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How to Celebrate Father’s Day with a Baby

Baby is here! Now you know the pictures of happy, well rested, serene looking new parents on the internet are all fake, photoshopped, or staged. Welcome to parenthood!

Now that you’re here, it’s time to celebrate an extra special holiday. We’re here to help you figure out how to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby that will make you look forward to it next year and every year after.

Ideas on how to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby and enjoy it!
  1. Sleep in
let dad sleep in on to help celebrate father's day
mom365.com

This must be a new rule! Something as little as letting someone get some well-deserved rest after the difficult first months with a new baby is huge! Daddy-pampering is just as important as mommy-pampering. New fathers get tired, too!

  1. Get baby dressed up in that onesie with his favorite team/superhero/band/music.
matching shirt to celebrate father's day
etsy.com

There is nothing more rewarding than sharing passions, even when you are aware of the fact that the baby does not really have opinions yet. So here is your gift! That of having all ideas, preferences, and opinions accepted without any comments. Savor it! This moment will not last.

  1. Help baby make his “Thank you” list.

How to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby? Make him feel appreciated! The baby may not be able to write yet or even notice all the things dad is doing around the place, but someone could put these things down for him and have him sign in colored palm print. Therefore, Mommy, sharpen your pen and start writing all of the things you appreciate daddy for doing.

  1. Create a special Father’s Day memory… in a professional setting.

dad sleeping with baby to celebrate father's day

Family pictures are adorable, mom, and baby pictures are sweet, but there is something about the dad and baby pictures that just feel very touching and emotional. A professional photographer can make you feel comfortable and capture the best side of you. This is a memory you can share with your little one when he is grown and one he can cherish forever. This is one idea for how to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby in style!

  1. Start a tradition!

Your Father’s Day gift is an empty canvas. This is the first of many Father’s Days you will be celebrating and your chance to make things go a certain way. You can decide on how you spend it with the little one. A good idea would be to plan the day out in adjustable details which you can later adapt so that you can keep the tradition throughout all of the phases of your child’s life. You may be looking for an answer to how to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby but end up finding the answer to how to spend all Father’s Days from now on.

You may not pay much attention to it at first, but pretty soon this holiday will start catching a whole new meaning. Make sure you do not miss out on any moment in your child’s life and try at least some of the things on this list of ideas for how to celebrate Father’s Day with a baby.

 

If you enjoyed this article read our other articles on Father’s Day:

The Best Father’s Day Gifts for New Dads

 

Sources:
www.mom365.com

The post How to Celebrate Father’s Day with a Baby appeared first on BabyCare Mag.

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My 4-Month-Old Baby Won’t Eat More Than 2-3 oz? I’m Worried!

What if a baby won’t eat enough?

Here are 8 possible reasons and how to deal with them.

A baby not eating as much as before is quite a worry, and the mom asking about it here is certainly not alone.

4-month-old-baby won't eat

Mom’s Question:
My 4-month-old baby won’t eat all of a sudden!

He used to eat 5 oz every 3-4 hours, but the last week my baby will only eat 2-3 oz and he is really restless during the feeding.

He moves his head away from the bottle and cries after 2 oz. I am worried about him losing weight. He is happy and smiles a lot but never seems hungry.

Samantha


Easy Baby Life:

4-Month-Old Baby Won’t Eat – Possible Reasons & When To Worry

I can totally relate to your worrying! I don’t know how many times I scheduled appointments with my babies’ health nurses to check their weight development since they suddenly didn’t eat anything. Usually, they followed their curves and if they didn’t, they either got sick or they started eating again a couple of days later.

Let’s take a look at the normal feeding patterns of a 4-month-old baby, what might be the reason for his reduced appetite, and when it is time to actually be concerned!

In this article…

Normal feeding patterns of a 4-month-old baby

First of all, if your baby is happy and smiling and wet his diapers, this is a very good sign, and he is likely to be fine.

What’s special about 4-month-old babies, is that their growth rate is finally slowing down. Until babies are around 3 months old, they grow incredibly fast, but this then calms down.

Babies’ appetite can vary a lot; they have growth spurts when all they want to do is eat and then they have other periods when eating isn’t very interesting at all.

It is therefore very possible that your baby refuses to eat very much because he is simply not very hungry!

This is normal and healthy behavior, and something, of course, to be respected.

So, how much does a 4-month-old baby usually eat?

The average for a fully breastfed or formula-fed 4-month-old baby would be to eat some 4-6 oz every 3-4 hours.  But again, this is an average over both babies and time periods. It is completely normal that a baby’s appetite varies over time!

How the baby develops, if he is thriving, has energy,, and is wetting his diapers are more important clues than the exact oz of formula or breastmilk.

