A multi-sensorial playground to nurture baby’s development
(Family Features) From bath time to bedtime, there are a number of rituals parents participate in with their children that bring them closer together. These small acts provide a sense of security to little ones and serve as family bonding time. However, many parents do not realize these everyday moments can be more impactful than they seem.
A recent JOHNSON’S Global Bath Time Report, found that 84 percent of parents say bath time is some of the best quality time they get with their child, yet many parents underestimate its power and benefits. In fact, more than half of parents (58 percent) say bath time is not extremely important to their child’s brain development. Yet, emerging and foundational science reveals multi-sensorial experiences such as bath time can be critical to baby's happy, healthy development.
During the first three years of life, 85 percent of baby’s brain is formed. Researchers have found that during the formative first years of life – every interaction – every moment – is an opportunity to help shape baby’s developing brain.
Bath time is more than cleansing; it’s a ritual that allows parents to unlock the full power of baby’s senses with opportunities to use smell, touch, sight and sound. Make bath time mean more with these fun ideas:
Another big part of the after-bath routine is routine massage, and research shows that babies who receive routine touch and massage are more likely to make eye contact and have an overall positive expression. According to the JOHNSON’S Global Bath Time Report, only 19 percent of parents in the U.S. understand that baby massages are extremely important to their child’s brain development with nearly three in 10 (28 percent) saying it’s not at all important. Yet, this skin-on-skin contact through routine massage can lead to improved cognitive development and increased alertness and attentiveness for children.
Remember to think of the bath time routine as more than a simple task – it fosters development and a sense of well-being for baby and parents, alike. For more ideas and inspiration to create meaningful moments with your family, visit www.johnsonsbaby.com/so-much-more.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Better money management today can lead to brighter financial future
Two in five young parents rate their financial health as unsatisfactory and 40 percent said financial stress is putting a strain on their relationship, according to a survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education and Parents Magazine. More than half of millennial parents concede they would surrender a year of their life to have more financial security.
"Being a parent takes patience, forgiveness and a lot of silent counts to 10, but it also takes a lot of money," said Paul Golden, director of Smart About Money, a nonprofit foundation inspiring educated financial decision-making for individuals and families through every stage of life. "Many young adults start off with significant student loan debt. When you add housing, groceries, utilities, transportation expenses and health care costs, the strain increases, and oftentimes the math in the household budget doesn't add up."
The price tag of raising a child is more than $304,000 based on the projected inflation-adjusted cost of rearing a child until age 18, not counting college. Managing that financial pressure begins with planning for the future and truly understanding the costs associated with adding a baby to the family or buying a new home, Golden added.
"Regularly paying attention to your money and practicing major life transitions before they happen is an important step toward achieving financial health," he said.
As a parent, you have many financial responsibilities to balance, but planning for the future can help prevent unforeseen expenses from tipping your scales.
Debt reduction. Make a plan to pay off excessive debt, particularly credit cards. Tackle your lowest balance first to gain momentum then take on the next smallest. Additionally, pay attention to higher interest rates that are costing you a lot of money.
Use a budget. Get a budget and spending plan in place to keep track of your expenses. Try an envelope system with monthly allowances for groceries, entertainment, utilities, etc.
Start saving. Build an emergency fund. Aim for a small, achievable goal as low as $500 then set the bar higher. Participate in your employer-sponsored savings program to boost retirement savings, especially if there is a match. Make it an automatic payroll deduction and increase it when your paycheck goes up. As far as your child's college savings, save what you can, when you can. Every little bit will help when education bills come due.
Child care. Consider establishing a flexible spending account if one is offered by your employer. Parents can use pretax dollars to pay up to $5,000 in child care expenses in most states.
Review insurance and important paperwork. Create a will either by using an online program or hiring a professional to name your child's guardian, and designate at what age any payouts, savings or investments will be distributed. With health insurance, notify your employer within 30 days of the birth to ensure that the child is eligible for any dependent benefits. Purchase appropriate health care coverage to protect your family. Review your employer's life insurance plan and determine if it is adequate for your needs. If not, consider purchasing additional life insurance.
Save for the future. Put money for short-term expenses (1-5 years) in safe investments, such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit. These low-interest-rate investments will not grow dramatically, but they will not lose money, either. Money you will need beyond five years should have the opportunity to grow at a risk level you are comfortable with. Use a combination of steady-earning savings accounts and more volatile stock and bond mutual funds to help protect you against long-term losses.
