Designing your baby’s nursery is a daunting task. You want it to look good, be safe and functional, and be a warm, cozy place that your child can grow up in. Add to that all of the other expenses that come along with having a baby, and it’s hard to figure out what’s worth splurging on and where you can cut some budget corners. Home design guru, Cortney Novogratz, knows a lot about nurseries and all of the multi-functions they need to serve as she and her partner in design and life, hubby Robert, have seven kids. Yes, seven—in New York City, where space is very hard to come by!
“First and foremost a nursery should feel happy, because there is so much joy in creating a family,” advises Cortney. “But it should also be a calm space where you and your baby can feel safe and at peace. I believe it’s important to create a place that inspires your child to dream, create, and explore.”
Here are Cortney’s tips for getting the best bang for your buck while creating a truly peaceful and personal space for your baby:
Don’t splurge on a crib. Reduce, reuse, recycle instead. “Borrow a crib from a friend or relative (or buy one used, if none of your friends are moms yet), because before you know it your baby will be ready for a real bed. And if you have the space, it’s really nice to have a daybed near the crib, so you can take a nap with your baby after they’ve kept you up all night.”
If you have space, invest in a comfy reading chair. “In the beginning you’ll be holding the baby in your arms rocking him, but pretty soon he’ll be crawling up into your lap to read a book.”
Splurge on lighting. “Kids are always growing and their tastes are changing, but one thing that will last a long time and will still look great down the road is a really beautiful light fixture. A cool statement piece will hold up even as your child grows out of other things. I love this little owl lamp by Lolli Living ($62) because it adds a touch of fun. Plus, yellow is a great color for boys and girls.”
Don’t save your best artwork for the living room. ”You’ll spend a lot of time in the nursery, and a great art collection will inspire your children and get them excited about art!”
Space planning is important. “Baby clothes are so small that you don’t necessarily need a full-size dresser. A tall skinny dresser or even a jewelry chest works great for kid’s stuff. And it’s important to make sure most items are within easy reach, because you will probably be holding a baby when you want to grab something!”
Need a changing table? Repurpose an old dresser you already own. “All it takes is a coat of paint to transform an ugly dresser into something new and fresh. A quart of zero VOC paint will cost you $24, and will protect your family from breathing in any toxic chemicals. You’ll need a changing pad and cover for the top. I love this Land of Nod khaki and white striped cover ($35).”
Include your family. “When our first son, Wolfgang, was born, my husband Robert and I collected a bunch of photos of our relatives when they were children, and created an extended family photo wall. It’s great because as your child grows, you can really start to see the resemblances to your relatives. Even when he was a baby, we could see that Wolfie would have big hands like his grandfather. This is a really great way to personalize your nursery and help your child feel connected to the family. To make it feel unique but cohesive, try using a bunch of different frames that are all the same color.”
Don’t be afraid of color. “I like to go with gender neutral colors, like greens and yellows. You don’t always have to play by the rules, though. I’ve been known to use a combination of hot pink, orange, and blue for a boy’s room and it looks great. Kids are inspired by color, so go bold!”
Little touches can make a big impact. “Removable vinyl decals are an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up your nursery’s walls. I would stay away from anything too infantile. These Skip Hop alphabet letters ($20) are cute and will make a great learning tool when your baby becomes a toddler.”
Keep your baby entertained. “We love to create bright, colorful spaces, and you don’t want to neglect any part of the room. Children are like sponges and they take in every detail around them. Since babies are often lying on their backs, we like to put something interesting on the ceiling, like a bold color or striped wallpaper to keep them interested.”
Remember: Little kids don’t need their own rooms. “When my boys were little, they all slept in the same room. We had 2 twin beds and 2 cribs all lined up in a row. It was so cute, because they really bonded as a family and we would wake up to find them all snuggling together. Sometimes the older boys would even crawl into the crib with the little ones!”
