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The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy: A New Book for Modern Moms-to-Be

Book CoverHere is a new book to add to your collection of pregnancy books, right alongside The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy (Vicki Iovine, Pocket Books). The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy by Ericka Lenkert gives down-to-earth and practical advice with a twist of whimsy.

The author speaks from her own 9 month journey as well as takes snippets from a pool of 100 women whom she refers to as the “Mommy Menagerie.” The result is a complete guide that covers everything from the best places to buy maternity clothes, a section on nutrition and even “craving recipes” (I love this!), to particulars like what to bring in your hospital bag and what to skip, essential baby products, and even the author’s own birthing story (which I was touched by because it was very similar to mine).

If you’re like me, I soaked up every book on pregnancy I could get my hands on, and often re-read chapters as I was going through or about to go through that particular phase. This book is definitely one that you will constantly be referring to throughout your pregnancy, whether you need a pick-me-up when your pre-pregnancy jeans no longer fit even with them unbuttoned, or whether you want resources on breastfeeding or best baby gear to buy (often with brand names, which I appreciated).

The sprinkling of Mommy Menagerie top lists and topics, such as “The Mommy Menagerie Top 10 List of Creepiest Elements of Pregnancy,” and “The Mommy Menagerie on…Fashion Tips” are interesting tidbits of support when you need info from a pool of pregnant lovelies like yourself, or just knowledge that what you’re feeling is normal. But one of my favorite features are the various “Cheat Sheets” on topics like exercise, weight gain, sex and what to pack for the hospital.

From the perspective of a new mom who went through my own special 9 month pregnancy adventure, I have to commend the author for managing to incorporate *most of the pertinent information that us “real” gals want to know, without any fluff. (*There was no information or Mommy Menagerie weigh-ins on the actual giving birth part.) And it’s a fun read to boot (despite the book’s ridiculously small font size!) The resource guide in the back of the book is an added bonus.

Check out Erika Lenkert’s website at www.therealdealguide.com for more information about the book. Better yet, treat yourself to a copy!

Cal-Safe School for Young Moms

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When we recently learned about the Cal-SAFE (School Age Family Education) School we of course jumped at the opportunity to supply them with some Glow Mama. What an amazing organization - developed and run by volunteers - they provide nutritious food, support and lessons to 35 pregnant and parenting teens aged 15-18 in Oakland. They have dedicated teachers, on-site childcare, school supplies and baby gear all accessible. And, as if the founder and teachers weren’t inspiration enough, check out what the gorgeous girls themselves said when I asked them what made them glow…

“When I was pregnant the thing that made me glow was the life inside me. Having a growing baby made my face brighter and more beautiful.” Jordana Smith

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“I feel that people make me glow more when they acknowledge that I am pregnant. Seeing other babies makes me glow because I think about mine.” Alexis Farrell

Cal-SAFE is always looking for donations (good food, yoga equipment, baby gear, doulas and birthing educators, etc) so they can continue their good work… So go on, donate… we do!

Oops..I forgot how long Itzbeen again!

 

The Itzbeen Baby Care Timer is a product you will continue to use long after your baby has become a former baby. I have been using the Itzbeen all weekend to keep track of how long it has been since I gave Connor his medicine. This timer is really full of uses!

The Itzbeen is cleverly designed to clip to your diaper bag or your lampshade (the one place I won’t lose it at), basically where ever you want to put it. It has a night light feature which comes in handy for night time feedings or medicating a sick kid. The Itzbeen has timers for tracking feedings, diaper change, naps and an extra timer for whatever you need. You can set each timer separately to alert you (like an alarm clock) if it has been more than ___ hours or mins since you last changed the baby or fed the baby, etc..

I was really impressed by how easy it was to use the Itzbeen. You really just push the button after you have completed a timer task and it was keep up with the time until you push it again. It has a clock on there so you can tell the actual time as well. My favorite feature is that at the bottom there is a switch that you can slide from left to right to keep up with which side you nursed on last. Then you can hit the feeding timer and you will also know how long it’s been since baby had a meal. With Connor I carried around a notebook and a stopwatch. I’m sure I looked a little strange when nursing in public. I am so relieved to have found a product that will keep me from toting those items with me anymore, plus it was a pain during night time feedings. Bottom Line - for the price, the Itzbeen is a must have product for new moms and the perfect baby shower gift!

Saving Stained Shirts from the Garbage Heap

You know when a favorite shirt gets a stain that won't come out and you just want to scream 'cause it was so cute and you can't believe that yet another shirt is ruined and you swear that you'll never buy another light colored shirt again….

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Yup, it happened again.  This time it was a light blue T-shirt of Drew's that looked so nice with his blue eyes that I couldn't bring myself to toss it.  So I rescued it - with a rocket applique made from ripped jeans, an old sweater and fabric from a vintage apron. 

