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Health & Wellness

  • What's the Best Breast Pump?

    Breast pumps fall in the category of those baby gear items that are totally mysterious until you use them. Then you fall completely in love and wonder how you ever thought you could live without them! If it’s your first time shopping for a breast pump, the variety of options can be overwhelming. Even if you’ve used a breast pump before, there are always new, state-of-the-art models making the pumping experience more manageable.

    When you’re looking at breast pumps, you need to evaluate them on several points. Cost, portability, size, frequency of use, and noisiness are all factors to consider when shopping, and will be varyingly important based on your own unique set of pumping circumstances.

    No matter what you’re looking for, there are a handful of forerunners in the breast pump market that deserve your attention.

    Medela Symphony is a heavy duty, no-messing-around workhorse of an electric pump. With its double-pump system and 2-phase expression pumping, it makes pumping go faster and more simply than many other electric pumps you’ll find.

    Medela’s Pump in Style Advanced is a darling of working mothers because of its portability, storage space, and design for multiple uses per day.

    Lansinoh Smartpump steps up your pumping game with technology. The pump connects, via bluetooth, to the Lansinoh app so you can track milk quantities, pumping sessions, and more.

    Ameda Purely Yours Ultra is lightweight, very user-friendly, and high-powered enough to get you efficiently through your pumping sessions.

    Spectra S2 PLUS is a powerhouse and has a variety of settings for you to choose from, making it simple to customize your pumping experience based on your needs of the moment.

    Avent Comfort Double makes pumping as comfortable as possible thanks to its design: there’s no need to lean forward or bend over the device to make the pump work effectively, like with some other pumps.

    Medela Harmony Manual Pump is the best manual pump we’ve found. Many women keep a spare manual in case of emergencies and if you’re out for a date night or afternoon with friends, and electric pumping isn’t realistic. The Harmony pump is small enough to fit in a large purse, easy to manage and maneuver while pumping, and simple to keep clean.

    When shopping for breast pumps, it’s important to understand your purchasing options. Talk to your OB and your hospital, since some hospitals have programs that give breast pumps to new mothers. Health insurance also may cover the purchase of your breast pump. If it gets too confusing, there are many organizations that help new mothers navigate the resources available to them. Yummy Mummy (based in New York City), La Leche League (international), KellyMom (online) and The United States Lactation Consultant Association are all great places to contact to be sure you get the best pumping care available to you.

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  • Pregnancy Acne and How to Treat It

    We hear all about how pregnant women are supposed to “glow,” right? Sometimes, though, that infamous glow takes a backseat to another common side effect of pregnancy: acne. Acne is quite common during pregnancy and can affect women no matter their skin type. The most likely cause of pregnancy acne is—you guessed it—hormones. During the first trimester especially, your hormone levels increase, along with your skin’s production of natural oils. An increase in the hormones called androgens causes your skin to overproduce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum clogs pores and can also cause bacteria buildup and inflammation, which then leads to breakouts.

    Pregnancy acne is natural, and once hormone levels even out post-pregnancy, the acne usually disappears. It's safest for you, and your growing baby, to avoid heavy-duty acne medication, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through breakouts for nine months. Here are some safe, at-home solutions that can help you deal with pregnancy acne.

    Amend your cleansing routines. You want to be kinder to your skin, so stick to two gentle face washes a day. Washing more than two times a day can overstimulate your oil glands, which can lead to more breakouts. When you do wash (ideally at the end of the day or after a sweaty workout), choose calming cleansers free from alcohol and oils. It’s suggested you use lukewarm water to rinse and avoid harsh steaming water on the face. Since your hairline is close to where acne may form, you also want to be careful of the shampoo you’re using. Shampoo every day using a gentle, pregnancy-safe wash like Nine Naturals Citrus+Mint Nourishing Shampoo. If you find acne breakouts in other areas, follow the same guidelines and check out Nine Naturals Citrus+Geranium Soothing Body Wash.

    Be mindful of your diet. If you’re expecting, you’re probably already hyper-aware of the foods you’re eating. But if you find you’re dealing with problem skin all of a sudden, you might do a diet check-in. Are you focusing on eating whole foods and foods that have been minimally processed? Are you getting hefty daily doses of veggies and fruits? Are you doing your best to avoid sugar? Are you drinking enough water? The food you eat makes a difference in your skin, so be sure you’re being mindful of what you’re consuming. Some foods that make your skin happiest include avocados, salmon, and leafy greens.

    Go for straight-A’s. Speaking of food choices, upping your intake of vitamin A could help out with your pregnancy acne. Vitamin A is instrumental in keeping skin healthy. Avoid the supplements and go straight for the vitamin-rich foods like milk, fish, eggs, and carrots.

    Change how you wear makeup. During pregnancy, you may find it helpful to switch up your makeup routine. Ditch the makeup that are oil-based and opt for water-based products with the label noncomedogenic; this means that the makeup is not pore-clogging. You could also try an oil-free moisturizer or moisturizing product to help maintain balance in your skin.

