Posts Tagged ‘ Pregnancy ’

American Baby’s Babymoon Special: visit the La Quinta Inn & Suites Wellness Hotel in Trinidad, CO

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the ninth in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONLa Quinta Inn & Suites Wellness Hotel, Trinidad, Colorado

Located midway between Denver and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this pet-friendly hotel makes a perfect home base for picturesque drives, scenic walks, and visits to local museums.

BOOK IT! From $99; you can check your travel dates online at

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! Ask for the Yes Baby! package created for AB readers. From $265, it includes a bottle of sparkling cider, a platter of chocolates and fresh fruit, breakfast for two in your two-room suite, an organic facial, and a classic teddy bear basket of newborn goodies for your baby-to-be (about a $400 value). Other restrictions may apply; call 719-845-0102 for full details.

To celebrate your soon-to-be mommy status, have fun making this Mother’s Day bangle bracelet!

Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets


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“Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue” Examines Parents’ Views on Gender

Monday, April 28th, 2014

 If you’re expecting a little one anytime soon, you may be longing for the day you’ll be able to answer that pressing question: “Is it a boy or a girl?” But how significant is your baby’s gender, anyway? According to Christia Spears Brown, PhD,  author of the newly-released Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue, whether you’re having a little Ethan or a little Emma shouldn’t influence much. And it’s not about being gender neutral, she says. “It’s making gender irrelevant to how I raise my child.” Read on to hear what Brown has to say about many of the gender-related issues she explores in her book.

Gender isn’t just relevant to parents of older kids. As you write, “One of the very first questions a parent-to-be is asked is ‘What are you having?’” What do you hope parents of babies will take away from your book?

“I think this book is best targeted to parents of babies. I want parents to recognize that gender, for the life of their child, won’t predict very much about what their child acts like or thinks like or is able to do. Parents have to think, ‘How can I foster the traits, skills and abilities of my child in which gender is just irrelevant?’

We want our kids to grow up to be nurturing and empathetic, for example. All toys teach kids something. What toys foster nurturing and empathy? Baby dolls, for example. All babies should have baby dolls and things that they can practice caretaking for. We know that boys and girls both like baby dolls until they’re about 2 years old. There’s not a gender difference in that.”

Can you explain the consequences of categorizing children by gender? 

Every time we say, ‘What a smart girl you are,’ ‘What a good boy’—that teaches kids from a very early age that gender is the most important thing about them. Kids think, ‘If this is so important, I better figure out what a good girl or a good boy is supposed to do,’ so then kids create the stereotypes for themselves. The other part is for parents to recognize that our language matters. The times that we label gender, the ways that we constantly color-code, all that does matter—even if we are trying our best to be really egalitarian and to foster gender fairness, those really subtle messages tell kids these are the things that you need to pay attention to. That starts right from the beginning. It’s impossible to avoid pink and blue worlds. But to reduce it as much as possible—and it’s not about being anti-pink, there’s this big anti-pink movement, it seems—it’s more teaching kids that you don’t need to be categorized by gender.”

 You note that your daughters’ relatives often gift stereotypical presents that they assume young girls would enjoy. How should parents address instances such as these in which others’ views on gender don’t align with their own?

“I think there’s ways to do it that are respectful. I very subtly correct the stereotypes that I hear them say. I do correct it with my kids in private, I’ll just typically say, ‘They kind of forget that boys and girls don’t really differ this way,’ or, I sometimes say, also for older folks, ‘Back when she was young, girls didn’t roughhouse as much as they do now, but now we know that girls roughhouse just as much as boys do.’ I do make sure that I don’t let that stuff go uncommented on, but I also want to be really respectful of the people in our lives. When it comes to the toys that well-meaning relatives give, if I find them really stereotypical, I donate them. I try to walk that fine line of being respectful and recognizing that people of a different time have different attitudes about gender than I do, and it’s not really my job to change them. I try to in subtle ways, but my job is to really just help my kids navigate the stereotypes they encounter. I want them to have a stereotype language, to be able to recognize stereotypes when they hear them. I can’t protect them from all the stereotypes they’re going to encounter, but I can give them tools to recognize them.”

Are your kids ever upset when they receive a toy that you’d prefer to give away?

