Childproofing Your Home

Keeping your children safe is probably your number one priority, but it can be difficult to keep up with every small spot in your home that can lead your child to trouble. Toddlers who are learning to walk and small children who don’t understand how to be cautious yet are most at risk for finding danger in the home without you realizing it. It’s crucial to stay on top of these childproofing steps to protect your children from accidents and injury.

In The Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous spots in the house for children, which is unfortunate as it’s also one of the most useful spots for getting important things done. If your children frequently following you into the kitchen:

  • Cook at the back of the stove on the hobs that are furthest from you to prevent your kids from reaching up and getting burned.
  • Keep the handles of your pots and pans turned toward the wall so they can’t be grabbed.
  • Store all knives, sharp objects, matches and other dangerous items in a safety-locked drawer that they cannot reach.
  • Keep your child away from the area if you’re cooking food that may spatter or boil over.
  • Teach your children not to touch anything in the kitchen that isn’t their own.
  • Keep hot food and dishes out of reach in the middle of the table or counter.
  • Child-lock cupboards that contain cleaning products and other dangerous chemicals.

In The Bathroom

  • Keep the boiler temperature turned down to a lower heat so that the water can’t reach boiling hot temperatures.
  • Test bath or shower temperatures before placing your children into the tub or shower.
  • Never leave your child unattended in the bath- they can easily drown or turn on the hot water.
  • Keep medicines far out of reach in a child-locked cabinet.
  • Keep floors dry to prevent slipping once your child is able to walk.

In The Living Room

  • Once your child becomes mobile enough, they will inevitably start to climb up couches and take risks. Don’t leave your child alone in the room and consider padding the area around the couch with soft carpeting or pillows to prevent injury.
  • Use safety plugs to cover any open electrical sockets, and keep the sockets that aren’t in use switched off at all times.
  • Avoid leaving anything lying around that could potentially be choked on- this includes small toys that older children might be playing with.

Just In Case

Accidents can happen even in the most careful families, so it’s always good to be prepared in case your child swallows a poisonous substance or injures himself. Keep a bottle of ipecac syrup in your locked cabinet at all times in case of poisoning, and have a poison control number on your fridge ready to be called in an emergency. Keep other emergency numbers in a visible place, and teach your children to dial 911 if anything happens

Losing The Baby Weight

Having a baby can be a major shock to the system. You’re tired, confused, loaded with confusing postpartum hormones and, this part comes as a real surprise to some, a fair amount heavier than you were nine months ago. Not everyone gains a ton of weight during pregnancy but many of us do- all of that eating for two and resting your swollen feet can add up to a hefty amount of weight to lose after the baby is born.

Getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight should be a gradual process. For some lucky women it occurs naturally in the months after giving birth with very little effort. Other moms struggle a little more to fit back into their old jeans. Rest assured, even a large amount of weight gain can eventually be reversed through careful eating and a little exercise.

When Can I Start?

Weight loss isn’t likely to be at the top of your list of priorities during those early newborn days, and rightly so. You should try not to think about losing weight at all during the first six weeks after giving birth. Your body needs this time to heal and rest, and your focus will be bonding with your precious baby.

At your six week medical check up your doctor should give you the go ahead to start working off the baby weight. They will most likely recommend that you reduce your calorie intake and start doing some kind of aerobic exercise- weight loss really can be that simple!

If you’ve had a c-section then you may need a little longer to heal before you head off to the gym. You’ll most likely still be feeling pretty sore at six weeks postpartum, so stick with walking and gentle exercise before you attempt anything more strenuous.

What If I’m Breastfeeding?

Because breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day on its own, many women who choose to breastfeed lose weight more easily after childbirth. If you do have some excess weight to lose, you should find that eating regularly and healthily is all you need to do while breastfeeding, as your body will use the extra fat stores for energy to produce milk.

Lactation experts do not recommend restricting your food intake too severely while breastfeeding, especially in the early days after childbirth when you’re still getting the hang of it all. After six weeks you can gradually lose weight, but aim to keep it slow- rapid weight loss can have a negative impact on your milk supply and may affect your baby’s growth.

Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?

Some women lose all of the weight gained during pregnancy but find that their body still doesn’t look like it used to. This can be frustrating but it is normal- your body shape can change during pregnancy and your body may never look like it once did.

If your stomach still pooches out significantly after you’ve lost weight then you may be experiencing diastasis recti, or abdominal separation. This separation of the abdominal muscles can cause your stomach to stick out, creating an early pregnancy look that is difficult to shift through diet or exercise. If you suspect that this may be a problem for you, speak to your doctor about special stretches and exercises that can heal the abdominal muscles.

Flying With Your Baby

Airplanes are not the most comfortable places for anyone, but they’re especially difficult when you’re bringing a baby along for the ride. From irritated fellow passengers to unhelpful flight attendants, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Your plane journey doesn’t have to be a nightmare- just follow these simple steps for a successful flight and a well-deserved family vacation.

Come Prepared

There’s nothing worse than hitting maximum altitude and realising that you’ve forgotten your baby’s favorite pacifier. Make sure that you’ve packed for all eventualities, and then triple-check that everything is where it should be before you head off to the airport. Bring along extras of everything so that you’re prepared for any eventuality. Extra wipes, diapers, snacks, formula, bottles, blankets and toys will all go a long way in ensuring that your trip is a pleasant one.

Have A Health Check

Get your baby checked over before you embark on any long journeys, especially if you have a very young infant who has never spent much time out of the house before. Have your doctor check that there are no signs of ear infection or any other possible health issues.

Consider Your Timing

If your baby is already in a pretty solid routine, you may want to consider timing your flight at a point in the day when your baby is most likely to be sound asleep. Overnight flights tend to be the easiest when it comes to travelling with a baby, especially if your little one is sleeping through the night. If you can aim to take off around bedtime then you may be in for a very peaceful, easy flight.

Reduce Ear Pressure

Discomfort from pressure in the ears is one of the main reasons that babies tend to freak out during take off and landing. Make sure that your baby is sucking on something during times of extreme pressure changes. A pacifier can work well if your baby already likes to suck on these, or offer your baby a bottle during takeoff and landing. If your baby is breastfeeding, these will be the best moments to offer a feed, as your baby will be settled and soothed while sucking to bring down the ear pressure.

Bring A Baby Carrier

Baby carriers and wraps are perfect for helping your baby get to sleep wherever you might be, and they’re great for soothing a baby hands-free on a plane if they start to cry. Bring one along for the journey and you’ll be able to pace up and down the walkway to calm your baby and help them fall asleep. It also allows them to sleep comfortably on you in your seat if they’re not able to settle in the plane’s cot- you’ll only have to secure them in the cot or baby seat for takeoff and landing, or if there’s any turbulence.

Check The Rules

Before the day of your flight arrives, make sure that you’re aware of all of the airline rules that will be relevant to you and your baby. If you want to bring expressed breast milk on the flight then you may need to notify the airline ahead of time due to the rules surrounding liquids on planes, and you may also need to arrange for refrigerating facilities during your flight. Contact the airline to clear up any issues and question you may have so that you won’t be stressed and unprepared on the day.

Photo: © Depositphotos.com / phb.cz

Moving With The Kids

Moving house is stressful for anyone, with or without kids in tow. When you have children along for the ride, it can become a truly taxing experience. Once you’ve decided on your new home and the papers are all signed, you have to deal with getting your kids used to the idea of a whole new home. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to make the transition less stressful for the whole family.

Get Them Excited

If your kids see moving house as a fun, exciting adventure then they’ll adjust to their new home far more easily. Work them up to the idea by being as positive as possible about the move, and tell them all of the things about the new house that will be an improvement on their old home. Take them on a tour of the new neighborhood and make sure that you stop at any local parks or fun attractions that could make the whole thing seem more appealing to children.

Let your kids come up with their own decorating ideas, show them maps of the house so that they can pick their own room and pick out some brand new bed sheets that they can use for their new beds (or old beds in a new room). These small planning sessions will help them to see moving as a positive, fun thing rather than a scary and unpleasant change that’s outside of their control.

