2014 Pregnancy Awareness Month! (April 2014)

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 This page features my latest article for new moms. Enjoy!
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                   May is Pregnancy Awareness Month



I wanted to make my NetworkforMoms.org buddies aware again this year that the month of May is Pregnancy Awareness Month. The organization, Pregnancy Awareness Month, has a free event every year to help pregnant women, new parents, new grandparents and families with information about pregnancy and baby products.


Pregnancy Awareness Month (P.A.M), according to their website, is an 'organization dedicated to inspiring women during pregnancy with educational initiatives spotlighting nutrition, wellness and all around nurturing'.

During the month of May, P.A.M's. conference-style event in Los Angeles, California features a variety of products, specialists and experts in the field of pregnancy, motherhood and children. 

This year the event will take place on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at Writer's Boot Camp at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA from 12 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  For those moms that may live in the Los Angeles area, or if you know someone who is pregnant or has small children and live in that area, feel free to pass this information along to them. New moms and moms-to-be will be thankful to you for making them aware of this event! Don't forget to mention NetworkforMoms.org!

In light of this event, I wanted to share with my fellow NetworkforMoms.org buddies products that I found incredibly useful during my pregnancy in 2011.  I found these items to be absolute necessities and completely worth the investment because of the reliefcomfort and relaxation that I experienced using these products.


Snoogle Original Total Body Pillow


This pregnancy pillow was an absolute life saver!  At 10 weeks pregnant I was feeling a lot of ligament pain at night and had a very difficult time getting to sleep.  I bought the Snoogle that week and used it for the rest of my pregnancy and for several months post pregnancy. When I used the Snoogle for the first time, I had one of the most relaxing night's sleep that I had experienced in a long time.  I was totally refreshed when I woke up and my ligament pain was completely gone.   I highly recommend this pregnancy pillow - it cradled my stomach, my  knees, my legs and gave me back support as well.
 Get the Snoogle and avoid the need for all of those pillows!





For less than $50, this is an absolute necessity, here is the link:http://www.target.com/p/snoogle-original-total-body-pillow/-/A-566345#prodSlot=medium_1_0&term=Snoogle Original Total Body Pillow


Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle


After the first trimester, I knew that the weight from my stomach and the ligament pain was going to be very uncomfortable when walking.  I found the Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle support harness to be very helpful in relieving me from this discomfort.  I could wear the Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle under my clothes to give me relief from the ligament pain and enable me to walk with comfort during the second trimester.

The Prenatal Cradle Best Cradle support harness should only be used during the first and second trimester only because, during the third trimester, the stomach is very heavy and the cradle will be too small to support your stomach's weight.  Nevertheless, this cradle brought me great relief from the ligament pain and made walking out to my car or in a store a much less painful experience.  They come in a small, medium and a large size.

This cradle was a great product to have during most of my pregnancy and for @ $52 it was worth every penny! Here is the link:http://www.drugsupplystore.com/servlet/the-9533/Orginal-Prenatal-Cradle-Maternity/Detail#.UUlVVze9t10








Wheatgrass powder

I ate as healthfully as I could during my pregnancy but still felt that I lacked enough dark green vegetables in my diet.  I bought Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass Powder (gluten free) and drank two glasses of it every day with cranberry juice and water.  

I had used Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass Powder (gluten free) for 6 months prior to my pregnancy and found that my skin, hair and nails looked a lot better and I had more energy. 

Since this product was so helpful, I continued to use it during my pregnancy and found that it really helped me with energy and skin issues. 

I highly recommend this product and you can purchase it here for @ $25: http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=227776&catid=183310&aid=338666&aparam=goobase_filler 

Hypnobabies.com


In the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy, I really started to feel anxious about the big day.  These feelings of anxiety were very paralyzing and I did not want to feel this way on the day that my daughter was to be born. I knew I needed something more than just soft music to relax me and give me some sense of control over these feelings.


I found www.hypnobabies.com and downloaded an mp3 from their website to help me relax and prepare for the big event. The video really helped calm me down dramatically.

I watched it 2-3 times per week for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy.  Hypnobabies.com has an extensive program to help women relax and feel calmer, especially during pregnancy. They offer two free MP3s on their website; the one called "Relax Me" is a nice example video of their program.  You can download both example mp3s directly from here, you just need to register with the website:https://www.hypnobabies.com/about-hypnobabies/experience-hypnobabies


Pure Stress Relief by LifeScapes 


I also listened to a stress relief CD called "Pure Stress Relief" by LifeScapes. This CD is a 3 box set that includes a piano music CD, a guitar music CD and a pure relaxation CD (this one was my favorite!). You can find it here:http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Stress-Relief-Lifescapes/dp/B007U0VAS4



Both the music CD and the Hypnobabies.com mp3 really helped me to feel totally relaxed and calm during my pregnancy, which ultimately, made my labor a lot easier. (Just as a footnote, I was asked by the maternity ward doctors about the types of relaxation techniques that I had used during my pregnancy because I was so relaxed during labor).   


