21 February 2018

How to Make Moving Home with a Toddler a Bit Easier

Our toddlers, we love them with all of our hearts, but they don’t half make life difficult sometimes, right? In fact, they are easier to handle when they are newborns, aren’t they! For one thing, they always want to play. What’s more, they always seem to have the energy to play, as well. And aside from copious amounts of playtime to content with there are also the fights that break out over teeth brushing time and bed time, just to name a few.

Yes, toddlers are difficult and, if you didn’t already know, they make moving home an even more difficult task than it already is when they’re involved in the move, too. But, there are ways to make moving home with a toddler a bit easier, to see just how make sure to read on.

How to Make Moving Home with a Toddler a Bit Easier

Don’t fill your current house with boxes full of your belongings too early
In order to move home and take everything you hold dear with you, you need to pack your worldly belongings up. This means packing things away into boxes (preferably labeled boxes) so that, come moving day, everything will be packed away properly and safely and ready to make the journey to the new house. Now, ideally, this packing process would start as early as possible (when a moving date is confirmed, preferably) in order to ensure that enough time is given to the task of ensuring nothing is overlooked. But, when you have a toddler running around the house, packing too early is a big no-no. It’s a no-no because your toddler may hurt themselves as they, quite naturally, climb through your boxes. It’s a no-no because your toddler may, again quite naturally, take things out of your packed up belongings and then proceed to either lose or hide them.

Basically, don’t pack up too early!

Hire professional movers to help you on moving day
When it comes to moving day, it’s going to be all hands on deck because you are going to need a lot of support. Specifically, you are going to need the support of professional movers, because you are not going to be able to move all of your things to your new home with a toddler in tow.

What you need to do is get a professional moving company, such as Bekins Moving Solutions to do the heavy moving of all of your things in the specially equipped van. And, what you should do is take your little toddler with you in your car. You should do so because evening the load in this manner and giving everybody involved a job they can will make it go smoothly, and you won't upset your toddler if you take them in the comfortable surroundings of your own car. And, in regards to the latter, a screaming toddler is not what you need on moving day!

For more advice on how to move home with a toddler or baby in tow, make sure to head here.

Make Pregnancy Stretch Marks A Thing Of The Past With This Advice

All mothers go through different struggles after giving birth. For some, there are massive mental battles as they try and deal with postpartum depression. For others, there are physical problems that could linger for a long time and cause lots of pain. Different people suffer in different ways; pregnancy is rarely a nice and easy ride.

Having said that, there are a few things most new mothers have in common. One of those is the presence of stretch marks. You should probably go out and do the lottery if you get through childbirth without stretch marks - around 90% of women get them during pregnancy! The thing is, they’re not painful in any way, so they really shouldn’t garner much attention compared to some of the other things that can happen after pregnancy. But, they can give you a massive self-confidence knock as you think they look unsightly and gross. Personally, I think they’re similar to war scars. They should be something you’re proud of, a sign of the struggles you’ve been through. 

However, I’m fully aware that a lot of new mothers want to get rid of their stretch marks as quickly as possible. So, I decided to put together all the best advice I could find, into this article. Everything you could hope to know about getting rid of stretch marks is listed below.

Lemon juice is great for healing stretch marks.

Rub Lemon Juice On Your Stretch Marks

Right away, we have quite an odd thing for you to do. You’ll find that most of the advice on this list sounds a bit weird, but it’s all effective and natural. Lemon juice is very acidic, and this acidity is great for your skin if you have stretch marks. Remember, stretch marks are essentially a type of scarring, they’re evidence that your skin has suffered trauma. With the acid in lemon juice, you can heal your skin. By healing your skin, you will greatly reduce the appearance of your stretch marks. The good thing about this is that lemon juice is easy and cheap to get your hands on, and it lasts a long time when kept fresh in the fridge. What’s more, you don’t need to create some crazy concoction to rub on your body. It’s simply a case of getting lemon juice and putting it on the affected areas. Anyone can do this, there are no measurements or weights to worry about; it’s simple. 

Use An Avocado-Based Serum

Did you know that avocados have peptides inside them that are good for your skin? More specifically, these avocado peptides have been proven to help release tight skin and make it feel more elastic and supple once more. Now, you could make an avocado rub on your own, but this costs a fair bit of money as avocados aren’t cheap, and you’ll need to buy a fair few of them at a time. Instead, look out for brands like Mustela USA that make serums with avocado peptides in them. Normally, they combine this with other natural ingredients to help target stretch marks. Get your hands on a serum like this, apply it daily, and watch the results for yourself. There are loads of stretch mark creams and gels on the market, so it’s difficult to find the right ones. Check the ingredients, make sure they’re natural, and preferably one of the ingredients is avocado peptides.

