Archive for the ‘ Health & Safety ’ Category

American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win the New Halo Bassinest Plus a Gift Set!

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The mission of safe sleep for babies is something that HALO takes very seriously. While they’ve always been a leader in safe baby nightwear, such as their SleepSack Swaddle and SleepSack wearable blanket, they’re now introducing their first piece of gear, the innovative HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper.

Use the bassinet to have your baby sleep by your side, but not in your bed (which poses a suffocation hazard; if you don’t believe them, read about safe sleep habits from First Candle). Unlike traditional bassinets, this one can slide right next to you in bed, plus one side lowers down, making it easy to lift your baby out for feedings. Also, the mesh sides provide both good air flow and a clear view of your sleeping infant, for peace of mind. It’s good from the moment you bring your newborn home until he or she is about 5 months old.

The Bassinest just launched for $230 at Giggle and Right Start. But HALO is also generously giving one away here! HALO will send ONE (1) lucky winner a HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper and a HALO gift set (including a SleepSack, Swaddle and a SleepSack wearable blanket); a retail value of approximately $294.00.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day October 8th. More Qs about our giveaway? Read our official rules. Be sure to check back on October 9th and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

Watch the video below for additional tips on dressing your baby for sleep.

 

Dress Baby for Sleep
Dress Baby for Sleep
Dress Baby for Sleep

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Beautiful Ways to Support Breast Cancer Research

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Show your support—and look good in the process—with these products that help benefit breast-cancer causes.

Supersmile gives 75 percent of online sales of its Pink Diamond Toothbrush to SHARE, a national breast-cancer support group. $15; supersmile.com

Estée Lauder donates three dollars from each sale of Clinique Pink With a Purpose Long Last Lipstick in Power With Pink to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The company recently debuted BCAcampaign.com, an interactive site with video stories from people affected by breast cancer.  $16; clinique.com

For every sale of the Avon Anew Vitale Night Cream, $5 of the net profits will help fund the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. $28; avon.com

A quarter of a million dollars from sales of select products owned by Kao USA, including Jergens Original Scent Dry Skin Moisturizer, will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance. $7; drugstores

 

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Making the Play with Andrew Luck

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

What do you do with your kids to get active? An NFL quarterback wants to know!

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is helping launch “Make the Play” with Quaker Oats to help motivate families to eat healthy and get active. Parents can submit their favorite ways to play with their families. The winning family with the most innovative game or original way to be active gets to participate in a “Day of Play” with Luck. Parents caught up with Luck to learn about the importance of kids getting active with their families.

P: What inspired you to get involved with “Make the Play”?

AL: This is my third year getting to work with Quaker. It’s really because we share so much passion for healthy lifestyles and encouraging kids to get outside to play for at least an hour a day, to eat good breakfast, and sleep well. I think those are great messages to get behind. I feel strongly about them and so does Quaker.

P: How did active play influence your childhood? 

AL: It was a big,big part of my childhood. I have three younger siblings, so the four of us were outside all the time after school playing games, making up games. My sister made up a game called “roof ball.” We’d play that constantly. She always beat me in it, and it made me very mad. But we were outside all the time. We’d wait for my dad to come home from work, and he’d take 15, 20 minutes to just throw a football or shoot basketball hoops or kick a soccer ball or play volleyball. That was always a big part of my childhood, and I know it must have helped me with sitting down and doing homework later or falling asleep. It was a great way to use up some energy.

P: What was “roof ball” like? 

AL: “Roof ball” was a game where we’d throw a ball on the roof and the person who caught it got points. I shoulda won, but I rarely did.

P: What are some advantages of children getting active? 

AL: I do think studies have shown that getting active for at least 60 minutes a day helps with concentration and focus, so I think that’s important. Just an active lifestyle is great for health overall.

P: What athlete inspired you as a kid to be active? 

AL: My dad [Oliver Luck] played football in the NFL, and he was a quarterback, as well. He was always an inspiration, and I loved watching Peyton Manning and Steve McNair. I enjoyed watching those guys.

P: How does eating right affect your performance?

AL: It’s a big part of being a professional athlete. To me, breakfast is my most important meal. It’s often the meal you play a game on. I make sure I have oatmeal, milk, and fruit. It’s the fuel you use to hopefully do your best, so eating right is a big part of being a professional athlete. I wish I paid more attention to it earlier in my life.

P: What’s you favorite oatmeal topping? 

AL: Fruit! All types of fruit—berries, especially.

