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Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Category

April 8th, 2014 at 9:03 am

Apps for Expectant and New Parents


Baby on the way? Congratulations! Such an exciting, expectant, and nerve wracking time, especially if it’s your first. So much to learn, so much information about what to do and not to do. It can be overwhelming. But, while there’s no app for the hard parts, there are plenty of apps that can help you prepare.

Hello Baby app for iPhone  is a great way to learn about all of the stages of growth of your baby during pregnancy. It’s full of images and information that can help you understand the magic that is happening in the womb.

There is also the What to Expect apps for both pregnancy and the early years. This trusted series of books has been invaluable for so many of us as we navigate all of the stages of babyhood.

Sprout ($4, iPhone only) is another really helpful app for information and tips on pregnancy, weight tracking, prepping for doctor visits and what to know about all that’s happening to your body right up to timing your contractions.

Baby Bump is another app that not only provides information on your pregnancy but also has a social networking component so you can share your experiences with other moms-to-be.

And if baby is here, how about something to help with nursing, and tracking your newborn’s progress in those critical early weeks and months? WebMD Baby  provides many resources and really useful information about sleep, growth, feeding, and milestones to help you through the fraught early days of caring for your child.

I wish these apps were available when my kids were born, especially in the middle of the night when you just didn’t want to call mom, again!

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November 1st, 2013 at 7:57 am

Choosing a Baby Name

nameMost of us torment over this… what should we name our child. Those of us who choose not to know the gender our child have to find a name for a girl and one for a boy. Plus, when your partner has specific ideas of what to name your child and you have others, it is a whole other conversation.

You look at the initials, the different spellings, how it sounds with a middle and last name, what nicknames the child might obtain, what rhymes with it… and the list goes on.

Some of us put the weight of the world on a name. Will this name fit a future president? Does the meaning of the name mean success or something regal? I remember going through a book of 1,000 names to narrow it down to two. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, nights were spent before bed looking for that one perfect name.

When I named the boys we used Scottish names.  My husband’s family is Scottish and he felt it was important to use names from their heritage. Recently I came across this link showing maps of the most popular girl and boy names by decade. It’s interesting to see the different areas of the country and the popular names.

For those of you in the throws of the great name search, here is a list of the 2013 most popular names.

What names do you love for kids?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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September 5th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Maternity Photoshoots



Over the years maternity photoshoots have grown in popularity. Whether it’s your first, last or in-between pregnancy, it’s one of the most special times of your life and the photos will capture memories that last a lifetime. It’s incredible to see the changes your body goes through. If you’re interested in doing one, here are some things to consider.


Maternity photoshoots are offered by many professional photographers, and there are some who actually specialize in maternity and newborn photography. If you’re looking to go this route, some offer packaged prices for shooting your baby belly before birth, and your newborn bundle of joy after!


You can do your own maternity shoot with the help of a good camera with a self-timer or just a friend or family member. You can do a shoot all in one day, or you can take a set of photos each month and watch how your belly grows!


You can do a maternity shoot wherever and whenever, but it’s nice to plan ahead and figure out what type of shoot you’re really looking for. Some nice settings are the beach, a nice field with flowers, a decorated nursery, etc. Some moms-to-be choose to do gender-based themes or cute concepts like a mommy pin-up or a couples maternity shoot!


Props can be a really fun way to get creative with photoshoots. Tiny baby booties, your sonogram, balloons, etc. are all nice additions to photos. You can incorporate blue or pink props to signify the baby’s gender, or if you’ve already picked a name you can make a sign or letters as well.

The important thing is to HAVE FUN! Did you or will you do a maternity shoot?

Check out our “Parenting Photography” Pinterest board for maternity shoot tips and ideas!


Photo Credit: Lavendamemory on Flickr


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July 24th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Pregnancy Fitness


It’s important for both you and your baby to stay fit and healthy while you’re pregnant, but your growing belly and dietary and exercise restrictions will likely prevent you from sticking to your typical routines. The right exercises can actually prevent or lessen common pregnancy discomforts, such as backache and fatigue. Here are some pregnancy exercises that will help you feel your best during this special time! Remember to drink a lot of water, and not push yourself or your body too hard.

Keep in mind, you should always consult your doctor before you start any type of exercise during pregnancy.