Exercise helps stretch marks fade

Strengthen & Tone The Muscles Near Your Stretch Marks

Women get stretch marks in various places after giving birth. Some people have them in different areas to others, but there are a few common places they occur. Most notably, you see stretch marks on your stomach, hips, thighs, and bum. You might get lucky and only have stretch marks in one of these areas, or you could be unlucky and get them everywhere. Regardless, you can use exercise to help sort out the problem. All you have to do is strengthen the muscles near your stretch marks. If they’re on your thighs, strengthen your leg muscles, if they’re on your stomach, strengthen your abs - and so on. By doing this, the muscles become more toned and hard. This has an effect on the skin around these muscles as it becomes tighter and more taught. The result is that your stretch marks are far less visible. This won’t get rid of them for good, but it will certainly help make them less noticeable. Combine this with other treatment ideas for the best results. 

Moisturize & Nourish Your Skin Daily

One of the biggest mistakes women make is they don’t moisturize and nourish the skin by their stretch marks. Most of us will have a skincare routine where we apply moisturizer to our face, right? Sometimes we may deal with other dry areas such as our elbows and knees. But, it’s rare that we have the time to moisturize all over. Normally, this doesn’t matter too much as most people don’t suffer from dry skin all over their body. However, when you have stretch marks, then your skin needs the extra hydration and nourishment. Therefore, you need to apply a good moisturizing lotion to it, every single day. I recommend something with shea butter, as this really helps nourish your skin and fade away the stretch marks for good. I also suggest you do this in the morning and night. So, you do it twice per day and give your skin the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and get rid of stretch marks.

Brush Your Skin Every Morning

Again, this is one of those tips that looks very, very, strange. You’ve heard of brushing your hair, but brushing your skin?! The idea here is to get your hands on a brush of some kind that can be used on your skin. My preference is one of those brushes you use in the shower to reach your back and other areas that are hard to reach. They’re designed for use on your skin, so they won’t harm it or scratch you. From here, you simply brush over the affected areas. Don’t do this when you’re wet, make sure you do it every morning before your shower/bath. Why? Because it’s proven that brushing your skin helps stimulate circulation. Now, this is where the science comes into play. If circulation improves in an area of the body, it means more blood goes there. This then means more of all the nutrients in your blood are in that area too. Your blood helps banish the toxins in that area, and the white blood cells help heal the stretch marks. Combine this with a shower/bath - which also improves circulation - and you’ll see your body’s natural defense system go to work. Over time, the stretch marks will slowly fade in appearance.

Laser therapy is very expensive, but it works

Undergo Medical Treatments To Remove Stretch Marks

Generally speaking, I think it’s better to look at natural home remedies instead of undergoing medical treatments. But, I’m not a medical professional, so take my guidance with a pinch of salt. If you have serious stretch mark issues, and nothing you do is working, then there are medical options available as well. Some people prefer to just get treatment right away, as it saves a lot of time - though it also costs a lot of money. One of the most common treatments is laser therapy. Lasers have often been used to help with various skin problems in the past. If you have a particular mole or beauty spot that you don’t like, you can get it lasered off. The same idea applies to stretch marks - the laser can burn them off for good. This is easily the most effective way of removing your stretch marks. The good thing is, there are no side effects, and it’s a fairly safe treatment that’s not too painful. It certainly seems more appealing than some of the surgical options available! But, the big issue is the price. It’s the most expensive treatment around, so maybe it’s way out of your budget anyway. I thought I’d just include this in there in case there’s anyone that can afford it reading this. It’s only fair to cover as many different options as possible!

Stick To A Healthy Diet

My last piece of advice is a simple one; eat a healthy diet. Doing this, in conjunction with exercise, will help you lose weight. Or, at the very least, it prevents you from putting on loads of weight and making your stretch marks worse. Plus, health diets mean you’re consuming loads of great nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial for your skin. So, you’ll only see positive results from this.

Getting rid of stretch marks may seem impossible, but it’s definitely something you can do. It may take time - if you go down the natural route - but it’s worth the wait. Having said all of this, the best way to get rid of stretch marks is to try and prevent them from occurring in the first place. Try and find ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, or at least stop them from being overly visible. This makes your job a lot easier after giving birth!

20 February 2018

Putting Our Parents In A Home: Are We Betraying Their Kindness?