Pack Together

Instead of swooping in and taking control of the packing process, get your kids involved at every step of the way. Help them to organize all of their clothes, toys and belongings in their room, and then let them decide which items they want to take with them and which things they no longer need. Moving can be a great opportunity to re-organize and de-clutter, but make sure that they feel involved and that their opinions are taken into consideration along the way.

Let your kids pack their own boxes up (once you’ve shown them how to pack neatly) and give them fun sticker labels to mark their boxes as their own. Once you’ve moved into your new home, get their boxes out first and help them to unpack in their new room so that it immediately begins to feel familiar and safe.

Expect Some Upheaval

It’s normal for moving home to unsettle some kids, especially if your children are pretty young and have only ever lived in one place. Try to be understanding and compassionate, and plan for some upheaval so that it doesn’t come as a surprise. Your kids may be slightly more clingy than usual and may need some extra love and support during this time, so be there for them whenever they want to talk and offer reassurance regularly.

If you can, stick to stick to your usual routine as much as possible once you’ve moved into your new home. It’s okay to order takeout for a few nights while you unpack and settle in, but stick to the usual feeding, naptime and bedtime routines to help your children feel secure and at home.

How To Survive Being A Work At Home Mom

For many new moms, working from home offers the ideal balance between their family and their career. Running back to work a few weeks after having a baby isn’t ideal, so setting up office at home can seem like the perfect solution to your career woes. However, working from home comes with its own set of challenges and difficulties. Getting the balance right takes preparation and plenty of practice.

Create A Defined Work Space

It’s difficult to focus when you’re working from home, so creating an area of your house that is just for your work can help you to focus and get in the working mindset. If you have a spare room, turn it into your very own office space, complete with a desk and comfortable chair. Try to keep the space clean and organized so that it feels like you’re truly at work, rather than sitting in your own living room resisting the TV.

If you don’t have a spare room or much space to spare, corner off an area of your living room for your laptop and work files. It doesn’t have to be a big area- just enough to let you know that you’re officially in work mode. Having a defined workspace can also make it easier to switch off at the end of the day, rather than leaving you feeling like you’re constantly at work.

Make A Schedule

When you’re working at home without a boss watching your every move, it’s easy to slip into procrastination and succumb to distractions. Build yourself a clear timetable with a designated time for everything you need to get done. Schedule in coffee breaks and playtime with the kids if they’re going to be at home with you- breaks are important and can help you stay focused, but limit the amount of time you spend surfing social networks or flicking between TV channels. Stick to your schedule as best you can to keep yourself productive.

Knuckle Down In Naptime

It can be really tough to get much done if you’re chasing after a toddler while trying to complete a project on your laptop, so take advantage of naptime when it comes around. Although it may be tempting to crash out on the couch or fall asleep next to your child instead, seize the moment and get as much done as you possibly can during the hour or two of quiet.

Set Up Boundaries

If your kids are old enough to understand, make sure that they’re aware that you can’t be disturbed during work time. Develop a signal that you can show them when you’re focusing on something and can’t be interrupted, or tie a certain color ribbon to your office door so that they know you’re busy working. Let them know that you should only be disturbed in an emergency, otherwise they need to wait a few minutes until they have your undivided attention.

Call In Reinforcements

Working at home when you have small children can be extremely difficult. If you have a baby or young toddler, you’ll probably find it near impossible to get much done during the day. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra help if you really need to work but can’t find the time.

Most childcare providers can be flexible around your budget and schedule- look into half day daycares or a sitter that will come in for a few hours on a few days each week. A flexible childcare arrangement can help you ease into the working/parenting balance, while giving your child the chance to adjust to a new face.

Protecting Your Kids Online

The internet can be a great tool for kids. It can help them with their homework, entertain them on rainy days and allow them to connect with friends outside of school. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the web that can have a damaging impact on children and teenagers. Learn to protect your kids from the more sinister side of the internet with these simple steps.