8 Possible reasons why a 4-month-old won’t eat

1. Teething Pain

One possibility, even if it is quite early, is teething. Check your baby’s mouth for signs of inflamed gums or erupting teeth, and read about teething symptoms here.

Teething can be quite painful and it common that babies don’t want to eat as much while the teeth are erupting.

2. A Sore Throat or an Ear Infection

If your baby has a sore throat, and ear infection or a stopped up nose, he is also likely to not want to eat very much. If the swallowing is painful or the breathing is difficult while feeding, no wonder he won’t eat more than 2-3 oz.

You can try saline drops in his nose before feeding and feed him in a more upright position to see if it helps.

And, of course, try to check his throat and ears or have him examined by a doctor.

If your baby pulls away if you press your fingers towards his skin just in front of or below his earlobes, it could indicate an ear infection. Other signs are a cranky baby, fever, or that the baby touches the ear or waves his hand close to his ear a lot.

But the best is, of course, to visit a doctor for an examination.

3. Tummy Bug

If your baby has, have had or is about to get sick from a stomach bug, he might be nauseated and of course, won’t eat very much.

In this case, keeping baby hydrated is the most important! The appetite will come back when the baby is well again.

4. Acid Reflux

One would think that when a baby is 4 months old, any acid reflux would already be known. And while that’s true in most cases, for babies with a relatively mild version of acid reflux, this may not be the case.

Acid reflux tends to peak at around 4-5 months of age, so when a 4-month-old baby won’t eat, it is actually possible that this is the reason that your baby is not eating very much.

While frequent spitting up is one of the most known symptoms of acid reflux, babies with silent reflux may not spit up. Instead, for example, feeding problems are common.

You can read more about acid reflux here.

5. Constipation

If you’ve ever been constipated, you might remember how much that can affect your appetite. Many babies are introduced to formula, cereal, or solid foods at around 4 months of age, and it is very common for them to then become constipated.

If your baby is at all constipated, work to mitigate that, and his appetite is likely to come back!

In addition to cutting down on rice cereal and any other foods or formula that can make a baby constipated, you can try warm baths, lots of activity, and baby massage.

6. Food intolerance or Allergy

Poor appetite can also be related to, for example, cow’s milk allergy or lactose intolerance – or of course allergy to any other foods that you have introduced

But a reduced appetite is not likely to be the only sign in such a case – you can read about more symptoms here.

7. Solid Food Introduction

Solids foods and rice cereal are more filling than breast milk and formula. Hence, if you have introduced any of this to your baby, it is completely natural that he is less hungry.

Some babies also develop a preference for solid foods quite quickly and can start refusing the breast or bottle.

This is not ideal at this young age since breast milk or formula should be their main source of nutrition during the full first year.

If you think this is what’s happening, make sure you add a large share of breast milk or formula to any solid foods you serve and continue to offer breastfeeding or formula to your baby, but without creating a power struggle.

Also, if your baby is about to get ill, he will most likely have a period later on when he compensates for the weight loss.

8. The Feeding Situation

Sometimes, the feeding situation in itself can become a problem. When our baby refuses to eat, we get worried. That’s completely natural. But, our stress can be felt by the baby, who might associate this bad feeling with the feeding. Hence, we suddenly end up reinforcing the refusal to eat!

A difficult situation!

If you think this may the case, do everything you can to break it. Take a deep breath and let go of any negative feelings before you try to feed your baby. Make the feeding fun and cozy, and maybe try changing the feeding position, the bottle nipple, the surroundings, or even the person feeding your baby for a while!

When to Worry and Call the Doctor

4-month-old baby not eating call doctor

When to actually worry if a baby is not eating is:

  • The baby does not wet his or her diapers or shows other signs of dehydration You can find signs of dehydration is this post.
  • Baby loses weight over a time period. Some babies can actually lose a bit of weight at around 4-6 months when solid foods are introduced, but it should be only a short period of time. Some babies also lose a bit of weight when they start moving around. The long-term trend should however definitely be up.
  • If the baby is not eating and it is combined with a cranky baby without energy. This could mean that the baby is either ill or simply weak from eating too little.
  • Baby shows other signs of pain or illness.

In these cases, you should call the doctor immediately.

To conclude – Based on how you describe the situation, I wouldn’t worry too much. But do go ahead and schedule a checkup, to keep track of his weight. And of course continue to watch for signs of illness, as well as dehydration.

Remember that what NOT to do, is to try to force your baby to eat. The tension and bad experience for both of you can easily become a problem of its own, and all of a sudden, your baby won’t eat because feeding is associated with bad feelings.