Putting Our Parents In A Home: Are We Betraying Their Kindness?

Teaching our children the act of kindness is an essential practice that we all need to undertake. And when we start to dig deep into what we should teach our children as they grow older, it makes us reassess our parents and how much they did for us. And as time goes on, we begin to appreciate what our parents did for us as we were growing up, but there comes a time when we have to be the caregiver for our parents. They get old, we all do. But while we think what we're doing for our parents is kind, there comes the point that we are unable to look after them anymore, and we naturally turn them over to professional help. Does this mean that we are betraying them as they get older?

Are We Being Cruel To Be Kind?
At the bottom of our hearts, we know that we are doing this because we can't cope any longer. However, we still can't cope with the decision we've made. At the end of the day, these decisions we make aren't taken lightly. We know the impact they will have on our parents, and when we think about putting them into a care home, it's not just about our needs and their needs. There are so many other factors to bear in mind. Finances are always one of those unfortunate factors that have an overwhelming impact on the caliber of care home we send our parents to. In addition to this, we feel like we've done the wrong thing as soon as we decorated their room to give at least a passing resemblance to their old home. It can feel like the cruelest of actions, especially when you begin to think about what they've done for you in your life. Sending them to a care home is, unfortunately, a punch to the gut for them and us.

We're Not Kind To Ourselves
We go through so many different emotions once we've made the decision to put them in a home. We feel guilt, anger, and so much anxiety. When you start to think about what goes on in care homes now, and it's been widely reported that there are various types of abuse, not just physical abuse, but emotional abuse, we have to have a well of resilience. You might have seen the story about the lady who set up a camera in her mother's nursing home so she could capture the abuse, and quite rightly, the perpetrator was fired. And before you jump to conclusions and think that every home is like this, you can undertake your own research so you can give yourself some peace of mind. Luckily, there are infinite resources online to help you along the way, even if you don't spot problems right off the bat. You can look for the signs of emotional abuse in elderly people and keep a close eye on your parents. The reality of the situation is that you can't be with them 24/7. This is why you've put them in a home in the first place. But at the very beginning, you can feel overwhelmingly guilty for putting them there. Anxiety is very common, but also this guilt for putting your parent in a nursing home can feel like a betrayal. Ultimately, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself, and this is most definitely easier said than done. But while there are infinite anxiety reduction techniques, or even visiting a health professional to help you cope is an option, knowing in your heart of hearts that you've done the right decision can take some time to realize.

What We Can All Do
Once you've decided that this was the best course of action, even if you didn't believe it at the time, you can start to push forward with the appropriate coping mechanisms. Grief is, understandably, a very common emotion. You can feel like you've lost your parents because you've put them in this home, effectively, to die. As much of a weight this can be, giving yourself time to grieve this loss can be very effective. There's no point in justifying it to yourself that you've made the right decision, you need to believe that you have. This could mean you asking your loved ones for help, or, if you feel there are family members who aren't pulling their weight, this could help share the burden. Especially if you feel that you have been the only person visiting your parents, this feeling of resentment towards the other members of your family could manifest. There's a lot for everyone to cope with, and we all cope with things in our own individual ways. Some people avoid the situation, but some deal with it head-on. For yourself, it's vital to give yourself that time. And remember, their illness isn't your fault. We all feel that we put our parents in a nursing home because they are a burden to us now. But the fact is that it wasn't you that caused the decline. Feeling that you've betrayed your parents is a complete misnomer, and while this emotion is very natural, the realization will come to you in the end. It's one of those things that takes time.

Life is precious, and when you see your children growing up, while at the same time, seeing your parents give in to Old Mother Time, it's certainly a very visceral moment in our lives. As our parents get older, they rely on us for more help, and there comes the point where we can't do anything anymore. This is why care homes exist in the first place, and as guilty as we all feel for making that decision, it's the most realistic option. Unfortunately, we all have to work harder to earn a living, and we see that it's harder to be kind to one another now because of so many facets of life admin. And you know that this is the right decision, you aren't betraying them, although it feels like it.

19 February 2018

New Baby? New Tech Can Make a Big Difference

New Baby? New Tech Can Make a Big Difference

Innovative gadgets that can make parenting easier

Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. But, there is help… sometimes at the touch of a button. Amy O'Malley, MSN, RN, mother of five and director of education and clinical services at Medela, has pulled together a few tips for navigating the first few months and how to incorporate some baby (and mom) friendly technology along the way!

How many wet diapers? How long did he nurse? Use an App for That!

