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Oh, Baby!

May 12, 2021

Blog Tour Stop: The Baby Bonding Book for Dads

When I first picked up a copy of The Baby Bonding Book for Dads, by James di Properzio and Jennifer Margulis, I have to admit that I expected it to be one of those Hallmark Father's Day gift books filled with gorgeous photos and not much substance.

Happily, I was wrong. And that makes me especially happy to be hosting a stop on di Properzio and Margulis' blog tour today.

You have to love a book for new dads that tell it like it is: "Unless your wife had a C-section, your new baby probably looks weird. He may be all scrunched up with a cone head like Bart Simpson, odd-looking skin that's been out of the sun and in amniotic fluid for nine months, and eyes that cross or look unfocused..." Hey, so much for the Hallmark-card text, huh?

And I love the diaper-changing advice: "It's a good idea to talk to the baby and distract her so she doesn't fuss," the authors advise. "Talk about your day, the Red Sox, or tell her how much better she'll feel once she's clean. Or, if things get particularly funky, sing 'She's a very stinky girl,' to the tune of 'She's a very kinky girl."

You have to love a baby book for dads that quotes a Rick James song. And check out these amazing photos...


April 24, 2021

Knock Yourself Up (No Man? No Problem!)

As a book reviewer, I've had fun carrying this hot (shocking pink!) little number around town with me this week, reading a few pages during my son's piano lesson, taking it along for a solo lunch at a favorite little Mexican restaurant — and never knowing who might see the cover and wonder...

Of course, like the just-too-funny promos for the new movie "Baby Mama" (about a woman who enlists the help of a surrogate), which opens today, the title Knock Yourself Up (Avery), by Louise Sloan, is meant to be an attention grabber.

But once I cracked the cover, I found solid information and lots of real stories about single women over 30 who are trying to make the right decision on this life-altering issue by doing a lot of research, doing a lot of soul searching and enlisting the support of family and friends. Sloan shares her (touching and often really funny) experiences and those of many others who've decided not to let being single stand in the way of becoming a mom. 

Got questions? The book answers these and a lot more: When do I decide it's time to go it alone? How do I choose the right sperm? Is this fair to the kid? Can I afford to do it? How do I tell my parents? How do I tell my dates? Have I gone totally crazy? Will I ever have sex — or a life — again?

For those who want to discuss these juicy questions with their book club, there's a guide with discussion questions. For even more info, stop by knockyourselfup.com.

While I had a man involved when I got pregnant, I can't say Randy and I exactly did it the old-fashioned way. Having gone through in vitro fertilization, I could relate quite a bit to the tales of hormone injections, blood tests and waaay too many doctor appointments involving transvaginal ultrasound and stirrups. Trust me, nobody goes through all this stuff on a lark.

As "Baby Mama," Knock Yourself Up and my own IFV experience will attest, there are lots of ways to bring a baby into the world these days. But one thing remains, and you can surely can see it in this melt-your-heart picture of Sloan and her son, Scott: Women are making these decisions based primarily on something that mothers have had in common through the ages: love.

March 15, 2022

Laugh it Up at MommaSaid.net

Hey mom! Need a break? Grab that non-fat latte and head over to MommaSaid.net, the creation of Jen Singer, a terrific mom, a very funny writer and a chick with fab hair.

MommaSaid.net was created in 2003 as a virtual community for full- and part-time stay-at-home mothers around the world, says Singer. One of my favorite spots on the site is the Back Fence, where moms share stories like this one, which Singer has generously allowed me to re-print here:

Pretty as a Picture

Thanks to Rebecca Norton of Norfolk, Massachusetts, for this story:

"I was on my way out the door to my cousin's bridal shower. I really don't like bridal showers, but I found great joy in putting on some 'real clothes' with no stains and 'real shoes' that were not good for chasing children.                                                    

"When my four-year-old daughter saw me, she said, 'Mommy, can I take your picture? Because we don't get to see you pretty!'"


                                                      

February 01, 2022

Infant-Hearing Screening Recommended by 1 Month

Is there a new addition to your family? If so, you'll want to hear this.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that all infants be screened for hearing loss by 1 month of age, diagnosed with hearing loss by 3 months and engaged in full intervention services by 6 months.

Since 2000, when the AAP’s Joint Committee on Infant Hearing first recommended that all infants be screened for hearing loss, the number of screened newborns increased from 38 to 95 percent. However, almost half of the children who failed hearing-screening tests did not receive appropriate, timely follow-up care. Intervention during the first year of life is needed to enhance the speech and language development of infants with hearing loss, says the AAP.

