Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

Here are a couple simple activities for mom and baby to have fun while connecting with each other.

scarvesHankie/Ribbon Wave
Materials: Brightly colored scarves or ribbons
Hold the scarf about twelve inches over baby’s head. Bring the fabric closer to baby, then lift it farther away, and bring it down again. Watching the cloth wave back and forth will boost baby’s ability to visually track and focus on objects.

Rock, Sway, Dance
Materials: Parents’ arms
Hold baby securely against the chest, dance slowly and smoothly around the room (to any kind of music). The movements replicate the movements of the womb while stimulating a sense of balance.

Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.

10. Birth ball/yoga ball: Not only are yoga balls great for pregnancy (and labor), but they are a wonderful new mom tool. Babies love gentle bouncing, and the yoga ball allows for a much more comfortable and rhythmic bounce.

Rag and Bone 12 Wishes for baby9. Baby’s calendar or journal: A great way to capture the milestones and special moments of baby’s first year. . . . and a forever keepsake for the family.

8. Miracle blanket or swaddle blanket: Most newborns love to be swaddled, and there are many benefits of swaddling.  These blankets make swaddling  easy and convenient.

7. Books providing information on postpartum issues and challenges for the new mom. Some new mom must-reads are:

-Mothering the New Mother: Women’s Feelings and Needs after Childbirth: A Support and Resource Guide by Sally Placksin

-How to Make a New Mother Happy: A Doctor’s Guide to Solving Her Most Common Problems—Quickly and Effectively by Uzzi and Yfat Reiss

- The New Mom’s Companion: Care for Yourself While You Care for Your Newborn by Debra Rosenberg

6.Wrap/sling: Babies love to be held, and wraps/slings allow a new mom to "wear" her baby while keeping her hands free.

5. Gift basket including a variety of postpartum essentials:  lanolin cream for sore nipples, witch hazel and tucks medicated pads for healing the perineum, large maxi pads, and other soothing treats such as teas or a relaxation CD.

4. Gift certificate: For a house-cleaning service for the first month (or two or three) of the baby’s life.

3. Gift certificates: From restaurants that will deliver meals to the new mom’s home.

2. Gift certificate for a postpartum doula who can provide in-home help after the birth of the baby. A postpartum doula can help with everything from breastfeeding support to light cleaning and cooking to baby care and more. Check out the Doulas of Rhode Island website for a list of local doulas.

1.  Gift certificate for a new moms group: New moms groups are invaluable in that they provide a supportive environment where women can get information and support and make connections with other women experiencing the same highs and lows of new motherhood.  Contact RI New Moms Connection for more information or to purchase a gift certificate.

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms,” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.

The first few months of a baby's life can be quite overwhelming for new parents (and even experienced parents). When supportive friends and family members offer to help, say yes! If no one offers to help, make a point to ask for what you need. Not sure where to tell them to start?

Here are some ways a friend or family member can lend a hand in those early weeks and months:

It's important for helpers to do just that--help--not to make extra work for the new parents.

Here are some reminders for helpers:

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms,” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.

Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.

By Maura Keating

Last year, I wrote about my love for the Bumbleride Indie. I might have even raved a little. One year later, I STILL love my Indie, but in case you didn’t guess already . . . we have another on the way and we are starting to see double. Thank goodness, Bumbleride is one step ahead of us with the Bumbleride Indie Twin.

bumblerideindietwinspice1I was a little wary of taking out a side-by-side double stroller. They seem huge and, well, they kind of are. There’s no getting around the fact that you are transporting two, but through some sort of magic or sleight of hand, at twenty-nine inches wide, the Indie Twin slides through most doorways. And the Bumbleride Indie Twin is easy to push (something my aching back truly appreciates), and unlike many double strollers, even tandems, the Indie Twin turns and maneuvers very smoothly. Like its single cousin, the Indie Twin could become my stroller of choice for cruising our Providence neighborhood. With its air-inflated tires, Bumbleride makes it easy to navigate curbs, potholes, grass--even sand. The Twin features two front swiveling tires that can be locked for brisk walks. A jogging wrist strap is also included.

My son loves the Twin as much as he loves the single Indie. Bumbleride has transferred all of the best features of the Indie and made them independent so that each child has a customized ride. The Twin’s backrests adjust separately and can fold flat–making the Twin usable from infancy on up. Baby can sleep while your Toddler sits upright. The five-point safety harness is easy to use and easy to adjust single-handedly. Coordinated cute shoulder pads and a headrest for Baby provide a comfy fit. Each seat also has its own canopy. The canopies are large and offer great protection from the sun and the elements. The rear panel zippers off to extend the canopy forward or to increase air flow on hot days. Each footrest is adjustable from flat to vertical.

