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December 2019 - Mood Baby

https://www.mother.ly/news/amy-schumer-on-breastfeeding-this-is-not-for-me

When Amy Schumer became a mom in 2019, we were so happy for her. When she posted photos of herself pumping before going to work, we cheered her on because we know how hard it can be.

And now that she is going public about her struggles with breastfeeding and exclusive pumping, we are thankful that she’s sharing her story.

In an interview for the Informed Pregnancy podcast, Schumer told prenatal chiropractor, childbirth educator and labor doula Dr. Elliot Berlin about why she chose to stop pumping and switch to formula.

“I had a lactation expert; he [baby Gene] didn’t latch, and I just didn’t feel that push to make that happen. I pumped for the first month or something and then I was like, not for me, this is not for me, I didn’t want to do it,” she tells Dr. Berlin.

Over time, she reduced her pumping sessions, increased formula feeds and eventually switched to formula completely.

“I really encourage women — there’s so much pressure to breastfeed but really, it’s all in your head,” Schumer says in the interview, “Some people absolutely love it and I’m so happy for them but it was bumming me out. Once it occurred to me that I could stop, I was like, ‘I’m going stop.'”

Schumer is right. A recent commentary in the journal Nursing for Women’s Health explains that “[p]sychological pressure to exclusively breastfeed has the potential to contribute to postpartum depression symptoms in new mothers who are unable to achieve their breastfeeding intentions.”

Schumer was “bummed out” and research shows that mothers who have negative breastfeeding experiences are more likely to show symptoms of depression.

Breastmilk is recommended as the first choice when feeding an infant, but it is not the only choice. It’s okay if you chose to feed your baby in a way that works for you.

While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, the ACOG also officially recognizes that a baby’s mother “is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant.”

When she switched her son to formula Schumer felt better, and the baby thrived. Schumer wants other women to know this.

Her advice for fellow moms struggling with their decision to supplement or formula feed is simple: “You matter. It’s going to better for your baby that you’re OK.”

https://www.mother.ly/life/my-birth-story-i-am-a-dad-and-i-delivered-my-baby-by-accident

It’s not every day you read the story of a dad delivering his own baby.

When I replay the experience in my head, I often think, “Did that really happen? Did I really do that?”

My wife and I had previously discussed the possibility of having a home birth. We actually liked the idea of home birth, but ultimately decided that the right option for us was at the hospital. We felt more comfortable with the idea of having a doctor and medical equipment around, just in case.

Only two years before, we had our first child, so we had an idea of what to expect—or so we thought.

What happened next would rock my entire world and put us both on an emotional rollercoaster that we’ll never forget.

Labor started

Our story started on a chilly Thursday morning. My wife had prepared our bags weeks in advance, and I had the route to the hospital figured out. I knew labor was coming any day now, and I expected to be woken up, so I had purposely kept a night-light on to keep my senses alert.

It was 4:15 am when my wife started contracting.

My wife had been waking up sporadically from unconformable pains, but then she’d normally go back to sleep. This night, however, was a bit different. She woke up and stayed up.

Still half asleep, I could hear her rotating on her exercise ball. I could sense something was different, so I hopped out of bed to lend a hand.

She told me she had been up for about two hours now and was just too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. I was shocked. She had been experiencing contraction pains for over two hours but hadn’t woken me up!

I started to time the contractions now. Ten minutes apart, then 8 minutes apart then, 6 minutes apart. Everything was moving in the right direction, so I started to get things ready.

With our previous child, we had phoned the hospital as soon as she started feeling contractions.

They urged us not to leave until the contractions were at least 4 minutes apart, lasting for around 1 minute each, and had been going on for at least one hour. With our previous child, we were told to wait until the last possible minute before we left.

So this time, knowing that advice, we just waited. My wife endured the pain, grit her teeth, and let out a few moans, while I started to get everything ready.

The situation got serious, quickly.

Once the contractions got closer, I called the hospital. Unfortunately, the number just rang out.

While this was happening, my wife’s contractions went from several minutes apart to less than 2 minutes apart. Things started to get very serious, very fast.

She fell to her knees as all her water broke within seconds, and I realized that we had missed our slot to leave in the car. We would have to call an ambulance.