“I explain why I don’t like it. You know, ‘These clothes really aren’t appropriate for a kid to play with. Let’s give this to someone else, because I just don’t think this is the best toy for us to have in our house.’ They seem to be ok with it. The reality is, kids have plenty of toys. They have plenty of other things; this one toy isn’t going to make or break the birthday or Christmas.”

How do you work to address stereotypes with your kids? 

“My 3-year-old had a big princess movement for awhile, which I’m not real fond of. I didn’t want to just ban princesses, because I felt like that wasn’t quite fair, so I was asking her, ‘Well, why do you like princesses so much?,’ and she said it’s because they wear sparkly, pretty outfits. I had to reflect on my own attitudes about it and I thought, well, really what I don’t like about princesses is that they’re passive and they wait for the boy to come and save them. I don’t mind the sparkly, pretty outfit. There’s nothing wrong with that. So I suggested, well, what if we don’t keep the princesses but get other dolls that are also sparkly and wearing nice outfits. Wonder Woman came to mind. She has a tiara, she has a very sparkly belt, very sparkly bracelets, but yet she has lots of powers, and she’s very strong, she comes and saves the day.” 

So what do you think of Frozen?

“I think the princesses are fine in it. What’s frustrating as the parent of a daughter is it’s really hard to find movies that feature girls in which finding love is not a primary theme. Typically the movies are either about finding love or about pushing against finding love. Brave was a movie, which, again, I liked, but it’s about how she doesn’t want to find a boyfriend. In Frozen, there’s that boyfriend, true love theme. It ends up where the true love is the sister, which is a great take-home message. I would love a movie where a girl goes on an adventure and there’s nothing love-related, because boys get those movies where boys just go do interesting things. My philosophy is talk to them about it. We went to see Frozen, and I talked to [my then 9-year-old] and I said, ‘I really wish there were movies about girls where it wasn’t always about boys and who they were in love with. I think you do lots of cool stuff, and I think a movie about girls doing lots of cool stuff would be great to go see.’ Research shows that the best way to help kids battle stereotypes is to recognize them. Knowledge is power, when you recognize them, you can fight them, which I find is much better than just trying to censor and edit out the world.”

How can parents impart these beliefs on their children without going to the extreme of raising a child as a gender neutral being?

“From the moment they’re born, focus on their individual strengths. Keep your focus on ‘what’s my individual kid like’—it’s not about making a political point, it’s not about trying to make them gender neutral—it’s what are my individual child’s strengths, and how can I foster those without consideration of gender. Within that, you’ll have natural variation. Some girls are going to be more feminine and caretaking and passive and verbal, whereas some girls aren’t. Within each of your kids, there’s going to be natural variation, so if you happen to have a very passive, somewhat sensitive girl, that’s just who she is, and that should be fostered and valued. But recognize that not all girls are going to be that way. Some girls are much more rough-and-tumble and don’t like to sit still. There’s nothing inherently wrong with feminine toys or male toys. It’s figuring out which is the best for my kid and what are they interested in. That’s tricky for parents of babies, because babies come out not being able to tell you what they’re interested in. For babies, try to provide both. Have trucks and cars and blocks and dolls and stuffed animals so that kids can naturally gravitate toward whatever they’re specifically interested in.”

You write that “mothers talk more, interact more, and are more sensitive to the smiles of girl babies than boy babies. Baby boys are handled more roughly than baby girls” and these biases carry over as kids get older in terms of how parents respond to their children’s emotions. How can parents work not fall into these traps?  

“Again, it’s that idea of knowledge is power. There are very few actual differences between boys and girls from birth. There are no differences in how they express emotion. There are no differences in their temperament beyond some kind of impulse control. There are very few differences in terms of activity level. There are no differences in terms of how much they like to look at people and how social they are. Part of it is knowing what the facts are and then being able to check your own preconceived notions. No parent tries to raise a stereotypical child. The goal for parents is really just check their own preconceived ideas. When you think, ‘Oh, I’m having a boy,’ what do you think that means? Well the reality is, it shouldn’t really mean anything. It should be irrelevant, because knowing that they’re a boy shouldn’t predict anything about their behavior or interests or preferences. But if you assume that that’s going to predict what your child will be like, then clearly you have some assumptions. Research shows us that those aren’t accurate assumptions, because there aren’t reliable differences between boys and girls. You’ve got to own what your own assumptions are and do your best to keep them in check. That’s tough for all of us; I have to do the same thing. When we live in this culture, we’ve all been influenced by stereotypes, and we all endorse them, at least implicitly. The only way we know from research to reduce our own stereotypes is to be aware of them.”

