Archive for June, 2014

Pregnancy Week 32: Third Trimester Discomforts

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 32: Third Trimester DiscomfortsAs they approach the last weeks of pregnancy, most women are a mix of emotions.  Excited, nervous, apprehensive. But with any wonderful thing, there are usually a few discomforts. The third trimester offers a variety of uncomfortable moments for many women.


Oh the second trimester. You feel great. You glow. Your body is changing and growing, and you are so cute. Cue the third trimester. All of a sudden, you are tired again. Your belly is now as big as a planet. You may be glowing still, but you also may be starting to lose a little bit of that luster. Third trimester exhaustion is very common in pregnancy. I have noticed my energy levels have begun to drop and my motivation to get things done has not.

An increase of weight and trouble sleeping can be to blame for this newfound tiredness. There are easy fixes, luckily. Eating right, getting some daily exercise, and staying hydrated can help. Also, try not to be supermom. If you are balancing the needs of other small children, keep your daily responsibilities to a minimum. Get some rest now, while you can.

Back Pain                                                                                          

Approximately 50% of pregnant women will experience back pain. With both of my pregnancies, I had back pain in the exact same spot. My chiropractor recently told me that it could simply be due to my growing baby pushing on my ribs. Either way, I have had to find some easy ways to combat this pain. The extra weight gained throughout your pregnancy can cause back pain to come to a head in the third trimester.

Practicing good posture and sitting in a reliable chair can help. Try comfortable shoes instead of high heels. Sleeping on your side with pillows can help, too. Try a pillow between your legs, one behind your back, and even try lying down on the side where you back bothers you. Ask your spouse to massage the painful spot or apply a heating pad, if all else fails. Talk to your doctor if you still can’t get relief. As always, it is important to be careful with taking any medications, such as acetaminophen, during pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

These sporadic uterine contractions can occur frequently during the third trimester. Most women describe them as a short tightening in their stomach that eventually subsides. These should not feel like labor, and should be less intense. Many women don’t notice these at all. With my first pregnancy, I don’t remember feeling anything. This time around is, of course, different. A warm bath, drinking water, relaxation exercises, or changing your position may help ease these contractions. A good guide to remember is if you have more than four contractions in an hour, contact your doctor or provider.

While I do love being pregnant, I do have to admit that there are some discomforts that come with the last weeks. I look forward to being more comfortable, but more than anything, I look forward to holding my sweet baby boy.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way who may be uncomfortable now, but she can’t wait to hold her little man.

Great Pool Snacks for Summer

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Sailor girlDuring the hot Texas summers, daily trips to the pool are a must to stay cool. This is my third summer taking my kids to the neighborhood pool, and this summer they are 3.5 and 1.5 years old. I have learned that I must pack snacks when we go to the pool or my kids will end up eating all of the neighbor-kid’s snacks.

Below are a few of our favorite pool time snacks. We always make sure to take plenty of water so that no one gets dehydrated. Either sippy cups or the small water bottles work great.

Grapes:  I love taking grapes as they are healthy, easy to pack in a little ice chest, and easy for little kids to eat. Grapes won’t get soggy if little wet hands go to grab some. I like to take plenty of cups so I can give all the kids a serving of grapes. Keep in mind if the kids are younger, you might want to cut the grapes in half to prevent choking.

Graham Crackers: These are also easy to share, but it is best if a parent gives the kids a sheet so they do not all get soggy. We tend to go through a whole sleeve of graham crackers each time we take them to the pool.

Peaches: A great summertime snack that everyone enjoys; just wash and pack. These go fast as well so take plenty to share.

Trail Mix: You can either get trail mix in a big bag or in individual packets. I like taking a big bag to the pool and sharing in cups for all of the kids. Make sure you know that the kids are not allergic to nuts and can handle all of the shapes and sizes of food without choking.

Popsicles: One busy afternoon at the pool a mom brought a giant box of popsicles and handed them out to all of the kids at the pool. This would work great if you took and shared right when you got to the pool, or it is even better if a second parent can bring once everyone has been playing a while. I think all of the kids loved that mom and it was a great treat.

Hope your summer days at the pool are full of sun, splashing and yummy food!

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who loves spending her summer afternoons by the pool with her kids.

Safe Sleeping Habits for Babies and Toddlers

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Karyns phone 174

Another infant has died due to unsafe sleeping habits. The sixth death was recently reported from an infant sleeping in a Nap Nanny Infant Recliner in New Jersey. So as a mom, my questions are: Why are these dangerous to babies? How do I keep my baby safe while sleeping?

Dangers of the Nap Nanny

The Nap Nanny Recliner looks pretty comfortable for baby. It’s made of plush fabric and has a fun shape. However, it is not safe for baby. According to an online source, five of the six deaths were due to the Nap Nanny being placed in a crib and the infant falling or hanging over the side. Two of these infants were secured by a safety belt. The sixth infant died in the Nap Nanny while it was placed on the floor. Suffocation is a huge risk with these products–the baby could become trapped between the Nap Nanny and crib bumpers. Nap Nanny Recliners are no longer being sold in stores.