The new guidelines recommend that pediatric offices, typically a child's first medical home, ensure timely screening, diagnosis and coordinated medical and educational care for infants with hearing loss, preferably beginning at a newborn's first office visit. Ongoing checking for developmental milestones is suggested for each visit, and an objective, standardized screening is recommended at ages 9 months, 18 months and between 24 and 30 months or anytime a doctor or parent is concerned about possible hearing loss.

January 06, 2022

Want to Watch Your Family Grow? Check This Out

Each year on June 17, since 1976, Diego and Susy Golberg have taken a photo of themselves for posterity. When sons Nicolas, Matias and Sebastian arrived, each joined in the yearly ritual as well.

After three decades, what has been created can only be described as a treasure. Check it out on their website.

ABC News producers were so taken with the project, they did a segment on it, which you can also see on the site.

Funny, but Diego and Susy don't look too pooped during the crazy baby/toddler years, but when the boys hit their early teens, they look like they've been through a lot! Coincidence?

You might be wondering how I stumbled upon this cool website in the first place. I found it through StumbleUpon, an amazing new site that helps you find websites, videos, photos and more, based on your interests. (Be careful... It's addictive!)

January 02, 2022

Yes You Can(!) Teach Your Baby to Love Veggies

Want your baby to learn to like fruits and veggies? If you’re breastfeeding, you can start by eating these healthy foods yourself, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers also suggest offering your baby plenty of opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables as she makes the transition to solid foods, by repeatedly exposing her to these healthy foods — regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula.

“The best predictor of how many fruits and vegetables children eat is whether they like the tastes of these foods. If we can get babies to learn to like these tastes, we can get them off to an early start toward healthy eating,” says study author Julie A. Mennella, Ph.D.

The researchers studied 45 infants between four and eight months old, 20 of whom were breastfed. The results revealed that breast-feeding confers an advantage for a baby’s acceptance of foods during weaning — but only if the mother regularly eats those foods.

“It’s a beautiful system,” says Mennella. “Flavors from the mother’s diet are transmitted through amniotic fluid and mother’s milk. So a baby learns to like a food’s taste when the mother eats that food on a regular basis.” Babies are born with a natural dislike for bitter tastes, explains Mennella. “If mothers want their babies to learn to like to eat vegetables, especially green vegetables, they need to provide them with opportunities to taste these foods.”

Apparently a look on a baby’s face that says “yuck!” doesn’t mean all that much, the researchers note. They found that babies’ facial expressions did not always match their willingness to continue eating a particular food, noting that infants innately display facial expressions of distaste to certain flavors. They urge parents to provide their baby with repeated opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables, focusing on the infant’s willingness to eat the food instead of on negative facial expressions during mealtime.

December 20, 2021

What Should We Name the Baby?

What a difference 12 years can make. When my son, Matthew, was born in December 1995, his name was one of the top 10 baby names for the year.

Now that he's in middle school, it's number 29. (And you moms my age will remember that every classroom back in the 70s had at least a few Kathys, Lisas and Debbies...)

According to BabyNames.com, the most popular boys' names for 2007 were:

1.    Aidan
2.    Braden
3.    Kaden
(Gosh, is there a trend here?)

4.    Ethan
5.    Caleb
6.    Noah
7.    Jaden
8.    Connor
9.    Landon
10.  Jacob

And for girls:

1.    Ava
2.    Abigail
3.    Cailyn
4.    Madeline
5.    Isabella
6.    Emma
7.    Caitlyn
8.    Olivia
9.    Chloe
10.  Brianna

And then there's little Mathilda Plum Doucette, who turns three this week. She's the daughter of writer and musician Moon Zappa (who obviously has had a fuss made over her name her entire life) and guitarist Paul Doucette of Matchbox Twenty. There's something about Mathilda Plum's name that makes me picture an adorable little girl with very squeezable cheeks.

Speaking of Moon Zappa and motherhood, check out the wonderful book Blindsided by a Diaper (2007; Three Rivers Press). It's a collection of essays about how how parenthood changes a relationship. Zappa is really funny — and amazingly candid (yikes!) — about how her sex life with her husband changed in the days following little Mathilda Plum's arrival. The whole book, in fact, is filled with essays that will make any new (or not-so-new) parent relate. (Another fave in the book: "Who Is That Guy?" by Beth Levine, one of the funniest writers I know.)

Happy birthday, Matthew — and Mathilda Plum!

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