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Friday, December 19th, 2014
You can say a lot about Kanye West — that he never ever smiles, that his love of leather pants is almost illegal, that he’s a genius at avoiding E! cameras. But one adjective never hurled in his direction is “cheap.” The man deals in the currency of lavish. No gesture is too over the top, especially when it comes to his family. See: his proposal at a rented-out baseball stadium, a vase wall of flowers for wife Kim, diamond starter earrings for baby North. Why would we expect him to show restraint around the holidays?
An in-the-know source told Heat magazine that the rapper has splurged on his favorite baby this Christmas. If the reports are true, then Nori is in for a stellar day. Among the loot is a tot-sized replica of Yeezy’s black SUV and—wait for it—a diamond-encrusted tiara so that she “when she plays dress-up, she can be a real princess,” the source says. (That’s not exactly how it works, but whatever floats your boat, Kanye.) Those two gifts alone supposedly set the artist back a cool $74,000, the Daily Mail reports, a figure that made me feel slightly dizzy but mostly relieved about my own kid’s holiday haul.
Full disclosure: I didn’t buy him a holiday gift until he was nearly 2. I wasn’t being stingy — I just wanted to avoid the present trap, where everyone becomes more focused about what’s under the tree or what comes after the menorah lighting than on the true spirit of the season. Though my husband and I gave him a few treats last year, this year is the first where he’s expecting and anticipating gifts. Like a lot of parents we know, we’re trying our best to keep the excess in check by only buying him a handful of presents he really wants. We’re also beginning to emphasize the idea of giving to others, both through our conversations about the holidays and by picking out toys together for children in need.
Which all sounds great in theory, but honestly, controlling the glut of holiday gifts can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. After all, our son is an only child in a home that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and is the only grandchild on my side. We also have a circle of generous friends who give him goodies, too. Translation: Much of his December is spent tearing open something shiny and awesome.
My guess is that I’m not alone in wondering how much is too much. Even Kimye seem to be feeling that one out. Kim recently said her daughter will have to work for what she wants; meanwhile, Kanye (allegedly) dropped five figures on gifts for the 18-month-old. As a mom who’s also trying to balance celebrating and spoiling, I take some strange comfort in the fact that even celeb parents are figuring out where to draw the line.
Now it’s your turn: What are your gift-giving plans this holiday?
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. When she’s not refereeing Hot Wheels races or sneaking veggies into meals, she write about pregnancy and parenting for TheBump.com, Today.com, WhattoExpect.com and RedTricycle.com. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Image of North West courtesy of Kim Kardashian West via Instagram.
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Thursday, December 18th, 2014
When most of us were setting up baby’s nursery, there were certain things we knew to avoid: loose bedding, lots of toys in the crib, anything with sharp edges. But a new study has found one more potential no-no for baby’s room, at least during the first year of life: new carpet, rugs, or laminate.
According to an article in The Telegraph, researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany have discovered that the chemicals in the glue used to install brand-new flooring can be toxic for babies and make it difficult for them to breathe. Their study involved 465 moms and babies living in Leipzig, Germany, two-thirds of whom made some kind of renovation to their home and a sixth of whom replaced their flooring. During the home improvements, the scientists regularly assessed the babies’ breathing and monitored the air quality in their homes. The findings were published in the journal Environment International.
Though not all flooring requires glue — area rugs are a classic example — researchers still warn parents to hold off on laying down the new stuff in the nursery. “Although the concentrations of these volatile chemicals are lower if no adhesive is used when installing the flooring, even then the concentrations are still high enough to significantly increase the risk of infants suffering from respiratory complaints in their first few months,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ulrich Franck.
Pregnant women aren’t off the hook, either. UFZ researchers believe the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in new flooring and adhesives can affect developing babies in utero and even boost their chances of developing allergies, especially if you or your partner already suffer from conditions like hay fever or asthma.
One of the biggest takeaways from the study is to hold off on installing your new flooring until after baby’s first birthday. That’s because the study found that home improvements (and all the airborne chemicals associated with them) that occured after baby was born didn’t impact baby’s respiratory functions as much as ones that took place during pregnancy. “According to our results, exposure to these volatile chemical compounds seems to be more critical in pregnancy than in the first year of a child’s life,” says Dr. Irina Lehmann of he UFZ.