The magic bullet for making appliques is Heat n Bond iron-on adhesive.  Iron it onto your applique, then peel off the paper backing and iron it onto the shirt.  It's that easy!  I sew around the edges too because I like the look of the stitching, but it's not necessary.

My only regret with this project was that the edges of the jean material did fray a bit.  If I did it again, I would turn the material under.  Or pick a material that does not fray.  Now that I've got the applique bug I've got a big pile of old clothes and fabrics ready for action.  It's a fun, creative and EASY way to salvage stained clothes and keep them out of the garbage heap!

Need a Getaway? Go on a Babymoon!

For me, part of being Art Mama is creating a joyful, fun and entertaining lifestyle for my family, and I believe that it starts with my relationship with my husband—and perhaps most importantly, myself. So that is why when I was 5 months pregnant, we decided to go to one of my favorite places—Mexico!

At that time “babymoon” was a humorous thing to call it, as it was a new term I had just run across. But indeed, that certainly was what it was, and I am so grateful I took advantage of it and immersed myself in its concept. The intent of a babymoon is to enjoy one last vacation together as a couple before your little addition arrives, (changing life as you know it!). My belief on top of that is to nurture yourself during one of the most important times in your life, during your pregnancy, when it is a time that is all about YOU. It is a time for rest, relaxation, reflection, dreaming, wish-list making, and pampering. And going on vacation to a favorite spot with your hubby is the perfect way to indulge in all of this. Spending time together to reconnect is also a special way to share your pregnancy with your husband.

Now babymoons are a popular trend in the vacation industry, with lots of information and travel guides to find online. Sites like BabymoonGuide.com and BabyMoonFinder.com offer a one-stop shopping source for finding the perfect babymoon destination. Specific resort packages all over the U.S. and in some tropical areas that cater to expecting couples now include everything from side-by-side couple massages, romantic dinners, prenatal yoga classes, and even Lamaze classes. BabymoonGuide.com also offers an area for people to share their babymoon experiences.

Travel sites like Frommers and Suite101 offer trip planning tips and other useful information to encourage parents-to-be to get away.

An article on iVillage Parenting shares the best babymoon packages, such as the “Mother in Balance” package in Arizona at the Miraval Resort and Spa, or La Costa Golf Resort in Southern California . These include classes and workshops on pregnancy nutrition, fitness, and pre and post-natal life, as well as perks such as use of the spa and pre-natal massage.

Or you can always wing it like I did and go to one of your favorite places and do all of your favorite pampering things! For me it was walking on the beach, swimming, napping, and eating Mexican food (and drinking virgin Piña Coladas during happy hour)!

Either way, it’s a trip of a lifetime. We went with my parents and sister and brother’s family. So one day my mom, sister and I painted Mexican pottery items as keepsakes for the baby. If you go, I encourage you to take lots of photos, maybe keep a journal of your daily activities and thoughts, and make or acquire a keepsake for your little one on the way. It will be a time for the whole family to always remember. But most of all, happy mommies and daddies have happy babies!

Mama’s Day Photo Competition

       

To honor all the beautiful and exhausted moms and moms-to-be out there, we are giving away two fantastic prizes to the most creative mommy photos we receive.     Simply email us your photo (of you and your bump and/or baby) to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and you could receive one of these fabulous gifts on your doorstep… timed to arrived just after the last of your Mother’s Day chocolates have been eaten and flowers wilted!

    

 24 bottles of Glow Mama  and a gorgeous Earth Mama Angel Baby Pampering Kit (either Pregnancy or Postpartum) wrapped up in a soft and snug fleecy baby blanket made from Eco SpunTM.  Thats over $100 value!

Glow Mama is packed with the pre and post natal vitamins you need right now, is completely natural, made with real juice, and yet is only 70 calories per bottle.  Turn it into a delicious mocktail or gulp it down straight from the bottle. 

 

Not so small print:

  • Photos we receive will be included (without names or emails) on our Glow Mama Flickr page.
  • We never pass on names, emails or photos to 3rd parties.
  • We will contact the winners by email to obtain their mailing address
  • Yes, photos which include a bottle of Glow Mama are considered extra creative!
  • Only one photo entry per mama
  • We can only ship prizes to US addresses
  • Entries close midnight PST on May 16th, 2008 so photos taken at your Mother’s day celebration can be included.

 

Baby Celebration LA

 

Only one week to go to one of THE chic baby events of the year.  It's a weekend long, one -of-a-kind showcase for stylish moms and trendy tots at the Los Angeles Convention Center Saturday April 12 and Sunday April 13.  It's a great chance to be wowed by over 300 exquisite products, services and entertainment options.  

