Stages
Infant
Gina Matter was a kid when she fell in love with the story of Harry Potter. She discovered the books by J.K. Rowling when she was a struggling reader. Her mother started reading the stories aloud to her before bed.“The series captivated me so much, I began to pick up the books and continue on without her,” Matter said.Today Matter — who lives in Maple Grove with her husband, Reed — is passing that love onto her daughter, Octavia, with an immersive nursery decorated with all things Hogwarts... more
Looking down at my newborn boy, whose slow, rhythmic sucking matched the metronome of my heartbeat, I felt tears forming at the corner of my eye. But these weren’t tears of joy; they were tears of pain. My neck, my back, my shoulders — everything — felt stiff, sore and tense. As much as I wanted to relax, I simply couldn’t. Instead of... more
This new stacking toy features six gear shapes that spin — rather than slide straight down — a spiral pole.SpinAgain, geared toward ages 1 and older, earned a Parents’ Choice Awards Foundation nod in 2016. We like that it includes a reversible base that can be flat for stability or rounded for a more wobbly challenge; plus it has a removable... more
Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! Whether you’re giving birth or adopting, your life is going to change in a major way with the arrival of that little bundle of magic and tears. Yes, that’s what everyone says; and, yes, it’s a totally boring thing to say. And you won’t understand the profundity of that change until there... more
The best word to describe our adjustment to life with three kids -- all of whom are under age 4 -- is juggle. It's been a juggle. An ongoing education in accepting the good-enough. It's OK if the girls go to bed one night without brushing their teeth. In fact, one night after Archie was born, we didn't even bother with pajamas. They... more
Here I am, 37 weeks pregnant, asking BabyNameWizard.com to generate sister names for Maria and Jane, my two daughters. Three come up on the lists for both girls: Elizabeth, Anna and Sarah. For a moment, I feel something loosen in me, a surrender: OK, we’ll just use one of these. We’ll let the experts decide for us. Only yesterday a... more
Q: Can teething cause diarrhea or fever?  A: There are many misconceptions about symptoms associated with teething. Research has shown that low-grade fevers can be seen with teething. However, any temperature of 101 or higher very likely isn’t due to teething, but rather some sort of infection. Looser stools can... more
This teething ring — made from untreated Indian hardwood and finished with vegetable seed wax — features the added bonus of bunny-esque ears made of organic cotton.If you’re feeling overwhelmed by plastic, check out these “teething ears” (available in many prints and colors) — along with rest of the amazing-looking Finn & Emma collection.... more
It's a BOY! The refrain keeps ringing in my mind. After having two girls, these three words are so new and thrilling. When my husband announced them, they brought tears to my eyes, and I reached forward and pulled a beautiful baby to my chest. The dream of Archibald Kenneth has been in our hearts for many years. We've always hoped... more
Whenever I learn that one of my friends is going to have a baby, I promptly begin to panic on her behalf. “Congratulations!” I yelp, hoping my frozen smile will mask my palpable anxiety. I realize how crappy this is. For one thing, I’m taking someone else’s big life event and making it all about me. Furthermore, can’t I just stop... more
I am still pregnant. This past week has felt like an eternity.When I typed today's date at the top of this article, I wrote Feb. 27, 2018. That's how it feels. I've been nesting up a storm. Cleaned the refrigerator. Trimmed the girls' finger and toe nails. Had my eyebrows waxed. Purged the kitchen counters. I am... more
One More Tickle!This new Guess How Much I Love You puppet board book stole our hearts! Its built-into-the-book Nutbrown Hare is super-soft and features floppy ears and little pockets that allow parents to move his head and paws around in realistic, animated ways. “Are you ticklish?” asks Big Nutbrown Hare. “Can I tickle your ears and see?”$17.99... more
Rita Katona and Eric Hall of Minneapolis have introduced a new kind of baby food under the brand So Good Baby, now sold in handy pouches nationwide.What makes the local couple’s products special is that they’re pressure processed, rather than heat pasteurized, a practice that can sap flavor and nutritional value. So Good Baby’s organic,... more
My son started attending his in-home daycare when he was about 10 months old. The thing about in-home daycare is that there’s a certain “family” element to the whole thing. You might get to know your provider’s partner and children. You might catch glimpses of their family life when you run into them after hours at the nearby ice cream shop.... more
Squeezy bath toys are super fun! But how do you ever really get them clean?If the very thought of mold potentially growing inside your kid’s bath toys creeps you out, we suggest you check out Marcus & Marcus’ silicone squirting bath toys, which can be taken apart and easily and air dried — or even run through the dishwasher (top rack only).... more
Are you looking for some children’s music that won’t drive you crazy? Check out the latest albums from an array of children’s artists who all offer — in their own ways — silliness to attract and engage kids, but also enough wry humor and up-tempo beats to charm their parents. Puns, jokes-so-bad-they’re-good, energetic rhythms and even... more
Q: Which baby formula should we choose?A: Though the formula options available on store shelves can be dizzying — organic, iron-fortified, non-GMO, probiotic- and DHA/AHA-enhanced — the good news is, the major “brand name” formulas contain all the essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for healthy infant growth and development. ... more
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was not a banner year. I don’t want to get too specific; we were all there.Sure, it’s tempting to say something Minnesotan — “Oooooh well, that sure was something, huh? Guess it can’t get much worse than that now, can it?”But I can’t summon the energy to fake some sort of Midwestern obliviousness.... more
The first Tree of Life image I saw was in a closed Facebook group of breastfeeding mamas in the Twin Cities. Ashley Vanderwerf shared a photo she edited in a post to the group. Screenshot shared with permissionThe original post Her post was simple and beautiful:"I edited this picture of my daughter nursing. If anyone wants me to make them... more
Babies love tags! What’s up with that?Satisfy your infant’s fixation with a city-themed soft block from Rose & Rex, which includes four tag-like tabs with holes just right for babies’ fingers (plus an actual tag).Locales so far include London, New York, Brooklyn, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Sydney.All the blocks —... more
Imagine sitting at a cozy corner table, sipping on a latte and eating fresh crepes and fruit. You’re happy. You’re relaxed. You’ve got free high-speed Internet. Now imagine your kids are there with you. Hold up. The fantasy isn’t ruined! You’re still in your happy place. That’s because your kids are occupied.They’re using their... more
“My marriage is like The Walking Dead, OK? We’re all just trying to get out alive.” — Paula from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.As every new parent will come to realize, bringing home a new baby is weird.Before the baby, you can do your own thing. Tired? Head off to bed — no one’s stopping you! Want some exercise? Trot on down to the neighborhood yoga studio... more
Q: My 1-year-old isn’t walking. How can I encourage her to at least try?A: It takes incredible strength, balance, coordination and bravery to take those first steps. Babies typically start walking between age 9 months and 15 months.Babies, who learn to walk best with bare feet, often begin near-walking by “creeping” alongside furniture or walking... more
Meddy Teddy — a “100 percent yoga-poseable” bear — isn’t the first toy to encourage kids to practice yoga.But Meddy, with his serene smile and peacefully closed eyes, may be the first to also encourage meditation, a mindfulness practice parents are finding surprisingly effective in dealing with behavior problems.One Baltimore elementary school... more