Tell us: How was your experience setting up baby’s nursery?
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Image of baby on a carpet courtesy of Shutterstock
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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
When we weren’t busy watching ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos, tracking the missing Malaysian Airlines jet, or downloading Beyoncé’s secret album, we were talking babies – especially the famous ones! Lucky for us, there were plenty of first-time (and second- and third-time) celebrity births this year. Here are the ones that had everyone buzzing, including some cute baby photos that celebs shared!
1- Esmeralda Amada Gosling
Born: September 12
Parents: Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling
Best compliment: ”That’s going to be the most beautiful, bilingual, part-superhero, well-dressed, romantic baby ever.” - Ellen DeGeneres
Step aside, Jolie-Pitt kiddos — there’s a new genetically-blessed baby in Tinseltown. Not that we’ve seen a picture of Esmeralda yet (though good try, Ellen DeGeneres!). The famously private couple may be keeping her away from prying eyes right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re not spilling some details about life with baby. Eva told VioletGrey magazine that she sympathizes with how tough it is to be an infant (“Everything is a struggle for her. For instance, I haven’t thrown up since the ’90s and she’s thrown up twice since we started this interview.”) and how exhausting motherhood can be (“I thought my wild nights were over, but these are some of the wildest nights I’ve ever had.”).
Born: September 30
Parents: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher
Best compliment: ”As soon as this child was born, I immediately wanted to call my parents and just apologize because I never knew how much they loved me.” - Ashton Kutcher
First came love (on TV), then came love (in real life, years later), and then came baby. Baby Wyatt’s arrival seems to be the brightest spot in what has already been a pretty blindingly bright year for the That ’70s Show alums. The engaged couple have been hands-on since the birth, eschewing nannies for long, sleepless nights and countless diaper changes. But the one-on-one time sounds like it’s working out well so far. The baby has already accompanied mom and dad on date night and has recently discovered her own reflection. Proud Ashton told Ellen DeGeneres, “She found herself in the mirror and realized she was able to control the thing in the mirror.”
3- Rose Dorothy Dauriac
Born: September 4
Parents: Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac
Best compliment: ”Euphoric.” - Scarlett Johansson on how her daughter’s scent makes her feel
The Her actress didn’t announce her pregnancy until March, around the same time she broke the news that she was engaged to her French journalist boyfriend. So small wonder that she has kept a low profile since giving birth to baby Rose in New York City this fall. We’ve only seen the tot once – all bundled up and snuggling on mom’s shoulder — but ScarJo has opened up recently about being a mom. She told the German magazine Gala that it’s “exhausting” but in “a wonderful way,” joking that she didn’t realize how much she enjoyed sleeping through the night until Rose arrived. (We hear you!)
Born: September 27
Parents: Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky
Best compliment: ”Their vision starts to get out, and she almost doesn’t have time to laugh, she never cries, she just soaks things up. I think if my mind worked like that it would be so great.” - Billl Clinton
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She’s not even out of diapers yet and Charlotte Clinton is already a power player: Before she was born, President Obama offered the use of his motorcade in case mom Chelsea went into labor during an event. Charlotte counts a former president as her grandfather and a former Secretary of State (and probable 2016 presidential candidate) as a grandmother. Even her exit from the hospital had panache, borrowing heavily from none other than Prince George’s. Is it too soon to start talking about her plans for 2048?
5- Baby Disick
Born: December 14
Parents: Kourney Kardashian and Scott Disick
Best compliment: ”It’s going to be perfect for our family.” Kourtney Kardashian
The third child of reality TV’s favorite on-again off-again couple nabbed headlines long before his birth. Mom Kourtney was barely showing before rumors started swirling that she was expecting again, and a camera crew was, naturally, on hand to capture virtually every moment of the pregnancy. And then there was that nude photo shoot where her bump was cradled and covered in feathers. Though the baby was due around Christmas, he arrived a little early, on older brother Mason’s fifth birthday. #scenestealer
6- Otis Alexander Sudeikis
Born: April 20
Parents: Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis
Best compliment: ”A pretty cool name for what will presumably be a pretty cool kid.” - Vulture.com
We were swooning over baby Otis the second we found out his name, and then we laid eyes on him (and his cheeks) and promptly fell in love. Since then, we’ve been taking in all the tot’s adventures: strolling like a boss through New York City with mom and dad, breastfeeding in Glamour magazine wearing Air Jordans. Is there anything this kid does that isn’t hip?