Hyacinth Diffuser Oil by Seda France 


In the final stretch of my pregnancy, the Pure Stress Relief CDHypnobabies.com mp3 and using Hyacinth scented diffuser oil with reed sticks (during early contractions) were an absolute necessity.  

Inhaling the strong, sweet scent of hyacinth oil as soon as a contraction occurred significantly reduced the intensity of the labor pain, making the contraction more tolerable for me. A sweet, strong scent interrupts the brain's pain receptors by activating the brain's pleasure receptors, resulting in less pain during contractions. Here is where to find Hyacinth diffuser oil by Seda France: http://www.scentsandsprays.com/seda-france-hyacinth-diffuser-refill.html  Also, here are the diffuser stickshttp://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Diffuser-Reeds-30cm-Pack/dp/B000XGYMZ0/ref=pd_sim_hg_2


Depend Underwear for Women (Maximum Absorbancy)


In the last month of my pregnancy, I wanted to be prepared in case my 'water broke' at an inconvenient time (in a store, in the car, etc.). I came up with the idea of wearing Depend Underwear for Women (Maximum Absorbancy). After I had my daughter, I continued to wear them for another 2 months post pregnancy. I found them very convenient because I could dispose of the Depend Underwear every day and there was less laundry at the end of each week!  Here is the link to the Depend Underwear in size Large:



DoggiePeePads.com


Also, some women that I spoke to used Doggie Pee Pads to line the seat of their car for extra protection in case their 'water broke' while driving.  The Doggie Pee Pads come in many colors, are machine washable, contain absorbent inner layers and a leak-proof barrier.

You can purchase the Doggie Pee Pads here for @ $21:http://www.doggiepeepads.com/dog-pee-pads.php


Other Necessities to Consider during Pregnancy:


Buying the Medela Breast Pump Backpack

My husband, Frank, feeding our 5-day-old daughter. Yum!












When I was four months pregnant, I decided to begin the shopping for my post pregnancy time and bought the Medela Breast Pump in the Backpack.  This breast pump was an absolute lifesaver! With this breast pump I never suffered from being engorged and my husband could bottle feed our daughter (giving me a little break). The backpack version here allowed me to take the breast pump with me safely on trips and place it on my back which saved room in my stroller storage bag.  I highly recommend buying this version of the Medela Breast Pump as soon as you can (also Babies R Us offers insurance for this product):http://www.toysrus.com/buy/preemie-shop/preemie-feeding/breast-pumps/electric-breast-pumps/medela-pump-in-style-advanced-backpack-57062-2815290


My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow



The My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow was a life saver and wonderful to have when I fed my daughter.  It has a built-in pillow for her head, making access to her food easier for her and more comfortable. The adjustable strap allows this pillow to fit a woman of almost any size in the postpartum period.  The pillow is stiff and does not bend in the middle at all (making the breastfeeding easier), is well supported with comfortable padding in the back and has a removable cover for easy cleaning (the Boppy, for example, bends in the middle, does not fit properly around a women's mid-section and was not originally designed as a breastfeeding pillow).

Using the My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow allowed me to feed my daughter without having to hold her up all of the time and wearing down my arm muscles in the process!

This pillow was suggested to me by the instructor of my breastfeeding class that I took prior to my daughter's arrival.  She told me that the My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow was the only one that was actually designed as a real breastfeeding pillow - so I bought it right away!  I highly recommend this pillow and purchasing it well in advance of your baby's due date. Here is the link: http://www.albeebaby.com/my-brest-friend-deluxe-wearable-nursing-pillow-in-green.html


Think of Creating new Storage Space


My daughter's nursery prior to her arrival!
During the second trimester of my pregnancy, I decided that new storage space would be a necessity in the nursery beyond the closet storage.  I needed it to be easily accessible and I wanted to be able to see all of the products and supplies that I had purchased as well.  I went to Home Depot and bought 3 inexpensive wire closet shelving pieces (these ones can support 20-25 pounds of weight) and placed them behind the door to the nursery (which is normally a useless space).  The diaper boxes were too heavy for the shelving which is why I placed them in the floor area of the storage space.  I bought an asian-style room divider and used that to create a wall around the shelving so that it looked attractive, but hidden.

The newly added storage space!
I also bought several 8 1/2 x 11 inch pre-cut plexiglass pieces and placed them on the shelving. This allowed me to place bottles and other small items on the shelving without having them fall over or fall through the prongs of the shelving - it also allowed me to line up all of the products in order to see them better (see picture above).