If your kid can’t get enough of chewing on your car keys (ew!), you might want to strike up a friendship with Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, and Leo the Lion — a trio of chompable stainless steel “keys.” Geared toward ages 6 months and up, dishwasher-safe Kleynimals (pronounced “clean-i-mals”) aren’t cheap, but they’ll certainly last from one... more
Welcome to our annual Baby Issue! Whether you’re feeding a newborn right this very second, patting your belly in anticipation of a very important arrival or maybe even getting ready to welcome your first grandchild, this issue is for you! I expect the most-read article this month will be our sleep story, outlining five different types of... more
It's time to gather around the crèche, the menorah or the non-denominational dinner table and show Baby what the holidays are all about — spending time with family and friends, honoring our religious/social traditions and getting lots and lots of presents. “What should I get my baby for Christmas?” is a... more
I'm so happy to share our good news with you: I'm pregnant!We are expecting Baby No. 3 in late February. I just popped earlier this month. My first time wearing maternity jeans was at our trip to the RenFest. (Isn't Maria's fox dress adorable? It's from Little Rabbit Wears. I'm obsessed with all things fox and will be blogging about my... more
Q: My daughter is 2 years old and has a bit of a lisp. Does she need a speech therapist?A: Articulation concerns are common among parents. Acquisition of language sounds is expected along a continuum based on age, placement of tongue, generation of sound location and coordination. There’s also quite a range of anticipated “normal” ages for kids to... more
Since becoming a MoM (Mom of Multiples), I've been fortunate enough to join some amazing Facebook groups where moms can share photos and stories, ask questions and offer advice — all in a safe and positive environment. I read a post from a mom with newborn twins who was struggling with nursing and pumping and wondering what to do. She asked... more
Q: My baby boy has white patches on the insides of his cheeks. What is it?A: Generally, when parents notice white patches on the insides of their infants’ cheeks, it’s usually a condition known as thrush.Thrush is an excessive growth of a yeast (fungus) in the mouth and is very common among infants in the first few months of life. The white... more
Infant gear can be so ugly!Who’s this stuff for anyway? Babies?Enter modern-American designer Jonathan Adler, who recently partnered with Fisher-Price on a new line of contemporary items, including a chic little vibrating bouncer with a built-in mobile, featuring a signature high-contrast black-and-white fabric, plus walnut wood accents. $119... more
The mythology surrounding motherhood is something I could seriously do without. From the supposedly “instinctual” nature of mothering to the notion that mothers are meant to suffer with a smile, I’ve had enough. And I’d like to reassure you that you don’t need to let these ideas control your life. Motherhood myths that set my teeth... more
Q: What do you think of chiropractic care for babies? I’ve heard it can cure colic and help with many other infant problems. A: There are a variety of opinions regarding the effectiveness of chiropractic care for infants. I believe if the purpose of the care is mainly to help with soothing, muscle relaxation and using muscle groups... more
Photo by Agape Moments Photography"Above all else, keep the babies on the SAME routine; once that’s accomplished, life is that much easier! And finally, ENJOY the small moments — the cuddles, smiles and first giggles."– Karen Kartman of Lino Lakes, mother of twins Aubrey and Lyla, pictured with big brother, Colby, 4, and Dad, Paul Photo... more
You aren’t imagining things. Twins are becoming more common — and have been for decades.In 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the United States was a twin, compared with 1 in every 53 babies in 1980, according to the CDC.Put another way, that’s more than 1 million more twins who wouldn’t have existed before the increase. And that’s... more
Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight SootherThis adorable owl emits a warm glow from its belly while projecting a calming constellation of a moon and stars.Lull your little one to sleep with eight different melodies and nature sounds.skiphop.com $39.99Solly Baby WrapKeep baby cool and comfortable with this lightweight, super-soft baby... more
Most women prepare for childbirth fervently. The Birth Plan has been en vogue for over a decade now and might include — among other things — the doula’s name, preferred interventions (if any), which Grandmas are allowed on the scene (if any) and where, precisely, the partner will be positioned (ahem) as the baby is crowning. The Birth... more
Newborns and young infants are supposed to sleep all the time. Right? (Cue the eye roll.)At least that’s what many parents-to-be are led to believe. However, many new moms and dads quickly learn that the adorable adage “sleeping like a baby” is highly misleading. Newborns and infants can be loud, wiggly, finicky little snoozers.Whether... more
Q: We think our newborn could be allergic to cow’s-milk formula. What are the signs?A: Milk-protein allergy is a condition that develops in the first year of life. The most common form is an allergy specifically to the protein in cows’ milk. Symptoms — rashes, stomach upset/discomfort, vomiting and/or diarrhea — can appear within a few... more
 Minnesota’s glorious fall wedding season is here. Now what’s your little girl going to wear and how much, ugh, is it going to cost?We’re thinking the fairytale lace and embroidery dress-and-shoes combos from Primark ($9 to $18), a Dublin-based clothing retailer that appears to be charting a course for world domination, including... more
Unitech Medical — a locally based startup with offices in Plymouth — has introduced an herbal diaper cream.Unlike typical creams, it’s not thick and white, it’s actually a bit thin and light brown due its active ingredients — botanical extracts of herbs commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine such as arnebia root and amur cork-tree bark.... more
The postpartum period tends to be all about the baby and the mother — as it should be! But what about the father or co-parent? What’s that experience like? To give you one man’s point of view, I asked my husband, Nick Hook, to provide his take on the topic for this month’s column. Here’s what he had to say: Nick speaksBefore the... more
The Twin Z Pillow is the nursing pillow to try if you have multiples.It’s E-shaped and works differently than a Boppy.You put the middle part behind your back for support and then wrap the sides around your waist and click them together in front of you.Our Moe-Mama’s-Must-Haves blogger (a mother of three, including now-9-month- old twins) has... more
I was about six months pregnant with our first child when my husband and I got around to discussing where the baby was going to sleep.“Well, I suppose we could just keep the bassinet in our room,” I said as we paced our cozy, 800-square-foot one-bedroom house.But was that a forever solution? Were we on board with sharing a bedroom with our... more
Trail mix is out. And energy balls are in!And you can make them easily at home with this highly adaptable recipe, printed with permission from Maggie Brereton’s Smashed Peas and Carrots blog.Too busy? Check out the new local line of mixes, including energy balls that enhance lactation!  See the sidebar on this page for the story on those!... more
At some point, it happens to all parents. Your baby spits up all over in the crib. Or your toddler gets sick and throws up in bed. Or your recently-potty-trained preschooler has an accident while sleeping. When these things happen in the middle of the night, they're even more difficult to deal with. You need to clean up the mess as well... more
Summer in the Twin Cities is generally pretty glorious. After nine months of wool socks and Seasonal Affective Disorder, we see the sun emerge and suddenly forget the lengthy punishment we endured to get to this season of no coats.But there can be too much of a good thing, and yes, that even includes the summer sun.Whether we're motivated by a... more
When I found out I was carrying not one, but two babies, I was in shock. The funny thing about it was that I knew twins ran in my family and was trying to prepare myself for that possibility before I got pregnant with my (now 3-year-old) daughter. This time around, the possibility of twins hadn't even crossed my mind. After the news sunk in,... more