P: What are some ways parents can inspire their kids to get active? 

AL: I always appreciated my dad coming outside and playing with us—or my mom—and being a part of the game we were playing or refereeing it or just being outside. That was fun for us, and it was very encouraging.

P: What are you looking for when judging the “Make the Play” contest? 

AL: Two simple things! One: Involve other people. It’s fun when a bunch of people are playing the game and families. Two: Have fun. Make sure you’re having fun, and that will come through on the videos.

For more information on the “Make the Play” contest, visit QuakerMakeThePlay.com.

 

Family Fitness
Family Fitness
Family Fitness

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Say Goodbye to Summer Sniffles with These Products

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

When you’re experiencing cold-like symptoms, it’s easy to swallow some meds and get on with the day. But it may be years before your little one learns how to swallow a pill, and he may not be enticed by chewable remedies, either.   

This is where sprays come in. Arm & Hammer’s Simply Saline Nasal Mist and OCEAN Saline Nasal Spray are both drug-free products designed to help those suffering from nasal congestion. All Simply Saline sprays and OCEAN Nasal Care products are safe to administer in conjunction with other oral and nasal medicines (consult your doctor first, as sprays may flush out any other nasal remedies), plus they’re A-ok to use while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Arm & Hammer offers various versions of the Simply Saline Nasal Mist, including a product specifically for babies (ages birth and up) as well as one for kids (ages 2 and up). The spray for babies has an infant-safe nozzle. Compared to Neti Pots (which are suitable for those ages 5 and up), the Nasal Mist is gentler on little noses and easier to use as a whole. 

OCEAN for Kids Saline Nasal Spray is safe for children and infants, and it, too, includes a smaller spray tip for young ones, plus it provides extra moisture.

Though the weather is warming up, it’s still important to be mindful about cold prevention. Summer colds are common, as slightly over half of the respondents in a Simply Saline survey, released last week, report experiencing one within the past year.

Confused about how to administer nasal spray? This video can help.

How to Give Nasal Spray
How to Give Nasal Spray
How to Give Nasal Spray

Images courtesy of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC and Simply Saline, respectively. 

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Healthy Fathers = Happy Fathers

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Father’s Day falls on June 15 this year. You’re probably thinking, “I just bought him socks for Christmas!” which is probably right. You’re going to need to think up a new gift, but should also know that on the day before the holiday, Sam’s Club nationwide is offering free health screenings for men. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to visit their nearest Sam’s Club to receive an in-club health screening between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.. Not only is it an early Father’s Day gift, but since June is also Men’s Health Month, it’s a smart choice.

A lot of men may look and feel healthy on a daily basis, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease are among the top health risks for adult males in the United States today. A convenient health screening, like this one, will not only educate the men in your life, but it may also lead them to a healthier lifestyle.

Tests that will take place include:

  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen) which test men 40 years and older. This test is used to screen men for prostate cancer by checking his blood level of PSA; a protein produced by the prostate gland.
  • Blood pressure
  • Body Fate Percentage
  • Total cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Risk Ratio
  • Vision Screening/Testing

These tests are typically valued at $150, but the father in your life will receive a priceless opportunity.

Making the choice to become, and stay, healthy is a big step. Dieting and exercising is always the first to pop in our head when it comes to choosing a healthy routine, but simple tests, like those mentioned above, is sometimes all it takes.

Think the kids are up for making a bird feeder for Dad to hang outside? Check out this craft.

How to Make a Bird-Feeder Craft
How to Make a Bird-Feeder Craft
How to Make a Bird-Feeder Craft

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7 Shocking Things I Learned From Fed Up

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Fed Up - Childhood ObesityOver the years we have heard a lot about the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. But Fed Up, a new documentary produced and narrated by Katie Couric, suggests that we’ve been battling this disease in all the wrong ways.

Instead of blaming a lack of will power and pushing kids to exercise more, Fed Up puts the responsibility squarely on the sugary processed foods so many kids and families rely on for their daily nutrition.

The doc follows four overweight children who are struggling with their weight, and, frankly, it’s heartbreaking. These kids desperately want to be healthy and accepted by the other students at school. They are afraid of getting diabetes or cancer or even dying young. But they are confronted at every turn—at school, at home, on TV, and online—by the foods that are making them fat. As one of the kids says, alcoholics don’t have to keep liquor in the house, but everyone needs to eat.