I hope this helps,
Paula

P.S.Here are two excellent reference books for baby health issues and injuries:

More Babies That Won’t Eat

Who else’s 4-month-old baby won’t eat? Share your worries, or tips by commenting below!

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weeLove: Non-Gummy Gummy Vitamins for Kids

ChildLife Essentials 

All-Natural Vitamin Supplements for Kids

Little kids can make a big to-do about eating their veggies (along with many other healthy foods that get the dreaded side-eye!), and parents have a lot on our plates these days aside from those uneaten carrot sticks. Now you can stress less about ensuring your kiddos have all the nutrition they need for healthy development with ChildLife Essentials.

This line of doctor-developed supplements was created just for babies and children (ages 6 months – 12 years). Made from top-quality, natural ingredients, there are no artificial additives, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, or added colorings. They’re gluten-free and GMO-free, too.

ChildLife offers a variety of supplements to set your kiddos up for optimum health, and we’re particularly excited about two new formulas on the scene. Multi Vitamin SoftMelts™ are a great alternative to sugary gummy vitamins, since they’re naturally sweetened. (Your kid’s dentist will thank you!) One orange-flavored tablet a day provides essential vitamins and minerals including Vitamins B6, B12, A, D3, E, Biotin, Zinc, Selenium, and Folic Acid. For children under three, tablets can be broken up and mixed into food if needed. The Healthy Vision SoftMelts™ help protect developing eyes against blue light from devices (yep, we’re looking at you, quarantine screen time!) and support overall visual health.

You still may get some resistance over broccoli, but thanks to ChildLife, taking daily good-for-you vitamins will be a breeze.

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How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping — 10 Proven Ways!

Pumping loads of milk can be easy— Just keep emptying the breasts!!

But there’s a lot more to it than you think.

Lots of moms have a hard time producing enough milk to keep up with the baby’s needs and also to release the engorgement pain.

I had a horrible time with my three kids, especially the third one, who was born premature. So, I had to pump exclusively for a month before I could start breastfeeding.

In the beginning, it was just 14 oz a day!! Shocking right? All those consultations seemed useless at that point. Few more weeks in and I said I had enough. I need to pump more milk.

What I did was make a list of the most successful breastfeeding and pumping moms in my community. Talked with them and used their ideas. Then I went looking for research that could back up those ideas. Applied them and I would say most of them worked!

The result— I was able to increase it to around 30 oz a day after a few weeks.

Here are the exact same strategies that I used to double up my milk volume!!

1. Keeping the Breasts Empty (Most Effective)

This one is the most talked strategy in the entire history of moms. Straightforward but it seems most first time moms get it wrong.

Research has found that milk production is heavily dependent on effective emptying of the breasts and not frequent pumping. Yes, that’s the difference ladies.

Use your hands to massage and pull out milk until you think you are empty. Even if you think you have pumped enough and your baby needs no more milk, do it.

2. Utilize Power Pumping

You can try out power pumping (rapidly emptying the breasts) if you have a perfectly healthy, full-term baby but struggling to find time for day time pumping.

Well, there are lots of ways to do it. What worked for me was to pump whenever I came across my pumping unit. So, I would pump for 10 minutes every 40-50 minutes for 5 hours, empty the bottle and start over again.

Continue doing this for 3-4 days until you can shift to your usual pumping routine.

3. Double up the Pumping

If you are using a single pump, you are depriving yourself of producing more milk. It seems that double breast pumping can only reduce time, which is BTW necessary for working moms.

I was surprised to know that simultaneous breast pumping can increase your production. The reason is when you double up, your body responds to the stimulation longer compared to single pumping.

Well, if you haven’t got a double pump yet, follow this guide to get some of the most effective pumps in the market that can help you keep up to daily output.

4. Pump Right After and Between Feeds

This was one of the easiest ways to deal with low milk supply. One of my neighbors accidentally found that pumping right after breastfeeding gave her more milk.

I did some digging and found that it’s actually a fact. Right after your baby suckles, start pumping. Do it for 10-20 minutes even if there’s no milk. Remember, you are keeping yourself stimulated here and tricking your body to produce more.

For some moms, taking an hour gap and pumping in between feeding works best. So, you have two options, now. Let us know what works for you.

Note: If you are night weaning, you might not want to pump in the middle of the night, though!

5. Warm Breasts, More Milk?

Yes! This works. And.. lots of studies have proven it to be effective.

If you are using an electric breast pump, warming up your breasts before the session can significantly increase milk supply. It might be because of oxytocin reflex (letdown reflex) or the milk channels receive less obstruction.

The easiest way is to use a warm breastshield. Alternatively, you can wrap a warm and wet washcloth on your breast or DIY warm wet sock filled with uncooked rice. Whatever way you choose, it should work.