It is useful to keep a log of what happened when. But do you need a paper and pen? There are now apps to help moms track their breastfeeding sessions, how many dirty diapers the baby has and how long he or she slept for. Apps also offer the ability to share information with your spouse, partner and health care professional. There are also a number of new on-demand services available through apps that allow real-time access to health care professionals that focus on pediatric care or lactation services. For example, breastfeeding moms can use their smartphones to access real-time video support from lactation consultants through Medela’s 24/7 LC service.

Give Yourself Some Range with a Great Monitor

A video monitor is a perfect addition to any new parent's arsenal of gadgets. In addition to monitoring the baby, many units feature two-way speakers, night-viewing capabilities and a temperature gauge, and offer the ability to check in on baby while on-the-go through either a website login or smartphone application.

Pump Quieter and Smarter

If you’re breastfeeding or planning on breastfeeding, a high-performance breast pump is a tool that can help make the task simpler for moms and caregivers. Double electric breast pumps are the fastest and most effective way to support a mom’s breast milk supply.

“Breast pumps have changed quite a bit since I had my children,” O’Malley said. “While a double electric breast pump is your best bet, newer models go beyond the basics and connect with smartphones to track activity. Our tech-enabled and quietest pump, Sonata, is comfortable and pairs with the MyMedela app to automatically track pumping sessions and offer personalized tips to help you succeed and monitor your baby. This pump even has many adaptions to meet your needs anywhere and anytime. It has features to help you use it late at night and can adjust based on your changing body shape to give you an effective and consistent experience.”

Find more information at medelabreastfeedingus.com.

Make Temperature Checks a Breeze

Gone are the days of placing a thermometer in your child’s ear or under his or her tongue or armpit. Temporal thermometers allow parents to simply place the gadget against baby’s forehead to get an accurate reading. Other options, such as pacifiers that double as thermometers, can also be utilized to make this task less invasive and more efficient.

You’re not alone. There is tech to help and don’t forget to ask your pediatrician and other friends or family members too. It takes a village to bring a new baby into the world!

15 February 2018

Is Your Newborn Healthy?

Is Your Newborn Healthy?

It’s easy to worry yourself sick over your baby’s health as a new parent. There are many alarming problems that newborns can face – many of which are harmless, whilst some may be a concern. Knowing when to hold back and when to intervene is vital. Here is some advice for any new parent wondering if their baby is healthy or not.

Birth injuries

Not every birth goes to plan and sometimes babies can get injured during the birthing process. Scarring from forceps or monitors is common and should usually not be a concern – these scar will heal in weeks to come. You may however want to worry if there are infections or if there are fractures. This could be a case of malpractice in which case a company like Gray and White Law may be needed to help get you compensation. It’s worth talking to doctors and midwifes first so that they can properly diagnose the problem.

Strange skin colors

If your baby’s skin is an odd color, it could be cause for concern. Yellowish skin, known as jaundice, is common among newborns and is simply your baby’s liver getting used to its job. This pigment should fade after a week – if it persists you may want to speak to a doctor. Blue lips are a more urgent matter as they could be a sign of cyanosis (your baby may not be getting enough oxygen). Call emergency services if you suspect this to be the case.

Feeding frustrations

If your newborn is refusing to feed, they may just be acting stubborn. Breast-fed babies commonly take a while to get used to feeding and may lose weight in the first week. You should worry if your baby is hardly feeding at all or is throwing up a lot as it could be a sign of a stomach problem or swallowing issue. A doctor will be able to come up with a diagnosis.

Poop problems

Don’t worry if your newborn is constipated or has diarrhoea – they’re still getting used to digesting milk. You should worry if your baby is pooing almost clear liquid, if there is blood in the poo or if your baby is taking days to do a poo.

Irregular breathing

Babies will get coughs and may get wheezy. You should worry if your baby is breathing irregularly however or grunting at the end of each breath. You could consider buying a baby breathing monitor from a company such as Lullaby Trust if your are truly concerned. Going to a doctor should be the first point of call though.

Worrisome rashes

Your newborn may get nappy rashes or rashes under the arms. Products like Sudocrem are excellent for helping these rashes to heal. You should worry if rashes start to blister or spread as this could be a sign of an infection.

Constant crying

Some newborns are bigger cryers than others. Crying with no apparent cause can be frustrating. Many parents diagnose this as colic, although this is more common after several months. Constant crying could be worth checking out if it appears suddenly for no reason and refuses to stop – your baby could have developed a pain such as a fracture which may need to be diagnosed.