Have you ever tried to wash a rug? Inevitably, the plastic backing flakes off, not just in the washer, but all around the house.And yet, you can’t just ignore spit-up and potty-training accidents, right?Our favorite solution to this problem comes from Lorena Canals Rugs. This Barcelona-based company made its U.S. debut this year. We tested a... more
I never had such an appreciation for “the little things” in life until I had a brand-new baby in the house. In other words, when you haven’t had more than two consecutive hours of sleep in the last two months, you’ll appreciate anything that makes your life even slightly easier (dry shampoo, Bite Squad gift cards) or that takes your mind... more
The Michael and Ann Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center — a new 6,700-square-foot clinic located in The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis — opened March 14.It’s the first and largest advanced fetal care program in the Upper Midwest, made possible by a partnership involving Children’s Minnesota, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minnesota Perinatal... more
What exactly is a baby-carrying backpack?Well, it’s basically a framed hiking backpack with a built-in area — called the “cockpit” — to hold your baby or toddler.Backpack carriers are a great way for the whole family to experience adventures together — both on hiking trails in the woods as well as around town (at the zoo, farmer’s market or even... more
Q: Is there such a thing as a 4-month sleep regression? Our daughter was sleeping seven hours a night and now — at 3½ months — she gets up every three hours! A: Sleep regression at four months is challenging: Parents — whose babies begin to sleep through the night — are just finally feeling like they can get uninterrupted sleep. But... more
Acccording to our mother of three (including twins) Moe-Mama’s Must-Haves blogger, Valerie Moe, the Ingenuity ChairMate High Chair straps securely to just about any dining chair and is easily portable. (Val used it on a picnic table and on a camping chair, too.)It features upright and recline positioning, four adjustable booster heights, a... more
Q: Why does our 2-year-old insist on walking on his toes? A: When learning to walk, toddlers quickly discover that they have more control over their balance with their weight shifted slightly forward toward the balls of their feet. Then, when they lose their balance, they can more easily fall forward and use their arms and hands to break... more
OK, this isn’t my WHOLE birth story.But I can tell you this: My son’s birth included a dose of morphine and a possibly-botched epidural installment (because of curvature in my spine), which meant I felt powerful contractions to the end.Why exactly did I receive a narcotic?I believe, ultimately, it was because I was afraid — of pain, of tearing,... more
When expecting our first child, we knew we were going to need a high chair, but we didn't know which one to choose. Our kitchen is pretty small, so we definitely didn't have space for a freestanding high chair — they seemed too big to me anyway. We agreed getting a high chair that straps onto a regular chair made the most sense. When... more
Feb. 8, 2009Hi Thomas. I’m your dad, Colin. Your mom, Rachel, and I are sitting with you in the NICU. You were born Feb. 5, 2009, at 7:07 p.m. Things have been hectic the last few days. You see, we weren’t expecting you for five more weeks. Unfortunately, your mom suddenly starting having some health issues that could have endangered both of you,... more
In many ways, our notion of pain during labor comes from cultural expectation, including basically every birth depicted in scripted TV. Mothers scream and sometimes become cartoonishly violent toward their spouses. It’s high drama.But for a growing number of women, even in the U.S., childbirth is viewed as an intense, but not necessarily... more
Q: What products do you recommend for chronic diaper rash? A: Diaper care and the prevention of rashes have become much easier in many ways as diaper technology has evolved. Improved absorbency of diapers prevents persistent wetness on the skin. Changing diapers as soon as they become wet or soiled also helps prevent rashes.Much of the... more
Q: I’m pregnant. What can I do to protect myself against the Zika virus?A: Zika virus disease has become an international health concern because of the multiple countries currently affected by the virus. Mexico, Central America and the northern two-thirds of South America are countries where the virus currently is causing infections.... more
Q: Help! My baby despises her car seat and cries during every ride. A: This is a very challenging situation and a very good question. Being unhappy in a car seat can be related to a number of different causes: She may be tired and a car seat position may be one in which she can’t fall asleep. Some infants are sensitive to... more
Minnetonka author and mother of four Julie Burton is coming out with an encouraging book for moms this May.The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother's Must-Have Guide to Health And Well-Being ($16.95) includes Burton’s own highly personal postcards from the edge of parenting (and the consequences of self-neglect) as well as insights from... more
The nesting instinct is a much-discussed phenomenon of pregnancy. Evidently, it’s totally common for pregnant women to get a huge burst of energy during the second trimester — or the last few days before giving birth (or both) — because we’re anxious to ensure that everything is “just so” for the arrival of our newborn. “Make... more
If you’re parenting or expecting multiples, Welcome Baby Care needs you! Birth rates for multiples are increasing, and the Edina-based postpartum doula agency wants to learn from local parents about their needs. Parents or expecting parents of multiples are invited to share their most pressing challenges in a 23-question online survey. ... more
A new natural baby wipe has hit the market and the Amazon reviews are overwhelmingly positive (tinyurl.com/new-wipes). Bloom Baby Sensitive Wipes are made with “HydroPure water that comes from a glacier,” plus plant-derived vitamins A, B-complex and D, and hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion. And they’re made with 100 percent wind energy. You can... more
Everyone loves you when you’re pregnant. (Well, maybe not everyone — there are those militant anti-breeders who will shoot you disgusted looks when you deign to enter Five Watt Coffee, distended abdomen in tow.) But in general no matter how lousy you might feel, you can count on friends and strangers alike to smile at you approvingly and insist... more
If you’re pumping breast milk or making your own baby food, check out Milkies Food Trays ($21.95 for two) from Fairhaven Health. Each tray freezes eight 1-ounce portions, allowing you to thaw the exact amount of food or milk you need for each feeding. Frozen “milk sticks” fit through all bottle openings and can be popped out and stored in any... more
You’ve moved across country — or even just across town — or changed jobs, and now the childcare program your kid’s been enjoying (practically since birth) has become inconvenient or just plain impossible. Maybe you’re just not happy with the care your child’s getting, and it’s time to make a change. No matter why you’re making the switch... more
 Q: I’m bottle-feeding our baby and I’m worried about overfeeding. Can you share your tips to avoid giving her too much?A: This is an excellent question. Infants, for the most part, take in only the calories they need to maintain their current health and provide for good growth. They rarely over-eat — or under-eat. If your baby’s... more
Did you know that many household products — upholstered furniture, mattresses and children’s products, especially those containing foam (such as changing table pads and car seats) — can contain toxic flame-retardants?Once thought to slow the spread of fire, flame retardants have proven to be ineffective while also posing serious human health risks... more
I wrote about childcare in a previous column — when to start looking for it (ideally about five years before you get pregnant or adopt your child), why you need it (so you can get work done) and how you should feel about it (not guilty).What strikes me now is how utilitarian this view is. And I don’t think it’s just me; when I talk to other... more
Q: Do you ever recommend probiotics for children?A: Probiotics may benefit kids in a number of ways, but research still needs to be done to understand exactly how they can be most beneficial.The intestinal tract contains millions of microorganisms — primarily bacteria and fungi (yeast). These microorganisms are generally considered either good... more