Get started with these tips and learn more through self-directed courses at SmartAboutMoney.org.
How Much Does Having a Baby Cost?Along with preparing for the costs of clothes, furniture and baby items, take time to review your health care and employer benefits and policies relating to time off work.
Spread the costs.
Know what's covered.
Account for time off work.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Endowment for Financial Education
The birth of your baby is a monumental event, and the choices you make today could have a long-term impact on the life of your child. One of the many important decisions you will have to make during your pregnancy is where you will give birth to your child. If you have decided that you would like to welcome your baby to the world in a birthing center rather than in a hospital, you are halfway there, and locating the right birthing home for you and your baby is the next step.
There are a few important steps you can take to ensure that you make the right choice in choosing a birthing center. As well as choosing according to what feels right for you, there are some things you will need to know to watch out for, as not all birthing centers are the same. By making an informed decision about where you will deliver your baby, you can have peace of mind during the birthing process.
#Make sure you definitely want to deliver your baby in a birthing center rather than a hospital. These facilities are not for every pregnancy, and there are a few accommodations that they lack compared to a hospital ward. Consider the following questions before committing to a birthing center.
In some places, such as in Australia, there are birthing centers in the hospital grounds, which are known as "hospital affiliated". Should complications arise in this situation, you are within the same grounds and just a few elevator rides or corridors away from medical assistance. Looking for a birthing center attached to hospital facilities may prove to be an excellent method for calming any concerns you have about use of a birthing center. However, do be aware that hospital affiliated birthing centers may have the hospital attitude you may be trying to avoid, such as rupturing your membranes, inductions and vaginal inspections during labor. And if the birth center is crowded when you come in, you may be "bumped" into the hospital ward.
If you don't have the possibility of a hospital affiliated birthing center, is the freestanding birthing center located near a hospital? In the event of complications, a hospital must be close by in order to properly handle any emergencies or risks that arise.
Contact the birthing centers in your area and schedule a time to tour the facility. Take a close look at the facility. Ask questions and take note of how well the facility is run and how prepared they are for complications.
Are they licensed by the state, province or relevant national authority? In order to receive a state license in the United States for example, the birthing center must have licensed nurses and midwives. The requirements will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so inquire about your local licensing laws.
If you're in the United States, find out whether they are accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birthing Centers. This accreditation is a major telltale sign that it is a properly run facility. In order to receive accreditation by the CABC, they are required to have charts on birth outcomes, proper sanitation, proper pH in the jacuzzi, etc.
Is the facility clean? Is its informational literature ordered neatly? Is the staff caring and kind?
Select a birthing center that makes you comfortable. Assuming you have selected one that has passed the above checklist, then you might want to ask yourself a few additional questions that tap into your own reactions to the birthing center, such as:
Do I like the atmosphere of this birthing center? In many cases, women choose birthing centers because of their home-like settings. There are often whirlpools in which to relax, showers or baths, kitchens where the family can gather, soft lighting, a double bed made up like a home bed, exercise balls to rock on, plenty of space to move around in, etc.
Do I like the staff? It is always important to feel comfortable with the people who will help deliver your baby. It is an extremely important experience for the both of you, and staffing issues should not stand in the way of you and your peace of mind.
If births are happening at the time you are visiting (often highly likely), what does the atmosphere seem like? Do you feel a sense that this could be the right place for you too?
Inquire about how long you will be permitted to stay after the baby is born. The length of time for postpartum care varies according to the birthing center's rules and needs. You do not want to find out that you have to leave after 24 hours if you were expecting to be able to stay for 48 hours. In some birthing centers, you are encouraged to leave within hours of the birth provided you're in a totally healthy condition; in this case, you may want to consider shifting to private hospital or other care if you'd like more rest or to have family and friends (or even hired help) ready to help you at home for the first few days back.
Don't see an early leaving time as a problem. In line with the philosophy of birthing centers to keep everything as natural and seamless as possible, an early return to home is viewed as a key way to get you into the rhythm of caring for your baby innately, rather than feeling as if there is a hospital routine being imposed upon you. Some women love this; others are terrified of the thought of no rest so soon! Plan according to how it works for you but it is wise to have helpers ready to lend a hand for at least your first week back at home.
Find out what their visitation policy is. Some birthing centers have no restrictions and allow unlimited visitors to come and go as often as you would like. Others have specific guidelines for how many visitors can be present at one time and during what hours visitors are welcome. Some may even limit visitors to immediate family members only. It is best to know their policy ahead of time rather than find out when your guests, who traveled hours to see you and your new addition, are turned away at the door.
