo gallery of this insta-explorator-dad while rediscovering the beauty of nature, particularly the woods.

     

    Aubrey McCoy (@aubreymccoy)

    Husband to 1 and father extraordinaire of four, Audrey McCoy is guaranteed to light up your instagram feed. Whether he is having a cozy morning at home or going to the park with the family, this instadad makes day to day activities look like a shoot straight out of Vogue. We love his simple yet beautiful shots of kids + Bijou the cat!

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  • Help Him Help You: 4 Tips For Future Fathers From PregPrep

    Trying to conceive involves many variables from mom but dad makes up half the equation too! To ensure a healthy pregnancy, both men and women have to be ready. Here are PregPrep’s top 4 tips for helping dad-to-be prepare for little one.

    CHECK WITH DOCTOR. Healthy or not, men should see a doctor for a full physical exam before trying to get their partner pregnant. Besides chronic disease, medication, and problems with ejaculation/erections/libido, anything can affect fertility, so be sure he reveals his family history to his physician.

    EAT HEALTHY. A healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies not only improve sperm quality but certain antioxidants found in said foods, like Vitamin C and E, boost sperm count and motility too. Lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains also enhance overall sperm health. Make sure you and your partner are working on this together–it makes eating healthy a lot easier and more fun.

    CHOOSE BOXERS. Some experts claim that testicles can overheat in briefs, thereby affecting sperm production. While this may seem silly, it’s always better to play it safe, right?

    RELAX & HAVE FUN. Between tracking cycles and everything else you have to consider, trying to conceive can get stressful. But don’t make baby-making feel like a chore. The process can take many months, so unwind and enjoy each other’s company. Ever consider honeymoon #2?

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  • The Call of the Suburbs

    How do you know when to call it quits on the city?

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    It doesn’t happen right away. You have your baby and adapt to your new life in the city: lugging strollers on subways, feeding and changing anywhere you can, running around to playdates and classes–all while exploring this awesome city with your little one in tow.

    But, then things start to change. Maybe it’s all of the running around or the second child, (or in our case the third child) that pushes you over the edge. Things are wonderful and amazing, but also so hard. You think about space and convenience. Before you know it, you are researching the suburbs, figuring out these other towns that are near-ish to NYC, learning about new schools. And then it’s done. You moved to the burbs!

    As born and raised New Yorker, I never imagined that I would live in the suburbs. It wasn’t really part of my childhood, except for a few summers at sleepaway camp and visits to see family every now and again. Childhood was playing on stoops, in local parks, and hopping on the train whenever we wanted to get anywhere.

    When I first had my daughter, there really wasn’t any talk about leaving. I adapted in this new terrain as a mother, and I loved rediscovering NYC through her eyes. When I had my second daughter we moved to a new space: a 3-bedroom apartment, which was a major score in our Brooklyn life. The girls shared a room and we adapted again.

    But soon things started to change. With our third baby, everything just got really hard. I found myself constantly running from different classes to different schools, shuffling and lugging. All of those things at home we once overlooked–like no dishwasher and or washer/dryer–was becoming a burden. I struggled to keep up with the day-to-day, even with a work-from-home schedule. That is motherhood, I suppose, but there had to be an easier way.

    We thought about moving within our neighborhood, but it was shocking how quickly the rents had risen since we arrived. Plus, we were starting to think more about the future for the girls. Did we want to stay in Brooklyn forever? I wasn’t so sure anymore.

    The more and more that we thought about it, the more I realized that Brooklyn life wasn’t for us anymore. And while we were nervous to leave our community and the life that we had grown to love, it was time for something new.

    For us, the suburbs was a no-man’s land. I knew a few people that had made the move, but I no idea where to go or even where to start. We only knew we needed a location that was close to the train to make commuting easy. We didn’t have a specific timeline for when (or if) we would move. Then one day my husband saw a listing in Westchester, so we loaded the girls and went.

    I fell in love. It wasn’t a huge house or anything fancy, but it was just what we needed. There was space, a backyard and front yard, storage, a play area for the girls and an office for me. There was a dishwasher and a washing machine. After some contemplation and some quick research on the town and the school district, we decided to go for it. A few days later, we embarked on this new adventure together.

    It’s been just a few months, and I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. The community has been incredibly welcoming, and the girls have made friends and quickly adapted. Our house is also close to the town that I can walk to the train, local stores and library. I love having a quiet space during the day and being surrounded by trees and nature. Having been in the city my whole life, these pleasures feel luxurious.

    The day-to-day with 3 kids is still crazy and busy, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s amazing to see the freedom that the girls have now. They both are constantly telling me how much they love living here. The transition has been harder on me. Since it’s more of a driving culture, I have found it harder to find moms to connect with, which is a little reminiscent of the feelings of being a first-time mom.