I called the emergency services to let them know what was happening and they assured me that an ambulance was on its way. I was relieved to hear that they had been dispatched but angry at myself for not leaving for the hospital sooner.

With the advice of the operator, I helped my wife on her back and rooted around the house for seemingly odd things. She told me to get some towels and some pillows— those made sense.

But then she asked me to get a clothespin and a piece of string*… huh?

What was this for? I reluctantly obliged but started to get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that she wasn’t letting me know the full story.

Why was she asking me to get emergency birthing items ready?

Wasn’t the ambulance on the way?

How long would it take for them to get here?

I kept asking, and she kept politely stating that they were close.

As my wife lay there in the middle of the living room, I started to accept what was about to happen. I dimmed the lights and shouted at my Google home music device to “play waterfall sounds!”

Our baby’s birth

The operator on the phone asked me to check if the baby was crowning. Luckily, I’m the type of partner that reads the baby books (score), so I knew what that meant.

As she separated her legs, it was clear as day that baby was, in fact, crowning.

I remember reading that active labor takes about 8 hours and that once you are dilated, it can take hours of pushing before a baby is born.

But, my wife went through dilatation in less than 30 minutes—and I was crouched there in disbelief.

This was happening now.

As the operator called out instructions to me, all I could do was think, “Where is the ambulance?!”

Then, out of nowhere, the living room door burst open, and my 2-year-old son came running in. He heard all the commotion and shouting and was, of course, worried.

He took one look at his mother and another at me and cried out “Juice juice” (that’s his way of asking for a drink). It couldn’t have been the worst timing! I scrambled to the kitchen, grabbed his sippy cup, and then directed him onto the table to sit.

Before I got a chance to finish my thought, my wife said, “She’s coming out. I’m pushing!!”

The rest was a blur and an intense emotional rollercoaster ride. As my wife squeezed my hand, and the operator directed instructions at me, it was all I could do to catch my breath.

Within a few moments, I could see my baby girl’s head. I burst into tears of joy and ecstasy, but seconds later feel paralyzed with fear and anguish. It was the wildest, unexplainable combination of feelings I’ve ever experienced: Such joy and such fear at the exact same time. Joy that my baby girl was being born, but terror that something could go wrong.

As I supported the baby’s neck, my wife pushed again and out popped her shoulders, body and then the legs.

I quickly cleaned the baby up and wrapped her in a warm towel.

I told my wife everything was okay and that she looked healthy. I witnessed a miracle before my eyes, and I was so proud of my wife.

She had given birth to our baby at home, naturally and incredible, with no pain relief whatsoever!

I could only imagine what she had just gone through. I remember smiling at her and saying, “You are the strongest woman I know!”

The paramedics finally arrived

Seconds later, I heard a sharp knock on the door. Finally, the paramedics arrived. As they came in, I felt an immediate sense of relief but also frustration. Why did they take so long?

As they came in, they took one look at my wife and baby and then turned to me and said. “Ah wonderful, you’ve done all the hard work for us”

Witty, but not really appropriate, I thought.

I was upset they had taken so long, but truthfully there was nothing they could have done. My wife went through active labor so fast that they wouldn’t have made it in time.

After they quickly checked the baby, we wrapped her up and headed towards the hospital.

I remember rushing around the house, picking up last-minute items and thinking, “Wow, did that just happen?”

I was on cloud nine. I had just delivered a baby—my baby. I was in shock but also pleased with myself for not panicking in the moment.

Our baby weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was perfectly healthy.

My advice to partners

Fast labors like these are rare, but they do happen. If I could share anything about my experience, it would be to try and be prepared for anything. By staying calm under intense pressure, I was able to listen to important instructions and provide the correct assistance to my wife. Truthfully she did all the hard work, and I remind her of that all the time.

Lastly, it’s essential to read the baby books! Not just for birth, but childcare and parenting as well. They really were invaluable for me and helped out more than I could have ever expected. All those things made a high-risk situation feel a lot more manageable.

*Note from our Digital Education Editor and midwife, Diana Spalding. This was likely recommended to use for clamping and cutting the cord. Current guidelines for emergency home birth recommend not clamping and cutting the cord, but rather leaving baby attached to the umbilical cord and placenta until help arrives.


Mo and his daughterMo Mulla

https://www.mother.ly/child/how-to-throw-a-noon-years-eve-party

Whether you couldn’t find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you just don’t feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down and celebrate a little earlier in the day.
Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it’s memorable with sure-fire party pleasers.

