Advice for L.A. parents of infants and babies.

Baby

parenting

Depression in Moms Goes Beyond Baby Blues

“I’m depressed.” How often have we heard a fellow mom say that? We commiserate, give her a hug and move on. After all, the phrase is used quite casually these days. It might indicate sadness – the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or a sense of stagnation – or it might indicate hormonal shifts. Unless that mom says she has been clinically diagnosed with depression, there is a chance we won’t treat her comment with gravitas, ask questions or steer her toward professional help. Experts say we should. Depression in moms is not always definable, not always evident, not always diagnosed. Women suffer from mood...

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Mommy-and-Me Groups Offer Friendship and Support

When my son was an infant, I sought out a therapist. “I need someone straightforward to talk to about new baby/marriage/work stress,” I explained when asking a counselor friend for a recommendation. I told her my son was 4 months old and she responded with great empathy, “Oh, you’re right in the middle of it.” “It,” as I was to learn, is that period when your child’s needs are all-encompassing...

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Pregnancy Is a Great Time For a Massage

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement. It’s also a time of many physical, mental and emotional changes for a woman. Some of these changes, such as a growing belly and hormonal shifts, can create discomfort for the mother-to-be. Getting massages during and after pregnancy can help to alleviate some of these discomforts by relaxing tense muscles, increasing circulation and soothing the nervous system. During pregnancy, many women...

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parenting

Small Books With a Big Mission for Multilingual Kids

Board books and babies just go together. But when L.A. moms Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein shopped for their little ones, they didn’t find any that reflected the Latino culture they grew up with. “We both knew there was something missing for our children,” says Rodriguez. Best friends since childhood, the two worked together to create Lil Libros, a line of simple board books that teach letters, numbers, shapes and...

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Hottest Trends and Products from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo

What’s the hottest trends for baby and tots this year? Well, we found the world’s smallest stroller, a glider that reclines and charges your cell phone, colorful silicon food storage made even better and whimsical teepee tents to add some fun to your playroom. We’re back from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo, the largest juvenile-products trade show in North America, where we had an exclusive first look at all...

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family loss

When a Baby Dies: Honoring Pain & Healing Hearts

I know firsthand the pain that comes from the death of a child. Thirty-five years ago, I said goodbye to my beloved daughter Jasmine. I will never forget the privilege of carrying life within me, feeling her every move, giving birth, nursing her at my breast and having her be an important part of our family for six months. Jasmine’s death is one that I still grieve, but as a perinatal education specialist, it’s one that guides me and helps me...

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kids' health

AAP’s New Sleep Recommendations Say Rooming-In is Best

Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface – to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics Oct. 24. “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws...

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Positive Parenting: Experts Answer Your Questions For Early Childhood

We hear it all the time, and yet we can’t hear it often enough: Children’s early years matter. Your child’s first interactions with you and with others, the environment you create for your family, and your child’s earliest educational experiences influence how your child’s brain is built, and set the tone for her or his relationships with others and future learning. The idea can feel overwhelming, but by asking yourself...

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On the Record: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

Every year when my husband asks, "What do you want for Mother's Day?" I always respond exactly the same way: “Amor, I don't need a Mother's Day gift. My kids are enough." But wait a minute, who am I kidding? I do want something! Why do I feel guilty admitting that I secretly want something for Mother’s Day? Is it because I feel like I should not get a gift...

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Take Time, Talk: Eight Ways to Support Your Child’s Language Development

Like a snowball growing as it rolls downhill, young children’s vocabulary expands faster and faster as they hear more words. However, a constant stream of words from the radio or even an educational children’s video won’t create this cumulative advantage in language processing. Instead, social interaction (the back-and-forth, turn-taking nature of conversation) and talking with infants and toddlers will build their language and communication skills. This might seem easier said...

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6 Most Common Sleep Training Myths Debunked

Have you ever stopped to think about what the definition of “sleep training” really is? Unfortunately, several incorrect sleep training stereotypes exist, suggesting that the practice requires parents to do everything from shutting the door on an 8-week-old baby for 12 hours, to eliminating nighttime feedings, to surrendering your family values to a sleep trainer who stays overnight at your home for several weeks. As a sleep consultant, I’ve heard...