6. Mind Training and Relaxation Goes a Long Way

Milk production has a connection with our emotions. At least that’s how our brain is designed!

If you have been through post-traumatic stress due to childbirth, lost someone you loved, living with an abusive partner, or any other emotional stress, your milk supply can drastically decrease!

It’s important to get away from those stress factors. Training your mind in a certain way can improve the condition to some extent. Here’s what you can do:

Get isolated when pumping or at least away from negative persons or thoughts.

Keep yourself distracted by talking on the phone or watching a movie.

Imagine thoughts that trigger your milk ejection. I get triggered when I hear my baby cry. So, listening to an audio clip of your baby crying can be the solution.

7. Combine Electric Pumping With Hand Compression (Highly Effective)

The best way to breast pump exclusively and still keep increasing milk supply might seem counterproductive! But with additions of some hand techniques, your production can increase 10%-46%. That’s huge!

I recommend compressing your breasts during pumping. With modern electric pumps that stimulate, compress, and suck at the same time, this should be a no brainer job!

8. Getting the Suction Level Right

Most moms have the idea that increasing the suction power can help them obtain more milk. In fact, it’s the other way round!

There is something called ‘maximum comfortable vacuum’. This is the highest level of suction at which you remain comfortable. Research shows that pumping in this way can increase flow rate and volume.

The suction level is different for different mothers. For a particular person, it might not be the same every day. So, start from the lowest setting and tap the + button until you find the sweet spot.

9. Flange Size Matters!

To be honest, I never thought flange size can actually impact my milk flow. I started using the flange that came with my pump! It was too small and I ended up with pain and decreased production.

The same goes for large flanges, except your nipple will feel squeezed and sometimes become discolored. So, measure your nipple size and get the right flange.

10. Alternative Strategies to Increase Milk

Sometimes when nothing works, you need to look for alternatives-

Herbal Treatment: Often known as galactogogues in medical science! Certain herbs like Alfalfa, anise seed and fenugreek can increase milk!

Chiropractics: This one needs a doctor’s approval. However, I have met with moms whose milk production increased after a chiropractic treatment.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture for treating milk production can be dated back to thousands of years as it helps stimulate oxytocin.

Body Massage: I found shoulder massage and having someone walk on the sides of my spine to help me get more milk. Maybe it has something to do with that shivering sensation.

Some FAQs

How much milk can I get when exclusively pumping?

If you follow basic guidelines and the strategies we mentioned, you can get 25oz-30oz breast milk every day!

Do I need to take galactagogues like Domperidone for increased milk supply?

In most cases, changing your pumping style, mental approach, and eating certain herbs can improve the condition. However, if nothing works, you should talk with your doctor about any possibility of improvement with Domperidone.

Final Words…

Sometimes it’s best to give yourself time and some treats to replenish. If you feel like not pumping, take a day or two rest. Breast pumping or feeding doesn’t work if you are not motivated! Come back again and apply these techniques as much as you can. Most of these, if not all, will work.

The post How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping — 10 Proven Ways! appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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Staying Sane With Kids During Quarantine


baby girl sleep at home

If you are one of the many families finding themselves at home more than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely had your share of ups and downs over the months. While many families have enjoyed the additional family time, cabin fever is taking its toll. Here are some tips for staying sane with kids during the quarantine.

Wash, rinse, repeat

If you’re familiar with the hilarious movie Groundhog Day, you know that the repetition drove Bill Murray’s character nuts, but ended up being a transformative experience. Comedy aside, routines are great for everyone—especially children. Perhaps you’ve gotten lax and found bedtime creeping later and later. After a time, you’ll likely see the effects of the shifting bedtime appear in your little one’s behavior or even a baby sleep problem.

Even if you’re not reporting into the office for work, try to keep the entire family on a predictable schedule with lots of structure. This means waking at the same time, taking meals at the same times, and, most importantly, going to bed at the same time each night. Not only will your children’s bodies get used to the rhythm of days and nights, but the entire family will also benefit from the predictability.

It may be helpful to create a visual chart with blocks of time for older children to follow. A table or posted schedule also reinforces the fact that there is a routine to follow each day. This doesn’t mean that you need to repeat the same duties, chores, and errands each day, but you want to keep your sleeping and waking windows the same.

Get outside

No matter where you are in the country, temperatures are moderate enough to spend quality time outdoors. And if you have a mobile baby, one of the best aids for sleep training toddler is to get them moving. While you may not have time to travel to a dedicated hiking or bike trail each day, you can take walks around your neighborhood or pencil in long blocks of time for play in the yard.