We’ve gathered a few family friendly ideas to help you ring in the new year:

1. Have a fun countdown

There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. Here are some ideas of what to stuff in the bags:

  • Party hats and noisemakers
  • Party poppers
  • Candy
  • A deck of cards and game instructions
  • Pens and paper to write New Year’s Resolutions
  • Craft projects
  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles

2. Create DIY noisemakers

Create DIY noisemakers for midnight from objects around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc. and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or, thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.

3. Entertain with sparkling science

Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti to the baking soda. To do this, mix together baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you don’t have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.

4. Make milk + cookie cocktails

Every party needs snacks! Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses or even wine glasses with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Simply dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup then dredge in the sprinkles.
Pro tip: Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles don’t slide down the glass! Cool the glasses in the fridge or serve right away with cookies.

5. Bake a clock

If your kids love baking, a fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks such as Twizzlers as clock hands to mark the time.

6. Have fun with balloons

It’s not a party without balloons, right? These
confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space, then you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower! You can fill these with helium or not—either way, the kids will love them.

If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling, or
buy this kit.

7. Offer Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers may be traditional for Christmas dinner but they’re equally as fun for New Year’s Eve. These brightly wrapped cylinders are pulled apart, breaking the cracker open with a popping sound. Be sure to check the prizes inside before purchase to get kid-friendly items (most boxes of crackers have a description on the back of the box).

Try this brand, which includes a party hat, jokes and stickers.

8. Have a photo booth

Even if it’s just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? No need for an elaborate set-up, tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house such as hats and sunglasses or buy a New Year’s Eve
photo booth prop set.

9. Create family time capsules

Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be a nice way to reflect on the past year. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Need ideas for what to include? Try your child’s handprint, a family picture and an interview.

Questioning your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals, and more is fun in the moment and to look back on next year. Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year. You can also
buy a time capsule kit to save time.

10. Read New Year’s Eve picture books

The night can get long and a quiet break for story time is good for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities.

1. The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing

The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?

2. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

A fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.

3. Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport

This book introduces kids to the way New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures.

https://www.mother.ly/child/questions-to-ask-when-considering-childcare

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was not prepared for how expensive childcare was or how difficult it would be to find an available spot for my child. Finding high-quality and affordable childcare is a challenge that most families will face. Working families across the country pay a high percentage of their annual income to cover the price of childcare. And today, about 57% of women work outside of the home.

After my personal struggle in finding childcare and after touring more than 50 daycares, I was determined to transform the childcare industry and find a solution for other mothers looking for a safe, affordable, nurturing, education-based childcare solution for their child. With that mission in mind, I founded WeeCare.

After helping thousands of parents find care, we compiled a list of questions to share with you to ensure that you find the best daycare environment for your child:

1. Is this childcare option convenient for my family and our schedules?

Communicate your work schedules with your childcare provider and have a plan in place with your family ahead of time. Who will be dropping off and picking up your child? Once you decide on who will do the regular pick-ups, make sure you have a back-up option who is more than just an emergency contact. This will help ensure a smoother transition for your family and your child.

2. Is the childcare affordable long-term?

Ensure the option you choose is sustainable for your family over time. Picking an option that is a little over budget and switching later can add additional financial stress and disrupt your child’s ability to form a bond with their caregiver. Also, ask about additional fees that you may need to budget for such as diaper changing, keeping the child for additional hours or transportation.

3. Do I feel that my child will be in a safe environment?

You should discuss this with your family before your tour so your family is on the lookout for anything that could be a potential safety issue. Are there any sharp edges in the home within the child’s reach, are the light sockets covered and are there childproof locks placed on the cabinets? Are CPR guidelines and emergency numbers posted? Does it look clean and sanitary? While on your tour, observe the children interacting with one another and take note of what they are doing. Pay attention to the provider’s interaction with the children. Does it look like a place where children will learn and play? Are the toys educational and are there books for the children to read? Is there an outside play area? If so, is the outdoor area enclosed or is it near a busy street or intersection? Are there any pets on the premises and are they inaccessible during daycare hours?