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Operation Shower Hosts Shower For Military Moms-To-Be

Television host, sportscaster and military spouse Leeann Tweeden is helping bring joy to 40 Los Angeles-area military moms-to-be when she serves as guest host of a group baby shower in their honor.  The event is scheduled from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 16 in the clubhouse at The Riviera Country Club during the PGA TOUR’s 2016 Northern Trust Open.  The moms are active-duty service members or the spouses of deployed members...

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CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

Planning a “babymoon” cruise to the Caribbean or a Mexican getaway? Take note of a CDC travel alert that is especially directed at pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant traveling to countries where Zika virus has become a threat: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly...

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Building Your Baby’s Brain

Your earliest interactions with your child set the foundation for future learning A few moms sit on the floor of a bright, airy playroom at Well Baby Center in L.A. with their 1-year-olds toddling nearby. Facilitators, family therapist interns who are Masters-level graduate students, move among the toys, babies and moms. Each time a baby approaches an adult, she or he is engaged in back-and-forth play. Each giggle or squeal...

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Driving, Dreaming and Daytime Napping in L.A.

How to waste gasoline in style while putting your baby to sleep I’m leaping over speed bumps, cruising the potholed boulevards and aimlessly wandering the canyon roads. I have no destination and am often jammed in a traffic-laden city artery, but I have not an ounce of road rage, lane pain or street defeat. No, I’m delighted, because Hank is still asleep in the back seat. When you have a...

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Read Aloud Like a Rock Star

Seven Secrets from Voice-Over Actors, Teachers and Literacy Experts Early in my time volunteering with BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), I picked up my first valuable lesson on what not to do when reading to kids. On that fresh, September morning, my read-aloud selection for the 20 eager third graders gathered before me at Paseo del Rey Elementary in Playa del Rey was an educational but – in...

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Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box

Wheelchair accessibility and new classes are part of the learning center’s expansion. Outside the Box opened its first 500-square-foot storefront in 2009. The center, devoted to sensory activities that contribute to brain development for ages 8 weeks to 6 years, has expanded a couple of times over the years, and always made good use of the space. There were bubbles. There was paint. There were musical instruments, giggles and squeals....

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How To Get Your Baby’s Eyes Checked – Free

“Ten fingers, ten toes,” are often the words you hear from the delivery room nurse, telling you there are no serious problems with your baby's health. Whew! The baby's crying. The lungs are fine. The nurses go on with their routine physical evaluation, making sure your baby has made it through the birth process in excellent shape. Once your new family is back home, you start to track your baby’s...

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Are Those Toys Safe, Ducky?

The baby board book, featuring lots of colors and textures meant to stimulate developing brains, was labeled “organic.” Josh Kasteler tested it anyway, and found that the packaging contained such a high level of phthalates – chemicals widely believed to disrupt hormone levels – that it contaminated the book as well. Kasteler, a biochemist and molecular biologist who founded Santa Monica-based Safe Ducky (www.safeducky.com) in June, tests toys and other...

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Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Promoting ‘Conscious’ Parenting

Becoming a parent changes us in the most profound and irrevocable ways, and it is often our children who motivate and inspire us to grow into our best selves. Through everyday interactions and ordinary moments, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with our children and nurture a deep sense of resilience, tolerance and self-acceptance in them. But first we need to better understand ourselves, says Shefali Tsabary,...

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5 Baby Sleep Challenges During Holiday Travel

Traveling and parenting during the holidays can be strenuous enough without a baby. Add a little one to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster! Trying to get from one family get-together to the next can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep schedule, leading to less sleep for everyone in the family. Read on to learn how to tackle the most common travel-related baby sleep challenges including plane...

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Stop Over-Parenting and Raise An Adult

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media, at PTA meetings and among parents and educators on the effects of helicopter parenting – knowing when to step in to help and when to allow children to do things for themselves. A new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims does a great job exploring the topic of over-parenting and its detrimental effects on young adults. How to Raise...

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Emotional Health Begins In the Womb

Our experiences in the womb, during birth, and as young babies set in motion physical, mental, emotional and relational patterns that can have a profound and lifelong impact. Babies in the womb are conscious and aware of – and respond to – the outside world. So, how do we communicate with our “inside babies”? According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and author of Silent Messages, 70 to 90 percent...