Have An Open Conversation

Before you give your kids their first smartphone with internet access or allow them to use a laptop or tablet, have an open conversation about internet safety. If your kids are old enough to open social networking accounts, make sure that they are fully aware of all of the safety risks involved in posting personal information online.

Supervise them as they set up their accounts so that you can monitor what information is shared- for example, don’t allow them to put their address, phone number, age or other personal information in the public domain. Try to explain clearly to your children exactly why you are forbidding certain activities- nobody likes to be told what to do without being given a reason, especially kids.

Because the internet is full of inappropriate content that your child may stumble across, encourage them to come to you if they see anything that disturbs or confuses them. Explain that they will not be punished for talking to you about things they’ve seen online- hopefully this will open up a dialogue between you and your children and make them feel comfortable being honest with you.

Filter Your Content

There are ways to control what information and images your child is exposed to online, although this will become more difficult if they’re accessing the internet through phones and tablets. If you have a family laptop or desktop computer that your kids use to play games or research topics for homework, you can set up web filters that block out inappropriate content when your child is online. This software will send you a list of the websites that your child has visited so you can monitor their activity and can filter their search results based on certain keywords.

Review History

If you decide not to install special software to monitor your kids online, you can still take a look at what sort of content they’re viewing. Check the search and web history of your computer whenever your kids have been online to ensure that they’re keeping themselves safe online. You may have concerns about invading your child’s privacy, but their safety should always be of the utmost importance.

Be Aware Of The Dangers

The most important thing that you can do as a parent is to be aware and alert when it comes to online safety. Many parents with teenagers may feel that their child already knows more than they do about the internet- it’s important to keep yourself educated about what sort of threats are out there and how you can work on preventing them.

Read up on web safety and keep an eye on which apps and websites your child frequents so you can be aware of what dangers they could present. Awareness and knowledge is always the best defence.

10 Styling Tips  For Busy Mothers

Most moms don’t have the time or energy to put a ton of thought into what they wear every morning. If you’re the type of mom who wants to keep hold of your sense of style without devoting an entire morning to your mirror, follow these 10 basic beauty and fashion tips.

  1. Have a basic makeup routine. There’s no need to put on a full face of makeup every time you head out of the door, and with kids to care for and a job to get to that’s probably an unrealistic expectation. Invest in a high quality BB cream or tinted moisturizer- this allows you to skip over the foundation step altogether. Then you can just add a quick brush of blush, a lick of mascara and you’re ready to go.
  2. Perfect pretty braids. We’ve all fallen prey to the typical mom ponytail- the updo of choice for parents who don’t have time for a shower and can’t think of how to style their hair in a hurry. When you have a free moment, watch tutorials online on how to do quick, interesting braids. They give you an interesting and feminine look without any need for washing and excessive styling.
  3. Buy a great pair of shades. The right sunglasses can be a striking fashion accessory all on their own. Find the pair that suit your face perfectly and throw them on to mask tired eyes.
  4. Book a regular manicure. Painting your own nails can be a major challenge when you have kids running around the house, so make time to have a regular professional manicure to keep your nails looking pretty and groomed. Ask someone to watch the kids for an hour and treat yourself to some much-needed pampering.
  5. Embrace the blazer. Even if you’re not longer traipsing into an office every day, you can definitely rock a well-fitted black blazer. Ditch the cardigan and wear a blazer with your skinny jeans- it’ll automatically upgrade your look.
  6. Find your perfect fit. There’s no clothing item more versatile than a great pair of jeans. Take the time to hunt down the style and size that fits your body just right. You’ll be able to pair it with formal tops for a dressed up look or a comfortable plain white T-shirt on casual days. Either way, you’ll look fabulous.
  7. Wear a wrap dress. Knit wrap dresses are a staple for any stylish woman, but they’re especially great for busy moms. They work well in a range of weather conditions and can suit most occasions. Pick a bright color for a bolder look or a neutral tone for chic everyday style.
  8. Accessorize wisely. Accessories can bring new life to an outfit, not matter how frumpy you might feel. Wear a bright scarf, striking necklace or an interesting pair of earrings to elevate your outfit without having to think too much about what you’re wearing.
  9. Don’t be afraid of shapewear. If you’re veering away from pre-baby outfits because you feel self conscious about your post-baby figure, cinch in your curves and smooth down your shape with some structured underwear.
  10. Ditch the maternity wear. Unless you can cinch in those old maternity clothes with a belt or work them into a style that fits your body, avoid wearing them in place of your normal clothes. Sort through your wardrobe and pick out the clothes that you feel good in- then donate the rest to charity. You’ll clear up space in your wardrobe and make the process of choosing what to wear faster and simpler.