For more design inspiration, check out Parents.com/Shop, the book, Home by Novogratz, and the Novogratz Holiday Collection at CB2.
Image of Cortney Novogratz courtesy of Catherine Hall/the Novogratz; product images courtesy of Diapers.com, Land of Nod and Diapers.com; room image courtesy of the Novogratz.
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Sure, over the years you’ve fantasized about having a doctor as hot as Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. McDreamy or Dr. McSteamy. But most doctors don’t look that good in real life, right? Well, apparently in Chile they do!
Manuel Rico, this sexy 24-year-old OB-GYN internist—who is originally from Spain, but in Chile to finish his studies—has the women in Concepción, Chile, thinking about conception all right! After the Region of Conception Hospital made a formal press announcement about him joining its team of doctors, women have flocked to the practice in unheard of numbers. Um, can you blame them? He was actually named 2010’s King of Beauty (whatever that is!) in his home country of Spain. Now the story has gone viral, even getting Buzzfeed’s attention.
I understand the appeal—obviously, I have eyes!—but I also have to say that having someone so handsome that close to my nether regions on a regular basis might just cause a whole new set of problems! I mean, who wants to have to worry about “looking good” down there, when you’re going for a check up? Or having to dress up to go to the doctor when you’re 9 months pregnant and ready to pop?
And for the single ladies, who aren’t pregnant? Fuggedaboutit! How could you sit there and talk about your sexual history with someone you’ve been daydreaming about jumping into bed with? It’s all too much pressure, if you ask me! I’ll stick to my female OB-GYN, thank you very much!
TELL US: Would you go to a hot OB-GYN or would it make you uncomfortable?
NEXT: Find out if you’re having a boy or a girl!
Image of Manuel Rico via Facebook.
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Put down those Doritos and read this! The foods you’re eating during pregnancy and while breast feeding are shaping the way that your unborn child will eat for years to come, according to a new study. That’s right—bad eating habits form in utero.
Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, found that babies’ taste buds are directly linked to what their moms ate while pregnant with them. So if you’re eating a diverse and varied diet, your child will eventually be a less picky eater, who is open to trying new things. Your good habits are being passed down to them, and that will show in how they eat as toddlers and later on as adults.
But your bad habits are being passed down as well. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found that if you are eating sugary or fatty foods, your child will actually have cravings for those foods and form an emotional attachment to them. Moms who ate Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had children that built up a tolerance for those foods, so that they needed more of them to get the same gratification from eating them. That is how researchers believe the US’ obesity epidemic all started (70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese).
According to the New York Times, “researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods during infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.” So when you tell people you’re “eating for two,” you really are—not the amount of calories for two people, but you are choosing what your baby will be eating for the rest of his or her life. Just think about that the next time you have a craving! Of course it’s fine to indulge every now and again (here are some ideas for doing that the smart way), but know that your eating habits do have long-term effects on your little one, so choose your meals wisely!
Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ here.
TELL US: What foods have you cut out while you’re pregnant? What are your healthy indulgences?
Image of pregnant woman eating a salad courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Childhood Obesity, Diet, Fit Pregnancy, Food, Healthy Eating, Healthy Pregnancy, Junk Food, Obesity, pregnancy, Pregnancy Diet, pregnant | Categories:
Cravings, Healthy Pregnancy
With IVF treatments, twins have basically become the new norm—46 percent of IVF births are multiples, mostly twins. But now fertility experts want to change that. The new goal: single births, even when using IVF. Why? Twins have a much higher risk of being preemies and having serious health problems that could potentially last a lifetime.
The most recent info from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 37 percent of IVF babies, who are multiples, are born premature, while only 3 percent of babies born without fertility treatments are twins, and of those about 12 percent are preterm.
Many women who’ve struggled to have kids are excited to have twins—even asking their physicians for twins—because they may not have the money for multiple IVF treatments (each round can cost up to $20k!), or they would love to have two kids at once, and never have to go through pregnancy again! But doctors fear that couples are making a rash decision without really knowing the increased medical risks for babies and moms (risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are higher).
