If you're part of a meal-train for new parents or are a postpartum doula helping to "mother the mother," we've got you covered! Below are 7 Easy Dinners for New Parents that are high in protein and nutrition, and low on prep time. You'll also get bonus points because they're toddler-friendly!
Black Bean Bowl
1 package frozen microwavable rice (trader joes has frozen rice packets, or find it in the freezer aisle in most grocery stores)
1 can black beans
2 T salsa
1 c lettuce
1 tomato, diced
Sour cream (optional)
Warm can of black beans over the stove. At the same time, microwave the rice.
In a bowl put rice and beans on top. Then top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa and optional sour cream.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
2 whole wheat pitas
1 rotissire chicken, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
2 T walnuts, chopped
3 T plain greek yogurt
½ c red grapes, cut in half
Combine all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper. Serve in whole wheat pitas!
1 package whole wheat pasta, or Banza (chickpea pasta)
2 c yellow squash, chopped
1 c zucchini, chopped
1 c tomato, chopped
1 t garlic, chopped
1 t oregano
1 c mozarella cheese
¼ c ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta to directions, set aside. In a med saucepan, saute squash and zucchini together. Add in the tomato, garlic, and oregano. Combine the ricotta and egg in a small bowl. Then in a large bowl combine the pasta, veggies, ricotta mixture, and mozarella. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
One Pan Salmon and Asparagus
2 Salmon fillets
2 t olive oil
1 t minced garlic
½ t onion powder
1 T paprika
2-3 T thyme, parsley, etc (any herb will work)
Combine oil and spice mixture. Rub on Salmon and asparagus. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
Chicken and Roasted Veggies
1 pound of chicken tenderloins
3 T 21 seasoning salute (available at all Trader Joes, or a similar spice blend with minimal salt)
1 c sweet potato, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, cut up
½ red onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400. In a small bowl combine veggies, some olive oil, and 1 T of the seasoning. Roast for 25 min, stirring halfway
While the veggies are roasting, mix together chicken and spices. Saute on each side, 4-5 minutes, until cooked. Serve with the veggies!
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 T old bay seasoning
½ c mango, diced
½ c avocado, diced
Juice of ½ lime
Bag of broccoli cole slaw
Corn tortillas or iceburg lettuce
In a small bowl combine mango, avocado, lime and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan add shrimp, sprinkle with old bay and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Take a tortilla, add 1 T of the broccoli slaw, shrimp, and 1 T of the mango/avocado mixture.
What's you're favorite meal to being to new parents? Let us know and we'll add it to this list!
Trying to conceive is an exciting and scary time for any couple. There is so much information about the right and wrong way to do things; it can be a bit overwhelming. One thing many couples don’t consider is how their oral health might affect their ability to conceive. That’s right- poor oral health can make it more difficult to conceive, and that goes for both partners. In particular gum disease, a common oral issue, has been linked to a multitude of fertility and pregnancy issues by the CDC and other organizations. For advanced cases look for Emergency Dentists USA to find a dentist that can help Gum Disease and Pregnancy.
What Is Gum Disease? Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. At first it symptoms include red and bleeding gums and general discomfort. Left untreated though, and it can lead to serious issues such as tooth loss. It’s most often caused by poor oral hygiene, but that’s not the only cause. Medications, changes in hormones, genetics, and more can also play a role in the disease. That means that even people with good oral habits could potentially develop gum disease depending on the other factors.
While it’s a fairly common infection, it is still important to get treatment as soon as possible if you suspect you or your partner has it. The longer you wait the worse it will become, and the more likely it is to affect your fertility. That’s why time is of the essence for couples looking to conceive.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Fertility?What many couples don’t realize is just how much of an effect gum disease can have on their ability to get pregnant. Keep in mind that this extends to both partners, so it’s important for each one to keep up with their oral health. In cases where couples were suffering from gum disease, it took them up to seven months on average to conceive. This is in contrast to those without this disease that averaged 5 months. This is also true for men, where it was found had a harder time conceiving when suffering from gum disease.
If you’re looking to conceive, it never hurts to pay a visit to your dentist. They can help determine if you have gum disease, and give you the care you need to beat it. Ultimately, this can help you conceive easier and faster.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy: How is Gum Disease Prevented?