How do genetics determine your baby’s gender? Watch below to learn about this amazing process.

What career is your child destined for? Find out.

Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender
Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender
Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender


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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: The Buccaneer in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the eighth in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONThe Buccaneer, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

This legendary romantic island getaway, featured on ABC’s The Bachelor, is one of the longest-running resorts in the Caribbean. Couples can stroll the grounds set against three beaches or relax at one of the hotel’s two pools. The family-owned resort encourages guests to be active with a golf course, tennis courts, and guided walks.

BOOK IT! From $271; you can check your travel dates online at

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! Our new five-night American Baby package includes your deluxe oceanview room, daily breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 55-minute spa service for each of you, a sunset sail, beach picnic basket, romantic dock dinner and more for $2,381 (about a $3,381 value). Other restrictions may apply; call 800-255-3881.

Want to wind down before your trip? Throw a spa-themed baby shower with these tips.

Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2
Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2
Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach in Clearwater Beach, FL

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the seventh in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONHyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Beach, Florida

Between the Intercoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, this pink-hued resort with spa, rooftop pool, and three restaurants stands tall on a spacious beach — an idyllic locale for spectacular sunsets. Looking for a fun day trip? St. Pete’s Beach is a little over 30 minutes south and features a sweet zoo where you can feed rhinos and giraffes. Plus the entire area is famous for fresh seafood, cool museums and miles of sandy shoreline.

BOOK IT! From $259; you can check your travel dates online at

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! With the BABY14 package, enjoy a welcome amenity of sparkling cider and chocolates; full daily breakfast for two; guaranteed late checkout at 1 p.m.; and valet parking (resort fee included). Other restrictions, as well as specific book-by-and-stay-by dates, may apply; call 800-233-1234 for full details.

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: Congress Hall in Cape May, NJ

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the sixth in a weekly series of travel deals we’re offering our fans. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATION: Congress Hall, Cape May, New Jersey

This grand landmark hotel, open since 1816, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in a town famous for its stunning Victorian homes.

BOOK IT! From $158; you can check your travel dates online at

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! Book the Over the Moon, Baby! package (use Babymoon2014 as the code) by May 21 for a stay before June 30, from $255 a night on weekdays to $350 a night on weekends. You’ll get a 50-minute prenatal massage, a T-shirt for you and a bodysuit for Baby-to-be, an in-room movie, extra pillows, stash of gossip magazines, mocktails for two, free valet parking, plus a $25 “craving credit” (about a $500 value). Other restrictions may apply; call 888-944-1816 for full details. Pay special attention to these blackout dates you can’t book: April 18, 19, 25, 26 as well as May 23, 24, and 25. Have fun!

And once he’s born, use these tips to give Baby his own special massage!

How to Massage Your Baby
How to Massage Your Baby
How to Massage Your Baby


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Middle of the Night Pregnancy Rant

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our May issue features a quote from Deanna Smith at Everything and Nothing from Essex. Read her full blog post below. 

There’s something about the end of a pregnancy that turns every minute into an hour. Every hour into two. And every day into a continuous stretch of unending hours.

Yes, we all know those women who gracefully glide to that last day of pregnancy at 42 weeks and bemoan the fact that they will soon no longer be pregnant. They rub the large belly and proclaim every second of this miracle to be among the best moments of their lives. They are sad to deliver. Sad to give up this experience. Rainbow, unicorns, and glittery mucus plug and all. I try very hard not to hate these people. Because I know a lot of them personally- and they are wonderful people. I like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren’t lying through swollen teeth…(the last body part to give into to the pregnancy swell FYI…OK I made that up.)

They used to say that once you reached 37 weeks you were home free. YAY full term! Now they’re saying that 37 weeks this is EARLY term, and you shouldn’t try to will out the interloper from your body-held-hostage until at least 39 weeks. I can only assume that this research was done by a man.