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s recent guidelines state that women should be counseled on the risks of multiple births and embryo transfers and that this discussion should be noted in their medical records. According to the guidelines, “for women with reasonable medical odds of success, those under 35 should be offered single embryo transfer and no more than two at a time.” They are open to more embryos being implanted, if the woman is over 35.
According to Valley News, with stronger screening of embryos, success rates for single embryos could be nearly as good as when two or more are used, say experts. The new techniques include maturing the embryos a few days longer, improving viability and allowing cells to be sampled for chromosome screening. Embryos can be frozen to allow test results to come back and more precisely time the transfer to the womb.
Taking these steps with single embryos results in fewer miscarriages and tubal pregnancies, healthier babies with fewer genetic defects and lower hospital bills from birth complications, many fertility specialists say.
I’m really torn on this subject, because I don’t think any of us want more Octomoms running around out there, or kids with health problems. But—and it’s a big but—all of the women I’ve known who’ve had IVF (and I should note that all of them have been over 35), have had twins, and are beyond thrilled with their decision to have multiple embryos implanted. Many of them did have complicated births—including extended bed rest, spotting, C-sections, and breathing problems in the children that caused them to stay in NICU for weeks, up to months after their births.
All of that said, as far as I know every single one of them is a happy, healthy kid with no lingering medical issues (at least so far—fingers crossed!). And even though the pregnancies and births were more complicated, required more doctor visits, and now they have twice the expenses with two little ones running around at the same time, the parents’ love for their two cuties made all of that initial anxiety worth it for them, and they would never, ever want to have traded that experience in for a single birth.
TELL US: Do you think women should be discouraged from having twins? Do you have twins? Tell us your story!
Use our Ovulation Calculator to see when you’re most likely to get pregnant. Then, see the 13 tell-tale signs you’re expecting.
Image of twins courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Baby Names: How To Name Twins and Multiples
Bed rest, C-section, Cesarean Section, fertility, Gestational Diabetes, In Vitro Fertilization, infertility, IVF, Multiples, Preeclampsia, Preemies, pregnancy, pregnant, Spotting, Twins | Categories:
The Huffington Post UK is reporting that a pregnant 35-year-old Italian woman in England for a work trip was ordered by Essex’s Court of Protection to have a Cesarean section against her will. And it gets worse! She was then forced to put her child up for adoption. Scary, right? The court says it was all done to protect her unborn child. Why? The woman—who is the mom to two other girls—has Bipolar disorder, and if she fails to take her meds she can have manic episodes and paranoid delusions.
She had what appears to be a breakdown at a hotel and was taken into custody. The court ordered the C-section, and the baby was taken by social workers the following day. Another judge began the adoption process for a British couple to take full custody of the child—despite the mom being back on her meds, with a job, home, and family support (her 11 and 4 year old are being raised in Italy by her parents). She testified that having her daughter taken away is what finally made her accept that she is in fact bipolar, and got her back on her medication.
The mom, whose daughter is now 15 months old, plans to continue to challenge the adoption, in hopes that she and her baby can return to Italy, so her entire family can be together. I know the intention was to “save” the baby, but this sounds like a total violation of the mom’s human rights to me. A forced Cesarean section? That sounds like something that would happen in a barbaric nation, not England!
Mental health is a serious issue—and more help and insurance coverage should be devoted to it, IMHO—but why not notify the woman’s parents in Italy, so the baby could grow up with her sisters? Why rip her from the arms of her mom, and out of her siblings’ lives? I don’t get it! Where’s the common sense here? They are supposed to be the family court, but they clearly don’t value the importance of family.
TELL US: Do you think the Court of Protection did the right thing, or was it a huge human rights violation?
See how your baby is developing from conception to birth. Then use our week by week calendar to track your pregnancy.
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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