Here are just a few of the shocking things I learned while watching:

A calorie is not a calorie. One hundred and sixty calories of almonds is not equal to 160 calories of soda. One provides healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber. The other is absorbed instantly by the liver and turned immediately to fat. Guess which is which.

Based on lab studies, sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. For this reason alone parents should go easy on the added sugars given to babies and toddlers. The more sugar kids consume at this age, the more they’ll crave it as they grow up.

In 1980 there were no reported cases of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. In 2010, that number was 57,638.

There are 600,000 packaged food items in America. Eighty percent of them contain added sugar. As Dr. Robert Lustig recently told Parents, naturally occurring sugars in fruits are perfectly healthy since they come with fiber to balance it out. But most added sugars enter our bodies with little fiber and go straight to our liver where they’re turned into fat.

One can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, and 80% of America’s public schools have a deal with Coke or Pepsi. Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist, calls soda “the cigarettes of the 21st century.”

When it comes to school lunches the federal government considers tomato paste a vegetable; thus a slice of pizza can help meet a lunch’s produce requirement. I love pizza, but it doesn’t look like a vegetable to me.

It is possible to be “TOFI”, or thin on the outside and fat on the inside. Meaning, thin people who eat junk food are still at risk for major health problems.

What does this mean for me and you and our families? The prescription is simple: eat more real food. Cook at home and rely less on processed foods that are typically sugar-laden and nutrient-poor. Home-cooked food doesn’t need to take a long time or be fancy. Here are some of my favorite recipes from Parents.com:

Get recipes for three weeks of easy, weeknight dinners, plus a grocery list.

Try a stir-fry kids will love.

Make ahead parts of your meal for easy family dinners.

Fed Up opens in movie theaters today. Learn more about the film and how we can feed our kids better.

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Image via Fed Up

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A 6-Year-Old Kid Reporter Shares His First Time Meeting Michelle Obama

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Michelle Obama Kid Reporter Easter Sunday event

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Kid Reporter gaggle in the White House Library during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Justin Creppy who, at 6 years old, is the youngest contributor we’ve ever featured on our site! Justin (pictured in a blue shirt with red tie, right) was invited to the White House on Easter Sunday to be part of a special Kid Reporter event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Read Justin’s story about his experience.

By Justin Creppy

This year I visited the White House for the first time on Easter, and I was one of seven kid reporters to be in the first-ever Kid Reporter gaggle. My day started with so much excitement! I couldn’t wait to get to the White House, but I didn’t know what to expect, so I kept asking mommy and daddy so many questions.

When I arrived at the Northgate I had to be a big boy and give my name and birthdate to the secret service. That was special and fun. I got a badge and entered the White House lawn area. There was so much to see.  I walked past the West Wing and I went to the Vermeil Room that had portraits of first ladies. Then I had press time with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House Library. Her “Let’s Move” program was the focus for the event’s theme, “Hop Into Healthy, Swing into Shape.” When mommy told me what those words meant, I started telling her that I had a bunch of questions for the First Lady. Can I ask her what exercises she does? What sports do Malia and Sasha play? Do they eat healthy every day?  My parents told me to pick 2-3 questions I really wanted to ask because this was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I was one of the youngest kid reporters, and I got a little nervous when the First Lady entered the room.  She was very nice and asked us to sit on the floor and introduce ourselves. I got so excited and asked a question, “First Lady, what do Malia and Sasha do to have fun when you are busy and the President is traveling?” I was happy to learn they are just like all the children in the United States. They like to have fun! Malia plays tennis and runs track. Sasha likes to dance hip-hop and plays basketball.  The First Lady also said they like to be normal kids with sleepovers, playdates, and going to the movies.

I also learned so much by listening to the other kid reporters’ questions and learning the importance of eating healthy, being active, and watching only a little bit of television.  I had an amazing day, and the First Lady gave all the kid reporters a wristband to enjoy the Easter Egg Roll. I was so happy to see so many kids having fun, running, and playing with their families. I had a fun-filled day that I will never forget!

Read experiences written by other kid reporters:

 Michelle Obama Kid Reporter Easter Sunday event

Justin, center, standing in front of the First Lady

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For When Your Kids Are Sick

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

sick kidEach month in Parents, we print the 27 funniest, truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our March issue features a quote from mom-of-two Julie Brasington at Happy Home Fairy. Read her full blog post below. 

It seems that I have children who are sick 96% of the time.