The best part about swimming is you’re not burdened by any weight gain, no matter what trimester you’re in. This gentle exercise can relieve swollen ankles and back pain. Stick to easy, fluid movements… no butterfly stroke!


Prenatal yoga is hot right now. Many studios offer classes and there are a number of DVDs available for you to use at home. It’s the perfect way to help you relax your tense muscles and mind. Avoid any type of hot yoga and use your best judgment, avoiding any moves that don’t feel right or seem too aggressive.


An easy and convenient exercise for pregnant women. This is something most people can do throughout their pregnancy, even up to the day of labor!

Kegal Exercises

This “invisible” exercise will strengthen the muscles that help you during labor and delivery.

Light Strength Training

Light weightlifting workouts, modified for pregnancy, can be an excellent way to keep your “problem areas” at bay while your bump grows. Avoid heavy weights, lying flat on your back, and overdoing it. Check out for some great exercise demonstrations and instructions.

What type of pregnancy fitness do you engage in?


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January 24th, 2013 at 11:01 am

Introducing Baby to the Family Pet


Most of us with pets consider them to be a part of the family… sometimes even our first “babies” (or “fur babies”). It’s quite an adjustment for them when we suddenly have another little bundle that takes up a lot of our time, energy, and affection. Having babies and pets living under the same roof requires some planning, both before you deliver and when you first bring your newborn home. Here are some tips for making sure you all become one big happy family!

Before Delivery:

Research the hazards

Diseases can be transferred from your pet to you, and from you to your unborn baby. You may have heard of the dangers of the cat’s litter box. If you are pregnant and cannot have someone else change the litter, wear rubber gloves.

Prepare your pet

  • If your pet has any obedience or training issues, now’s the time to address them. Consider a training class at your local pet store or do some training research to handle it yourself. Be consistent and firm and keep treats on hand! Doing so will ensure your pet will listen to you when your baby is home.
  • Make sure you keep their coats washed and nails trimmed to avoid scratching and shedding issues.
  • Schedule a vet visit before your due date to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations.
  • Familiarize your pet with the smells and sounds of a baby with baby powder and audio of babies crying (you’d be surprised how animals react to new sounds and smells!).

After Delivery:

  • Have a family member bring home a blanket or item of clothing the baby has been wrapped in, and let your pet smell it. Some pets will enjoy sleeping with it once they are familiar with it.
  • When you come home from the hospital, your pet will likely be excited to see you. Let someone else hold the baby in another room while you greet your pet calmly and show it love. Once they are calm and collected, bring the baby in and carefully let them see and smell him or her. Give them treats for good behavior around the baby.
  • Always supervise interactions between your child and your pets. While you may be convinced your pet would never hurt them, it’s important to remember that they sometimes don’t know their own strength or roughness.
  • Try to stick to your pets’ routines as best as you can. It may be difficult so enlist your family members to help if necessary. Remember to give them lots of love and affection and involve them in your new baby’s life.
  • Sometimes it’s best to wait to introduce your new baby to your pet. Birds, reptiles, rodents and some other caged animals require different care than a cat or dog. Keep them separate until your child is old enough to understand the proper way to hold and care for them.

Did you have any problems introducing your bundle of joy to your pets? Share some of your own tips and tricks!

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October 3rd, 2012 at 10:52 am

Packing for Labor and Delivery Part 1: Baby Bag


Whether you’re getting ready for your first baby or you’ve done it before, packing for labor and delivery is not an easy task. It’s common to forget key items amidst the excitement and craze, or to pack too much and end up with a bag full of unnecessary items. Here’s a list that will make packing for the hospital a breeze… less stress, more time to enjoy the last few weeks of your pregnancy!

Baby’s Bag
Moms-to-be are usually tempted to bring multiple outfits and accessories to the hospital because, let’s be honest, they’re all so adorable and we spend hours picking them out! But for the majority of your time in the hospital, your bundle of joy will stay swaddled in a blanket wearing only an undershirt and diaper provided by the hospital. Skin-to-skin contact while breastfeeding and relaxing with your baby is important for creating that special bond, and going “sans pants” allows nurses and moms to change diapers and perform check-ups with ease.