For me there’s always a point of crossing over from sane this-isn’t-so-bad-I’m-still-a-semi-sweet pregnant person and evil, insane, my-husband-goes-into-labor-hating-me pregnant person somewhere between that magical 37 week full term moment and 39 OK-to-deliver moment.

It’s not that I’m so happy to go through the labor experience again. No. No, no, no. In fact, as I remember explicit details from previous labors, I pull a Rachel from Friends as I say “I don’t want to do this. How do I get out of it?” as I hold my fully grown belly in front of me and vow that if my husband doesn’t stay awake for the entirety of labor this time — body parts WILL be cut off.

My body begins to perform unspeakable acts weeks before the actual GO time. But they are exactly that –“unspeakable”. When I see others posting in extreme detail about their mucus plug and discharge and bowel movements to signal that labor might possibly be coming I completely judge them for the grossness of their over sharing…while my head is in the sink discharging the vomit that occurs every time I see or hear the phrase “mucus plug”. Seriously. That phrase should be illegal. Mucus plug  mucus plug mucus plug. Oh wait — my tongue just fell off.

I think about everyone knowing what I will be doing soon — exactly what I will be doing as my body swells to maximum capacity as the tape worm inside of me sucks up every last bit of my will to live. All of that delightful nutriance goes straight to the little sucker’s head, of course. Being an immensely private person, I hate that everyone knows. No matter how tightly I cling — there is no dignity in this all.

Having done this twice before (exactly on 39 weeks both times), I know that the loss of dignity and complete insanity is worth it. Definitely worth it. But part of the “insanity” bit is that my mind is refusing to wrap itself around that fact right now. REFUSING.

I don’t understand why I can’t just blink and get to the happily ever after part where I am holding this new little person who has come to bless our lives. Because I am soooo thankful and appreciative of that part of this all.

Someone asked on Facebook the other day that I should let them know if I needed anything! I barely restrained myself from replying that I really needed a hip replacement — could they oblige? Because of course my sciatica had to give out like yesterday and make walking a near impossibility. This does not go over well when my main occupation is chasing toddlers. They seize the opportunity and run that much faster — taunting me with their mobility and the fact that I turned into a 95 year old overnight.

I type this as I sit on a bag of frozen peas in a darkened house. I am supposed to be sleeping. There is near magical silence coming from the tots’ rooms, and my tired body needs rest. And yet the aches and pains and the fact that I can’t just sleep on my flippin’ back for the umpteen month in the row is doing me in. Seriously. Just. Want. To. Sleep. On. My. Back.

I try to remember how this all went down the last few times. With my first pregnancy I jumped at every cramp and twinge. THIS WAS IT! It wasn’t. With my second pregnancy I was so much wiser. But eager for the big day — I still jumped at every cramp and twinge. THIS IS IT! This third pregnancy, I was awake most of the night last night with horrible cramps and twinges. This is NOT it — I reminded myself. No doubt I won’t feel comfortable going in this time until this baby is crowning on my living room floor. (Note to self: vacuum the living room tomorrow. No one wants to give birth on a bed of crushed Cheerios.)

They say my body is made for this. You know what else my body is made for? Sleeping through the night (or at least while your children are sleeping). Running after the children I already have. Finishing making dinner without having to drag a leg alongside me as I scuttle from counter to counter. Getting off this bag of frozen peas without having to scream my husband’s name for assistance in pulling me up. (Did I say scream? Eh…why lie?)

So to sum up, I LOVE being pregnant and every second has been the most wonderful experience of my life! I will be so sad to finally deliver and give up my baby bump! What do you mean…mixed messages?

I am 38 weeks pregnant. I could have the baby today. I could have the baby in 4ish weeks (heads will roll). My husband says I need to wait at least another week so he can finish up his landscaping season. Suspiciously, this lines up with the 39 week mark also advised by that suspected male promoting torturous living by suggesting that 37 weeks is no longer “full term”.

I just want to meet my baby. Also — I want my body back. Selfish? You bet. But reaching a magical breaking point from happily pregnant to completely insane and cranky has made “selfish” seem like a nice, sweet word. The new bad word around town? “Patience.” Worst word ever.

When I grow up, I’m not going to get pregnant — ever. I hear those last few weeks are brutal. And I am a wimp. In junior high I had a pet rock. That worked out pretty well for me. Hindsight is 20/20.