Home Depot can cut these closet storage shelving pieces to fit your space - just measure the space out beforehand. To cover the sharp, cut edges of the shelving, I bought ClosetMaid Large and Small Shelf Caps.  This shelving/storage project (which I nicknamed "The Store") worked out really well for us and has been very convenient when accessing our baby supplies and storage. In addition, it made a great storage area out of a completely useless space in the nursery.  (I also had the room painted 6 months before our daughter arrived with a low-VOC paint/primer by Behr called "Southern Beauty" - however, Behr now makes Zero-VOC paint/primer, you can find my paint color sample here:http://www.homedepot.com/p/BEHR-Premium-Plus-Ultra-8-oz-140C-1-Southern-Beauty-Interior-Exterior-Paint-Sample-140C-1U/202181806#.UY-cNUo9Pnk


Piccolo Universe.com parenting website


Piccolo Universe -  http://piccolouniverse.com/en/  - by Ricky Martin. Mr. Martin is the father of 5 year old twin boys and created this parenting website for members to share information, experiences and tips in a welcoming environment, sign up! In addition, parents can post questions on the forum to seek advice from other members. Comments can also be added to any article.  In addition, Mr. Martin joins the diverse group of contributors on http://piccolouniverse.com/en/ with his own parenting experiences.
Ricky Martin, father of 2.

Mr. Martin, a Grammy winner and long time children's advocate, is committed to the well-being of children around the world through the Ricky Martin Foundation (http://www.RickyMartinFoundation.org/) that serves as an advocate for children in the areas of education, health and social justice. A devoted father, longtime children's advocate, and chart-topping GRAMMY winner,



found these products to be very helpful during my postpartum period:

FreeStretchMarkCure.com

During my pregnancy, I found Jean of FreeStretchMarkCure.com, a fellow 'mompreneur', who sells a kit with her remedy to help reduce the look of stretch marks after pregnancy (or the look of the stretch marks that teenagers experience).  She developed her stretch mark remedy 14 years ago and her kit includes a scrub, massage tool, healing cream and instructions. This kit costs @ $47 and can be purchased here:
Stretch Mark Removal Massage Remedy Kit
Once you purchase the kit, you can follow her directions online here or follow the kit instructions:http://www.freestretchmarkcure.com/

My stomach, 1 month post pregnancy.
My stomach, 1 1/2 years post pregnancy
I used the kit regularly for 6 months post pregnancy and
intermittently over the next 12 months (in some cases only using the cream after bathing). This remedy was very effective in reducing the look of my stretch marks. At 1 1/2 years post pregnancy, my stomach looks a lot better and the dark scars have significantly faded.

My stomach, 28 months post pregnancy
I  resumed using the kit (at 1 1/2 years post pregnancy) for 4 months straight. I used the healing cream for the next few months and took this picture to the right at 28 months post pregnancy. As you can see, the remaining dark scars have faded and my stomach skin no longer looks as severely scarred and damaged. I am happy with the result from using this kit, especially since it did not involve special skin treatments or surgery.

This is a great product for postpartum women or teenagers (who experience stretch marks during their development).


Belly-Jeans.com

I found a great service for postpartum women looking to alter their old, pre-pregnancy jeans that don't quite fit anymore. This company recognizes that a lot of women are tired of ill fitting maternity jeans or are not able to find the right fitting jeans to fit their waist!

The website www.Belly-Jeans.com is owned by another fellow 'mompreneur', Cheryl Holst, who, after her 5th pregnancy, decided to use her sewing skills to make her jeans more comfortable during, and after, her pregnancy.


Cheryl can convert almost any pair of jeans into comfortable maternity jeans using a special elastic band, known as the 'Belly Band'.  She offers different styles, fabric choices and other sewing services such as V-Fly extension, hemming and patching.  She can also convert shorts, skirts and other 'jean-cut' style pants.

Half DemiBand with V-fly extension


The average Belly Jeans maternity conversion runs $20 - $25 per pair of jeans (not including shipping).  So if you are looking to convert your old or new jeans to fit you better in the waist, check out her site and salvage your favorite jeans! Don't forget to mention NetworkforMoms.org!

My Belly Jeans conversion, 10.2.12


Here is a pair of my old jeans altered by Belly-jeans to fit my postpartum waistline (see picture to the left).

As you can see, my jeans have fun waistband color that will compliment my baby's clothes and my stroller.
I chose the 'Full DemiBand' Belly Band with the V-fly extension. I just love my Belly Jeans and am so thankful for this service.  Thanks Cheryl!

Diastasis Recti

According to Isis Parenting.com's website, "During pregnancy the two halves of the outermost abdominal layer, the rectus abdominis, can become separated. This separation is called diastasis recti, and the separation happens because the growing baby and uterus put a forceful pressure on the connective tissue that holds the two halves of the muscles together, causing the connective tissue to stretch apart and become weak." 