Check-in with your partner, your kids, and yourself

If you’re dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, understand that your children feel it too. Many parents have reported behavioral changes with their kids during quarantine, including mental health concerns and disrupted sleep patterns or sleep regressions. The chaos and uncertainty of the outside world are out of your control, but you can control the level of chaos at home.

Periodically check-in with your immediate family members to see how they’re feeling, what their concerns are, and to talk about any issues that arise. As isolating as quarantine is, now is the time to work on connection with your family. Again, having a daily structure and regime that is consistent and predictable will help everyone in the family.

If you find that you’re having difficulty drafting a consistent nap and sleep routine and are suffering from baby sleep problems as a result, I’m here to help. I’ve helped many Philadelphia families create schedules that work for them and ensure that everyone can get healthy sleep their bodies need. Schedule your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation today.

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How to Know If Baby Is Teething: 5 Sure Signs


If you’re a new parent, you’re probably wondering how to know if your baby is teething.

It’s a milestone many parents are eager to reach, but giving your baby teething medicine too soon is unhealthy.

Here’s a quick tip – just because your baby’s drooling at four months does not mean they’re teething!

Around four months, a baby’s salivary glands are maturing. They’re basically preparing for solid foods (which means if they’re preparing for solid foods, they’re probably not ready for solid foods yet, right?).

What does teething mean to the new parent?

It means a period of adjustment and several months over which your baby’s teeth will break through the gums.

The process can start as early as three months old, although some babies have been born with a few little pearly whites! Once your baby is truly teething, parents can expect:

  • Extra crankiness, fussiness, or clinginess
  • Drool
  • Lots of chewing
  • Possible interruptions to sleep
  • The desire to nurse all the time (because suckling eases the pain)
  • An aversion to nursing (because suckling makes it hurt more!)

Teething presents some really great get-to-know your child moments. Because each child (like each adult) is different, your little one will respond to teething in their own, special way.

How to know if your baby is teething

Here’s the obvious one – you see a white bulge on your baby’s gums or the tip of a tooth already peeking through! It happens to all parents. You see a tooth and think, “No wonder she was so cranky yesterday!”

Below are a few other teething symptoms. Keep in mind, not all babies will exhibit all symptoms.

In fact, some babies may not feel any discomfort at all! 

  1. Coughing: Coughing is caused by excessive saliva in your baby’s mouth. If your baby is coughing but not showing any other signs of sickness (for example, no runny nose), then the coughing is likely due to teething.
  2. Fussiness: It can hurt some babies pretty badly. It’s also confusing and stressful as it’s the first time your baby is feeling these kinds of sensations in their mouth. Be patient, Momma. Exercise your empathy. You know what it’s like to have a sore tooth. Be gentle and it’ll pass.
  3. Flushed cheeks, drool rashes, and gum blisters. Look for these signs. They’re quite obvious and hard to ignore. The whole face reacts to the changes the gums are going through. The little gum blisters are a sign that the teeth are getting ready to poke through.
  4. Drooling: Excess saliva acts as a protective layer for all the germs shoved into the month on the things baby will try to gnaw on. By applying counter-pressure, they try to relieve the pressure and pain felt from a tooth trying to push through the skin. As much as you will hate those constantly soggy clothes, remember that drool is a defense mechanism. Get some drool bibs and be thankful someone invented them!
  5. Ear tugging: The little one may feel discomfort around the ear area, due to the vicinity of the teeth. It’s nothing to fear. If she’s pulling her ears and crying like she’s in pain, you should ask your pediatrician to check her for an ear infection.
baby with teething toy
babycareforyou.com
What can you do?

Stocking up on drool bibs, chew toys, and cold food and drinks should help relieve some of the pain.

If you’re open to homeopathic therapies, Hyland’s Teething Tablets are popular (and best-sellers on Amazon!). They dissolve easily (like, on a moist finger) so they work for even the youngest teethers. They also make Nighttime Teething Tablets if your baby’s having trouble sleeping. Consult your pediatrician first before giving your baby any of these remedies.

Consider the above options before trying any sort of numbing medication. The FDA discourages the use of local anesthetics on infants. A cold compress, like a frozen washcloth, works as a perfect, non-toxic local anesthetic.

How will the teeth come in?

Incredible Infant has a beautiful chart that we’re sharing below. Be sure to check out their full post for more tips and some excellent teether toys.

baby teething chart

 

The great thing about teething is that it’s a normal, temporary phase in your child’s life. These are all signs that your baby’s growing naturally, normally, and healthfully.

We hope this post has helped in your quest for how to know if your baby is teething. Hang in there, and good luck!

 

Sources:
www.whattoexpect.com
incredibleinfant.com
www.parenting.com
www.babycareforyou.com

The post How to Know If Baby Is Teething: 5 Sure Signs appeared first on BabyCare Mag.