Other Crib Dangers

Here are some other common dangers moms should be aware of:

  • Cute bumpers My daughter’s crib bedding set came with the cutest, pink monkey bumpers. Sadly, they were never used. Bumpers are recommended to help baby from not getting stuck in the crib slats, but they pose a major suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome risk. Many moms opt for the breathable bumpers, while others stick with nothing.
  • Sleep Positioners These are designed to help baby stay in a certain position while resting. However, they are a huge suffocation risk. Some believe they help aid in acid reflux treatment, but the best thing to do is place baby on their back in their crib and talk to your pediatrician if your baby suffers from acid reflux.
  • Pillows and Blankets It still makes me nervous to put my almost 2-year-old in her toddler bed with a pillow. Pillows and blankets can cause a suffocation risk to infants. Dress your baby in footed pajamas or invest in a cute sleep sack to act as a blanket. Baby doesn’t need a pillow to stay comfortable, unlike mom.

Safe Sleeping

Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are giving your baby the safest sleeping environment possible.

  • Stick with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet only.
  • Ensure nothing is covering baby’s face.
  • Keep baby’s favorite stuffed animals out of the crib during sleeping hours.
  • Keep baby away from areas where smoking has occurred.
  • Keep baby’s room at a temperature that is not too hot or too cold.

While it breaks my heart to hear another precious infant has died, it is important to reeducate ourselves on safe sleep habits for infants. While baby’s crib may not always look super cute during nap time, our priority is taking care of our little ones, not having the cutest nursery all of the time.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way who lives, writes, and sleeps in Northeast Indiana.


Quick and Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

It’s hot outside and we’re starting to enjoy some outdoor fun! That means that little hands are getting all sorts of dirt on them and then probably making their way straight into their little mouths.

Many conventional hand sanitizers contain some pretty scary ingredients that you don’t want anywhere near your child’s mouth. Luckily, making your own hand sanitizer is simple, and all you need are a few easy to find ingredients.

Aloe Vera makes a great base for a hand sanitizer. It gives you the gel-like feel of conventional products and has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. Witch Hazel is an optional ingredient, which works as an antiseptic thanks to its alcohol content. Its alcohol concentration isn’t as strong as the alcohol concentration found in store-bought sanitizers, and it can even be left out all together if you want.

Essential oils give this concoction most of its antibacterial benefits, so you’ll want to stick with powerful ones. Tea tree oil is known for killing bacteria and fungus, and as an antimicrobial, it should always make up the largest part of your essential oil. You can add more essential oils to either add more germ-fighting ingredients (lavender, clove and rosemary are good choices) or just to add a nice smell (citrus, cinnamon and peppermint oils add a fresh scent). A touch of vitamin E oil helps preserve shelf life so you can keep it for a few months.

Here is a simple recipe you can pour into your own squirt bottle.

 Natural Hand Sanitizer Gel

8 ounces pure aloe vera gel
30 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil
¼ teaspoon vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon witch hazel (optional)

If you prefer a water-based spray, try this:

Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray

4 ounces distilled water
4 drops grapefruit seed extract
4 drops tea tree oil

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Gardening with Your Toddler

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

This time of year, I am dying to get outside and get my hands dirty. Being an avid gardener for many years before I had my boys, my first spring with babies was a confusing time of what, exactly, do I do with this sweet cherub while I dig? A few attempts at putting baby on a blanket away from the action found my son wriggling over to the edge to get his hands in the dirt along with me, and I realized the wonder that is gardening with babies. I’m happy to share a few of my favorite tips for including the smallest member of the family in the garden patch.

Sensory Gardens

One easy way to include babes is to build a sensory garden. Adding a designated digging area with, say, a sand pit in a small corner of your garden is a perfect way to have them nearby. A few areas of different heights, like a log, a large rock, or overturned ceramic pots give different heights for pulling up, reaching, and textures to explore. Kids’ garden trowels, hand shovels or even an old soup spoon are a perfect digging tool for little hands as they can be easily manipulated in the dirt and used to pry small debris from the soil. For my boys, I prepared the area by removing any small rocks or pebbles that they could eat, making sure the area was safe.

Watch the temperature

The best times to garden with the little ones is when the temperatures are not too extreme–early to mid morning or late afternoon. I found it best to avoid the noon or early afternoon times to spare the little guys from getting overheated, sunburnt or just overly sweaty. Remember sunscreen (as long as they are over 6 months old) and a good sun hat. A natural bug repellant such as lavender oil can be useful to keep bugs away. Also, make sure a drink is available after gardening to replenish all that energy!

Prepare to get dirty! My son would get filthy dirty digging in the dirt by my side as I pulled weeds, crawling down a garden row through the corn, pushing dump trucks in the dirt, or using tomato cages to pull up and see what the blooms smelled like. Dirt will get in places you never dreamed of, but the experience of sensation, the wind on their face and being included in mom’s activity can bring everyone closer together. Research also shows that getting dirty benefits the immune system.

Gardening is so much fun to share with both crawlers and walkers–as much as I enjoy my garden, I find including my boys makes me enjoy it even more. My kids are more likely to try what we’ve grown together– they have a vested interest as they have watched the plants mature. Plus, you can never go wrong with fresh air, fresh dirt and sunshine.

Pia Watzig is a mom of two boys who lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.