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Don’t Neglect Essential Social-Skills Development

“Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” so the saying goes. When it comes to parenting, the “trees” are the many academic milestones and measuring sticks society tends to focus on, and the “forest” is the bigger picture of overall development and social skills in our children. Society tends to be achievement oriented and, once children reach ages 3 to 5, their ability to verbalize, add, subtract and write takes...

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Keep Tabs on Children’s Product Recalls

Maria L. recently searched a swap meet for the perfect stroller for her baby, due in a couple of weeks. When she settled on one to purchase, Maria had no idea that the item was on a Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) list of recalled products  known to cause injury and deaths. Recently, to help Maria save money, her family and friends also gave her used baby items that they...

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In-Home, Post-Natal Newborn Service Launches In Southern California

Orange County Mom Creates Non-Medical Post-Natal Newborn Service “Uccellino” to Assist New Parents with Newborn Care in the Comfort of their Own Home Newborn babies typically don’t come with instruction manuals, but thanks to a new service created by the personal experiences of an Orange County mom, “motherly” advice and support can now be just a phone call or home visit away. Uccellino, which in Italian means “little bird,” is...

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Taking the Perfect Family Photo: Photographers Give Their Advice

With summer under way, families are getting together for barbecues, pool parties and outdoor adventures, and taking advantage of all these summer activities to stage family photos. Family portraits can get a little stressful, especially since there is always that one person in the group who feels like taking pictures is not for them. Whether you have little ones who get fussy and don’t want to pose, a relative who...

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Finding Quality Childcare in L.A.

Choosing a childcare provider can be one of the most important decisions parents can make, particularly during the years before a child starts kindergarten. The number of available options can be overwhelming, and it is easy to be tempted to go with the first recommendation from a friend or neighbor. But experts warn that a childcare solution that works for one family might not work for yours. Here are some...

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Showering a Baby with Books

By Dr. Helen Foster James Recently it was my pleasure to attend a baby shower for a longtime friend who had just become a first-time grandma. She was delighted to have a new little one in her life and her friends rallied around her in celebration. I had never heard of a baby shower for grandmas, but I’m always happy to celebrate with a friend. I googled around and found...

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Westside Jewish Community Center offers New Program for Parents-to-be

The Westside Jewish Community Center is offering a unique new program for first-time parents. Jewish Baby University is a five-week program combining childbirth education with an exploration of Jewish tradition and rituals, concluding with a family Shabbat dinner. Each session features classes on a different topic, such as medical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, Jewish traditions and rituals surrounding childbirth, creating a Jewish home, Jewish life in Los Angeles, family financial planning and preparing mentally and...

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Developmental Benefits of Tummy Time

One of the great benefits to working as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is learning from colleagues from other disciplines. For example, I am co-teaching a class at CHLA for parents on how to care for a child who has a g-tube (gastrostomy tube). An occupational therapist, who is also co-teaching the class, talked about her discipline’s role in helping these children get the nutrition they need,...

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Ten Tips: Breastfeeding and Back to Work!

Everyone is focused on back-to-school at the moment, but it’s also National Breastfeeding Month! New moms headed back to work might wonder how they are going to make breastfeeding and their jobs work together. Here are some simple tips to make breastfeeding and your transition back to work a little easier! Before baby is born … 1. Plan to breastfeed. Simply making a plan and setting a time goal for...

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Mother's Group

Mothers Together

Joining a moms’ group can help forge connections and support By Elena Epstein Michelle Turner says the best advice she received while pregnant with her twin daughters was from a co-worker, advising her to join a moms’ group. She found the West L.A. chapter of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs and signed up. Her daughters, Coco and Aya, are now 3 years old and the moms in...

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UCLA L&D

High-Risk Pregnancy

What To Do When Complications Arise By Christina Elston Jessica Fisher had a busy month ahead. Pregnant with twins after two years of frustration and fertility treatments, she was at a 19-week ultrasound where she would learn whether she was having boys or girls. Two days later she and her husband were headed to Palm Springs to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah with family, followed by a trip to Las Vegas...

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