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weeLove: Curated Medicine Kits from Cabinet

Skip the Drugstore

Be Ready with Cabinet

Staying healthy is top of mind for everyone these days. From seasonal allergies to sore throats (and all those frantic Google searches in between), now it’s easier than ever to stock your medicine cabinet without leaving the house.

Cabinet ships curated medical kits right to your door. This awesome healthcare company works with physicians and pharmacists to create high-quality, fairly priced medicines made with FDA-approved ingredients. Is pollen your worst enemy right now? There’s a kit for that. Want to prep for sniffles, flu, and viruses? There’s a kit for that. And be sure to check out their digestive health, sleep aids, and pain relief bundles, too.

Another reason to love Cabinet: the packaging. They use recyclable packaging for all of their products. (Travel kits are made from recycled pineapples and bottles!)

We’re currently loving their hand sanitizer packs—it effectively kills germs thanks to the 70% alcohol (as recommended by the CDC) and also smells lovely, thanks to the blend of lemongrass oil, lemon, pine, orange peel, and cypress leaves. The small size means it’ll fit perfectly in a diaper bag, purse, backpack, or to keep in your car.

In response to COVID19, Cabinet has also distributed medicine and hand cleanser to healthcare and frontline essential workers. They’ve also reduced prices on specialty kits and offer a “pay-what-you-can” policy for those in need.

Thanks to Cabinet, your cabinet can stay well stocked… without a late-night pharmacy run.

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This new C-section scar therapy was a game-changer for me

I didn’t mind the way my scar looked, but I hated the way it felt: overstretched, too tight and uncomfortable beneath my skin, like a callous.

My daughter’s birth story evokes complicated emotions. It was so far from my birth plan, it wasn’t even funny. After 32 hours of labour and a frankly-terrifying three hours on the operating table, she finally came into the world via a Caesarean delivery.

Fortunately, my recovery from the birth was swift. But even eight months later, I was still experiencing a tugging sensation at the incision site. I didn’t mind the way it looked, but I hated the way my scar felt: it was uncomfortable beneath the skin, like a callous. And my abdomen felt simultaneously overstretched, yet too tight.

I had already tried regular C-section scar massage at home, thanks to some Youtube tutorials that showed me how to stretch the scar using my fingers. Oils, lotions and balms were also ineffective. I wasn’t bothered enough to pursue costly or invasive treatments such as laser procedures, steroid injections, or bee stings (ahem, GOOP), but then I heard about Caesarean Scar Release Therapy, a quick, non-invasive treatment performed by a registered physiotherapist at a prenatal and postpartum wellness clinic in my neighbourhood. It seemed worth a try.

I figured even if I experienced no change to the scar, at least it was a precious hour to myself, a brief reprieve from my darling-but-currently-very-sassy, teething baby. And because it falls under the services of a registered physiotherapist, the $145 fee per visit was predominantly covered by my benefits plan.

Nav Grewal, a registered physiotherapist specializing in pelvic and women’s health at Yoga Mamas in Toronto, has been treating women using Cesarean Scar Release Therapy for the past three years, mostly through word of mouth referrals—a tip passed along from one C-section mama to another, which is how I first came to hear of it and decided to book an appointment with her.

What is Cesarean Scar Release Therapy?

Instead of using regular massage techniques—essentially manipulating the scar with their fingertips—practitioners who perform scar release therapy use Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS). The micro currents (also known as direct currents) release the thickened scar tissue, as well as the fascia and muscles impacted by the scarring. My pelvic physiotherapist, Grewal, showed me the handheld devices she uses: two Dolphin Neurostims, which look like ballpoint pens with oversized plastic casings. These devices are approved by Health Canada and the Federal Drug Administration to deliver the Microcurrent Point Stimulation. According to Acumed, the Etobicoke, Ont.-based company that developed The Dolphin Neurostim, they “electrically repolarize” the scar tissue.

What does C-section scar release feel like? Does it hurt?

If that sounds scary, it wasn’t—MPS is a little weird, but mostly painless. It’s more like a faint pin-prick sensation. My first appointment began with a brief medical history. Then Grewal checked me for diastasis recti, and led me through some simple exercises to gauge my mobility in my hips, pelvis, and back.

Next, the physio and I both felt my scar for a reference point. My incision was the common horizontal variety, just below my bikini line. Altogether about 4 inches long, the first inch was faint and smooth—almost imperceptible. The remaining length was pink and slightly raised to the touch, as though there was a piece of thin twine just under the skin.