Keep Baby warm this winter — and avoid the unsafe use of puffy coats, which can compromise car-seat effectiveness — with the Cocoon ($59) from 7 A.M. Enfant. It has an elastic base for easy installation and removal, plus central and side zippers for quick access. It has a water-repellent outer shell and is machine washable, too. more
The hospital tour guide stopped next to a bank of windows, behind which stood a darkened room filled with folding chairs, empty boxes and definitely no babies. “This is the nursery,” he announced, smirking. Some prospective patients laughed nervously; others chuckled knowingly. “Yeah, we don’t ship babies away to the nursery at this... more
Q: Do we need a car seat for our 1-year-old on an airplane?A: Airline travel with young children is no easy task. The planning checklist often includes items needed to ensure adequate entertainment, food, diapering and clothing changes and comfort or transitional objects. But the most fundamental planning must start when purchasing... more
Gabriel is a bright, adorable 5-year-old. He runs around the park, playing on the equipment, occasionally checking in with his mom, even trying, when urged, to include his 3-year-old sister, Cecilia, in the park’s cool climbing structure. “It’s his favorite,” said his mom, Tara Baker of Eagan.Things weren’t always this carefree for Gabriel.It... more
I can't believe my twin babies are three months old! My toddler will officially become a 3-year-old this month, too. Where has the time gone? I've been back at work for a few weeks now and finally feel caught up on things and able to write this post. (I'm a graphic designer first, mommy blogger second.) Back to work It felt strange... more
The SassyPop Play Pod ($59.99) features gorgeous bright colors, five detachable toys and an especially large base with double padding and high sides to corral your kid.But what really sets it apart is that it twists and collapses down, arches and all, into a convenient travel/storage bag so you can take in on the go — maybe to grandma’s house... more
The responsibilities and choices that come with parenting a child with a severe disability or developmental delay are intense, immediate and pressing. Saving for your young child’s future may seem like one thing you can put off for now. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you should ignore: Someday your child with special needs is going to... more
Q: What do you recommend for vitamins for kids? Gummies? Flintstones? And at what age should we start?A: For children older than 1, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend vitamin supplements. It’s thought that if otherwise healthy children are eating a normal, well-balanced diet, they’re receiving what they need of... more
When your child suffers a bump on the head or body, there’s nothing quite so unappealing as a hard, blue freezing cold ice pack. Fortunately, there’s now a better way to bring your kid relief and show some TLC.Thermal-Aid zoo animals are filled with specially milled, de-germinated corn that can hold hot and cold temperatures (yes, without getting... more
The new-mom cliche “touched out” means something different to each individual. For some, it’s something like, “I’m nursing twins, damn it, and if you even look at my boobs, I will find a way to muster up a pair of laser eyes … and I will burn you.” For others, it’s straightforward and simple: “Sleep is the only thing that’s happening in... more
Q: Our 3-year-old daughter has a terrible cold, but none of the available OTC medications are listed as safe for ages 3 and younger. Our friends give their toddlers these medications anyway. Is this safe? A: For years, there were dozens of medicines to help relieve kids’ runny noses, watery eyes and harsh coughs. Today, however, those... more
Q: What’s the best time to take away a pacifier?  A: The easiest time to get rid of a pacifier is to never start using one in the first place. I realize this isn’t a practical or popular suggestion, since the vast majority of infants probably use pacifiers to some extent. But I believe they really don’t need them. The next-... more
If a Boppy pillow and a Bumbo seat got together and had a kid, it would probably result in something a lot like the Hugaboo baby seat ($59.99).This 100 percent polyester floor seat offers leg and back support for ages 3 months and older. It includes an attached seat bottom to keep Baby from sliding onto the floor, plus two hoops for attaching... more
If you Google “best toys for babies,” you’ll come up with more than 37 million results. The offerings are varied and extensive, including a $23 NogginStik rattle — “not just a toy, a tool for laying mental growth foundation” — and a melodic snail that promises to “enhance sensory awareness, visual skills and hand-eye coordination.” Indeed,... more
Early childhood experts are always talking about how kids don’t need special toys: Just give a kid a cup, bowl or stick and let his imagination do the rest. This, they say, is how children learn — organic, creative, unplugged, self-directed play.And, for the most part, I believe this is true, especially for babies. (Check out the Baby on... more
“Of course I’m going home for the holidays!” said my friend with a look of disbelief. Not travel back east to visit her parents and extended family? Never! How could I even imply such a thing? Hats off to her for being so committed to the traditions of her family. However, I wondered if she’d factored in the reality of traveling with her... more
Need a quick, super-last-minute hostess gift or holiday greeting?The Bouqs Co., a floral-delivery service, has arrived in Minneapolis, offering same-day bouquets with free delivery.Thanks to a partnership with Lake Harriet Florist, you can order flowers to be delivered in as little as two hours in select areas of the Twin Cities.Bouqs puts an... more
Books make awesome holiday presents, don’t you think? These new gems are ideal for families looking for something fresh, entirely unexpected and, we think, delightful (any time of year). Enjoy! LEGO Awesome IdeasLooking to get your kids to actually reuse their LEGOs for creative free building — rather than just buying new sets?... more
What do you get when you put 20 kids — age 1 to 10 — in a room full of brand-new toys? Our curious and cute testers, all Minnesota kids, found 30 great toy picks for holiday gift giving.Read on to find the full results to our annual Toy Test, including options for all ages, starting with toys for infants and on up to top picks for teens.... more
Keeping your most important items at your fingertips while you’re out with Baby is essential.  This Stroller Organizer Tray from Prince Lionheart ($25) features two cup holders and three storage areas. We like the Velcro-closure pocket that allows you to tuck your phone away from the elements. Four adjustable hook-and-loop straps make it easy... more
Q: We keep hearing about alternative vaccination schedules. Is there a benefit? A: I strongly encourage all patients to stick with the recommend vaccination schedule. The vaccination schedule is developed and evaluated yearly by the top infectious-disease and pediatric experts in the U.S. The recommended timing and spacing of the shots... more
Q: How early is it possible to detect signs of autism? A: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) primarily affects social and communication skills. Because of this, most children with ASD will achieve their motor-developmental milestones, such as sitting, crawling and walking at normal times.However, some signs of ASD may be observed as... more
The Saint Paul Public Library is the first library in the state to offer a new — free — children’s book-recommendation service called Beanstack for ages infant to 12. Families anywhere can sign up for book-recommendation emails based on their children’s reading skills, age and interests such as “Ninjas, Pirates and Warriors,” “Diverse Main... more
New parents tend to get a bit obsessed with milestones. Starting from the first time Baby smiles or rolls over to that very first step, many parents tend to observe their kids with one eye on the calendar. “Harper is 6 months old now — shouldn’t she be sitting up unassisted?” I’d like to urge you to let go of your expectations... more