    Notice the little ways you can take care of your skin. Acne is caused by bacteria, so the more you can avoid bacteria on your face (or wherever your breakouts occur), the better. Keep your hands away from your face, and try not to pick at the pimples. Change your pillowcases frequently as a defense against bacteria buildup. Keep your cellphone at a slight distance, and not pressed against your face. These small tricks can help you battle a massive amount of acne-causing bacteria.

    Talk with your doctor, because not all acne treatments are pregnancy safe. Pregnancy acne is a major pain, but it’s also usually temporary. With that said, it’s best to steer clear of chemically laden, and potentially dangerous, over-the-counter or prescription acne medications and treatments. If you want a natural at-home acne treatment, here’s a recipe we’ve tried: blend together raw honey, cooked (and cooled) oatmeal, and a touch of lemon juice. Apply to your skin and leave on for about 10 minutes. Wash off, then lightly moisturize. Save the intense acne treatments for postpartum, if you still find the need to restore balance in your skin.

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  • Baby Food by Stage

    Happy Family’s founder shares some of her favorite recipes for baby.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Baby’s first feeding is a huge milestone. And while we know it’s fun and exciting, it’s also overwhelming and sometimes even nerve-wracking. It’s not always easy to create healthy, nutritious meals when we’re busy or distracted or simply trying to adjust to a picky palette. But, what your child eats during those first few months and years has the potential to impact him for his entire life.

    Nobody knows this better than the founder of Happy Family Brands, Shazi Visram, who’s been helping moms provide healthy food for their babies for 10 years. “From the moment you conceive through your child’s second birthday is a vital period where everything you feed yourself and your child will ultimately shape their healthy eating habits,” she says. “Tastes develop in the womb and these seemingly small decisions will result in big outcomes for your child’s future.”

    Shazi’s celebrating Happy Family’s 10th anniversary in a big way — she just published The Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook For Baby & Toddler, with more than 70 easy-to-prepare recipes made with wholesome and easy-to-find ingredients for children from 4 months and beyond, AND gave birth to her second baby, Asha (son, Zane is 6 years old). Below, Shazi shares some insights on balancing her babies, business and book, and provides 3 easy recipes for your baby, no matter what his stage.

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  • What’s Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?

    5 things your pediatrician wants you to know about coxsackie.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    “It’s going around,” is a common phrase I hear from parents. Right now, the normal seasonal increase in coxsackie virus (hand, foot, and mouth disease) is in full swing and we are seeing tons of kids with typical symptoms in the office. Even the mention of hand, foot mouth disease can send typically calm parents into full panic. I’m hoping after reading this article, that parents will realize that while this illness can certainly make your little one feel very uncomfortable, it is rarely life threatening or dangerous. Typically, with some time, love and good pain control, your little one will seem back to himself in a few days.

    Here’s are five things your pediatrician wants you to know about hand, foot and mouth disease:

    1. It’s a virus. Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection that is caused by a virus known as the coxsackie virus. I like to tell parents, “it’s a virus with a name.” It is no different than your child having a cold, it is just a different set of symptoms. And just because a virus has a name does not mean it will make a child sicker or is more dangerous than other viruses. Fun fact: it is named after a town in upstate New York where the virus was discovered.

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  • 6 Meal Delivery Services for New Moms

    These services take the pressure off putting healthy food on the dinner table.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I used to love to cook — spending hours in the kitchen making healthy, gourmet meals for myself and my (mostly appreciative and adventurous) husband. But eight weeks in my first pregnancy, I was passing out every evening at 8 pm and my husband was ordering Chinese food so often that they knew our order by heart. All plans for an organic, nourishing prenatal diet were out the window.

    There’s so much pressure on pregnant and nursing women to eat healthy but, ironically, pregnancy and new motherhood are not ideally suited for long hours in the kitchen.

    For urban mamas and mamas-to-be who are too busy (or too exhausted) to cook for themselves, this city has everything from personal chefs to a-la-carte catering to take the pressure off putting healthy food on the table.

    Read on to find a meal delivery service that works for you!

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  • Asking for Help Doesn’t Make You Less of a Parent

    A mom of twins explains why she said yes to every offer.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I was 40 years old when I got pregnant with my twins. Because of my age, I would have been happy to have one baby. Having two was icing on the cake. I was really excited to be a mom. I would daydream about all the fun I was going to have with my babies — what we would do, where we would go. Only joyful thoughts. It never occurred to me to be nervous or that having twins was going to be incredibly hard. I just assumed that I was going to be able to do it. The plan was for my husband to go to work while I stayed home (alone) with the babies and took care of them. Naive? Crazy? Maybe. I like to think I was blissfully unaware.

    When I came home from the hospital with my babies (my little guy came home the same day as me, my little girl spent a few days in the NICU and then came home) I was so happy to take care of them. I was happy to feed them, bathe them, hold them and so on. I was running on pure adrenaline.

    Within a few days, the adrenaline wore off. I was tired. I was doing all of the feedings (both day and night) and taking care of them for the most part by myself. I thought I could do it all and actually believed that it was my job to do so. I was wrong...

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