For the treatment, Grewal simultaneously held one Dolphin to the skin just above my scar, and the other just below my scar, parallel to one another. Maintaining this parallel position, she worked her way along the length of the scar, spending 30 seconds at each half-inch section, and as she did, the Dolphin made intermittent high-pitched chirping sounds, reminiscent of a Star Trek Communicator.

Once she reached the midpoint of my scar, where it was a bit denser, I could feel a slightly warm sensation where the Dolphin connected with my skin, and afterwards I could see tiny red marks along the top and bottom of the scar, which faded by the next morning. She finished by placing one tool at each end of the scar lengthwise to send the current along the full length of the scar.

Grewal made two passes along my incision site, and then one vertical pass along my linea alba, the band separating both sides of the abdomen. This surprised me, since there was no incision there, or scarring that I was aware of. But she explained that the connective tissue of the abdomen is often damaged during a Cesarean delivery, when the abs are separated to reach the uterus. She cited this as a possible reason that my abdominals have felt overextended (especially while doing yoga stretches like cat-cow and backbends like cobra).

Finishing the treatment, Grewal asked me once again to feel my scar. “Release” is the perfect word to describe it. My lower abdomen had previously felt hard, as though permanently flexed, so it was unexpected when the scar gave easily when pressed. The next thing I noticed when applying pressure to the scar was that I had to pee, which made me realize that for the past seven months, I haven’t been able to truly feel my bladder. I’m also now aware that my breaths feel fuller, extending below my belly button when I inhale and exhale—a sensation I hadn’t felt since before the delivery.

Does Cesarean Scar Release Therapy really work?

While my scar was still visible after the first session, it did appear to be a more muted pink and the denser areas of the scar were detectably smaller. And the ridge above the scar (the small overhang of skin that I had read was a fact of life post-Caesarean) was 90 per cent smoothed out.

I found myself questioning if this was all too good to be true. But these results are actually pretty typical, Grewal tells me. She says she’s seen this treatment benefit scars from even 20 years ago. “I don’t even do scar massage anymore,” she told me, because it can’t rival the results attained using MPS. She advised me that I would continue to see, and feel, the scar release for about 24-36 hours, and then one additional half-hour follow-up appointment should be sufficient for me to achieve the full effects of the treatment. After that, I wouldn’t need to return.

Back at home, I continued to see positive change with my scar, and my movement in general felt freer. Lifting my daughter out of her crib no longer puts strain on my back, and my body feels like my body again.

I would never want to erase my daughter’s birth story, no matter how complicated, because it’s what brought her into the world. I am relieved, however, to erase and release the scar that was an uncomfortable physical reminder of that day.

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8 Secret dad sleep hacks: REVEALED!

New moms often think they know all the right ways to get baby to sleep at bedtime. (Mostly, they do.) But dads do things a bit differently. We’ve put together some ingenious dad hacks that may teach us moms a thing or two. And when it comes to getting more sleep, most moms are open to anything—even daddying. 

Dad sleep hack #1: Spotify, baby

While moms may turn to Twinkle-Twinkle at bedtime, dads suspect their babies have more sophisticated taste. As part of their bedtime routine, they create unique playlists that include everything from the Beatles to Cardi B. What tunes calm your baby? The results may surprise you.

Dad sleep hack #2: Make your ride the ultimate Dream Car

Babies tend to fall asleep in their car seat (often, the bane of parents trying to keep to a nap schedule). But dads work it, creating a little souped-up sleep sanctuary in the back seat, and calibrating some naptimes to long, soothing car rides.

Dad sleep hack #3: It’s not a changing tote, it’s a man-bag

Diapers, bottles, formula, loveys: when you’re out and about with baby, there’s a lot to carry around. Dads know the drill: its not just about having a highly efficient diaper bag, it’s about having one that fits your style. Who knew that on-the-go naps could be such a fashion statement.

Dad sleep hack #4: Be Bath-man, superhero

A warm bath and gentle massage is a surefire way to calm baby at bedtime; an essential part of every smart parent’s sleep routine. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Dads often use bathtime as a fresh opportunity to connect with their little ones, playing for smiles, laughs, and kisses.

Dad sleep hack #5: The secret Houdini shirt trick

When your baby naps, you don’t want to be doing laundry—you want to nap, too. Some dads turn their shirts inside-out at feedings, then jut flip it to leave the house. Gross, you say? Agreed. But hey, if it saves you a laundry load….

Dad sleep hack #6: Hang the mobile higher

Often, dads can reach a little higher than moms, and that comes in handy when hanging your crib mobile. If you hang it slightly higher than baby’s sight-line—as opposed to at eye-level—it tires out little eyes, so baby gets drowsy, faster.

Dad sleep hack #7: Move that butt

What’s dad doing, wiggling baby’s butt? Actually, little wiggles down below make baby’s head wiggle, too, which soothes her to sleep. Start a little faster, then slow it down over time. It’s dad-approved magic.