How To Help Your Overweight Child

Just as excess weight can sneak up on you as an adult, children can also fall prey to weight problems that you may not notice until it seems to be too late. Fortunately, it’s never too late for kids to turn around unhealthy eating patterns and return to a suitable weight. Your role as a parent is to educate your kids about food and fitness, no matter how far up the scale they are.

Don’t Be Complacent

The most dangerous thing you can do when you have an overweight child is sit back and wait for the problem to resolve itself. Once kids are in a pattern of overeating and gaining weight, it can be very difficult to break these habits without parental support. Once a doctor has confirmed that your child is over the healthy bracket for their age and height, immediately start implementing changes- don’t wait for the situation to get worse first.

Be Positive

Talking to your child about food and weight is a tricky thing. Try not to be punishing in the language you use- your child shouldn’t feel as if they’ve done something wrong or that you’re angry with them. Approach the situation as a team and you’ll avoid a painful power struggle that could make things more difficult.

Try to avoid talking about numbers and weight- focus on health instead. Talk about the potential benefits of eating a healthy diet and getting more exercise, from having more energy to getting sick less often.

A Family Project

Explain to your child that you want to be healthier as a family, and make changes for everyone rather than singling them out. Look at ways that the whole family can come together to improve their health and try to include everyone in the conversation. This will help your child to feel like they’re part of a fun project, not like they’re being targeted as a problem in the family.

Try to make dietary changes that involve the whole family. Clear your kitchen out of any junk food and start buying healthy groceries instead- if your pantry isn’t stocked up with high fat, sugary foods then its less likely that your child will eat them. Serve up healthy snacks after school and try to cook nutritious home cooked meals as often as possible. All of these changes will benefit everyone in the family, while having the positive knock on effect of reducing your child’s weight.

Get Active

Helping your child to become more physically active doesn’t have to be complicated. Switch the TV, computers and games off at the weekend and get the family outdoors- bring balls and toys to a nearby park or visit a swimming pool so everyone can splash around. Try not to make these outings look like they’re compulsory fitness excursions; your kids should feel like they’re out having fun, not being forced into something they don’t want to do.

Encouraging your child to join sports teams is a good way to help them get more exercise, but not all kids are crazy about soccer or baseball. Help your child find an activity they genuinely enjoy and sign them up, whether it’s kickboxing or swimming. Any activity is better than sitting on the couch.

Easy Meals For Your Baby

Once your baby is comfortably eating solid foods, they’ll be ready to try out a wide variety of meals and flavors. Many parents fall into a rut when it comes to cooking for their baby, particularly if you have a fussy baby who seems to want to eat the same meals every day. Try out some of these wholesome baby food recipes and watch their food horizon’s expand.

Home-Cooked Puree

It’s easy to take whatever you would normally eat for dinner and transform it into a soft, manageable meal for your baby. If you often have a meat/veggies/starch meal, your baby can easily join in after about nine months old.

Take whatever meat you’re cooking and cut away any extra fat. Dice it into small pieces and blend a little so that it’s easier for your baby’s little mouth to manage. Mash up sweet potato, potato or pasta, whichever starch you’re planning to eat, as well as your veggies, and blend together with the meat. Your baby now has their own balanced meal to enjoy alongside the rest of the family.

Don’t forget to leave out the salt that you’d usually add to your own dish- wait until baby has been served and then season your food.

Quinoa Balls

Quinoa is definitely one of my favorite superfoods- it’s a complete protein, easy to cook and delicious to eat. It’s also great for babies. Quinoa balls are perfect for baby’s who prefer to handle their food themselves instead of being spoon fed.