Unfortunately, left uncorrected this condition can cause long term back pain. There are ways to reduce the stretched muscles and connective tissue in order to correct the diastasis. I know of three:  YogaPilates and crunches at home using a split.  I provide more information and useful videos in my June, 2012 post about Diastasis Recti and how to correct it here:http://networkformoms.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-networkformomsorg.html 

In addition, the Belly Bandit is a popular splint used by women who are trying to get their stomach back in shape. The Belly Bandit can be found here:
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/belly-bandit-original-post-pregnancy-girdle/3349668?origin=PredictiveSearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Black&resultback=0&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_B
The Belly Bandit

For further information, check out the Isis Parenting article here:www.parentingstartshere.com/index.php/2012/02/15/the-post-baby-belly-identifying-and-treating-diastasis-recti/




Child Development Classes!

Sign up for child development classes!
I attended classes at a Boston company, Isis Parenting, but they have recently closed (they only have an online presence now). I also had classes at Mama & Me in Boston, who have increased their number of classes for the 0 - 3 age group to meet the needs of former Isis clients and the Boston community, www.MyMamaAndMe.com.

Joining these classes is a great way to meet other mothers with children in the same age group and to make 'mommy' friends who can join you for play dates!

Mama & Me has now started a class for first-time fathers. In addition to meeting other new fathers, this class gives them a way to connect with their baby and discuss the ups and downs of being a new dad. You can check it out here: http://www.mymamaandme.com/first-time-fathers/

Livestrong.com: My Plate


I had used the "My Plate" application and database from Livestrong.com 6 months before I was pregnant to help me successfully lose weight.  I absolutely love My Plate - you can set a weekly weight goal using their database, create menus for each meal in your day and check the database for food that you are not sure about in terms of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and sugars. The My Plate program calculates the amount of each of these items based on your weight goal and intake. It also displays the correct amount of each item that you should consume per day!  My Plate on Livestrong.com is a fantastic tool and I highly recommend using this site when you are ready to lose weight (you will lose it the right away!). Here is the link for more information and you can sign up for a free account with Livestrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/


Once you are signed up with a free account, set your weight goals and start a My Plate menu

For online weight loss support, go to the tab called 'Community', click on 'Lose Weight' to join the weight loss support thread. This is a very positive and supportive group - one that I found very encouraging.




International MOMS Club

International MOMS ClubThe MOMS Club, according to their website, 'is a support group designed for the at-home mother'. At-home mothers 'need a support group that understands their special needs as an at-home mother and we're it! We are the first, largest and fastest growing support group specifically for ALL at-home mothers.'

By joining the MOMS Club, I have been able to meet other mothers with children the same age in my neighborhood and attend or create play dates for the group at places in Boston that I have enjoyed with our daughter!

MOMS Clubs chapters exist in most states and these support groups allow you to meet other mothers in your local communities and participate in children's and social activities. To find a MOMS Club in your state, here is the link: https://www.momsclub.org/blog/find-a-chapter/#


I hope these ideas have been helpful and feel free to e-mail me anytime with questions at JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org.

Happy pregnancy awareness month everyone!

- Joy E.
Posted April 15, 2014
JoyE@NetworkforMoms.org


*NetworkforMoms.org is not paid by any of the companies mentioned above.

**Please do not use my articles, photos or videos without permission from me.


My Daughter's Selfies!!

When your child starts taking their own 'selfie' pictures with the camera, you know it's all over!  Below are the best of her selfies for the last 6 months. Enjoy!

Cute Selfie! 12-17-13. 
My fun Selfie! 3-14-14

My test selfie, 12-9-13.







My Selfie!  12-24-14


My portrait Selfie, 3-16-14.















My Selfie, 4-9-14, Tee-Hee!!
My laughing Selfie, 4-9-14.


Fun at Paint Playground at Mama & Me!


Having fun with Daddy, 3-30-14.
Painting away 3-30-14.
Painting with Mommy, 3-30-14.

Painting with Dad, 3-30-14.
















Laughing with Mommy, 4-6-14.

Mommy washing my hand, 4-6-14.












With Daddy at water tables, 4-6-14.

Painting with Mommy, 4-6-14.















Fun at My Gym!




Climbing up high at My Gym, 4-9-14.
Playing in tunnel at My Gym, 3-27-14.
Playing on the exercise bar at My Gym, 3-21-14.













Playing with rings, 3-21-14.
Climbing at My Gym, 4-10-14.








In sensory ball pit, 4-10-14.
Playing at My Gym, 4-2-14.

Playing on the bridge, 4-2-14.



Playing on handlebars, 4-10-14.

Playing with beach balls with Nora from MFA class, 4-10-14.




Playing with my My Gym friends during parent separation time, 4-9-14.


On elevated dolphin swing 4-10-14.
Traveling on dolphin swing, 4-10-14.


Swinging at My Gym, 4-9-14.



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