Dad sleep hack #8: Keep dad’s touch going, all night long

Dads may have the touch at bedtime, but you can keep it going with Zen Sleepwear.™ Just dress your baby in a Zen Swaddle® or Zen Sack™ every time you put her down. Gently weighted to mimic a parent’s soothing touch, your baby will feel wrapped in mom and dad’s embrace all night long. She’ll fall asleep faster and sleep longer—and so will you.

Happy daddying!

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Setting Olive up with the skill of self-settling

For the first eight months, Olive had been a “super cool” baby. However, the nights were difficult. “Olive would take a while to settle to sleep at night,” her mum Serlina recalls. “She’d get to sleep about 7pm, but wake again at 10pm for a feed. It could take up to two hours to get her back to sleep at that point, before we’d be up again at 2am with Olive wanting to party.”

A little early bird, Olive then seemed ready to start the day around 5:30am. Initially Serlina and her husband put the broken sleep down to teething. Other times they gave some leeway as it seemed Olive was going through a developmental leap. However, after eight months, they knew that their ‘giving it some time’ approach wasn’t working.

“I felt as though we were in a vicious cycle of waking and then taking ages to get back to sleep. I didn’t know what was going on! My husband and I would do shifts, so no-one was getting any sleep. We were all exhausted – Olive included!”

It wasn’t specifically the exhaustion (although that was very real!) that drove Serlina to seek help. A couple of her friends had worked with Sydney-based sleep consultant Narisha and had good results. “They told me it was actually possible for an eight month old to sleep 12 hours at night, so I thought it was worth a try.”

From halfway there to a success story

Serlina reached out to Baby Sleep Consultant for support and did an initial free consult with Narisha. “We talked through the issues we were having and Narisha assured me that we were on the right path, but only halfway there. She believed that a phone consult would see us right.”

It helped that Serlina knew her stuff; this wasn’t her first experience with a sleep consultant. “When Olive was five months old, she went through a massive regression and we called a different sleep consultant to come in. That helped at first, but the results weren’t lasting. What we did get was some settling techniques, which we were using, but perhaps not as effectively as we could. Often I was helping Olive to settle, but then going back in too quickly the second time.”

Following a full phone consult – and taking her cues from what Serlina was already doing – Narisha came up with a plan for Olive. To start with, it was about establishing more of a routine around bedtime, so that Olive knew what to expect. Then Narisha put some suggested timings around the controlled crying approach.

“It got harder before it was easier,” Serlina remembers. “Those first couple of nights were quite heart-breaking, as I would sit outside her room with the video monitor and could see – as well as hear – her protesting before I went back in to give her a cuddle.”

On the third night, the tides dramatically started to turn. “It was so quick for her to settle that night! My husband and I were waiting in the lounge in disbelief. It was quiet; had she actually gone to sleep?” Serlina laughs.

That night Olive slept for a solid nine hours; possibly her longest stretch ever. What was even better was that she woke after nine hours, did a little snuffle, and went back to sleep independently! “It was clear to us at that point that Olive was feeding during the night out of habit; clearly she didn’t need it!” Serlina adds.

Good night sleeps also bring greater shape to the day

Although overnight was the biggest challenge for Serlina and Olive – as well as it being Narisha’s focus area to start – there were some challenges during the day too. “We didn’t really have a set routine and Olive was largely leading me,” Serlina admits. “It was hard to plan anything or get out of the house!”

Narisha’s approach was a good one; tackling night sleep first is often easier as the biological drive to sleep is stronger in the evening. Happily, the night-time improvements quickly started making the days easier too. “Narisha gave me a guide for the ideal daytime sleeps, based on the awake times for Olive’s age. It took a little bit of tweaking, but now our days are far more consistent – and naps are much easier to plan around,” Serlina enthuses.

Four months on and wee Olive has recently turned one; it’s been relatively smooth sailing ever since. Olive hasn’t had another feed during the night. When she has occasionally woken, cried out, and not managed to go back to sleep on her own, a few minutes of cuddling from mum or dad is enough to help her drift off again.

“I feel lucky to have such an adaptable baby,” Serlina shares. “And that extra sleep has been so amazing! At first we didn’t know what to do with our extra time in the evening, and I wake up a lot more rested now. It’s made me realise that I wasn’t always enjoying spending time with Olive when I was so tired. The extra sleep has led to a mood change for me as well.”

Serlina admits that she’s a strong advocate for sleep training. “I think of it as a little pain for a long-term gain. But really, I think it’s important to help babies develop the skill of self-settling. Doing so means doing both your baby, and yourself, a favour!”