The hospital will usually provide you with all the necessities such as diapers, wipes, blankets, burping cloths, etc. But some moms prefer to bring those items from their trusted brands. Here’s what we recommend you bring in your baby bag:

  • A cap
  • Scratch mittens
  • Socks (a few pairs)
  • A receiving blanket
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Pacifier (pre-sanitized)
  • A going-home outfit
  • Baby book (for footprint stamps and documenting the experience)

All of the items should be pre-washed and/or pre-sanitized.

We want to know…do you have any packing tips for moms-to-be? Was there anything you forgot to bring to the hospital? Was there an item you were SO GLAD you had with you?

Photo Credit:


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January 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Quit Smoking for Your Pet

It’s week 2.0 of 2012. Some of us are already tired of the resolutions we made on January 1. But if you put “Quit Smoking” on your list of resolutions, don’t give up. Make this the year that you quit. You know smoking is bad for you, it’s bad for your family … and it’s bad for your pets.

Have you ever heard the phrase “a canary in a coal mine?” Coal miners used to carry caged canaries down into mine shafts to warn them of dangerous gases, including carbon monoxide, one of the main components of cigarette smoke. Birds are particularly sensitive to these gases and the miners would know that if the canary died, it was time to get out. If you smoke, your pets are like the canaries in the coal mine, suffering the effects of your second-hand smoke.

Recent studies have shown that the second-hand smoke from cigarettes—long known to be dangerous for non-smokers in a smoking household—is also toxic for pets. Second-hand smoke contains thousands of dangerous compounds, including: benzene, carbon monoxide, cyanide, formaldehyde, and lead.

Animals are even more vulnerable to these toxins than humans, and the smaller the animal, the more likely they are to be affected by it.

There is good news:

So if you needed just one more reason to help you quit, consider the health and well-being of your pets. They’re counting on you. Good luck. Let 2012 be the year you escape the smoking trap. And if you need help talking to your children about resolutions or the dangers of smoking, here are a couple of picture books to share with them.

Related Picture Books

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller
Smoking Stinks by Kim Gosselin

Photo credit: TRAP3
© Grzegorz Wolczyk |



Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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July 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 am

Maternity Summer Must-Haves

I haven’t been pregnant during the summer in 5 1/2 years!

My oldest 2 sons are both late September babies, so the brunt of my heaviness during those pregnancies was also during the hottest time of the year.  I literally remember walking to work one day with William and just wanting to strip down to nothing!  That’s how hot it was in NYC and how crazy it felt to be walking on the streets at 36+ weeks pregnant in “work clothes!”

Every time I see a pregnant woman out and about right now, I feel for her.  I’ve been there.  It’s not easy being pregnant in the summer heat.

But!  And this is a good but… there are some great maternity must-haves that can help you get through this summer heat in style.

1. LONG Racerback Cotton Dresses – These are ULTRA comfy in the summer because the fabric is so lightweight and you can get away without wearing anything over them. They usually have built-in bras, so you can eliminate that extra layering for clothing, too!

2. Camis - Oh, I lived in these! I literally bought one in every single color I could get my hands on and wore them all the time! The reason these are such great summer essentials is because they are again, super lightweight and can be worn with anything – skirts, shorts, jeans, capris, you name it! Stock up on these for the summer! Plus, they’re classic.

3. Bathing suit - As much as you don’t want to be seen in one, this little baby is an essential throughout the summer! Find a comfortable bathing suit that you can hang out in and just relax in throughout the warm days. I had a black one (one piece) that I wore throughout all of William and Alex’s pregnancies. LIVED. IN. IT.

4. Capri Leggings - I’m telling you, when it comes to wearing things on the bottom = comfort and fit triumph everything. Capri leggings are super comfortable to wear in the summer because they support you, they hold everything beautifully and they’re such an essential closet piece. Pair these with tunics, blouses, long tees and tanks… you name it!

5. Maternity vest - Because it’s fun to have a little add-ons… I love a vest right now! The reason vests are so great is because they’re super comfy and EASY to add into an outfit. You can go from wearing a white cami and maternity jeans, to amping it up with a vest! Changes the whole look. Just like I love how a scarf is so versatile, a vest can be the same way, too!

Audrey McClelland can also be found at MomGenerations.comLifetime Beauty/Style, and She is also the co-author of The Digital Mom Handbook.