Jessica Haupt, RN, IBCLC gives new parents tips on helping to increase breastmilk production.
Helping to Increase Breastmilk Production
One of the things that will really help establish breastfeeding is a rested, non-stressed out breastfeeder! For this reason, designate your partner or other caring adult to mother *you.* This person should make sure you are hydrated, eating nutritiously and resting when you can.
Additionally other adults should learn baby's early hunger cues such as stirring, rooting or mouth opening. This way they can bring baby to you if you're somewhere else or resting so baby can begin feeding before they get into a frustrated state of hunger. Being calm helps latching and let-down happen naturally.
While breast is best, a baby who is screaming from hunger is a baby that needs to eat. If the baby is not making enough wet diapers, losing or not gaining weight, supplementation with formula is needed, and it's a good thing when baby is nourished! Temporary supplementation does not mean that breastfeeding is over. Many, MANY mother baby duos go on to have an exclusive breastfeeding relationship.
What are your breastfeeding tips? Let us know in the comments.
Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the pool, you can ensure that swimming is as safe as it is fun by following the tips laid out below. Bonnie Alcid of British Swim School and safekids.org share expertise in Water Safety with Young Children.
Water Safety with Young Children
There Is No Substitute for Active Supervision
Sleep (or lack of) and babies is a major issue for new parents and an incredibly booming business. Any web search will yield hundreds of articles and books offering advice on “sleep training “ and how to help baby sleep better through the night. While there are many opinions and sources out there, it is important to note the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Both Academies give professional recommendations on how parents can help baby develop healthy sleep habits during different stages of infancy. The infographic below also notably excludes the newborn phase because newborn sleep is so erratic. A good rule of thumb is that newborns typically sleep 8 hours during the day and 8 hours at night, but that sleep is staggered in 1 1/2 to 2 hour increments.
Here's a very basic outline of how much babies typically sleep:
Newborn stage: At this stage, baby needs 16-18 hours of sleep and may prefer to be awake during the peaceful nighttime hours rather than the more chaotic daytime ones. According to the AAP, parents can slowly introduce gentle stimulation during the day to increase daytime wakefulness.
Two months: At two months, most babies are staying awake for longer daytime periods but often have difficulty transitioning to sleep. The AAP reports that “these babies are already over stimulated, and that a brief period of under stimulation (swaddling, quiet, dark room) may allow the child to settle to sleep after a little fussing.” Most young babies at this stage still require nighttime feeding, but the AAP recommends learning your child’s cues. There is a difference between a baby that wakes up hungry and a baby that is lightly fussing and may self soothe back to sleep in a few minutes.
Four months: Four months is often the age pediatricians deem healthy babies can start sleeping longer stretches at night, but it is also around the time babies start to develop separation anxiety. The AAP does not recommend feeding children as “an effort to quiet their crying,” and states “if they are fed in an effort to quiet their crying, changes are they will soon come to expect this response whenever they wake up in the night.” The fourth month visit is a vital time for families to discuss sleep concerns with their pediatrician and develop a bedtime rituals for baby, i.e. songs, stories, bath, and transitional objects.
Six Months through Nine Months: Continue to Reinforce wakefulness during the day:
Parents should continue to fortify good sleep behaviors and nighttime rituals, making sure baby is well fed, rested, and stimulated during the day.
Before meeting with a pediatrician, parents with questions about infant sleep should assess their child’s bedtime routine, sleep environment, response to waking, and determine their current sleep cycles. A pediatrician or other professional can work with a family to help establish an age-appropriate, consistent bedtime routine and to encourage baby, when it’s suitable and parents are comfortable with it, to console himself.
Parents need to remember that if the goal is to help baby to sleep independently, the real "work" occurs before bedtime and does not mean a standoff between a parent and child. Baby needs to consistently be fed properly, allowed stimulating activities, and have a calming nighttime routine. In accordance with the AAP, the daily routine is much more important than any “sleep training” method, because when it is time for bed, baby will feel secure and receptive to sleep.
There are so many excellent evidence-based websites out there for new parents...some may even argue there is too much information! Below we try to battle information overload to describe our top 5 websites and resources for expecting and new parents in Newborn Care, Nursing and Sleep Resources.