4. What is the policy for extended care or late pick-up?

Emergencies can happen so it’s best to understand the provider’s policies upfront and that they align with the needs of your work schedule. A few questions to keep in mind:

  • How much advance notice do you need to give if you won’t be needing childcare on certain days to avoid being charged?
  • What is the policy on communicating that you will need to stay at work late?
  • How many times a day does the provider communicate with parents and what is the best method to communicate with them?
  • How long does it typically take them to respond to parents?

5. What is your holiday schedule?

Childcare providers are usually closed during major holidays. They may also be closed for in-service training or longer holidays such as summer or winter break. This can range from a couple of days to a few weeks so get that information in advance so you can plan ahead if childcare is not available.

6. How is learning structured and what educational programs do you follow?

Did you know that 90% of physical brain development occurs in the first three years of life, and research shows a direct relationship between the quality of childcare and cognitive and language development. As children under the age of 5 spend an average of 36 hours per week in a childcare setting, a structured early-education environment with a routine is vital to their success later in life. There should be a day-to-day routine to ensure the child is learning.

Ask what teaching method they follow—iMontessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, etc. It’s also important to ask if the teachers have a background in early education, as this can positively impact your little one.

7. What is the teacher to child ratio?

The teacher-to-child ratio speaks to both the safety and the amount of one-on-one attention a child will receive in an environment. Many daycare centers will increase the number of children to grow their margins and not the number of caregivers, the result is often overcrowded classroom.

While it varies, the number of teacher to children ratio mandated by the state is usually around a maximum of 1:15. Where in a home daycare environment, the teacher to student ratio is usually 1:6. Here you can find out more about childcare in your state, including the teacher to child ratio.

8. What is the teacher turnover?

Teacher turnover is another factor that can disrupt your child’s ability to form a bond with their caregiver during a key stage of their development. It has been shown that children enrolled in early education programs with low turnover and higher staff compensation witness and experience more positive interactions that are crucial to their healthy development.

Positive adult relationships and positive learning environments has also shown to boost a child’s success in later learning and in life so this relationship is vital to your child’s development. Ask how long the teachers have been there, and observe how happy the teachers look overall and with their environment.

9. How do you communicate the child’s developmental progress? And, how often?

This is definitely a question that you will want to ask, as well as how often and what method your child’s developmental progress will be communicated (in-person, email, text, etc). This will help align you with the caregiver on the expectations of how often you hear from them. If you have a concern that you have brought up over email that is not being addressed, this would be a sign that the daycare provider is not communicating properly. You may need to take the conversation offline and schedule a time to meet in-person to discuss this further.

10. Do the children play outdoors?

Outdoor play is just as critical as indoor play and allows children to develop stronger social and emotional skills. Kids need to be in a natural environment where they can run, explore and exercise. Ask about how much time is spent outdoors each day and what activities they engage in when outside.

11. What is the discipline policy?

Having a caregiver with a discipline policy that is aligned with what you are teaching at home ensures consistency in what your little one knows as positive or negative behavior. It goes without saying but you want to ensure the caregiver is not physically punishing children and the as a rule of thumb, the number of minutes spent in time-out should never exceed your child’s age.

12. How is conflict resolution handled between children?

Your child will need to learn how to properly interact with others and the teacher should give verbal cues and positive reinforcement when children resolve an issue. If the teacher does not, this could be a red flag. Ask what happens if the conflict occurs again and at what point are the parents involved. What is the difference between “normal” conflict between two children and when parents should be worried?

https://www.mother.ly/child/how-to-throw-a-noon-years-eve-party

Whether you couldn’t find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you just don’t feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down and celebrate a little earlier in the day.
Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it’s memorable with sure-fire party pleasers.

We’ve gathered a few family friendly ideas to help you ring in the new year:

1. Have a fun countdown

There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. Here are some ideas of what to stuff in the bags:

  • Party hats and noisemakers
  • Party poppers
  • Candy
  • A deck of cards and game instructions
  • Pens and paper to write New Year’s Resolutions
  • Craft projects
  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles

2. Create DIY noisemakers

Create DIY noisemakers for midnight from objects around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc. and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or, thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.

3. Entertain with sparkling science

Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti to the baking soda. To do this, mix together baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you don’t have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.

4. Make milk + cookie cocktails

Every party needs snacks! Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses or even wine glasses with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Simply dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup then dredge in the sprinkles.
Pro tip: Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles don’t slide down the glass! Cool the glasses in the fridge or serve right away with cookies.