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May 5th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Christine’s Baby Countdown Post – Week 2


Hi all! It’s me again, Amy Zimmerman, the editor of Have You Herd? The Christine Baby Countdown continues – no baby just yet. We are going to continue the interview format giving you a peek into the goings on in Christine’s growing family. Remembering those final days of pregnancy, it is very easy for me to come up with questions for our dear friend Christine. She is so cool third time around but she is very ready to see her little girl on the outside. Feel free to send any questions in the comments that you would like me to ask Christine in the coming weeks. And of course we will keep you posted on the baby’s arrival!

What is your hospital plan for when you go into labor? Get there…fast! Seriously, that is my biggest concern. Once I am there I put myself in the hands of my doctor and the labor and delivery nurses. They are all wonderful.

You mentioned that your husband does not work that close to home, do you have a fill-in coach in case you need to get to the hospital before he can get there? My sister-in-law has graciously offered to be a stand in until he arrives. I have my parents and in-laws at the ready to pick up my kids from school if necessary and bring me to the hospital.

How many times have you clocked how long it takes to get to the hospital from your house? Well this is my third delivery at this hospital so we have this pretty down by now. The only wild card is time of day. This hospital is not close (about 20 minutes away) so if late at night we take one route and rush hour we need to take another…

How many traffic lights are there? (c’mon… I know you know!) The first route has lots of lights at least twenty… the second route has four (but potential for heavy traffic).

How many hours of labor did you have with son #1? Eleven hours

Son #2? Three hours

Is there an office pool for your delivery date? Yes…they sent it over to me.

If yes, did you enter? They sent it to me after they had already filled it out… I guess they thought I would have an unfair advantage lol.

Do you have an outfit picked out for the baby to come home in? Of course I do :) with matching hat and blankets.

Is it pink? Yep!

You can follow Christine on twitter @clopez19, please feel free to reach out to her.


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April 28th, 2011 at 3:00 am

Christine’s Baby Countdown


Hi all! Let me introduce myself. I am Amy Zimmerman and I am the editor of Have You Herd? The reason I am taking over here for a while is that Christine is in the final countdown to her due date (May 17th) and as you can imagine, blogging is not exactly on the top of her list right now. For the next few weeks – till the baby is born and for a little while after – we are going to mix things up here on her column. We will be using an interview format giving you a peek into the goings on in Christine’s growing family. Remembering those final days of preganancy, this set of questions was very easy for me to compile (seriously, who ever forgets swollen feet!). Feel free to send any questions in the comments that you would like me to ask Christine in the coming weeks. And of course we will keep you posted on the baby’s arrival!  Here goes:

When is your due date? 5/17

How many times a day do people ask you that? Everywhere I go and everyone I see asks me! Oh, and then there are the facebook people and the phone calls and text messages that I get.

On average, how often does your 3 year old ask when his sister is coming? He doesn’t ask when, but the clever little guy does ask if the doctor is going to take the baby out.

How are you filling your days waiting? Laundry, reading, more laundry and preparing food and snacks for my sons every 15 minutes (seriously they dont stop).

Are strangers rubbing your belly? Thank GOD no.

How many hours did you sleep last night? Last night was good – I got a full eight hours!

The night before? That was not such a good night… three hours sleep.

And your husband, how many hours did he sleep? He is sleeping just fine!  He is getting at least seven hours every night.

What is the single most important thing you think about in the middle of the night? Right now, I have been playing out the hospital/labor process and remembering how it was with both of my boys… and hoping my husband is home (and not at work) when I go into labor… oh and hoping I make it to the hospital on time.

Is it harder or easier the third time around? It is easier mentally this time. I am very comfortable and relaxed about welcoming this child.  I am not worried about caring for her or how the boys will adapt. I know it will all work out fine. Physically it’s harder, though. I am more uncomfortable and tired this time. Plus, I have two others that I need to care for, reducing my relaxation time tremendously.

What would you give to see your toes right now? Lol!  Actually I wish I couldnt see them… my feet are swollen now.

What color are most of the clothes you bought for the first girl? Although I swore I would not do it, there is a pink explosion in her closet.

What day of the week is it? (this is a trick question and will get harder after the baby is born)…  I just typed Thursday…but its Wednesday (oh no… baby is not even born yet!)

You can follow Christine on twitter @clopez19, please feel free to reach out to her.



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