Breastfeeding and Medications
A common question when breastfeeding is "Can I take my allergy meds if I'm nursing?" And for parents on anxiety or depression meds, breastfeeding may be a consideration in switching medications. The National Institute for Health’s LactMed Database lists which medications are safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding and which are not. The LactMed Database allows for a quick search and if a medicine is not safe for use while pregnant or nursing, the site offers alternatives.
Breastfeeding How-To Videos
The International Breastfeeding Centre’s Breastfeeding Videos show everything you need to know when nursing. The IBC library contains instructional real-life videos to help nursing mothers with early breastfeeding. Demonstrations of what good drinking looks like, how to distinguish “nibbling” from efficient nursing and how to tube feed are just a few examples.
Video Demonstration of - “The Hold”
Pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton has become world famous using the calming hold he uses on babies in his own practice. This video shows exactly how the Doctor helps babies relax and feel calm, and parents and caregivers can easily implement his technique. While babies cry for lots of reasons, The Hold might help if they are gassy or colicky.
The Only Infant Sleep Book You'll Need - The Good Sleeper .pdf
Dr. Janet Krone Kennedy's book,The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby is described on Amazon as, "written for exhausted parents, giving them immediate access to the information they need." The doctor has made part of the book free and accessible via .pdf download on her website, NYCsleepdoctor.com
Let Mommy Sleep's Parent Resources Page
The Parent Resources Page is continually updated to answer expecting and new parents most frequently asked questions. There are links to primary sources, evidence-based videos, studies and infographics to download.
Do you have another excellent resource to add? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!
As parents and caregivers we're programmed to do basically one thing for newborns and infants; Stop. The. Crying! Of course know babies cry from hunger, discomfort or because they need to be close to us, so having lots of different soothing tools in your baby tool-belt is very helpful. Additionally, a technique that works for a week may never work again and just because baby doesn't respond to a certain hold or method doesn't mean they won't like it forever. So sometimes it's simply a matter of going down the checklist to be sure baby's needs are met and then going down another checklist of different comfort techniques.
Of course we also need to remember that all babies (yes, all) go through colicky periods, meaning that they cry for seemingly no reason. "Colicky" times are a normal developmental phase that babies go through during the first 4 months of life when they cry more than any other time. If your baby is not hungry, doesn't have reflux or gas, has a clean diaper is not injured or in need of medical attention there will still be times when they cry.
If you feel like you might be having thoughts that scare you while baby is crying, it is okay to put baby down in a safe place like the crib and walk away. If you’re concerned about baby, contact the pediatrician. If you’re worried about yourself or your partner, reach out to your local hospital or Postpartum Support International chapter for help.
Becoming a parent is an unbelievable experience, however once the baby arrives it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Guest Blogger Dr. Katie Friedman, Pediatrician at Forever Freckled shared the most common fears and obstacles she sees below, in Pediatrician's Tips for Parents of Newborns.
1. Breastfeeding May Not Be Easy
For some women, breastfeeding comes very easily but for others it can be an overwhelming task and a source of major stress. I highly suggest educating yourself about breastfeeding before the baby is born. Make a point to attend a class to learn what to expect and how to overcome the early obstacles of nursing. I can’t stress enough how important it is to utilize the lactation consultants while you are in the hospital.
After the birth of both of my children, I had the hospital’s lactation consultant come for every feed to educate and guide me. It is not only a great resource to help with any difficulties you might experience during the first few days but also as a contact once you are discharged from the hospital. Most importantly, it is okay if you have tried your best and it doesn't work out.
The most important thing is the ability to bond with your new baby. If breastfeeding is causing a level of stress that is interfering with you ability to bond, please seek out your local resources.
2. Feed on Demand (kind of)
As mothers, we never want to hear our baby cry. When we do hear them cry, our first instinct is that they are hungry and of course we want to sooth them. However, it is important to realize that every time your baby cries it is not necessarily because of hunger. On average, a newborn drinks about 1.5-3 ounces every 2-3 hours. As your baby grows, they will be able to eat more at each feeding. By 2 months of age, they should be taking 3-4 ounces every 3 to 4 hours.