    Do I miss Brooklyn? Yes, of course. But we have it nearby and it will always be a place that is close to all of our hearts.

    Finding the right suburb is challenging and incredibly scary. You have to be ready–both mentally and emotionally–to embark on this exciting change. The best thing is to do your research, visit the towns and learn about the schools. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section!

    This article is by Serena Norr, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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    • 6 Pregnancy Books You Need To Read

      Walk into any bookstore, scour the shelves in the prenatal/childbirth section, and be both amazed and terrified at the magnitude of books offered for expectant parents to consume. To save you time and money, we’ve hand-selected our six favorite books to read during pregnancy, which cover everything from getting pregnant to soothing a fussy baby. Upon completion of each book, you’ll close the back cover feeling informed, empowered and prepared for motherhood.

      Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy

      This 500+ page guide book of the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and newborn stages, expertly written by a team of medical experts from the renowned Mayo Clinic, offers non-biased advice on everything from spotting and pre-natal sex to preparing for labor and post-partum work decisions. Written in the voice of a wise friend, this book contains many valuable features, including: a 40-week pregnancy calendar, week-by-week updates on baby’s growth, month-by-month physical changes for mom, colored pictures, a decision making chart, and a symptoms guide. Although recommended for all moms, first-time moms will especially appreciate this comprehensive pregnancy and parenting handbook.

      The Expectant Father

      Armin Brott—parenting expert, author and talk show host—presents an honest look at pregnancy from the perspective of an expectant father. He touches on everything from overcoming infertility and taking childbirth classes, to adopting a baby and becoming the father that you want to be, while being both reassuring and funny. The 350+ pages of this modern man’s guide to pregnancy feature expert advice from obstetricians, childbirth instructors, psychologists and sociologists, which leaves expectant fathers feeling more knowledgeable about, and more prepared for, the emotional, financial and physical changes that will occur during their partner’s pregnancy.

      The Best Birth

      A 20-year veteran of the labor and delivery ward, Sarah McMoyler, RN, has crafted an easy-to-follow guide for expectant parents, especially first timers, who are having a planned hospital delivery. Within the pages of this modern book, McMoyler offers practical, realistic advice for moms, including the importance of labor position changes, vocalization and partner support (both during and after childbirth). Her goal is to prepare readers for their upcoming, unpredictable labor and delivery experience, while encouraging them to be flexible with their birth plans and open-minded with their health care providers. The Best Birth takes you through various delivery scenarios, while reiterating the fact that “any birth after which the mother and child are healthy is a success.”

      The Happiest Baby on the Block

      Harvey Karp, MD., a successful California pediatrician and assistant professor at the School of Medicine, UCLA, has combined research, ancient wisdom and experience to craft this easy-to-read guide on remedying colic. Dubbed “perhaps the most important parenting book of the decade,” The Happiest Baby on the Block delves deep into the following four principles that Dr. Karp developed to soothe baby’s senses and improve sleep: the missing fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the 5 “S’s” (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking), and the cuddle cure. While infant colic syndrome typically presents itself during the first three months of baby’s life, these tactics can be applied past the “fourth trimester” to aid in calming baby. The Happiest Toddler on the Block, also by Dr. Karp, is a great follow-up book for parents of children ages one- to four-years-old.

      Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home

      Christopher Gavigan, Former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, which is the leading national non-profit devoted to protecting children from dangerous environmental exposures, has written a book that empowers readers to “clean up” their daily lives, starting with the smallest of changes. Gavigan consulted over 40 experts, including doctors, environmental scientists, public-health experts like Dr. Harvey Karp, and even celebrity parents like Sheryl Crow and Tom Hanks, to offer a comprehensive approach on greening the home, greening your nutrition, and most importantly greening your pregnancy by switching to natural beauty products and setting up a nontoxic nursery. Readers will also get a 27-page buyers guide, packed with resources to aid in the “going green” process.

      Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

      Ina May Gaskin, a founding member and former president of the Midwives’ Alliance of North America, gives a comprehensive overview of the practice of natural childbirth in this guide book. Focusing on the midwifery model of care, Gaskin discusses the importance of the mind-body connection of childbirth to empower women in their natural abilities to give birth. The first half of the book is filled with personal narratives shared by former clients, whose stories Gaskin hopes will ease the worries and fears will-be expectant mothers may have. In the second half, Gaskin delivers practical advice on topics such as avoiding medical intervention that may be unnecessary. In this combination, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth offers an alternative view to childbirth practices and is a good read for both expectant moms and expectant dads.

      Take your time getting through this list of must read books, so that the information doesn’t overwhelm you, and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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