They're selling tickets online at http://www.babycelebrationla.com/ , where, if you are among the first 100 to enter each day, you will receive a Baby Booty Bag filled to the brim with gifted goodies!   At the show they've having a Gymboree Play Area, several mom pampering areas, fashion shows and even a Baby2Baby booth where you can help them donate 48 car seats in 48 hours to families unable to purchase car seats.   They've also got some great giveaways…you might even win a "Babymoon" getaway for two from "Barefoot & Pregnant" in Sausalito California worth $2,000.00…cool!  

 

Music to Our Bellies

As a long-time music lover, I always enjoyed hearing stories about pregnant women who played music to their bellies only to have that child later become a musical prodigy. One friend told me a story about a husband who played his guitar right up against his wife's pregnant belly and their son became a guitar whiz. Unfortunately, I only appreciate music, and besides my wishlist accomplishment of learning to play the cello for a brief stint, and my husband's attempt to learn the bass guitar, we can only play our eclectic mix of CD's like the best of them.

Of course I want to believe that music-lovers and musicians will raise the same. And it makes sense, doesn't it, that if we expose our little ones to music of all types when they are dancing and tumbling around in the womb, they will come out as natural born appreciators of music. But I was interested to see if there were studies on this topic, and "hear" is what I found out….

It is a common belief that if you play calming music or lullabies to your baby in utero–for instance, placing your iPod headphones on the belly–your little peanut will react by kicking and moving, or becoming suddenly still, especially in the third trimester. Some even believe that music played while in the womb will be remembered by the baby up to a year after birth.

According to an article on SmartMommy.com , it is believed that in the 7th month of pregnancy, the soothing sounds of music in the womb can stimulate your baby's ear, brain and body development in preparation for sound and language comprehension. Thomas Verny, M.D., author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (Dell, 1994) said, "Musicologists seem to agree that rhythms, similar to the mother's heartbeat, have the most calming effect" on babies in utero. This can also be used as a tool to calm a fussy newborn.

One woman reported to BBC News Health : "I used to have a daily bath and listen to Ella Fitzgerald at 6pm. It was my peace time. When she was born she was very fractious with colic. We used to play Ella Fitzgerald at 3am to try to settle her, and it really worked."

But there are differing opinions on what is called the "Mozart Effect," which says that playing classical music to babies in utero increases brain activity and stimulation, which thereby is an intelligence and IQ booster. An online BBC article –Does Classical Music Make Babies Smarter? — states that "Numerous studies conclude that playing music to babies in the womb and in the early years helps build the neural bridges along which thoughts and information travel. And research suggests it can stimulate the brain's alpha waves, creating a feeling of calm."

It's a fact that a fetus develops their ability to hear 5 months into pregnancy, and can therefore react to sounds outside the womb, but there is no hard evidence that proves that playing classical music is a direct link to higher intellectual development.

In the same BBC article, Professor Paul Robertson, a leading expert in musicology, believes it's important the best music is made available to babies at the earliest possible stage of their growth.

My thoughts are, whether my baby becomes the next little genius or not, it can't hurt to encourage her development with this great source of entertainment (that is far better than TV). If nothing else, it will be a way to bond with your baby before she arrives, and it will definitely be a way to share a fun and necessary form of the Arts for many years to come. So crank up that CD, go to Baby & Me music classes, and enjoy your happy time together!

 

Mother of the Year Award

How do I find a moms group?While sometimes I think just making it to the end of the day without too many Dora songs, tears, food related tantrums, hubbie frowns, missed call or neglected emails deserves a medal… there are a lot of true supermoms out there who deserve an real award. I was so excited to discover my city honors a new woman each year who “goes beyond the daily responsibilities of parenting and/or grand parenting by becoming extremely active in the lives of citizens in the community”, in fact, this is their 55th year! How cool is that!?

Follow this link for more info on Oakland’s award, or comment here to tell us about your city’s or organization’s mom award.

How important is good hydration?

pregnanthydration.jpgSo important in fact, that our recent article on keeping hydrated with Glow Mama was posted on the American Pregnancy Association website. Here’s what our resident pre and post natal nutrition expert Julie says…

Good hydration is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period. Water flushes waste products from the cells and aids in liver and kidney function for both mom and the baby. During pregnancy, water is also needed for the body’s expansion as mom’s blood volume increases significantly. Insufficient water intake can be a factor in constipation, preterm labor, and miscarriage, and even slight dehydration can cause or contribute to fatigue. Proper hydration is also important for adequate breast milk production and flow.

Most women know about the need for proper hydration during pregnancy, but many do not get adequate fluid intake. Some women do not like drinking water; others say they are not generally thirsty. Additionally, women are often unaware that some beverages are actually dehydrating.

Read the whole article

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