There are many other reasons your newborn might be crying. Sometimes babies just need to be changed or cuddled. If your baby cries only an hour after a good feeding, there is a good chance they are not crying from hunger but rather something else. They could be hot, cold, wet, uncomfortable, or bored. If you soothe every cry with a feeding, they are going to learn and expect it. This can lead to over-feeding, reflux, and extreme fatigue for the mother, especially if you are breastfeeding. It is important the know how often an infant should eat, write down their feeding habits, and know the signs of hunger. If you have just fed your baby and they begin to cry, investigate the situation before feeding them again.
3. What you need to know about poop
The unfamiliarity of the frequency and consistency of newborn poop can be great source of stress for many first time parents. The reality is that no two babies have the same pooping pattern. Some babies will poop after every feed while others will only have a bowel movement two to three times a week. Babies that are breastfed will poop more frequently than a formula fed baby. Breastfed newborns have an average of 6-10 bowel movements a day. It is not necessarily important how often a baby poops but rather what the poop looks like. If it is soft and pasty, it is a good sign that your infant’s digestive tract is working well. If their stool is hard balls, there is a good chance that they are experiencing some constipation.
If your baby is happy then their stool patterns should be less of a concern. However, if he or she seems uncomfortable or unhappy, it is important to consult your physician.
4. Not every fever is created equal
It is extremely important to understand that illness and fever in the first two months of life can be very dangerous. A fever for a one month old is very different than a fever for a 2 year old. One of the most important jobs as a mother of a newborn is to protect your baby against germs. Make sure that every guest washes their hands before holding your newborn and try to limit the amount of exposure to highly congested areas. If you want to take your baby out, please try to find areas that are open, preferably outside. If your newborn feels warm or there is a change in their feeding or sleeping pattern, it is important to take their temperature immediately. The most accurate way to take a temperature is using a rectal thermometer.
Anything above 100.4 is a fever and must be addressed immediately. You should contact your pediatrician and take your baby straight to the nearest Emergency Room.
By, Kathleen Hager, RN, BSN
There are many companies out there bombarding parents with umbilical cord blood & tissue storage options. Cord blood/tissue storage means that the blood from baby’s umbilical cord is stored in case its properties are needed for future use. Cord blood contains blood-forming stem cells, which are potentially useful for treating diseases that require stem cell transplants. Below are the facts about each type of banking.
Cord Blood Banking
In the pre-natal marketing machine, cord donation centers usually do not mention a very important option and free option ---public cord banking.
The fact is that banking cord blood privately may not be as useful for 2 reasons:
Many believe it is better to contribute healthy cord blood to public banks because the chances of a match from this very large pool are much greater. Therefore the more blood contributed to the public bank, the more children who are helped, so the chances of a match for your child are great anytime.
Cord Tissue Banking
While to storage process and reasoning is similar to blood banking, cord tissue banking is a very different scenario:
According to an article from Oxford Journals, umbilical tissue stem cells were used to generate cardiovascular tissue in just 28 days. Another article states, “In vitro fabrication of tissue-engineered human pulmonary conduits was feasible utilizing human umbilical cord cells and a biomimetic culture environment”. Clearly, saving baby’s umbilical cord can produce some life-saving tissues! Should parents consider public banking for their baby’s umbilical cord tissue?
Many parents wish to donate their child’s cord tissue to help save another child from leukemia and other types of cancers. Unfortunately, there are so few public blood banks that collect cord blood and tissue, that it is nearly impossible to donate cord tissue, according to WebMD.com. This was confirmed when I found only 3 possible hospital facilities that collect and donate in my area in Virginia at bethematch.org.
Private banking for your own family’s use seems to be the only option out there for families who choose to have cord tissue stored, which defeats the whole purpose of donating and helping other children. The price of building public banks is so high – between $1 and $2 million to get started, so few banks are able to make it.
Private banking of both cord blood + tissue is expensive – about $2,790 per sample and $260 annually, and should be encouraged in families who have a transplantable disease, such as sickle-cell anemia or leukemia because the risk is higher in these families. Do note that, in cases like this cord tissue banking is not for the child who has the tissue stored, it is for siblings.