6 Reasons Why This Mom Is Grateful

I spent most of my first Thanksgiving as a mom being thankful for two things: that I was no longer pregnant and that my little love nugget got me out of having to travel to anyone else’s house. It was glorious.

But the funny thing about being a parent is, you find yourself feeling grateful almost every day, not just during a food-fueled holiday. If you’re not marveling over the baby you’re raising, you’re relieved and thankful that another day passed without a major incident or trip to the ER. For me, though, the richest place to find blessings has to be in the mundane parts of parenting. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons I’m feeling especially thankful this year:

* Spill-proof sippy cups that are actually spill-proof. If I had a dime for every time a bottle flooded my purse, I’d have enough for a few overpriced cocktails — which is exactly what I want as I’m wringing out my poor handbag, tossing waterlogged packs of gum, and dunking my saturated phone in a bucket of uncooked rice. Of all the sippy cups I’ve purchased — and there are many — only two have managed to keep the liquid where it belongs. And I will continue to be grateful for them even after my son packs off for college.

* Any morning I wake up first. I used to dread the shrill beep of my alarm clock. Now that’s a welcome sound compared with my son’s morning wails. (Seriously, what’s up with those?) Unlike my alarm clock, he doesn’t go off at the same time every morning and he definitely can’t be quieted down with a snooze button. So any time I can leave dreamland on my own terms is a win.

* Playdates that don’t end in tears and broken things. Playdates aren’t just good for your baby, they’re also a godsend for those days when you’re so starved for adult interaction that you’d consider answering a telemarketer’s phone call. You know, just to chat. The downside, of course, is that it’s a rare day when two or more babies get together and everyone comes out smiling. If one’s not playing Little Rabbit Foo Foo on someone else’s head, then another needs a nap/diaper change/snack—stat.

* Hand-me-downs that look new. Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely grateful for anything friends are willing to give me, and I do my best to pay it forward. But I can practically hear the angels sing when someone gifts us with a bag of barely-worn clothes or an expensive toy their family no longer wants.

* Baby products that are a joy for grown-ups to use. Could a wet tissue or a cheapie wipe clean my kid’s face after he’s played in the gravel all afternoon? Of course. Will it smell as good as a Boogie Wipe? I think not. And for that, I will continue to plunk down a little extra for a pack. I’ll also swear my allegiance to umbrella strollers that are easy to fold and unfold, car seats that don’t require an advanced degree to install, and anything with a cupholder.

* Spontaneous bear hugs and kisses. I saved my favorite one for last. There is nothing like feeling a pair of tiny arms wrap around your neck or a little pucker land sweetly on your cheek. Ten times out of 10, it snaps me out of whatever bad mood I’m in and makes me feel, well, infinitely grateful.

Now it’s your turn: Why are you grateful this year? 

Want to make a record of your baby’s exciting first year? Get the scoop on how to create a memorable baby photo book. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news! 

Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat

Image of Joshua Vengrow courtesy of Bonnie Vengrow 

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See JWoww’s Gigantic New Mommy Tattoo

jwoww-mommy-tattooOver the weekend, Jersey Shore alum Jenni “JWoww” Farley and fiance Roger Mathews made a permanent commitment. No, they didn’t get married—the new mom told HollywoodLife.com earlier this year that she needs to “get skinny” and soak up some sun before walking down the aisle. Instead, the first-time parents decided to honor their baby daughter, Meilani, by getting matching tattoos, Us Weekly reports. JWoww’s is emblazoned over a shoulder blade, while Roger’s is on his side. (#parents4life)

JWoww revealed the couple’s identical ink Sunday on Instagram and — wowza! — what a tat it is: Smack dab in the middle of the design is the baby‘s adorable, newborn-sized footprints, which are encircled by all 16 letters of her full name, Meilani Alexandra, in large script. In other words, it’s humongous and had to be a beast to get.

But the pain was clearly worth it for the totally smitten mom and dad, who welcomed their little girl in July. Showing off the tattoos on her website, JWoww wrote: “I love how it’s a permanent reminder of the commitment we have to love and protect our baby angel and to provide the most amazing life we possibly can for her. That bond Roger and I have with our chunk is unlike any bond I’ve ever had and these tattoos symbolize that connection that will forever hold us together as a family. She is our everything and we are so blessed to have the most perfect baby girl we could ever ask for! Guess we’re officially corny cute parents!”

Of course, JWoww and Roger weren’t the only ones in the family who recently felt the sting of a needle. A few days before her parents got their tattoos, baby Meilani headed over to the pediatrician’s office and received her 4-month vaccinations.