It is possible that the idea of having visitors gawk at you when incapacitated is not one that interests you in the slightest anyway. Having people shuffle in and out to see how you are in your hospital bed is not the way of birthing center, which is one reason it appeals to women who use them.
Make sure that it's fine for your partner, spouse or birthing partner to be with you throughout the birth. This is an important aspect of birthing center philosophy. Of course, if you don't want anyone else than midwives present, that is also your prerogative.
Find out if you're appropriate for the birthing center. It isn't all your choice––you have to be a low-risk pregnancy and a reputable birthing center will do tests, with a doctor monitoring your progress throughout the pregnancy, to ensure that you are low risk. A reputable center will advise you if you're a pregnancy at risk of complications and will refuse to take you or will ask you to change your plans later on if they have already accepted you but the risks change during the pregnancy. Also, stay in touch with your treating doctor to ensure that you are getting proper monitoring throughout the pregnancy by an independent source.
The arrangements for being allowed to bring your regular doctor or [Choose an Obstetrician|Midwife] into the birthing center during delivery will depend on the birthing center's policies and local rules, so ask in advance what is possible and what is not. Also ask about bringing in your independent midwife, if this is something that you want to do.
The answers to these questions may determine your decision.
Book early. If you do want to use a birthing center, realize that most of them are in high demand and can be booked out during your due dates if you leave it too late. Moreover, reputable birthing centers will expect you to be monitored regularly by their staff and will also ask you to undergo training for having a baby, especially if this is your first baby or there has been a long gap since you last had a baby. If you leave it too late, you might miss out and the choice will be made for you to go to a hospital facility instead.
Be honest about your health history. Birthing centers screen potential patients for prior pregnancy complications or multiple births. If the center determines that your condition may be too risky, remember that it is for the safety of you and your baby.
Attend orientation classes at the birthing center that you select. During these classes they will walk you through what you need to know to prepare you for the procedure. Attending the classes will allow you to ask any questions you might have in advance. In many cases, they will even give classes and demonstrations on postpartum adjustment, early childcare, and breastfeeding. One of the biggest advantages to this is the fact that you can get to know the staff, and learn important facts about your coming newborn and how to care for it. It is important to note that these facilities do not use local or general anesthetic. They will be using natural and alternative means of pain management, as well as utilize light narcotics. What they do have that most hospitals will not, are comfortable, relaxing facilities.
In Australia, hospital affiliated birthing centers are covered by Medicare. Freestanding ones must be paid for by you but check to see whether your private insurance covers it and whether Medicare will refund anything.
The most important thing to watch out for when searching for any birthing center is accreditation. If a birthing center is unaccredited, then the facility did not pass very basic safety requirements that may put you and your newborn at risk. Only use birthing centers that are accredited. Make sure that all midwives and nurses are licensed.
You will hear all sorts of stories. Some of these come from people petrified about birth and who are poorly informed. Don't let hearsay put you off making a birthing center choice for yourself; investigate first hand, ask direct questions and find out about the potential for complications and how these will be treated. A reputable birthing center will tell you if you're not an appropriate candidate for using their facilities.
Acknowledge the worries of family members who might not wish you to use a birthing center. They have your best interests at heart but are probably not well informed and may have read one too many sensationalist stories. Explain to them that you have done the research, that you're happy with the center and that the staff are all highly skilled and easily accessible. Ultimately, remember that it is your decision to make and it is you who needs to be comfortable; avoid getting stressed about other people's preferences.
What you will need:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/doctor/birth_centers_hospitals.html – research source
http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10358 – research source
http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-a-Birthing-Center -- article source
(Family Features) For many moms, heading back to work after maternity leave is something that has always been a part of the plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. This leads to concern about not having enough time to bond with baby, stress about pumping at work and maintaining your milk supply.
While you may be worrying about being separated from baby for an extended period and interrupting your carefully crafted breastfeeding schedule, there are ways to help make the transition back to work easier for you and your little one.
Ease Into the New Routine
Purchase Pumping Essentials
Take Your Lunch Break
Maintain the Bond
Keep the Connection
Working mothers have a handful of challenges to face, but planning ahead and following these tips can help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.SOURCE:
Natural Baby Magazine
Blogging about Natural Childbirth, Natural Baby Bums, Natural Baby Feeding, Natural Baby Health, and Natural Baby Learning all in the first year of life.