Finally, there’s a stuffed animal your kid can take into the tub: SoapSox creatures ($14.95) — made of soft polyester terry cloth — each have a soap chamber. Simply “feed” your SoapSox pal soap (bar or liquid), immerse in water and scrub, using built-in finger pockets and an antimicrobial sponge on the inside that helps you build up lather.... more
Southwest Bloomington isn’t exactly a hotbed for independent gourmet coffee. But the newly established Mugshots Coffee Co. — at 10518 France Ave. S. — is a definite exception to that rule, serving locally roasted Dogwood Coffee (including espresso drinks as well as Chemex and Clever Dripper pour overs), local pastries and dairy products... more
Instructions for the Noisy Ball ($25) — based on a traditional folk design — are quite simple, really: Grab, shake, squeeze. Crinkle, jingle, squeak. Its 36 soft velour panels in nine vibrant colors are designed to engage a baby’s senses of sight, touch and sound. And it’s machine washable.   more
Life changes dramatically when you have a baby — and that includes your home. Here are five products designed to help families keep their abodes clean and beautiful despite bouncy seats, activity mats and Boppy pillows stuffed into every corner. Cozy crib Stokke, which became a household name in 1972 with its modern Z-line wooden... more
 Babies love to read books! Here are some of our top picks, all new to bookstores in the past year, including engaging animals, photos of a real infant in action and a Minnesota twist on a timeless classic. Goodnight LoonYou’ll find the same charming rhythm and rhyming of the Margaret Wise Brown original in this delightfully localized... more
This month one of my very best friends is expecting her second child. I’m so excited to meet this new little person, to hold a brand new baby, to curl the infant’s tightly clenched fingers around my index finger, to smell the top of his or her head, and then, to give the baby back to Mom and Dad and go home — to my full household with four... more
One day, you’re a woman with a job, a social life and the option of sleeping without interruption until your alarm goes off. The next, you’re a mother, suddenly responsible for ensuring the well-being of a small human who can’t turn himself over or support his own head. It’s beautiful and profound — but also pretty terrifying. The... more
Q: How can we get our son, 4 months old, to sleep through the night? He’s still getting up every three hours.A: Infant sleep training has many notable gurus, Dr. Sears and Dr. Ferber, to name a few, who have devised methods to encourage sleep. The most important thing to recognize is that every baby is different and every parent has... more
Q: When should we start our baby on solid foods? I've heard everything from a few weeks to four months!A: It’s not surprising that parents are confused about when to start solids, because clinicians are too! There’s evidence to wait until six months of age and evidence to start much earlier. Organizations, such as the American... more
Q: How long is it safe to keep infant twins in the same crib?A: Although it may seem harmless or even more natural to have twins in the same crib, this isn’t a practice endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The reason for this is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Twins are often born prematurely or have... more
Who doesn’t love a room full of new toys? Parents. That’s who.Whether you’re an expecting parent, a new parent or are already knee-deep in diapers and Disney-princess dresses, there’s a surprising challenge that can sometimes arise: Grandparents.In most cases, Nana and Pop just want to share a little extra love with their grandchildren. But,... more
“This is my favorite, favorite thing to do,” said doula Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, as she invited Minneapolis mom-to-be Mia Como to take the center seat in the circle of women gathered for her Mother Blessing. “It’s different than anything else we do at Blooma — and different than anything we do in the United States — to celebrate moms... more
A newborn baby. Tiny fingers, perfect little nose, itty-bitty feet, fuzzy little hairs and that delicate, oh-so-soft skin. A newborn photography session truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to document all those tiny details. It’s the very beginning of your child’s story, and she’ll never look the way she does right now, during those... more
Minnesota Parent’s annual Baby Issue is on stands now!It’s one of my favorite magazines to produce every year because — in my opinion — few things are more interesting, more complicated, more challenging or more fun (yes, really) than babies.Babies are the beginning of everything.Yes, they’re starting their own lives. And that’s miraculous.... more
When Betsy Batista found out she had cancer in 2014, the diagnosis was especially difficult as it meant she had to stop breastfeeding her 4-month-old daughter so that she could undergo chemotherapy. “I was devastated,” the St. Louis Park mom said. That’s when Batista’s doula told her about the possibility of donated milk: Mothers... more
When Renee Piersa of Bloomington and Erica Myking of Burnsville became parents they quickly discovered the vast array of family friendly activities available in the Twin Cities.It didn’t take long before the longtime best friends — both Apple Valley natives, both moms to two girls, both working full-time — had a list of favorites they wanted... more
Fussy babies love to be swaddled, but in summer, there’s always a risk of overheating your baby with too much fabric.The Ollie Swaddle  ($48) for ages newborn to 4 months is made with a custom moisture-wicking material to minimize overheating, and its elasticity allows for freedom of movement, along with an opening at the bottom that makes it... more
“Oh great," you’re probably thinking. “Homework.” This is often how I feel when someone insists I read such-and-such parenting book. “When exactly am I supposed to read that?” I want to ask. I have two little kids; I work; I haven’t even started Breaking Bad. However, if you’re a reader like me, there will probably come a time when... more
Q: I’ve heard that kids with asthma should start their medications before school starts in anticipation of cold season. What do you advise?A: Any child with a diagnosis of asthma, especially if the child has frequent or persistent symptoms, should have an asthma action plan. Some children are especially susceptible to wheezing when they catch... more
Q: How can we tell if our 1-year-old daughter has pink eye?A: This is a common and challenging situation for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Typically anytime a child has a redder than normal eye — or if there’s any drainage from the eye — he or she is thought to have a contagious form of pink eye (conjunctivitis). The... more
Most parents love to provide new toys for their children to keep them learning — and engaged for more than a few minutes. Brand-new toys, however, are just plain expensive. Fortunately, Twin Cities businesses and organizations are stepping up to fill that need.Elizabeth Wilcox of Golden Valley — a mother, a former Chinese-immersion teacher... more
As a lifelong Minneapolis resident, I’m a big fan of summer in the Twin Cities. When I was growing up, summer meant long days at the Richfield pool, bike rides around Lake Nokomis and visits to Dairy Queen after my soccer games at Pearl Park. And when I eventually reached adulthood, summers took on new significance — the best time to... more
Q Do temporal thermometers really work? A These thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature in the temporal artery in the forehead. This artery carries blood from the heart to the head and can give a temperature reading that’s as accurate as a rectal temperature, which is still thought to be the... more
Q Our daughter’s been coughing every night for a week. Would running a humidifier help? A Coughing in young children can be especially difficult to deal with! Often the cough can linger for longer periods than typical for older children or adults.This is partly because a younger child may not be able to generate the same... more
Q When can we give our baby peanut butter? A This is a great question. If you had asked this question a few months ago, it would have resulted in a different answer. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the introduction of peanut butter, or other allergenic foods, should be delayed until a child is at least 3... more
Let your baby sack out in a mini hammock while you shop — and you’ll still have room for groceries.Designed for standard carts (typically 20 to 24 inches wide) this little hammock from BinxyBaby ($49.95) can also hold an infant car seat (safety strap included).And it stores small: Simply roll it up and throw... more