7- River Rose Blackstock
Born: June 14
Parents: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
Best compliment: ”Watch out Lady Gaga!! River Rose is on the scene!!” - Kelly Clarkson
Being the child of the very first American Idol can’t be easy, but River Rose seems to be taking it all in stride. A mere two months after being born, she was whisked to Chicago, bedazzled headphones in tow, for a Garth Brook/Trisha Yearwood concert. She’s also accompanied mom backstage before concerts and even visited the set of her latest video, “Wrapped in Red.” But the entourage may get bigger in the near future — Clarkson has said she wants to try for another baby sooner rather than later.
8- Titan Jewell Weatherspoon
Born: November 4
Parents: Kelly Rowland and Tim Weatherspoon
Best compliment: ”There’s no better feeling than holding my beautiful nephew. I thank god for the honor of witnessing my sisters journey into motherhood. I’ve always dreamed of our little ones growing up together. I’m so thankful for our bond. Baby Ty, I love you so much.” - Beyoncé
When the Destiny’s Child singer and her manager-husband welcomed a little boy last month, you could practically hear the collective cheer among her fans. After all, Kelly shared much of the nine-month journey with us through lots and lots of photos. We’re looking forward to hearing how motherhood is inspiring the musician. Already the proud mom has written a lullaby for him, including the line, “You will always be/Mommy’s little baby.” Aww.
9- Briar Rose Christensen
Born: October 29
Parents: Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen
Best compliment: “I know she’s going to be the best mother.” – Jamie King on Rachel Bilson
The Hart of Dixie star made no secret of her desire to start a family, so she was understandably excited when she found out she was expecting. She told Health magazine, “I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I have always wanted kids. I can just see this little toddler waddling around the house.” The notoriously low-key couple have asked paparazzi to refrain from taking baby Briar’s photo and are staying mum about how parenthood has been so far, but our guess is that things are extra sunny in the Bilson-Christensen home.
10- Jaxon Wyatt Cutler
Born: May 7
Parents: Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler
Best compliment: ”They always say the second one is harder and that’s very true. Jax is a little bit more difficult. But he is still the sweetest and the best. So it’s fine.” - Kristin Cavallari
Baby Jaxon is a dream come true. Literally. While pregnant, the former Laguna Beach star said she’d like to have another boy — she and NFL quarterback husband Jay Cutler are already parents to son Camden. And it appears as though the adorable brothers are already inseparable, even drinking their milk in tandem!
Tell us: Which celeb baby were you most excited about this year?
Find out what big changes are next for your infant 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!
Images courtesy of Kelly Rowland via Instagram; Ashton Kutcher via Facebook; Chelsea Clinton via Facebook; Kelly Clarkson via Instgram; Olivia Wilde via Instagram; Kristin Cavallari via her official Kristin Cavallari app
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All About Babies, Babies, Celebrity Babies, Celebrity Moms, Celebrity Parents, News
Friday, December 12th, 2014
A few days before I had my baby, my mom handed me a huge photo album filled with letters from my aunts and cousins who all had kids. Besides the usual good-luck-you’ll-do-great messages, these notes were rife with pointers on being a mother, and I pored over them until I could practically recite them from memory.
But then Joshua was born and everything flew out the window. Like all newbies, I was finding my way as a parent through fits and starts and lots of fumbling. Then one day, wiped out from a colicky baby and feeling desperate, I reached for the album again and re-read my family’s words of wisdom. Things were different then — I was different — but their guidance was still useful.