5. Bake a clock

If your kids love baking, a fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks such as Twizzlers as clock hands to mark the time.

6. Have fun with balloons

It’s not a party without balloons, right? These
confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space, then you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower! You can fill these with helium or not—either way, the kids will love them.

If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling, or
buy this kit.

7. Offer Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers may be traditional for Christmas dinner but they’re equally as fun for New Year’s Eve. These brightly wrapped cylinders are pulled apart, breaking the cracker open with a popping sound. Be sure to check the prizes inside before purchase to get kid-friendly items (most boxes of crackers have a description on the back of the box).

Try this brand, which includes a party hat, jokes and stickers.

8. Have a photo booth

Even if it’s just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? No need for an elaborate set-up, tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house such as hats and sunglasses or buy a New Year’s Eve
photo booth prop set.

9. Create family time capsules

Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be a nice way to reflect on the past year. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Need ideas for what to include? Try your child’s handprint, a family picture and an interview.

Questioning your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals, and more is fun in the moment and to look back on next year. Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year. You can also
buy a time capsule kit to save time.

10. Read New Year’s Eve picture books

The night can get long and a quiet break for story time is good for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities.

1. The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing

The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?

2. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

A fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.

3. Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport

This book introduces kids to the way New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures.

https://www.mother.ly/child/how-to-throw-a-noon-years-eve-party

Whether you couldn’t find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you just don’t feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down and celebrate a little earlier in the day.
Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it’s memorable with sure-fire party pleasers.

We’ve gathered a few family friendly ideas to help you ring in the new year:

1. Have a fun countdown

There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. Here are some ideas of what to stuff in the bags:

  • Party hats and noisemakers
  • Party poppers
  • Candy
  • A deck of cards and game instructions
  • Pens and paper to write New Year’s Resolutions
  • Craft projects
  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles

2. Create DIY noisemakers

Create DIY noisemakers for midnight from objects around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc. and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or, thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.

3. Entertain with sparkling science

Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti to the baking soda. To do this, mix together baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you don’t have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.

4. Make milk + cookie cocktails

Every party needs snacks! Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses or even wine glasses with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Simply dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup then dredge in the sprinkles.
Pro tip: Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles don’t slide down the glass! Cool the glasses in the fridge or serve right away with cookies.

5. Bake a clock

If your kids love baking, a fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks such as Twizzlers as clock hands to mark the time.

6. Have fun with balloons

It’s not a party without balloons, right? These
confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space, then you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower! You can fill these with helium or not—either way, the kids will love them.

If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling, or
buy this kit.

7. Offer Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers may be traditional for Christmas dinner but they’re equally as fun for New Year’s Eve. These brightly wrapped cylinders are pulled apart, breaking the cracker open with a popping sound. Be sure to check the prizes inside before purchase to get kid-friendly items (most boxes of crackers have a description on the back of the box).

Try this brand, which includes a party hat, jokes and stickers.

8. Have a photo booth

Even if it’s just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? No need for an elaborate set-up, tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house such as hats and sunglasses or buy a New Year’s Eve
photo booth prop set.

9. Create family time capsules

Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be a nice way to reflect on the past year. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Need ideas for what to include? Try your child’s handprint, a family picture and an interview.

Questioning your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals, and more is fun in the moment and to look back on next year. Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year. You can also
buy a time capsule kit to save time.

10. Read New Year’s Eve picture books

The night can get long and a quiet break for story time is good for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities.

1. The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing

The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?

2. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

A fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.

3. Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport

This book introduces kids to the way New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures.

https://www.mother.ly/child/how-to-throw-a-noon-years-eve-party

Whether you couldn’t find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you just don’t feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down and celebrate a little earlier in the day.
Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it’s memorable with sure-fire party pleasers.

We’ve gathered a few family friendly ideas to help you ring in the new year:

1. Have a fun countdown

There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. Here are some ideas of what to stuff in the bags:

  • Party hats and noisemakers
  • Party poppers
  • Candy
  • A deck of cards and game instructions
  • Pens and paper to write New Year’s Resolutions
  • Craft projects
  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles

2. Create DIY noisemakers

Create DIY noisemakers for midnight from objects around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc. and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or, thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.