If one more person tells me to “Hang in there sweetie” with a smile full of pity, an all-knowing raised eyebrow, and well-rested eyes that clearly slept excellently the night before — I WILL throw my pet rock at them. Not cool, world. Not cool.

Pregnant? Record your pregnancy milestones and shop maternity clothes

Birth Stories:
Birth Stories:
Birth Stories: "I Was Sent Home Three Times"

Image via Shutterstock.

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the second in a weekly series of travel deals we’re offering our fans. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them. 

THE DESTINATIONThe Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island, South Carolina (just south of Charleston)

The Sanctuary Hotel occupies miles of wide, pristine beach lined with Carolina dunes. The resort, designed to look like a big Southern mansion, houses four restaurants, offers an Olympic-size pool, and boasts a famous golf course, plus plenty of trails for long, peaceful walks. This is a splurge destination for a couple ready to take a babymoon to remember.

BOOK IT: Rates are generally about $495 a night; check your dates online or call 800-576-1570.

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! They offer a two-night BLISS BEFORE THE BABY PACKAGE babymoon special; it includes a gardenview room; daily breakfast for two; one 60-minute prenatal massage for mom; one 60-minute classic massage for dad; one dinner for two at the Jasmine Porch restaurant; and a rose-petal turndown one night. The total cost of the package for a couple comes to $1,808 for the two nights, available April to August. Restrictions apply. Call 800-576-1570 for full details. Have fun! 

P.S. The second trimester is the best time to take a babymoon. Anyone who tries to tell you that you shouldn’t travel during pregnancy is spreading yet another pregnancy myth! Watch our video for more myths…and a crazy fact!

Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?
Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?
Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?

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A Little Love to Destination Maternity; the Mothership Turns 8!

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Happy 8th birthday to Destination Maternity’s flagship store, in New York City. It’s the largest maternity apparel store in the world, and incidentally, a great resource for us at American Baby and Parents since our offices are not many blocks away! 

Destination Maternity houses both Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod under one roof. Motherhood, the less pricey of the two, is the only maternity source to win a place in our coveted American Baby Bests Award stories. (The poll for Best Maternity Clothes for 2014 doesn’t go up until April, but please vote for your favorite baby gear in the meantime! And enter to win $300!)

Destination Maternity operates hundreds of stores, so we’re betting there’s one near you, and there’s always the online site. Five top reasons to check in with them during your pregnancy:

1. Their sales associates are experts in all things maternity and nursing. That’s why I brought my sis-in-law to the store a year ago. She spelled out her very specific needs (conservative work dresses for a petite, curvy gal) and an employee became our personal shopper. PS It helped that we went first-thing on a weekday; that’s when you get the place more or less to yourself!

2. Preggos are nuts for the line’s Secret Fit Belly jeans. Even my sis-in-law, who went in saying she wasn’t going to bother with pants. She tried them on, and you could see the “ah-ha!” moment in her eyes. We’ve seen the same thing with models at American Baby photo shoots: Women who are trying to wear their old pants, unbuttoned, put on the Secret-Fit ones, and it’s like they’ve been liberated.

3. We know plenty of women need a special-occasion dress during their pregnancy–a baby-shower outfit if nothing else. There are a ton of dresses from Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod. Listen, I know there are also maternity-rental sites where you can “borrow” dressy clothes. But I still remember my pregnancies too clearly to totally get on board with renting. I was sweaty, I was clumsy, my sizing was weird…I needed to own my clothes, even the dressy ones. And for heaven’s sake, there are plenty of Motherhood dresses in the $40 range!

4.  Like some other big chains we know and love, they have designer collaborations that now include Jessica Simpson Maternity and The Honest Company  and, coming soon in March, L by Jennifer Love Hewitt. A Pea in the Pod also carries a bunch of designer brands including 7 for all Mankind, Rebecca Taylor, and Nanette Lepore.

5. Select locations have an Edamame Maternity Spa. And I can promise from personal experience that you don’t have to be pregnant to take advantage of the menu of services. So take your not-pregnancy friend with you!

And while we’re on the subject of looking and feeling great during pregnancy, get the lowdown on dying your hair and polishing your nails while you’re expecting by watching this!

Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

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