Am I not cleaning my house enough? Is it because it’s the Happy Baby’s first year in Day Care? Should I be washing their hands more? Is it because I don’t give them tablespoons of honey and fresh squeezed orange juice every morning?

Maybe.

Or maybe they’re just kids.

But let me tell you. Each time one of my kids get sick, I come at it with clenched teeth and (not going to lie) feeling a little bit ticked off.

I mean, I knew that being a mom was no easy gig, but I sincerely never thought that the Nose Frida was going to end up being “the greatest” gift I ever received from our baby registry.

These days I find myself wanting to tell all the starry-eyed moms-to-be to take a good long look at their piles of super cute new baby outfits and adorable matchy matchy crib linens and just imagine everything covered in diarrhea.

BAM. Expectations adjusted.

But whenever I finally realize the negative behaviors in myself that need to be pruned out (ie. getting ticked off and sulky with God when the stomach bug moves in for 2 long, messy weeks), I take some time to ask the Lord for His opinion on the matter.

Check this out …

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” – C.S. Lewis (quote found in this encouraging post)

Do I believe that God authors every aspect of my life?

Absolutely.

Then instead of constantly fighting God on the unpleasant aspects of mothering (say, fevers and barfs), I would like to learn to quietly accept them, trusting that He knows what He is doing. He is sending them and bringing them for my good.

For my sanctification, even.

So, as we enter flu season, here are some of the “good” things (and a few hopefully helpful tips) He is showing me in between the interruptions Kleenex boxes.

Sick Bear

Just after Valentine’s Day this year, the Happy Buddy got strep throat. I needed to get some medicine for him, so I ran to the drugstore. I happened to hit their after-holiday sale just right and found a huge stuffed bear for only a couple of bucks. I knew that having to give the Happy Buddy 10 days of meds was going to be  A-W-F-U-L so I thought bringing him a little comfort might help. I snatched the bear up and on the way home decided to name him Sick Bear.  He loved it so much that now, whenever anyone gets sick, he comes out of his home in the closet for snuggles and intense strangling while medication is being administered hugs until they get better. Then Sick Bear gets a superior deep cleaning and goes back in the closet (I think the longest Sick Bear has ever stayed in his closet has been about 12 days).

Make a Couch Bed

When I was a little girl and got sick, my mom would transform the couch into a bed. She’d take fresh, crisp sheets and tuck them in nice and tight. We’d bring down my bed pillows and stuffed animals and I’d curl up on the couch to watch as much Saved By the Bell, Full House, and Mickey Mouse Club TV as I could possibly handle. She’d make me toast cut in triangles and serve it to me on a TV tray. I felt like a queen! I now do this for the Happy Buddy and he is more than thrilled at the chance to take up residence in front of the tube. Who knew that endless episodes of Pocoyo could be so therapeutic?

The Magic of the Cool Washcloth

Best thing ever when I was younger and had fevers. I still remember the smell of the clean wash towel and the feel of it on my head when my mom would rest it there. I loved flipping it over in 5 minute intervals to feel the coolness of the new side. My boys love it, too.

Medicine

I wish I was that person that brewed homemade herbal teas to bring down fevers and strained garlic or whatever to heal ear infections. But I am just not there yet – although I am open to learning. I definitely don’t want to be unwisely pumping meds into my kid every time they get a runny nose, but sometimes medicine is the answer. You have to do antibiotics? No sweat. Pick up a probiotic along with it and call it a day (or 10 days). Plus, I think that giving our kids medicine can be a great way for us to learn more about God. I don’t know about you, but my highly sensory child is incredibly disgusted by the taste of most medicines. If we can’t find it in a bland form or mix it with something he does like, then often we must do whatever means we can think of to get him what his body needs. Even if that means we have to gently pin his poor, sweet arms down and shoot it in with a syringe. Sometimes we don’t like the taste of something God has brought our way, but He, as a loving Father, gives it because He knows it will bring about our ultimate healing …

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Bring Comfort to Another

Because we do sick so much over here, I have grown quite attentive to the needs of my friends when their children are sick. I once brought a simple meal to one of my BFFs who had 2 sick babies AND she, herself, was sick. We’re talking rotisserie chicken, frozen sweet potato fries and a bag of organic microwaveable broccoli kind of meal. It wasn’t much, but she had been so busy wiping noses that she had not made it to the store for food in days, so to her, it was practically manna from heaven. You could also Ding-Dong-Ditch a basket containing a new DVD, some popsicles, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, tissues, etc. to bring a much-needed spot of hope to a friend with sick kids.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Snuggle Time