And lucky for me there was a lot of good advice: Carve out time for you, they all urged, even if it’s going to the gym once a week or taking a hot bath every now and then. (Pooped, I always chose the latter.) Don’t forget about your husband, my aunts advised, a notion that, pre-baby, was as foreign to me as diaper rash. Throw your arms wide open and love the heck out of your baby — not that I needed a reminder to snuggle up with my newborn, mind you, but I appreciated the sentiment.
But my favorite tip — and the one I find myself passing on to new mom friends now — is perhaps the simplest: Just be good enough. Instead of stressing out over being The Best Mom On Earth, aim for the kinder, more reasonable middle spot of the bell curve.
A stubborn perfectionist, I’ve relied on that advice often to reel me back in from the madness of trying to keep pace with other moms in my world. So I didn’t have a freezer full of expressed milk and a refrigerator stocked with jars of exotic homemade baby food. So what? I had the blessed freedom to nurse my kiddo on demand and a huge assortment of healthy food pouches that could sub in when I didn’t have time to steam and puree veggies. And my child was just as fine for it.
Even now that he’s out of diapers, I continue to remind myself to aim for just good enough. It’s become sort of my mom mantra. It’s helped steel me against the shocked looks I get when some moms find out that I don’t have my son signed up for an activity every day after preschool. Or that he only speaks one language, when most of his friends are mastering at least two. (I live in New York.) Would a perfect mom be okay with any of this? Probably not. But as I’m quickly learning, I’m far from perfect at this job, and I’m okay with that. Because by being just good enough, I’m better than perfect. I’m happy.
Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite piece of parenting advice? What tips would you offer to new moms?
Have questions about your baby? We have answers — just check out our comprehensive Baby Q&A. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of mom and baby courtesy of Shutterstock
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Thursday, December 11th, 2014
I’ve always envied how moms of bottle-fed babies know exactly how much milk their kiddo has ingested during a meal. As a breastfeeding mom, any guess I made was just that. And while this piece of information wasn’t so crucial once I had been nursing for a while, it was everything to me in the first days of my baby’s life. After all, a belly full of milk meant a certain number of dirty diapers and a steady, reassuring rise on the growth chart.
But as I found out the hard way, a breastfed newborn often loses weight in the beginning until milk production begins in earnest. Though some trimming down is to be expected, too much can lead to dehydration or hyperbilirubinemia, a type of jaundice. A normal range of how quickly and how long the weight loss lasts hasn’t been fully known — until now.
A team of researchers have developed the Newborn Weight Tool, or Newt, which compares a newborn’s weight in the first few days of life against those of other babies. The free tool relies on hourly birth weights from more than 100,000 breastfed newborns delivered at Northern California Kaiser Permanente hospitals (between 2009 and 2013) to make the comparison. A handy graph shows moms and pediatricians where the baby’s weight falls on the growth chart so they can figure out if it’s time to supplement with formula or continue nursing exclusively.
“For parents who are concerned about their newborn’s weight loss, they can be shown how their baby compares to the study sample, and whether they fall into a dangerous zone,” says Valerie Flaherman, M.D., lead author of the study and a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “It also provides a tool for pediatricians to determine which babies are at high risk, addressing a major clinical gap because there are no current criteria for newborn weight loss.”
Personally, I would have appreciated such a tool after my baby was born. I knew I wanted to breastfeed exclusively as long as I could, and I figured that when the time came, whatever colostrum I produced would be more than enough to sustain him until the milk came in. Yeah…not so much. When our kind pediatrician gently suggested after the first 24 hours of nursing that we supplement with a bottle — just for now — I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I don’t know if it was the freewheeling hormones, but I took the unexepcted news pretty hard. If I wasn’t second-guessing the quality of my colostrum, then I was trying to shake the feeling that I was already a failure as a mom. It didn’t help that my lactation consultant pooh-poohed the idea of supplementing and encouraged me to go rogue and refuse the formula. I ended up siding with my doctor, but I wish I had a graph or point of comparison to help me make a more informed decision.
Tell us: If you breastfed your newborn, did you end up having to supplement with formula?
Not sure how comfortable you’ll feel nursing? You can take our breastfeeding quiz to find out. Also, calculate your growing child’s height and weight on our baby growth chart. And don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby-related news.
Image of newborn courtesy of Shutterstock
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