You can attach an infant car seat to the Twin using the included Infant Carrier Adapter Bar. (A list of compatible car seats is available on the Bumbleride website.) The car seat adapter is not perfect. We tested it with a Graco Snugride Infant Seat and our friend tested it with a Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Infant Seat. Although both seats are compatible, the adapter bar never felt truly stable with either seat. Our friend comments, “I never felt that the car seat was securely attached. It would have felt better if there was some kind of click/lock mechanism vs. the universal bar/strap attachment.” The car seat adapter is a bit of a disappointment, but not a deal breaker for me. I use strollers mostly in the neighborhood for walks around town. My kids have never been content to stay in their car seats for errands.

(more…)

Home Work: Lessons from Work-at-Home Parents. This series of Kidoinfo interviews with parents looks at how they manage to squeeze in work time at home (working for someone else or running their own business) while juggling kids, home life, and childcare (or lack thereof).

Chicks n Chickens ownersToday I talked with two moms, Darcy Novo Albrecht (left)  and Jennifer Ashdown (right), of Chicks-n-chickens. Their combined creative passions, business savvy, and the realities of parenthood were the seeds of inspiration that launched their business. Lullaby Exercises is a DVD that starts with high-energy "groove" and then slows down as your baby slips into slumberland, a great way to stay in shape and have mom time while baby sleeps. Today they share what it's like to balance work, family, and working together.

Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?

Darcy: After my first son, Reed, was born, I knew a different "career path" had to be taken. When I created Lullaby Exercises, "the light came on." Yes . . . this is it! I can do this, I believe in this, and this could be really fun.

Jennifer: Darcy approached me with her idea back in September of 2007. Her original request was that I join the cast of the DVD, but I kept generating ideas for Chicks-n-chickens and haven't been able to stop.

How did you start your business?

Darcy: I jumped. I think when you're ready to start a business, you just gotta jump. And then keep jumping!

Jennifer: I have always had an entrepenuerial spirit. In my twenties I had my own jewelry business called Pretty Fab, which has recently been reinvented as Pretty Fab Collection.

How do you balance work and family?
(more…)

mom-and-babyAs new moms we often wonder if we are doing enough to help our baby’s development (among many other mommy worries). There are a number of things we can do to support our newborn’s healthy development, and the good news is that it is not rocket science . . . it includes things we do every day!

What’s going on with your baby: During the first two months of your baby’s life, he or she is learning to regulate his or her eating and sleeping patterns and emotions.

What you can do: Soothe your baby. When you respond to your baby’s cries and meet his or her needs, you show your love and are helping your baby to learn the skills necessary to eventually soothe him- or herself.

What’s going on with your baby: Newborns use their body movements, sounds, and facial expressions to communicate their feelings and needs.

What you can do: Observe carefully and figure out what your baby is trying to tell you and respond accordingly. Even if you are unable to get your baby to stop crying, the mere act of responding makes your baby feel important. Also, talk and sing to your baby often and pay attention to the sights and sounds he or she likes.

What’s going on with your baby: Even newborn babies can play. Play helps babies learn about the world around them and to connect with you.

What you can do: Play tracking games by moving your hand and objects back and forth across baby’s field of vision. Watch your baby follow first with his or her eyes and then start to move his or her head from side to side.

Sources:  American Academy of Pediatrics and ZERO TO THREE–the nation’s leading resource on the first three years of life.

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms,” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.

Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.

Photo Credit: www.kharberphoto.com

parents-logoIsn't it wonderful when you find FREE activities and community resources that want to support you? The Parents as Teachers (PAT) program is just that – a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten. They offer home visits by trained parent educators, parent group meetings, developmental screenings, and a resource network. PAT provides support and information which can help you parent your child with a more loving and informed approach. Programs vary within each community, but you may be eligible for a free music, gym, or baby massage class; or you may choose to build a relationship with one of their experienced parent educators. To find a program near you and learn more, access the Find a Program section on the website or contact the National Center at 1-866-PAT4YOU (1-866-728-4968) or info@ParentsAsTeachers.org.

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.

Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.

baby fingers and momWhen my brother and I were young, my mother did a fabulous job of writing everything down (and I mean everything...bless her) in our baby books. With a little help from modern technology, there are a number of different methods for documenting your baby's early milestones. Here are just a few:

- Start a blog–Many Internet-savvy moms find blogging the easiest way to journal these days...and to share the special moments of their baby's life with faraway family and friends. Check out www.blogger.com.
- Internet picture sharing–Now that we are in the digital age, we can easily share our photos over the Internet (and all sites can be password protected). We can share, store, and print our photos with the click of a button!
- Create a photo book–Photo sharing websites such as kodakgallery.com and shutterfly.com allow you to create your own photo album (as well as lots of other paraphernalia with your personal pictures on it). Why not create an album for each year of your child's life?
- Hire a professional photographer–There's nothing like professional photos of your precious little one to have as a keepsake forever. Photographers are skilled at capturing the special moments as well as the wrinkles and folds of your baby which will disappear in the blink of an eye.
- Capture your baby's prints in pottery–Create a permanent and artful record of your baby's hand- and/or footprints. You can do it at home with a kit or hire a professional (check out places such as Salt Marsh Pottery)

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.

Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.

Photo Credit: www.kharberphoto.com

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