3. Entertain with sparkling science

Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti to the baking soda. To do this, mix together baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you don’t have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.

4. Make milk + cookie cocktails

Every party needs snacks! Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses or even wine glasses with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Simply dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup then dredge in the sprinkles.
Pro tip: Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles don’t slide down the glass! Cool the glasses in the fridge or serve right away with cookies.

5. Bake a clock

If your kids love baking, a fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks such as Twizzlers as clock hands to mark the time.

6. Have fun with balloons

It’s not a party without balloons, right? These
confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space, then you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower! You can fill these with helium or not—either way, the kids will love them.

If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling, or
buy this kit.

7. Offer Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers may be traditional for Christmas dinner but they’re equally as fun for New Year’s Eve. These brightly wrapped cylinders are pulled apart, breaking the cracker open with a popping sound. Be sure to check the prizes inside before purchase to get kid-friendly items (most boxes of crackers have a description on the back of the box).

Try this brand, which includes a party hat, jokes and stickers.

8. Have a photo booth

Even if it’s just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? No need for an elaborate set-up, tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house such as hats and sunglasses or buy a New Year’s Eve
photo booth prop set.

9. Create family time capsules

Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be a nice way to reflect on the past year. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Need ideas for what to include? Try your child’s handprint, a family picture and an interview.

Questioning your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals, and more is fun in the moment and to look back on next year. Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year. You can also
buy a time capsule kit to save time.

10. Read New Year’s Eve picture books

The night can get long and a quiet break for story time is good for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities.

1. The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing

The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?

2. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

A fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.

3. Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport

This book introduces kids to the way New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures.

https://www.mother.ly/child/tips-to-boost-your-immune-system

As we enter into the heart of winter, it’s an ideal time to take a look at your family’s daily habits (and establish new ones) to support your overall health and wellbeing. Building and maintaining a healthy routine can make a huge impact on your immune health, and when the immune system is supported, everyone in your family (including you, mama) will be able to feel and be their best selves.

Here are immune tips for your household so you can feel your best and enjoy all this season has to offer:

1. Wash hands often

Washing hands often may be basic, but it’s so important! Frequent hand washing helps reduce initial exposure to immune challenges. Just be sure to wash for 20-30 seconds with warm water and an antibacterial soap.

2. Get quality sleep

Often overlooked, but crucial for keeping the immune system in tip-top shape is getting enough restorative sleep. Adults should aim for at least 7-8 hours each night to recharge, and children typically need 9-11 hours. With busy schedules and long to-do lists, this is easier said than done. If you or your kids have trouble getting to sleep, try incorporating a healthy sleep routine, such as turning off all screens at least an hour before bed, taking a warm bath or shower and setting the same bedtime each night. Our bodies respond well to a regular routine.

3. Boost your nutrition

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables fuels the body with healthy antioxidants. Think of foods like kale, blueberries, spinach and citrus fruits. If this is a challenge, or if you have picky eaters in your house, try adding these foods to a morning smoothie. You can also add bananas and frozen mangoes to sweeten the deal.

4. Take vitamin C

Don’t underestimate vitamin C, a powerhouse in supporting a healthy immune response. Vitamin C accumulates in certain immune cells that help make up our defensive team. Interestingly, the vitamin is also stored in adrenal glands, where it’s used to make stress hormones. So, it stands to reason that when you’re under additional stress, you may want to supplement with additional vitamin C. Gummy vitamins are a tasty and easy way for families to get the boost they need.

5. Consider using elderberry

This beautiful purple berry has been used for hundreds of years to support optimal immune health and is an excellent source of anthocyanins—a type of flavonoid also found in blueberries and raspberries. Consider supplements like MegaFood Immune Defense, mykind Organics Elderberry Immune Gummy or Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Syrup to power the immune system when you need it most.

6. Take care of gut health

With 70-80% of the immune system residing along the gastrointestinal tract, there is a strong connection between gut microbiota and overall health. Simply put, when your gut bacteria are properly in balance, then you have a thriving population of beneficial bacteria supporting your immune system. Look for a quality probiotic supplement like Women’s Health Shelf-Stable Probiotics and Culturelle Daily Probiotics that can help support both intestinal health and immunity.

https://www.mother.ly/life/being-a-mother-to-10-kids

I never planned on being a mother of 10 kids, although I will admit I’ve always been drawn to large families. My favorite reruns growing up were The Brady Bunch and Eight is Enough. Full House and The Cosby Show attracted me, even as a teen. After all, there was always someone in the family to jump in to help, or to point others to the bright side of things, all in the span of 30 minutes.