Find out what changes are ahead for your little one with our Baby Milestone Tracker. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name

Image of JWoww courtesy of Jenni Farley via Instagram 

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ICYMI: Graco Recalls Nearly 5 Million Strollers

Graco made headlines yesterday when it announced a major recall of some 4.7 million strollers. The recalled models feature a folding hinge on the side that can pinch, cut, or even amputate a child’s finger. Graco has already received 11 reports of finger injuries, including six reports of fingertip amputation, four reports of partial-fingertip amputation, and one report of a finger laceration.

The models affected are: Aspen, Breeze, Capri, Cirrus, Glider, Kite, LiteRider, Sierra, Solara, Sterling, and TravelMate. They were sold between August 2000 through November 2014 at stores including Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, and online at Amazon.com and Walmart.com, among other online retailers. The stroller costs around $40-$70, and $140-$170 for the Travel System. All are single-occupant and feature an external sliding fold-lock hinge on each side and a one-hand fold release mechanism on the handle.

For a full list of the model names and numbers being recalled, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

If your stroller is on the list, the CPSC recommends you contact Graco immediately for a free repair kit, which will be available at the beginning of December. In the meantime, “caregivers should exercise extreme care when unfolding the stroller to be certain that the hinges are firmly locked before placing a child in the stroller. Caregivers are advised to immediately remove the child from a stroller that begins to fold to keep their fingers from the side hinge area.”

For more information, visit gracobaby.com or call (800) 345-4109.

Is your baby’s gear safe? Find out by visiting our Toy and Product Recall Finder. And be sure to keep up with the latest baby news by liking All About Babies on Facebook.

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Image of Graco Breeze courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

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A Surprising Way You Can Help Ease Baby’s Pain

We parents are pretty magical. We can change a dirty diaper in a pitch-dark room; juggle bag upon toy-filled bag while pushing the stroller with one hand; and decipher our kid’s babble like no one else on earth. In fact, even our mere presence can be powerful, especially when our baby is in pain.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a new idea. Any parent of a cruising kiddo knows how just one kiss from you can take the sting out a bad fall. Studies have also found that when a parent or caregiver is present during a painful procedure, the child appears to feel less pain. But Regina Sullivan, a neurologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, and pain expert Gordon Barr, of the University of Pennsylvania, wanted to see whether a mom’s presence during a painful procedure actually affected the way her baby’s brain functioned, the Washington Post reported.

To figure that out, they gave infant rats mild electric shocks; some had their moms nearby, others didn’t. The researchers then examined what happened in the portion of the baby rats’ brains where fear is processed. “We found that the pattern of gene expression was very different in the two conditions,” Barr told the Post. “Many of the genes that were changing because the mother was present are later related to brain development. … We know that having the mother is not innocuous, it is a major shaper.”

But one caveat before we throw ourselves a well-deserved ticker tape parade: Researchers still don’t know the long-term effects of your being present while your baby undergoes repeated painful procedures (like the infant rats did). Sullivan said evidence from studies involving animals shows that it could make the brain more susceptible to psychiatric disorders. ”I don’t think the infants can tell the difference” where the pain is coming from, she pointed out.

“These procedures being done on an infant may be very beneficial in that moment in time,” Barr added. “We do want to reduce the pain, but we need to think about what are the long-term consequences.”

Which makes perfect sense, of course. In the meantime, though, I’ll keep kissing my son’s boo-boos, sitting beside him while the dentist counts his teeth, holding him close during vaccinations—and offering whatever comfort I can.

Is it a belly ache or something more serious? Consult our Baby Symptom Checker to see if a call to the doctor is in order. And don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

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Parent holding baby’s hand courtesy of Shutterstock

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A Baby Boy for ‘Scandal’ Star Scott Foley!

Scott Foley and Marika Dominczyk welcome baby boyThere’s no scandal here! Scott Foley and his wife Marika Dominczyk welcomed baby Konrad on Nov. 13, People confirms.

This is the third child for Marika and Scott, who plays Captain Jake Ballard on the ABC hit drama Scandal. They have two other children, Keller, who is 2 1/2 years old and Malina, who is 5 years old.

Foley’s rep told Us Weekly in a statement, “He joins big sister Malina, brother Keller and their dog Frankie. The Foley family is overjoyed.”

Scott tweeted from his account today: “Thank you for all of the well wishes! @TheMeanChick [Marika]and I are truly fortunate. And tired. ;)

Congratulations to this growing family!

Keep up with your infant’s big changes by signing up for our Development Tracker. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year
Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year
Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year

Photo of Scott Foley and Marika Dominczyk courtesy of Shutterstock.

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