Q: Can infants suffer from seasonal allergies?A: Allergies often are inherited, so observing for symptoms is important. When the immune system repeatedly is presented with a substance (allergen), the body can erroneously begin to recognize it as foreign and set off a cascade of cell activities similar to those triggered by an infection.... more
In American culture — and beyond — there’s an expectation that marriage comes before motherhood.There’s also a stereotype that single mothers are the result of unwanted or unintended pregnancies or the product of absent fathers.But a fast-growing group of women are shattering both long-held expectations and stereotypes by becoming SMCs — single... more
Chewbeads — a popular maker of colorful, chew-safe necklaces — has introduced a stroller / car seat toy attachment known as the Gramercy. It seems like the perfect distraction for curious babies who like to touch, tug, and chew on the go. It’s 100 percent silicone and available in four colors.$15 • chewbeads.com more
My in-laws live in rural Maine, and this means ample opportunities for outdoor fun when we visit. One time, when my daughter was about 2½ and my son was around 8 months old, we decided to take them on a hike. We read about a relatively easy trail that meandered through a forest before ending with the great reveal of a magnificent... more
Q: Our 3-year-old is having tantrums that last more than 30 minutes. What is going on?A: Imagine being too small to see what you’re looking for, dependent on others to offer you something to eat or drink and too uncoordinated to perform the skills you think you’re capable of. You have no choice in your wardrobe, daily agenda or... more
Parents and grandparents around the world have been wearing infants for centuries, using a variety of slings, wraps and other contraptions. Though the practice is only just becoming a mainstream habit in modern Western culture, companies are offering a dizzying array of devices that allow parents to easily carry children from the newborn... more
Babiators ($20-$30) — designed for ages 6 months and older — look stylin’, yes. But what’s more? They’re nearly unbreakable and, if you do break or even lose them within a year of purchase, the company will send you a free replacement pair, as long as you register your pair within 30 days of purchase (shipping isn’t covered). more
Does your toddler love to drool on your laptop while he FaceTimes with Nana or watches YouTube Elmo videos?The Kid Lid ($29) straps easily on to 13- and 15-inch Apple and PC laptops to protect them from liquids as well as unwanted typing.We put it to the test — with a lot of kid pounding and pressing — and the keyboard was delightfully... more
New this spring from high-quality helmet-maker Nutcase, is The Baby Nutty helmet ($44.99) for ages 12 months and older (for heads 47 to 50 centimeters in diameter) — because “Even babies wanna bike.”With the popularity of balance bikes among toddlers soaring, it makes sense to start them young on head protection. Styles so far include Petal... more
It’s incredibly fun to celebrate the many milestone of your baby’s first year. Sticky Bellies stickers make it easy. Each set includes 13 stickers with themes like Sporty Shorty, Little Trooper, Wild One (animals), Painted Pixie and many others, including a pack of Baby's First Holidays. We love these as a baby shower gift ($14).   more
The display flashed "Great workout!"and a sense of dread dug its claws deep in my belly.I stepped off the treadmill feeling like I was still moving, my heart doing that flutter thing again. I waited for the sensation to pass. It always passed, I told myself. Always. Hadn’t the doctor said staying active would help improve my mood? If it was... more
Q: Our 1-year-old has red patches of skin on his cheeks. It is eczema?A:  Eczema is a chronic skin condition. Since it’s chronic, the symptoms can fluctuate in severity. At times the skin can look completely normal. When it’s exacerbated or triggered, it can appear quite dry, red or irritated and can be quite itchy or painful. In... more
Q: At what age is it safe to take our baby on an airplane?A: The best thing you can do is discuss this with your baby’s doctor. In general, healthy newborns may be able to handle airplane travel without any issues. However, there are certain health conditions or other factors you may want to consider. These might include if your baby was born... more
Ah, the joy of preparing for a new baby! Stockpiling tiny sleepers, making lists of names, picking out adorable crib sheets and … researching breast pumps! OK, so maybe contemplating breast pumps isn’t at the top of your list of fun things to do during your third trimester. Maybe you don’t know if you really need one. Maybe you’re overwhelmed... more
One of the most exciting times of a woman’s pregnancy is decorating her baby’s nursery. Like so many new mothers-to-be, I spent hours researching the safest car seats, cribs and toys. I baby-proofed everything in the house. When it came time to convert our spare bedroom into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born daughter, I knew not to use... more
Setting up your baby registry? Here’s what to splurge on, what to skip, plus a few outside-the-box ideas.You might not need it, but you'll love it. Blooming BathThis soft, colorful flower-shaped pad ($40) turns your kitchen sink into a baby bath. It later serves as a bathtub cushion for bigger babies — a simple solution to the slippery,... more
Q: How long is it safe to swaddle our baby? She’s now 3 months old and starting to break out, even as we swaddle her tighter, sometimes double-wrapping her.A: Swaddling infants to help them sleep has been around for a very long time. It’s a classic way of helping comfort young infants and it allows them to sleep for longer stretches. It’s... more
When you have a newborn in the house, who wants to spend their limited non-baby attention span on financial planning? Answer: Nobody. Unless you’re a financial-planning geek, in which case you’ve got this wrapped up already. Go ahead and watch Better Call Saul and sleep soundly tonight. Well, maybe not soundly — you’ve got that newborn.For... more
“I wonder what Lori’s been up to?” I thought as I scrolled, zombie-like, through my Facebook feed. “I haven’t seen much from her on here lately.”I met Lori at a mom-and-baby class when my daughter was about 6 months old. “She looks cool,” I thought as I admired Lori’s well-worn motorcycle boots and her “stormy grey” Chewbeads.Lori and I eventually... more
My 2-year-old daughter loves playing in water, so I thought signing us up for some parent/child swimming lessons would be a good idea. It's been really great spending time in a warm pool in the middle of winter. I signed us up to take a Parent & Child Class through Bloomington/Richfield Community Education Services. We've had five lessons... more
Fewer than 24 hours after her son was born, Megan Braun worried she was destined for heartbreak once again. Megan and her husband, Doug, had traveled 1,600 miles from their Brooklyn Park home to meet their newborn son in Tacoma, Wash. And the birth mother seemed to be changing her mind overnight. The carefully arranged adoption agreement forged... more
The Cibo — a cute, two-eyed silicone mat that sticks to most table surfaces — eats up little-kid messes not just at meal times (think rice and other small foods), but also during craft or cookie projects (think glitter and sprinkles). It’s dishwasher safe to boot (top rack only). thecibo.com • $24.99  more
When it comes to soothing fussy babies, nothing beats the five Ss (shushing, swinging, swaddling, sucking and side/stomach positioning).That’s partly why two beleaguered parents from Austin, Texas invented The Baby Shusher.They found that shushing worked well for their baby, but they soon realized it wasn’t easy to deliver the right volume of... more
Sarah Wells’ breast-pump bags allow moms to operate pumps without having to set up and break down equipment.The leather Annie features cooler compartments, plus a main compartment large enough to hold a laptop and other items. The bags fit portable pumps, including Medela Pump in Style and Freestyle, Hygeia, Freemie,... more
As a first-time parent, keeping track of your child's immunizations can be a bit overwhelming. This is understandable because starting at 2 months of age, almost every "well child" doctor's visit involves at least one immunization. No wonder my daughter seems nervous when she sees people wearing doctor's scrubs.Looking at the immunization... more