Simply cook up one cup of quinoa, stir in two tablespoons of butter and half a cup of shredded cheese. Then form the mixture into small, bite sized balls and give them to your baby in a bowl. This is a delicious and nutritious meal that can be enjoyed by babies and toddlers alike.

Bean Puree

Introducing protein can be a tricky when you have a baby who hasn’t quite mastered biting and chewing. Beans are the perfect healthy protein source, and they’re also ideal for vegetarian families. Our favorite bean puree uses white cannellini beans. All you have to do is throw a can of beans and a tablespoon of water into your food processor, then blend until you have a nice smooth consistency. You can then spoon feed the puree to your baby mixed with a vegetable puree, or combine it in a pasta sauce for a delicious and nutritious toddler meal.

Sweet Potato Fries

Babies tend to love the scrumptious taste of sweet potato, and it’s good for them, too! Introduce your baby to finger food by baking strips of sweet potato with a little olive oil in the oven. You can add cinnamon for some extra flavor and experiment with spices to find the combination your baby loves best. Serve up on their highchair tray and let them get messy.

Simple Snacks

Does it seem like your baby or toddler is only interested in snacking on Cheerios and crackers? Try these nutritious snacks to tide them over until dinnertime.

  • Hummus spread on crackers
  • Mashed avocado
  • Small slices of banana
  • Blueberries
  • A few small chunks of cheese
  • Cooked carrot sticks
  • Fruit wedges with yogurt to dip in
  • Grapes

Adult Acne: Is there A Cure?

Although most lucky women leave acne behind after high school, some continue to struggle with this frustrating skin condition long into adulthood. Adult acne can be a stubborn problem to treat, but there are solutions that could help clear up your skin for good.

A Hormonal Imbalance?

If you experience flare-ups of acne around the time of your period, or found that it got worse during pregnancy, then you’ve probably already guess that hormones could be to blame. The fluctuation of hormones that occurs during these times can lead to breakouts, or consistently bad acne that doesn’t disappear.

The best front line treatment available for hormonal acne for women is the birth control pill. Hormonal contraceptives can help to balance out your hormones, and may lead to a reduction in acne. It’s important to discuss your skin concerns with your doctor so that they can select the right pill for the purpose- some birth control pills can make acne worse rather than better, so picking the right pill is crucial.

If the birth control pill is ineffective in treating your skin, or if you have unpleasant side effects that make the pill intolerable, there are other options for hormonal acne. Your doctor can prescribe certain medications that bring down the levels of testosterone in your body and reduce oil-production, which can be effective in treating adult acne.

Avoid Harsh Cleaners

When teenagers get acne, they often combat the pimples with harsh cleansers and spot treatments containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. While these treatments can be moderately effective on adolescent skin, they often don’t make as big an impact when it comes to managing adult acne. Cleansers that strip the oil from your skin can prompt your body to produce more oil in reaction, which will just accelerate the vicious cycle of acne.

If you’ve been attempting to fight your acne with harsh cleansers, try giving your skin a break for a while by using a cream cleanser designed for sensitive skin instead. Avoid alcohol-based products and anything that leaves your skin feeling stretched and uncomfortable. You may find that the chemicals targeted at teenage skin have been making your skin worse, and that more gentle ingredients give your clean a softer, clearer look.

Be Wary Of Makeup

Most women who struggle with adult acne try to cover up the problem with layers of thick makeup. This is perfectly understandable, but certain ingredients can clog up your skin and make the breakouts worse. Aim to buy only cosmetics that are labelled as noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic, as these won’t contain excess oils and irritants that will exacerbate the problem.

Look At Your Diet

Allergies and food intolerances can sometimes be at the root of skin problems. Experiment with eliminating certain aggravating foods from your diet for a couple of weeks to see if it has a positive impact on your skin. Dairy is a common culprit, even in those who aren’t lactose intolerant, and high glycemic index foods like white pasta, corn syrup and processed sugars are often linked to acne. Clean up your diet and see if your