And then “large family” came to define us. When our three biological kids were nearly adults, we adopted seven more, from ages newborn to 15. While television shows display the drama and the many unique personalities under one roof, what they don’t portray is the real-life stuff: the Mt. Everest of laundry piles, the improbability of matching socks, the five-pound meatloaf needed for dinner, and the grumbling. Always the grumbling.

In our house, there are many people with many wants and needs, which leads to many conflicts and complaining. Eight kids still at home, two parents, and my elderly grandma all living together meant we could either live with the fault-finding and bellyaching, or we work to do something different.

That’s when my husband and I decided to challenge this large crew to a Grumble-Free Year. It was either that or invest in noise-canceling headphones. Sadly, society looks down upon parents who ignore their children.

We got our kids to buy into the idea by promising that if they worked at not-grumbling for a year we’d take them on a cruise. (Not mentioning that we, sort of, had that family vacation already planned.)

The first lesson of our challenge was that grumbling is more than words. It included eye-rolling, heavy sighing and stomping away.

The second lesson was that if I wanted my kids not to grumble, I had to be the example. This is tough, especially since I homeschool and my kids were with me every moment of the day. Because of that, they quickly point out my eye-rolling, heavy sighing and stomping away.

We had ups and downs over the year, and I figured out -after many months- that the thing that worked the best wasn’t pointing out when my kids got it wrong but instead pointing out when they got it right. Praise goes farther than nitpicking.


It turns out when kids see a mom praising one of their siblings LOUDLY for not complaining or being grateful instead, they will want the same type of positive attention. Go figure.

And now that are a year has come and gone, I’m seeing a much more peaceful, connected and thankful family. I truly have nothing to complain about, because I’ve learned so much in the process. I’ve learned that because of the large number of people in our home, we can’t ignore little problems.

Little problems—like grumbling—become big problems when everyone’s doing it. It may be easy to ignore the grumbling with only one, two or three kids. But the sum of our collected whines and moans moved grumbling from “annoying” to “acute.”

We also learned that overcoming challenges together in the home is noticed outside the home. I’m awed when a youth leader or coach comments on one of my kids’ positive attitudes. There were many years when I doubted that my kids would ever be called thoughtful or positive.

Not that anyone around here gets it perfect, but our combined weaknesses actually caused us to build up our individual strengths. My hope is that as my children move into adulthood, they will know that even in challenging situations they can control their words and refocus their thoughts to what they can be grateful for, instead of grumbling. I have a feeling this will get them ahead in work and in life.

By the end of the year, we did enjoy a Mexican cruise where everyone ate steak for dinner and wore out the free ice cream machine, but the biggest reward was discovering we could change. We still try to maintain grumble-free, but we also realize that no one is perfect. And when one of us is having an especially bad attitude, we’ve also learned to offer grace.

No one will ever be perfect, and in real life, problems aren’t solved in 30 minutes like in the TV shows I used to watch. Sometimes in a busy household, there isn’t someone who will jump in and help—especially when I’m trying to get dinner on the table and kids out the door to basketball—not I’m grumbling about that, mind you.

And sometimes the problems are bigger. They need more than an attitude adjustment or to see the bright side of things, but offering grace works for that too.

Giving grace means it’s okay to offer undeserved kindness, even when someone messes up. It’s keeping short accounts and not holding another’s words against them. It’s knowing that none of us are perfect (especially mom and dad), but at least we’re all trying.

And with this many people in the house, sometimes even the trying is a miracle in itself.

https://babyology.com.au/parenting/toys/surprise-are-you-accidentally-teaching-your-preschooler-to-gamble/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=surprise-are-you-accidentally-teaching-your-preschooler-to-gamble

For many of us, our first experience with ‘gambling’ was the lucky dip at the local school fete. We handed over our pocket money and hoped the plain packet we selected would contain something worth our 50 cents. Now the lucky dip has been reinvented and become ubiquitous in the form of the blind bag […]

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