We know the Happy Buddy is getting sick when his normally strong-willed, busy self becomes a little sweeter, a bit less active, and a lot more attached. I get the chance to actually hold my “baby” for longer than a millisecond and bring him the kind of comfort only I, as his mama, can bring. Isn’t it funny how, for many of us, we want our mommies when we get sick? Even though I know the Happy Hubby loves me so much and would do almost anything for me, he will not stand at the toilet holding my hair back and stroking my head gently while I puke like my mom used to do. Instead, if he hears me hurling, he will toss a hair tie into the bathroom before fleeing the scene like an escaped prisoner! So, cherish those extra sick hugs, sweet mommies. Try not to rush off too quickly to get back to Clorox-ing absolutely everything in the house because when he’s away at college and catches the flu, you’re going to be the one he speed dials at 2 am simply because he wants to hear your voice.

“The person who rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One, I will say about the Lord, “He is my place of safety… I trust in Him…” Psalm 91:1-2

Share Jesus with the Doctor’s Office

The Happy Baby had the stomach flu last month and it got really bad on a Saturday (of course). Fortunately our doctor’s office is open on the weekend, but unfortunately everyone else in the county had also come down with the stomach flu. We ended up having to wait for almost 2 hours! The people around us were cranky and complaining and putting pressure on the nurses to speed things up. These are perfect opportunities to be the LIGHT in the room, my friends. Extend grace and kindness and patience to the hard working men and women behind the counter. If you can, think in advance and bring them a little treat. We once brought Hershey’s Kisses to all the nurses (wrapped in 3 germ-free layers of plastic wrap and Ziploc bag). It got our minds off our physical problems and gave us a chance to have a little fun and also be a blessing.

“A joyful heart is good medicine …” Proverbs 17:22

Step Up the Prayers

When things are easy, we can easily fall into the trap of not recognizing our need for God and therefore not spend as much time in His presence. When my kids are sick, though, I find myself pressing in deeper, memorizing Scripture verses, reading the Word, and praying A LOT. I’ll hold my babies and whisper words of comfort in their ears. Prayers for healing.  Prayers that speak of the unchanging attributes of our Lord.  Prayers offering the hope of a place where we will be one day that does not have the Chicken Pox or Rotavirus. And as I practice this, I realize that it ends up being more for me than for my children because I am drawn closer to my Savior. I am reminded of His goodness, the greater purpose, the taste of His strength (as opposed to my own), and His presence in the midst of darkness.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Another Opportunity to Surrender

Does anyone else struggle to remember on a daily basis that our kids are not our own? They belong to God. Period. So when they get sick we cannot react by tightening our grip and stressing out. Sickness is beyond our control. Instead, it is a chance to hold our babies out before the Lord – like Abraham did with Isaac, like Moses’ mom did before she put him in the basket, like Hannah did when she brought freshly weaned Samuel to the temple, like Mary did with Jesus – and receive His peace for their future and for ours.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

Your Child Gets to See What a Servant Looks Like

Mommies, our homes are places where our children get to experience Jesus, firsthand. There is no better time to share the tender and unfailing and perfect example of Christ then when you have a little one in need. I used to walk around all tangled up in a ball of anxiety and frustration when my kids got sick. I was tense and fearful and in a hurry to see them get better. I’d grumble and complain about everything that got barf or poo on it and I’d fuss about having to miss church or work or the ruining of a “fun” family vacation. And God forbid one child get the other child sick too!

After the 157th illness, however, I feel like I am finally learning to let go. I am finally learning what it means to truly serve – as Jesus did. Instead of staring at them with a giant burden in my spirit, I am starting to joyfully ask my sick babies, “What can I do for you?” and “Is there anything you need, my darling?” because I believe this is what our Savior humbly modeled for us. He knelt on hands and knees to wash the dirty, nasty feet of his beloved friends. He laid gentle hands on ill children. He had compassion on the great crowds and healed their sick.

But more important, He died on the cross to cure the most awful, wide-spread, debilitating sickness of all …

Our sin.

So, the next time you hear that first sniffle or get the middle of the night vomit-covered-bedroom call, we, as moms, can find purpose, joy, and strength in our hands and knees scrubbing of snot and yak, knowing that, in a way, He did it too.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed…” Isaiah 53:5

Find the right pediatrician for your little one or shop cool baby gear.

Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor

Image courtesy of Julie Brasington.

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