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Erin

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Erin lives in beautiful Vermont, where she writes about parenthood, the performing arts, and technology.

Have you and your partner decided that it’s time to start a family? This is a very exciting time! For many couples, pregnancy happens easily – about 85% of couples conceive within a year. For other couples, the road to conception is longer. All couples can benefit from knowing more about the best times to try to get pregnant. Understanding your menstrual cycle We’re taught that menstrual cycles are 28 days long, but that’s not true for every woman. Some women’s cycles are as short as 21 days, and some are as long as 35. In addition, many women don’t have the same cycle length every month. Actual days of bleeding can be two to seven days, and this can vary monthly in each individual woman, too. What is ovulation? Ovulation is the process of one of your ovaries releasing an egg into one of your fallopian tubes. Although you…

Is your baby starting to eat solid foods? When your pediatrician says that your baby is ready (generally around six months) you can start introducing “grown-up” food to your little one. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for adults, and the same holds true for babies. The food your baby eats first thing in the morning should replenish the calories he’s burned overnight and jumpstart his metabolism for the day. Try to include some protein, some carbohydrates, and some nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your baby’s first meal of the day. Here are 15 healthy breakfast ideas for babies who are beginning to eat solids. (Make sure you check with your pediatrician about eggs, cow’s milk, and cheese to make sure your baby is ready for these). Spoon-Fed Foods Babies can eat and digest “mushy” food really easily, but you’ll have to feed these foods to your…

It’s so exciting to watch your baby learn new skills! Most parents eagerly await their child’s first word, and it’s easy to worry if your baby isn’t talking as soon as you want him to. Some children talk sooner than others, and most of the time, there’s no cause for concern. Are you a new mother wondering when that first word will happen? Read on to learn what to expect as your child learns to use her voice. Know the speech development milestones Babies follow a predictable pattern of speech development. While not every baby hits every milestone at exactly the same age, these benchmarks will give you an idea of what to expect. The first several months From birth to three months, babies should react to sounds and smile at voices. Before three months, most babies don’t make any sounds of their own (except for crying). Three months Around…

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? New mothers often struggle with this decision. Experts agree that breastfeeding offers significant benefits to your little one. You may not know, however, that mothers reap some benefits from breastfeeding, too. Benefits for your baby Breastfeeding provides a skin-to-skin contact that helps your baby bond with you and feels secure. In addition, your breast milk provides your baby with many health benefits. For full effects of these health benefits, babies should be breastfed exclusively for six months (no solids or liquids other than breast milk), but experts agree that even a short period of breastfeeding is better than none at all. Nutrition Breast milk is complete nutrition. It’s the perfect mix of vitamins, fat, and protein, and it changes over time to adjust to your baby’s nutritional needs as he grows. Immune defense The antibodies in breast milk help your baby fight off bacteria…

If you’re a pregnant college student, you may be feeling like the odds are stacked against you. How can you possibly meet all of your school’s expectations while still taking care of yourself and your baby? It’s true that going to college or university while pregnant is a challenging experience. With some advance planning and collaboration with your professors and school administration, you can continue to be successful at school while pregnant. Self-Care You have a new boss – your baby! It’s up to you to take good care of yourself, for your own sake and for the sake of your child. Each woman’s body is different, and you’ll discover what you need to do for yourself as you proceed through your pregnancy. Some self-care tips that have proven useful for other pregnant students include: Invest in a wheeled backpack If you’re carrying books and notebooks around campus, it may…

Are you ready to introduce your baby to the outside world? Your diaper bag is about to become your new best friend – it’s your changing table on the go. In addition to holding the items that your baby needs, your diaper bag should be something that you will feel comfortable carrying. Once you’ve found the right bag, backpack, or tote, you’ll need to figure out what to put in it. Read on to learn how to pack the perfect diaper bag. Choosing Your Diaper Bag Find a diaper bag that’s comfortable when you pick it up and sling it over your shoulder. Today’s diaper bags come in every shape and style, from bulky tote to stylish backpack. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your diaper bag, so make sure you like how it looks and feels. Pick a bag with a plastic liner for easy cleaning. It’s…

Has your baby become extra fussy when you change her diaper? Diaper rash may be the culprit! Diaper rash is extremely uncomfortable for your little one. Fortunately, it’s also fairly easy to treat. Many parents choose a natural treatment, like coconut oil. There are also several commercial products available at your local drugstore that can be effective. In extreme cases, a visit to your doctor may be necessary. You’ll have a happier baby if you learn how to prevent diaper rash (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure). Even with the best prevention, however, most babies develop a diaper rash at some point in their first year. Use these prevention and treatment tips to help your baby avoid or recover from diaper rash. Tips for Preventing Diaper Rash Diaper rash is most often caused by a wet diaper that’s been left on too long. A diaper that’s…

If you’re a first-time mom wondering how to potty train your baby, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes the most challenging part is figuring out when your child is ready. Although each child’s development is different, most babies are ready to start potty training when they are between 20 and 30 months old. You can look for some behavioral and physical signs to figure out when your child is ready. Physical readiness Your child should be able to walk and run easily, with minimal falling. He should also have enough fine motor skills to be able to do things like remove clothing and tear a piece of toilet paper from the roll. His bladder and bowel muscles also need to be developed enough that he can control them. Signs that he can control these muscles include staying dry for at least two hours, and well-formed bowel movements that happen at…

Are you a tired, sleep-deprived new mom? You’re not alone. Being awakened multiple times each night by a screaming infant is familiar territory for every new parent. These tips on how to get a baby to sleep through the night can help you get your little one on a consistent sleep schedule. Follow a set bedtime routine Prepare your baby for sleep by following the same bedtime routine every night. One study showed that babies who follow a nightly routine before bed fall asleep more easily, sleep more soundly, and cry less frequently in the middle of the night. Try following these steps as you begin to create your baby’s nighttime routine: Bathe your baby. The warmth of the bath and the soothing sounds of the water will help her begin to wind down. Turn on a white noise machine in the room where your baby sleeps. Cuddle or rock…

For many kids, summer is all about fun at the pool or the beach. For others, however, water-related activities are terrifying. It’s important for parents to learn how to help their children overcome fears about water and swimming. Working through these fears makes it possible for kids to enjoy a popular summer activity with their friends, and also makes it less likely that they will fall victim to accidental drowning. (The CDC reports that in the United States, accidental drownings account for about 10 deaths per day, and 1 in 5 people who drown are under the age of 14.) Respect your child’s fear It can be tempting to try to dismiss or minimize your child’s fear in an attempt to get him into the water more quickly. This strategy will likely backfire, and you’ll end up making him even more resistant to the idea of swimming. Your child’s fear…