“Having a baby will change your life!” people often gush. “The love you’ll feel for your baby is a love like no other!”There’s a lot of truth in these statements, however clichéd they might be. However, amidst the starry-eyed admonitions to “enjoy it now because it goes so fast!” all sorts of uncomfortable truths about parenting are forgotten.... more
Every day a new app comes along, promising to make life better, easier or more fun. But they can’t all be that great. Luckily for us, we have Valerie Moe, Minnesota Parent’s tech-savvy mom blogger from Bloomington.She’s into apps — like really into apps — and recently she’s been sharing some of her favorites for parents and parents-to-be, too! All... more
I was sitting in the special-care nursery a few days after Felix was born, trying in vain to breastfeed my son. My milk hadn’t “come in” yet and he was having trouble latching properly. I turned to my husband, who was sitting beside me. “You know, I’m totally going to try to make breastfeeding work out this time,” I said. “But if he needs more... more
Q: At what age is it safe to let a child sleep with a pillow?A: It’s recommended to not use pillows for children younger than 2 years old. Young children can easily suffocate with large pillows, fluffy comforter blankets, large stuffed animals and other accessories. A safe crib has a firm mattress without extra padding, blankets, pillows... more
Babies and toddlers don’t, technically, need a lot of gear. But certain basics are essential (and it’s best to buy them new, not second hand): We’re talking pacifiers, teethers and sippy cups. Have a kid or two, and you’ll go through quite a few. Here are some of our favorites — old and new. Bonus: Want to learn how not to go crazy with baby-... more
Q: What can I do to help my child get through teething?A: Teething usually first occurs starting at about 4 to 7 months old. Usually the front top or bottom two teeth emerge first. (If your infant is older than 7 months and still doesn’t have any teeth showing, don’t worry. Teething times can vary dramatically.)Teething can cause mild irritability... more
Q: I’m wondering about the value of the many well-baby visits required for my 6-month-old. She seems very healthy. Why do they need to see her so often?A: Children should have routine well-child visits quite frequently, especially during the first two years. Though it can feel taxing, this schedule of visits was developed by expert... more
To a new parent, nothing sounds better than a little extra sleep! But how can you get it? The Amma Parenting Center Book of Sleep ($12.95) by the Edina-based parenting center’s founder, registered nurse and midwife Sara Pearce, offers advice. New this year, the book offers an alternative to a cry-it-out sleep training. Amma’s trademarked Sleep... more
Being a new mom is overwhelming. Amidst the post-delivery waves of emotions, you're expected to know details about everything relating to your baby. In the hospital, the nurses ask you how many wet or dirty diapers has your newborn had today (and they're speaking in 24-hour increments since the time of birth, not calendar days), when did you last... more
Shakespeare called it “the food of love.” It can calm nerves, ignite passions and sooth a broken heart. It’s a part of nearly every celebration and ceremony. Some might call it the common language of our world. What would your favorite movie be without it? What would life be without it?We’re talking, of course, about music.And it’s not just... more
My daughter was 2 when her brother was born. I did a million things wrong and a few things right, or so it seemed at the time.  I involved her in the pregnancy. I read the “new baby” picture books. I took time — precious, bleary-eyed time — just days after his birth to sit with her and do puzzles. She got a new sandbox “from the baby”... more
Before I had kids, I had fantasies about what it would be like to travel with them. I saw myself in a stylish-yet-durable wrap dress, my weightless baby perched on a hip as we gazed out over some gorgeous vista in the American Southwest. I used to seek out blogs written by parents who were traveling the world with their young ones for... more
It’s finally out: our annual Baby Issue, highlighting that glorious stage of parenting — the first one — with all its mind-blowing joys, mystifying, frustrating challenges and personal growth you never thought possible!How could you love something this much? And — oh, yeah — why is it so hard? (Remember when you used to compare your dog or cat to... more
What could be more awesome than a new baby?If you’re secretly thinking: “A lot of things, actually,” I feel you. (As I've said previously, I didn't "take" to the early stages of motherhood very easily!)Your baby is supposed to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. But your little darling can turn your life (body, mind, spirit) and... more
Q: My infant son constantly spits up after feeding, to the point where he seems to spit up almost his entire bottle. He still has full diapers, so we feel he’s getting enough food, but should we try to limit the amount given? He screams when we stop feeding him midway through a bottle. Are there any tips to limit spit-up?A: Part of the reason... more
When you’re 3 years old and the only child in the house, change can be difficult to handle. You’ve been pampered, perhaps, your entire life and, presumably, have had things fall in your favor more often than not.Then mom and dad decided to make the family a quartet.Oh. Well, that’s different. That’s a huge adjustment.Luckily for Josie... more
Your baby cries. That’s normal, of course. But what if your baby really cries? A lot. And you begin to hear repeatedly — when in the presence of grandmothers, opinionated observers and even your pediatrician — the word “colic.”The Mayo Clinic defines colic as predicable periods of distress in an otherwise healthy, well-fed... more
All parents want what’s best for their kids, and we feel guilty when we skimp on them, even if money’s tight. But new parents are especially vulnerable. They’re stressed out, sleep-deprived, bubbling with hormones, and they’re pretty sure they’re making lots of mistakes. Who could blame them for spending big on the deluxe crib-sheet... more
There’s a picture of me in the early days with my daughter Lydia, clutching my baby and a checkbook with a supremely irritated look on my face. One of the things I remember most from the postpartum period — aside from the endless wails of my colicky baby and the sensation that my insides were constantly about to burst forth from my C-section... more
Q: I’m nursing my newborn and want to give her expressed breast milk when I eventually go back to work. What’s the best way to store breast milk, and how long can it be at room temperature before I have to throw it out?A: Clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (mayoclinic.org) recommend the following for the handling and storage of breast milk... more
Q: What’s the story on pacifiers, nipple confusion and nursing? What about thumb sucking? I’m expecting next month and would like some information.A: Infants find sucking to be very soothing. They also like to exercise their facial structures and this probably helps enhance speech and language skills. It’s an important developmental task and way... more
It’s that time again — time to introduce my baby to the exciting world of solid foods! At least, I wish I felt excited about it. In theory, it’s a momentous time in the life of a baby. My little son, for the first time in his short life, will step away from the familiar world of milk to try his first bites of “real” food. It’s one of his... more
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics started encouraging parents to lay healthy infants younger than 1 on their backs for sleep rather than on their side or stomach. In 1994, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development joined in the public education effort with its “Back to Sleep” campaign. The goal was to reduce the risk... more
My daughter was about a year old when I went to see Gramma’s Boyfriend, a band featuring local musician Haley Bonar. I’d last seen her perform many months before, when both Haley and I were pregnant. I don’t know her personally, but the fact that we have daughters about the same age made me feel like we had some kind of cosmic bond. Then... more
One of the trickiest things about parenting for me these past six years has been managing expectations.
It all started with What to Expect When You’re Expecting and What to Expect: The First Year. These books led me to believe my baby boy would behave in a certain way (the correct way). And if he didn’t, I was worried, frustrated and, when it came... more
“I always imagine good parents teaching their children Spanish, or how to play the flute as soon as little Bri or Megan can sit up. I’ve taught mine how to consume pasta without silverware and zone out in front of the tube.” — Jerry Stahl, “Bad Moments in Parenting,” therumpus.netI wasn’t prepared for the guilt.Even though I’d heard of “mother’s... more
When signing up for baby-related classes, expectant parents might schedule time to learn about labor and delivery, breastfeeding and basic childcare. But parents-to-be are unlikely to find a class detailing how to take care of themselves after bringing home their new addition. We’re supposed to have “self-care” figured out already, right? ... more
Tax time. If you’re like many Americans, you want to rush through them, or outsource them and be done. That is, until next year. But rushing through your taxes or failing to plan can mean costly mistakes, added hassle, or tax breaks left on the table. For parents with kids at home or in college, there are provisions in the tax code just... more
The idea of having two kids (or more) has always scared me a little. I’m an only child, so the prospect of having just one baby has never seemed “lonely” or “selfish” to me — things I’ve heard applied to the only child situation — just normal. And since I have no personal experience with sibling dynamics, I was concerned about how that might... more
Q: We are expecting a new baby in three months. How do we get our toddler ready for the arrival of her baby brother or sister?A: In spite of the great joy that it brings to parents and grandparents, the birth of a new brother or sister can be very disruptive to the future older sibling, especially if the older sibling is a first born. Even under... more
It’s no secret that winters in Minnesota are long and cold. If you have a new baby, dragging yourself and your tiny little bundle of joy out into the subzero tundra might seem like an insurmountable task. Getting out of the house can be crucial during these dark months, if only to help preserve your sanity. Plus, if you have an older child in... more
Babies. What an excellent excuse to make googly eyes, goofy sounds, and to splurge on adorable newborn outfits. Is your favorite person about to give birth? Chuck the outfits, the booties, and the bottles. What every new parent does need is more time and more money. Both are in short supply.Unfortunately, you can’t add hours to the clock or... more
Seeing double? You’re not alone. Today, 1 in 30 newborns is a twin. So, it’s common—sort of. I saw a woman walk out of the ultrasound room after learning that there was an actual gathering of babies in her womb. She looked—at once—both enchanted and also stricken, so clearly thinking, “Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This is going to be hard.”Perhaps the... more
Pregnancy can be stressful, and even a little isolating. “I kind of feel like an island,” said a friend of mine recently, who has two children. The physical changes can be troubling—from the nausea and exhaustion that characterize the first trimester for many women to the back pain and “rehearsal” contractions that are common in the third, it can... more
I’ve been writing this column for a year now, and every once in awhile it occurs to me how necessarily “mom-centric” it is. “I wonder what Nick (my husband) would say about this?” I often think as I mull over the challenges of the newborn period or choosing a childcare provider.And although we talk about all things baby-related frequently, we’ve... more
There’s a great scene in Paula Bomer’s novel Nine Months when the main character, Sonia, is grilled by a friend about her choice in preschool.Sonia: “Tom and Mike go to Open Arms Nursery. That little place down Atlantic.” [Her friend reacts with a look of alarm.] “My theory is, it’s preschool. It doesn’t matter so much. As long as they’re having... more
“I can’t believe how many of my friends keep having babies—and then act like it’s a good thing!” One of my Facebook friends had posted a lengthy rant that enumerated the many reasons people should stop having kids: war, famine, explosive population growth, guaranteed heartbreak, and so on. “Uh oh,” I thought.I’d been feeling kind of weird—a little... more
It’s a rule nearly every parent breaks. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under two have no exposure to screens. That guideline was hard enough to follow when it applied to background TV and baby videos. Now that very young children are reaching for smartphones and tablets, most parents hand them over sooner or... more
For the parents of a new baby, sleep—or lack thereof—is a serious issue. “Sleep now, while you still can!” wrote a coworker in my office baby shower card. “I haven’t had a full night of sleep since my daughter was born 18 months ago,” confided an acquaintance on Facebook in response to a question about sleep training. “Have you written about sleep... more
“I walked around the house wearing the comforter off our bed—as a clothing item—more often than I would like to admit.”“My son is eight months old. It took me until last month to finally find time to get a haircut!”“Most of the time I was sitting at home in my underwear and a tank top.”This is some of the feedback I received from Facebook friends... more
“How’s breastfeeding going?” asked the facilitator of my “new mom” class. Eight of us were sitting in a circle with our newborns. Clad in nursing covers to hide the evidence (except for me and one other mother), we were all attempting to breastfeed our babies.“Breastfeeding challenges are one of the most common things new mothers face,” she said,... more